|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>October 25, 2004
 Greece and FYROM willing to seek mutually acceptable name for Balkan state
SKOPJE 25/10/2004 (ANA)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis held talks with his Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) counterpart Ilida Mitreva here on Saturday and expressed both sides' willingness to seek a mutually acceptable name for this small Balkan state.
"We are willing to proceed with intensive paces to seek a mutually acceptable name for FYROM in the framework of talks taking place in New York under the auspices of the United Nations," Molyviatis said, while Mitreva termed the name issue one of "paramount national interest."
Mitreva also said "we hail the will of the Greek government for talks on an intensive basis. We are also ready just as the Greek side is."
Molyviatis confirmed Greece's steadfast and warm support for FYROM's course towards the European Union during his separate meetings with Mitreva, President Branko Crvenkovski and Prime Minister Kari Kostov.
Referring indirectly to the referendum expected to take place in the country on November 7 on the administrative charter which gives the Albanian minority increased rights, the Greek foreign minister expressed the hope that "there will be no developments or options which could have negative consequences for the country's accession to the EU."
Molyviatis said "accession to the EU constitutes a great vision not only for FYROM but for the entire region. It will secure stability and prosperity for all the peoples of southeastern Europe."
The two sides are also close to signing agreements on safeguarding Greek investments, which are the largest foreign investments in the neighboring country and amount to over 700 million dollars.
Molyviatis also held talks with the leaders of the country's main political parties.
 Erdogan refers to Turkey's 'commitment' at solving Aegean differences
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted by a mass circulation Athens daily on Sunday as saying that his country is committed to solving its differences with Greece on a variety of issues in the Aegean.
Erdogan's published interview in the "Vima" daily comes following a weeklong barrage of violations of Greek airspace and territorial waters by Turkish warplanes and warships, respectively, a development roundly condemned by Athens as incompatible with the neighboring country's European Union prospects.
On his part, the Turkish prime minister said a "just resolution" for the Aegean is attainable, while declining to touch the sensitive issue of airspace and territorial water violations by the Turkish military.
Moreover, he said responsibilities for a failure to solve the long-standing Cyprus problem rests with the Greek Cypriot side, as the latter voted overwhelmingly earlier this year to reject the Annan peace plan.
Turkey's foreign ministry this week denied that airspace and territorial waters violations occurred, referring only to "normal training activities."
According to reports, Athens has already briefed NATO and the European Union over the most recent Turkish provocations in the Aegean -- a development that comes just weeks before European Union leaders decide whether to give Turkey a "start date" for EU accession talks.
 Turkish foreign ministry denies violations of Greek air space and territorial waters
ISTANBUL 25/10/2004 (ANA)Turkey on Saturday denied violations of Greek air space and of Greek territorial waters and spoke of usual training activities.
An announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry said Turkey places great importance on its relations with Greece and is making efforts to improve them even further.
The announcement referred to Greek press reports on violations of Greek air space in the Aegean by Turkish warplanes and of violations of Greek territorial waters near the islets of Imia by Turkish coast guard vessels and said "the Turkish warplanes and ships are making usual training activities in our territorial waters and our national air space, as well as in international waters and our international air space in the Aegean and no special activity has taken place in this framework."
It further said "moreover, the carrying out of routine missions by Turkish coast guard vessels in our territorial waters does not constitute a special situation", adding that "therefore, we do not consider correct the presentation of news concerning usual activities in accordance with international law as the existence of tension in the Aegean."
The announcement concluded by stressing that "Turkey places great importance on its relations with Greece and is making sincere efforts for their further improvement, in a spirit of serving common interests and cooperation with the purpose of creating and consolidating a climate of trust in the Aegean."
Turkish coast guard vessel approaches Imia islets: On yet another day a Turkish coast guard vessel violated Greek territorial waters on Sunday and approached the islets of Imia at a distance of about 350 meters, press reports said.
The Turkish vessel, shadowed by a Greek coast guard boat, sailed around the islets in the area from 11.05 a.m. until 11.30 a.m. when it left the region.
 Poll shows majority of Greeks against Turkish EU prospects unless Ankara stops Aegean violations, recognizes Cyprus
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)The first significant opinion poll in Greece since the EU Commission provided a "conditional" green light for Turkey's European Union prospects shows that a vast majority of Greeks are against the neighboring country's potential membership unless Ankara ceases violations in the Aegean, fully recognizes Greek sovereign rights as well as the Republic of Cyprus -- and all by December, no less.
