|Wednesday, 3 June 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-07-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 23 July 2009 Issue No: 3252
 Obama receives new Greek ambassador to USWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA)
US President Barack Obama said he looked forward to a continuation of the close cooperation and strong and indissoluble friendship between the United States and Greece, during a ceremony on Tuesday during which Greece's new ambassador to America, Vassilis Kaskarellis, presented his credentials.
Obama stressed that the two countries have a long and mutual history of friendship founded on common ideals, common goals and mutual dedication to democracy and freedom, adding that the two nations were cooperating in many sectors of mutual interest as NATO allies and as members of the Euro-Atlantic community, while emphasising the bond created by the millions of American citizens of Greek origin.
The US President also described bilateral relations as strong, adding that he looked forward to "our continued cooperation in the major international efforts of our times - protection of democracy and liberty, confronting the global financial crisis, and combating terrorism".
Amb. Kaskarellis, in turn, stressed that specific geo-political realities provided the threat that firmly unite the long-standing bonds between the two countries and peoples, and expressed conviction that there are large margins for further strengthening of "our friendship and strategic partnership", noting areas of common effort such as international terrorism, US-EU cooperation, the rational transformation of NATO, the western Balkans, Middle East and the estern Mediterranean, the problem of illegal migration, and energy security, on which we will "go straight to the heart of the problem, and not just simply scratch the surface".
In all the above areas, Kaskarellis stressed, Greece has made a significant contribution, making good use of its strategic position and its unique position as a member of both NATO and the EU in one of the most sensitive regions of the world.
He further welcomed the strong US support for the efforts aiming at a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus issue, which he stressed need to be in line with the UN Security Council resolutions and the EU acquis, and noted that the US also backs the effort for reaching a mutually acceptable solution to the FYROM problem.
Finally, the Greek envoy expressed a hope that Greek citizens will soon be able to travel to the United States without a visa requirement, which he said would bring the two peoples even closer.
In closing his statement, Kaskarellis paid tribute to the robust Greek-American community:
"In all our efforts, we are in the happy position to rely on one more solid bridge of friendship, the prospering and entrepreneuring Greek-American community, the members of which embody better than anything else the sold foundations of our friendship".
 Gov't eyes measures to reduce emissionsMeasures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, with an emphasis on pollution caused by vehicles, were on agenda during an inner cabinet meeting on Wednesday in Athens, with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis chairing the meeting at his maximos mansion office.
Afterwards, Town Planning, Public Works and Environment Minister George Souflias said higher "environmental taxes" will be levied on vehicles based on the amount of emissions produced by their engine. So-called "green" vehicles will reportedly enjoy a reduction in license and road taxes, whereas gas-guzzling and older technology cars could see increases of between 50 to 150 euros. The new rates will come into force for 2010.
Souflias also announced a new programme (2009-12) to retire older vehicles via incentives that will be funded by higher road taxes and not the state budget.
Among others, the minister referred to the establishment of a "green" perimeter in Athens that will exclude older model cars, while he categorically rejected the options of toll booths in the city or allowing diesel passenger cars.
 Athens reaction to Swedish FM's comments regarding CyprusThe military coup against Cyprus in 1974 does not justify the subsequent Turkish invasion and the continuing occupation of one-third of the Republic of Cyprus for 35 years, Greek foreign ministry spokesman Gregoris Delavekouras underlined on Wednesday.
"The military coup against Cyprus in 1974 does not justify the Turkish invasion and the occupation of part of the Republic of Cyprus for 35 years. It cannot serve as a justification for the blatant violation of international legality and human rights of the people of Cyprus all these years," Delavekouras said when invited to comment on Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt's statements before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday, regarding the Cyprus issue.
"The European Union has been founded on non-negotiable principles and values that are valid for all countries under all conditions. In the EU framework, condemnation of human rights violations, which still persist on Cyprus, is a self-evident principle. We are certain that Mr. Bildt shares these principles and values," the Greek foreign ministry spokesman added.
"For the unacceptable situation prevailing in Cyprus since 1974, the International Community has adopted a clear position through the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. These resolutions, as well as the EU's acquis communautaire, are the only basis for the solution of the Cyprus problem," he concluded.
Sweden currently holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency.
