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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-09-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

Monday, 24 September 2007 Issue No: 2705


  • [01] FM touches on 'name issue', Cyprus problem with UN Chief, mediator
  • [02] Greek, Turkish FMs meet in New York
  • [03] PM Karamanlis visits fire-ravaged Ilia prefecture in western Peloponnese
  • [04] PASOK cadres on leadership election
  • [05] Leftist leader woos socialist, green voters
  • [06] Environment minister addresses int'l symposium on Ozone layer
  • [07] EPP contact group for dialogue with Orthodox Churches meets with Ecumenical Patriarch
  • [08] Interior minister meets editors of former public order ministry
  • [09] Memorial events held for Asia Minor genocide
  • [10] FinMin outlines six priorities of econ policy
  • [11] Greece, Cyprus participate in 'Fine Food' exhibition in Australia
  • [12] Seven people killed in traffic accident outside Thebes
  • [13] Zacharo deputy mayor succumbs to burns suffered in wildfires
  • [14] Elderly tourist drowns off Samos
  • [15] Athens observes 'Car Free' Day
  • [16] Strong 5.6R quake rocks Carpathos, no damage reported
  • [17] Sunny, windy on Monday
  • [18] British envoy pledges to work for Cyprus settlement

  • [01] FM touches on 'name issue', Cyprus problem with UN Chief, mediator


    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Sunday met here with UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz to focus exclusively on the thorny name issue still separating Athens and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), with the latter reportedly offering no new proposal for a breakthrough.

    Speaking after his meeting with Bakoyannis, the UN special envoy also ruled out any new proposal being tabled in the immediate future, adding that he doesn' t find such a prospect useful. He will meet with a FYROM representative at the UN headquarters this week.

    The 45-minute meeting, held at the seat of the Greek representation, included an extensive review of the situation and the next steps for finding a mutually acceptable solution, according to a Greek foreign ministry spokesman after the meeting.

    The Greek FM reportedly stressed the particular importance for a constructive stance on the part of Skopje. Additionally, the Greek side reiterated that any continuation of this problem will have an adverse affect, whereas a solution will have positive repercussions in bilateral relations, regional cooperation and for FYROM' s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

    Nimetz stressed that work will continue on the basis of UN resolutions and the interim agreement, a decision he said is in line with the Greek side's view.

    Sat. meeting with UN chief

    The meeting came a day after Bakoyannis met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday, where she announced afterwards that there was room to resolve the difference with Skopje regarding the name issue, in view of a NATO decision -- expected at the end of the year -- on whether the Balkan country will accede to the Atlantic Alliance.

    During the meeting with the UN chief, the Greek side set out its positions on a mutually acceptable resolution of the issue, within the framework of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Greece-FYROM 1995 interim agreement.

    Moreover, the Greek FM also warned that perpetuation of the problem was dangerous. The Greek side further reiterated that Athens was keeping open all its prospects as a member of the EU and of NATO.

    Bakoyannis and Ban also discussed the Cyprus issue, with a focus on the need for implementation of the July 8 agreement. The agreement "must be fully applied", Bakoyannis said, stressing that Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos has manifested his volition for its materialisation, and calling on the UN chief to encourage the Turkish Cypriot side to follow suit, given Ban's upcoming scheduled meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat on Oct. 16.

    A third topic of discussion during the Bakoyannis-Ban meeting was climate change, which is high on the agenda of the 62nd General Assembly, as the UN chief has organised a High Level Meeting on Monday on the same topic, which will be addressed by Bakoyannis.

    The Greek foreign minister briefed Ban over the devastation caused by recent wildfires in Greece, as well as the Greek government's commitment to restore the environment to its previous state, a topic on which the UN chief expressed interest.

    One of the round-table discussions at the High Level Meeting will focus on the establishment of a special Fund and other mechanisms for facing natural disasters, an issue which is also being promoted by Greece at the European Union level.

    "Climate change is a global phenomenon and requires coordinated global confrontation," Bakoyannis said in statements after her meeting with the UN chief.


    Meanwhile, according to a CNA dispatch, Greece and Cyprus on Sunday reaffirmed their common goals, efforts and tactics towards finding a solution to the longstanding Cyprus problem.

    This was reiterated here by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos after a one-hour meeting on Sunday with Bakoyannis, as both arrived in New York City a United Nations General Assembly.

