|Saturday, 24 October 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-05-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>May 3, 2004
 Greek PM Karamanlis says Cyprus' EU entry is a 'double joy'
DUBLIN 03/05/2004 (ANA/H. Poulidou)Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said late Saturday night that "the European Union today celebrates the greatest enlargement in its history. It is the most important landmark in the course of Europe."
The Greek prime minister made the statement after the ceremony in Dublin marking the entry of the ten new countries into the European Union which makes it 25 countries.
Karamanlis said "we are in Dublin to welcome the new members and to honor the efforts they made to cover a long and persistent path. Of course for us Greeks it is a day of double joy given that Cyprus is incorporated in the big European family."
Referring to the pending issues on the European agenda, the Greek prime minister underlined the need for "the immediate adoption of the European constitution," stressing that "our aim is a strong Europe with common principles and values, a Europe which will offer to all citizens the same level of security and prosperity which will proceed with great decisiveness in the direction of its completion."
Greek PM calls on int'l community to listen to the voice of Greek Cypriots: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who was participating at the working luncheon of the European Popular Peoples' Party, gave a briefing on developments in the Cyprus issue after the referenda.
The Greek prime minister stressed that it was important that international interest remained focused on the Cyprus problem and momentum sustained, explaining that the basic objective is the reunification of Cyprus so that all Cypriots, benefit from the participation of Cyprus in the European Union.
He also referred to the need for the adoption of a European Constitution and to the enlargement of the European Union.
 Cyprus president says joy over EU accession overshadowed by grief
NICOSIA 03/05/2004 (ANA/G. Leonidas/CNA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos expressed great joy for the island's accession to the European Union but noted that at the same time this joy is overshadowed by grief because the moment cannot be celebrated with Turkish Cypriot compatriots due to the absence of a solution to the island's division.
In an address on Cyprus' accession to the European Union, President Papadopoulos said that Greek Cypriots want to enjoy and share the benefits of accession with the Turkish Cypriots as they are entitled to them as legitimate citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.
He stressed that the fate of the Turkish Cypriots is with the Greek Cypriots and called on them to embark on the new course commencing today in the interest of all for the benefit of a reunited homeland.
President Papadopoulos thanked Greece and the EU for their contribution to Cyprus' accession and paid tribute to the contribution of his predecessors, the House of Representatives, the civil service and the people of Cyprus who, despite the enormous pain for the occupation of their land, found the courage, strength and stamina to toil and make the necessary sacrifices so as to realize the goal of accession.
In his address, the President notes, ''This moment signals a momentous milestone in Cyprus' history. It is the second most important historic landmark after the proclamation of the Republic of Cyprus 44 years ago.''
He added that ''this moment marks the successful conclusion of a long effort and the hopeful beginning of a new course and a new era for Cyprus.''
''As from this moment, the Republic of Cyprus formally becomes a member of the European Union. It becomes a full, integral and inseparable member of the great European family,'' he said, noting that ''just an moment ago we were Cypriot citizens, from now and forever we are officially European citizens, without, at the same time, forfeiting our national identity.''
President Papadopoulos said, ''Our people are justly celebrating the great historic event of accession. For they see their sacrifices being vindicated, their vision materialize, their goal being attained and their dream come true.''
''Our great joy for our accession to the European Union is over-shadowed by our grief because we could not celebrate this moment together with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots and our great disappointment for the absence of a solution to our national problem,'' President Papadopoulos stressed.
He noted that, ''We do not want to enjoy the benefits of accession on our own. We want to share them with the Turkish Cypriots. They too are entitled to these benefits and this joy as legitimate citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. We are expecting them. Their place is here with us, so that we can embark, hand in hand, on the new course commencing today in the interest of all of us, for the benefit of our common country. A reunited homeland.''
President Papadopoulos pledged ''to continue to work and endeavor for the reunification of our people and our country and for a functional and viable solution,'' noting that ''the rejection of one particular plan does not amount to the end of our efforts and our mission.''
''The end will come only through the proper solution which will ensure and guarantee permanent peace, prosperity for everyone and a better European future for all the citizens of Cyprus,'' he said.
President Papadopoulos added that ''accession to the European Union does not create rights only, it entails also obligations and responsibilities.''
''We will claim and we will enjoy those rights. At the same time we will fulfill our obligations and undertake our responsibilities. Our aim and ambition is not to be a recalcitrant member of the Union but a constructive and creative partner,'' he said.
President Papadopoulos expressed his gratitude to Greece, the European countries and the European Union for their contribution to Cyprus' accession.
He also extolled the contribution of his predecessors, the House of Representatives, the civil service and the many eponymous and anonymous, who ''worked hard, judiciously and constantly in order to translate the dream of Europe into reality.''
''But over and above everyone else, the praise and honor should go to our people, our industrious and creative people, who despite the enormous pain for the occupation of their land, found the courage, the strength and stamina to toil and make the necessary sacrifices so as to realize the dream of accession,'' he said.
''Now that this dream has come true, there are new horizons and new perspectives both for our people and our land,'' President Papadopoulos said, adding that ''EU enlargement entails the expansion of the role and the potential of the united Europe, this historic continent, which is being revitalized through the union of its members and the pooling of its resources, this eternal continent, whose name is not a simple geographical term but a common ground of universal principles and culture.''
As far as the enlarged European Union is concerned, ''today comes the beginning of a new historic journey, a historic leap from a turbulent past to today's reality and tomorrow's hope,'' he said.