 Gov't on foreign policy; measures for consumersA government spokesman on Wednesday merely reiterated a statement made by a day earlier by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who remarked on the latest positions expressed by fYRoM Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski on the "name issue".
Bakoyannis on Tuesday dismissed published statements by the fYRoM PM regarding Skopje's insistence on a "double-name formula" to overcome the thorny "name issue".
Responding to a question on whether the Swedish EU presidency's viewpoints will affect Athens' decisions as regards Turkey's EU course, spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated that "the government position on Turkey's European prospect is firm, regardless of who holds the EU presidency".
As regards measures announced in support of the consumers and whether they are associated with PASOK's proposal for a draft law providing for the settlement of the debts of heavily burdened consumers, Antonaros underlined that the government has undertaken a number of initiatives that are being implemented for the benefit of consumers.
 42nd round of Greek-Turkish exploratory talks on Wednesday in AthensThe 42nd round of Greek-Turkish exploratory contacts will be held in Athens on Wednesday between Ambassador Vassilis Pispinis and Turkish deputy foreign minister Ambassador Ertugral Apakan.
 PASOK on presidential electionMain opposition PASOK will remain steadfast until the end in its position regarding the presidential vote next March in the Greek Parliament, PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou told reporters on Wednesday.
PASOK has repeatedly demanded early general elections in the fall and a joint commitment by the two mainstream parties, namely, ruling New Democracy (ND) and itself, that they will support current President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias' candidacy in next year's presidential vote.
PASOK argues that the new president should be elected by a fresh parliamentary majority and also that the country needs a new government through early elections.
Responding to relevant questions, Papaconstantinou said his party's position on the presidential election "is absolutely compatible with the constitution as well as with the people's will, to which the present ruling majority does not correspond ... The people want two things: first they want Mr. Papoulias as president of the republic, and secondly, a different government," he added.
 PASOK demands measures for new fluMain opposition PASOK president George Papandreou on Wednesday criticised the government over what he called a lack of coordination to deal with any an anticipated outbreak of the A/H1N1 novel influenza (new or swine flu), calling for the immediate establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to deal with the public health issue.
Following a meeting convened specifically to focus on the issue, Papandreou, a former foreign minister, also charged that the Greek government has concentrated more on a "communications policy" instead of taking substantive measures and drawing up a comprehensive national plan.
In a related development, several main opposition PASOK MPs participating in a parliamentary standing committee on social affairs, in a letter addressed to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, requested to be briefed by the minister of health on the measures taken or intended to be adopted against the flu.
Finally, high-ranking PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou called for calm and vigilance, referring to the likelihood of a novel influenza outbreak, suggesting that special planning is necessary as regards the operation of schools in such an eventuality.
In a reaction to the PASOK leader's statements, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros accused the main opposition party of "being irresponsible", dismissing allegations that the government has no plan against any anticipated novel influenza outbreak.
 KKE leader in PatrasThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) needs to fight with more determination in order to better reach the popular strata, KKE leader Aleka Papariga said on Tuesday night, speaking at a gathering in the western port city of Patras.
The topics of the gathering were the results of the recent European Parliament elections, political developments and the KKE's position.
Commenting on the high abstention percentage in the Euroelections, Papariga noted that the abstention was "expressed with a political background, disgruntlement but also with the delusion that the parties will change".
On the KKE's showing, she said that the Euroelections outcome was positive for the party while, addressing herself to the party's cadres, members and friends, she urged them to be prepared, because "the time of national elections is near at hand".
Papariga further criticised ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK of having lost their ability to convince, but having succeeded in passing on the perception that their policy is the only way.
 Govt to table draft bill on oil pipeline projectDevelopment Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Wednesday sent an information note to Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas presenting the main articles of a draft legislation covering the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline project, ahead of a debate in a parliamentary commission.
The draft bill aims to further accelerate procedures for the construction of the oil pipeline, as envisaged in a trhree-party agreement signed between Russia, Bulgaria and Greece. The three countries have already agreed in setting up an international company "Trans-Balkan Pipeline BV" to build and manage the pipeline.
Under the draft legislation, the project is characterized as of major national importance, public utility and public interest. It also envisages limitation in building permissions along the pipeline, for safety reasons, compensations to land owners hit by building limitations, offering municipal property to Trans-Balkan Pipeline for the construction of the pipeline and their return to owners after completion of works, and also allowing the company to use parts of the Alexandroupoli port for the operation and maintenance of the pipeline.
