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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-07-17

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, July 17, 2002






  • [10] 270.000 NEW JOB POSITIONS IN GREECE IN THE PERIOD 1997-2001


  • [01] MANHUNT TO FIND KOUFODINAS Hunting Koufodinas

    The authorities on all Greece's borders are on alert so that Dimitris Koufodinas does not manage to escape abroad. Special reports were sent to all ports, airports and border stations, which included the three pictures of Koufodinas published yesterday, with an additional two created in the criminology labs of the police, with possible alterations he may make on his face.

    During the past 24 hours the counter-terrorism department has been searching for possible rural areas that Koufodinas could use as a hideout.

    At the same time, the police is following Dimitris Koufodinas' course from the time when he first arrived in Athens from Serres, in order to discern who he kept in touch with during all these years.

    Last night the counter-terrorism department raided a residence in Plaka, Keratea, where Dimitris Koufodinas had a warehouse. Inside they found beehives and other apiculture equipment. The neighbors there knew him with his wife's last name (Sotiropoulos).

    Aggeliki Sotiropoulou is Savvas Xeros' ex-wife. Witnesses mentioned that the last time Koufodinas appeared in Keratea was the day of the Piraeus bombing.

    The police questioned the Albanian caretaker of the warehouse, Sotiris Mazeli, at the local police station. He was later released. He mentioned that he last saw Koufodinas 24 hours before the explosion at the port during which Xeros injured himself. Info rmation reveals that Dimitris Koufodinas recently called Mazeli and the authorities are trying to trace the call.

    The possibility of whether Koufodinas, as head of the operational sector of "November 17", was present at the explosion, is being investigated, while according to information he was the last man out of the hideout on Damareos st.

    In any case the house in Keratea and the apartment in Varnavas are not the only ones in the Attica region which Dimitris Koufodinas passed through. He rented houses all over Athens, one of which in Vrilissia, on Kyprion Agoniston st.

    One more house of the Koufodinas-Sotiropoulou couple was found in the village of Gavros in Evritania. Residents say that they saw him go to the specific house in the mountain quite often. It should be noted that the village of Gavros is a few kilometers from Savvas Xeros' country house.

    Police investigate Xeros' family and friends

    There were developments in police investigations to find and arrest "November 17" members. The counter-terrorism service is still questioning Savvas Xeros' brother Vassilis, and another two individuals whose identity has not been made public. All three w ere transported to Athens late last night on a C-130 from Thessaloniki.

    It all began when the authorities brought in Xeros' brothers, Dimitris, Nikos, and Vassilis in order to give statements to the Thessaloniki police. Two other unknown individuals were also called in. After a 24-hour questioning the police released Dimitri s and Nikos, however it was deemed necessary for Vassilis Xeros to be immediately transferred to Athens.

    According to information, the statements of the five people revealed important information which has to be corroborated. In any case, Xeros' fourth brother, Christodoulos, was also called in to be questioned in Athens. Also, dozens of suspects are being taken to the Attica Security Police every day.

    Xeros' condition after surgery on his right eye on Saturday, has been characterized as stable and satisfactory. This was mentioned in the medical release of the "Evaggelismos" hospital, which noted that: "The right hand injury is being surgically treated

    regularly. We hope that his condition improves. The condition of the burns on his chest has definitely improved. Disturbances to his respiratory system have almost completely disappeared".

    Meanwhile, the authorities officially announced that the 45mm Colt handgun found in the cache in the Patmos st. hideout, was used by N17 members in the confrontation with the police in Sepolia, in November 1991.

    "Koufodinas had nothing to do with PASOK or it's student group"

    The Local PASOK Organization of the Gizi area denied that Dimitris Koufodinas was ever a member of theirs.

    "Publications mentioning that Dimitiris Koufodinas was a member of the Gizi PASOK Local Organization in the 1980s do not respond to the truth or reality", they stressed in their announcement.

    "From 1976 to 1977, Dimitris Koufodinas was a active student connected to the PAMK student group, which he left in 1977. Since then he has had no connection with the PAMK student group, nor has he later had any connection whatsoever with the PASP univers ity student organization and the Gizi local PASOK Organization.