''Twenty-five European countries line up today, on an equal basis, at the starting point of this new course. Among them Cyprus, as well, ready to welcome and deal with new challenges, ready to move forward towards a better future. Cyprus deserves and she will have a better future,'' the president concluded.
Cyprus President Papadopoulos says 'we will be a constructive EU member' : Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Saturday that Cyprus would play a constructive role as a member state of the European Union, which it joined formally on Saturday along with another nine countries from central and eastern Europe.
Papadopoulos was speaking at a special welcome ceremony in the coastal city of Bray, designated host town for Cyprus, attended by Irish minister for European Affairs Dick Roche, the local authorities and a lot of people.
President Papadopoulos, in Ireland for the official enlargement ceremony to welcome the ten new members, thanked Bray for its warm welcome and referred to the common elements that link between Cyprus and Ireland.
Cyprus, he said, within the EU framework will contribute to the enlarged Union and will be ''constructive and not a troublesome partner''.
Papadopoulos was welcomed by deputy mayor of Bray Brid Collins. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister George Iakovou, the Director of his Diplomatic Office Tasos Tzionis and Cyprus' Ambassador here Andreas Kakouris.
 Cypriots celebrate EU accession
NICOSIA 03/05/2004 (CNA/ANA)Events marking the island's accession to the EU along with nine other countries continued on Saturday in Cyprus.
The epicenter was Eleftheria (Freedom) Square which was thronged on Friday night with a cheering crowd who welcomed well-known Cypriot singer Anna Vissi, in the presence of President Tassos Papadopoulos.
This morning was dedicated to children who staged their own celebrations with pavilions, banners and choirs along the Freedom Square and Makarios Avenue.
Two hundred children of various nationalities depicted their own feelings on Cyprus EU accession by painting on long white cloth which extended along Ledra Street. They later released white balloons during an event at Freedom Square.
Celebrations continue with street festivals representing various scenes from the history of Cyprus. The festival will cover the main city centre streets. EU countries will present examples from their cultures at Constantinos Spiridakis Square in Nicosia and later on Friday evening an exhibition entitled '' Bodyworks'' opened at the Nicosia Municipal Arts Center with exhibits from Malta, the Czech Republic, France, Britain, Greece, Belgium, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, Finland, Slovenia, Estonia, Spain and Cyprus.
The Cyprus State Orchestra under Maciej Zoltowski gave a concert at Eleftheria Square with soloists who live in Cyprus and overseas.
Similar events to celebrate entry to the EU were held in all other towns of the free areas of the Republic.
 Romano Prodi says May 1st historic day for Europe
NICOSIA 03/05/2004 (ANA G. Leonidas/CNA)European Commission President Romano Prodi said on Friday that May 1st is an historic day for Europe, since ''five decades after our great project of European integration began, the divisions of the Cold War are gone, once and for all, and we now live in a united Europe.''
In a statement on the occasion of the EU's enlargement, Prodi said that the Union's biggest enlargement took courage, determination and considerable effort from the peoples and political forces in the new member states to get this far as well as the vision and generosity from the peoples and leaders in the current EU.
The Commission President added that the ten new members and their fellow citizens bring to the Union the cultures and diversity of 10 countries with distinct historical roots stretching back through the centuries.
Prodi also added that as enlargement becomes reality, the peoples of Europe will celebrate in a series of cultural events from the west coast of Ireland to the eastern border of Poland, and from Valletta in the south to the northernmost tip of Finland, adding that ''on this day, Europeans are celebrating the fact that they are no longer kept apart by artificial ideological barriers''.
He also added that the Commission is here to serve the citizens of Europe.
''Our job is to ensure that the European Union works for its citizens, to ensure more and better jobs, a more competitive economy, a cleaner environment, even better quality food and an area of freedom and justice free from the twin threats of crime and terrorism'', Prodi noted.
He pointed out that ''while I rejoice and take pride in the enormity of our achievement in reuniting a once-divided continent, I realize that this is only the beginning''.
''Each and every one of us in the new European Union of 455 million citizens must now work together to build on the foundations we have all helped to lay. We should take nothing for granted. What we have achieved is not irreversible. Our cooperation will face constant obstacles and challenges'', Prodi added.
''But united in diversity we will be stronger and better equipped to find solutions to common problems. United in diversity, we can work more effectively for safety and prosperity for all'', Prodi said.
EU stresses need to respect outcome of Cyprus referendum DUBLIN 03/05/2004 (ANA/A. Panagopoulos/CNA)
The European Union on Saturday pointed to the need to respect the outcome of the democratic process in Cyprus with regard to last week's referendum on a UN proposed solution plan and said that the Union will see to it that the Turkish Cypriots who approved the UN plan receive the assistance earmarked for their economic development.
This was set out here on Saturday at a press conference before the enlargement ceremony to welcome the ten new members, by Commission President Romano Prodi, European Parliament President Pat Cox and current European Council President Irish Premier Bertie Ahern.
Greek Cypriots rejected by an overwhelming majority (76 per cent) the Annan plan for a comprehensive settlement, saying they wished to have guarantees with regard to security and the implementation of the plan. Turkish Cypriots voted in favor by 65 per cent.
Replying to questions about economic support to Turkish Cypriots, Cox said the referendum last week was ''a once in a generation opportunity, in thirty years, it had never happened before, the conditions of the context have changed dramatically, the year 2004 was not 1974 or 1964.''
