|Thursday, 21 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-03-10
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>March 10, 2005
 FinMin meets with foreign investors in London
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Foreign investors are showing a higher interest and confidence in the Greek economy, with proof being a recently issued Greek 30-year state bond loan, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters in London after a series of meetings with Bank of England governor Mervyn King and foreign institutional investors, the Greek minister said he presented the government's economic policy after the Olympic Games, a policy aimed to boost the country's competitiveness and to emphasize outgoing policies.
"Foreign investors' interest is also showed in the Greek stock market and in the government's privatisation programme," Alogoskoufis said.
The Greek FinMin presented to foreign investors the government's privatisation programme in the next six months and polices to reduce the country's fiscal deficit.
"I believe there is very good climate abroad around the Greek economy, and that the government's policy, as it unfolds in coming months and years, will greatly strengthen existing confidence in the Greek economy," he added.
Commenting on his meeting with Bank of England governor King -- both men studied at the University of London -- Alogoskoufis said: "we discussed European policy, European economic prospects and a review of the EU's Stability and Growth Pact currently under discussion in the EU, and of course the UK's economy. Great Britain is not a member of the Eurozone, but has a very large economy and common points with the European economy which we discussed".
Press briefing focuses on economic issues: The government's economic policies expectedly dominated questions at Wednesday's press briefing, a day after Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis fielded queries at a wide-ranging press conference and dinner hosted by the Foreign Press Association of Greece (FPA).
Asked several questions related to Karamanlis' high-profile statements on the economy, Antonaros emphasised that the government's goal is to rejuvenate the Greek economy towards the benefit of all citizens, something he said means increasing competitiveness, implementing structural reforms and releasing an economic dynamism long dormant in the country.
Additionally, he flatly dismissed one questioner's inference of "another two years of economic austerity" from the premier's statements -- a critique repeated in certain opposition papers on Wednesday -- by underlining that Karamanlis referred "clearly, thoroughly, in detail and with language understood by all Greeks regarding a wide range of issues."
In a response dealing with the press conference itself, Antonaros -- a veteran foreign correspondent and the previous president of the FPA before assuming the alternate government spokesman's position -- dismissed criticism that the current FPA leadership deflected any press questions at the Tuesday event.
 Gov't attacks Pangalos over quip on ending lump sum pension payments
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)The government on Wednesday launched into a surprise attack against high-profile PASOK deputy and former minister Theodoros Pangalos over the latter's televised statement hours earlier favoring the abolishment of lump sum pension payments.
"The masks have fallen today. PASOK's so-called social sensitivity has once again been revealed as no more than big words. PASOK's coordinator for the (party's) standing economic affairs committee, Mr. Pangalos, voiced his support for the abolition lump sum pension payments in Greece," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said in beginning his daily press briefing on Wednesday.
Moreover, Antonaros called on main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou to clarify whether he supports Pangalos' view on the issue.
In a subsequent response, Pangalos -- a former foreign and culture minister, among others -- charged that the spokesman's criticism was merely part of an effort at creating political impressions.
Pangalos added that his comments about the lump sum payments were "personal views that have never been discussed by PASOK".
"This is a theoretical view, which if ever implemented would have to apply to anyone hired after the abolition of the lump sum pension payments," he clarified.
 PM to participate in Madrid conference on terrorism
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will participate in the Madrid conference on terrorism on Thursday and Friday and will be holding meetings on its sidelines with its host Jose Luis Zapatero and with his counterparts from Romania and Poland at 16.30 and 18.30 respectively on Thursday.
Asked whether the prime minister will be meeting his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that "so far" his agenda includes the meetings which have been announced, adding that in the framework of international conferences which are characterised by many participations and a brief period of time "there is very little time and limited possibilities for meetings."
 PM chairs party's Political Council meeting, says 2005 year of fundamental changes and reforms
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister and ruling New Democracy party President Costas Karamanlis, chairing the party's Political Council meeting on Wednesday, said 2005 is a year of fundamental changes and reforms. He added that the government did well in its first year in power, without this meaning that there is no ground for improvement.
Karamanlis said ND was aware of the secret debts and the deficits. However, the fiscal audit showed how great they are. The prime minister painted a grim picture of the state of the Greek economy, saying that ''we are descending the steps of the 15 within the European Union''.
He further said that the government's national duty is to have the country move forward and stressed that he himself is optimistic.
The prime minister confirmed the policy of mild adjustment without conveying burdens to weaker social classes and without this meaning that bold decisions will not be taken. However, he added that there will be dialogue and an understanding with social groups.