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis was also present at the meeting.

    Papadopoulos told reporters afterwards that he discussed developments over the Cyprus problem and other matters of mutual interest with the Greek foreign minister, noting that "as always, we have reaffirmed that the targets, efforts and tactics are common."

    Bakoyannis said she briefed Papadopoulos on her meeting a day earlier UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Papadopoulos was due meet the UN chief later on Sunday.

    Bakoyannis said she repeated Athens' full backing of the July 8, 2006 agreement, reached between Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat in the presence of UN Undersecretary for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari.

    The Greek minister reiterated Athens' strong support for the positions of the Cyprus government.

    [02] Greek, Turkish FMs meet in New York

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/N. Melissova)

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan on Sunday declared their volition to further boost Greek-Turkish relations, during talks here ahead of a UN General Assembly this week.

    According to press reports, the good climate in bilateral talks was ascertained by Bakoyannis' invitation to Babacan to visit Athens, as well as an invitation conveyed by Babacan towards Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis for an official visit to Turkey.

    "We are neighbors and we believe that we must work as closely as possible to strengthen our relations, where we have already achieved tangible results," Bakoyannis said after the meeting.

    [03] PM Karamanlis visits fire-ravaged Ilia prefecture in western Peloponnese

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday chaired a meeting in Ilia prefecture, western Peloponnese, with the objective being the implementation of measures for the reconstruction and restoration of wildfire-ravaged areas of the prefecture.

    Present at the meeting were Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Alexandros Kontos, Western Greece Regional Prefect Spyros Spyridon, Ilia Prefect Haralambos Kafyras and 13 mayors whose municipalities sustained damage from the August wildfires. After the meeting, Karamanlis departed for the town of Zaharo where he also chaired a meeting on the implementation of measures for the restoration of the fire-affected area.

    "Our commitments are valid to the utmost. I want to send a clear message that our concern is here. The procedures for 6,000 jobs, through the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) will proceed speedily. A forest will again grow, however many years it takes. The government is determined to implement every available potential from national and EU funds for the reconstruction. It's a national need for the inhabitants of the region to remain in their place so as to continue activities. What takes precedence is the fastest possible payment for the damages, for the resetting up of the plant and stock-breed capital for the securing of the incomes of the farmers and stockbreeders so that they can again enter production," Karamanlis said in statements after the meeting in Zaharo.

    Finally, on the lighting of the Olympic Flame, Karamanlis assured that "by the end of the year the work for the cleaning and preservation of Ancient Olympia's antiquities will have been completed. In March, the ceremony of the lighting of the Olympic Flame for the Beijing Games will take place in an environment which will correspond positively to the area's history."

    The prime minister later in the day visited Ancient Olympia where he went to the Town Hall and was welcomed by Mayor George Aidonis and then toured the wildfire-affected forest region surrounding the site.

    [04] PASOK cadres on leadership election

    The need for a united, tight and collective PASOK was stressed by the main opposition party's high-profile MP Evangelos Venizelos, a contender for the party's leadership following PASOK's stinging defeat in elections last week, in an interview appearing in an Athens daily.

    Venizelos said he was seeking the party leadership "in the name of ideals, convictions, values and policy positions" of the party, as formulated by the recent political developments.

    Explaining his decision to announce his candidacy on the very night of the election defeat, which generated heated criticism by a section of party supporters, Venizelos said he had waged a battle for current party leader George Papandreou to become prime minister, "but I could not watch the sky falling down on our heads and allow us to think that we had gotten taller and were touching the clouds".

    Venizelos cited his aspiration for PASOK to once again become a "majority trend" and to also once again "express the ... centre-left majority that deserves to govern (the country) and to penetrate New Democracy's electoral field".

    His interview was carried in the Athens daily "Vima".

    In a separate interview appearing in the Sunday edition of the "Eleftherotypia" newspaper, PASOK MP and former European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou referred, in general terms, to a possible candidacy for the party leadership.

    "We need a leadership that has political adequacy, dynamism, positions, and eagerness for work; one that responds to the common sentiment, is a pioneer, and actively respects the citizens; a leadership that deserves and can win the people's confidence. PASOK deserves such a leadership in its new beginning. It is my duty to the citizens and the party to move in that direction," she said.

