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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 07-12-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Tuesday, 18 December 2007 Issue No: 2775

CONTENTS

  • [01] Prime Minister Karamanlis arrives in Moscow for three-day official visit
  • [02] Greece announces 6 million euros aid to Palestinians
  • [03] Gov't steadfast on social security reform; comments on Magginas resignation
  • [04] Papariga, Alavanos comment on resignation of employment minister
  • [05] New employment minister Petralia sworn in
  • [06] DM to visit Cyprus on Tuesday
  • [07] Health minister Avramopoulos on 2008 state budget
  • [08] Former prime minister Costas Simitis on 2008 state budget
  • [09] KKE leader meets Venezuelan Communist Party official
  • [10] Greek GDP up 3.8% in Q3
  • [11] MIG clarifies position ahead of OTE general assembly
  • [12] Tourism minister inaugurates winter tourism period at Parnassos
  • [13] Warning strike by trade unionists, journalists
  • [14] Greece, Serbia trade relations improve
  • [15] Greek chambers' president gives address in Albania
  • [16] Greek stocks end 2.49 pct down on Mon.
  • [17] ADEX closing report
  • [18] Greek bond market closing report
  • [19] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday
  • [20] PM tours New Acropolis Museum before departing for Moscow
  • [21] New Acropolis Museum open to public til Easter for special exhibition
  • [22] Establishment of Alexandria Center for Hellenist Studies announced
  • [23] City of Athens, UNHCR sign Memorandum of Cooperation
  • [24] Greek, Turkish artists establish 'Kalimerhaba' association
  • [25] Schools closed in western Macedonia due to heavy snowfall
  • [26] Alexandria Patriarch's message to Muslims on Great Bairam feast
  • [27] Memorial service for victims of plane crash
  • [28] Drug arrest in Veria
  • [29] Rain, sleet on Tuesday
  • [30] Cypriot President: Only reunification can solve problems
  • [31] FM: Cyprus supports a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East problem Politics

  • [01] Prime Minister Karamanlis arrives in Moscow for three-day official visit

    MOSCOW (ANA-MPA/A.Goutzanis)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Moscow on Monday evening for a three-day official visit at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    On Tuesday, Karamanlis will meet in the morning with Patriarch Alexios II of Moscow and All Russia, followed by a wreath-layng ceremony at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.

    Afterwards, Karamanlis will go to the Kremlin for the official talks with Putin, focused mainly on energy cooperation between the two countries.

    The two leaders will have a private meeting, after which they will be joined by the Greek and Russian delegations, followed by statements to the press.

    Talks will also cover other bilateral issues, such as the promotion of economic cooperation between Athens and Moscow, international issues, such as current developments in the Balkan peninsula and the problem of Kosovo, the Middle East, Afghanistan and European Union-Russia relations. The Cyprus issue will also be touched.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Karamanlis will meet with the coordinator of the local World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE).

    Afterwards, he will meet with Russian prime minister Viktor Zubkov, before a second meeting on Tuesday night with Putin, who will host an official dinner for the Greek prime minister at the Kremlin.

    Karamanlis is due to return to Athens on Wednesday.

    The prime minister is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, State Minister Theodoros Roussopoulos and Development Minister Christos Folias.

    [02] Greece announces 6 million euros aid to Palestinians

    PARIS (ANA-MPA/O.Tsipira)

    Greece's aid to the Palestinian Authority will reach a total of 6 million euros, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas announced here on Monday.

    Addressing a Donors Conference for the Palestinian Territories held in Paris, Doukas said that the amount would be granted in the period 2008-2010 and constituted Greece's contribution to the three-year Reform and Development Plan presented by the Palestinian Authority.

    "Greece was present in Annapolis. We witnessed the courageous commitment of President M. Abbas and Prime Minister E. Olmert, with the broad international support, for substantive negotiations in order to achieve peace and the establishment of a Palestinian State, by the end of next year," Doukas said in his address.