Commenting on the draft legislation, the Greek minister said the government was honoring its commitment to completing this great project, without forgetting the environmental dimension of the project and expressed the belief that all parties participating in the project were moving towards the same direction.
 Building materials' price index off 2.8% in JuneThe building materials' composite price index fell 2.8 pct in June, compared with the same month last year, after an increase of 8.2 pct recorded in June 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Wednesday.
The statistics agency said the index was up 0.1 pct in June from May, while the average index for the 12-month period from July 2008 to June 2009 was up 3.4 pct, compared with the previous 12-month period.
 Report: Greek pharmaceutical market undergoing changesThe Greek pharmaceutical market is currently witnessing a wide-range of changes, with Novartis taking the lead in the market, outpacing Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis in an environment of lower sales volume and higher sales value, a report by IMS stated on Wednesday.
The report, measuring the sales of pharmaceutical enterprises to pharmacies - the off-hospital pharmaceuticals market - in the first five months of the year, showed that sales volume was down 0.3 pct, compared with the corresponding period last year, while sales value was up 6.8 pct reflecting the sales of new, pricier medicines.
Novartis, with a 17.7 pct rise in the value of sales, raised its market share to 8.0 pct, leaving Pfizer behind in third position with a 7.9-pct market share and Sanofi-Aventis.
Vianez, representing Merck, among others, recorded a 4.2-pct rise in sales with a market share of 6.4 pct. Boehringer Ingelheim is the only multinational group to maintain a production unit in Greece and remains the biggest exporter of Greek pharmaceutical products.
 Greek stocks end flat on WednesdayGreek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with the composite index of the market losing 0.01 pct to end at 2,270.94 points. Turnover fell to 129.9 million euros of which 7.8 million were block trades.
Sector indices ended mixed, with the Food/Beverage (1.82 pct), Travel (1.21 pct) and Personal/Home Products (0.77 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Insurance (5.10 pct), Banks (0.87 pct) and Constructions (0.86 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index eased 0.38 pct, the FTSE 40 index rose 0.48 pct and the FTSE 80 index eased 0.27 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 115 to 90 with another 42 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.10%
Personal & Household: +0.77%
Raw Materials: -0.62%
Travel & Leisure: +1.21%
Food & Beverages: +1.82%
Financial Services: -0.58%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, OPAP and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 8.94
Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.80
HBC Coca Cola: 15.13
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.17
National Bank of Greece: 19.10
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 8.37
Bank of Piraeus: 8.00
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market jumped to 1.353 billion euros on Wednesday, of which 631 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 722 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 935 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 138 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 4.78 pct and the German Bund 3.40 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates fell further. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.38 pct, the six-month rate 1.18 pct, the three-month rate 0.93 pct and the one-month rate 0.56 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -0.36 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover easing to 47.534 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,207 contracts worth 36.043 million euros, with 23,820 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,281 contracts worth 11.491 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Cyprus Bank's contracts (2,731), followed by OTE (2,486), Piraeus Bank (1,058), National Bank (2,064), Alpha Bank (743), OPAP (407) and Marfin Popular Bank (672).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.430
Pound sterling 0.871
Danish kroner 7.505
Swedish kroner 10.893
Japanese yen 133.55
Swiss franc 1.528
Norwegian kroner 8.991
Canadian dollar 1.583
Australian dollar 1.759
 One death, 10 injuries from industrial accidentOne workplace fatality was recorded along with another 10 people injured in the wake of a major ammonium leak on Wednesday at a plant in Kozani, northern Greece, producing dough and pastry products.
The victim was identified as a 35-year-old woman who worked at the plant.
 Abduction gang lawyer jailed after testimonyElissavet Pouliou, the former lawyer of inmate Panagiotis Vlastos who is believed to be the leader of the gang that kidnapped shipowner Pericles Panagopoulos in January, was incarcerated pending trial after testifying before an examining magistrate on Wednesday.
Pouliou, who faces charges of participation in a criminal organisation, submitted a written testimony to the examining magistrate in which she claims that she was tricked by Vlastos and his wife, who "used her without her knowing".