December marks the crucial month when EU leaders will gather at a summit to decide on whether to give Turkey its long-coveted date for the commencement of accession negotiations -- talks expected to last for more than a decade, should they start, according to analysts.
Roughly the same majority of respondents in the poll also opposes Turkey's European course unless Ankara withdraws its troops from the territory of Cyprus that it illegally occupies since a July 1974 invasion.
Results of the nationwide poll, conducted by the Athens-based Rass firm, were published in the weekly newspaper "Paron" on Sunday. The poll was conducted Oct. 20 and 21 on a sample of 1,021 respondents via random phone interviews.
Asked "what should Greece's stance be if Turkey does not cease its violations in the Aegean by December?", 76.3 percent of respondents said they opposed the commencement of accession negotiations; 18 percent said Athens should support Turkey's bid, while 5.7 percent of respondents replied "I don't know/no answer".
On the question of recognition of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus (only Turkey does not recognize the new EU member-state), 74.9 percent of respondents favored Greece's opposition to Turkey's EU prospects if the latter fails to alter its stance.
Regarding a more general question on whether Turkey will succeed in eventually joining the European bloc, 54.3 percent of respondents answered in the negative, 42.6 percent in the affirmative and 3.1 percent didn't provide an answer.
Asked if a possible Turkish EU accession is beneficial or detrimental to Greece's interests, 58.7 percent of respondents said it was detrimental to Greece's interests; 36.1 percent said a Turkish accession was beneficial for the country's interests.
Finally, asked about specific approval for any future Turkish accession -- a highly topical issue of late in western Europe -- 51 percent of respondents said Parliament should be called on to decide, whereas 46.1 percent said a national referendum should be held on whether to allow Turkey into the European Union.
 New Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa assumes throne
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)The new Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Theodoros, was enthroned on Sunday as the 116th Patriarch of Orthodoxy's second in ranking Patriarchate, following the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Theodoros' enthronement comes after the death of Petros VII last month following a military helicopter crash in northern Greece.
Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos led a high-ranking government delegation, while representatives from Orthodox Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches from around the world also attended, including Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos and Archbishop of Albania Anastasios.
The former Orthodox Metropolitan of Zimbabwe and veteran Christian missionary said during a ceremony that he will open a dialogue with all faiths, especially Islam, in order to deal with the problems facing the African continent, pointing to poverty, hunger and terrorism. He also said that one of his goals is to open a seminary in Egypt.
 European Left conference begins in Rome
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)The international conference of the European Left, of the European Left Party, which was founded in May by leftist parties from all countries in Europe, began in Rome on Sunday.
The conference is also attended by a 10-member delegation of the Coalition of the Left and Progress party, headed by its leader Nikos Constantopoulos.
 Council of Economic Experts president says members had no objections on fiscal inventory
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)Council of Economic Experts (SOE) President Ploutarchos Sakellaris stated on Saturday there had been no objections or hesitations by SOE members on the fiscal inventory.
He was replying to a press report claiming that a SOE member had raised questions about the fiscal inventory.
"In no memorandum and in no discussion had objections or hesitations been expressed on the fiscal inventory," Sakellaris said, adding that "all the members of the SOE had supported and are supporting the fiscal inventory from the very beginning."
The SOE president further noted that the government's decision to restore transparency and the reliability of fiscal data was imperative and it was implemented with absolute consistency and transparency.
 Deputy interior minister ascertains improvement in 3rd CSF absorption
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)Deputy Interior Minister Athanassios Nakos ascertained an improvement in the 3rd Community Support Framework's (CSF) absorption capacity, during a meeting held with the country's regional secretary generals in Iraklio, Crete, on Saturday on preparations for the 4th CSF.
The meeting focused on the performance of management units and possibilities of speeding up the absorption of funds from the 3rd CSF.
Nakos said absorption in all administrative regions, which had been at very low levels, has increased considerably and termed the meeting "exhaustive but useful."
A meeting was also chaired on Friday night by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, focusing on local administration issues and the "Thiseas" program.
Local administration union calls for enactment of regional governor and council
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)The enactment of third stage local administration at regional level and the election of a regional governor and a regional council are called for in a resolution passed during the regular conference of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) which came to an end in the town of Hersonisos, Crete, on Sunday.
The resolution said the regions constitute a level having the necessary demographic, social and economic factors for the planning, programming and implementation of regional development.
