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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-04-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek, Russian DMs discuss Mideast situation, Cyprus problem
  • [02] Greek FM meets with visiting Russian defense minister
  • [03] Greek and Danish PMs discuss goals of Danish EU presidency
  • [04] Greek Archbishop calls for respect of Temple of Christ's Birth
  • [05] Greek FM receives Cyprus counterpart, focus on Cyprus, Middle East
  • [06] Greece will continue efforts for Mideast settlement, FM tells MPs
  • [07] Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday
  • [08] Weather Forecast: Showers on Friday
  • [09] ASE drifts lower in year-low turnover
  • [10] Montenegro official briefs Athens on 'union deal' with Serbia
  • [11] Latest survey profiles Internet users in Greece

  • [01] Greek, Russian DMs discuss Mideast situation, Cyprus problem

    04/04/2002 22:48:19

    The worsening Middle East situation and the long-standing Cyprus problem dominated talks here on Thursday between the Greek and Russian defence ministers, with both men voicing concerns over a possible Israeli attack against the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

    Roughly 300 Palestinians fighters have reportedly found refuge in the ancient cathedral since Tuesday, as Israeli forces ringed the Manger Square area of the West Bank town where tradition says Jesus Christ was born, one of Christianity's major shrines.

    In statements to reporters, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov said that if reports from the area are correct, then ?Russia sternly condemns this dirty war in the Holy Land, this is the only sentiment that characterises all Christians.?

    On his part, Greek minister Yiannos Papantoniou referred to ?tragic developments? that confirm the fact that unbridled violence ?can lead even to the bombing of churches.?

    Ivanov added that Moscow has intervened to attempt and defuse the dangerous situation that now threatens even the safety of Russia and Greece.

    Regarding Cyprus, the Russian minister cited the paradox and danger emanating from a possible conflict between a NATO member-state and an EU member, ''and Cyprus, we're sure, will be an European Union member''.

    [02] Greek FM meets with visiting Russian defense minister

    04/04/2002 22:47:03

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov and discussed bilateral relations.

    Following their meeting, Ivanov said that Greek-Russian relations have no problems ''and this realization causes us only joy, they are developing in phases, with transparency, to the benefit of our societies''.

    On his part, Papandreou noted that the traditional friendship characterizes the relations between the two countries, while the bilateral relations are excellent, adding that in such meetings participants have the opportunity to discuss a wide spectrum of issues, such as security, economy and energy.

    They also discussed, Papandreou said, the developments in the Middle East, conditions in the Balkans and Cyprus, as well as the confrontation of terrorist actions in the Caucasus and the Middle East.

    [03] Greek and Danish PMs discuss goals of Danish EU presidency

    04/04/2002 22:45:44

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis received his Danish counterpart Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Athens on Thursday for talks that focused on Denmark's plans when it takes over the rotating European Union presidency in June, most particularly European enlargement.

    Rasmussen is currently carrying out a tour of EU capitals to exchange views with EU leaders and be briefed on all the issues before the Danish presidency begins.

    The talks with Simitis also touched on the latest developments in the Middle East, the Cyprus problem and relations between the EU and Turkey.

    In a joint press conference afterward, the two premiers said they were in full agreement over EU enlargement. Rasmussen said that Denmark was prepared to essentially complete accession negotiations with all 10 EU candidate-states during its presidency, so that the Greek presidency in 2003 would only have to mark their formal conclusion.

    Simitis said that the two countries would be cooperating closely from June onward, since Greece would be filling Denmark's place in the presidency of the Eurogroup, which it could not take up because it was not in the Euro-zone.

    The Danish prime minister also said his country strongly supported Cyprus' accession to the EU, since it had made impressive progress in its accession course.

    A solution to the Cyprus problem was desirable but not a condition for the island republic becoming part of the Community, he added.

    [04] Greek Archbishop calls for respect of Temple of Christ's Birth

    04/04/2002 22:43:20

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Thursday said the Greek Orthodox Church was following developments in the Middle East with great anxiety, in a statement in connection with damage caused by the Israeli armed forces to one of the gates of the Birth of Christ's church in Bethlehem.

    ''We are watching with great anxiety the developments in the Holy Lands. It is natural to have special sensitivities because they comprise the all-holy pilgrimages, most of which belong to the Greek Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as it is well known,'' the Archbishop said in his statement.

    [05] Greek FM receives Cyprus counterpart, focus on Cyprus, Middle East issues

    04/04/2002 22:42:08

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Thursday received Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and discussed with him the course of the United Nations' efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem, the course of the island republic's accession course to the European Union and the Middle Eastern issue.

    Following their meeting, Papandreou said that their talks were dominated by the developments in the Middle East and they decided to jointly coordinate their action, since Greece, an EU member and Cyprus a candidate member, are the two European countries geographically closest to the crisis.

