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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-01-15

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Karamanlis departs for 3-day visit to Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia
  • [02] FM addresses event on 'Vision of Europe' in Munich
  • [03] ND secretary visits Northern Greece
  • [04] Papandreou addresses party supporters in Veria
  • [05] Papandreou discussion with UN chief
  • [06] Nimetz holds talks in Skopje after Athens visit
  • [07] KKE: Nationwide campaign on Education
  • [08] ND posts 7.9 pt lead over PASOK in N. Greece, opinion poll shows
  • [09] Thessaloniki prefect, Liaison chief discuss Kosovo, Balkan developments
  • [10] PASOK Euro-deputies hold event in Patras
  • [11] New SAE president visits Patriarch of Alexandria
  • [12] Energy liberalisation proceeding at rapid pace, Development minister says
  • [13] Kavala's Alexander the Great airport to be upgraded, minister says
  • [14] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday
  • [15] Oscar-winning stage designer Fotopoulos dies
  • [16] Small plane makes forced landing in lake; pilots safe
  • [17] Five arrested, drugs seized in Thessaloniki
  • [18] Eight Albanian gypsies charged with scores of thefts, robbery
  • [19] Riot police clash with self-styled anarchists in central Athens
  • [20] Greek Super League soccer results
  • [21] Weather forecast: Fair on Monday
  • [22] The Sunday papers at a glance
  • [23] FM: We expect T/C's good will for lifting obstacles to open Ledra

  • [01] Karamanlis departs for 3-day visit to Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday embarked on a three-day visit to Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia.

    On Sunday night a dinner was hosted in his honour by Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader.

    Both men will meet on Monday morning for talks, followed by the Greek premier's meeting with Croatian President Stjepan Mesic.

    At noon, Karamanlis will attend a panegyric session of Croatia's Cabinet on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the country's independence.

    Shortly afterwards, he will depart for Ljubljana, where he will be greeted by Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa at Bled Castle.

    At 2:00 p.m., Karamanlis will attend a luncheon hosted by the Slovenian prime minister in honour of the heads of state and government attending a ceremony for Slovenia's accession to the Euro-zone. He will later depart for the Cankarjev Dom Cultural and Conference Centre, where the ceremony will take place.

    On Monday evening, Karamanlis will attend a working dinner with Slovenian Premier Jansa.

    Finally, on Tuesday morning, the Greek prime minister will depart for Belgrade, where he will have meetings with Serbian President Boris Tadic and with Serbian Prime Minister Voijslav Kostunica.

    [02] FM addresses event on 'Vision of Europe' in Munich

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis was one of the keynote speakers Sunday at an event on "The Vision of Europe", organised by the Allianz Cultural Foundation.

    Bakoyannis, along with German Foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier and former EU competition commissioner Mario Monti, stressed the pressing need for decisions to be taken on the future of the Union as well as concerns over Turkey's European prospect.

    Addressing the event at the Residenz state theatre in Munich, Bakoyannis said Greece "sees a place for Turkey inside the EU on condition that it accepts the European acquis, but says no to an 'a la carte' Europe for Turkey".

    Turkey does not have the right to place conditions on any other EU member state, she stressed amid applause, referring to Cyprus, adding that "Europe is a cause of principles, and not religions".

    Turning to the future of Europe, Bakoyannis said that "it is impossible for us to accept that this unprecedented democratic venture, namely, the European Union, will remain at an impasse".

    "There are no impasses in democracy," she stressed, adding that it was necessary for Europe to take "a deep breath of fresh democratic air".

    She also spoke of the need for formulating a new European agenda.

    Bakoyannis noted that the EU was frequently used as a scapegoat by governments to cover their own weaknesses or failures, warning that "such practices increase the discontent towards Europe".

    The Greek foreign minister further noted the need for Europe to move ahead, even with only those who were ready, with an avantguard or a "mini" Treaty

    She also referred to the prospect of some crucial, thematic units being advanced, such as those of migration and energy.

    "The experience of the Eurozone is a shining example in that direction," she said, adding that the European Vision required "more politicians and fewer technocrats".

