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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-05-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

May 7, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] Public order minister Voulgarakis' talks in Washington
  • [02] Public order minister satisfied with Greek-US cooperation on security
  • [03] Greek, Turkish PMs to discuss Cyprus developments, Middle East, Turkey's EU bid
  • [04] Dimensions given to Kallithea explosions 'disproportionate', defense min. says
  • [05] PASOK leader addresses Economist conference on security and prosperity
  • [06] Deputy defense minister holds talks with US assistant defense secretary
  • [07] Education minister holds talks with Ecumenical Patriarch on Church crisis
  • [08] US State Department spokesman says 'no change' in policy on Cyprus recognition
  • [09] Athens mayor to meet visiting Turkish and Albanian PMs
  • [10] Canada's chief of staff Gen. Henault due in Athens on Friday
  • [11] May 10 to mark official start of Euro-election campaign period
  • [12] PM and finance ministry leadership hold meeting on economic policy
  • [13] Finmin sets up committees to devise tax reform, growth bill
  • [14] Finmin sets up committees to devise tax reform, growth bill
  • [15] Tourism Ministry set on controlling excessive pricing
  • [16] Price increases in tourism sector due to Olympic Games
  • [17] Albanian PM sees Greece as key business partner
  • [18] Helios Airways launches daily Athens-Larnaca flights
  • [19] Stocks drop for third straight session
  • [20] Rogge and Oswald among torchbearers in Lausanne
  • [21] World meeting of religions and cultures to begin in Athens on Friday
  • [22] Defense in ELA trial wants presiding judge disqualified for alleged bias
  • [23] Three arrested for smuggling drugs into Greece
  • [24] Police capture fugitive wanted for murder, kidnapping
  • [25] Event in memory of Mauthausen victims to be held in Austria
  • [26] Eco Festival opens in central Athens
  • [27] The "Pyramids of Naxos" was constructed with the cooperation of the Recycling Centre for Aluminum Cans (KANAL).
  • [28] Cyprus President rebukes ''foreign friends''
  • [29] Cyprus, Czech Presidents agree settlement must come from people
  • [30] Papadopoulos critical of US comments, if these were intentional

  • [01] Public order minister Voulgarakis' talks in Washington

    WASHINGTON 7/5/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)

    Greece's public order minister expressed satisfaction Wednesday after his meeting with US Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge.

    ''We had a very interesting meeting with Secretary Ridge and discussed matters of common interest, as his Department is essentially the counterpart of the Greek Public Order ministry and is making a big effort to incorporate actions taking place throughout the US. It was a very useful and enlightening meeting for both of us,'' Voulgarakis said.

    ''We discussed the major issue of Olympic Games security, which is of great importance to us as a country, and I am in the pleasant position of saying that Mr. Ridge agrees that very significant steps have been made and that Greece can indeed host secure Olympic Games,'' Voulgarakis said.

    He said that they had also reviewed bilateral cooperation on other issues as well. ''I think there is a very correct basis of cooperation, as the US has contributed much also to the training of our personnel, as well as in the transfer of new technologies''.

    Questioned by reporters on three home-made bomb explosions outside the police department in the Athens residential suburb of Kallithea early Wednesday, which caused damage but no injuries, Voulgarakis said they were an ''isolated incident that is not related with the security of the Olympic Games''.

    He said that the Greek authorities were conducting an investigation, and stressed that the Olympic Games in Greece were not dependent on such incidents.

    Voulgarakis was due to meet Wednesday evening (US time, early Thursday Greek time) with Senator Paul Sarbanes, who is of Greek origin, and attend a dinner in his honor to be hosted by Greek ambassador to the US George Savvaides.

    On Thursday, Voulgarakis was scheduled to attend a working lunch (8:00 p.m. Greek time) with deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage and his associates at the State Department dealing with the sectors of security and combatting terrorism, followed by separate meetings with FBI director Robert Mueller at FBI headquarters, US president George Bush's national security advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and CIA chief George Tenet at the White House.

    [02] Public order minister satisfied with Greek-US cooperation on security

    WASHINGTON 7/5/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)

    Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis expressed his satisfaction over cooperation achieved so far between Greece and the United States in the framework of preparations for the security of the Athens Olympic Games, following a working luncheon with Alternate Secretary of State Richard Armitage and his associates on Thursday.

    ''I had a working luncheon with Mr. Armitage and his associates which was very enlightening. A full and long discussion took place on relations between the two countries, particularly on security issues and, of course, all this in light of the Olympic Games which our country will host soon,'' Voulgarakis said.

    The public order minister said it was jointly ascertained that ''many and important steps have been taken in this direction. There is common satisfaction on all that has been done and, of course, for all that remains to be done until the day the Olympic Games will be held in our country. I must say that I am very satisfied with the help offered to our country and on the other hand with the response we have at a more general level.''