    "Greece has contributed 6.350.000 euros in the years 2005-2007 in support to the Palestinian People. We once more stand ready to provide further support by pledging in the first instance the amount of 6.000.000 euros in the next three years - 2008,2009,2010 - to finance actions within the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan towards building a Palestinian State and bringing peace and prosperity," the Greek deputy minister concluded.

    [03] Gov't steadfast on social security reform; comments on Magginas resignation

    The government spokesman on Monday fielded a barrage of press questions related to the weekend resignation of Vassilis Magginas from the employment and social insurances post and his replacement with veteran New Democracy cadre Fanny Palli-Petralia, the former tourism minister, the latest development in the contentious social security reform issue.

    Speaking during his regular press briefing, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros reiterated that the Karamanlis government is unwavering in its decision to proceed with reforms in Greece's creaky pension system.

    "Whatever changes will aim to create a viable social security system in the long term, to the benefit of Greek citizens and society," Antonaros said.

    Moreover, he stressed that the government is still open to proposals by so-called "social partners", "as long as those that speak of proposals actually table them (proposals)".

    Additionally, Antonaros responded to questions over the resignation of Magginas following a week of particular "bad press" due to charges that he employed uninsured foreign workers at his country home, east of Athens, and that the latter residence, in fact, was built with a license listing a kiosk.

    "Vassilis Magginas had the sensitivity to resign, and his resignation was accepted. Mr. Magginas, even from the previous government, had performed much, including for preparation of the social insurance reform," he added.

    [04] Papariga, Alavanos comment on resignation of employment minister

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos on Monday commented on the resignation last Saturday of Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis Magginas.

    Papariga stated that "there may be behind the scenes activity which I do not know of, however, what I can say is that dynamically and unyielding, the working people, self-employed and the farmers must forge ahead utilizing any weakness the government has. We must render useless the bomb which the government is preparing to launch, and with (Fani Palli) Petralia as minister, concerning the vital social security rights of the working people."

    On his part, Alavanos said "the prime minister (Costas Karamanlis) is mistaken if he thinks that with the change every 2-3 months of the employment minister, he will defuse the rage of the citizens over the government's anti-social insurance policy."

    [05] New employment minister Petralia sworn in

    Fanny Palli-Petralia was sworn in on Monday as the country's new employment and social insurances minister -- following the resignation of her predecessor Vassilis Magginas over the weekend -- in the presence of President Karolos Papoulias and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Papoulias wished Petralia, a former tourism minister, every success in her task, while he also had a brief discussion with Karamanlis on his three-day official visit to Moscow at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the prime minister due to embark on the visit later in the day.

    Petralia said the government would forge ahead, with responsibility and sensitivity, for a just and viable social security system, without delays, adding that the country owed this to the working people and the next generation.

    She also said that she would seek the largest possible consensus.

    Finally, she noted that she would back proposals that do not change the way pension rates are calculated, increase retirement ages or the level of contributions.

    [06] DM to visit Cyprus on Tuesday

    National defence minister Evangelos Meimarakis arrives on Tuesday in Cyprus for a visit, at the head of a large delegation.

    While in Cyprus, Meimarakis will be recieved by President of the Cyprus Republic Tassos Papadopoulos, and speaker of the House of Representatives Dimitris Christofias, while he will also meet with his Cyprus counterpart Christodoulos Passiardis and Democratic Rally (DHSY) party leader Nikos Anastasiades.

    Meimarakis and the delegation will further visit the Greek Force in Cyprus' (ELDYK) "Andreas Zakos" camp.

    [07] Health minister Avramopoulos on 2008 state budget

    Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos addressed on Monday night the Parliamentary debate on the 2008 state budget which he termed as a "development budget, that promotes and supports reforms on all levels of the state apparatus, and which incorporates all vital needs of the health ministry."

    "Reforms, the restructuring of the state and renovation are necessary for the progress and welfare of the country, having in mind not only the next elections but the coming years and the coming generations," he noted.

    Avramopoulos underlined that the 2008 budget foresees for his ministry an increase, from 4.9 billion euros in 2007 to 5.4 billion euros in 2008.

    "If we add to this, health and welfare expenditures for the regions then the total amount reaches 6 billion euros," the health minister added.