    "Today, the need was put forward for decisions at European level, and this is the immense burden shouldered by the German EU presidency," she said.

    Stressing the importance of events such as that on Sunday, she added that in Greece, too, a big dialogue will commence with the citizens "on the Europe we dream of and want to build together", and assured that "we have ideas and can contribute to the European Vision".

    Bakoyannis, who had a brief discussion with Steinmeier on the sidelines of the event, left later for Zagreb, where she will accompany Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on his visit to Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia.

    [03] ND secretary visits Northern Greece

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis on Saturday said that the 7th regular ND Congress recently announced for end June or early July would be an important landmark in ND's course regarding the changes and reforms it was advancing.

    Speaking at a meeting of ND's local Steering Committee in Thessaloniki, Zaogiritis said that a review would be made at the Congress, while new ideas, proposals, policies and actions for the coming years would also be formulated, while there would further be a restructuring of ND's organisation and new party bodies would be elected.

    The Congress would take place during a turning point of the political conjuncture, he said, adding that three years after its election to power, the government was meeting the expectations of the party's followers, contributing to the country, and caring for the citizens, and that was why it would also win the next general elections.

    He said the announcement of the Congress put an end to the election-mongering which, he warned, was harmful, given that the government has a job to do to give solutions to the problems that the preceding PASOK government had left behind in the country.

    Zagoritis is due to visit Halkidiki and Kozani on Sunday, where he will attend meetings of party organizations and hold talks with local representatives.

    Earlier on Saturday, Zagoritis met separately with Thessaloniki prefect Panayotis Psomiadis and mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos.

    Psomiadis called for ND's intervention in order to advance the issues concerning the funding of the regions of Thessaloniki prefecture that were hard-hit by last autumn's floods, and for an increase in the Prefecture's staff, while he also discussed municipal issues with Papageorgopoulos.

    Zagoritis said that ND was at the side of the local governments, adding that the problems did not have (political) colors.

    He said prime minister Costas Karamanlis was at the side of Thessaloniki, that ND was at the side of the periphery, and added that all the prospects opening following Bulgaria's and Romania's accession to the European Union must be taken advantage of.

    [04] Papandreou addresses party supporters in Veria

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday criticised the government for its management of the armed forces, police and the counter-terrorism service, during a meeting with party cadres in Veria, northern Greece.

    Papandreou, who will also visit the town of Naoussa on Monday, said a rocket attack on the US embassy in Athens early Friday morning -- which caused minor material damage but no injuries -- had revealed ruling New Democracy party's (ND) perception, namely, that "the state belongs to ND, to serve its own children," adding, however, that "there are no 'their children' and 'our children', all the citizens must be equal before the law".

    The PASOK leader stressed that New Democracy, whereas Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had immense blame regarding the lack of counter-terrorism protection, while he also accused the government of dealing only with the facilitation of petty political expediencies, its voters, and business interests.

    The ND government, he charged, broke up a series of social services, such as the all-day school, help at home, and other social solidarity programmes.

    Turning to the economy, Papandreou said the government had denigrated the country, had not taken measures for the protection and development of the agricultural sector and, instead of seeing to greater absorption of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF), there was a delay and many of the funds would be lost.

    Papandreou expressed certainty that PASOK would win the next general elections because "it does not fear the new and knows how to face it".

    A delegation of members of a PASOK-affiliated student group from an Aristotelion University's department in Veria also presented Papandreou with a text containing its opposition to a planned revision of Article 16 of the Constitution -- under which the state has the exclusive right to establish and run universities.

    Gov't reaction

    In a later reaction to Papandreou's statements, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros merely noted that "Mr. Papandreou, yet again today (Sunday), exhausted himself on the altar of irresponsible demagoguery. In every instance, it is ineffectual to blame others for perceptions, attitudes and practices that in people's minds are identified with his party."

    [05] Papandreou discussion with UN chief

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou had a telephone discussion with new UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Friday night, according to a PASOK announcement.

    Papandreou congratulated Ban on the official assumption of his duties and wished him success in the difficult task he was undertaking.