Poulou also petitioned, in her written testimony, that all taped conversations between herself and Vlastos be thrown out as evidence, claiming that the police surveillance tapes of the conversations were illegal and therefore could not be used in the penal procedure.
 One-time OTE board member to testify in Siemens caseFormer Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE S.A.) board member Georgios Skarpelis, one of the suspects in a large-scale bribery and money-laundering case involving German multinational Siemens and its Greek subsidiary, Siemens Hellas, will testify before a prosecutor on Friday.
Skarpelis, who was detained pending trial, was initially released on Tuesday following a decision by the Athens first instance court judges' council (No 2319/09), only to be again remanded in custody based on a new arrest warrant issued by an examining magistrate.
 'Face to Faces' photography exhibitionA photography exhibition titled "Face to Faces" is on display at the Photography Museum of Thessaloniki, where it will run through September 20 as part of the parallel program of the 2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, which ends a week later, and includes 100 works by 12 Greek and 14 foreign artists on the theme "(Self)Portrait".
"Face to Faces" is an international joint exhibition of modern art, having France as its starting point. It constitutes part of the broader action entitled 'Dialogues d'Images' (Image Dialogues) and is an initiative of the 'Culturesfrance', an institution of the French Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs (previously known as AFAA or Association Francaise d'Action Artistique).
The objective of this action is to establish an 'intercultural' dialogue among artists who live or work in France, with artists from other countries, on the common thematic of (self)portrait. The foreign artists are: Alain Bublex, Nan Goldin, Cecile Hartmann, Hans Hemmert, Suzanne Lafont, Dominik Lejman, Yuki Onodera, Roman Opalka, Orlan, Philippe Ramette, Francois Rousseau, Yann Toma, Jean Luc Vilmouth, Kimiko Yoshida.
The original 'body' of this exhibition tours around the world while, each time it is presented in a country, it gets further enhanced with the work of artists from that host country. The selection of the works has been made by two curators - the one of the touring exhibition and another from each host country. No need to mention that the aesthetic result is different each time.
At the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, along with the works of the original 'body', there will be presented works of the Greek photographers: Manolis Baboussis, Venia Bechraki, Athina Chroni, Christina Dimitriadis, Pavlos Fysakis, Georgios Katsaggelos, Panos Kokkinias, Evangelia Kranioti, Eleni Maligoura, Eleni Mouzakiti, Lia Nalbantidou and George Prinos.
The Curator on the part of Greece is Angeliki Grammatiko-poulou, while Curator on the part of the international participants is Ésabelle de Montfumat.
The exhibition is co-organised by the State Museum of Contem-porary Art, Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, Cultures-france, the General Consulate of France in Thessaloniki, and the French Institute of Thessaloniki.
 Fire on Marathonos Ave. partially containedA fire broke out at noon on Wednesday on Marathonos Avenue, near Athens, adjacent to a forested expanse, but was quicly brought under partial control.
According to the Fire Brigade, the fire broke out at a landfill at 12:00 noon, and was quickly fanned by high winds and was burning low brush.
A strong team of 42 firefighters with 14 fire engines were battling the blaze, assisted by a firefighting airplane.
 Several small wildfires reported around southern GreeceA wildfire near the Mandraki district in central Evia broke out Wednesday afternoon and spread quickly, forcing residents in the villages of Neochori and Perivolia to evacuate due to the thick smoke covering the region.
Efforts by seven fire-fighting aircraft, helicopters and ground forces to extinguish the blaze are being hampered by strong winds.
Meanwhile, a wildfire that broke out west of the greater Athens area was extinguished, while a fire in Nea Makri was also under control.
Another fire that erupted in the region of Kounoupeli, Ilia Prefecture in southern Greece, was still burning in the afternoon.
 Arrests on drugs and weapons possessionTwo men were arrested in Kiato, Corinth Prefecture in southern Greece, in the process of dealing 7 grams of dried cannabis.
An Italian-made gun, 30 cartridges and 3.5 grams of hashish were found in the possession of one of the suspects.
Both will be led before a prosecutor while the drugs and guns were confiscated.
In a separate incident, also in Kiato, two men were arrested after police found in their car cannabis seeds in plastic packages and 7 cannabis plants in flowerpots which they intended to replant on the Ionian Sea island of Ithaca. The cannabis plants and the seeds were confiscated and the two suspects will be led before a prosecutor.
