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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-06-24

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

June 24, 2003


  • [01] EU-US Summit in Washington on June 25
  • [02] Commission: EU-US to extend cooperation despite recent crisis
  • [03] Athens cites 'expectations' from upcoming US-EU Summit
  • [04] Gov't: General consensus is that Thessaloniki Summit a political success
  • [05] Gov't comments on Turkish stance at EU Summit
  • [06] Holbrooke applauds Greek EU Presidency in interview with
  • [07] Greek-Russian defense cooperation the focus of high-level talks
  • [08] PM hosts luncheon for former US president George Bush Sr.
  • [09] PM, PASOK members stress unity at Andreas Papandreou memorial service
  • [10] Greek tourism authority expects recovery in tourist arrivals from US
  • [11] ASE ends below 1,900 level on Monday
  • [12] Seized ship laden with 680 tonnes of explosives had sailed from Albania
  • [13] Buildings, vehicles and telephone booths damaged during Thessaloniki riots
  • [14] Tsovolas repeats call for treason charge against PM during Ocalan trial
  • [15] Xiros voluntarily spoke to authorities in hospital, doctor tells N17 trial
  • [16] Holbrooke, Sarbanes and Iacovou honored at 14th Annual Cyprus Conference
  • [17] South African foreign minister signs Olympic Truce declaration
  • [18] Taxis to stage 48-hour nationwide strike starting Tuesday
  • [19] Panhellenic journalism conference to be held in Samothrace
  • [20] Spokesman: President Papadopoulos ready for talks any time
  • [21] Turkish Cypriot party calls for 'elections' with Turkish Cypriot voters only

  • [01] EU-US Summit in Washington on June 25

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    On 25 June 2003 leaders from both sides of the Atlantic will gather at the EU-US Summit in Washington, where the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, together with the President-in-office of the European Council, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, will meet US President George W. Bush.

    On the EU side, Vice President and Commissioner for Transport and Energy, Loyola de Palacio, as well as Commissioners for Enterprise and Information Society, Erkki Liikanen, for Trade, Pascal Lamy, together with the High Representative for CFSP, Javier Solana, the Greek Foreign Minister and President-in-office of the Council, George Papandreou, and Greek Minister for Justice, Philippos Petsalnikos, will also participate.

    President Bush will be accompanied by an unprecedented number of Senior Administration officials including Vice President, Dick Cheney, Secretary of State, Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Trade Representative Bob Zoellick, Secretary of Agriculture, Ann M. Veneman, Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, Secretary of Treasury, John Snow, Secretary of Commerce, Don Evans, Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, and Chief of Staff, Andrew H. Card.

    In the run up to the summit, President Prodi has declared: ''I am confident this summit will reflect the strength of the Transatlantic Partnership, underlining our determination to tackle common threats and pursue shared goals''.

    The EU and the US co-operate on an even wider range of areas, broadening and deepening the Transatlantic Partnership. Even though relations have recently gone through a period of strain, both sides are firmly committed to demonstrating that the EU and the US have a relationship that works and produces concrete results with direct positive effects for our citizens, and also jointly take up global and regional challenges.

    Deliverables: It is expected that this Summit will lead to concrete results in important areas such as the signing of the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) and Extradition Agreements and the launching of negotiations on a Transatlantic Open Aviation Area Agreement. The MLA will be the first ever agreement on legal co-operation in the fight against crime that the EU signs with a third country.

    Negotiations with the US on a Transatlantic Open Aviation Area Agreement mark a historic development in the Community's aviation policy as for the first time, representatives of the two largest aviation markets in the world will discuss opening up their markets and investment rules directly (see IP/03/806). The EU and the US will also launch joint research efforts promoting the Hydrogen economy.

    In addition, it is expected that there will be joint statements on container security and customs co-operation as well as a joint initiative in the fight against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Finally, the Transatlantic Business Dialogue will be relaunched, in a new streamlined format.

    Discussion issues: Discussion at the restricted meeting between leaders (see below) is likely to focus on joint efforts in the context of implementing the Quartet's Road Map for peace in the Middle East.