    In another development, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that he will visit Athens to watch the Olympic Games.

    [03] Greek, Turkish PMs to discuss Cyprus developments, Middle East, Turkey's EU bid

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- who arrived in Athens Thursday night on an official visit to Greece -- will review developments in the Cyprus issue and examine bilateral relations, the Middle East crisis, and Turkey's European prospects during talks on Friday morning, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said Thursday.

    Replying to questions at a regular press briefing, Roussopoulos said that the Greek side remained firm on its position for seeking a Cyprus solution on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

    Roussopoulos further said that there was "no divergence' of views between Athens and Nicosia.

    Shortly after his 8:45 p.m. arrival at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos international airport on Thursday, Erdogan will be the guest at a private dinner at the home of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis in the east Attica harbor town of Rafina.

    The two prime ministers will hold talks at the Maximos Mansion (government headquarters) on Friday morning, after which Erdogan will be received by President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos.

    At noon on Friday, Erdogan will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Syntagma Square in front of the parliament building, after which he will call on parliament president Anna Psarouda-Benaki, followed by an official lunch hosted by the Greek-Turkish Business Forum.

    At 4:30 in the afternoon, Erdogan will meet with main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, followed by separate meetings with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Radical Left (SYN) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, and a call on Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni at 6:00 p.m.

    Erdogan will attend a dinner in his honor at the Maximos Mansion at 9:00 p.m., while the rest of the Turkish delegation will attend a dinner in their honor at Zappeion.

    The official leg of Erdogan's visit concludes on Saturday morning at 9:30 at a departure ceremony at the Maximos Mansion, after which he will leave for the airport to head on to Kavala for a private visit to Thrace, in northern Greece.

    Replying to press questions during Wednesday's briefing, Roussopoulos had clarified that the itinerary for the private leg of Erdogan's visit was known to the government, adding that ''no negotiation was made on its content''.

    Turkish PM arrives in Athens, heads for Greek counterpart's residence for dinner: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Minister of State Ahmet Aydin, accompanied by their wives, arrived at the residence of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the seaside resort of Rafina at 9.30 p.m. on Thursday to attend a dinner offered by the Greek prime minister and his wife.

    The dinner will also be attended by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis and his wife.

    The aircraft bringing Erdogan to Athens landed at Eleftherios Venizelos airport at 8.50 p.m. and Molyviatis was present to welcome the Turkish prime minister.

    Immediately afterwards they boarded their cars and headed for the Greek prime minister's residence, while the remaining members of the Turkish delegation went to their hotel.

    Erdogan's official visit will begin at 9.30 a.m. on Friday and will be followed by talks at the Maximos Mansion.

    [04] Dimensions given to Kallithea explosions 'disproportionate', defense min. says

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    The dimensions given to Wednesday's early morning home-made bomb explosions outside a police precinct in the residential district of Kallithea were ''disproportionate to the significance of the incident'', national defense minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos said Thursday, adding that the ''anti-Greek fury (in the foreign media) was unacceptable''.

    ''The (Greek) government will organize the safest and best Olympic Games. We are determined to succeed, and we will succeed,'' Spiliotopoulos told reporters after addressing an Economist conference on the Greek economy taking place at a hotel in the eastern Attica seaside town of Kavouri.

    Addressing the conference earlier, Spiliotopoulos told delegates that the security budget for the Athens 2004 Games exceeds 650 million euro and was more than three times that of the preceding Sydney Olympics.

    He also pointed out that more than 40,000 security staff were involved vis-a-vis the Athens Games, a number more than double that usually required for such events.

    Asked to comment on the visit to Greece by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- who was due to arrive in Athens Thursday night -- Spiliotopoulos said it confirmed the political volition of the two sides to further improve Greek-Turkish relations.

    ''Where there is a will for peace -- and apparently it exists also on the Turkish side -- peace's share increases,'' he said.

    Questioned whether there were differences between the current New Democracy government and previous governments in the area of defense, Spiliotopoulos said that there was no change in the strategic goals, only differences at a ''tactical level on improving our defense strategy''.

    ''We believe that with a more rationalized use of the country's economic capabilities we can ensure quality armaments for the Armed Forces that can function as multipliers of strength,'' he said.

    Speaking at the same conference, NATO assistant secretary general for Public Diplomacy Jean Fournet said that NATO and the European Union were determined to continue their cooperation for tackling modern-day threats. ''We can shape events, instead of being their victims,'' he said.

    A taped message by US deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage was also shown at the conference. Armitage referred to his cooperation with Greece's public order minister George Voulgarakis -- who is currently on a visit to Washington -- on Olympic Games security matters and expressed hope that the Olympic Games will return safely to their country of birth.

    Armitage further said that the Turkish Cypriots should be rewarded for their position on the referendum (on the Annan plan) in Cyprus, and expressed regret at the Greek Cypriots' decision (to reject the plan in the referendum).