    [08] Former prime minister Costas Simitis on 2008 state budget

    Former prime minister Costas Simitis on Monday evening addressed the Parliamentary debate on the 2008 state budget which he termed "a budget without prospects".

    "The 2008 state budget is without vision and prospects, it expresses a sense of weakness, the misery of one who attempts to cover up lies and exaggerations," Simitis said.

    At the same time, Simitis criticized the government of "countless delays and lagging behind in the absorption of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF) and the lack of serious preparation on how the 4th CSF will begin."

    [09] KKE leader meets Venezuelan Communist Party official

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga met on Monday with Karolus Vimer, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Venezuela, who is in Athens at the invitation of the KKE.

    In a press conference, Papariga said "the effort being made by the people of Venezuela constitutes a slap of world importance to all those, first of all to the forces which back the policy of imperialism."

    She underlined that the people of Venezuela has to confront a very strong domestic (bourgeoisie) and international (U.S.) opponent."

    Vilmer accused, on his part, the U.S.A. for "continuous pressures and threats" against his country.

    Financial News

    [10] Greek GDP up 3.8% in Q3

    Greece's GDP increased by 3.8 percent during the third quarter of 2007 in relation to the corresponding three-month period of 2006. the national statistical service (NSS) announced on Monday.

    According to the service, the increase is largely due to an increase in final demand, by 4.3 percent.

    Additionally, investments rose by 8.4 percent during the same period and in relation to the Q3 of 2006.

    Finally, Greek exports were up 3.4 percent in the same period, whereas imports increased by 7.3 percent between July and September in comparison with the same quarter in 2006.

    [11] MIG clarifies position ahead of OTE general assembly

    The Marfin Investment Group (MIG) on Monday issued another press release regarding its participation in state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), as the former is close to holding a 20-stake in the telephony utility.

    MIG reiterated that it is not interested in leading any alliance of foreign institutional investors amongst OTE's shareholders.

    MIG also said it will not use its votes at an upcoming general assembly "but our arguments".

    Finally, MIG said it expressed no interest in assuming the management of the Greek Red Cross' flagship hospital in the country or participation in two domestic passenger ferry lines (Minoan and Hellenic Seaways) due to concerns over anti-trust legislation - as the group has stakes in other health care facilities and another coastal shipping firm.

    [12] Tourism minister inaugurates winter tourism period at Parnassos

    Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos on Monday announced a series of innovations in the infrastructure of the Parnassos Ski Center.

    Inaugurating the winter tourism period at Parnassos, the minister underlined that the new infrastructures were made on the basis of international models and aimed at improving safety and the quality of services.

    [13] Warning strike by trade unionists, journalists

    The trade union bodies of scientists and journalists are escalating their warning strike action, reacting to the unification of their social security funds in the event that the government proceeds in going ahead with this.

    Lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, mechanics and journalists will hold a 24-hour warning strike on Wednesday, December 19, while on Thursday, according to decisions by each of the sectors, they will either hold a work stoppage or a 24-hour strike.

    At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, the strikers will gather in central Athens and then march to the employment ministry and Parliament to submit resolutions with their demands.

    [14] Greece, Serbia trade relations improve

    Serbia is developing into an upcoming trade partner of Greece as at present it is the 15th market for Greek products and the 36th supplier of the Greek market.

    In 1995, Serbia was in the 51st and 114th place respectively.

    The data was released on Monday by the Research and Studies Exports Centre (KEEM) of the Panhellenic Exports Federation.

    [15] Greek chambers' president gives address in Albania

    The president of Greece's Central Union of Chambers of Commerce (KEEE) George Kassimatis carried out a visit to neighboring Albania recently at the invitation of his counterpart Ilir Zhilla.

    According to a press release issued by the group on Monday, Kassimatis outlined the problems and obstacles faced by Greek businesses active in the sectors of trade and investments in Albania, as he cited an unstable institutional framework, particularly in the taxation and the customs regime, insufficient implementation of legislation and the lack of consistency of public services, which he said translates into negative repercussions for entrepreneurial activities.

    Kassimatis also referred to outstanding debts by Albanian agencies to private enterprises and the Greek state.

