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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-06-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

June 25, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Simitis arrives in Washington for U.S.-EU annual summit
  • [02] U.S. official says U.S.-EU meet could contribute to transatlantic rapprochement
  • [03] Greek and Russian DMs discuss bilateral relations, international issues
  • [04] Gov't on explosives-laden motorship; Sudan demands return
  • [05] Greek, Italian ministers discuss EU presidency issues
  • [06] Greek EU presidency declaration: common position on international criminal court
  • [07] EU Commissioner Diamantopoulou ends visit to Bulgaria
  • [08] Cabinet to assess EU presidency results on Monday
  • [09] Petrola, Hellenic Petroleum merger deal progresses as scheduled
  • [10] Development minister says natural gas worth becoming basic source of energy
  • [11] Eurodeputies ask PM to implement EU rule on contract work
  • [12] Greek stocks continue moving lower
  • [13] ATHOC announces brisk ticket sales for 2004 Games
  • [14] Chinese businessman initially believed positive of having SARS virus
  • [15] Prosecutor recommends acquittal of all accused in Ocalan affair
  • [16] Magistrate to indict 20 Thessaloniki protestors on criminal charges
  • [17] Athens Bar Assoc. criticizes EU-US judicial cooperation pact
  • [18] Conference on future of EU taking place in Brussels
  • [19] Xiros lucid before interrogation, psychiatrist reports in N17 trial
  • [20] Culture minister inaugurates painting exhibition on Olympic ideals
  • [21] FM Iacovou says Denktash may attempt resumption of talks

  • [01] PM Simitis arrives in Washington for U.S.-EU annual summit

    WASHINGTON 25/06/2003 (T. Ellis)

    Prime Minister and European Council President Costas Simitis arrived here late Tuesday night Greek time to attend Wednesday's U.S.-EU annual summit.

    The aim of the European delegation, headed by Simitis and European Commission President Romano Prodi is to smooth transatlantic relations, reach agreements on issues of mutual interest and seek ways for dealing with various political and trade matters as both the U.S. and the EU express the desire for cooperation.

    The prime minister is accompanied by Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Deputy Press Minister Telemahos Hytiris and other senior officials.

    FM says U.S.-EU summit an opportunity for many sectors of cooperation: Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Tuesday the U.S.-European Union summit taking place in Washington on Wednesday will provide the opportunity for both sides of the Atlantic to promote the many sectors in which they can cooperate for the benefit of all.

    Papandreou was speaking in the U.S. capital where he has already arrived with Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos to attend the summit at which the European delegation will be headed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and European Commission President Romano Prodi.

    ''During our presidency, and due to the crisis in Iraq, considerable differences appeared within the EU and between Europe and the United States,'' Papandreou said, adding that during Wednesday's talks the opportunity will be given to each side to explain its views and ''for us to discuss the regions where we can cooperate such as the Middle East.''

    Papandreou further said ''we do not always agree but cooperation can constitute the basis for the multipartite handling of problems'' and placed particular emphasis on the text on Europe's security strategy reached by EU Defense and Security High Commissioner Javier Solana which highlights the determination of European countries to present a common position regarding the challenges of the times.

    Referring to the issue of the ship carrying 680 tones of explosives, and which is now being kept under guard by the Greek authorities, the foreign minister said ''Greece applied international rules and proved that it can guarantee security in its region and we handled the case in question in this framework.''

    Use of hydrogen for peaceful purposes to be among topics at U.S.-EU summit: Working groups from the European Union and the United States have concluded in joint statements which will be issued during Wednesday's U.S.-EU summit between U.S. President George W. Bush, Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Costas Simitis and European Commission President Romano Prodi at the White House and concern the use of hydrogen for peaceful purposes, cooperation in the sector of energy and the need to confront the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

    The reaching of an agreement for the start of talks on the deregulation of air transport is also expected to be announced, while emphasis will also be given during the talks for peace in the Middle East and the promotion of the ''Road Map''.

    The U.S. is also expected to reiterate its opposition to the entry of Libya to the UN Security Council while the European Union is maintaining a neutral stance.

    Premier Simitis will also brief President Bush on the decisions taken at the recent EU summit in Halkidiki.

    [02] U.S. official says U.S.-EU meet could contribute to transatlantic rapprochement

    WASHINGTON 25/06/2003 (ANA/T. Ellis)

    John Halsman, responsible for relations with Europe at the conservative strategic Heritage foundation which reflects the views of the Bush administration, said in an interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday that the U.S.-European Union summit taking place in Washington on Wednesday could contribute to a gradual rapprochement between the two sides of the Atlantic.