    The Plenary Meeting will start with a Presidency presentation of the results of the Thessaloniki Council, notably with regard to the EU Constitution and the Security strategy. Further items on the agenda are Iraq, Afghanistan, non-proliferation, the fight against terrorism, and possibly Galileo and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Transport security and the financing of terrorism and judicial co-operation will also be addressed.

    The working lunch will be entirely dedicated to trade and economic issues such as the forthcoming WTO Ministerial in Cancun, transatlantic co-operation under the Positive Economic Agenda -- notably the financial markets dialogue-, one of which successes is the implementation of the Guidelines for Regulatory Co-operation and Transparency, as well as research in the energy sector and air transport negotiations.

    Leaders will also review some of the more sensitive topics such as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), compliance with WTO dispute settlement rulings, US Bilateral Investment Treaties with countries acceding to the EU, and the relaunching of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD).

    Format of the Summit: The Summit will start at 10:30 hours in the White House Oval Office with a meeting among President Bush, Prime Minister Simitis and President Prodi and will be followed by a plenary session lasting from 11:00 to 12:00 hours in the Cabinet Room, leading to a working lunch. A joint press conference of the three principals will take place at 13:20 hours at the White House Rose Garden. An EU press conference will be held subsequently by Mr. Simitis and Mr. Prodi at the Carlton-Ritz Hotel.

    On the margins: A series of events will take place on the margins of the Summit. On 24 June President Prodi will address the German Marshall Fund's think tank conference on ''EU-US Co-operation or Competition'' at the US Congress and will give a speech on the EU Constitution in Philadelphia. On the same day, Vice President and Commissioner for Transport and Energy Loyola de Palacio will participate in the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum and sign the Charter for a ''Carbon Capture and Storage Technology Initiative''. She will also take profit of the summit to agree with her American counterpart the following steps in the negotiations for a Transatlantic Open Aviation Area Agreement with the US. Vice-president de Palacio said: ''Our co-operation with the US must be based on concrete issues and I am pleased to see that new very important progress is going to take place in energy and transport issues. This will have a broad impact at the whole world level.''

    Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society Erkki Liikanen will participate in the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD). TABD and Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) leaders will hold a policy dialogue with senior EU and US officials on 25 June. Commissioner Liikanen said: ''The business-community is an important driving force of transatlantic economic integration. The TABD has long brought trade-barriers and frictions to the attention of governments and urged them to find solutions to these problems. TABD has contributed positively to the improvement of transatlantic economic relations through innovative ideas that have advanced trade opening. The new Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue will be a lean and focused business-driven process developing policy recommendations to administrations. The EU and the U.S. have joined in commitment to review and implement recommendations coming from the TABD.''

    EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy will address the Global Business Dialogue, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Foreign Trade Council in addition to a number of others meetings, notably on Capitol Hill. He will also address the Transatlantic Journalist Forum. Before leaving to Washington Commissioner Lamy said: ''The EU and the USA have a solid relationship on trade which we use to promote a positive agenda, to work together in the WTO Doha Development Agenda and to address and where possible, solve, our differences. The depth and breath of the areas where we work closely together shows there is no alternative to engagement.''

    [02] Commission: EU-US to extend cooperation despite recent crisis

    BRUSSELS 24/06/2003 (ANA - A. Simatos)

    The European Commission on Monday said both Europe and the United States want to extend cooperation despite the recent crisis, some 48 hours before an EU-US Summit opens in Washington on Wednesday.

    “The EU and the US cooperate on an even wider range of areas, broadening and deepening the transatlantic partnership. Even though relations have recently gone through a period of strain, both sides are firmly committed to demonstrating that the EU and the US have a relationship that works and produces concrete results with direct positive effects for our citizens, and also jointly take up global and regional challenges,” the Commission said in a statement.

    According to the European Commission, international issues such as the Middle East, Iraq, international terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, judicial cooperation as well as trade and economic relations between the EU and the US will be discussed during the upcoming summit.

    The summit will begin with a private meeting between US President George W. Bush, European Commission President Romano Prodi and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Discussions are expected to focus on coordinating actions between the two sides on implementing the road map of the quartet (the EU, UN, US and Russia) for peace in the Middle East.