    Meanwhile, opinion polls were published in the Sunday editions of "Eleftheros Typos" and "Proto Thema" newspapers regarding preferences for PASOK's leadership.

    A Metron Analysis poll appearing in the former indicated that 30.2 percent of respondents preferred current leader George Papandreou, while 42.8 percent preferred Venizelos. Of those respondents who are also PASOK voters, Papandreou was preferred by 38.5 percent against 46.2 percent for Venizelos.

    In an ALKO opinion poll appearing in the latter paper, 21.8 percent of respondents said they want Papandreou for PASOK leader, against 38 percent for Venizelos. Of those respondents who are also PASOK voters, 22.9 percent said want Papandreou, while 52.8 percent said they preferred Venizelos.

    The new party leader will be elected during a special session of the party's national council session on Nov. 11.

    [05] Leftist leader woos socialist, green voters

    The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) will persist in seeking out broader forms of political cooperation, with overtures to the socialist and green political groups, SYRIZA leader Alekos Alavanos said in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of an Athens daily.

    Alavanos said SYRIZA will continue to address itself to the socialist elements of society, and cited the example of Germany, where "the radical forces of Social Democracy united with those of the former Communists".

    Asked to comment on the post-election situation within the main opposition PASOK party, Alavanos said that "when you live in the same neighborhood, you cannot be indifferent to what is going on in the apartment building next door, even if you are living in a one-story house. I believe that, at this time, a battle is underway in PASOK between two faces, without programmes, without radical proposals; a battle that is rather apolitical, with an erroneous framework around the Simitis period, which PASOK paid for and is still paying for and which put PASOK inside the establishment and turned it into a party of factions fighting for power after the elections".

    On the re-election of the New Democracy (ND) government of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Alavanos opined that this was due to the fact that PASOK had not proposed any alternative solution.

    His interview was carried in the "Vima" newspaper.

    [06] Environment minister addresses int'l symposium on Ozone layer

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works minister George Souflias on Sunday urged the international community to hasten its efforts for protection of the ozone layer, in an inaugural address to an international scientific symposium on "The Thinning of the Protective Ozone Layer" held at the Megaron-Athens Concert Hall.

    Souflias stressed the importance of the international community intensifying even more its efforts hasten the dates for gradual abolition of hazardous substances such as hydrochlorocarbons, with a parallel guarantee of their replacement by alternative solutions that are friendly to ozone and the climate.

    The European Union, which was a pioneer in environmental protection issues, he said, has already made a huge step in that direction.

    The international symposium, co-hosted by the Athens Academy's Foundation for Medical and Biological Studies and the Athens National Observatory, coincides with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol, which Soulfias said "constitutes, by general agreement, a model international environmental agreement'.

    He said the Protocol's implementation by its 191 signatory countries "has contributed substantially to averting further thinning of the ozone layer, while there are indications that restoration of the layer is feasible over a period of 50 years".

    Souflias further stressed that Greece's environment ministry was applying an integrated policy on confronting comate change, through a series of measures that concern reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by industries, revision of the National Programme on climate change, advancement of Renewable Energy Sources, implementation of operational plans for tackling pollution in the large urban centres, promotion of the use of natural gas, and energy conservation, among others.

    [07] EPP contact group for dialogue with Orthodox Churches meets with Ecumenical Patriarch

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas) -- The European People's Party (EPP) decision to continue its contacts with the Orthodox Churches was reiterated by contact group head Wilfried Martens during a meeting on Sunday with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Phanar, aimed at coordinating the dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the EPP.

    In statements to the ANA-MPA, Martens said that the dialogue with the Orthodox Churches was founded on common values and a common way of thought. "The Ecumenical Patriarchate is of great importance to us and our participation in the public and political life," he said.

    In the context of the Dialogue, coordinated by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, 10 meetings have already taken place in Istanbul and in various European cities.

    [08] Interior minister meets editors of former public order ministry

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Saturday had an acquaintance meeting with the editors of the former public order ministry and said that he will not make any comments on the issue of his competency, before the government makes its program statements in Parliament.

    "We are all judged every day; this is why we must try to carry out our duties in the best possible manner. All are judged, from the police officer to the minister," he said in reply to reporters' questions on whether there will be new appointments or changes in the Police and the Fire Brigade.