It proposes, for this reason that the first elected bodies of regional administration, which will undertake to implement the 4th Community Support Framework at regional level, should result from the local elections due to take place in 2006.
KEDKE also believes it to be mature and essential that the suitable structure of metropolitan governance should be established which will handle supra-local problems and will take decisions for the entire urban complex.
In addition, it also considers it imperative that an effective dialogue should be initiated between the government, the political parties and local administration, while the New Municipalities and Communities Code must constitute a milestone for reforms required to strengthen the role of local administration in the country.
 Health minister holds talks with hospital directors in Thessaloniki
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, accompanied by Deputy Health Minister Giorgos Constantopoulos, is scheduling a series of meetings with the directors of all hospitals in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, for talks on current problems facing the health sector.
Kaklamanis, who arrived in Thessaloniki on Friday, visited the clinics of the Thessaloniki Psychiatric Hospital on Saturday morning, as well as the methadone unit operating on the premises, and discussed existing problems and the foundation's prospects in the wider framework of psychiatric reform.
"Many steps have been taken but a great deal has still to be done," he said.
The minister then visited the "Papanikolaou" hospital in the city and was briefed on its functions by its director and staff members.
 Anniversary of UN's establishment celebrated in Athens
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)The 59th anniversary of the United Nations' establishment was celebrated in Athens on Sunday with a flag-raising ceremony atop the Acropolis and with the laying of a wreath in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Additionally, a roundtable discussion was organized by the Observatory for International Organizations and Globalization in cooperation with the Society of International Law and International Relations, where a message by UN Chief Kofi Annan was read out.
On his part, Panteios university professor and former foreign ministry official Stelios Perrakis cited Greece's recent election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, while Parliament's diplomatic adviser, Haris Karabarbounis, cited the Cyprus problem's "internationalization" via several UN resolutions over the years.
 Memorial service for Greek casualties of El Alamein
ALEXANDRIA 25/10/2004 (ANA)A memorial service for the fallen Greek servicemen of the Battle of El Alamein was held on Saturday at a monument erected in honor of those who fought during the pivotal WWII clash.
The memorial service coincided with the 62nd anniversary of the famous desert battle between the victorious Allies and the German-Italian forces.
More than 100 Greek soldiers are buried at the El Alamein military cemetery.
A delegation of Greek and Cypriot military, diplomatic and retired officers' groups laid wreaths at the monument.
 Harbor officials intercept illegal immigrants in Crete, arrest 8 immigrant smugglers
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)Harbor officials detected over 65 illegal immigrants south of Viano, Crete, on Sunday after they had disembarked from an immigrant smuggling vessel.
The immigrant smugglers then attempted to flee the area in a 15-metre boat but harbor officials stopped them and led the boat to the port of Ierapetra where the eight immigrant smugglers were arrested and will be brought before a public prosecutor on Monday.
The illegal immigrants, all of them men of a young age, said they were Palestinians but according to information gathered they are Egyptians. They are all in good health and have been taken to Viano.
 Multicultural festival by EU 'Equal' initiative was held in Thessaloniki on Sunday
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)The first multicultural festival by the European Union's "Equal" initiative took place in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Sunday with the cooperation of the ERT-3 television channel.
Ten television productions (seven of them by Greek Television and the remaining three by NET News) presented during the festival and concerned the lives, problems and work of immigrants, repatriated Greeks and gypsies.
The festival was organized by ERT-3 in the framework of the EU "Equal" initiative and the issue of "racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination" in particular.
 Local gov't politician arrested in bogus ID sting operation
Athens 25/10/2004 (ANA)The deputy mayor of the near-Athens Acharnes Township was arrested on Saturday for his alleged involvement in a ring that supplied fake ID cards and documentation for passports from within a central Athens police station.
The politician, identified only as "Skrekis", was also charged with another civilian and police officers following an internal affairs sting operation this week.
The man was in the back seat of a vehicle driven by one of the police officers arrested. The latter allegedly handed an undercover police woman a bogus police ID.
The deputy mayor of Acharnes, however, maintained his innocence, saying he was merely a longtime friend of the civilian arrested in the car -- the owner of a football pools outlet -- and unaware of the criminal activity taking place.
Acharnes is a municipality in the extreme northwest of the greater Athens area on the foot of Mount Parnitha.
The entire investigation has been turned over to a local prosecutor.
