|Monday, 11 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>October 11, 2004
 Deputy FM on a working visit to China
BEIJING 11/10/2004 (ANA/E.Boukaouri)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, who is on a working visit here in order to share Greece's experience and expertise in the staging of the Olympic Games as Beijing prepares for the 2008 Games, met with China's Deputy State Security Minister on Sunday.
According to diplomatic sources, the discussion centered on Olympic Games security.
In the morning Valinakis visited the Great Wall of China and in the afternoon he visited the Centre of Hellenic Studies at the University of Beijing. "It is a great honor for me to be visiting a historical University. I consider you colleagues, since, as you know, I was also a professor before becoming involved in politics," Valinakis told the University's Vice President and a group of Chinese professors as well as Greek professor Sigalas, present during his visit.
"Our two countries - Greece and China - are countries with ancient civilizations. We have very good relations and we wish to develop them further," Valinakis said, adding that "the Centre of Hellenic Studies is a great source of support in accomplishing this."
On Saturday evening, the Greek deputy foreign minister gave a press conference to the Chinese media, focusing on the Olympic Games.
"We benefited from the Olympic Games. We showed the new, modern side of Greece which has achieved its goals and managed to stage successful and safe Olympic Games on a human scale," he said.
The Chinese media's main concern was security and cost. Asked whether, Greece really did lose money from the whole affair, Valinakis said: "We don't believe we have lost money. Of course, there were great costs involved, but it was a unique opportunity for our country which managed in the end to send a message to the world and we are confident that we will be compensated in full, since the Games were safe and friendly, despite the threat that prevails in the world during this time." He added that he is confident Beijing will stage excellent Olympic Games.
Aside from transferring knowledge and expertise to Beijing on Olympic Games-related issues, Valinakis' visit also aims at reinforcing bilateral relations between Greece and China and setting the stage for Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' visit who has already been invited by his Chinese counterpart as well as that of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos. According to diplomatic sources, the already good relations between the two countries can be further strengthened through the improvement of financial transactions and tourism. To this end, a Greek consulate is expected to open soon in Shanghai, the country's financial centre.
On Monday, Valinakis will be meeting with China's Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for European affairs.
 President Stephanopoulos calls Greece-Bulgaria relations exemplary
SOFIA 11/10/2004 (ANA/B.Borisov)President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos characterized Greece-Bulgaria relations as being exemplary in the region, in an interview he gave to the Bulgarian news agency BTA on Sunday, on occasion of his official visit here which begins on Monday.
The Greek president emphasized that over the last 40 years and after the signing of 12 agreements which served as the starting point for friendship and cooperation between the two neighboring countries, the Greek-Bulgarian cooperation has acquired strategic importance.
"The opening of three new border crossings and the construction of the Burgass-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, are among the two countries' top priorities. Every possible effort is being made in this direction, so that every difficulty delaying their construction will be addressed and I believe that both countries have already made significant progress," Stephanopoulos said. In addition, he stressed that the economic cooperation between Sofia and Athens plays a significant role in Southeast Europe.
The president also noted that the road network connecting Sofia with Thessaloniki needs to be upgraded, with a network that will reduce travel time to three hours. "The realization of this work is a necessity, taking into consideration Bulgaria's imminent EU accession," Stephanopoulos said, adding that he hopes Bulgaria will soon realize the great economic benefits that this project can bring, which is a major part of European Corridor IV.
He also said that the total amount of capital aimed at supporting business initiatives in Bulgaria has been made available.
 Greek president refers to benefits, obligations Turkey would have as an EU member
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Sunday referred to the advantages that a future accession of neighboring Turkey into the European Union would entail, while at the same time detailing some of the commitments that Turkey would have vis-à-vis EU member Greece.
Speaking during events in the port town of Nafpaktos to commemorate the 433rd anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto -- where a Spanish-led fleet of Christian Mediterranean states sank an opposing Ottoman Turk force -- Stephanopoulos noted that today's European Union is a champion of human rights, a 25-nation bloc that modern-day Turkey wants to join.
"Until recently Turkey was a rival state for Greece. Today, whatever (bilateral) differences can be solved amid a climate of understanding. With their entry into the EU, the Turks will act in accordance with international law. That is why Greece will help with its (Turkey) accession," said Stephanopoulos, who steps down next spring after a second term as president of the republic.
Conversely, the Greek head of state referred directly to the obligations that Turkey must meet, such as recognizing the Republic of Cyprus (an EU member-state as well); recognizing the universal stature of the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate; allowing the unimpeded operation of the Halki School of Theology, various charitable organizations as well as the right of inheritance for ethnic Greeks in that country.
