|Tuesday, 12 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-12-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>December 20, 2006
 Greece, France back Security Council resolution to protect journalists
NEW YORK, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Greece and France are working together closely for the adoption of a United Nations Security Council resolution that will protect journalists reporting from war zones and crisis areas, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said on Tuesday. Its adoption would be the best culmination of Greece's two-year participation on the Security Council, she added.
The minister made the statement during a joint press conference with French Ambassador to Athens Bruno Delaye at the Greek foreign ministry.
Originally proposed by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the idea went before the Security Council in September, during the month when Greece held the rotating presidency.
Bakoyannis said that the Greek presidency had promoted the proposal with the support of permanent Security Council member France and found it positively received by the other members, so that it was now slated for discussion in depth over the coming days.
Representing the IFJ, Greek journalist Nikos Megrelis pointed out that 146 people working for the media had been killed in 2006, most of them in Iraq, and he underlined the importance of such a resolution, since it would for the first time give the UN Secretary-General the right to monitor the deaths of journalists, attribute responsibility to governments and demand action.
According to Delaye, there had been 60 journalists killed in 2005 and 75 in 2006, while the number of victims just in Iraq among those working for the media had reached 130 in the same year.
The initiative to bring the proposal before the UN Security Council reflected the good and close cooperation between France and Greece, he added.
He also pointed out that France had praised the quality and ingenuity of Greek diplomacy during its two-year term on the Security Council.
 French FM Douste-Blazy optimistic on adoption of resolution protecting journalists
PARIS, 20/12/2006 (ANA-MPA)French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy on Tuesday expressed his optimism that a resolution under preparation by France and Greece for the protection of journalists reporting from war zones and crisis areas will be adopted by the United Nations Security Council.
Speaking during a joint press conference with Greece's Ambassador to Paris Dimitrios Paraskevopoulos, Douste-Blazy referred to the cooperation of Greece for tabling the draft resolution and especially of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.
A corresponding joint press conference by Bakoyannis and French Ambassador to Athens Bruno Delaye was held earlier on Tuesday at the foreign ministry in Athens.
The French minister expressed his "particular satisfaction because a European partner cooperates closely with us in this action."
"France has expressed its position regarding this issue on December 4, in New York, calling on the international community to pay particular attention to the issue of the protection of journalists in war zones. The same day, a draft resolution was presented together with Greece and my counterpart Dora, to whom I address my greetings," Douste-Blazy said.
He also expressed his belief that in the coming days, the resolution will be "surely adopted unanimously".
On his part, Ambassador Paraskevopoulos referred to the draft resolution. "The international humanitarian law offers some answers, since journalists are, at the same time, simple citizens. But this law refers directly to 'classical type' conficts. Today, though, there is a clear differentiation of the conflicts, which in combination with the reality of international terrorism, renders imperative the improvement of effectiveness," he said.
Paraskevopoulos also underlined the need for "an appeal to be made to all countries not only to condemn but also to punish every form of violence against journalists."
The draft resolution has as points of reference the 1949 Geneva Treaties and the two Complementary Protocols of 1979 regarding the protection of citizens in case of armed conflicts.
 PM and interior minister discuss 4th CSF
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)The 4th Community Support Framework and the appropriate preparation for its best usage were under discussion in a meeting Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had on Tuesday with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
Pavlopoulos commented that 80 percent of the 4th Community Support Framework funds will be allocated for the country's regions and added that the basic axes are e-governance, immigration and decentralization.
 PM and justice minister discuss ministry issues
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Justice Minister Anastasios Papaligouras briefed Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the course of the justice ministry sponsored legislation in a meeting at Maximos Mansion on Tuesday.
Papaligouras referred to the four legal codes under reform and mentioned that the Bankruptcy Code will be tabled in parliament in February, while the Civil Procedure Code is progressing and will be open to a public debate also in February.
The justice minister added that the Penal Code will be ready hopefully during the summer followed by the Civil Procedure Code and stressed that, with their completion, the country's justice system will be updated.
 Government denies Polydoras statements targeted SYN
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)There was no statement by Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras that targeted any of the political parties, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos told reporters on Tuesday.
He was responding to questions about statements made by Polydoras on Monday, in which he asked all the opposition parties and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN), in particular, to clarify their position regarding violent attacks on police and property by anti-authority, anarchist groups.
Asked why Polydoras had singled out the Coalition party, Roussopoulos said that it was "self-evident that we all have an obligation to condemn actions that threaten the life, safety and property of Greek citizens," noting that these were first and foremost condemned by Greek society.