    He further noted the "very good cooperation" he had had regarding the Cyprus issue with preceding UN chief Kofi Annan, and stressed the European dimension the matter has assumed following Cyprus' accession to the European Union, which Papandreou said must be utilized in a prospective future initiative by the new UN chief.

    Papandreou noted the European dimension under which the Kosovo issue must be tackled, in the framework of the European prospect of the Western Balkan countries, adding that the matter further required special attention in its handling.

    Papandreou also briefed Ban on the initiatives he has under-taken on the Middle East, including in his capacity as SI president.

    Specific mention was also made during the telephone conversation on the issue of abolition of the death penalty. Papandreou congratulated Ban on his relevant statements regarding the non-execution of other death sentences in Iraq, and sought the cooperation of the UN in the initiative undertaken by Italian prime minister Romano Prodi for abolition of the death sentence, stressing the particular importance that participation of the UN Chief himself or his representative at the conference being planned on this issue, with the active assistance of SI.

    Finally, Papandreou and Ban agreed to meet at in due course, given that SI is one of the largest international political organizations that is linked to the UN and its task.

    [06] Nimetz holds talks in Skopje after Athens visit

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA/N. Fragopoulos)

    UN special mediator on the FYROM name issue Matthew Nimetz held deliberations Saturday on the name issue and also on the issue that arose following the FYROM government's recent decision to rename its "Petrovec" airport in Skopje to "Alexander the Great Airport", and conveyed the Greek government's positions, during a meeting in Skopje with FYROM president Branko Crvenkovski, prime minister Nikola Gruevski, foreign minister Antonio Milososki, and FYROM's representative at the UN-brokered talks in New York, Nikola Dimitrov.

    His visit to Skopje followed a visit to Athens on Friday and talks with foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    After the meeting, Nimetz told reporters that he had conveyed to the FYROM leadership Bakoyannis' and Papandreou's positions on the name issue, and was briefed in turn on the FYROM leadership's positions.

    He noted that during his talks in Athens on Friday and in Skopje on Saturday, he did not submit, nor did he receive, any new proposal on the outstanding name issue, adding that the negotiations on this matter were ongoing.

    On the renaming of the airport, Nimetz said he conveyed to the FYROM leadership the reactions and views of the Greek side, and heard the positions of the FYROM leadership.

    "The views of this side (Skopje) are quite different from the views of the other side (Athens). I was told that the airport was renamed for commercial reasons. Apparently, it is a matter between neighbors which must be approached with great sensitivity, and I hope that ways will be found for this to happen," Nimetz added.

    [07] KKE: Nationwide campaign on Education

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Aleka Papariga will give a press conference at noon on Monday, during which she will present the content and goals of the nationwide campaign-discussion to be organized by the KKE dedicated to the crucial issue of Education.

    On Tuesday at 1:00 p.m., the KKE leader will meet with President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, whom she will brief on the situation in Palestine, following a visit there by a KKE delegation.

    On Tuesday afternoon, rallies in protest of the proposed revision of Article 24 of the Constitution -- which concerns protection of the natural and cultural environment -- will be held at central Syntagma Square in Athens and at the Venizelos statue in Thessaloniki.

    According to a decision by the KKE Central Committee that was released on Sunday, the campaign will last three months (January-March 2007).

    An announcement said that the KKE Central Committee was undertaking an initiative to organise a broad discussion on the developments in the sector of Education, adding that the initiative would put forward the critical issues concerning the content and purpose of education, with the criteria being the contemporary scientific developments and the real needs of the working-class family and above all its children.

    It said that the KKE was aspiring to contributing even more decisively to the struggles for exclusive public, free and uniform Education and against the reactionary reforms that harmed the working-class rights, adding that the reforms were being applied and advanced by the ND government, with the consensus of the PASOK leadership, while previously they were being applied by the PASOK government with the consensus of ND.

    The KKE said that the campaign was an organized effort by the party to more effectively respond to the needs of the ideological and political clash with the forces attempting to disorient the people and youth from the substance of the reactionary changes being advanced on the basis of their class interests.