    During his visit, the Greek business official met with Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Economy Minister Gene Ruli and the members of the Albanian Parliament's Economic Committee.

    [16] Greek stocks end 2.49 pct down on Mon.

    Greek stocks ended substantially lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, pushing the composite index of the market below the 5,000 level. The index fell 2.49 pct to end at 4,970.37 points, with turnover a heavy 628.76 million euros, of which 298.2 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors ended lower with Technology (3.70 pct), Oil & Gas (3.25 pct), Mass Media (3.16 pct) and Banks (3.01 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The Big Cap index ended 2.60 pct lower, the Mid Cap index fell 2.06 pct and the Small Cap index dropped 0.96 pct.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 213 to 40 with another 34 issues unchanged.

    [17] ADEX closing report

    Futures contract prices ended upwards in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover increasing to 326.053 million euros. The December contract on the FTSE 20 index was traded at a premium of 0.18 percent and the December contract on the FTSE 40 index at a premium of 0.18 percent.

    Volume in futures contracts on the Big Cap index totaled 18,763 contracts worth 245.760 million euros, with 31,261 open positions in the market, while on the Mid Cap index volume was 455 contracts worth 14.009 million euros with 889 open positions.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 32,822 contracts worth 51.373 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Investment Group (5,966 contracts) followed by Marfin Popular Bank (3,965), ATEbank (3,800), Intracom (3,065), Post Office Bank (2,952), and National Bank (1,603).

    [18] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market totaled 1.151 billion euros on Monday, of which 565 billion were buy orders and the remaining 586 billion euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 20, 2017) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 305 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German bonds was at 0.32 percent, with the Greek bond yielding 4.60 pct and the German Bund 4.28 pct.

    In the domestic interbank market, interest rates moved upwards. National Bank's overnight rate was 4.02, the two-day rate stood at 4,02 per cent, the one-month rate stood at 4.92 per cent and the 12-month rate rose to 4.93 per cent.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: -2.0%

    Industrials: -1.10%

    Commercial: -1.54%

    Construction: -1.22%

    Media: -3.16%

    Oil & Gas: -3.25

    Personal & Household: -2.86%

    Raw Materials: -1.89%

    Travel & Leisure: -0.36%

    Technology: -3.70%

    Telecoms: -1.99%

    Banks: -3.01%

    Food & Beverages: -2.70%

    Health: -2.49%

    Utilities: -2.76%

    Chemicals: -1.21%

    Financial Services: -1.90%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, National Bank, OPAP and Bank of Piraeus.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 23.68

    ATEbank: 3.80

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 35.66

    HBC Coca Cola: 28.68

    Hellenic Petroleum: 11.50

    National Bank of Greece: 44.36

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 22.40

    Intralot: 13.96

    OPAP: 27.34

    OTE: 23.30

    Titan Cement Company: 30.62

    [19] Foreign Exchange Rates - Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.450

    Pound sterling 0.719

    Danish kroner 7.522

    Swedish kroner 9.535

    Japanese yen 164.42

    Swiss franc 1.674

    Norwegian kroner 8.041

    Cyprus pound 0.589

    Canadian dollar 1.467

    Australian dollar 1.69

    General News

    [20] PM tours New Acropolis Museum before departing for Moscow

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis, who leaves later in the day for a three-day state visit to Moscow, visited the New Acropolis Museum on Monday morning,

    "The New Acropolis Museum, above all, reminds us of the duty to reunify the Parthenon Marbles, this lofty monument of the World Cultural Heritage, and in a resounding manner," Karamanlis said during a tour of the new museum, as a massive operation to transfer the antiquities from the outdated museum on the Acropolis Hill to the new venue was nearing its completion.

    "The construction and operation of the New Acropolis Museum vitiates the the final argument of those who refuse the fulfillment of this just demand," Karamanlis stressed, in a reference to the British Museum.

    "The conditions are now ripe. The demand for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to the place where the belong, the demand that (the late statesman) Constantine Karamanlis put forward as a national goal and which the late Melina Mercouri, as minister of culture, rendered as her life's goal and contributed decisively to making it a universal demand, can become action in our generation," Karamanlis said.