    Referring to the resignation of Political Protection Secretary-General Panagiotis Fourlas, he said that Fourlas was a personal friend of his and that his resignation was due to personal reasons.

    Pavlopoulos said that he is being briefed on all the issues regarding the Police and that, among other things, he is studying the French model of policing about which, however, he avoided to say more, adding that it is simply something which he is studying.

    It must be noted that the French model foresees reinforced police services in the regions.

    [09] Memorial events held for Asia Minor genocide

    A memorial service was held in Thessaloniki on Sunday for the ethnic Greek victims of the Asia Minor catastrophe (1922), as wreaths were laid at the statue of Smyrna Metropolitan Chrysostomos, within the context of events marking "Genocide Day of Asia Minor Greeks".

    A service was held at the Aghia Sofia Cathedral, where it was officiated by Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos, and in the presence of Deputy Development Minister Stavros Kalafatis, Deputy Culture Minister for Sports Yiannis Ioannidis, Thessaloniki Prefect Panagiotis Psomiadis, Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, deputies, representatives of the armed forces and law enforcement.

    Financial News

    [10] FinMin outlines six priorities of econ policy

    The New Democracy (ND) government of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, after its re-election to power in the September 16 general elections, was moving ahead with the second phase of its fiscal streamlining and reforms programme, national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis wrote in an article appearing in the Sunday edition of the "Vima" newspaper.

    Alogoskoufis also outlined the six priorities of the government's economic policy:

    1) Balancing the budgets by 2010 and substantial reduction of public utilities and organisations, the social insurance system and health system deficits.

    2) Continuation of the tax reform, with emphasis on combatting tax evasion and on widening the taxation base, as well as simplification and reduction of real estate taxation.

    3) Reform of the social state, and establishment of a National Social Cohesion Fund.

    4) Development of the Greek Periphery and strengthening of Greece's role in SE Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Contributing to this, according to Alogoskoufis, would be the efficient exploitation of the EU funds earmarked for the country through the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) covering the period 2007-2013. Together with the national participation, the relevant resources amount to 36 billion euro, of which 82 percent will be chanelled to the provinces, he explained.

    5) Reform of the social insurance system, following broad dialogue, with priority on the unification of Funds, full computerisation of the system, etc., in a way that will not transfer the total costs of the system to the taxpayer.

    6) Further reinforcement of the new developmental model with emphasis on activities of high added value and extroversion, as well as those that incorporate new technologies and innovations.

    Alogoskoufis further wrote that the margins for state-centred growth that had been followed over the past 25 years have been exhausted, while the old model of development had led to impasses.

    [11] Greece, Cyprus participate in 'Fine Food' exhibition in Australia

    MELBOURNE ANA-MPA/S. Hatzimanolis)

    Australia's greatest international exhibition of Food and Beverages, titled "Fine Food", opens to the public on Monday.

    Taking part in this exhibition, which will last until September 27 and take place at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, are 220 companies of beverages and food from abroad, along with 800 Australian companies.

    Also taking part in the exhibition are Greece and Cyprus with their own pavilions.

    According to the organizers, more than 2,000 traders from all over the world will visit the exhibition to check the quality of the products on exhibit and make their orders

    General News

    [12] Seven people killed in traffic accident outside Thebes

    A total of seven people, including a 17-year-old girl, were killed Saturday evening in a serious crash between two cars on the 74th kilometre of the Athens-Lamia national highway, outside Thebes, on the Athens-headed lane.

    According to the latest announcement by police, one of the two cars, which was headed towards Lamia with three people on board, veered off course and rammed into the dividing bars between the two lanes, and was catapulted into the opposite lane where it landed upside down on the roof of an oncoming car with another four people on board. The identities of the victims have not yet been released.

    [13] Zacharo deputy mayor succumbs to burns suffered in wildfires

    The deputy mayor of Zacharo, Antonis Krespis, who suffered severe burns in the wildfires that devastated the Peloponnese in August, succumbed to his injuries on Saturday evening in an Athens hospital and was buried on Sunday in his hometown of Biskini, near Zacharo, raising the death toll from the fires to 67.

    The funeral was attended by interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who paid tribute to the self-sacrifice displayed by the local government authorities during the wildfires. Krespis suffered serious burns on August 24, the day the fires broke out in Ilia prefecture.