    However, he added that the essence of the problem will continue to exist ''for as long as the EU is involved in theoretical analyses and does not handle the challenges of the times with the taking of substantive measures.''

    Referring to the new ''European strategy'' presented at the EU summit by EU Defense and Security High Commissioner Javier Solana, Halsman claimed that it is another theoretical approach lacking essence, and described it as a ''paper tiger'', since ''the Europeans insist on not understanding what is going on in the world and do not increase their defense expenditures.''

    He further said ''we are tired of the endless discussions and endless theoretical analyses. The time has come for the Europeans to begin handling problems with practical measures.''

    Commenting on the Greek EU presidency, Halsman said it handled a difficult situation but fell victim to conflicting views since the major powers of Europe were divided, with three of them supporting the U.S. (Britain, Italy and Spain) and two being against (Germany and France).

    [03] Greek and Russian DMs discuss bilateral relations, international issues

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, currently on a visit to Russia, discussed bilateral relations between Greece and Russia and international issues with his Russian counterpart Sergey Ivanov on Tuesday, according to an announcement by the defense ministry.

    ''Relations between Greece and the Russian Federation are extremely good, I would say excellent, but there is always ground to develop them even more substantively. With Mr. Ivanov we covered the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, but we also made analyses of international issues linked to the security of Europe, the Russian Federation and Greece,'' Papantoniou said afterwards.

    The Greek defense minister said Greece has struggled to have Russia's equal participation in NATO achieved and its substantive cooperation in the framework of the alliance.

    ''Europe's space is unified and there should be no dividing lines. This is Greece's position. In any case, it is very useful, from the aspect of international policy, for there to be a powerful Russia which will function in a balancing manner towards other forces to secure international stability. In this framework, we have assessed and evaluated Russia's contribution to handling and settling international crises very positively,'' he added.

    Papantoniou said that on the issue of Iraq, for example, there were absolutely converging views regarding the significance of the UN's involvement in the taking of whatever decision.

    ''In the Middle East we also have converging views concerning the terms with which this major international crisis must be settled. We both agree that more pressure must be exerted on Israel, particularly regarding policy on settlements, and the Palestinians' leadership must be supported more actively, which also includes President Arafat,'' the minister said.

    Referring to the Balkans, he said Greece has evaluated the contribution of the Russian Federation to the consolidation of conditions of stability in the region very positively.

    Papantoniou also said Greece respects absolutely Russia's decision to limit its military presence and to insist with regards to its political influence in the direction of consolidating democracy in Balkan countries.

    ''We had a very interesting and substantive briefing from Mr. Ivanov concerning the issues of security and terrorism which are linked to certain former republics of the Soviet Union. I wish to make it clear, in the most categorical way, that Greece supports the Russian Federation in all actions it undertakes to confront terrorism in regions harming its national security,'' he said.

    Commenting on issues concerning Greece's national security, Papantoniou said he briefed Ivanov on the provocative stance observed by Turkey lately.

    ''Turkish intransigence on the Cyprus issue has a considerable cost because it let a big opportunity to have this international problem solved with the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union be lost,'' he added.

    Papantoniou further said ''we have also ascertained that following a period of 2-3 years in which there was a recession in the promotion of Turkish claims against our sovereign rights, Turkey has returned with an aggressive attitude which is manifested with increasing violations of national airspace and the increased and persistent involvement of its aircraft in dogfights with Greek warplanes.''

    The defense minister said he had the opportunity of briefing Russian Prime Minister Kasyanov on Monday, apart from his Russian counterpart Ivanov on Tuesday that Greece will continue to inform all international partners and its friends but will remain steadfast on the policy it has followed over past years.

    He also reiterated that Greece supports Turkey's European prospects on condition the neighboring country changes its stance and adopts acceptable rules of international attitude both on the issue of Cyprus and the Aegean.

    Papantoniou further disclosed that during his visit to Saint Petersburg on Wednesday he will have the opportunity of having a close look at the products of the Russian defense industry.

    Ivanov said on his part that he and Papantoniou meet frequently in Brussels in the framework of the 20-member Russia-NATO Council, at defense minister level, and these meetings have become routine ones in a good sense.

    He added that military and technical cooperation is developing successfully and expressed the wish that Papantoniou will see new specimens of Russian equipment in Saint Petersburg.