    Karamanlis, accompanied by culture minister Michalis Liapis, was given a tour of the new Museum by New Acropolis Museum Organization president and archaeologist Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis and Acropolis curator Alexandros Mantis.

    The 5th century B.C. friezes, or Parthenon Marbles, were removed from the Parthenon by the British diplomat Lord Elgin with the permission of the local Ottoman occupation authorities in the early 19th century. Elgin removed the priceless statues and other parts of the Parthenon temple and later sold them to the British Museum in 1816, where they have been housed since.

    [21] New Acropolis Museum open to public til Easter for special exhibition

    The ground floor of the New Acropolis Museum will be open to the public for two hours daily beginning on Friday and running through the Easter holiday, it was announced on Monday.

    On Friday, December 21, the Museum will open its doors to children and adults, who will be able to view an exhibition with children's items from antiquity and funds unearthed during digging from beneath the Museum.

    [22] Establishment of Alexandria Center for Hellenist Studies announced

    An ambitious Hellenistic studies program will be inaugurated at the state-of-the-art Alexandria Library in September 2008, part of a joint initiative of the Onassis Foundation and the Vardinoyannis Foundation.

    Establishment of the Alexandria Center for Hellenist Studies was announced in Athens on Monday by UNESCO goodwill ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis, the president of the Onassis Foundation Antonis Papadimitriou and the director of the library, Ismail Serageldin.

    Faculties of history, philosophy, literature and fine arts will be included in the new centre for graduate studies from around the world, with instruction in English. Degrees will be bestowed by the University of Alexandria, which is affiliated with the library.

    [23] City of Athens, UNHCR sign Memorandum of Cooperation

    A Memorandum of Cooperation between the City of Athens and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was signed on Monday by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis and head of the UNHCR office in Greece, George Tsarbopoulos.

    The memorandum provides for a joint action plan under which the Athens municipality will undertake the establishment and staffing of a special social support network for foreign refugees who are holders of residence permits on humanitarian grounds and for asylum seekers residing in Athens.

    This service will provide information on the legal and social obligations of the foreign residents, individual and family support on social integration and seeking housing, and other matters.

    The UNHCR, on its part, undertakes the training of two social workers for the service, through seminars.

    The Athens municipality will receive from the UNHCR the dossiers of 2,435 refugees seeking asylum, and will undertake further counseling and social assistance on these cases.

    The special service also undertakes the responsibility of linking up with the Hestia data base, which is an electronic data base on provision of services to refugees, and aims at the mutual briefing of the services providing legal and social services to refugees.

    Further, the City of Athens and the UNHCR will set up a three-member evaluating and monitoring committee on the materialization of the Memorandum, which will also have the general responsibility for its implementation.

    [24] Greek, Turkish artists establish 'Kalimerhaba' association

    An Association aimed at advancing friendship between Greece and Turkey through cooperation among artists of the two countries has been founded in the Turkish city of Marmaris, it was announced on Monday.

    The foundation of the "Kalimerhaba" Association was announced by Selma Sonat, a Turkish actress, who explained that the Association's name comes from the joining of the Greek and Turkish words for good morning: "kalimera" and "merhaba", respectively..

    Sonat stressed that the purpose of the Association is to enhance the relations between the two countries, and added that the Association will invite, from now on, Greek artists to several events that will take place in Turkey, while Turkish artists will participate in events held in Greece, especially on the island of Rhodes, which is near Marmaris.

    [25] Schools closed in western Macedonia due to heavy snowfall

    Schools throughout western Macedonia, namely in the prefectures of Florina, Kozani and Grevena, remained closed on Monday due to heavy snowfall, rain and icy temperatures prevailing in the region from the early morning hours.

    The local prefectural authorities ordered that all primary and secondary education schools in the above prefectures remain closed for precautionary reasons.

    [26] Alexandria Patriarch's message to Muslims on Great Bairam feast

    Alexandria (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)

    Orthodox Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and All Africa on Monday addressed a message to the Muslims throughout the world, on the occasion of the Greater Bairam feast, expressing hope that the peaceful coexistence and good cooperation between Muslims and Christians will always be fruitful, adding that Egypt constituted a shining example and model of this peaceful coexistence.