He also pointed out that it was a common practice for parties to be asked to declare their position on issues in Parliament.
The spokesman denied that Polydoras' statement could also be construed as a sanction for the excessive use of force by police, stressing that the minister had recently come down hard on such behaviors in the police force, initiating an internal inquiry under oath for the actions of eight officers, who had since suffered the consequences of their actions.
In an announcement issued the same day, however, the Coalition's political secretariat called on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to directly denounce the minister's statements, saying that Polydoras had targeted the party in an effort to divert attention from his own responsibilities and the problems he had caused in the police force.
 PASOK, KKE slam public order minister's statements
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) spokesman Petros Efthymiou on Tuesday called on the government "to answer with a 'yes or a 'no' whether there are parties 'against the law' in the Greek Parliament." The spokesman was responding to statements made earlier in the day by Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras to radio stations.
Speaking during PASOK's Parliamentary Council meeting, Efthymiou spoke of "an escalation on the part of Mr. Polydoras who left himself exposed, as has the government left itself exposed."
The public order minister, in statements made to radio stations, called on the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) "to categorically condemn the disturbances that take place in Athens," saying that the party "is against the law and exposed in society." Polydoras also spoke of "a group of troublemakers neighborly to PASOK," speaking of "their own children."
Efthymiou said that the stance of "an against the law party changes the basis of the democratic system."
The PASOK spokesman also said that "during New Democracy (ND) party governance and Mr. Polydoras' ministerial tenure, crime has increased." Efthymiou cited "official data signed by the current minister, according to which, during the first half of 2006, crime increased significantly in comparison to the corresponding six-month period in 2005."
PASOK leader George Papandreou also referred to the issue, stressing that "it does not concern a discord, but a constant similar practice, which has its previous ones, the issues of the phone-tapping and of the Pakistanis."
Expounding, Papandreou spoke of "authoritarianism and a police state logic which reminds and leads to past eras."
On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), commenting on the Public Order Minister Polydoras' statements, said in an announcement:"The working people and youth should not be disorientated by the efforts being made by the government to justify the development of a multi-form state authoritarianism, which is planned and organized in all the European Union by the conservative and socialdemocratic governments, which aims at protecting their anti-popular policy from the popular indignation and struggle."
 Bakoyannis opens exhibition on Greek EEC accession talks
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed the need to generate European and national policies that addressed the public's major problems, as she inaugurated an exhibition of archive material dating from when Greece was negotiating for its accession to the European Economic Community (EEC), which opened in Athens on Tuesday.
The minister praised the Greek politicians that had brought about Greece's EU entry at that time, including the late premier and statesman Constantine Karamanlis and the team under George Rallis, who later also served as prime minister.
She also used the opportunity to welcome the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the EU, saying it served as a message of hope for all the other Balkan countries and Turkey. "All countries that meet European criteria have a place in Europe," she added.
Noting that 2007 marked the 50th anniversary since the signature of the Treaty of Rome, which had laid the foundations for the present EU, Bakoyannis stressed that Europeans had to now decide what they wanted for their future.
"We must clear up what kind of Europe we want, what vision will motivate the new generations," she said.
The Greek foreign ministry would take a first step in this direction in 2007 by initiating a great debate on these issues within Europe, addressed mainly to young people, she added.
"In the first six months of 2007, the foreign ministry expects to have a high degree of participation by academics, organizations, citizens and youth groups. At the end of the German presidency [of the European Council], Greek positions will have a dynamic presence in a Europe seeking its new vision," Bakoyannis said.
The exhibition was organized by the foreign ministry's Diplomatic and Historical Archives Service to mark the 25th year since Greece joined the European Union, then the EEC.
 PASOK leader addresses party's Parliamentary Council
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader Greorge Papandreou on Tuesday called on party members to showcase the party's positions for a different perspective on the country.
Addressing the movement's Parliamentary Council, Papandreou said that "existing momentum should not stop" during the Christmas period and asked for an immediate start of party action, which should be escalated through the new year.
He also said that the New Democracy government's policies in the economic, social and institutional sectors "have failed."
After the council's meeting, Papandreou met with the presidium of the Supreme General Confederation of Pensioners of Greece.
 Papandreou visits Moschato centre for the elderly
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement leader George Papandreou visited on Tuesday the centre for the elderly in the Piraeus suburb of Moschato.
In statements, the main opposition leader said his party aimed at "giving back to every citizen his dignity", adding that the elderly and pensioners "have a lot to offer to society and we want them to be active, having secured for them the right infrastructures and welfare."