The government was represented by Deputy Social Insurances Minister Nikos Angelopoulos, whereas numerous deputies and local government representatives joined local residents in commemorating the noteworthy sea battle.
 Greek leadership hails election of Metropolitan of Zimbabwe Theodoros as Patriarch of Alexandria and All Egypt
ALEXANDRIA 11/10/2004 (ANA)Orthodox Metropolitan of Zimbabwe Theodoros on Saturday was unanimously elected as the 115th Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa by 13 Metropolitans of the Church's Holy Synod. Theodoros succeeded Patriarch Petros VII, who died when a military helicopter transporting him and his entourage crashed off Mount Athos in northern Greece last month.
The new Patriarch of Alexandria was born in Irakleio, Crete in 1954. He completed his studies in theology at the University of Thessaloniki in the mid '70s. Following his tenure as a deacon he was ordained into the priesthood in 1978 and first served in a parish on his native Crete. In September 1997 he was elected as the Orthodox Metropolitan of Cameroon, followed by his election as the Metropolitan of Zimbabwe in 2002.
During a preliminary round of voting for the new Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros received the most votes from a college of bishops. Metropolitan of Aksum (Ethiopia), Petros, and Metropolitan of Leontopolis (Ismaylia/Egypt), Dionysios, were also amongst the candidates to succeed Petros VII.
Congratulations: Meanwhile, Greece's political and ecclesiastical leadership over the weekend welcomed Theodoros' election as the new Orthodox Patriarch of All Africa, the most senior Orthodox Patriarchate after the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos expressed his warmest wishes for Theodoros' health, longevity and the fulfillment of the latter's worthy mission.
On his part, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis conveyed his congratulations and also wished Theodoros every success for the Church of Alexandria, expatriate Hellenism and for Orthodox faithful everywhere on the African continent.
Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou expressed his congratulations and hope for the successful continuation of Petros VII's work for Orthodoxy throughout Africa.
Finally, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos stressed that the Church of Greece will support and stand by the new Patriarch of Alexandria in his pastoral, missionary and social duties.
"Patriarch Theodoros retains all the virtues and qualifications necessary for the continuation of the ambitious and universally recognized work of his successor, Petros, in Africa; he also carries upon his shoulders the hopes, expectations and vision of Egypt's Hellenism," Christodoulos' telegram read.
 US condemns attack on Patriarchate in Phanar
WASHINGTON 11/10/2004 (ANA/A.Ellis)The US State Department condemned the attack on the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar earlier this week. In response to a question posed during the State Dept press briefing on Oct 8, Spokesman Richard Boucher replied: "An unknown person threw an explosive device at the Patriarchate building early Thursday morning, causing damage but thankfully no injuries. We condemn such senseless violence. We are in close contact with Turkish authorities, who are investigating the incident. We are also in close contact with officials of the Patriarchate."
 Karamanlis meets with top ministers, Greece's EU commissioner
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday met separately with Greece's representative on the European Commission, Commissioner Stavros Dimas, ruling New Democracy party secretary Vangelis Meimarakis and Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas.
No statements were made after the meetings.
 Education minister adamant over need for reforms
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou referred to a series of upcoming "radical reforms" for the education sector, in a newspaper interview published on Sunday.
In one instance, the minister cites one conditional avenue for possibly recognizing (by the Greek state) degrees handed out by private liberal arts schools.
"If we are given the opportunity by the EU and the Commission for the education ministry to have a say in the type of structures established in our country then we can consider the matter," she was quoted as saying in an interview published by the Sunday edition of the "Vima" daily.
However, she warned that private universities in Greece will never materialize under the Constitutional provisions now in force.
In reference to the controversial issue of university transfers in the country, Yiannakou said most of the criticism aired of late came from the same individuals that illegally exploited relevant provisions to transfer their children.
Finally, Yiannakou said she was in favor of evaluations for teachers.
"Evaluations are not conducted to punish someone; they are conducted to see if we have achieved our goals based on the means we have used."
 Justice Minister: No compromise in fighting corruption, vested interests
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)Justice Minister Anastasis Papaligouras on Sunday added his input over this week's high-pitched furor concerning vested interests and economic oligarchies, and the topical question of how and to what degree they influence the country's political life.
In an interview published by an Athens daily, Papaligouras said the New Democracy government's efforts at curbing corruption and vested interests will come without compromise and discounts.
"If our Constitution allowed, the percentage for the primary shareholder in broadcast media would be restricted to zero," he was quoted as saying by the Apogevmatini daily.
The justice minister emphasized that the government is deter-mined to create conditions for pluralism, equality and democracy in the news sector.