    [05] PASOK leader addresses Economist conference on security and prosperity

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed the Economist's conference on Thursday on ''Greece's position'' in the framework of the ''strategy for security and prosperity.''

    ''We are living in a global village and we are having a global celebration. It is the Olympic Games which constitute a symbolic message of universal values which we are seeking: of multiculturality, noble competition, cohabitation with the different and of respect for common rules,'' he said.

    Referring to Wednesday's bomb attack in the Athens district of Kallithea, Papandreou said it was an ''isolated incident'' and stressed that it will have no impact on the security of the Olympic Games.

    ''They will be the most safe Games to ever take place because they are backed by a huge investment of about one billion euros, by cooperation with the best services in the world, by very appropriate organizing and the prevention of whatever possibilities,'' he added.

    Referring to the issue of security in its wider sense, Papandreou said ''security must contain a vision of new values in an era of fluidity characterized by uncertainty. In a changing world there is no sense of stagnation and consequently we see the fear of change emerging and, as a result, phenomena of conservatism and fundamentalism are appearing.''

    Focusing on the strategy followed by the former PASOK government's foreign policy, Papandreou said it was based on the admission that ''the security, prosperity, democracy and the good natural environment of the neighbor are also ours. National interest, consequently, is not subject to a narrow framework but to the basis of cooperation and in this way we all win.''

    [06] Deputy defense minister holds talks with US assistant defense secretary

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    The United States has undertaken the commitment to examine positively a request concerning the activation, as soon as possible, of the Naval Prevention Training Centre in Crete in talks between government officials and Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos in the framework of the Hellenic American High Level Advisory Committee's 11th session coming to a close on Thursday.

    Issues examined in talks between Michaloliakos, US Assistant Defense Secretary Mira Ricardel and US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller concerned the development of FMF loans received by Greece between 1969 and 1997 and contracts for which deliveries of materials are still pending, an increase in funds for training military personnel in academies in the US, the manning of the Multinational Peace Support Operations Centre in Kilkis, northern Greece, and the assignment of construction work to the Greek defense industry to meet the needs of US forces in the region of the eastern Mediterranean and the reorganization of the two countries' armed forces.

    Michaloliakos also held talks with special advisers of the US defense secretary in the presence of Ricardel during his visit to the US Pentagon where he was briefed on the new structure of the US forces, on the strategy being followed in the new era and on latest developments in Iraq.

    The deputy minister's visit to the Pentagon lasted more than the scheduled two-hour period.

    [07] Education minister holds talks with Ecumenical Patriarch on Church crisis

    ISTANBUL 7/5/2004 (ANA - M. Papoutsaki)

    Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou held two-hour talks with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on the ongoing crisis between the Patriarchate and the Greek Church on Thursday and expressed reserved optimism afterwards.

    Senior clerics attended the first hour of the talks, while the Patriarch and Yiannakou were left alone during the second hour.

    ''The Patriarch and I discussed ways and procedures capable of restoring contact between the two sides and providing substantive results. On returning to Athens I will see Archbishop Christodoulos with the hope that these issues will be able to be settled soon. The climate was warm. I visit the Patriarch regularly and with good intentions in general,'' she said.

    Asked whether dialogue will continue and whether her mission was a success, Yiannakou said ''one cannot claim that he succeeded unless he finishes something. I must also see the other side.''

    As to whether she will be conveying a message to Archbishop Christodoulos, she replied ''I am not worried. I will also be making proposals of a procedural character there as well.''

    Yiannakou reiterated that the presidential decrees regarding the election of the new metropolitans will be signed.

    [08] US State Department spokesman says 'no change' in policy on Cyprus recognition

    WASHINGTON 7/5/2004 (ANA/A.Ellis)

    US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Thursday distanced himself from his reference to the government of the Republic of Cyprus on Wednesday as the ''Greek Cypriot'' government, saying ''it was a description'' and adding ''there is no change in our policy regarding recognition.''

    Asked to comment on the addressing of Talat as ''prime minister'' (of the Turkish Cypriots) by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Boucher insisted on the same position that ''there is no change in our policy on recognition one way or another.''

    The spokesman further clarified that Washington is examining ''steps on the restriction of the Turkish Cypriot community's isolation and let us leave the conflict in this sphere. This is all that we are talking about. This is all that we are talking about at this point.''

    Referring once again to the reason he chose to speak of a ''Greek Cypriot'' government, Boucher declared it was a ''description'' and not the use of a term with ''legal validity.''

    [09] Athens mayor to meet visiting Turkish and Albanian PMs

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni is scheduled to have separate meetings with Albanian and Turkish premiers Fatos Nano and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, who will be in Athens on official visits.