    Government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas also responded to the publications connecting Xeros to PASOK. "In the post political changeover period, tens of thousand of young people joined political parties and youth organizations, and worked in the ranks

    of student, university or other youth movements. Many of them then left, dissociated themselves or followed other political paths". The Press Minister added that it is impossible for one to come to conclusions from the passage of a young man from a polit ical party during that period.

    "I believe that no one will try to lead to arbitrary and unfounded conclusions or any form of political interpretations around the issue", he said characteristically.

    To the question on whether a man named Giotopoulos was arrested in Strasbourg, Mr. Protopapas answered that no arrest has been made, while answering a question concerning former Director of the Greek Information Service (EYP), Mr. Alexakis, he noted that : "He was in the past Director of EYP, he is no longer the Director of EYP, and no one is covering him. There is no issue concerning Mr. Alexakis with which I should be occupied with and I will not discuss the period during which Mr. Alexakis was Director

    of the EYP".

  • [02] ND: COMPLETE LACK OF STRATEGY IN TOURISM The Opposition is accusing the government of a complete lack of strategy in the most profitable, in foreign currency, sector of Greek economy, tourism, which it is letting sink, according to competent New Democracy MP Anastasios Liaskos. He stressed that

    it is imperative measures are taken to relieve the sector immediately.

    Specifically, Mr. Liaskos supported that the long-term lack of government policy on tourism has resulted in today's unprecedented crisis in the sector. "The crisis of Greek tourism comes at a difficult period and its negative course will strengthen the s ame negative dynamics for Greek economy. The inability to adjust to the international competitive framework is the main cause of this negative development", he underlined.

    According to him, although we are at the heart of the tourist season, average hotel accommodation in the major tourism areas has dropped immensely, while desperation has driven businessmen to last minute bookings for humiliating prices.

    "Initial evidence has shown a significant drop in foreign currency from tourism due to the drop in quality and the level of income of the incoming tourists. We call Mr. Simitis' government to realize that the most dynamic and profitable sector of Greek e conomy has been left to its own fortune and is sinking. There is a limit to having a non-existent government and fooling the people. Immediate measures that will relieve the sector are imperative. Tourism is a national case and is not a field in which to play around and experiment", ended Mr. Liaskos.

  • [03] A 26YEAROLD AD-MAN IS THE NEW FACE IN THE XIROS CASE A 26yearold ad-man from Thessaloniki is the new "player" investigated by the police in the Xiros case. Last night, Savvas Xiros' brother, Vasilis and this individual arrived in Athens on board a C-130 military transport plane to be questioned by anti-ter rorist agents as a result of the incriminating evidence against them that came to surface.

    According to information, the 26yearold and Vasilis Xiros lived for a few years in Athens where they worked for an advertising agency and then they returned to Thessaloniki. Their stay in Athens and the contacts they had with Savvas Xiros were the reason

    for their transfer to Athens, according to Savvas Xiros' two other brothers, Dimitris and Nikos.

  • [04] THE 17N 45-CALIBER PISTOL USED IN 7 ASSASSINATIONS WAS PRESENTED TO THE PRESS BY THE POLICE Three people, Savvas Xiros' brothers, Christodoulos and Vasilis and Dionisios Georgiadis are being questioned in relation with the activities of terrorist organization "17 November". The statement was made by Greek Police spokesman Lefteris Economou, who

    presented to the press one of the organization's two historical 45-caliber pistols found in the Damareos Street hideout in Pangrati, Athens. The specific pistol was used in a total of seven assassinations and an armed assault.

    The pistol was used in the assassination of police officers Pantelis Petrou and Sotiris Stamoulis on Jan. 16, 1980, in the assassinations of Nikolaos Momferatos and Panagiotis Rousetis on Feb. 21, 1985, and in the assassination of Alexandros Athanasiadis -Bodosakis on March 1, 1988. Also, it was used in the assassination of Parliament deputy Pavlos Bakoyiannis on June 29, 1989, in the armed assault in which Parliament deputy Eleftherios Papadimitriou was injured on Dec. 21, 1993 and in the assassination o f British military attache in Athens Brigadier, Stephen Saunders on June 8, 2000.