    [08] ND posts 7.9 pt lead over PASOK in N. Greece, opinion poll shows

    The ruling New Democracy party (ND) maintained a 7.9 percentage point lead over main opposition PASOK party in Northern Greece, according to an opinion poll conducted by KAPA Research on behalf of the Sunday Aggelioforos news-paper, the results of which appeared in the newspaper.

    Regarding voter intent, ND amassed 39.9 percent of the respondents' preference against 32 percent for PASOK, 6.2 percent for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), 2.4 percent for the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN), and 6.1 percent for the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party, while 1.7 percent said they would vote for a party other than the aforementioned, and 11.7 percent did not reply.

    The poll was conducted by telephone among a sampling of 595 households in Northern Greece, with the participation of men and women 18 years of age or over, on January 8 and 9.

    [09] Thessaloniki prefect, Liaison chief discuss Kosovo, Balkan developments

    The latest developments in the Balkans and the prospects for a peaceful resolution of the differences in Kosovo were at the focus of discussions Sunday morning in Thessaloniki between prefect Panayotis Psomiadis and the head of Greece's Liaison Office in Pristina, Nikolaos Kanellos.

    Kanellos expressed optimism with respect to a resolution of the issue. At the same time, he opined that the climate was conducive to business invesments in the region.

    The two men also discussed the prospects opening up in the region of southeastern Europe following Bulgaria's and Romania's accession to the European Union.

    [10] PASOK Euro-deputies hold event in Patras

    Main opposition PASOK party‚s Euro-MPs Parliamentary group held an event in Patras, western Greece, on Saturday, entitled "The Vision of a New Europe: Achievements, Concerns, Prospects".

    The session was inaugurated by the head of the party‚s Euro-parliamentary group, Stavros Lambrinidis.

    [11] New SAE president visits Patriarch of Alexandria

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    Stefanos Tamvakis, who was recently elected president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), on Saturday began his official tenure in Alexandria, Egypt, where his office will be based for the next four years.

    Noting the importance of the contribution of the Orthodox Church to expatriate Greeks, the new SAE president met with Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Thedoros II.

    Financial News

    [12] Energy liberalisation proceeding at rapid pace, Development minister says

    The procedures for liberalization of the energy market were proceeding at a rapid pace, and the goal was to render the Public Power Corporation (DEH) a central (energy) hub in the Balkans, development minister Dimitris Sioufas said Saturday, opening a meeting of the federation of DEH employees (GENOP-DEH) general assembly for the election of a new board of directors.

    For that purpose, DEH needed to intensify its growth rate, he said, adding that this was why a large number of hirings was deemed necessary in order to boost its personnel.

    Sioufas said that the collective labor agreements signed in the last few years were substantially higher for the branch that in the past, adding that although DEH appear not to be profit-making, this was due to the large increases in oil prices.

    PASOK representative, former minister Christos Papoutsis, accused the government of oligory on the issue of liberalization of energy, stressing that long-term energy planning was necessary with emphasis on the regional market of the Balkans, "on the basis of which we will also county the developments in DEH".

    Papoutsis also referred to a series of issues a=such as labor relations, the social insurance issue, the privatizations, and what he called the risk of DEH's character as a public corporation being lost.

    [13] Kavala's Alexander the Great airport to be upgraded, minister says

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis announced on Sunday that the operation of Kavala's Alexander the Great airport will be upgraded in the near future.

    He was speaking in the northern Greece coastal city during an event by the Kavala Chamber of Commerce.

    The Macedonia-Thrace minister also noted that the construction of the Egnatia Highway spanning the breadth of northern Greece will be completed in full by 2008.

    Concluding, Kalantzis referred to the efforts for the promotion of the ancient site of Philippoi as a monument of world heritage, in cooperation with the culture ministry.

    [14] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.299

    Pound sterling 0.666

    Danish kroner 7.512

    Swedish kroner 9.184

    Japanese yen 156.4

    Swiss franc 1.625

    Norwegian kroner 8.410

    Cyprus pound 0.583

    Canadian dollar 1.525

    Australian dollar 1.667

    General News

    [15] Oscar-winning stage designer Fotopoulos dies

    Vassilis Fotopoulos, the Greek art director, stage designer, costume designer and painter who won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction (black and white) at the 37th Academy Awards in 1964 for the film "Zorba, the Greek", died Sunday at the age of 72.