''The rejection by one of the communities in an overwhelming way suggests to me that we should not approach (the situation) with a sense of breathlessness only several days later,'' he added. On the possibility of a second referendum, he had this to say ''let us calm down, reflect and in the meantime let us do the decent thing for those Turkish Cypriots who gave leadership and whose isolation deserves to be lifted.''
Asked if the result of the referendum would affect Turkey's application to join the EU, Prodi said ''the referendum will not directly affect Turkey's interests.''
On human rights issues in Turkey, the Commission President said the EU had ''a clear task to present our recommendation and this must come under the Copenhagen criteria, human rights must be seen not only in the legislation but also if they apply to daily life in Turkey, we are working on that.''
The Council, he added, would decide on that in December and pointed out that ''Cyprus has no direct influence on that because clearly our task is the Copenhagen criteria.''
Replying to questions about the absence of Turkish Cypriots here today because of the Greek Cypriot rejection of the solution plan, Cox explained that the Accession Treaty approved by the European Parliament, the national parliaments of 15 member states and the parliaments of the ten new members all accepted the terms and conditions with respect to Cyprus and that, he pointed out, ''included what will happen today that Cyprus joins in the form we know as a full member of the EU.''
''Whatever our preferences, we have to respect the democratic process that happened in Cyprus but we also have to recognize a special European duty of care to the community and leaders of Turkish Cyprus who were prepared to show leadership and appetite for reconciliation,'' he said.
Cox said that the Parliament within its next mandate with certainty will insist that ''the money earmarked for northern Cyprus would be allocated, that the Commission would be there to supervise its expenditure and that whatever the various legal elements are will need to be looked at but rendered compliant to deliver a political and economic results.''
Replying to the same question Ahern referred to the decisions taken by EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg last Monday who agreed on the need to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community who expressed their desire of a future within the EU.
''We want to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community and those resources, 259 million euro that would go to the northern part of Cyprus in the event of a settlement, should now be used for the economic development and we will continue to engage as best we can.''
Replying to questions on accession negotiations with Turkey, Prodi reiterated that the Council shall decide on that in December having had the recommendation of the Commission.
''We are working with Turkey, we recognize that great progress has been done, we have some questions concerning the application of legislation approved and we shall present with deep attention these chapters (of concern),'' he concluded.
On the adoption of the proposed constitution for Europe, Ahern said there was a need to make changes to the existing system of decision making, a position echoed by Prodi who said if unanimity continued, there would be no decisions taken within the EU.
 US President telephones Turkish Premier about Cyprus
WASHINGTON 03/05/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis/CNA)White House spokesman Scott McClellan has said US President Bush telephoned Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ''welcomed his strong leadership in helping secure Turkish Cypriot approval of the fair and balanced Cyprus settlement outlined by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.''
''The two leaders recognize the sovereign right of the Greek Cypriots to reject the settlement but share disappointment that a historic opportunity for a united Cyprus to enter the European Union on May 1 has been missed,'' McClellan said.
''They also expressed hope for the future reunification of Cyprus as outlined by Secretary-General Annan's settlement plan,'' he noted.
''The two leaders noted their support for efforts by the European Union and others to lessen the economic isolation of Turkish Cypriots by strengthening economic ties with Greek Cypriots and the outside world,'' McClellan added.
 PM sees EU entry for new members on May 1 as landmark
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Friday that the formal entry into the European Union on May 1 of 10 countries including Cyprus stood as a historic landmark in the bloc's unification.
The advantages of Cyprus' EU membership for both Greek- and Turkish Cypriots were clear, Karamanlis said in a statement.
The prime minister welcomed an initiative by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and his government to provide support measures for the Turkish Cypriots, and to help them receive assistance from the EU they would receive if a political solution to the Cyprus problem were agreed.
"The objective remains preparation and facilitation of their reunification with the Greek Cypriot community," Karamanlis added.
Main opposition leader welcomes Cyprus' formal entry into EU: The leader of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) on Friday welcomed the formal entry into the European Union of Cyprus on May 1.
''This is a historic day for Europe and for the Greek world,'' PASOK leader George Papandreou said in a statement.
''A major strategic goal has become reality. After lengthy, difficult endeavors and negotiations, the republic of Cyprus finds itself at the forefront of countries to join the EU,'' Papandreou added.
 PM Karamanlis confers with UN special Cyprus envoy De Soto
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday received UN secretary general Kofi Annan's special envoy on the Cyprus issue, Alvaro de Soto, for talks that were also attended by foreign minister Petros Molyviatis.
The developments in the Cyprus issue following the April 24 referenda in Cyprus on the Annan plan were the focus of the talks, after which no statements were made to the press.
De Soto was slated to meet with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou later in the day.
UN special envoy on Cyprus issue de Soto meets with PASOK leader Papandreou: UN secretary general Kofi Annan's special envoy on the Cyprus issue Alvaro de Soto paid a courtesy call on main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday.
The meeting with Papandreou, which followed an earlier meeting by de Soto with prime minister Costas Karamanlis and foreign minister Petros Molyviatis, is part of a series of farewell contacts by the diplomat with all the sides participating in the efforts for a Cyprus solution.
De Soto made no comments after both meetings, while Papandreou told reporters that their discussion had focused on an ''assessment of the situation''.
Papandreou said de Soto had outlined his evaluation of the situation, adding that they also discussed 'the day after' (the April 24 referenda in Cyprus on the Annan plan).