ND Central Committee secretary Vangelis Meimarakis said changing the party's institutional attitude is a wager, adding that the party supports the government's options and that a change in mentality is necessary.
The Political Council discussed preparations for the Central Committee's meeting on March 17,18 and the ratification of the party's regional organisation regulation.
 PASOK MPs table question citing PM's comments
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Eighteen main opposition PASOK deputies on Wednesday tabled a Parliament question towards the economy minister regarding statements a day earlier by the prime minister, and specifically the latter's comment that recent cuts in public sector waste resulted in three billion euros worth of savings for state coffers.
Meanwhile, the main opposition's Parliamentary group coordinators unleashed stinging criticism against the government during a press conference coinciding with the one-year anniversary of New Democracy's landslide election victory.
Top MPs Theodoros Pangalos, Christos Papoutsis, Anna Diamantopoulou, Alekos Papadopoulos, Thanassis Tsouras and Maria Damanaki criticized the government on a variety of issues, while mostly focusing on the theme that ND failed to fulfill its pre-election promises in the 12 months since it assumed the government's reins.
 PM Karamanlis meets with Albanian human rights party delegation
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday met with Albania's visiting Union for Human Rights party leader, Vangelis Doules, during which they reviewed the situation of the ethnic Greek minority in the neighbouring country, as well as Albania's European prospect.
Doules is heading a party delegation to Greece ahead of the upcoming general elections in Albania.
"We briefed the prime minister on the recent developments regarding the respect of the human rights of the Greek ethnic minority, on the problems and concerns, and also on our hopes and the the backing that is needed -- which we have and will have to a greater extent -- from Greece, for the recovery of Albania," Doules told reportes after the talks.
"We also discussed matters related to Albania's European prospect, and the support Greece is systematically providing in that direction," he said.
Doules said his party wanted a strong Greek ethnic minority, wherever its members were -- in Greece or in Albania...It is a difficult struggle, but, with the support we have, we hope that we will succeed in this".
Public order minister and Human Rights party delegation discuss identity cards for expatriate Greeks: Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and a delegation of Albania's Union of Human Rights party held talks on Wednesday on speeding up procedures for issuing special identity cards for expatriates from Albania who are living in Greece.
The party's delegation was headed by President and Deputy Evangelos Doules, while also participating were Deputy Labour Minister Thomas Mitsios, the Mayor of the city of Himare Bolanos and party members Gotsis and Bezianis.
Voulgarakis told the delegation that his ministry is speedily promoting the procedures for the issuing of such identity cards which will have a 10-year duration and will resolve considerable issues for their bearers and their life in the country.
 ND parliamentary group secretary briefs PM on group matters
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy party (ND) parliamentary group secretary Apostolos Stavrou on Wednesday briefed party leader and prime minister Costas Karamanlis on matters concerning the function of the parliamentary group.
Stavrou told reporters after the meeting that they reviewed current activities and future plans.
He said they also discussed current affairs, but declined further elaboration.
 Papandreou praises Stephanopoulos' tenure as two-time president
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Outgoing President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday received main opposition PASOK president George Papandreou, with the latter praising the veteran politician's two terms at the country's head of state and as Greece's representative in various state visits.
Papandreou declined to answer reporters' questions on the prime minister's press conference a day earlier.
 Papariga tours flood-ravaged Evros prefecture
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Wednesday toured areas of the flood-stricken Evros border prefecture, where she called for immediate government subsidies and compensation for damages sustained by local residents.
She also called for immediate and increased funding to build anti-flooding infrastructure in the region, which shares borders with Turkey and Bulgaria.
 International conference on cooperation between countries of SE Europe to take place in Skopje
SKOPJE 10/3/2005 (ANA/N. Frangopoulos)An international conference on developing cooperation between the countries of southeastern Europe will take place in Skopje, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), on Thursday and Friday.
The conference will focus on examining possibilities of improving regional cooperation, boosting trade and increasing investments.
One of the main issues to be probed during the conference will be coordinating the efforts of the countries of southeastern Europe to achieve their economic development with the aim of reaching the level of EU member-states.
The conference will be attended by about 150 politicians, businessmen and experts. It will be held under the auspices of FYROM's President Branko Crvenkovski and the EU's enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.
 Turkish military helicopter infringes Athens FIR rules
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Air force radars registered an infringement of air traffic rules in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) by a Turkish military helicopter at 22.40 on Tuesday.
The helicopter had taken off from a Turkish frigate which is participating in an aeronautical anti-submarine exercise of the neighbouring country and taking place 15 miles north, northeast of the island of Limnos.