    The mayor's meeting with Nano will take place on Friday morning and the meeting with Erdogan at 18:00 on Friday evening, an Athens municipality announcement said.

    [10] Canada's chief of staff Gen. Henault due in Athens on Friday

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    The chief of the Canadian Defense Staff, General R.R. Henault, was due to arrive in Athens on Friday for an official 8-day visit, the National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) of Greece announced on Thursday.

    While in Greece, the Canadian chief of staff will meet with the military and civilian leadership of the Hellenic Armed Forces to discuss matters of mutual military interest.

    His itinerary also includes informational visits and attendance at displays at installations on Crete, as well as tours of several archaeological sites and museums.

    [11] May 10 to mark official start of Euro-election campaign period

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    The campaign period for the Euro-elections in June will officially kick off on May 10, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos announced on Thursday after a meeting of the Cross-party Committee for the European polls at his ministry.

    Pavlopoulos said that the electoral rolls were ready and that voters could find out where they are registered to vote in the June 13 elections at Citizens' Service Centers, the ministry and the Internet site www.ypes.gr.

    At present, however, the information is only available for the prefectures of Imathia, Thessaloniki, Kastoria, Pieria and Magnesia and the minister advised the electorate to start making their inquiries from the middle of next week in order to avoid problems.

    Voters living far from the constituency where they are registered to vote can again vote in their area of residence in these elections.

    He said the political parties were given a disc regarding the electoral body on Thursday, while the same information had been sent to all local authorities by May 3.

    Regarding radio and television air-time for party political broadcasts and advertising during the campaign period, the minister said he was in favor of a demand by small parties to divide half the time equally between all the parties and the remaining half as a proportion of their share of the vote.

    He said a final decision concerning media airtime will be taken at the Cross-party Committee's next meeting in one week.

    [12] PM and finance ministry leadership hold meeting on economic policy

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday chaired a meeting on the economy and the budget with the leadership of the finance ministry, in view of an off-the-agenda debate on the economy to be held in Parliament in the next few days.

    After the meeting, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said the government had inherited a difficult state of affairs but stressed that it had both a progamme and the will needed to handle the difficulties and bring about development, tackle unemployment and achieve social cohesion.

    [13] Finmin sets up committees to devise tax reform, growth bill

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Thursday set up two committees - one to devise the government's planned overhaul of the tax system and another to draft a new development bill, his office said in a statement.

    The tax reform committee will seek to devise a system that incorporates long term stability, transparency in tax controls, simplicity, a reduction in tax evasion, a decline in corporate tax brackets, and investment incentives.

    Headed by the secretary general of the finance ministry, George Mergos, the committee will hold consultations with trade groups and unions including the General Confederation of Employees of Greece and the Association of Greek Industry.

    The development bill committee also headed by Mergos will seek to encourage overall economic growth by improving the investment climate, especially aimed at balanced regional development; boosting employment; attracting foreign investments; simplifying development incentives; helping to modernize small and medium sized enterprises; and increasing private investment.

    Consultations will also be held with trade groups and unions.

    [14] Finmin sets up committees to devise tax reform, growth bill

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Thursday set up two committees - one to devise the government's planned overhaul of the tax system and another to draft a new development bill, his office said in a statement.

    The tax reform committee will seek to devise a system that incorporates long term stability, transparency in tax controls, simplicity, a reduction in tax evasion, a decline in corporate tax brackets, and investment incentives.

    Headed by the secretary general of the finance ministry, George Mergos, the committee will hold consultations with trade groups and unions including the General Confederation of Employees of Greece and the Association of Greek Industry.

    The development bill committee also headed by Mergos will seek to encourage overall economic growth by improving the investment climate, especially aimed at balanced regional development; boosting employment; attracting foreign investments; simplifying development incentives; helping to modernize small and medium sized enterprises; and increasing private investment.

    Consultations will also be held with trade groups and unions.

    [15] Tourism Ministry set on controlling excessive pricing

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Deputy Tourism Minister Anastasios Liaskos on Thursday met with the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President M. Fokas, Hoteliers' Union of Attica President G. Tsakiris, National Tourism Organization (EOT) President H. Kokkosis and EOT's P. Halkideos in order to ''halt'' the excessive pricing demands of a minority of Greek hoteliers and to ensure that the Olympic Games will not be used as an excuse for profiteering.

    Liaskos emphasized that the ministry does not wish to intervene in the marketplace, but wishes to safeguard the country's tourism industry as well as Greece's image abroad.

    Figures show that only 10% of Attica hotels are looking to increase their rates excessively.

    The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and EOT have sent to those particular hotels letters demanding they justify the increases they seek (ie., they have upgraded their facilities, provide new services, etc.). Aside from the requested documentation the said hotels will also be inspected.

    ''The 2004 Olympic Games will provide the opportunity for growth and development of the tourism sector; practices disgracing the Greek tourism industry will not be allowed,'' Liaskos noted.