    ''As you have evidently understood, our views and assessments on the state of various international crises are substantively identical. This also concerns unified Europe, the situation in the Balkans, Cyprus, Iraq, Afghanistan and some countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States,'' Ivanov said.

    Papantoniou will be visiting the Duma on Wednesday and afterwards he will be leaving for Saint Petersburg on the occasion of the International Maritime Exhibition's inauguration.

    [04] Gov't on explosives-laden motorship; Sudan demands return

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Tuesday said a massive amount of explosives and detonators found aboard a seized motorship on Sunday off western Greece will be removed by the end of the week, while also dismissing criticism from the country where the cargo was ostensibly headed.

    The merchant marine ministry, which also oversees the coast guard and port authorities in the country, reported that the Comores-flagged vessel had wandered across the eastern Mediterranean for 41 days before violating maritime regulations within Greek territorial waters. At last count, the coast guard discovered 680 tons of explosives and 145,000 detonators aboard the “Baltic Sky”.

    Asked about official protests from the Sudanese government over the vessel’s interception, Minister George Anomeritis said the issue of whether the cargo is part of a legal or illegal transaction involves only third parties, namely, the country where the vessel is registered and the owner or agent of the ship, but not the Greek government.

    “The question, however, asked by the international public opinion is: why didn’t a four-day journey, at most, from two specific ports and with such a cargo on board, not worry any of the interested parties after 41 days?” the Greek minister asked.

    Additionally, the government spokesman stressed: “what interests Athens is that a ship carrying a dangerous cargo entered Greek waters without prior notification”.

    The Khartoum government had earlier announced that the explosives aboard the “Baltic Sky” are for peaceful “non-military use”, while angrily condemning Athens’ actions.

    Sudanese External Relations Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail also confirmed that the vessel was transporting ammonium nitrate, before criticizing Athens and promising to call the Greek ambassador to Khartoum for clarifications, according to that country’s state-run radio station.

    Ammonium nitrate is a primary ingredient in so-called “fertilizer bombs” used in a handful of major terrorist strikes over the past decade worldwide, including in the deadly Oklahoma City federal building bombing in April 1995.

    ''The Baltic Sky'' was intercepted off the coast of Aetoloakarnania prefecture in western Greece on Sunday after being reportedly “shadowed” by western intelligence services for up to two months.

    Seven crew-members, Ukrainians and Azeris, have been arrested and are due to face a local prosecutor.

    The government a day earlier said the vessel sailed into the port of Gabes, Tunisia, on May 12, where it loaded the explosives and detonators. It was later spotted in the Dardanelles straits on May 21 and on the next day in Istanbul where, according to its Ukrainian skipper, the crew was rotating, while fuel and pro-visions were supplied.

    At press time, army personnel at the tiny and isolated harbor of Platygiali, in western Greece, were off-loading the explosives onto trucks from transport to military depots.

    [05] Greek, Italian ministers discuss EU presidency issues

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Tuesday met with Italian Community Policies Minister Rocco Byttiglione ahead of the handover of the Greek EU Presidency to Italy.

    The Italian presidency was beginning with dynamism to promote issues partly completed by the Greek presidency and new issues in its agenda, Mr Tsohatzopoulos said. The Greek minister wished success to his Italian counterpart.

    Mr Byttiglione, speaking to reporters after the meeting, stressed that Italy's EU Presidency priority was competitiveness in the European Union. He noted that a Competition Council should offer to the European Council a complete long-term assessment on the ability of the European system to create new jobs and prosperity.

    The Italian minister expressed his satisfaction over the course of the Greek EU presidency, stressing that it promoted several issues that the Italian presidency planned to complete, if possible.

    The Greek minister will visit Rome, July 12, for the first meeting of a Competition Council to discuss internal market issues, and matters related with industry, research and technology.

    [06] Greek EU presidency declaration: common position on international criminal court

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek European Union presidency on Tuesday issued a declaration on behalf of the European Union regarding the EU common position on the international criminal court.

    The full text of the declaration follows below:

    ''Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union regarding a declaration by the Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, and the associated countries Bulgaria and Romania and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area, concerning the EU Common Position on the International Criminal Court:

    ''The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, and the associated countries Bulgaria and Romania and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area, declare that they share the objectives of Common Position 2003/444/CFSP on the International Criminal Court defined by the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 16 June 2003, on the basis of Article 15 of the Treaty on European Union. They will ensure that their national policies conform to that common position.

    The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.''