    Discussions between the two delegations will follow and will be completed with a working luncheon. The meeting between the delegations will begin with a presentation by the Greek EU presidency of the results of the Thessaloniki EU summit, primarily concerning the EU's draft constitution and the strategy on common defense and security policy.

    Issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, transport security, judicial cooperation and probably the ''Galileo'' program and the issue of the International Criminal Court will also be discussed during the meetings.

    Talks during the working luncheon will centre on trade and economic issues, such as the forthcoming ministerial conference within the framework of the World Trade Organization in Mexico, trans-Atlantic cooperation in the framework of dialogue on economic markets, research regarding the energy sector and negotiations concerning the air transport sector.

    Agreements on mutual judicial assistance and extradition between the EU and the US will also be signed at the US justice department on the same day by US Attorney General John Ashcroft and Greek Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos.

    [03] Athens cites 'expectations' from upcoming US-EU Summit

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greece on Monday cited expectations over the upcoming European Union-US Summit, to be held in Washington on Wednesday.

    ''There are several expectations from that meeting, because we are at the beginning of a new era in the strategic EU-US partnership after going through a turbulent era'', Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, will fly for Washington on Tuesday to represent the EU at the Summit in his capacity as the European Council president in-office, accompanied by European Commission President Romano Prodi and Chief EU diplomat Javier Solana.

    Protopapas said talks between the world's major economic powers would focus on developments in Iraq, the Middle East, the non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the fight against terrorism, progress with the ''Galileo'' program, and the outcome of the recent EU Summit that concluded on Saturday in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    He said two bilateral agreements (Open Skies and the exploitation of hydrogen technologies) would also be reviewed at the Washington Summit, while two others will be signed, one for the non-proliferation of WMDs and a second on mutual judicial assistance, before adding that the Cyprus issue would also be discussed.

    PM Simitis leaves Tuesday for EU-US summit: Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis, current chairman of the European Union, leaves Tuesday for Washington DC for a regular EU-US summit meeting.

    Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas said that there were several expectations from the meeting, "because we are at the beginning of a new era in the EU-US strategic partnership relation following a turbulent period", adding that there was a unanimous desire among the EU leaders.

    Protopapas said that the talks would examine, inter alia, the developments in Iraq and the Middle East, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, combatting terrorism, progress in the Galilee program, and the results of the EU summit in Thessaloniki late last week.

    The spokesman further said that two bilateral agreements -- on Open Skies and on the exploitation of hydrogen -- would also be examined, while two agreements would be signed on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and on mutual judicial assistance.

    The Cyprus issue would also be discussed, Protopapas added.

    [04] Gov't: General consensus is that Thessaloniki Summit a political success

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Thessaloniki European Union Summit, hosted by the Greek EU presidency over the weekend at a seaside resort in northern Greece, was hailed as a political success by all, a government spokesman said on Monday.

    Spokesman Christos Protopapas said EU leaders had congratulated the Greek presidency, as well as Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis personally, for the Summit's hosting. He added that the Summit provided a ''decisive push to the European Constitution (as a basis for talks at the Inter-governmental conference) toward a stronger Union.''

    The spokesman also said the Council's decisions on illegal immigration, and particularly the bloc's agreement to allocate funds for the coordination of relative policies and processes, would pave the way for additional initiatives in the future.

    Moreover, Protopapas referred to an 'opening' the Union made to the western Balkans.

    ''It was the first time the issue was raised at an official Summit toward the direction of stabilization and development in that region,'' he said, adding: ''Greece has a lot to gain from that decision.''

    With regard to problems that surfaced in connection with the organization of the Summit, Protopapas said that, ''given the facts, everything went very well'', while he praised what he called the ''super-human efforts'' by the Greek foreign ministry and the press ministry.

    Greece, whose tenure at the Union's helm ends on June 30, will hand over the EU presidency to Italy on July 1.

    [05] Gov't comments on Turkish stance at EU Summit

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Athens on Monday referred to Turkish leadership's latest comments on a handful Greek-Turkish issues, including Ankara's continued intransigence as far as Greek territorial waters and air space in the Aegean is concerned.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas simply noted that Turkey's position is ''well known, and the statements I have made in the past are still valid,'' when asked to comment on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements over the weekend at the EU Summit in Thessaloniki regarding Turkey's claims.