He noted that Saturday, May 1, was a ''big day for Cyprus'', as it would formally become a full member, together with 9 other countries, of the European Union, adding that ''we are proud to have contributed to its accession into the European family, with all the positive effects that will have''.
''Cyprus' EU accession unites all the Greeks,'' Papandreou said.
 PM's message for Saturday May Day holiday
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)In his message for this year's May Day, also celebrated as Labour Day in Greece, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday said that Greece was on the verge of a new era that brought with it new challenges, new opportunities, new demands and also coincided with a historic moment, the enlargement of the European Union with the accession of 10 new members that included Cyprus.
Karamanlis noted that Europe was growing, changing and both wanted and could surge forward.
''Greece dynamically declares its presence and active participation in the Union's course at this time, with a vision and goal of a 'Europe for All','' the premier added, listing employment, equal opportunities and social solidarity as the attributes of this 'new' Europe.
''We want Europe to be more democratic and effective, more political and more social,'' he stressed.
Reiterating ruling New Democracy's decision ''to work hard to carry out our commitments to the workforce'', Karamanlis said his party would marshal all its forces in the battle against unemployment, the spread of poverty, marginalization and exclusion.
He said the party would work to build a ''truly powerful economy with strong and balanced growth that generated greater numbers of more secure and better paid jobs'', as well as ensuring a strong society marked by justice, solidarity, prosperity and cohesion.
He also promised to build an effective social state and keep open the avenues of honest dialogue with all, seeking synthesis and consensus and the broad common ground to achieve ''our common goals''.
Greek working people declare 'war' against neo-liberal anti-labor policies: ''We resist the anti-labor neo-liberal inspired policies which local and foreign economic centers are attempting to impose on us,'' the president of the Labour Centre of Athens (EKA), Grigoris Felonis, said on May Day.
Felonis was the main speaker at May Day's rally organized by EKA, with the participation of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) and other anti-war movements and organizations.
Felonis strongly criticized the report by the governor of the Bank of Greece, Nikos Garganas, saying that ''we warn him, the government and their likes that we will defend the institution of labor collective agreements.''
 PASOK secretary denies underlying discord in main opposition's ranks
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)PASOK Central Committee Secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis on Friday denied reports that the main opposition party was ''seething'' beneath the surface, noting that there was criticism and concerns that were in some measure shared.
He said the party's priority was to rebuild PASOK for the new age, with vision for citizens and society.
Regarding the upcoming European Parliament elections, he said these would be an important milestone in the course toward the party's congress and that PASOK will ''give battle to convince the voters that our policy is right''.
MP Evangelos Venizelos issued a call to unity in the run-up to the European elections and the congress, and stressed that these procedures would help PASOK put together its arguments as opposition.
 Opinion poll shows ruling ND party well ahead of PASOK in Euro-elections
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)The first Euro-barometer conducted by the VPRC company on behalf of the Kathimerini newspaper showed that the ruling New Democracy (ND) party is well ahead of the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in the upcoming European parliamentary elections in June.
On the question of who is most suitable for prime minister, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis received 53 percent against 25 percent for PASOK leader George Papandreou. Eleven percent said none of them were worthy of the post while another 11 percent said they did not know or refused to answer.
In terms of popularity of political figures, Karamanlis led with a wide margin of 78 percent against Papandreou with 59 percent, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos 55 percent, Democratic Social Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas 49 percent, former prime minister Costas Simitis 45 percent, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary Aleka Papariga 42 percent and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis 24 percent.
To the question of which party will win the Euro-elections, 68 percent said that the ND would win against 11 percent for PASOK. Twenty one percent said none of the major parties or another party.
Finally, on the question regarding the results of the referendum in Cyprus on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan for a settlement of the Cyprus problem, 44 percent declared they were satisfied, 36 percent displeased and 20 percent did not know or refused to answer.
 Ecumenical church leaders punish Greek archbishop in jurisdiction rift
ISTANBUL 03/05/2004 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)A synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul on Friday barred Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece from receiving holy communion after he arranged new ecclesiastical appointments without the religious authority's consent.
The synod led by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos imposed the penalty after Christodoulos held internal elections in Greece for the appointment of metropolitan bishops to head dioceses dubbed ''the new lands'' that fall under the Istanbul-based religious authority's jurisdiction.
Vartholomeos and forty one senior clerics from around the world who attended the enlarged synod meeting voted unanimously to impose the ban on the archbishop.
The clerics are to sign a text of the decision, which considers the elections held in Athens to be null and void.
The synod also agreed that the ban, which it terms ''functional and administrative'', should remain in place until Christodoulos complies with church law.
In addition, it stated that the ban on receiving holy communion applies solely to Christodoulos.
 Unprecedented rift between Ecumenical Patriarchate and Church of Greece
ISTANBUL 03/05/2004 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Saturday night said that he had no choice but to stop communication with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.
''We are in favor of unity, friendship, love and cooperation,'' said Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, but added: ''Despite our desire and support for friendship and cooperation, we reached a unanimous decision yesterday (Friday), more than forty clerics of the Ecumenical throne from America, Europe, Crete, the Dodecanese and Korea to cut off communication with the Archbishop of Athens.''
Vartholomeos said that although Archbishop Christodoulos had talent, was clever and educated, he nevertheless was ''over ambitious'' and harmed the unity of Orthodoxy.
The Greek state is keeping its distance from the clerical clash and hopes that the present unprecedented and shocking rift will be overcome.