    [07] EU Commissioner Diamantopoulou ends visit to Bulgaria

    SOFIA 25/06/2003 (ANA/B. Borisov)

    European Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou concluded a two-day visit here on Tuesday, during which she held meetings with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, as well as Deputy Prime Minster and Labor and Social Policy Minister Lidia Shuleva, Minister of European Affairs Meglena Kuneva and NGOs representatives.

    Upon the conclusion of her visit, Diamantopoulou gave an interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) in which she described last week’s EU Thessaloniki Council, marking the conclusion of Greece’s six-month rotating EU Presidency, as a historic European summit, as it set the bases for the EU constitution, it discussed a comprehensive policy on immigration and asylum, and made it clear that Europe cannot complete its unification without the Balkan nations, which form part of Europe’s perspective.

    “As regards Balkan countries, Bulgaria and Romania, the EU Council was historic as it made it clear that their accession path towards the united Europe is unchangeable, given that in 2007 these countries - if, of course, they keep up their efforts, would become members of the EU,” said the Commissioner.

    In reply to a question by ANA as to whether currently poverty-stricken Bulgaria could get out of that state by 2007,

    Diamantopoulou said: “We should be realistic and straight ... there is no way such a problem could be overcome by 2007. However, the only way out in the near future is Bulgaria’s accession into the EU ... we should not expect miracles to happen, but better days for Bulgarian citizens upon admission into the EU,” she stressed.

    The Commissioner further noted the satisfactory performance of Bulgaria’s labor ministry in implementing unemployment fighting programs, supported by the EU, even though she underlined that serious efforts must be made to radically reform Bulgaria’s public administration safeguarding an effective utilization of EU funding and program implementation.

    [08] Cabinet to assess EU presidency results on Monday

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    The cabinet will be meeting next Monday morning to make an overall review of Greece's EU presidency, government spokes-man Christos Protopapas said on Tuesday.

    He said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had already departed for the United States, where he was due to participate in the EU-US Summit with US President George Bush on Wednesday.

    On Tuesday week, the prime minister will travel to Strasbourg to present the final review of the Greek EU presidency to the European Parliament, he said.

    [09] Petrola, Hellenic Petroleum merger deal progresses as scheduled

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    A merger deal between Petrola and Hellenic Petroleum is progressing as scheduled and is expected to be completed by the end of 2003 at the latest, Petrola's chief executive Ioannis Kostopoulos said on Tuesday.

    Addressing an annual general shareholders' meeting, Mr Kostopoulos described the merger deal ''as the most correct business move in a globalized oil product market in which big business formations prevailed''.

    He also stressed the significant synergies arising from the merger deal in the sectors of supply, distribution and investment. Synergies in operating level would exceed 25 million US dollars annually, Petrola's chief executive said. He reiterated that all jobs were secured and said that new job opportunities could arise from the expansion of the company.

    Mr Kostopoulos said that the company would pay a 0.17 euros per share dividend to shareholders, or a dividend return of 5.4 percent - one of the highest among Greek listed companies.

    Petrola said its pre-tax profits totalled 28.1 million euros last year, up 368.3 percent from 2001.

    [10] Development minister says natural gas worth becoming basic source of energy

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    The connection of natural gas with the network which has been constructed in the municipality of Paleo Faliro was inaugurated on Tuesday by Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos who, along with Education Minister Petros Efthymiou, also inaugurated the connection of the natural gas with a primary school in the region.

    During the event, organized by the Attica Gas Provision Company under the auspices of the Development Ministry, Tsohatzopoulos underlined that natural gas is worth becoming the basic source of energy for use by citizens. He said that it is not only the cheapest and cleanest source of energy, but it is also safe as safety standards are very high.

    With regard to abundance of the specific source of energy, the minister stressed that it has been achieved through the connection with the Siberian pipeline which provides Greece with six billion cubic meters a year. At the same time great abundance is expected to be provided as of 2005 from the foreseen new connections for the transfer of natural gas from the Caspian and in particular from the regions of Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey.

    [11] Eurodeputies ask PM to implement EU rule on contract work

    BRUSSELS 25/06/2003 (ANA/A.Simatos)

    Ninety eurodeputies have written to Prime Minister Costas Simitis asking him to implement a European Union directive on contractual work.

    Although Directive 1999/70 has been adopted by Greece, the number and extent of exemptions incorporated into national law have negated its implementation, the deputies told Simitis, who is also the EU's current rotating president.