Moreover, he announced three major ministry initiatives for the judicial sector: doubling penalties for issues such as the Samina ferryboat sinking and the Ricomex building's collapse; reforming the prison system and combating cyber crime.
 PASOK spokesman responds to reports relating to presidential election
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)Main opposition Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) Spokesman Nikos Athenassakis on Sunday dismissed press reports that his party would support even a member of the present New Democracy (ND) government for the post of President of the Republic in the next presidential election, scheduled for next March.
''PASOK's position relating to the issue of the election of the President of the Republic is steadfast and only the statements of the Movement's President are valid,'' Athanassakis stressed.
''All the rest, which supposedly derive from PASOK president's associates as well as references to specific names are suspicious and evidently neither have been discussed nor are true,'' he added.
'Sunday Kathimerini' in a report on Sunday claimed that PASOK President George Papandreou could vote for the post of President of the Republic even a member of the present ND government, specifically current Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis.
 KKE, communist party reps from around the world march in Athens
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)A rally through downtown Athens on Saturday sponsored by the Parliament-represented Communist Party of Greece (KKE) focused on the slogan of "no tolerance, no self-elusion".
The protest march, which came after this week's meetings in Athens of numerous communist and labor parties from around the world, began at 1:30 p.m. and ended in front of the Greece's Parliament building.
KKE leader Aleka Papariga addressed a crowd of protesters, referring to a "mass movement, both Greek and international, for unified action with advanced goals against the interests of monopolistic capital and imperialism, either the American version or the European version..."
 Two former regional directors charged in scam involving Thrace-area development subsidies
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)Two former state-appointed regional directors for the east Macedonia-Thrace border region have been indicted on numerous felony counts linked with a scam involving entrepreneurs who bilked the government out of billions of drachmas in subsidies only to leave mere building foundations where businesses and manufacturing units were to have operated.
A five-year investigation by economic ministry and financial crimes unit (SDOE) auditors has been filed with the appellate court of Thrace, due to the seriousness of the charges.
Another 13 high-ranking officials with the eastern Macedonia-Thrace region and the state-controlled ET.BA investment bank have also been indicted, most on charges of dereliction of duty between 1990-1995.
A court date of Oct. 18 has been set for the trial of the two former regional directors.
 Part of Chinook helicopter retrieved Sunday
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)The front part of the Chinook helicopter which crashed in the sea off Mount Athos on September 11, was retrieved at 7:55 p.m. Sunday evening and is on board the ship "Nautilus", according to a statement issued by the Hellenic Navy General Staff.
"The cooperation between the Ministries of Defense and Development is continuing systematically and effectively, so that the rest of the helicopter can be retrieved," the statement continued.
 Central Bank of Greece in Kalamata looks for missing funds
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)As of Friday evening, high-ranking officials of the Central Bank of Greece are investigating how ¬ 5.65 million went missing from the bank's Kalamata branch.
The discovery that money was missing was made around 8:10 p.m. on Friday evening after employees inventoried the branch's cash assets. The incident was also reported to the police and the prosecutor's office.
The Bank of Greece issued a statement, emphasizing that the security measures at the branch are tight, including 24-hour security by armed guards, camera surveillance, etc. Since there is no evidence of breaking in, all possibilities are being examined, the statement said.
 Illegal immigrant arrests on Lesvos, port of Patra
Athens 11/10/2004 (ANA)Four illegal immigrants were arrested near the airport on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Friday, according to a coast guard press release.
The four illegal immigrants told authorities they arrived on the island with an inflatable raft from the opposite Turkish coast.
Meanwhile, three foreign nationals were arrested at the western port of Patra on charges of possessing forged travel documents. The three were reportedly attempting to board an Italy-bound ferry boat.
 Cyprus maintains right to veto Turkey's EU bid, Papadopoulos says
LARNACA 11/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)The Cypriot government will decide whether or not to veto the commencement of accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union at the December 17 European Council, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said here on Sunday, expressing hope that by then it would be possible for Cyprus to back Turkey's EU bid.
''The exercise of a veto would not be easy but the government maintains this right and expects Turkey to abide by its obligations,'' President Papadopoulos said, replying to questions before his departure for Helsinki where we will exchange views on the Cyprus question and other European issues.
''The Cypriot government will decide on this matter in December,'' he said and expressed hope that by then it would be possible for the Republic of Cyprus to back the commencement of negotiations for the accession of Turkey to the EU.
President Papadopoulos added that the Cypriot government believes that ''a European Turkey abiding by its obligations both towards the EU and towards each EU member would be in the interests of Cyprus, Turkey itself and the EU.''
