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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-10-23
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH-ERA 5 VOICE OF GREECE
23/10/2000 4:36:23 μμ
 Greece withdraws from Destine GloryProtesting to Ankara s actions to change the original plans of NATO military exercise Destine Glory and to promote its interests in the Aegean, the government decided yesterday to withdraw the Greek forces from the exercise. Defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos stressed that a serious problem was created within the Alliance since one of its country-members ignored legality and tried to promote its illegal demands against Greece.
He also pointed out that it was unacceptable for a NATO country-member to block the airspace to other allied jet fighters, with the excuse that it did so in order to prevent any dangerous developments. With a letter to NATO Secretary General George Robertson, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos accused Turkey for its conduct and stated that he would raise the issue in the next conference of NATO Defence ministers.
From his side, Greek Foreign minister Yiorgos Papandreou, who is visiting the United States, stated that Greece is a peaceful country remaining faithful to a rapprochement policy with Turkey. He also said that Turkey was unable to function within the framework of principles and rules, which every country must respect in NATO and the European Union, pointing out that Ankara is still not ready for the big change due to the existing contrasts in its internal affairs.
From her side New Democracy party deputy and regional head Dora Bakoyianni described that development as a bad one, stressing that although the government was late, it correctly called on the Alliance to take a position on the direct violation of what was originally agreed. Finally, the Greek Communist party has asked for Greece s release from NATO s new structure.
 Cyprus issueThe Cypriot Defence minister Socrates Hassikos stressed yesterday that the air base Andreas Papandreou is in full operational readiness. The statements were made after the inauguration ceremony from his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
From his side, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos pointed out that Greece s goal is to improve Cyprus defence and to see to its accession to the European Union.
In the meantime, United Nations Secretary General s special advisor Alvaro de Soto arrived in Cyprus yesterday and stated that he was arriving there to prepare the fifth round of the Cyprus proximity talks due to begin in Geneva on November 1.
During his five-day stay in Cyprus, Mr. De Soto will meet with the President of the Cyprus Republic Glafkos Klerides, other political leaders and the Turkish-Cypriot representative Rauf Denktash.
 Y. Papandreou visits the United StatesForeign minister Yiorgos Papandreou, who is visiting the United States, will meet with Greeks living there and representatives of the Presidential candidates Al Gohr and George Bush this week.
During his speech delivered within the framework of the event dedicated to the 25th commemoration of the establishment of the United Greek-American Congress, Mr. Papandreou referred to Greece s special role in the Balkans, presenting as an example of its policy its contribution to the political change in Serbia.
Mr. Papandreou asked for the mobilization of the Greeks living in the United States towards this direction, since as he said stability and the restructuring of the region would be easily accomplished with investments and business plans.
The Greek Foreign minister will also try to mobilize the Greeks of the Diaspora in view of the 2004 Olympics in combination to the promotion of the idea of Olympic Truce. Last night, Mr. Papandreou was declared honorary professor of the University of Georgia.
 Vartholomeos in GreeceEcumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was received with a warm welcome by the authorities and the inhabitants of the island of Salamis yesterday.
Mr. Vartholomeos officiated in a Mass in Panayia Imvriotissa temple and referred to the Greeks living in Imvros and lost homelands.
Earlier, Mr. Vartholomeos had visited the naval base of Salamis, while later he had inaugurated in Nea Smyrni the offices of the association of Greeks living in Imvros.
 Internal affairsIn an interview with the Greek newspaper To Vima tis Kyriakis, American Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns stresses that there exists no issue related to the safety of the 2004 Olympics, assuring that the American government is supporting the organisation of the Games in Athens.
While presenting in Thessaloniki the programme for the materialization of the Olympic work, Sports undersecretary Yiorgos Florides underlined that everyone must work for the 2004 Olympics.
Interior minister Vaso Papandreou rejected allegations regarding the change of the electoral law before the reform of the Constitution.
New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis delivered a speech at a Gymnasium in Larissa yesterday criticizing the government on the way it handled national issues, and Turkey s stance during the NATO military exercise " Destine Glory 2000". Mr. Karamanlis also stressed that certain big economic interests in Greece constituted a threat to Democracy.
Commenting on his speech, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas accused the New Democracy party leader of being hypocritical and irresponsible, adding that he lacked any programme that would be promoting solutions to the problems of the country.
In an interview with the newspaper " Kyriakatikis Elephtherotypia" former New Democracy party deputy Yiorgos Souflias states that he will return back to politics, without however presenting his plans.
Meanwhile, Interior minister Vaso Papandreou hailed Mr. Souflias decision, pointing out that PASOK followed a policy that attracted capable cadres. National Economy undersecretary Yiannis Zaphiropoulos intends to undertake an initiative to promote the business plans of Greek businessmen in the Balkans.