 Patriarch Vartholomeos says 'we have no intention of dividing Greece'
ISTANBUL 03/05/2004 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas)''The metropolis' which we come from were, are and will remain metropolis' of the Ecumenical Throne and which are registered in the Constitution of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and will never cease to be its provinces,'' Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos told a group of Orthodox faithful from northern Greece on Sunday.
The Patriarch said that Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos ''from the very moment he became Archbishop'' used the term ''new countries.''
''We did not use the term 'New Countries, we found it and we are using it like the State and the Church of Greece. I say this because sometimes they say that the Patriarchate wants to divide Greece, its state. Of course Greece is one, from Komotini to Crete and nobody disputes this.''
Mesogaia metropolitan ordained in Athens: Corrects title, dropping incorrect 'New Lands'. Also first paragraph, line 1 replaces incorrect "The new metropolitan for Mesogaia, one of the 'New Lands' dioceses" with corrected "The new metropolitan for Mesogaia, who was elected earlier this week with three metropolitans for the 'New Lands' dioceses".
The new metropolitan for Mesogaia, who was elected earlier this week with three metropolitans for the 'New Lands' dioceses that has been at the heart of a dispute between the Church of Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, was ordained on Friday in Athens.
The new metropolitan, Nikolaos Hatzinikolaou, is a former monk from Mount Athos that is renowned for his extensive learning, having worked with NASA and currently the head of the Church's Bioethics committee.
His ordination took place under the shadow of a major Synod meeting of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which met in Istanbul on Friday to discuss its response to the episcopal elections for the 'New Lands' sees called by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece on Monday.
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos warned Christodoulos not to proceed with the elections and has even threatened to ''break communion'' with the head of the Greek Church as a last resort if he went ahead with them.
After the ordination, Metropolitan Nikolaos spoke warmly of the bonds between the Greek Church and Phanar, saying that the Patriarchate ''is so large that it possesses its authority and does not demand it''.
He said the Ecumenical Patriarchate was ''historical proof that our Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic'' and that it was a part of ''our existence as Greeks and Orthodox Christians''.
''Our Patriarchate is Ecumenical in order to embrace all, forgive all and unite everything and everyone,'' he added.
With regard to the crisis between the two Churches, Nikolaos said the problems could be solved with ''our humility, the superiority of the other and the trust of both.''
 Four new ambassadors present credentials to president
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday received the credentials from several new ambassadors to Athens.
The envoys of Ghana, Kofi Dsane-Selby; Myanmar, C. Khin Maung Aye; Malaysia, Dato' Md.Kamal Bin Ismaun, and Singapore, A. Selverajah, presented their credentials to the Greek head of state, in that order.
Deputy Foreign Minister P. Skandalakis represented the government at the brief ceremonies.
 Gov't to submit draft law on penalty rates in coming weeks
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)The Greek government will be ready to submit a draft legislation in parliament in the next few weeks aimed to resolve a long-lasting problem with penalty rates imposed by banks on unpaid debt.
The issue was discussed during a meeting between Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis with representatives of the Greek Banks Union. The meeting also discussed issues relating with the banking system and the economy.
Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Mr Alogoskoufis said that the government was consulting with all interested parties on the issue of penalty rates, although he stressed that drafting of the law was fully a government responsibility.
The Greek minister also noted that the government would put a ceiling on accumulated debt sums which would be more than triple the initial debt sum.
 Greek trade confederation defends pricing policy
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)The head of Greece's National Trade Confederation (ESEE) on Friday defended the sector's pricing policy and accused certain both domestic and foreign media of a slandering war against the country in an effort to create a climate of insecurity ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
"During the last few weeks the country seems to be self-flagellating over a possible wave of prices increases during the Olympic Games. These concerns are re-produced by certain foreign media with the aim to slander the country and to create a climate of insecurity to visitors of the Olympic Games", Dimitris Armenakis told reporters.
Armenakis stressed that ESEE was particularly concerned over the developing atmosphere and the picture of the country abroad. He underlined that the Greek market and the trade sector were functioning under full competition rules, while he noted that the Olympic Games would coincide with the summer sales period in August.
Armenakis urged for all parties to stop their doom talking and to promote the good side of both the market and the society in Greece.
 Stocks drop but hold 2,500 pts
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)The Athens bourse finished lower but the general index managed to hold support at 2,500 points, traders said.
The general share index shed 1.02 per cent to end at 2,517.62 points. Turnover was 147.8 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.08 per cent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.99 per cent lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities lost 0.38 per cent.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 188 to 115 with 61 issues remaining unchanged.
Closing rates of April 30 2004
Parities in euro
For. Exchange Buying Selling
US Dollar 1,204 1,176
 Coordination, Athens' appearance during Games discussed by gov't, organizers
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)Coordination amongst the various agencies and between the roughly 140,000 people that will work directly for the Olympic Games this August was the focus of a high-ranking inter-ministerial meeting on Friday.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis chaired the meeting, as participants again included top ministers and the leadership of the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC).
Organizers outlined their planning for every sector of the city's operation and appearance during the 2004 Olympic Games, which begin on Aug. 13.
On his part, ATHOC executive director Marton Simitsek said that out the 324 problems recorded during 38 sports events so far, only 13 instances necessitated the intervention of a relevant minister.
Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, meanwhile, stressed that local residents will not face problems in their daily activities during the Games.