"Our program refers to a viable, respectable and strong social security scheme and for services to belong to local government institutions which will dispose of funds for their welfare," Papandreou also said.
The PASOK leader was met at the centre by Moschato Mayor Taxiarchis Papantonis.
 Court of Audit presents annual report to Parliament
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Hellenic Republic's Court of Audit on Tuesday presented its annual report on the 2004 fiscal year to Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki.
Presenting the report, Court of Audit President George-Stavros Kourtis said that it had revealed the prevention of illegal payments to local authority organizations but not the state sector.
Psarouda-Benaki underlined the importance of the report, noting that it gave a picture of overall financial management, and said that it would be relayed to Parliamentary committees and MPs.
 Students gather outside Parliament on revision of Article 16
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Students from 33 associations gathered outside Parliament on Tuesday evening to declare their opposition to the revision of Article 16 of the Constitution.
The students unfolded a banner and set fire to placards which wrote "No to the abolition of Article 16".
They disrupted traffic for about 15 minutes and later marched to Omonia.
The demonstrators gave a "rendez vous" for noon on Wednesday in the centre of Athens, where they will hold a rally.
A rally will also take place at noon on Thursday, with the participation of students, professors and teachers, in light of the state budget which is being discussed in Parliament, to protest, as students and tutors claim, the low funds given for education.
 Reduction in unemployment significant, government stresses
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)The drop in rates of joblessness was significant and vividly illustrated the government's efforts in this area, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Tuesday. He was responding to an announcement by the Greek National Statistics Service the same day that unemployment fell to 8.3 percent in the third quarter of 2006.
Roussopoulos stressed that this was three percentage points down from the jobless rate of 11.3% in 2004, shortly after ruling New Democracy had taken over from PASOK's government.
Pointing out that these figures translated into actual people, the spokesman said that this meant that the ranks of the un-employed had shrunk from 530,000 to 400,000 and that some 250,000 jobless had managed to find work.
Roussopoulos noted that the government had pledged to reduce unemployment to single-digit figures. While it had not achieved a target of eradicating unemployment, this was nevertheless significantly reduced, he added.
He also stressed that there had been no change in the way that the numbers of unemployed were calculated.
Unemployment at 8.3% in 3rd qtr 2006, NSS reports: Unemployment fell to 8.3 percent in the third quarter of 2006, down from 9.7 percent in the same quarter of 2005, Greece's National Statistics Service announced on Tuesday. In the same period, the country's working population accounted for 53.5 percent of the total population above 15, which was the highest rate for several years.
Rates of joblessness among young people aged 15-29 remained high at 17.6 percent, rising to 25 percent for young women. Rates of joblessness also tended to be higher than the national average in northern and western parts of Greece, below average in Crete and the southern Aegean and at 8 percent in Attica, down from 8.9 percent in the third trimester of 2005.
PASOK spokesman questions data on unemployment: Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) spokesman Petros Efthymiou on Tuesday questioned data on unemployment which was given by government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, according to which unemployment fell to 8.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2006, from 11.3 per cent in 2004.
Efthymiou referred to a speech by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis during the government's program statements on March 21, 2004. Then, according to Efthymiou, the finance minister had referred to 9.5 per cent, that is, two per cent less than the percentage referred to by Roussopoulos.
The PASOK spokesman said the New Democracy (ND) government "fabricated figures of an increase in unemployment in 2004 so as to later give the impression that it was on a downward trend."
"Unemployment is established and this is due to the ND government's policy," Efthymiou said.
Unions reject gov't jobless data: The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) said on Tuesday that government jobless data for the third quarter did not reflect reality.
"The figures are doing well but the number of unemployed is growing," the GSEE said in a statement.
"The statistics show a decline but every Greek household has one jobless person, and when youth or the elderly seek work and find themselves in an impasse, then the release of data on a fall in unemployment is a provocation," the statement said.
The GSEE said that only the index for part-time employment had improved.
Jobless data available for inspection: Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis said on Tuesday that third-quarter unemployment data produced by the government's statistics agency was available for inspection to any parties who doubted its validity.
"The decline in unemployment by three percentage points since 2004 is extremely favorable and hopeful," the minister said in reply to a reporter's question.
"The method of calculation has not changed (since 2004) and the data is comparable," he added.
 FM Bakoyannis tells Parliament 'the government's success is real'
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis addressed Parliament on Tuesday night during the debate on the 2007 state budget, noting that "the government's success is not superficial, but real, and henceforth is registered."