    The move was initiated by Greek Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos, who said in a statement on Tuesday that the parliamentarians had asked Simitis to rectify the situation before the end of the country's EU presidency on June 30.

    The eurodeputies who signed the letter were from all member states of the EU and all political persuasions represented in parliament, Alavanos said.

    [12] Greek stocks continue moving lower

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    Greek stocks continued moving lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday as investors kept up pressure on share prices, particularly of smaller capitalization companies.

    The general index fell 0.34 percent to end at 1,881.27 points, with turnover a moderate 148.5 million euros.

    The Wholesale, Insurance and Textile sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (4.08 percent, 3.05 percent and 2.84 percent, respectively), while the retail, publication and telecommunication sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (1.13 percent, 0.77 percent and 0.13 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.16 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.52 percent, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.63 percent down and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index fell 0.38 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 238 to 81 with another 40 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 65.4 mln euros Tuesday

    Equity Index Futures:

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.16 percent

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

  • Underlying Index: -0.52 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): National Bank of Greece (368)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 65.4 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Tuesday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 3.83 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 10 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 2.6 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring Jan 2012 (518 mln euros)

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of June 24 2003

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,165 1,139

    [13] ATHOC announces brisk ticket sales for 2004 Games

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    The first phase of ticket sales for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games has apparently met and surpassed organizers’ (ATHOC) expectations, as a final figure of 591,112 ticket orders was announced here on Tuesday, substantially more than the initial 300,000-order target.

    The figure also translates into 47 million euros of revenue for ATHOC, more than double the 20-million-euro target organizers had set by June 12, when the deadline for the first phase of ticket sales for next year’s Summer Olympics expired.

    Citizens of European Union member-states and the European Economic Area (EEA) were eligible for this first phase of ticket sales, with Greeks requesting a whopping 82 percent of the tickets, according to ATHENS 2004 Executive Director Marton Simitsek.

    Athletics was by far the first choice, at 32 percent, followed in the distance by the Opening Ceremony (11 percent), basketball (9 percent), swimming (5 percent), soccer (3 percent), gymnastics (3 percent), weightlifting (3 percent). The other sports together accounted for 30 percent of overall ticket orders.

    One noteworthy fact is that 66 percent of orders were made in the last week, while most orders were placed at the listed Alpha Bank’s branches throughout Greece (64 percent), as the Athens-based banking group is a grand sponsor of the 2004 Games. The rest of the orders were placed via the Internet.

    As far as method of payment is concerned, 73 percent chose a credit card (Visa); 15 percent chose cash payment and 12 percent chose to pay through an Alpha Bank account. Moreover, 82 percent of orders involved specific sports, with a majority (34 percent) also favoring the less expensive tickets (10-30 euros).

    After local residents, British citizens (11 percent) led in terms of ticket orders, followed by citizens from Germany (4 percent), France (2 percent) and the Netherlands (1 percent).

    The next steps: Organizers have promised that ticket allocation will be completed by July 10, 2003. A random selection process, however, will be employed only for ticketed sessions where demand exceeds supply.

    Afterwards, a confirmation letter will be sent to all those who have taken part in the first phase.

    The second phase of ticket sales begins on Sept. 15, 2003 and ends on Feb. 29, 2004. Phase II will only be open to the individuals that have participated in phase I.

    Phase II of sales (Oct. 1, 2003—Feb. 29, 2004) applies to all EEA residents, while seat assignments will be announced in March 2004.

    Phase III of ticket sales for unsold tickets begins April 2004.

    The random selection process: For ticketed sessions where demand exceeds the available number of tickets, there will be an electronic random selection process, using an algorithm that generates random numbers, organizers again stressed.

    The same procedure was used at the three previous Olympic Games (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Salt Lake City 2002) as well as at other major sports events (Commonwealth Games 2002).

    According to ATHOC executives, “the random selection process (similar to a lottery) has proven to be the fairest and most objective procedure, as it gives everybody an equal chance of getting the tickets they want.”

    Additionally, everyone entering the first phase of ticket sales will receive by post a confirmation letter for their ticket allocation.

    [14] Chinese businessman initially believed positive of having SARS virus

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    A 36-year-old Chinese marble trader who visited Drama, northern Greece was initially proved positive of having Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) -also known as atypical pneumonia- after being admitted to Thessaloniki's Papanikolaou Hospital, it was reported on Tuesday.

    Health and Welfare Minister Costas Stefanis told a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that ''the case is considered something more than serious as the first laboratory tests which were made proved positive as to the virus of atypical pneumonia.''