ATHOC chief Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki noted that the operational plan was unveiled 105 days before the Games, or 75 days before the first Olympic delegations are set to arrive.
Asked about who will supervise the greater Athens area's Olympic coordination and operation during the Olympics, Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said:
"The current government has promised the international community that the Games will be perfect, and will prove to the world that this is a unique opportunity for all to experience excellent Games in a secure environment. We are preparing the entire organization for the Games; what must be done before and during the Games by all of us," she said.
 Greek public order minister in the U.S. to discuss Olympic Games security
NEW YORK 03/05/2004 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)Greece's Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis will meet New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Greek Orthodox Archbishop of America Demetrios on Tuesday.
Voulgarakis is currently on an official visit to the United States until May 8, accompanied, among others, by Greek Police chief Fotis Nasiakos.
During his stay, the Greek public order minister will have talks in Washington with senior government officials and Congress members on issues related to the security of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games in the summer, the combatting of terrorism and organized crime, as well as matters concerning bilateral relations.
Voulgarakis will return to New York on Friday afternoon and in the evening will address a Greek-American gathering in Astoria organized by the Federation of Greek Societies of New York.
 Athens mayor in Paris to brief mass media on Olympic Games preparations
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni is of Sunday until Wednesday, May 5, in Paris to present to the representatives of the French mass media and to the international foreign correspondents Athens' preparations ahead of the Olympic Games this summer.
On the agenda of Bakoyianni's program is a press conference at the International Press Centre with the presence of French journalists and foreign correspondents based in the French capital.
The mayor of Athens will also give interviews with the Herald Tribune, the French News Agency (AFP), the satellite TV network LCI which is the news channel of TFI, CNBC Europe, Radio France International, the magazine Le Point and a number of French newspapers and magazines.
The Athens mayor will also greet an event organized by the French Olympic Committee on the occasion of the count-down of 100 days before the start of the Olympic Games in Athens. Present at the event will be French President Jacques Chirac.
Bakoyianni will also hold talks with French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe.
Furthermore, Bakoyianni will take part in the founding conference of the international organization ''United Cities and Local Governments'', which will be attended by 3,000 local government representatives from 80 countries.
 Olympic Games in Athens will be costliest policing operation in history
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)The cost of security for the Olympic Games in Athens this summer will reach a staggering one billion Euros (650 million pound sterling), making it the most expensive policing operation for any event in history, according to Britain's The Independent on Sunday newspaper.
The cost will include round-the-clock armed protection for British athletes, who have been placed in a high-risk group together with the United States and Israel because of the situation in Iraq.
But no country, including Briatian, will be allowed to bring their own armed security personnel to protect athletes.
"It is out of the question," the minister in charge of security for the Games told The Independent on Sunday.
"They may ask but the answer will be no. Security is our responsibility. We cannot have a situation where you have private security forces walking around with guns under their arms. They could end up shooting each other."
 Australian PM Howard convinced Athens Olympics will be secure
MELBOURNE 03/05/2004 (ANA/S. Hatzimanolis)Australian prime minister John Howard said Thursday he was ''convinced that the Olympic Games of Athens will be absolutely secure'', responding to questions during an interview with Melbourne's 3AW radio station.
Asked whether he was worried about the prospect of a terrorist attack, given reports in the Australian press that ''Australians are a target of Al Qaeda'', Howard replied: ''From the information I have, it arises that there is no reason for concern.'' ''The entire situation will remain under scrutiny'' as the Games approach, Howard added.
Questioned whether the Australian government intended to issue a travel directive (warning) for Athens in the event the situation becomes worrisome, Howard said ''we always issue travel directives to inform our citizens''.
It is noted that Australia has issued travel directives for more than 140 countries.
 Every British athlete will have a round--the-clock armed guard at Olympic Games
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)Every British athlete is to have 24-hour armed guards to protect against terrorist attacks during the Olympic Games in Athens this summer, according to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
The Greek guards have been ordered as part of the world's biggest anti-terrorism operation, which is intended to safeguard competitors from the threat of violence by al-Qaeda or other groups.
A spokesman for the Greek Public Order Ministry told the British newspaper ''we are talking about armed guards for every official and non-official activity, including shopping and sightseeing.''
The protection will cover all ''off duty'' trips outside the heavily fortified Olympic Village, with athletes given the kind of security reserved for visiting heads of state.
Their buses will have armed guards and be accompanied by armored vehicles and police helicopters.
Greek officials denied, according to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, that the measure was in response to British and American requests to use their own armed guards. This, they said, would have been ''a recipe for anarchy.''
Instead, security planners have divided the competing nations into three levels of risk. All countries that fall into the high or medium-risk categories will be afforded the same 24-hour armed protection.
Britain, which will send more than 900 athletes to the Games, the United States and Israel have been given top-priority status.
 EuroParliament honors makers of documentary on ancient Olympics
BRUSSELS 03/05/2004 (ANA)The European Parliament held a special event in the past week to honor the makers of the award-winning documentary "The Olympic Games in Ancient Greece" directed by Markos Holevas.
This took place on April 27, during a three-day visit to the European Parliament by experts in the arts.
The documentary was a co-production of the Institute of Greater Hellenism (IME) and the film companies Zeus and 7 Stars.
 February road accident death toll down from Feb. 2003
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)Road accident deaths declined by 11.1 percent in February 2004 against February the previous year, according to data released Friday by the National Statistics Service (ESYE) of Greece. During the same period, there was an increase of 0.7 percent, however, in serious injuries and a 0.7 percent increase in light injuries occurring in road accidents.