    Fotopoulos was born in Kalamata in 1934 and worked as a stage designer in productions at the National Opera House (Lyriki Skini), the National Theatre, and the State Theatre of Northern Greece, as well as in Europe and the United States.

    His work was characterised by a "semiological" approach, and what initially set him apart from other art directors was the way he could perceive the undercurrents and subtleties of a script and transfer them to his sets, essentially creating a set from zero.

    Besides his work in "Zorba, the Greek", which won three Academy Awards, he had also created 75 sets for Elia Kazan's acclaimed 1963 film "America, America". His name was removed from the film's credits, and when Fotopoulos asked why, Kazan replied: "But who would believe that these scenes were made by a Greek boy?"

    "America, America" received the Oscar for Art Direction, which went to Gene Callahan (the man who signed the work of the "unknown Greek").

    Acclaim, however, came for Fotopoulos with the Oscar he received in 1964.

    In 1966 he collaborated with Frances Ford Coppola as the art director in the film "You're a Big Boy Now", the first breakthrough for the noted Italian-American director.

    [16] Small plane makes forced landing in lake; pilots safe

    A single-engine plane with two pilots aboard made a forced landing in a small lake north of Athens on Sunday after the aircraft developed engine problems. Both men were rescued.

    The two pilots of a local air club were picked up from Iliki lake, a reservoir for greater Athens area, by a rescue team.

    [17] Five arrested, drugs seized in Thessaloniki

    Police believe they have disbanded a drug trafficking ring active in the wider Thessaloniki area following the arrest Friday of five Greek nationals in the Toumba area.

    According to Thessaloniki police speaking to ANA-MPA on Saturday, a large quantity of drugs were found and confiscated in the homes and car of the five detainees.

    A total of 1,194.4 grams of heroin, 4,966.4 grams of cannabis, 1.8 grams of cocaine, 1,126 grams of liquid methadone, and 184 narcotic pills, as well as three precision scales, three knives, and 4,355 euros in cash resulting from drug dealing, were found and confiscated.

    [18] Eight Albanian gypsies charged with scores of thefts, robbery

    Police on Sunday announced the arrests of eight suspects, all gypsies hailing from Albania, who allegedly targeted dozens of residences in eastern Attica prefecture over the last six months.

    The gang is also charged with an armed robbery against a businessman and his family on Christmas Eve in Keratea, eastern Attica.

    Besides the six foreign men and two women, a woman identified as a gypsy from the northeastern town of Komotini was also arrested and charged in the case.

    [19] Riot police clash with self-styled anarchists in central Athens

    About 80 anti-establishment youths clashed with riot police just before midnight on Saturday in central Athens' Exarchia district, a hub for self-styled anarchist and anti-state youths.

    Police said the hooligans in question belonged to a same group who earlier in the day, riding motorbikes, tried to hold a rally for three jailed comrades who are reportedly on a hunger strike.

    Soccer

    [20] Greek Super League soccer results

    Results of the Greek Super League soccer matches played over the weekend:

    Ergotelis Crete - Xanthi 3-1

    Egaleo Athens - Apollon Kalamaria 2-0

    Atromitos Athens-Larissa 2-2

    Kerkyra - Aris Thessaloniki 1-1

    AEK Athens - OFI Crete 3-1

    Iraklis Thessaloniki - PAOK Thessaloniki 1-0

    Ionikos Piraeus - Panathinaikos Athens 0-4

    Olympiakos Piraeus - Panionios Athens 1-0

    Standings after 17 weeks of play:

    Olympiakos 43 points

    AEK 37

    Panathinaikos 37

    PAOK 25

    OFI 23

    Egaleo 22

    Iraklis 21

    Xanthi 20

    Aris 20

    Atromitos 20

    Kerkyra 20

    Panionios 19

    Ergotelis 19

    Apollon Kalamaria 18

    Larissa 18

    Ionikos 3

    Note: Ionikos was deducted five points for disciplinary reasons.