    ''However, I have to emphasize that the position of the Turkish side at the EU Summit was extremely careful,'' the spokesman said.

    He also referred to several recent articles by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whereby the latter outlines Ankara's desire for a close relationship with the bloc and also expresses the country's thanks to the Greek presidency for its stance.

    ''Turkey's EU course is necessary, however, it passes through the abolition of the Green Line,'' Protopapas said, a reference to the Cyprus issue and the ongoing Turkish occupation of one-third of the island republic's territory.

    [06] Holbrooke applauds Greek EU Presidency in interview with

    ANA WASHINGTON 24/06/2003 (ANA/A.Ellis)

    After the end of the war in Iraq, the two sides of the Atlantic should look to the future and work together to deal with common threats, former US Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke said in an interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) last week, just before the opening of the EU Thessaloniki Council.

    In the same interview, the eminent Democrat spoke of ‘the intelligent stance of the Greek EU Presidency and the skilful handlings by Greek Prime Minister and current EU Council president Costas Simitis.

    Holbrooke said that the US and the European Union should have to return to their previous harmonious ties. “They have no choice… harmonious and mature relations should have the ability to overcome such problems…”

    He added he expected that the forthcoming US-EU summit in Washington, with the participation of US President George W. Bush and Greek premier Simitis, would be a step towards this direction.

    In reply to a question as to his judgment of the Greek EU Presidency during the difficult months in Euro-Atlantic relations, Holbrooke said that given the “unbelievable” tension between the US and Europe, the Greek government took an especially intelligent path avoiding to get involved into the “personal drama” of US-France and US-Germany relations.

    “I would say that the handling by premier Simitis and Foreign Minister (George Papandreou) was very skilful,” Holbrooke noted.

    Even though the US diplomat expressed his support to the US-led war against Iraq, he warned that if it was proven that Bush and British premier Tony Blair mislead the international public opinion over the existence of mass destruction weapons in Iraq, their credibility would suffer a serious blow with severe consequences on the handling of the cases of Iran, Northern Korea and possibly Syria.

    Further, Holbrooke said that Europe could not play a significant role in the Middle East, as the region looks to the US for a leading role. “Europeans cannot play a significant role. What they can do is obstruct the peace process if they continue to meet with (Palestinian leader) Yasser Arafat. We should begin to realize that Arafat is a man of the past, and the more he remains in positions that influence developments, the more difficult would be to achieve progress.”

    With regard to the Cyprus problem, the US diplomat noted that the major demonstration in northern Cyprus by Turkish Cypriots and the amicable atmosphere that prevailed in the contact of the two communities (Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot) in recent months were a clear message: “The people are ready to make up.”

    “As a former (special presidential) emissary for Cyprus, I can tell you that the problem can be settled. It is not as complicated as the Middle East problem. The stance taken by Rauf Denktash is harmful not only to the interests of the Turkish Cypriots but also of the 70 million of Turkish people… new leaders are needed,” Holbrooke said.

    [07] Greek-Russian defense cooperation the focus of high-level talks

    MOSCOW 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Russia' relations with the European Union and NATO, the fight against international terrorism as well as Turkey’s continued provocations in the Aegean and the latter’s intransigence dominated talks here on Monday between Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov with visiting Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    The issue of a settlement for the divided island of Cyprus was also discussed.

    The Greek minister noted that Athens’ briefing of the international community vis-a-vis Turkish provocations in the Aegean is also being extended to the Russian government.

    He noted that a statement by Turkey's general staff, which differentiates Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue from other pending issues in the neighboring country, intensifies Athens’ concerns in reference to Greek-Turkish relations.

    Papantoniou further noted that the neighboring country’s stance constitutes part of its standing policy, and is not just a unilateral position emanating from its military establishment.

    The Greek minister, however, expressed a hope that Turkey did aim to create an “incident”, attributing that country's provocative actions either to reasons of political expediency for local consumption or its pending discussion on its European course.

    Asked about Washington’s policy on Iran and North Korea within the context of the combating of international terrorism, it was noted that Greece and Russia – along with the European Union -- agree that international organizations must exhaust all margins for the control of the weapons of mass destruction, while at the same time expressing opposition to any unilateral interventions.