The unknown trace was recognised by two Greek air force F-16 jets. Relevant sources of the National Defence General Staff said there was no Turkish air force activity in the Aegean on Tuesday.
 Greek economy not in crisis, Bank of Greece governor says
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)The Greek economy in not in a crisis and a slowdown in growth rates was expected, Bank of Greece governor Nikolaos Garganas said on Wednesday.
Presenting the bank's annual report on monetary policy to an Economic Affairs Committee in Parliament, the central banker said "an ECOFIN decision stresses that after 2006 the country's fiscal deficit should continue to fall. I say move faster, if possible".
Garganas said inflation was moving within a five-year range, while GDP growth was expected to slowdown to 3.3 percent this year, down from a budget projection of a 3.9 percent growth rate.
"This slowdown began in the second half of 2003 and continues today, without excluding a bigger fall," he noted.
Garganas, however, stressed that GDP growth was higher than the Eurozone average growth rate and underlined that Greek convergence was progressing. He attributed Greece's high growth rates in previous years to lower interest rates in the country "due to Greece's entry in the Eurozone" and to Olympic projects.
"A slowdown in growth rates for one year is not a big deal. The question is what we should do from here on," he said.
Garganas underlined a marked loss in competitiveness in product prices, high fiscal deficit and public debts, saying "it is not possible to maintain deficits at these levels".
He recommended a "decisive intervention" and a speedy implementation of necessary reforms to boost competitiveness, employment and productivity in the country.
Moreover, he warned that "an increase in private consumption would inevitably slowdown in the long term, when households' debt would tend to stabilise as a percentage of GDP.
Garganas said that private consumption accounted for 50 percent of economic growth currently in Greece.
The central banker added that high corporate profits in the country was a positive development, although he stressed that several enterprises were not operating under competition rules.
Garganas said the state should intervene in these cases, promoting necessary legislation and strengthening the role of a Competition Commission.
Finally, Garganas declined to comment on whether the government would be able to implement this year's budget or review it in the context of an updated Stability and Growth Plan.
 Trade unions blast government's economic policy
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)The country's largest trade union umbrella group on Wednesday blasted statements by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis outlining the government's economic policy.
"The prime minister has announced a tough two-year austerity policy for wages and pensions, cuts in social spending, and the sale of state property," said Christos Polyzogopoulos, head of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece.
"Recession is on our doorstep," Polyzogopoulos warned in a statement.
He noted a lack of investment, the closure of companies, redundancies, and unbridled prices.
"In the face of this reality, the premier is merely repeating his unfulfilled election pledges," Polyzogopoulos said.
 No EU funds lost from Information Society program
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)No funds have been lost from the European Union funded Information Society programme for 2004, the government said on Wednesday.
The secretary general for the information society, V Asimakopoulos, called for further acceleration in the pro-gramme's implementation as requirements for the absorption of public spending in 2005 had doubled from a year earlier.
In addition, the EU Commission accepted a plan submitted by the secretariat, which belongs to the finance ministry, on monitoring information technology projects, Asimakopoulos added.
 Strong Greek participation in MIPIM real estate fair in Cannes
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Representatives of around 25 organisations, agencies, enter-prises and government ministries from Greece will participate in this year's MIPIM real estate international trade fair in Cannes.
Greek exhibitors include the Culture ministry, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works ministry, Hellenic Investment Centre, Olympic Real Estate Enterprise SA, Public Sector's Real Estate Enterprise, etc.
Foreign investors shown increased interest for the Greek exhibitors' pavillions because of a government programme to make a more efficient use of Olympic sports and infrastructure facilities, currently underway.
Culture Alternate Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, in Cannes for the MIPIM fair, said the project with Olympic sports facilities was more difficult than the organising of the Olympic Games. Mrs Petralia emphasized on the final goal, which is improving living quality for citizens in the wider Athens area.
Real estate prices in Europe are currently in record high levels but are expected to fall when interest rates start rising, a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers said.
The report, presented at the MIPIM fair in Cannes, said that cities with more "buy" recommendations in Europe were Prague, Warsaw and Budapest, where economic growth rates were expected to be two times faster than EU average growth rates. The top developing real estate markets, outside the EU, with a very high investment risk was Istanbul and Moscow.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers said shopping centres were the best investments in the real estate sector in Europe, although returns were expected to slowdown slightly, while attractive sectors were also warehouse and private houses.
 PM, Tourism minister discuss tourism policy
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday met with Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and discussed tourism policy issues.
Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Avramopoulos said he briefed the Premier over progress in ministry policies and expressed his satisfaction over results of his recent tour in the US saying it was a pity that Greece missed chances to host big movie productions in the past. The Greek minister stressed that the ministry was currently promoting two programmes aimed to support movie productions in the country.