More specifically, in a total of 1,008 road accidents throughout the country in February, 104 people were killed, against 117 in February 2003.
Also, 148 people were seriously injured in road accidents in February 2004, against 147 in the same month the preceding year, while 1,088 people sustained light injuries in road accidents in February 2004 against 1,029 in February 2003.
 'Minoans and Mycenaeans: Science and Taste' exhibition in Geneva
GENEVA 03/05/2004 (ANA/N. Robin)An interesting exhibition titled ''Minoans and Mycenaeans: Science and Taste'' is currently on display at the Museum of Natural History of the Township of Geneva, organized in the framework of the Cultural Olympiad events for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
Tuesday's opening of the exhibition, which will run through July 4, was attended by Greece's ambassador in Bern Eleftherios Danellis, the country's permanent representative to the UN ambassador Tasos Kriekoukis, a number of Swiss federal and local officials, museum directors, university rectors, academics and personalities of the art world, as well as prominent Greek and Swiss businessmen.
The exhibition, the result of cooperation among Greek, British, American and Italian scientists and researchers contributes to a deeper knowledge of the pre-historic past in an innovative and scientifically documented way, focusing on the environment, technology and daily life, and the dietary habits in two of the most important civilizations of the Bronze Age in the Aegean.
Similar exhibitions have already been staged in Birmingham, Chicago, Stockholm and Naples.
The exhibition is part of a wider program to project Greece ahead of this summer's Olympic Games in Athens, and is the fourth stage of a series of cultural events in the Olympic city of Lausanne, seat of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in cooperation with the Greek General Consulate in Geneva.
 Cyprus president says EU accession is 'historic'
DUBLIN 03/05/2004 (ANA/H. Poulidou/CNA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has described the accession of Cyprus into the European Union ''very important and historic'' for the Republic of Cyprus but expressed regret that it was not possible for the Turkish Cypriots to celebrate with Greek Cypriots Saturday's occasion.
Speaking to Cypriot journalists, on the sidelines of celebrations for the accession of ten new EU member states, he said he could not foresee a speedy solution of the question of Cyprus and noted that the country had dealt with the worst as far as recent developments were concerned.
He sent a message of optimism that Cyprus as a full EU member would have a serious shield against any attempt to undermine the integrity of the state.
President Papadopoulos called on Turkey to understand that it cannot expect to improve its relations with the EU unless it ameliorates its relations with Cyprus.
''Today is a very important day for the Republic of Cyprus. The vision and the efforts of the past several years have reached their final conclusion with the accession of Cyprus as an equal partner in the EU'', he said.
He stressed that he would have been much happier if conditions were such and the Annan plan (a UN proposal on a solution) was such that they would have allowed Greek Cypriots to celebrate the EU membership of a reunited Cyprus with the Turkish Cypriots.
''Unfortunately this was not possible. I believe that an opportunity was missed and there are many reasons why this opportunity was lost,'' he added.
Papadopoulos said the procedure and the way negotiations for a settlement were conducted ''was not one of the minor obstacles in the final conclusion (of the negotiations) and it would be a good idea if those who conducted the negotiations were to make an assessment of themselves with regard to the way they conducted the talks.''
Last Saturday in a referendum Greek Cypriots in their over-whelming majority (76 per cent) rejected the Annan plan. Turkish Cypriots approved it by 65 per cent. President Papadopoulos called on the Greek Cypriots to reject the plan, saying it did not meet fundamental demands of the people of Cyprus.
Papadopoulos said that Saturday, a historic day, was celebrated in the host capital that holds the EU six monthly rotating presidency.
''We should all know and acknowledge the most important help the Irish presidency has offered the Republic of Cyprus not only for our accession but also during these past crucial days after the referenda,'' he pointed out.
President Papadopoulos said he found a ''very good response'' from his European counterparts and saw no difference in their attitude towards him.
''I had the chance to explain to many of them our positions and I believe that the worst is over, it is already behind us,'' he said.
Replying to questions, he said he could not foresee or send a message to the people of Cyprus for a ''speedy solution of the Cyprus question.''
''However, I would like to send a message of optimism and faith and self-confidence that Cyprus is recognized and is accepted as an equal partner, a full member in the EU. This gives us a serious shield to avert every attempt which could undermine either the integrity of our state or the future of Cyprus,'' he stressed.
Replying to another question about Cyprus-Turkey relations, he said that ''the attitude of Turkey towards the Cyprus problem is decisive and very important.''
''I hope, it is my wish that the opportunity will arise that Turkey will appreciate the present balance of positions and I believe that Turkey will realize and will accept that it cannot hope for better relations with the EU unless it also improves its relations with Cyprus,'' he said.
Papadopoulos was due to leave Dublin on Sunday for London and returns to Cyprus on Monday.
Cyprus FM: EU accession most important achievement since independence: The accession of Cyprus to the European Union signals the country's most important achievement since independence, and a tribute to the people of Cyprus, Foreign Minister George Iacovou said here on Saturday after the official accession ceremony for the new ten EU members.
He also said this was a dream come true for the Cypriots, mar-king the success in one of the Republic's major goals, but expressed regret that the primary objective of the government, the political
settlement of the long standing problem, had not been achieved. The minister reiterated the position of the government that it did not intend to raise obstacles to Turkey's accession, provided that it complied with EU norms and regulations and like all other candidates met its obligations.|
''This is a dream come true, during this humble but beautiful ceremony the flag of the Republic was hoisted along with the flags of the other 24 member states. This was a really emotional moment but also a time when the people of Cyprus should feel proud for this achievement,'' he said.