"The main opposition party refuses the reforms and attempts to denigrate them. Certain trade unions of the public sector demonstrate and protest, but the majority of public opinion wishes us to continue, because it is aware that the globalization and the causes which create it, present great opportunities, but also dangers for those who grumble and delay," Bakoyannis said.
The foreign minister added: "Public opinion has the maturity to be aware of this. It does not only say for us to proceed, but to proceed faster, and if you (PASOK) find obstacles, hold elections and with our own help as well you will overcome them. Whenever elections are held, the New Democracy (ND) will win, because, above all, it has a plan and targets."
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis underlined on Tuesday evening the turn of the country's foreign policy towards economic diplomacy on the lines of most countries.
Addressing Parliament during the debate on the 2007 state budget, Bakoyannis termed the change as "very important" and said that in combination with Greece's traditional foreign policy "our good relations with the neighboring countries will lead to a decrease in funds for armaments, which however are needed today."
"We have turned ourselves to the most rapidly developing economies. Our timely stance yields important results. We have promoted our relations with China, the Arab world while our relations with Russia are flourishing. As regards Turkey, the dynamics of our economic relations are changing. For the first time the increase of our exports is much greater than the increase of imports," she noted.
 Former PM Simitis addresses Parliament during debate on 2007 state budget
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Former prime minister and Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) deputy Costas Simitis, in a speech he gave in Parliament on Tuesday night during the debate on the 2007 state budget, said that "the government's economic policy is characterized by a superficial success in relation to fiscal arithmetics, but by a spectacular failure in many social and economic fronts."
The former prime minister recognized that the rate of growth stands close to four per cent, reminding, however, that the government's proclamations had foreseen it as greater by one per cent.
"Today's rate of growth comes from the rise of the activities of the years 1996-2004, from the infrastructure works, the placing in order of the country's image, the Olympic Games and the unprecedented then, rate of increase in investment activity. However, the continuation which we see, is extremely poor," Simitis said.
 Eurobarometre: Greeks concerned about future given state of economy, unemployment
20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)According to the European Commission's bi-yearly Eurobarometre, which was released on Tuesday, Greeks appear satisfied with their daily lives but are concerned about the future, given the present state of the economy and the severe problem of unemployment.
The survey was conducted from a sample of 1,000 Greek citizens who were called on to express their opinions on social, economic and European issues and was presented by the EU Commission's representation in Athens.
Greeks are among the peoples who trust the European Union (65 per cent) much more than the Greek Parliament (54 per cent), while six out of ten do not trust the government, three in four (77 per cent) the political parties, and at least half the trade unions.
At the same time, they recognize the need for the establishment of a European Constitution (72 per cent). They also support a new future enlargement of the EU (71 per cent), far from the European average of 46 per cent, but they decline Turkey's and Albania's EU accession (only 24 per cent is in favor of Turkey and 38 per cent of Albania).
 Basiakos calls for protection and support of organic farming
BRUSSELS, 20/12/2006 (ANA-MPA)The European Union's Council of Agriculture Ministers convened here on Tuesday and focused on the topic of organic farming, the use and circulation of pesticides and the simplification of the provisions of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Greece's positions were expounded by Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos.
In the debate regarding the regulation for organic farming, Basiakos called on the Council to foresee for organic products the complete absence of genetic modification, so that their safety and competitiveness to be strengthened.
Basiakos rejected the European Commission's intention for the taking of further restrictive measures in the sector of sugar.
 Contract signed for Ionian roadway
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)A contract was signed on Tuesday for construction of the Ionian roadway that will be be sent to parliament for ratification in January with building due to start in May, Public Works Minister George Souflias said.
"Creation of the Ionian Way will be a dream of decades for the inhabitants of western Greece and Epirus. The new motorway according to European specifications will set a new course for growth in the area," Souflias said in a statement.
The concession project won by the Hellenic Autopistas consortium has a length of 382 kilometers with 42 inter-sections.
 Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)The Athens share index closed at 4,348.72 points, showing a decline of 0.66%. Turnover was 383.9 million euros, including 121.6 million euros in block trades.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.82% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 1.01% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.67% down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 186 to 69 with 48 remaining unchanged.
Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 4.12 pct
Foreign Exchange Rates
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.326
Pound sterling 0.676
Danish kroner 7.513
Swedish kroner 9.097
Japanese yen 156.7
Swiss franc 1.615
Norwegian kroner 8.229
Cyprus pound 0.582
Canadian dollar 1.533
Australian dollar 1.695
 Education minister visits Avlona Juvenile Correctional Facility
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Education Minister Marietta Yannakou visited the Avlona Juvenile Correctional Facility School on Tuesday and attended a special event held by teachers and inmates on the occasion of the Christmas Holidays.