    [21] Weather forecast: Fair on Monday

    Fair weather is forecast throughout the country, with strong local northerly winds in the east and north. Fair in Athens, with some local cloud in the east and north of the prefecture, and temperatures ranging from 5C to 17C. Fair in Thessaloniki, with brief cloud in the morning, and temperatures ranging between 4C and 14C.

    [22] The Sunday papers at a glance

    AVGHI: "Attack of 'forest-eaters' - ND's target now is Article 24 of the Constitution" which stipulates the state's responsibility for protection of the country's natural and cultural environment.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Revealing interview with Spilios Spyliotopoulos (ND deputy and former national defense minister): This is now we broke the abscess of the conscription-evaders".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Calm-headedness in Athens and Washington - Low tones by the two governments over the attack at the US Embassy" in Athens early Friday morning with a rocket, which caused minor material damage and no injuries.

    AVRIANI: "George's (main opposition PASOK leader Papandreou) shipwreck in the Athens B' (electoral) district causes rapid developments in PASOK".

    CHORA: "Pensions: Which ones will be reduced as of 2008 - Few winners, many losers - The entire truth about the big exodus".

    ELEFTHERI ORA: "Spectators of the same...play - Thirty-two years after the first terrorist act, and it's as if not one day has passed".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "After the 'shock and awe' at the US Embassy: Syros (former chief of the counter-terrorism team, now deputy chief of police) in Exarchia (district in central Athens linked with anarchists) - The FBI eyeing anarchists".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Rocket with 10 new measures - Big Brother being strengthened by the government, prompted by Friday's attack at the American embassy".

    ETHNOS: "How the...Counter-terrorism squad was...disbanded - Revelation: Who were transferred and where, who replaced them".

    KATHIMERINI: "The face of the new terrorism - The suspects, the FBI, the changes in the Counter-terrorism squad".

    LOGOS: "New form of terrorism with domestic links - Unanswered questions on the hit at the embassy".

    NIKI: "Hole in ND's plans - The hit at the embassy disoriented the government".

    PARON: "Barring an earth-shattering unforeseeable development...elections (early general) in 2007 ruled out".

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Rehearsal for arrests with ten...ready suspects".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Dynamic 'no' to the commercialization of public land - Revision of Article 24 of the Constitution".

    TO VIMA: "Who are they - Third-generation terrorists - The legacy of '17N' and the 'foreign collaborations' - Another seven unused rockets still in their hands".

    VRADYNI: "Social insurance funds on verge of collapse - Alert in government due to the big exodus (early retirement from public utilities and organizations)".

    Cyprus Affairs

    [23] FM: We expect T/C's good will for lifting obstacles to open Ledra

    NICOSIA(CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas has said that the Turkish Cypriot side has to demonstrate the necessary good will that would lead to the lifting of those obstacles, concerning security matters, that do not allow the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point.

    "We are in constant contact with the United Nations. We have asked the UN to call on both sides to proceed to a dialogue through which we will be able to lift all obstacles that exist now, in order to open the crossing point," he said.

    Asked whether Cyprus' security issue concerns regarding the opening of the crossing point have been understood and accepted, Lillikas referred to the statements made by UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Cyprus, Michael Moller, "who stressed that the security problems that emerge, must be discussed."

    He furthermore noted that before the crossing point opens, secure conditions for the smooth and safe free movement of all citizens should be created.

    The government of Cyprus has submitted to the UN in writing the preconditions to open the Ledra Street crossing point, which include the withdrawal of the troops from the region, the unmanning of the area, the restoration of adjacent buildings and the demining.

    The United Nation's Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Lillikas said, "conducts separate dialogue on the issue with the Turkish occupation army and with our side."

    Asked whether Turkish army patrols, and military camps that are close by Ledra Street are a concern, Lillikas said "we have come up with a plan, that we submitted to the UN with certain proposals."

    He added that some issues will be discussed between the representatives of the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus in a direct dialogue in the presence of the UN, and there are other security issues that are being discussed upon an initiative of UNFICYP.

    The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of the island's territory.


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