NEWS

In Brief

EU DEFENSE

Simitis calls for common security, immigration policies Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday reiterated a call for common European defense and immigration policies after meeting with his Danish counterpart Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Copenhagen yesterday. Simitis stressed, however, that decisions on defense must be based on a unanimous vote to safeguard national interests, noting Greece’s frequent isolation on issues regarding neighboring Turkey. Simitis also stressed the importance of hammering out the details of a common EU immigration policy, such as whether to establish a joint border police force or to coordinate existing national forces. MILOSEVIC Greece cooperated fully with The Hague, del Ponte says Greece’s cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague regarding the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been entirely satisfactory, the tribunal’s chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte said yesterday after meeting Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Brussels. Del Ponte said she had duly received all the information she requested from Greek authorities regarding the bank accounts of offshore firms in Cyprus alleged to have had dealings with Milosevic’s regime. She refuted press reports that she had given Papandreou a list of Greeks alleged to have done business with Milosevic’s regime. MIDDLE EAST FM in telephone diplomacy Telephone conversations late on Tuesday night between Foreign Minister George Papandreou and US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Al Shara, and the Palestinian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Nabil Sha’ath, focused on the swift resumption of efforts to establish peace in the Middle East and the role to be played by the European Union, ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said yesterday. Also yesterday, Papandreou, in Brussels for EU meetings, welcomed the formation of a new Palestinian Cabinet, saying it «will open the way to publishing the road map (to peace).» Drug haul A rented car parked on a Kozani hotel grounds was found to contain 100 kilos of cannabis and more than two kilos, police in the northern town said yesterday. Officers are seeking an Albanian national identified only as R.V., 23, who they believe rented the car. Hoard returned Italian Culture Minister Juliano Urbani was return to Cyprus yesterday a collection of stolen ancient coins discovered by police in Italy last year. Urbani was to hand over the 149 (mostly silver) coins – dating to the fourth century BC – to the Cypriot government during a ceremony in Nicosia. The coins originate from the ancient site of Amathounda in southern Cyprus. Athens trains Kifissia-bound trains on the Piraeus-Kifissia urban electric railway (ISAP) will not be stopping at Perissos station from Tuesday as works begin to renovate the station, ISAP said yesterday. In view of Orthodox Easter, on Saturday, the last trains for Kifissia and Omonia will leave Piraeus at 10.15 p.m. and 11 p.m., respectively. From Kifissia, the last train to Omonia will be at 11.05 p.m., and the last trains from Omonia to Kifissia and Piraeus respectively will be at 10.30 p.m. and 11.15 p.m. Ammunition Border guards patrolling a forest near the village of Pyrsoyianni in the northwestern prefecture of Ioannina yesterday discovered 54 metal boxes containing a total of 38,000 rounds of ammunition for Kalashnikov assault rifles. The ammunition had been hidden in two different places by Albanians who had intended for them to be collected by accomplices, police said. Museums The country’s museums and archaeological sites will remain closed on Saturday and Monday when museum workers and guards are to stage 24-hour strikes. On Sunday, May 4, entrance to all the country’s state museums will be free of charge as part of an annual European initiative, the Culture Ministry said yesterday.