The education minister pledged that the efforts made by teachers and inmates in Avlona will be further supported. She also expressed the wish that the young inmates will use their incarceration time in the best possible way contributing to their speedier rehabilitation.
 Greece state honors 'Lady of Marasion'
20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Deputy National Defense Minister Yiannis Lambropoulos on Tuesday met, at the northern tip of Evros, with the "Lady of Marasion", 103-year-old Vassiliki Lambidou, who, daily, for more than half a century, hoists the Greek flag, declaring the presence of Greece in the remote region where she lives.
Since 1965, she cooked, free of charge, for the soldiers serving at the border posts "50 Papalofou" and the "Bridge of Marasion".
Recognizing her contribution to the country, the Greek state honored the "Lady of Marasion".
On Tuesday, Lambropoulos presented to Vassiliki Lambidou an honorary plaque of the defense ministry.
 Skyrian Horse facing extinction, scientists say
ATHENS, 20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)The small-sized horse of Skyros is threatened with extinction on account of its diminishing population. The Skyrian Horse or the Skyros Pony originated on the Aegean island of Skyros, is no more than 104 centimeters long, its colors are red-brownish and has a long mane.
The Skyrian Horse was used as the sole transportation means on the island until the 1970s when it was replaced by mechanical means. Its population was reduced as a result of the continuous crossbreeding with donkeys as well as because of inbreeding practices.
Information on the Skyrian Horse was presented on the occasion of the cooperation launched between Thessaloniki's Aristotle University Reproduction Physiology of Farm Animals Laboratory and the Thessaloniki Prefecture aimed at saving and protecting the Skyros Pony while, at the same time, sensitizing the prefecture's schoolchildren on the issue.
The Skyrian Horses population in Greece numbers less than 200 members when, according to the EU, a species is threatened with extinction when it numbers no more than 1,000 members. A total of 137 horses live on Skyros while the rest can be found in farms in Thessaloniki, Corfu and Larisa.
In Thessaloniki, the first three Skyrian Horses were kept in a special farm unit established at Porto Carras Hotel in Halkidiki. After reproduction efforts their population rose to 40 and in 1988 they were donated to the Aristotle University farm. It was then that a systematic effort was launched by the Reproduction Physiology of Farm Animals Laboratory for their registration, the identification of their DNA and the creation of their first genealogical table.
 Certified guides to the Greek mountains
20/12/2006 (ANA/MPA)Beginning in the summer of 2007, certified mountain escorts will offer guided tours to the thousands of people who will choose to go trekking on the mountains of Greece.
The first certified mountain guides will be 21 graduates from the Nestorio Mountain Tourism Vocational Training Institute in Kastoria, northwest Greece.
They will escort the groups of mountain visitors, offering them information on the local flora and fauna while they will also organize activities like climbing, mountain skiing and mixed route excursions.
 Spokesman: Turkey wants to present itself as the victim
NICOSIA, 20/12/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Cypriot government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardes said here Tuesday that the Turkish government wants to present itself as the victim, whereas Turkey is the offender in matters concerning Cyprus.
Pashiardes was invited to comment on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements that his country "held a constructive stance" during the April 2004 referendum for a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus issue. Erdogan also called for an end to the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and referred to "an unjust behavior of the EU towards Turkey".
"The offender presents himself as the victim" Pashiardes said commenting on the Turkish Premier's statements.
"Erdogan believes that all are to blame, including the UN, the EU, and Cyprus, for a major injustice against Turkey", he said.
"The one thing left is perhaps to accuse Cyprus that 32 years ago it invaded against Turkey and continues to occupy Turkish territory", he said.
Pashiardes concluded by saying that "one can really expect anything from Turkey, when tolerance breeds audacity and provocation".
EU member state Cyprus is divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of its territory.
 India: Cyprus solution must be in line with UN resolutions
NICOSIA, 20/12/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)India will always support the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as a solution of the Cyprus issue in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, said here Tuesday new High Commissioner of India Lavanya Prasad, presenting her credentials to President Tassos Papadopoulos.
"India will always support the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus. On behalf of the Government and the people of India, I can assure Your Excellency that in the future also, Cyprus will find in India a steadfast friend and an unwavering support for these principles", she stressed.