    [16] Price increases in tourism sector due to Olympic Games

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    ''It is to be expected that prices in the tourism industry in the greater Attica area during the Olympic Games will be higher considering that the Games are a unique event and taking into account the enormous investments many local tourist enterprises have made. However, price increases apply to the specific area and only for the duration of the Games,'' the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) wrote in a statement issued on Thursday.

    According to SETE, certain cases of exorbitant pricing have occurred, but should not be generalized, creating the false impression that this is the case for the entire tourism industry.

    The Association also emphasizes that prices in the rest of the country are at 2003 levels, and in many cases even lower.

    In any case, SETE states that it ''condemns any profiteering practices and exploitation of tourists during the Olympic Games as such practices are damaging to the entire Greek tourism industry.''

    [17] Albanian PM sees Greece as key business partner

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Visiting Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano said on Thursday that Greece was one of his country's main business partners.

    During talks with the Association of Greek Industry, Nano said that further growth would be beneficial between the two countries, especially in telecoms, oil, security, mining, industrial parks and information technology.

    Accompanying the premier was Finance Minister Anastas Angjeli, and the Greek and Albanian ambassadors.

    [18] Helios Airways launches daily Athens-Larnaca flights

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Helios Airways said on Thursday that it had launched daily flights on May 1 linking Athens to Larnaca, Cyprus.

    Executives of the Cypriot airline told a news conference that Cyprus' entry into the European Union and the deregulation of flights between Greece and Cyprus had ended a monopoly on the Athens-Larnaca route held by the two countries' national carriers.

    [19] Stocks drop for third straight session

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    The Athens bourse finished lower for the third straight session, traders said.

    The general share index shed 0.83 per cent to end at 2,492.90 points. Turnover was 116.6 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 0.83 per cent down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization paper 0.76 per cent down; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap equities lost 0.97 per cent.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 193 to 88 with 71 issues remaining unchanged. FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of May 62004

    Parities in euro

    For. Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,221 1,193

    [20] Rogge and Oswald among torchbearers in Lausanne

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee; Denis Oswald, Chairman of the Coordination Commission for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens in 2004; and Bertrand Piccard, the famous round-the-world balloonist will carry the Olympic Flame when it passes through Lausanne on June 24. Their names were announced during a press conference organized at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.

    A total number of 120 torchbearers will carry the Olympic Torch in Switzerland. The 59-km route will also include the Olympic Museum Park in Lausanne.

    [21] World meeting of religions and cultures to begin in Athens on Friday

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    The 3rd World Meeting of Religions and Cultures organized by the Kykkos Monastery on Cyprus is to begin in Athens on Friday, on the theme of a ''Global Cultural Contract'' to promote humanity and culture in an age of alienation caused by technological development that is poisoning human relations.

    In a press conference regarding the Meeting held on Thursday, Abbot Nikiforos said Athens had been chosen as the venue as a mark of respect for the return of the Olympic Games to their birthplace and because the philosophy of Olympism coincided with the fundamental principles of the Meeting.

    He also referred to recent events in Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots' rejection of the Annan plan, saying that there had been attempts to ''terrorize, humiliate and belittle'' the Greek-Cypriot people for daring to ''resist the plans of the strong''.

    ''They want us to accept a plan that legitimizes the presence of Turkish troops, they want us to legalize with our signature the presence of 130,000 Turkish settlers and to make Cyprus a protectorate of Turkey,'' he said.

    He also stressed that the unswerving goal of the World Forum of Religions and Cultures, set up at previous Meetings, was to establish a new world order based on justice and right, since the present world order of 'might is right' was not what the nations longed for.

    Other speakers at the press conference pointed to the Forum's action in the Middle East, such as the recent renovation and refurbishment of three halls in the Baghdad Polytechnic paid for by the World Forum and the NGO ''Mediterranean 2002''.

    Panteion University professor Yiagos Andreadis said the World Forum was set to undertake a major mediating role in the Middle East, while Abbot Nikiforos referred to a recent meeting with the Reverend Jesse Jackson, in which he was asked to contribute to the release of all hostages in Iraq, irrespective of sides.

    [22] Defense in ELA trial wants presiding judge disqualified for alleged bias

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Defense lawyers representing Irene Athanassaki in the ongoing ELA terrorism trial on Thursday filed a motion that presiding judge Elisavet Brilli be disqualified on the grounds of bias.

    They alleged the judge had shown signs of bias in the way she handled court proceedings and that the questions she put to witnesses seemed to indicate that she fully accepted the truth of the charges against their client.

    They also argued that they had been subjected throughout the trial to Brilli's threats to refer them to the public prosecutor or the Athens Bar disciplinary council.