    [14] Elderly tourist drowns off Samos

    The body of an 82-year-old French woman was recovered by Coast Guard authorities on Sunday on the island of Samos, and her death was tentatively attributed to drowning.

    The body of the elderly tourist was spotted floating in the sea off the Psili Ammos beach in Samos, and was taken to Samos hospital for a post mortem.

    An investigation was being carried out into the circumstances of the death.

    [15] Athens observes 'Car Free' Day

    Athens observed the "European Car-Free" day on Saturday, which meant that people wanting to go to the city's centre had to do so without their vehicles.

    On the other hand, all public transport was free of charge throughout the day as part of Greece's participation in European Mobility Week, by order of new Transport Minister Kostis Hatzidakis.

    The aim is to improve the public's attitudes and behaviour in terms of their daily travel needs and cut down traffic congestion by promoting the use of public transport.

    The City of Athens, for the first time, and in cooperation with the ministry of transport, the Technical Chamber of Greece, the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and the municipality's Road Safety Organisation, invited all Athens residents to participate in a series of events at Kotzia Square on Saturday to mark the culmination of European Mobility Week 2007, which is marked by events in 1,300 European cities.

    [16] Strong 5.6R quake rocks Carpathos, no damage reported

    A strong earthquake measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale rocked the island of Carpathos at dawn Sunday, but no damage has been reported. According to the Athens National Observatory's Geodynamic Institute and the Thessaloniki Aristotelion University's Geophysics Laboratory, the earthquake was recorded at 3:54 a.m. at a distance of 400 kilometres southeast of Athens, with its epicentre in the sea area west of Carpathos.

    Weather Forecast

    [17] Sunny, windy on Monday

    Sunny weather with northerly, northeasterly winds are forecast throughout the country on Monday with wind velocity reaching 7-8 Beaufort. Scattered cloud in the Cycladic islands and Crete. Temperatures will range between 10C and 29C. Sunny in Athens, with moderate, northerly, northeasterly winds and temperatures ranging from 16C to 26C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 25C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [18] British envoy pledges to work for Cyprus settlement


    British Special Representative for Cyprus, Labour Member of Parliament, Joan Ryan, has pledged to work hard for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    In an interview with the London Greek Radio (LGR) the British official said she had set three principles on which she will base her duties as Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus.

    The first principle, she said, was to work for achieving a bizonal, bicommunal federation based on political equality.

    The second principle, she added, was to avoid setting short-term party and political expediencies above efforts to find such a solution to the Cyprus question.

    The third principle, Ryan continued, was to be straight with both parties in the Cyprus problem and not to hide anything.

    Her role, she told LGR, was not to chart a policy and not to find a settlement alone. This concerns the Cypriots themselves and could not be imposed from outside, the British official noted.

    She expressed disappointment that no progress has been achieved for the implementation of the July 8, 2006 agreement achieved by President Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Responding to a question regarding the rejection by the Greek Cypriots of the Annan plan, Ryan said she did not believe that with this decision the Greek Cypriots rejected the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Asked about the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, Ryan said this term concerned all those affected by the continuing division of the island, so it is very important for the efforts being made to reach a settlement, she added.

    Concerning efforts by the illegal regime in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus for direct flights to this part of the island, the Special Representative stressed the British stance was based on international conventions, such as the Chicago Convention, and Britain has no intention to undermine international conventions.

    She said she plans to visit Cyprus but no date has been yet fixed. Ryan was appointed Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus last July. She then stated that although her appointment does not represent a new initiative on behalf of the United Kingdom ''it does represent our commitment to work with all Cypriots, particularly Cypriots in the United Kingdom to help find a comprehensive, a just and a lasting settlement for Cyprus.''

    ''I am very honoured to be appointed Special Representative to Cyprus by the Prime Minister working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Prime Minister,'' Ryan said, adding that the longer the situation goes on the more intractable and the harder this becomes.

    Ryan stressed that ''all feel that we have to now redouble our effort to find this solution. It is not for me to tell people, to Cypriots, what to think, what to do and what is the solution. ‘hat is not my role. I am a channel of communication to the CFO, to the Prime Minister. We have the Prime Minister's ear and I think that can only be a good thing for Cyprus.''

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.

    Britain, along with Greece and Turkey, were the guarantors of Cyprus' independence under the 1960 Treaty. Britain had retained two sovereign military bases on this east Mediterranean island.

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