  • [05] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY WELCOMES THE MEETING OF THE PRESIDENTS OF BOSNIA-YUGOSLAVIA-CROATIA Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis stated that the meeting of the Presidents of Bosnia, Yugoslavia and Croatia has a historic importance.

    He said that the meeting is a very positive development for stability, cooperation and security in the wider Balkan region. He added that this historic meeting opens new prospects of peace and cooperation among the Balkan states and the Balkan people.

    Mr. Beglitis stressed that Greece welcomes this meeting and confirms its will to back the reconstruction of the Balkan states and their prospects for accession into the Euro-Atlantic institutions.

  • [06] KARAMANLIS VISITS ALBANIA Greek right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis continues his visit to Albania. He was scheduled to meet today with Socialist Party President Fatos Nano and Democratic Party President Sali Berisha.

    Mr. Karamanlis will also visit Durres where he will meet with newly elected Albanian President Alfred Moisiu. He will also visit the Greek NATO force unit in Albania.

    Later in the afternoon, before his departure for Athens, he will meet with New Democratic Party President Gentz Polo.

    Yesterday, Mr. Karamanlis met in Tirana with Archbishop Anastasios of Albania and praised his work. He said that Archbishop Anastasios is the representative of Orthodoxy in Albania and a leading personality of Hellenism, adding that he is well aware of h is very important work benefiting both the Albanians and the Orthodox Greeks. He said that the Archbishop's efforts create a new understanding that puts aside the intolerance and suspiciousness of the past.

    Mr. Karamanlis also stated that the road to Europe should open for all the Balkan states.

  • [07] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.58% at 2.136,58 points, while the volume of transactions was at 573.7 million Euro or 195.5 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 186 recorded gains and 104 had losses, while the value of 83 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [08] THE GREEK INTELLIGENCE SERVICE REJECTS ANY RELATION WITH KOUFODINAS In a statement issued today, the Greek intelligence service, EYP, underlines that Dimitris Koufodinas, who is wanted by the police within the framework of the investigations on terrorist organization "17 November", has absolutely no relation with the Gre ek intelligence service which was called KYP in the past.

    The statement was issued on the occasion of recent press reports according to which, Koufodinas worked for or was an associate of KYP.

    Meanwhile, Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas commented on the information according to which, Koufodinas propagandized in favor of the governing Socialist Party of PASOK in the prefecture of Achaia in southern Greece, saying that such scenar ios are funny.


  • [09] TURKISH FIGHTER JETS VIOLATED THE CYPRIOT AIRSPACE Five Turkish fighter jets violated the Cypriot airspace this morning.

    According to the Cypriot news agency, CNA, Cypriot Defense Ministry spokesman Andreas Giorkas stated that at 11am this morning two F16 and three F4 Turkish Air Force fighter jets flew over the occupied part of Nicosia and in a parallel course with the Pe ntadachtilos mountain range.

  • [10] 270.000 NEW JOB POSITIONS IN GREECE IN THE PERIOD 1997-2001 The responsible European Commission authorities estimate to 270.000 the new job positions created in Greece in the period of 1997-2001. The European Commission does not want to officially confirm this number, which it regards as very satisfactory, becaus e its calculations are not completed yet. The European Commission estimates are expected to be included in its relevant report that will be issued in November.

    Based on the official European Commission data published by the Athens newspaper "Imerisia", a total of 10 million new job positions were created in the 15 EU member-states in the five-year period of 1997-2001 and 6 million of them were filled by women.

  • [11] INFLATION IN THE EURO-ZONE DROPPED TO 1.8% Inflation in the Euro-zone dropped in June to 1.8% for the first time in the past two years, compared to 2% in May, according to the European statistics agency Eurostat. In all 15 EU member-states, inflation dropped from 1.8% in May to 1.6% in June (last

    year it was at 2.8%).

    Inflation in Greece dropped from 3.8% in May to 3.6% in June remaining, however, among the three highest in the EU. The highest inflation recorded in the 15 EU member-states in the month of June was in Ireland (4.5%), while the lowest was in Britain (0.6 %), Germany (0.7%) and Belgium (0.8%).

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