    The motion was supported by the lawyers for Costas Agapiou and Aggeletos Kanas, Nikos Damaskopoulos and Alexis Kougias, who appeared as witnesses.

    The court had earlier gone into recess while the defense counsel prepared their arguments and reconvened with Appeals judge Grigoris Mamalis presiding in Brilli's place.

    The trial will continue on Friday with the testimony of defense lawyers appearing as witnesses concerning the motion and the court will make a decision on the motion immediately afterward.

    In a statement read out in court, Brilli said that she had strictly observed criminal trial procedure, the Constitution, the European human rights convention and had fully respected the rights of all participating in the case.

    Five people are on trial before the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court, with judge Brilli presiding, as alleged members of the terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle.

    [23] Three arrested for smuggling drugs into Greece

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    Police in Kilkis on Thursday announced the arrest of three suspected members of a organized drug-trafficking ring responsible for smuggling drugs into Greece from Bulgaria.

    They said the three men, whose names were not released, were intercepted on the 38th kilometre of the new Thessaloniki-Kilkis national highway with six kilos of unprocessed cannabis in their possession.

    Under interrogation, the three revealed that they had picked up the drugs at an unguarded spot along the Greek-Bulgarian border.

    [24] Police capture fugitive wanted for murder, kidnapping

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    A 33-year-old man wanted for a murder, shooting and kidnapping was arrested by Thessaloniki-area police on Thursday at 13:25 in the agricultural district of Lofiskos, Lagada.

    Police said he offered no resistance at the time of his arrest.

    Yiannis Baltas is accused of kidnapping his former fiancee Theodora Kirkinezi after first shooting her two brothers, killing one and seriously injuring the second.

    [25] Event in memory of Mauthausen victims to be held in Austria

    VIENNA 7/5/2004 (ANA/D.Dimitrakoudis)

    Former Austrian Chancellor and current coordinator of the Mauthausen Committee Franz Vranitsky announced the event which will be held Sunday, May 9 in memory of the victims who died at the Mauthausen concentration camp to the international press on Thursday.

    Mikis Theodorakis' ''Mauthausen'' will be included in the programme and performed by the Viennese group ''The Greeks.''

    ''Mauthausen'' is based on a poem written by Greek writer Jacob Kampanellis, which Theodorakis set to music in 1966.

    Thousands are expected to attend the event, including Austria's future President Heinz Fischer (he will take office on July 8), as well as ambassadors from the 40 countries whose citizens were prisoners at the concentration camp.

    More than 120,000 people died at Mauthausen - among them 3,700 Greeks - during the Second World War.

    [26] Eco Festival opens in central Athens

    Athens, 7/5/2004 (ANA)

    The 6th Eco Festival, titled "Environment Meets Culture", opened Thursday in Athens' central Klafthmonos Square, featuring a construction comprising aluminum cans called the "Pyramids of Naxos".

    The Festival, organized by the environmental organization ''Clean Up Greece'' in collaboration with the Office of the European Parliament in Athens, the UN Environment Programme/Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and the Municipalities of Athens and Maroussi, hopes to increase public awareness on environmental issues and recycling.

    [27] The "Pyramids of Naxos" was constructed with the cooperation of the Recycling Centre for Aluminum Cans (KANAL).

    ''Clean Up Greece'' president Carla Baer Manolopoulou said the institution of the Eco Festival "is an important cultural event and bridge that unites World Culture Day with World Environment Day (both on May 5)".

    The Eco Festival events include children's performances, Trash Art exhibits, and a children's workshop.

    [28] Cyprus President rebukes ''foreign friends''

    NICOSIA 7/5/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos has stressed that the island's ''foreign friends'', who seem to have chosen the road of becoming ''censors and overlords'' instead of mediators over the political will of the Greek Cypriots, who rejected a UN plan for a settlement in a referendum last month, would better look into their own actions on the reasons for the negative result and the nature of the UN representatives' negotiations.

    In an address at the state banquet given in honor of President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus on Thursday evening, President Papadopoulos said what the Greek Cypriot side is looking for and seeking the understanding and support for its efforts by Cyprus' EU partners, the UN and the international community as a whole.

    He said Cyprus is not turning away from the UN and the good offices of the Secretary General as the framework through which the solution efforts must continue.

    President Papadopoulos said Klaus' visit takes on particular significance because it is the first visit by the President of the Czech Republic to Cyprus, since Czechoslovakia was peacefully divided in 1993 into the Czech Republic and Slovakia and each decided to follow its own path.

    He expressed hope that ''this day will mark the beginning of a new era in the relations between our two countries, which are now equal members of the European Union.''

    ''In the case of Cyprus, which is still suffering from the consequences of the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the continuing occupation of 37% of its territory by Turkish occupation troops and which has passed through many ordeals and obstacles, the accession of our country acquires a special historic and political importance for Cyprus and is rightly described as the most important landmark in its history since the proclamation of the Republic of Cyprus,'' President Papadopoulos said.

