NEWS

In Brief

IRANIAN CONCERNS

Kharrazi says Tehran must be consulted on Iraq war Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, in Athens yesterday for talks with his Greek counterpart, George Papandreou, expressed deep concern at the prospect of a US-led attack on Iraq. He said a war could result in mass population movements and use of chemical weapons. «Our opinion should be asked on whether there is a war,» he said. «We think there is no reason at all for such a war to take place.» Papandreou said the Greek presidency would consult with all of Iraq’s neighbours on the matter. KIFISSOS WORKS Disruption on Kifissou Avenue as building starts on links to bridges The Piraeus-bound lane of Athens Kifissou Avenue will be shut off from the junction of Pireos Street from today until January 19, as work gets under way to join the road with the temporary metal bridges erected over the flood-prone Kifissos River. The Lamia-bound lane on Kifissou Avenue will also be blocked off at the junction with Pireos Street from tomorrow. The demolition of several buildings constructed illegally on the banks of the Kifissos River continued yesterday. TURKISH CRASH President, FM send condolences President Costis Stephanopoulos sent his condolences to his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, yesterday over the loss of 75 lives in Wednesday’s jetliner crash in the southern Turkish city of Diyarbakir. Foreign Minister George Papandreou also expressed his condolences to his Turkish counterpart, Yasar Yakis. «It is with great grief that I have received the news of the tragic air crash… I would like to convey to you my sincere condolences and my profound sympathy,» Papandreou said in a message addressed to «Dear Yasar.» Permits extended Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis yesterday tabled an amendment to extend the residence permits of immigrants living in Greece until the end of June. According to the changes, there is no need for official confirmation of the extension which applies to all permits due to expire by June 30. Academy head Professor of surgery Grigoris Skalkeas yesterday officially assumed his new post as Athens Academy president during a ceremony at the academy attended by President Costis Stephanopoulos. Skalkeas performed the first kidney and pancreas transplants in Athens. Ex-king’s assets The Greek government will not seek to regain any movable assets in the possession of former king Constantine, and which are currently abroad, nor will it try to offset the 13.7 million euros it has been obliged by the European Court to pay Constantine for his seized Greek estates, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis said yesterday. Responding to a question tabled in Parliament by a PASOK deputy, Yiannitsis said the government respected the court’s decision. Workmanlike The trademark white harbor police summer uniforms will be replaced by French blue shirts and dark blue trousers as of this summer, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday. A ministry statement said the decision followed complaints that the white uniforms were impossible to keep clean. Fire engines The fire brigade is to pay 17.6 million euros for 113 new fire engines to be built by Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO), the manufacturer said yesterday. The new vehicles will be delivered in batches over the course of this year, ELBO said. Balkan tour Foreign Minister George Papandreou will visit Balkan countries next week as part of Greece’s presidency of the European Union, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. Papandreou will first visit Albania on Jan. 13 accompanied by EU foreign and security affairs chief Javier Solana and External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten. He will then attend the inauguration of the European Union police force in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The EU has taken over peacekeeping duties from the United Nations in Bosnia. He will also visit Croatia and Serbia next week. (AP)