    The minister said the test was made by the laboratory of Thessaloniki University, headed by Dr Antoniadis and because it showed positive results, samples were also sent to Hamburg to a special laboratory in Germany in order for final conclusions to be reached on Wednesday afternoon confirming or denying the initial positive result of SARS by the Thessaloniki laboratory.

    The health minister during his press conference repeatedly stressed that the case was dealt with from the start as a case of atypical pneumonia and not suspect as the patient, identified as Lin, had a medical history which rendered him suspect.

    The Chinese businessman had flown from Shanghai to Frankfurt on June 14, then stayed a few days in Italian cities, including Milan and Rome. He arrived in Athens from Rome on June 21 and later took a flight for Kavala, northern Greece. While in Kavala, he showed the first symptoms of atypical pneumonia on June 22.

    The hotelier, who was informed by the Chinese businessman that he had high fever, informed the doctors of Drama Hospital who transferred him to the Thessaloniki's Papanikolaou Hospital where he is being treated in the hospital's special 'zero pressure chambers'.

    Doctors at Drama Hospital had diagnosed that the patient had acute tonsillitis. A 30-year-old Greek who recently returned from a trip to Germany has also been admitted to Thessaloniki's Papanikolaou Hospital with symptoms of SARS.

    [15] Prosecutor recommends acquittal of all accused in Ocalan affair

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    The prosecutor in the trial over the Ocalan affair on Tuesday recommended that all of the accused be acquitted on the grounds that they had no intention to harm Greece.

    Twelve people are on trial before the Athens Mixed Jury court on charges of illegally bringing the fugitive Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan into Greece in January 1999 and jeopardizing the country's harmonious foreign relations. Ocalan himself also faces a charge of illegally entering Greece in the trial.

    The prosecutor said he had come to the conclusion that all the accused had acted with utmost secrecy so that their actions had not risked triggering hostilities between Greece and Turkey.

    Referring to the main suspect in the case, retired Navy captain Antonis Naxakis, the prosecutor said the accused had been a friend of Ocalan as well as a patriot and a warm supporter and champion of the rights of Kurds.

    The prosecutor described Naxakis as a man caught between a situation that was dangerous to Greece's international peaceful relations and the desire to preserve the life of man he felt was under threat.

    While Naxakis and Ocalan's two Kurdish associates had committed an offence in bringing the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party into Greece, the prosecutor added, there had been no treacherous intent and the ''unrighteous nature of the act'' was thus waived.

    Regarding the others accused in the affair, including representatives of the company that chartered Ocalan's plane and officers on duty at the airport on the night he arrived, the prosecutor said they also had no intent since they had not known that Ocalan was on board the plane.

    [16] Magistrate to indict 20 Thessaloniki protestors on criminal charges

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    A Thessaloniki magistrate on Tuesday opted to issue indictments for criminal charges against 20 protestors arrested for rioting during the 'Counter Summit' demonstrations held in the city over the weekend.

    The 20 youths had originally been arrested on misdemeanor charges. Eleven have already appeared before the magistrate and were set free, some with restrictive conditions and others on bail of 1,500 euros.

    [17] Athens Bar Assoc. criticizes EU-US judicial cooperation pact

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    The Athens Bar Association has criticized a pending EU-US agreement on judicial cooperation, especially the parts covering extradition, warning that the pact may violate constitutionally prescribed principles and rights.

    Specifically, the Athens Bar said the pact does not explicitly prohibit the extradition of Greek citizens to the United States, or forbid extraditions to countries where the death penalty is in force; or when there is a danger of ''degrading treatment'' being implemented -- an indirect reference to the detainment camp at Guantanamo -- or even torture, or when a fair trial is not guaranteed, the Bar Association charged.

    The agreement will be signed on Thursday in Washington by EU Commission President Romano Prodi and Greek Prime Minister and European Union president-in-office Costas Simitis, on behalf of the Union, and US President George W. Bush on behalf of the US administration.

    The Athens Bar also called on the prime minister and justice minister to table these agreements for debate in the Greek Parliament.

    [18] Conference on future of EU taking place in Brussels

    BRUSSELS 25/06/2003 (ANA - A. Simatos)

    A teleconference on the future of the European Union with the participation of speakers from member-states, acceding countries and candidate countries is being organized here this week by the ''Friends of Europe'' union.