    He noted that in the enlarged Europe, ''Cyprus and the Czech Republic are expected to continue working for the progress and development of Europe and its member states but also for the welfare and the creation of additional opportunities for a better quality of life for all their citizens,'' adding that ''in this context we expect that the very good relations happily existing between our two countries in various fields, like commerce, culture and tourism, will be further strengthened.''

    He referred to the cooperation between the two countries on the international level, noting they are based ''on our common faith and dedication to the aims and objectives of these international organizations and particularly the respect of international legality and international law.''

    President Papadopoulos said Klaus' visit is taking place just a few days after the people of Cyprus expressed their democratic will in respect of a plan proposed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    ''Fully conscious of their historic responsibility to ensure a functional and viable solution, Greek Cypriots did not accept this specific plan. The will of the sovereign people should not be misinterpreted by anyone. The people did not say 'No' to the solution of the Cyprus problem. They said 'No' to the specific plan,'' he stressed.

    He said the people, ''exercising their sovereign right, through an absolutely democratic referendum, expressed their free will and rejected this specific Annan Plan, because they thought it was neither fair nor balanced, nor did it ease their basic concerns,'' that is the issues of security, functionality, a common monetary and fiscal policy and the substantive reunification of the country and the people.

    The Cypriot President noted that ''it does not make sense to talk about the expression of the democratic choice between two equally acceptable choices when there are direct or indirect threats that if the choice is not 'Yes', punishment or sanctions will follow,'' adding that ''in such a case the inalienable right of the free choice of the citizens is done away with.''

    He reiterated that ''our primary aim has always been the reunification of Cyprus and its people, the Greek and Turkish Cypriot lawful inhabitants of Cyprus, in conditions of safety and with their human rights and basic freedoms safeguarded.''

    ''We continue with even more determination to seek a viable and workable solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bicommunal, bizonal federation. A solution that will truly reunite Cyprus and its people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, so much in the political as in the economic sphere, without foreign dependencies and guardians,'' the Cypriot President pledged.

    He stressed that ''the foreign friends who seem to have chosen the road of becoming censors and overlords over the political will of the Greek Cypriot community rather than mediators, and who in certain cases make statements that are characterized by a vengeful spirit, would do better to look into their own actions concerning the reasons for the negative result as well as the nature and the targets of the negotiations of the UN representatives.''

    President Papadopoulos promised ''to continue and intensify our efforts towards a workable and viable solution of the Cyprus problem the soonest possible, within the framework of the Annan Plan, aiming at limited in number but significant improvements.''

    [29] Cyprus, Czech Presidents agree settlement must come from people

    NICOSIA 7/5/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    The solution of the Cyprus problem must come from the wish of the people, from inside, and not appear to be something imposed from above, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos stressed on Thursday, pledging that ''we will continue our efforts for a negotiated solution.''

    ''We will continue and perhaps redouble our efforts when the time is right that we shall bring about such amendments to the (Annan) plan as to meet a limited number of concerns of the public,'' President Papadopoulos added, replying to questions after his official talks with President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus, who is paying an official visit to Cyprus.

    Papadopoulos noted that the rejection of the Annan plan by the Greek Cypriots at the referendum held on April 24, ''is not a rejection of a solution.''

    The Czech President said ''a solution can be found from inside by serious negotiations,'' adding ''there is no way to impose a solution up on a country from outside. It must grow from inside and this is the only chance for the future.''

    ''So I received sophisticated information of the difficulties, which I tried to understand and I do respect,'' Klaus said.

    President Papadopoulos expressed great joy for the visit to Cyprus of the President of the Czech Republic ''a personality well-known internationally for his writings and his work in the field of economics, but also for the very important role he has played in the recent history of his country.''

    ''We always have had good relations with former Czechoslovakia and later with the Czech Republic and I am very glad this visit takes place five days after our joint accession to the EU,'' he added.

    Papadopoulos said they discussed about the problem of Cyprus as well as ''the prospects of our joint accession to the EU and our bilateral relations.''

    ''I expressed the hope, and I think it is a common hope that this visit will commence a new era of even closer relations and closer bilateral cooperation,'' he added.

    Klaus said this is the first visit of the president of the Czech Republic and even of Czechoslovakia in the modern history of the country.

    ''By this visit we wanted to demonstrate the very good relations between our countries and willingness to expand them, to intensify them in the future'' he said.

    Klaus said the relations between the two countries reached a new stage due to the entry of the two countries into the EU and expressed hope ''we will be both good partners and good participants in the overall European integration process.''

    Invited to say what the solution to the problem is in his view, given the fact that he himself rejected the Annan plan, and if he agrees with the Czech president that a solution should come from inside, Papadopoulos said it was difficult for him to spell out specifically what's the solution, ''firstly because it does not depend entirely on us, secondly because we have only recently rejected the plan.''