The minister said EU membership was ''the most important achievement of Cyprus since independence and people should be proud.''
Replying to questions, he said today was a day of celebration and other heads of state congratulated Cyprus and raised their glasses to welcome all the newcomers.
Cyprus, he pointed out, was determined to be ''a good, solid, progressive, sensible and dynamic partner in the EU and help not only herself but also all the EU partners too.''
Replying to questions by foreign journalists, he expressed regret that the Cyprus question has not been solved.
''This does not mean we are not going to try, we shall continue and hope that very soon we will be able to do that,'' he said.
The minister said that the government position was not to block Turkey's application for accession.
''We prefer a Turkey that is a member of the EU because we prefer a neighbor state that respects international law, human rights, the rights of minorities and generally conforms with an international standard of behavior and this is why we will support Turkey's application,'' he said.
Cyprus flag raised as EU leaders welcome accession of new members : The flag of the Republic of Cyprus fluttered in the wind on Saturday evening as it was hoisted, along with the flags of the other nine new member states of the European Union, in a very special ceremony to mark the accession of ten countries, from central and eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.
The ceremony, simple but emotional for many people in Europe especially the newcomers, took place at the residence of the Irish President Mary McAleese in the presence of Irish premier Bertie Ahern, whose country holds the six-monthly rotating EU presidency.
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos represented the Republic in the ''Day of Welcomes'' ceremony, which took place under unusually clear Irish skies with every pomp and ceremony.
Heads of state or government began arriving at the presidential residence at the prescribed time and were greeted by McAleese and Ahern.
The official accession ceremony, in the courtyard of the presidential residence, began with brief welcoming addresses by the President and the Prime Minister of Ireland. The leaders of the 25 EU members were seated in the courtyard as they listened to their hosts welcoming them but rose to their feet to hand over to Irish cadets the flags of their countries to be hoisted along with the EU flag.
Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney read a poem especially written for this auspicious occasion in which he ex-tended a very warm welcome to all new members of the European family.
In the poem, Heaney referred to the phoenix, noting the Phoenix Park was the venue of today's celebrations and saying that this mythical bird represented renewal.
After the recital of the poem, children from member states living in Ireland walked up to the leaders and handed them their respective flags. These were young boys and girls, clad in blue shirts and dark blue trousers and wearing a tie, representing the future of Europe and revival in the old continent.
Irish cadets were then ordered to stand opposite the leaders in a row. The leaders rose to their feet and in turn handed the folded flags to the cadets who marched to the flag posts and hoisted the 25 flags as an orchestra played the EU anthem, Ode to Joy by Beethoven, adopted in 1972 as the EU anthem.
In her welcoming address, Mary McAllese said today was a day of celebration and hope.
''Our strength lies in working together. Today the Union has grown stronger still,'' she said and expressed delight and honor because her country was hosting this splendid ceremony of welcome.
''Virtually every member state has a grim memory of generations when Europe tore itself apart and wasted its potential in violent conflict. For some that memory is still fresh, for others is fading,'' she said.
She wished the new partners ''great success'' and expressed hope that future generations will enjoy the best Europe ever.
In his address Ahern said Ireland welcomed the new members with pride and hope and said everybody must remember that the EU created peace from war, respect from hatred and union from division.
''Today's enlargement is the best testimony to the success that is the EU,'' he stressed, adding that all nation states are strong democracies and all had come together freely.
He said the members acted in cooperation and solidarity and worked together for common ends through structures that are found nowhere else.
Concluding his remarks, he pledged to build on all that had been achieved so far together and construct closer partnership, deeper union and enhanced democracy.
''This is the legacy we leave our children, this is a good and noble legacy,'' he said.
 Cypriot president and Turkish premier have short conversation in DublinDUBLIN (ANA/H. Poulidou/CNA)
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchanged greetings, during a reception hosted by Ireland, current European Union president, on May 1 that marked the accession of ten new members, including Cyprus.
The encounter of the two leaders was a courtesy call as they mingled with other EU heads of state and those from the three candidate countries, including Turkey.
According to reliable information, Papadopoulos and Erdogan, whose country occupies Cyprus' northern part and does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, had a handshake.
Erdogan is said to have told Papadopoulos that he wished to see the question of Cyprus settled and Papadopoulos also stated his desire for a solution in Cyprus.
The Turkish premier replied in his mother tongue saying ''ishallah'', meaning ''may that be Allah's willing."
 De Soto says 'the ball is exclusively in the court of the Greek Cypriots'
Athens, 03/05/2004 (ANA)UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto in an exclusive interview with the Athens News Agency on Sunday said that "the United Nations is not preparing any initiative for the Cyprus issue," noting that "the ball is exclusively in the court of the Greek Cypriots."
De Soto, referring to an "analytic" report which he said is expected to be submitted to the UN Security Council no later than two weeks from now, will raise the responsibility and interpret the results of the referenda in Cyprus on acceptance or not of Annan's fifth and final plan for a political settlement of the Cyprus problem.
He questioned whether the model of a bizonal, bicommunal federation "is no longer the objective of the Greek Cypriots."
On the negotiations that took place in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Peruvian diplomat stated that "there was no discussion whatsoever on the territorial issue."