 Foreign nationals arrested for robberies, burglariesPolice arrested two Albanian nationals, both aged 29, and a 46-year-old local man wanted on drug charges, while another two Albanians are still wanted in connection with numerous robberies and burglaries they allegedly committed in southern Greece.
One of the arrested men, facing a 20-month sentence for weapons possession, among other charges, reportedly attempted to open fire against arresting officers but was quickly overpowered.
All of the suspects are accused of 22 robberies, 47 thefts of cars, and two motorcycle thefts.
Police found in their possession and confiscated two handguns, ammunition and burglars' tools.
 OA plane in emergency landingAn Olympic Airlines (OA) was forced to make an emergency landing at Alexandroupolis' Democritus Airport, in northeastern Greece, on Wednesday morning after reportedly flying into a flock of birds, several of which were sucked into the plane's engines shortly after takeoff.
OA flight 941 to Athens returned immediately to the airport where it landed safely. The roughly 60 passengers of the plane reached their destination with other airlines.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe new flu pandemic following Greece's first serious case, politics and banking issues were the main front-page item in Athens' dailies on Wednesday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Modernisation of IKA (state-run Social Security Foundation) - What the premier announced during his visit to the IKA branch in Peristeri".
APOGEVMATINI: "One new flu patient, and public opinion, in intensive care - Health minister Avramopoulos: The public needs not to worry, but to be informed".
AVGHI: "Is there an action plan? - New flu: the first serious case" of a 33-year-old man hospitalised in serious condition in a state hospital's intensive care unit after developing pneumonia.
AVRIANI: "Pharmaceutical multinationals terrorising the people and paralysing the country with the new flu in order to sell their vaccines".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Calm over the new flu - Panic is the worst advisor for facing the pandemic".
ESTIA: "PASOK unreliable - It's positions on the Presidential election".
ETHNOS: "Imported loans and credit cards - EU directive raises hopes for cheaper money".
KATHIMERINI: "Strong concern following the first serious case - Deaths from new flu reach 700 internationally".
LOGOS: "Bank loans from all the EU member states will be available to Greek consumers - Road opens to access to consumer credit products".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Nato-isation of the Aegean, with the full blame on ND and PASOK - Greek-Turkish negotiations in Izmir" under supervision of American commander, for unification of the airspace over the Aegean.
TA NEA: "Locks and schools and sport fields - World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations".
TO VIMA: "Cheaper (euro)loans - The credit market changing as of October".
VRADYNI: "Fear drying up cash flow - New plan by banks to confront the crisis".
 President Christofias says federation only feasible solutionNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias on Wednesday pointed out that there is no room to successfully pursue a solution of the Cyprus problem other than the bizonal bicommunal federation, which is the form adopted by the UN, the EU and the whole of the international community, and has been negotiated by all Presidents of the Republic.
In a speech read out by Director of the President's Office Vassos Georgiou, at an event to mark the anniversary of the capturing of Kyrenia, now under Turkish occupation, President Christofias noted that ''we do not give up and we continue the effort with confidence for a viable and functional solution, as fair as possible, under the circumstances.''
''Our aim is to achieve a solution that will terminate the occupation and settling, reunite Cyprus and its people, its institutions and economy. A solution in which all Cypriots will live harmoniously, in conditions of security, without occupation troops and foreign dependencies, with the human rights safeguarded for all. A solution that will allow us, as people of Kyrenia, to exercise the right to return to our town and our villages,'' he said.
President Christofias added that the only way to reach such a solution was through the ongoing negotiations between the leaders of the two communities, and that the Turkish side should also give positive input to the talks, ''otherwise there will be no solution.''
He pointed out that the Greek Cypriot side would ''not accept a solution for the sake of a solution'' and that reaffirms ''our determination to continue the struggle.''
President Christofias said 35 years have passed since the 1974 coup and Turkish invasion of the island and that ''Kyrenia was the first to pay the price.''
''Unfortunately, the treason and the Turkish invasion and of course the 35 years that have passed since then, created situations making it impossible to restore things to the state they were before the tragic events. This is a reality which forces us, in order to liberate and reunite our homeland, to struggle for an historical compromise, which will however provide a prospect, permanent peace, security and prosperity for all inhabitants of the island,'' he said.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
President Christofias and Talat have been engaged in UN-led direct negotiations since September 2008, with an aim to reunite the island.