Invited to comment on the position expressed by Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Gul that the Cyprus problem would not be an obstacle in Turkey's European course, President Papadopoulos said ''Gul presents the views of his country but Cyprus as an EU member has a right to veto.'' After his visit to Finland, Papadopoulos will visit Estonia and will return home next Thursday.
 President pledges not to abandon Cypriots' human rights
LIMASSOL 11/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos pledged here on Saturday that the government would not abandon the rights of its citizens as these are confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) of the Council of Europe (CoE).
Addressing the Seminar on International Law and Human Rights hosted in Limassol, President Papadopoulos noted that the safeguarding of human rights is a fundamental prerequisite for the permanent and peaceful solution of political problems.
Cyprus, the president added, is a victim of violation of fundamental international law principles due to the Turkish invasion in 1974 and the occupation of its northern third by Turkish troops, which continues until today.
''A large part of the Cypriot population was a victim of mass and organized human rights violations by these troops and this situation continues,'' Papadopoulos noted, adding that these assessments belong to international bodies.
President Papadopoulos briefed the participants on the appeals made to the ECHR by the Republic of Cyprus against Turkey.
He said that the CoE's Human Rights Committee in three interstate appeals ascertained violations of the European Convention on Human Rights due to Turkey's denial to allow approximately 200.000 Greek Cypriot refugees to return to their homes in Turkish-occupied areas, while it also ascertained inhuman treatment of Greek Cypriots which led to their ousting from the northern part of the island, deprivation from their properties, and denial of providing information regarding the persons missing since the Turkish invasion.
President Papadopoulos added that due to the fact Turkey is maintaining this situation, there was a new appeal to the ECHR, which ascertained on 10 May 2001 a continuation of the violation of the European Rights Convention by Turkey which aims at the geographical division of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The president noted that this decision is in the process of examination by the CoE's Committee of Ministers with a view to lifting of the violations ascertained by the ECHR.
''We look forward to seeing whether the political purposes emerging from time to time in the CoE will prevail over the member-states' highest responsibility to impose the respect of international law and the ECHR's decision,'' President Papadopoulos said.
''We will not abandon the rights of the Cypriots citizens, as they were confirmed by the European Court, and we will not accept any settlement which will not be in line with the respect of human rights of all Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the fair solution of property issues, according to the ECHR's decision, and the respect of the refugees' right to return to their properties,'' he added.
Furthermore, President Papadopoulos said that over the last decades there was ''impressive progress'' regarding the safeguarding of individual rights and freedoms, adding that the creation of a permanent court for the implementation of the European Human Rights Convention, as well as the creation of an international Criminal Court in 1998, constitute examples of this progress.
 Cypriot FM discusses Cyprus problem with Asian counterparts
NICOSIA 11/10/2004 (CNA)Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou discussed the Cyprus question during meetings with Foreign Ministers of
Asian states, in the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (SAME) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Iacovou met on Saturday with his Chinese counterpart Li Zhao Xing and held separate meetings Friday with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Din Syed Jaasar Albar, and South Korea, Ban Ki Moon.
During Saturday's meeting, Iacovou briefed Li Zhao Xing on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem, as well as the deliberations in the UN Security Council regarding the recent UN Secretary General's reports on Cyprus and called for the active support of the positions of the Republic of Cyprus.
Li Zhao Xing said that he looks forward to a visit by Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos to Beijing. Iacovou also invited Li Zhao Xing to visit Cyprus.
Friday, Iacovou met his counterparts of Malaysia and South Korea, whom he briefed on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the Republic of Cyprus' policy for the support of Turkish Cypriots as well as the efforts made by the Turkish Cypriots to gain political recognition.
 Citizens of Morphou remain committed to a Cyprus settlement
NICOSIA 11/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)The citizens of the occupied since the Turkish invasion town of Morphou reiterated on Sunday the Greek Cypriot side's commitment to work constructively with UN Secretary General Koki Anna for the achievement of a functional and viable solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Anna plan.
In a resolution on the occasion of the 24th anti-occupation rally to Morphou, the citizens of the occupied town note that the rejection of the Anna plan by the Greek Cypriot community ''was a rejection of the specific plan and not a rejection of a solution.''
''The Greek Cypriot side remains committed to work in the same positive and constructive way with the UN Secretary-General on the basis of his plan for the achievement of a workable and viable solution of the Cyprus problem''.
The Greek Cypriot side's commitment to a solution was also reiterated by acting President of the Republic, House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias, as well as Morphou Mayor Charalambos Pittas, in their speeches at the event.