    Papantoniou also expressed a need for Russia to participate more actively in defense issues of NATO and the EU.

    On Tuesday, Papantoniou will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov for talks on strengthening bilateral defense cooperation, among others.

    Papantoniou’s visit came as defense sources said seven formations of Turkish warplanes, some 18 aircraft, infringed on Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) regulations the same day in the northern and central Aegean, as well as east of Rhodes. One violation of Greek air space was also recorded.

    In all cases, the 18 Turkish planes were recognized and intercepted by Greek warplanes, while in four cases the interception process developed into an engagement, sources said.

    [08] PM hosts luncheon for former US president George Bush Sr.

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    The government on Monday said a same-day luncheon in honor of visiting former US president George Bush by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis to be simply 'a courtesy'.

    Also attending the luncheon with the elder Bush was Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou as well as several well-known local political and business leaders, including Athens 2004 Games Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.

    The former US president, his wife Barbara and several friends arrived in Athens on Sunday for a private visit, with a cruise in the northern Aegean on his itinerary as well.

    Talks at the mid-afternoon reception are expected to touch on current international situation as well as results of the Thessaloniki EU summit over the weekend in view of the EU-US Summit in Washington on Wednesday.

    [09] PM, PASOK members stress unity at Andreas Papandreou memorial service

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Members of ruling PASOK that gathered at the Athens 1st cemetery on Monday for a memorial service for the party's late founder and leader Andreas Papandreou took advantage of the occasion as an opportunity to mend fences and set a tone of unity and cohesion following a period of internal strife, bickering and scandal that has rocked the party in recent months.

    Emerging from the cemetery, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed that the endeavor for ''Allaghi'' - the Greek word for change - inspired by Andreas Papandreou remained the challenge facing Greece today as it strove to adapt to the European Union and globalization, always seeking ''a leading role and showing efficiency, as we did at the EU Summit in Halkidiki''.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou, the son of the late party leader who arrived at the cemetery with his wife Ada, his brother Andreas and his mother Margarita Papandreou, said that the anniversary of his father's death was not only a day of memory for his loved ones and those close to him but also for the many people that fought at his side and were continuing to fight today for the ideals that he believed in.

    PASOK Secretary Costas Laliotis, recently the focus of much press attention over an alleged falling-out with the premier, stressed that PASOK was and remained ''a hopeful and victorious movement'' both under its founder Andreas Papandreou and under Costas Simitis.

    ''Because much has been said and written, I would like to assure everyone that PASOK's unity is a fact and that PASOK will rally around the prime minister of the country and president of the movement is self-evident,'' Laliotis said in statements to reporters.

    According to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, meanwhile, had Papandreou been alive today his message to the party would have been unity, seriousness and for its members to rally together from the grass roots to the top echelons - a call echoed by several MPs, ministers and members of the party that attended Monday's service.

    Referring to the memorial during the regular press briefing, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said that Andreas Papandreou had "brought a new era to Greece," by building the unity of society, upgrading the quality of democracy, legalizing the national Resistance movement and creating new institutions.

    "PASOK honors its unforgettable leader and continues the great effort," he concluded.

    [10] Greek tourism authority expects recovery in tourist arrivals from US

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's National Tourism Organization (GNTO) on Monday said it expected a recovery in tourist arrivals from the American market.

    A GNTO statement said that the US tourist market was significantly improving after the end of the war in Iraq and a decision to lower the alert status from orange to yellow in the country over the fear of a new terrorist threat.

    The Greek tourism authority's offices in the US and Canada were currently discussing a multi-million US dollar program for the promotion of the country in the North American market.

    Under the plan, OPI cosmetics group, with activities in 68 countries, will offer a new line of 12 nail polishes with names of Greek islands from spring 2004.

    CBS television network plans to broadcast a promotional mini-series of Greece, with titles such as ''Greek to me'', Hellenica'', ''The ancient games'' and ''Olympic journey''.

    GNTO also said it planned to organize next year's NTA board congress in Greece. NTA is the biggest, based on members, travel organization in the United States with around 4,000 tour operators, cruise companies, airline companies, conference organizers, etc.