    The main issues of the teleconference (carried out with satellite connections) is the role of national Parliaments in the EU's decision-making processes, the values of the EU in the 21st century, the EU's institutional reform and the economic prospects of an enlarged EU.

    The first part of Tuesday's discussion, directed by the union's secretary Jules Merit, was attended by Greece, Hungary, Romania and the Netherlands.

    Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, one of the speakers on the part of Greece, underlined the importance of enlargement, the EU constitution in the making and the EU's defense doctrine under consideration, which was presented for the first time to EU leaders at the EU Thessaloniki summit last week, adding that for the first time during a single presidency considerable progress was achieved in such different sectors.

    [19] Xiros lucid before interrogation, psychiatrist reports in N17 trial

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    A psychiatrist who examined alleged November 17 terrorist Savvas Xiros in hospital before his interrogation and statements to the authorities on Tuesday testified that she found him perfectly lucid during the examination.

    Stavroula Theodoropoulou, director of the psychiatric ward at Evangelismos Hospital, said she had put questions to Xiros on the night of July 5 for about 15-20 minutes at around 21:00 in the evening, along with a fellow doctor.

    She reported that all the patient's answers had been appropriate to the questions put, while at one point he had said that he did not need a psychiatrist but a 'confessor'.

    Shortly afterward, Xiros began talking with Public Prosecutor Ioannis Diotis and the anti-terrorist squad.

    According to Theodoropoulou, the defendant's level of awareness would enable him to be aware of his rights during his talks with the public prosecutor, while she ruled out the possibility that he was under the influence of psychotropic drugs and said he showed no other symptom of mental disorder.

    Xiros questioned the witness's reliability, however, and claimed to remember nothing of the interview with Theodoropoulou, which he said had not been recorded in the file.

    ''She never questioned me in intensive care. I only heard a man, who asked me questions for about 10 minutes,'' he said.

    Countering the testimony of the Evangelismos psychiatrist, expert witness and fellow psychiatrist Theodosios Christodoulakis stressed that Savvas Xiros was suffering from 'intensive-care syndrome', which is known to cause delirium.

    "He believed that he would be killed, that he would be thrown out of a window so that he would not become a hero or that he would be extradited to America," Christodoulakis claimed.

    Explaining the close relationship that developed between Xiros and his interrogators, public prosecutor Ioannis Diotis and anti-terrorism squad chief Stelios Syros, he said the pair were the most friendly and had given Xiros some stimulus that helped reduced his hallucinations.

    The witness ruled out the use of psychotropic drugs on the prisoner and noted that his hospital charts showed that he was hallucinating on the 6th day in hospital, which was why a psychiatric evaluation had been requested.

    Evangelismos nurse Olga Kokkinopoulou, who had been in charge of Xiros, confirmed that the patient had been delirious and told the court she had seen various people coming and going from his room when doctors and nurses were not on the ward. She said they had usually stated who they were but without showing any ID.

    The court earlier heard testimony of character witnesses for Theologos Psaradellis, who said that his membership of the Fourth International was incompatible with membership of a group such as November 17 and that he was opposed to terrorist actions.

    The last witness was the headmaster at the school where defendant Costas Telios worked as a teacher, who testified to the good character of the accused.

    Nineteen people are on trial before the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court in Athens on charges of being members of the notorious terrorist band.

    [20] Culture minister inaugurates painting exhibition on Olympic ideals

    Athens, 25/06/2003 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos inaugurated a painting exhibition of Greek and Italian artists at the Museum of Cycladic Art on Tuesday night titled ''Olympic Games-Five Links of Sports Competition, Solidarity, Culture, Hope and Peace.''

    Venizelos referred in his address to close cooperation with Italy in a series of sectors, as well as the continuation to be given by the European Union's Italian presidency, which will succeed the Greek one, to the work of the Greek presidency.

    ''2003 could be characterized the 'Mediterranean Presidency' of the EU,'' Venizelos said.

    Ten Greek and 15 Italian artists are participating in the exhibition, while the topics of the works are inspired by Olympic ideals and sport.

    The exhibition, which remained in Naples from March 29 to May 4, will last until September 15 in Athens and will then be transferred to Venice.

    President Papadopoulos announces additional measures for Turkish Cypriots

    NICOSIA 25/06/2003 (CNA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has announced three measures aimed at making the movement of Turkish Cypriots to the southern government controlled areas of the Republic easier.

    These concern the abolition of a 15 pound fine by both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots for late registering of births, allowing lorries carrying goods to cross from the occupied areas to the free areas and extending the duration of car insurance for Turkish Cypriots entering the southern government controlled part of the island.