 Spokesman reiterates the agreed basis of the solutionNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has reiterated the agreed basis of the solution of the Cyprus problem, which is the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality as defined by the UN relevant resolutions, with a single sovereignty, single citizenship and one international personality.
Called to comment on statements made by Ozdil Nami, Advisor of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Stephanou said that the Cyprus federation will definitely have some special characteristics. However, it will be a federation and in order for Cyprus to become a viable and functional federal state, it needs to meet some common federal characteristics, he added.
Ozdil has said that the Turkish Cypriot side seeks for a federal state model like the one of Switzerland, and like the model of the Anan Plan, the UN proposed plan that was rejected by the majority of the Greek Cypriot community in 2004. Additionally, Nami said that all Turkish settlers are citizens of Cyprus and that they will remain on the island and after the solution of the problem.
Our target is to give an end to the settlement, which is the result of the war, is an illegal act and it cannot be legitimated, Stephanou underscored.
"The direct negotiation process and what our side pursues, have nothing to do with what Ozdil is stating", Stephanou pointed out.
Replying to a question whether the Turkish Cypriot side has toughened its stance towards the Greek Cypriot side lately, Stephanou stressed that this has not been the problem. "What bother us are the public statements made by Turkish officials and by the leadership of the Turkish Cypriots, which do not leave much room for optimism".
Finally, Stephanou said that the Greek Cypriot side remains consistent with the principles of the solution. "We continue our effort to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem that will be in the best interest of Cyprus and its people", he concluded.
 Stephanou expresses hope that Sweden will follow objective policyNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The military coup against Cyprus in 1974 does not justify the subsequent Turkish invasion, the continuous occupation and violation of international law for 35 years now, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has stressed.
Invited to comment on Swedish Foreign Minister Karl Bildt's statements before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday, regarding the Cyprus issue, Stephanou expressed hope that Sweden would follow an objective policy during its EU presidency.
"The Cyprus problem is a problem of invasion and occupation and violation of the principles of international law, human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Cyprus by Turkey and this can not be erased by anyone", he underlined.
Stephanou recalled that Turkish violations in Cyprus are also recorded in many UNSC resolutions.
"The Greek coup against Cyprus does not justify the Turkish invasion, the continuous occupation, which caused tens of thousands of Cypriot refugees, does not justify Ankara's policy to illegally bring settlers to Cyprus, its continuous mass violation of international law and the UN Charter for 35 years", he stressed.
The spokesman said that the achievement of a Cyprus solution that would serve the interests of the people of the Republic of Cyprus is an issue which concerns the two communities and their leaders.
But he went on to add that the EU has a role to play, a political and technical and he recalled similar statements made in the past by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
He clarified that Turkey's obligations towards the EU can not be linked with other terms.
"They are obligations and Turkey must fulfill them without linking them with anything else", he underscored.
Stephanou said that the government of Cyprus does not accept Turkey's condition to start commerce from the closed ports and airports of the Republic of Cyprus.
"We want to make clear once more, that the Turkish condition to have commerce from the illegal and closed ports and airports is not acceptable. We also stress that the Republic of Cyprus will not compromise on its sovereign rights", he underlined.
He added that by exerting its sovereign rights, the Republic of Cyprus has submitted a series of proposals ''so that the Turkish Cypriot community can make commerce".
Stephanou recalled the Cypriot proposal to open up the Famagusta port under EU auspices and the return of the city to its legitimate citizens, as well as the proposal to use the ports and airports, which are under the control of the Republic of Cyprus, by Turkish Cypriots for commercial purposes.
He also recalled that the Republic of Cyprus has accepted the Regulation on the Green Line as well as the financial aid regulation for the Turkish Cypriot community.
He also expressed hope that the Swedish EU Presidency would be objective towards Cyprus and Turkey.
"We hope that Bildt and Sweden, which presides over the EU this semester, will be a truly objective presidency and will not become a tool of exerting pressure on the Republic of Cyprus and covering the negative Turkish policy on Cyprus and the Cyprus problem", he concluded.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, points of entry in the northern occupied areas have been declared by the government of the Republic as illegal ports of entry into the Republic.
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