Avramopoulos said that the ministry has selected a large area in Viotia prefect, north of Attica, which could be the site to build a Formula One race track. The Greek minister said such an investment needed good preparation and serious handling and reserved the right to make specific announcements in the future.
Avramopoulos said the country needed to support alternative forms of tourism to achieve a longer tourism season and added that the tourism industry needed restructuring.
Tourism minister to Berlin for global trade fair: Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos leaves for Berlin on Thursday to take part in the international ITB travel trade fair, one of the largest events of its kind worldwide.
On the sidelines of the exhibition, which begins on Friday, the minister will meet his counterparts from Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey.
 Greek Parliament approves new CEO in Public Power Corporation
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)A Greek parliament commission on Wednesday approved the appointment of D. Maniatakis at the post of Public Power Corporation's new chief executive.
Maniatakis was chief executive at ICAP. Speaking in parliament, Maniatakis reassured commission members that PPC would continue its social role and that he would do his best to make a more efficient use of the corporation's staff and to boost shareholders' value. Maniatakis said that PPC's new business plan should be updated and that he would brief the commission over his work in three to four months.
 Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry organises conference on World Bank
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Prompt and reliable information for Greek businesses on the activities and initiatives of the World Bank and of its financing organisations constitutes a springboard for their activities and expansion in overseas markets.
This conclusion was reached during a conference jointly organised by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) and the finance and economy ministry on the theme "Cooperation with the organisations of the World Bank Group in the areas of the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea."
EBEA President Drakoulis Fountoukakos said in an address that the Chamber is cooperating closely with important institutional agencies which, with their policy and decisions, play a decisive role in shaping the economic future of the world.
 Women on Leadership conference begins in Athens
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Women on Leadership, an international conference, opened in Athens on Wednesday, arranged by the Institute for the Development of Women Managers and Entrepreneurs, the Greek Management Association, and the Yacht Club of Greece.
Launching the event, Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou underlined the importance of women in business.
 Stocks rise in blue-chip buying
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Stocks finished higher with players returning to high capitalisation paper, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 3,091.48 points, marking a rise of 0.43%. Turnover was 165.8 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalisation shares ended 0.59% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.51% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.48% down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 169 to 116 with 63 remaining unchanged.
 Two out of three drug smugglers intercepted near Greek-Albanian frontier
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Border guards arrested two out of three reputed drug smugglers attempting to enter the country on Tuesday through a river bed on the Greek-Albanian frontier, reports state.
According to reports, one of the three suspects was injured after being shot in the leg in what was described as an accidental shooting.
Nearly 48 kilos of cannabis carried by the suspects - listed as Albanian nationals -- was confiscated by authorities.
The third man fled the scene, police said.
 Tourist ministry, Greek Tourist Organisation announce support for Greece's Eurovision candidate Elena Paparizou
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)The Tourist Development ministry and the Greek Tourist Organisation (EOT) announced support for Greece's candidate, Elena Paparizou, in this year's Eurovision song contest due to take place in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 21. The announcement was made during a press conference on Wednesday.
The ministry and EOT decided to support the Greek candidate since, as it was stressed, ''Elena Paparizou possesses the elements which are absolutely compatible with Greece's national image, such as strength, character and love for the country''.
EOT President Aristidis Kalogeropoulos said that with every appearance of Elena Paparizou, areas of Greece will be shown on screens to enable millions of spectators to become better acquainted with the country.
 United States Senate resolution for the Greek Independence Day
WASHINGTON 10/3/2005 (ANA)"Last evening the United States Senate adopted the Greek Independence Day resolution, again giving our community the rare opportunity to meet with the President of the United States to address our issues of concern. Every year, for the last 19 years, we have been able to secure such a meeting, under the leadership of our Archbishop who invites community leaders to join him, with Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and now President George W. Bush. Only a handful of others in our nation of 295 million people have been able to accomplish such a meeting," announced leaders of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH), on Wednesday.
"This legislation, annually introduced by Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), designates Greece as the only country that the U.S. Senate commemorates annually for its national day. Senators representing 75% of all Americans cosponsored this legislation," said Andrew E. Manatos, President of CEH.
"Just like securing 232 Members of Congress to express support for Cyprus, or getting a sitting U.S. President to visit, for the first time in history, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, things like this Greek Independence Day legislation and meeting with the President do not happen automatically. Carefully orchestrated and highly-nuanced behind-the-scenes efforts created all of these things. We in the Coordinated Effort want to thank all those who give of themselves to help make them possible," said Manatos.