    [11] ASE ends below 1,900 level on Monday

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks lost substantial ground on Monday in the Athens Stock Exchange pushing the general index below the psychologically-critical 1,900 level. Traders said the Greek bourse was negatively affected by falls in other European markets.

    The general index fell 0.96 percent to end at 1,887.62 points, with turnover a moderate 124.3 million euros.

    The Construction, Banks and Holding sectors scored the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.35 percent, 2.84 percent and 2.40 percent), while the Wholesale, IT Solution and Publication sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (2.24 percent, 1.64 percent and 1.0 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.46 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.01 percent, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index eased 0.93 percent and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index dropped 1.15 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 210 to 107 with another 40 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 47.6 mln euros Monday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -1.46 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: +0.01 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (351)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 47.6 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Sellers match buyers on Monday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 3.84 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 10 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 2.6 bln euros

    • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring Jan 2012 (540 mln euros)


    Closing rates of June 23 2003

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,163 1,136

    [12] Seized ship laden with 680 tonnes of explosives had sailed from Albania

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister George Anomeritis said on Monday that a motorship seized by Greek harbor authorities on Sunday carrying 680 tonnes of explosives had sailed from Albania on April 27, 2003.

    Greek harbor police on Sunday located a Comores-flag small motorship carrying 680 tonnes of various types of explosives.

    ''The Baltic Sky'' was located west of the shores of Aetoloakarnania, western Greece.

    Aboard the motorship belonging to a foreign shipping company were seven foreign crew-members, while during the check made by the police, none of the crew could give a clear explanation about the cargo.

    The ''Baltic Sky'' was led to ''Platogialo'' port in Aetoloakarnania for the ship's documents to be checked. The check is expected to be concluded on Monday.

    Anomeritis said on Monday that the vessel sailed into the port of Gabes, Tunisia, on May 12, where it loaded the explosives and detonators, found itself in the Dardanelles on May 21 and on the next day in Istanbul where, according to the Ukrainian captain, it changed crew and received supplies of food and fuel.

    Anomeritis termed the cargo an atomic bomb and the success of harbor officials excellent.

    [13] Buildings, vehicles and telephone booths damaged during Thessaloniki riots

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    An official report on damage caused by anarchists in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, during riots on Saturday on the sidelines of the European Union summit, said 78 properties, 16 vehicles (15 cars and a motorbike), two telephone booths and three television cameras were damaged.

    Much of the property destroyed was insured and the cost will be shouldered by insurance companies, while the state will undertake uninsured property.

    Commenting on Monday on the riots in the city, Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis said ''the Thessaloniki Prefecture did all it could to keep Thessaloniki a peaceful and lively city. I want to believe that we were hospitable for the demonstrators. Unfortunately, however, our fears came true regarding the action of some small minority which, disregarding public sentiment, caused disturbances and destruction.''

    Psomiadis also said commitments by relevant government officials are expected to be fulfilled immediately for generous compensation to be given to professionals and trades people affected by the riots.

    [14] Tsovolas repeats call for treason charge against PM during Ocalan trial

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    The legal counsel for retired Navy Captain Antonis Naxakis - who is charged with illegally bringing rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan into Greece in January 1999 - on Monday repeated a demand that the Athens Mixed Jury court send the trial records to a public prosecutor so that treason charges might be filed against the political leadership of the country at the time of Ocalan's arrival, including Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas, who is representing Naxakis in the trial over the Ocalan affair on Monday also submitted his request to the court in writing. Naxakis is the State's prime suspect among 13 people facing charges in connection with bringing the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) into the country and jeopardizing Greece's harmonious foreign relations.

    The court has again reserved judgment on Tsovolas' request.

    Earlier, the court was addressed by three of the accused who made statements in their own defense.

    Police sergeant Dimitris Karageorgios, who was on duty at the airport on the night of Ocalan's arrival, said that his fellow officer on duty George Magginas, who is also on trial, showed him three passports belonging to Ocalan's party - those of Naxakis and two Kurdish associates of Ocalan.

    He claimed Magginas then took all three passports back after they had been checked and told him that the three would not be going through passport control but straight to the VIP lounge.