    ''The important point I want to stress is that rejection of the plan is not a rejection of a solution. People did not vote 'no' to a solution. They voted 'no' because this particular plan did not meet the legitimate concerns, which may be different for various segments of the population,'' he added.

    ''And we will try and continue our efforts for a negotiated solution.

    I fully agree that the solution must come from the wish of the people from inside and not appear to be something imposed from above. On that I fully agree with the President of the Czech Republic and we will continue, perhaps redouble our efforts when the time is right that we shall bring about such amendments to the plan as to meet a limited number of concerns of the public,'' President Papadopoulos stressed.

    Asked about the measures aimed to support the Turkish Cypriots, announced by the government after the referendum and invited to say if this approach will continue, Papadopoulos said ''we will certainly continue'', adding that ''this was the second phase of the measures which had been taken by us last year.''

    ''We raised this point with the President of the Czech Republic during our talks. I think it is good statesmanship, good policy that we'll try in every respect to bring about some time of better balance in the financial position of the two communities if we are aiming at, and certainly we are, having a permanent, viable solution,'' President Papadopoulos said.

    He noted that ''economic disparity is a source of friction and this certainly does not help therefore for a negotiated settlement,'' and added that ''the measures we have taken, partly they had to be taken because of the accession of a divided Cyprus into the EU'', recalling that the EU decision is that the whole of the territory of Cyprus enters the EU but there is a suspension of the acquis communautaire in the areas not controlled by the Cyprus government until the government is able to exercise its control and authority.

    ''Therefore, measures had to be taken to protect the EU and for us to carry out our obligations towards the EU concerning movement of people, movement of goods and movement of capital,'' the Cypriot President said.

    He noted ''these measures have been worked out by the government about 10 days ago, before the referendum. Just in case the referendum would be negative we had prepared in detail this study and then we announced it the day after the referendum,'' he said.

    He added that ''in the financial aspect we proposed to the EU that the amount of money, which would have been given if there were a solution should be given from now, even though there is no solution'', describing this as ''important step.''

    Papadopoulos said proposals were also made by the Cyprus government as to the movement of agricultural products, adding that there will be compliance with the requirements for inspection by the EU and practical solutions as to how these inspections will be carried out through other authorities. ''EU may appoint (these authorities) with our agreement or we shall authorize the Chamber of Commerce to do it,'' he added.

    As regard the movement of manufactured goods, Papadopoulos said this will be closely controlled by the EU and that the European Commission is going to make proposals on this issue in two months' time, concerning the raw materials, value added tax on the goods and many other aspects.

    As to the movement of people, Papadopoulos said ''it is our obligation under the EU to allow absolute freedom of movement of citizens of Europe and this will be implemented.''

    ''The obligation for us to control the movement of people from third countries is there and I think a clear announcement was made yesterday (Wednesday) by the government,'' Papadopoulos added.

    [30] Papadopoulos critical of US comments, if these were intentional

    NICOSIA 7/5/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos on Thursday described ''very hostile'' remarks by the US Secretary of State and a State Department spokesman, if these were intentional mistakes.

    He also said that some countries wished to punish the Greek Cypriots, who in their overwhelming majority (76 per cent), rejected a UN-proposed plan for a political settlement.

    ''I think if these were intentional mistakes and not a slip of the

    tongue they must be deemed by us as being very hostile acts and I would add they are counterproductive if we all aim at bringing about the reunification of Cyprus through negotiations and not bring about a definite divisive line between the two sides,'' Papadopoulos said.

    He was commenting on Colin Powell's address to Turkish Cypriot politician Mehmet Ali Talat as ''prime minister'' (a post he holds in the Turkish Cypriot illegal regime) and Richard Boucher's reference to ''Greek Cypriot government''.

    Papadopoulos said he did not believe these were ''very productive attitudes'' and added ''it seems that some countries think in that way, they want to punish the people of Cyprus, who exercising their sovereign right they voted 'no' to this particular plan.''

    ''We think that the question of the status of the Turkish Cypriot community cannot be just changed by statements such as these. There are international and other treaties and decisions, which control that,'' he explained.

    Papadopoulos was commenting on moves by the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus to obtain some kind of recognition by the international community. The UN has said the regime was legally invalid. No country but Turkey recognizes the regime.

    On Boucher's statement that there can be no more negotiations on the Annan plan, President Papadopoulos had this to say ''I didn't know that Mr. Boucher was in charge of the negotiations. At least publicly he was not.''

    ''We will continue our effort in spite of what others would say. I want to stress the will for an agreement to reunify Cyprus comes

    through the people itself. And I think in the end this will prevail,'' he added.

    Papadopoulos was speaking to journalists after bilateral talks with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus, who is on a state visit to Cyprus.


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