    On his part, Kasoulides called the discussion an especially useful review of developments, noting that ''it allows us to see which points we can improve, even more so regarding our course''.

    [06] Greece will continue efforts for Mideast settlement, FM tells MPs

    04/04/2002 18:24:01

    Greece will continue initiatives to restore peace in the Middle East in spite of the obvious difficulties, banking on its good relations with the Arab world and Israel to bring results, Foreign Minister George Papandreou told Parliament's Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday.

    He identified the greatest problem in the current crisis as the Israeli siege of Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat and said Athens would seek to ensure his safety and his release, as well as a solution to the crisis based on United Nations resolutions.

    Briefing the committee on his talks over the Mideast crisis in Cairo and at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Wednesday, Papandreou said that Athens would be sending diplomatic missions to Arab countries and Israel in order to seek a way out of the tragic cycle of violence that now had the region in its grip.

    The foreign minister also commented on the Greek doctors deported from the region and said there would be a demarche from the Greek side, while he said the health ministry was organising an aid consigment containing 20 million drachmas worth of drugs and medical supplies.

    [07] Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday

    04/04/2002 17:56:08

    Indicative tourist buying rates per euro

    U.S. dollar 0.888

    Pound sterling 0.618

    Danish kroner 7.493

    Swedish kroner 9.147

    Japanese yen 117.6

    Swiss franc 1.473

    Norwegian kroner 7.706

    Cyprus pound 0.580

    Canadian dollar 1.414

    Australian dollar 1.670

    [08] Weather Forecast: Showers on Friday

    04/04/2002 17:51:34

    Showers are forecast in most parts of the country, with storms also likely. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning very strong in the Ionian. In the north, temperatures will range from 8C to 15C; in the Ionian and on the rest of the mainland from 10C to 17C; and in the Aegean islands from 12C to 19C. Showers and probably a storm in Athens with temperatures between 11C and 17C. Showers and storms in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 10C to 15C.

    [09] ASE drifts lower in year-low turnover

    04/04/2002 16:37:18

    The Athens Stock Exchange found support at the 2,200-point level on Thursday in a day marked by a drop in turnover to its lowest levels this year, reflecting lack of buying interest.

    The general index ended 0.04 percent lower at 2,200.41 points, off the day's losses. Turnover was an extremely thin 62.5 million euros.

    The Construction and Insurance sectors recorded the heaviest percentage losses of the day (1.27 percent and 0.99 percent, respectively), while the Retail and Food-Beverage sectors scored small gains (0.14 percent each).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 0.19 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index eased 0.25 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 0.54 percent lower.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 177 to 126 with another 56 issues unchanged.

    [10] Montenegro official briefs Athens on 'union deal' with Serbia

    04/04/2002 15:43:53

    The influential chairman of Montenegros parliamentary committee for international relations, Svetozar Marovic, concluded talks with Greek officials here on Wednesday, as his visit marked the first official contacts with a foreign country by a Montenegrin official since the Adriatic coastal state and Serbia signed a landmark deal last month over a future union to replace Yugoslavia.

    Marovic was received in Athens by Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis and three top deputies, including one-time foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos, the Greek Parliaments representative to the Council of Europe.

    Additionally, the Montenegro official was received by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.

    In a later press conference at the Federal Republic of Yugoslavias embassy, which Marovic said now equally represents Serbia and Montenegro, he noted that Greek leadership was briefed on the mid March agreement between Belgrade and Podgorica. Furthermore, Marovic stressed that the agreement solidifies Montenegros pro-European Union orientation and its desire for European integration, while at one point noting that the pro-independence movements opposition to the deal only facilitated isolationism.

    ?We accepted this agreement because for Montenegro this leads to its European future. We accepted it because in this manner Montenegros inclusion in Europe is accelerated,? he said, noting on more than one occasion that the Serbia-Montenegro agreement greatly increases regional stability.

    [11] Latest survey profiles Internet users in Greece

    04/04/2002 15:40:54

    Internet users in Greece are more likely to be males, urban residents, as well as probably belonging to the top economic and social strata, a survey unveiled here on Wednesday showed.

    The online survey, conducted by Eurisko S.A. in cooperation with the Research International firm, attempted to ?profile? the average Internet user in Greece.

    Among others, 59 percent of users in Greece are males, according to the survey, a majority of whom also have an Internet connection at home.

    Another figure apparently shows a change in users attitude towards purchasing over the Web.

    Books, CDs, tickets and vacations were the primary items purchased over the Internet by users in Greece.

    Sixty-seven sites participated in the survey, with a questionnaire available on them. A total of 29,051 users responded to the survey.

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