    In a written message, the Patriarch further conveyed his warmest wishes to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his family, Grand Sheikh of el-Azhar Tantawi, and the governor of Alexandria on the occasion of the Grand Bairam, the Feast of the Sacrifice, which begins on Tuesday and culminates next Wednesday, and expressed his warmest congratulations and wishes "to the beloved Muslims of the blesses and hospitable country of Egypt and the entire world".

    The Patriarch expressed wishes that the true God of love, peace and justice will continue to embrace and protect the noble and progress-loving people of Egypt so that peaceful coexistence and smooth cooperation between Muslims and Christians will always be fruitful, as Egypt comprises a bright example and model of the peaceful cohabitation among Christians and Muslims.

    [27] Memorial service for victims of plane crash

    A memorial service was held in Pieria, northern Greece on Monday, marking the fatal air crash of an Ukrainian aircraft in December 1997 in Pieria mountain.

    The crash resulted in the loss of 72 lives.

    Present at the service were relatives, friends and local government officials.

    [28] Drug arrest in Veria

    A 48-year-old man was arrested in Veria, northwestern Greece, has been arrested by security police in possession of more than 1.5 kilos of heroin, Veria police said on Monday.

    According to police, the man was arrested on Sunday evening after the end of a soccer match between the local team and the Asteras Tripolis team, after a small quantity of heroin was found in his possession, as well as three cell phones and 4,000 euros in cash.

    A search of the detainee's house later turned up 1.517 kilos of heroin, 58.2 grams of cocaine, and a variety of objects with traces of narcotic substances.

    Weather Forecast

    [29] Rain, sleet on Tuesday

    Rain and sleet with northerly, northeasterly winds are forecast in all parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 6-7 beaufort. Snowfall in the mountainous regions. Temperatures will range between -2C and 16C. Sleet in Athens, with northeasterly 6-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 03C to 11C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 0C to 05C.

    Cyprus Affairs

    [30] Cypriot President: Only reunification can solve problems

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    President Tassos Papadopoulos has said that the various problems, which are constantly arising, will only be resolved once the Cyprus issue is settled and the country, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion, is reunited.

    The president's comments came following a protest by Turkish Cypriots against measures imposed by the illegal regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus, both on the mobility of Turkish and Greek Cypriots via crossing points to and from the occupied areas and the purchase of goods by Turkish Cypriots from the government controlled areas.

    The illegal Turkish Cypriot regime claims that the measures were put in place in response to the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the southern government controlled part of the country even though the European Union has eased restrictions.

    "All these problems are the result of the continuing occupation by Turkey. They will only be eliminated through reunification, which will be to the best interests of the people of Cyprus, Greek and Turkish Cypriots," the president said, speaking at Larnaca airport on his return from Brussels.

    [31] FM: Cyprus supports a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East problem

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cyprus has always supported a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East problem, Cyprus Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis told Monday the International Donors' Conference for the Palestinian State held in Paris.

    Marcoullis said that with a view to help Palestinians to form their state, the Cyprus government has already included the Palestinian Authority in its Strategy for Development Cooperation.

    As regards Cyprus financial contribution, she said that Cyprus will give two million dollars covering the period 2008-2010, adding that a part of this amount will be given for infrastructure projects while half of it will be used to finance various vocational programs and programs aiming to modernize the Palestinian Civil Service.

    Marcoullis also stated that apart from this contribution, Cyprus is ready, due to its geographical position, to provide the necessary facilities and infrastructure to the international community for organizing training programs for the Palestinian Civil Service.

    She thanked the French government for hosting the Conference and underlined that during the post-Annapolis period everyone must contribute to the whole procedure, giving the opportunity to the Palestine Authority to proceed with the formation of a state.

    She underlined that the presence of many governments and international organizations to this Conference shows their will to support the Palestinian program for financial reforms.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana-mpa.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: GEORGE TAMBAKOPOULOS


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