 Straw: Recognition of Cyprus, an issue discussed with Turkey
LONDON 25/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that Turkish recognition of the Republic of Cyprus is one in a range of issues which he has in a regular dialogue with Ankara.
Straw was replying to a question by Labor MP Tom Cox in the House of Commons on whether he would make representations to the Turkish government officially to recognize the state of the Republic of Cyprus.
''I have a regular dialogue with the Turkish government on a range of issues relating to Cyprus. Turkish recognition of the Republic of Cyprus is one of them'', he stated.
Replying to another question put out by Cox, Straw said ''the principal issues involving the whole of Cyprus on which the cooperation of the Turkish government is required is efforts to find a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem''.
British Minister for Europe Denis MacShane answering a question by Labor MP Andrew Mackinlay on the assessment Britain has made of the compatibility of the Annan Plan provisions on property, said ''we are content that the property component of the Annan Plan is compatible with the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949''.
Replying also to a question in relation to Turkish Cypriots, Secretary of State for the Home Department Des Browne said that following the entry of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union on 1 May 2004, Cypriot nationals like all other EEA nationals may exercise free movement rights in the UK including the right to enter the UK on production of a valid passport or identity card.
He noted that this right of movement includes the right of movement as a worker adding that to exercise these rights they must be in a possession of a passport or identity card issued by the Republic of Cyprus.
''The EU acquits remains suspended in the North of Cyprus'', he pointed out saying that documentation that has been issued by the illegal regime in Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus "would not be accepted as evidence that the individual has the right of free movement as an EEA national or for travel to the UK''.
 Mavroyiannis informes UN on Cyprus' CBMs
NEW YORK 25/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations, Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis, said in the year that has followed the ratification of the Ottawa Convention by the Republic of Cyprus, the Cypriot government has proceeded with implementing its commitments.
In a speech at the First Committee of the General Assembly of UN, Mavromattis added that in December 2003 alone, 4000 stockpiled anti-personnel mines were destroyed, in accordance with the provisions of the Ottawa Convention.
Informing the Committee with regard to initiatives of the Cyprus Government over the past year in the field of Confidence Building Measures, Ambassador Mavrommatis said ''it is not only the endeavor of fully complying with the Ottawa Convention that operates as the driving force behind my Government's abovementioned actions''.
As a matter of principle and priority, he pointed, ''our aim is to avail ourselves of the broader horizons this Convention opens up, in the direction of further promoting confidence building measures, despite the continuing occupation of a significant part of Cyprus' territory.''
Utilizing the extensive possibilities offered by such developments and with a view to defusing the situation on the ground and minimizing its potentially explosive character, the Cyprus Government, he said, has proceeded with extending the so far unilateral de-mining process it initiated exactly one year ago.
Furthermore, and in the context of confidence building, he added, we have recently proposed the withdrawal of military forces from sensitive areas and the abstention from military exercises therein.
Mavroyiannis said also that the Republic of Cyprus has also put forward to the United Nations Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) a proposal for clearing all minefields within the buffer zone, both those of the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus as well as those of the Turkish forces.
He informed that while a positive response from the other side is still pending, the Government of Cyprus has indicated its willingness to proceed unilaterally with the clearing of National Guard minefields within the buffer zone, in co-operation with UNFICYP.
''To this end, the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has already conducted an on-site investigation of the minefields within the Buffer Zone and has prepared a technical mission report outlining the practical steps required for the actual de-mining process'', he added.
Moreover, and in accordance with an Agreement concluded between the Government of Cyprus and UNFICYP last June, UNFICYP has begun setting
up the necessary infrastructure for the implementation of the aforementioned project, he said, adding that the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus has already established a specialized unit known as the ''Mine Action Centre'' which will provide technical assistance during the de-mining process.
As known the project for de-mining the Buffer Zone, which is expected to begin in the next few months, will be mainly financed by the European Union, which has already allocated the amount of 2.5 million Euros for the initiation of the project.
We will continue assessing and considering the possibilities we have and will be ready to implement further steps in that direction, he reassured.
Mavroyiannis expressed hope that Cyprus will prove to be a successful case study, epitomizing the value of confidence building measures and their wider implications, which transcend the boundaries of practical disarmament measures, and have the potential to alter the parameters of conflict situations.
''We firmly believe that confidence building is an important factor in fostering the conditions for facilitating political processes, towards settlement of disputes'', he concluded.