    Vaggelis Stergiopoulos, a representative of the company that had chartered the private plane used by Ocalan to travel to Greece, told the court that the charter company was not interested in and did not enquire about the passengers transported in its planes.

    Tsovolas first made his demand on Friday, following revelations made in court by Magginas during his rejoinder that pointed to a deliberate plan to hand Ocalan over to Turkish authorities.

    Magginas is charged with failing to check the passports of Ocalan's party on their arrival.

    Tsovolas claimed the Greek government of the time, which was headed by current Prime Minister Costas Simitis, had plotted to surrender Ocalan to Turkish authorities in Bucharest. After this plan failed, it then facilitated the PKK leader's entry into Greece so that he could finally be handed over to the Turks in Kenya, Tsovolas said.

    He called for the prime minister, then foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos, and other officials involved standing trial on charges of high treason.

    After his arrival in Greece, Ocalan was taken to Kenya to the Greek Embassy in that country. He was eventually captured by his pursuers in a mystery-shrouded operation involving the secret services of several countries after he left the Embassy for an allegedly safer location.

    The DHKKI party headed by Tsovolas gained 2.69 per cent of the vote in the last general elections in Greece, short of the 3 per cent minimum required for a seat in Parliament.

    [15] Xiros voluntarily spoke to authorities in hospital, doctor tells N17 trial

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    The doctor who took over the treatment of suspected November 17 terrorist Savvas Xiros on July 9, roughly 10 days after the accused was admitted to Evangelismos Hospital with extensive injuries caused by a bomb explosion, on Monday told the Three Member Criminal Appeals Court that Xiros had voluntarily given statements to the authorities while in hospital.

    Xiros' defense asked that the doctors treating him in Evangelismos testify regarding the conditions that he was kept in while in hospital, during which police took extensive statements and extracted lengthy confessions from him.

    Dr. Marinos Pitaridis, in charge of all patients at the Evangelismos intensive care ward, said that Xiros had himself elected to cooperate with the authorities and that he had started talking to public prosecutor Ioannis Diotis and the head of the anti-terrorist squad Stelios Syrros on the night of July 5 to July 6.

    ''Savvas told me he couldn't sleep at nights and wanted to chat. I told him that as a doctor I could prevent these talks for medical reasons if they prevented him sleeping. He answered: 'I want to get this business over with, doctor.'''

    Pitaridis denied giving Xiros tranquillizers and said that it was impossible for 'agents' to enter Xiros' room without being seen since even doctors were strictly monitored.

    While in his care, he added, he had seen no signs that Xiros' awareness of his surroundings was diminished or that he was delirious.

    The doctor revealed, however, that traces of two tranquillizers had been detected in Xiros' bloodstream in tests carried out on July 12, after Xiros' companion Alicia Romero Cortez claimed that he had been administered psychotropic drugs. He said the hospital was not able to test for levels of other substances.

    The witness said that Xiros was taken off life-support on July 4, 2002 and was initially very disoriented. When asked by Xiros' defense, meanwhile, Pitaridis said he would not have given permission for Xiros to give statements to the police within 24 hours had he been asked.

    He also said that Xiros would have been totally unable to read the statement that he initialed, since his sight was greatly impaired, as were his hearing and scent.

    Finally, he said that Xiros had appeared fearful during his first visit, asking him if there were officers present and also about the room's orientation.

    Xiros' defense lawyer Giorgos Agiostratitis claimed there had been a cover-up by the authorities of the conditions under which his client was held in Evangelismos, noting that he had been denied access to the hospital room where Xiros was kept for 40 days until an arrest warrant was issued on August 7.

    [16] Holbrooke, Sarbanes and Iacovou honored at 14th Annual Cyprus Conference

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Former Special Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke, Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou and others were honored at the 14th Annual Cyprus Conference in Washington, according to an announcement by the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) organization on Monday.

    '''We were proud to celebrate Cyprus' accession to the European Union by honoring at our conference the architects of the U.S. effort that made this possible,' said CEH leaders Andrew A. Athens, Philip Christopher and Andrew E. Manatos," it read.