 American Hellenic Institute honors Fla. congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen
WASHINGTON 10/3/2005 (ANA)The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Hellenic Heritage Achievement and National Public Service Awards over the weekend by honouring five distinguished Greek-Americans and philhellenes, including Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Other honourees were District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Stephanie Duncan-Peters; Helen C. Evans, a curator for early Christian and Byzantine art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; George Veras, the president of Veras Communications, and Stylianos Zavvos, the chairman of Continental American Capital.
In presenting Ros-Lehtinen, AHI President Gene Rossides referred to a friend of the Greek-American community and a member of congress that is internationally recognised for her efforts in support of human rights and democracy.
Rossides also lauded Ros-Lehtinen's support of the Greek Cypriot community's just demands, as he said, and her legislative initiatives for Cyprus, the Aegean and in relation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
On her part, Ros-Lehtinen -- who represents the state's 18th congressional district in south Florida and also serves on the US House of Representatives' International Relations committee -- stressed that her background as a Cuban refugee makes her sensitive to the values and democratic ideals that emanate from ancient Greek civilisation.
She also stressed that a majority vote by Greek Cypriots earlier in the year against the "Annan" peace plan for Cyprus is not a vote against the island's reunification, but rather a legally sound expression of important reservations over the specific plan, especially vis-à-vis the continued presence of Turkish occupation troops on the island republic.
 Benaki Museum to host exhibition on 'Tools of Arts'
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)The Benaki Museum will be hosting an exhibition on "Tools of arts-the art of tools from the Rennaissance to the Industrial Era" from March 10 to June 10.
Drawing and shipping organs, solar clocks, surgical instruments, metal processing tools and many specimens from the huge collection of architect Luigi Nesi will complete the picture of tools from various eras and various trades from all over Europe.
Another special exhibition containing rare tools for manufacturing and assembling clocks will be operating on the same premises under the auspices of the Swiss embassy in Athens.
 Deputy sports minister says Greece's role in sports, culture and education sectors must be leading one
Athens, 10/3/2005 (ANA)Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos said on Wednesday Greece's role in the sports, culture and education sectors must be a leading one and the government is aiming at having the country continuing to be at the centre not only of European but of world interest as well.
Orfanos was speaking on the occasion of Thursday's signing of an agreement on the permanent establishment in Athens of the International Mediterraanean Games Committee.
The signing of the agreement by Orfanos and the Committee's President Amar Adanti will take place at 11 a.m. in the conference hall of the Athens Olympic Stadium's open swimming pool.
 Cyprus government does not rule out meeting with Talat under UN auspices
NICOSIA 10/3/2005 (CNA/ANA)The government does not rule out a meeting between Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat on bicommunal issues under the auspices of the UN and the Secretary-General'smission of good offices.
Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides on Wednesday said President Papadopoulos was informed by President of the House of Representatives and AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias on his meeting Tuesday with Talat in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia.
Chrysostomides said the government believes that contacts between political parties are a positive step and will contribute in the right direction.
The spokesman had been invited to comment on a statement by Christofias that his meeting with Talat could pave the way for a meeting between President Papadopoulos and Talat.
Chrysostomides said this can happen ''only through the UN framework, within the framework of commencing consulta-tions, under the UN auspices and the UN secretary-General's mission of good offices''.
The government spokesman added ''contacts between political parties (from both comunities) contribute to creating a climate of cooperation and understanding which would help towards the resumption of consultations for a final solution to the problem and the island's reunification''.
''The government believes that contacts between political parties are a positive step and can contribute towards the right direction'', the spokesman added.
He noted that there was no official representation of President Papadopoulos at Tuesday's Christofias-Talat meeting and that official negotiations under the UN are being held by the leader of the community, President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
 G/C and T/C parties stress necessity to strengthen contacts
NICOSIA 10/3/2005 (CNA/ANA)Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties underlined here on Wednesday the necessity for strengthening the
contacts among them and their politicians, in order to achieve a solution to the Cyprus issue on the basis of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Party leaders or representatives from both communities met Wednesday at the Ledra Palace Hotel situated in the UN-controlled buffer zone in the divided capital Nicosia. The meetings are organised by the Slovak Embassy in Cyprus.
A press communique issued after the meeting said they exchanged views on the impact of the "elections" held last month in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus "on the peace process in Cyprus".
It added that they ''reiterated once more the necessity of strengthening of the contacts among the politicians and the political parties and aim to achieve the main objective which is the reunification of the island on the basis of the Annan plan''.
Their next meeting will be held on April 20.