    Papadopoulos made the announcement on Tuesday after meeting leader of the Turkish Cypriot Patriotic Unity Movement (PUM) Izet Izcan at his residence, outside Nicosia.

    The president said they discussed prospects for the resumption of the negotiations for a settlement and "the measures for assisting our Turkish Cypriot compatriots in improving their standard of living."

    Papadopoulos said he reiterated he was ready to commence talks on the basis of the Annan plan ''any time, anywhere and with no conditions attached."

    He said the Greek Cypriots have "reservations about the plan which are within the parameters of the plan," pointing out that negotiations are needed in order to find a viable and functional solution.

    President Papadopoulos said measures in support of Turkish Cypriots, announced by the government "are functioning in a satisfactory and effective manner.''

    "There are three areas however which my friends have pointed out are creating unnecessary obstacles and may give the wrong impression that there is discrimination against the Turkish Cypriots," the president said.

    "Our policy is to treat the Turkish Cypriots as absolutely politically equal citizens of the Republic, no discrimination should be allowed and with no unnecessary hardships, which are perhaps unavoidable in the starting phases," he added.

    Giving details on the measures, the president said the first concerns a "fine of 15 pounds which by law everybody who has to pay if they delay registering their children with the district office in order to get a birth certificate.''

    "This we will abolish in an effort to show equality both for Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. I hope the bill will pass the day after tomorrow by parliament," he said.

    Turkish Cypriots have been unable to register the birth of their children because they have been prevented by the occupation regime to cross into the government controlled part of the island to do so.

    Another issue that creates difficulties is the daily insurance charge of 10 pounds, which Turkish Cypriots have to pay every time they cross to the free areas with their vehicles, the president said.

    Papadopoulos agreed that this charge is ''an unbearable burden on people who travel in their own car,"

    President Papadopoulos said he would ask the House of Representatives to find a way so that the insurance will cover longer periods.

    Another measure announced is to allow lorries to cross and carry goods for internal trade, Papadopoulos said. Since the partial lifting of restrictions on movement to and from the occupied north, only private cars were allowed to cross.

    "It is obvious that without the passage of lorries, it will be difficult to transport goods. We have certain obligations under the EU with regard to such lorries but we will try to pass a law on this on Thursday allowing the transportation of lorries as long as they comply, either now or in the foreseeable future, with the obligations imposed on us by the EU," Papadopoulos added.

    "We would like to see internal trade as long as laws and regulations are observed. There must be compliance with obligations to the EU as soon as possible and then the outstanding problems will be considered with a positive spirit with the aim of removing such obstacles as far as possible," he added.

    The president described his meeting with Izcan as 'very good and productive." "I express satisfaction at the common aim of seeing a united Cyprus entering the EU," he concluded.

    In his remarks to the press, Izcan said they had a long discussion on what can be done for the benefit of Cyprus and expressed hope that by next week the three issues will be arranged.

    He pledged that his party will "continue to work with good will, for the unity of the island, democracy, human rights and a solution of the Cyprus problem and we prefer it to come before May 2004."

    Izcan noted that the "measures cannot substitute a solution" but are "positive steps and should be encouraged and supported."

    The Turkish Cypriot politician expressed the conviction that "there is still a chance for a solution. For us the Annan plan is a basis for a solution," noting that there are some points which need to be discussed. "But it gives us a point to start from somewhere," he added.

    [21] FM Iacovou says Denktash may attempt resumption of talks

    NICOSIA 25/06/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou said on Tuesday the government ''is evaluating the possibility that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash may attempt a repeat of talks to solve the Cyprus problem in order to gain 'votes' in the forthcoming so-called 'parliamentary elections' in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic and ruin the negotiations immediately afterwards.''

    Iacovou told reporters on Tuesday that there were two approaches to the resumption of peace talks, the first that since the Annan peace plan needs to be negotiated there should be adequate time to do so and the second that it would be better that the resumption of the dialogue be left until the end of the so-called ''elections'' in the occupied areas.

    Replying to questions, Iacovou said foreign diplomats he spoke with believe that ''since Denktash is being accused of being the main guilty party in the collapse of the negotiations, he may attempt a maneuver by seeking the resumption of the talks in order to win the so-called 'elections' and destroy the talks immediately afterwards.''

    The minister reiterated that the Greek Cypriot side was ready to enter fresh negotiations on the basis of a solution plan presented to the sides by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.


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