    "Over 100 Hellenic leaders from across the country and around the world came to Washington, D.C., June 10-12, 2003 for the 14th Annual Cyprus Conference," the announcement added.

    ''Participants presented Richard Holbrooke - former Special Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. - Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), and Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman - and former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to Turkey - with a framed, signed copy of the actual Cyprus accession treaty to the EU,'' the announcement said.

    It further said "Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou was honored at the conference banquet along with Senator Sarbanes. The Minister was presented with a plaque containing an actual piece of the barbed wire that separates Cyprus."

    [17] South African foreign minister signs Olympic Truce declaration

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    South African Foreign Minister Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, who is currently visiting Athens, on Monday signed the Olympic Truce declaration after a meeting with her Greek counterpart George Papandreou in Athens.

    Papandreou praised Dr. Zuma on South Africa's work during its term in the African Union presidency and its cooperation with the Greek presidency of the European Union.

    The Greek minister also referred to ties between Greece and South Africa, which has a sizeable Greek community, and the common efforts of the two countries for democracy and human rights.

    With regard to the Olympic Truce, Papandreou stressed that if the world managed to ''impose a truce for 14 days then perhaps it can hold forever''.

    On her part, Dr. Zuma stressed the good results of cooperation between the Greek EU presidency and the African Union presidency and expressed hope that the ancient Greek tradition of a truce during the Olympics might not only continue but exist forever.

    [18] Taxis to stage 48-hour nationwide strike starting Tuesday

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    Taxi drivers are to stage a 48-hour nationwide strike beginning on Tuesday to protest against a government order for the installation of electronic cash registers in their vehicles.

    The finance ministry wants to see the receipt-issuing cash registers in place from January 1, 2004 in order to curb tax evasion.

    The system already exists in most European countries, the ministry has said in previous statements.

    [19] Panhellenic journalism conference to be held in Samothrace

    Athens, 24/06/2003 (ANA)

    The 11th Panhellenic Journalism Conference, which will be held yet again at the island of Samothrace between July 10-13, 2003,is dedicated to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and is organized by the Evros prefecture, the Samothrace municipality as well as the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC).

    More than 500 journalists, from Greece ,Cyprus and abroad are expected to attend the conference.

    [20] Spokesman: President Papadopoulos ready for talks any time

    NICOSIA 24/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos is ready to return to the negotiating table any time the UN Secretary General invites him to talks, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said here on Monday.

    His comments came in the wake of remarks by the president that negotiations on a UN proposal for a comprehensive settlement should be concluded by March next year to allow time to brief the people about any agreement reached and put it to a referendum in time for Cyprus' accession to the European Union, in May 2004.

    ''We want to see things settled to allow time for a referendum. If talks begin in April, there will not be sufficient time to conclude negotiations before May 1 and they may extend beyond this date,'' he explained.

    The spokesman recalled the president's statement that he will participate in negotiations on the substance of the Cyprus question whenever this possibility arises.

    Replying to questions, he said at present there is no indication that talks would begin any time soon because the Turkish side has not changed its intransigent positions.

    ''If the Turkish side changes its tune, the President is ready to begin talks immediately, any time these start,'' he added.

    UN-led peace talks collapsed in March this year, when Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused to put to a referendum a peace proposal by Kofi Annan.

    The Secretary General said Denktash had the primary responsibility for the collapse of the talks and said that unless he gets genuine assurances and guarantees from the sides concerned that they will conclude negotiations within a time frame, he has no intention of launching a new initiative for more talks.

    [21] Turkish Cypriot party calls for 'elections' with Turkish Cypriot voters only

    STRASBOURG 24/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Unity Movement has launched a campaign at the Council of Europe (CoE) with an aim to promote its demand that Turkish settlers in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus not to have the right to vote in the so called ''elections' to take place there, December 2003.

    Member of the Movement and President of the Turkish Cypriot Rights and Freedom Association Hayati Yasamsal is currently in Strasbourg aiming to meet members of the Migration, Refugees and Demography Committee and CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Alvaro Gil Robles.

    He will venture to brief them on the issue and deliver a memorandum of the Movement asking the international community to declare that it will not recognize the results of the ''elections'' in the regime if the settlers carried from Turkey to Cyprus's occupied areas get to vote.

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