Prasad said that her country "understands the democratic choice exercised by Cyprus in the April 2004 referendum, and hopes that a just and lasting solution will be found to the Cyprus problem in accordance with UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the people of Cyprus".
Accepting the credentials, the President said that the recent policy of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots "does not aim at reunifying Cyprus, but at upgrading the regime in the occupied areas into that of a separate legal entity in Cyprus, short of diplomatic recognition - a separate state within a state".
"This is a core issue in the process for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem and this is an outcome to which we will never agree. This is why we are so sensitive to any act or gesture by friendly governments and their representatives of upgrading the regime and its functionaries in the occupied areas, which willingly or unwillingly, or even symbolically, can be used by the Turkish regime to enhance its status as a separate legal entity within Cyprus", he stressed.
Referring to Turkey's EU accession course, President Papadopoulos reiterated that Cyprus continues to support the European perspective of Turkey, provided that the Turkish government fulfils all the contractual obligations it has undertaken vis-a-vis the EU and its member states.
A first step towards this direction, he added, would be for Turkey to proceed without further delay with the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement, the opening of its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels, as well as the termination of its blocking of Cyprus' membership to international and regional organizations.
"Cyprus will be considering its stand as to the opening of each chapter in the light of the attitude of Turkey to perform its obligations towards the European Union and Cyprus in the European and other fora", President Papadopoulos noted.
EU member state, Cyprus, is divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied one third of its territory.
Turkey, aspiring to enter the EU, refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol by opening its ports to Cyprus. As a result, the EU has imposed sanctions against Ankara due to its stance towards Cyprus and decided to freeze eight negotiating chapters until Turkey fulfills its EU obligation and implements the Protocol.
 Cypriot Spokesman: University in occupied north is illegal
NICOSIA, 20/12/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said here Tuesday the collaboration of the so-called university of Eastern Mediterranean in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus with San Diego State University does not help economically and socially Turkish Cypriots nor does it facilitate the reunification of Cyprus as USA Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mathew Bryza seems to allege.
The issue arose when overseas Greeks were informed that the American university had made an agreement with the so called university in the north which provided for American students to train for a six week period in the occupied areas. The American university contacted the Embassy of the Republic in Washington asking for permission for the students to move freely between the Green Line in Nicosia and the embassy replied that it strongly opposed such program because the university in the north is illegal and against a number of Security Council resolutions and Cypriot law.
According to the Greek News newspaper, Bryza had sent two letters to the American university in an effort to intervene.
Invited to comment on Bryza's letters to the university saying that US does not recognize the illegal regime but supports the lifting of the economic and social "isolation" of the Turkish Cypriots as a way of lessening the tension between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and to facilitate the reunification of the island, Pashiardis said it was an intervention which has a political dimension.
He said the Cypriot government was right in reacting through its Embassy in Washington.
The specific university is illegal, its operation violates Cypriot law and the decisions of the Security Council, it is located in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus and is funded by the illegal regime, the Cypriot spokesman concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third.
 Annan says his successor will follow the same line on Cyprus
UNITED NATIONS, 20/12/2006 (ANA-MPA/P.Panagiotou/CNA)Outgoing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday the UN is still engaged with the parties in Cyprus, adding that responsibility will fall on his successor Ban Ki Moon who assumes duties in the coming January.
''I'm sure he will proceed along the same lines,'' Annan said replying to a question on whether he would pass his plan to his successor, during his farewell news conference as the international organization's Chief.
As Annan noted, ''we are still engaged with the parties'', noting that his Special Representative in Cyprus Michael Moller ''is working with them to build confidence.''
''We have certain specific activities that the two of them are engaged in and I have indicated to them at the appropriate time when we believe the time is right we will name a full time negotiator, mediator to work with them,'' he added.
''I think it is important to find a way resolving this,'' the outgoing UN SG said, adding that ''the Cyprus issue is not an issue that affects only the two communities or Turkey and Greece, as today it has also become a European problem and it is something that we need to resolve as quickly as we can.''
''I hope the UN will preside to deal with it'', he concluded.
Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed on July 8th 2006, during a meeting in the presence of UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari, to begin a process of bicommunal discussions on issues that affect the day-to-day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues, both contributing to a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem.
Following the agreement, senior aides of the two leaders in Cyprus, Tasos Tzionis and Rasit Pertev, began meetings in Moller's office in the UN-controlled buffer zone to work out the modalities for the implementation of the July agreement.
Annan had a meeting on Monday with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and discussed the Cyprus issue.