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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 03/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Nicosia,Athens coordinate moves concerning Cyprus issue
  • Intracom to participate in development of new air-to-air missiles programme
  • Petrol prices increase
  • Evert, Souflias continue contacts prior to N.D. election Friday
  • 252 Eurodeputies back return of Parthenon marbles
  • Council of state upholds meassure barring public debtors from leaving the country
  • Laliotis reportedly rejects re-negotiation of new Athens metro contract


    Cyprus and Greece have drafted an outline on their future moves "at this crucial time" in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem and press on with Cyprus' bid to join the European Union.

    A joint communique, issued here yesterday after lengthy talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Greek Premier Costas Simitis, who yesterday wound up a two-day official visit to the island, and their aides, stressed that "the necessary planning on future moves was dealt with at the talks" in view of anticipated increased efforts by the international community to move closer to a resolution of the Cyprus problem.

    Simitis airport statements

    In statements shortly before leaving the island, Mr. Simitis called on the international community to turn its attention to Ankara and demand compliance with the dictates of international law and the decisions of international organisations on the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Simitis said the Greek side was ready to cooperate with the UN secretary-general and third parties intending to undertake initiatives on the Cyprus problem.

    He described his talks with the Cyprus government, political leaders and Archbishop Chrysostomos during his two-day visit to the island, which coincided with independence celebrations, as "useful, productive and constructive."

    "The talks provided the opportunity once again to confirm the absolute coincidence of views concerning tactical and strategic targets and the further handling of the Cyprus problem," Mr. Simitis said.

    "We agreed that the UN is the only natural framework within which efforts must be made to find a solution," he added.

    Apart from the initiative of the United States and the intention of three EU countries to express interest in finding a solution, Mr. Simitis said, other Community member-states had also expressed their intention to help during contacts with the Greek government.

    Speaking later at a ceremony at which he was made an honorary professor of the school of economic sciences and administration of the University of Cyprus, Mr.Simitis said that Turkish aggressiveness on Cyprus and in the Aegean constituted the biggest threat for Hellenism.

    "Turkey, despite its severe social, economic and political problems it is facing, is seeking a dominant role in the region and is developing a steady policy of disputing the sovereign rights of Greece and Cyprus. Our basic principle is to protect our national independence and sovereignty. The reply to Turkish aggressiveness is a Greece which is strong economically, defensively, diplomatically and politically. A Greece belonging on an equal basis to the European area and the international system, which will make use of its alliances, its international support and negotiating advantages, without trading on patriotism and isolationism," Mr. Simitis said.

    "We have already proposed to the Turkish side," Mr. Simitis continued, "a step-by-step approach to our relations. In the first stage, Turkey should have recourse to the International Court at The Hague if it believes that it has claims on the Imia islet . Subsequently, the drawing up of an agreement to refer the issue to arbitrators could be discussed, in order for the issue of the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf to be submitted to the Hague. Lastly, in the third phase, there could be discussion of various bilateral issues which do not bear on our sovereign rights, such as tourism and trade issues. We have made it clear that Greece desires good relations with Turkey but we will not negotiate our territorial integrity and sovereign rights."

    The Greek premier underlined that Greek-Turkish relations could not be normalised unless the Cyprus problem was resolved in a just, permanent and viable way on the basis of US resolutions.

    "As far as Greece is concerned, the Cyprus problem is a national issue of top priority. It is our desire that a settlement should be found using peaceful and diplomatic means, on the basis of UN resolutions and decisions, " he said.

    Clerides honours Simitis

    President Clerides honoured here yesterday Prime Minister Simitis with the Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III, the Cyprus state's highest decoration.

    President Clerides told Mr. Simitis that the presentation of the highest decoration to him is a recognition of his sincere and keen interest in Cyprus, not only as a prime minister of one of the guarantor powers of the independence of the Cyprus Republic but mainly as a Greek brother.

    He noted the fact that Mr. Simitis had placed the Cyprus problem on top of his priorities.

    President Clerides also referred to Greece's declaration that in case the Turkish occupation troops advance towards the government-controlled southern part of Cyprus would mean war between Greece and Turkey.

    Simitis honours fallen Cypriot fighters

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis paid tribute yesterday to the memory of those who died during the 1955-1959 liberation struggle against British colonial occupation and during the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974. Accompanied by Foreign

    The director of the prison gave Mr. Simitis a guided tour of prison cells where the imprisoned fighters were held before being led to the gallows by the British colonial regime.

    Greek telecommunications giant Intracom yesterday signed an initial contract worth one million deutchmarks with the German company BGT for design and development of the electronic portion and guidance system of the new air-to-air IRIS-T missile, which is slated for integration on NATO aircraft.

    An Intracom announcement said the IRIS-T programme, worth a total of three billion deutchmarks, is due to be completed after the year 2000. Greece is participating in the programme with a 6 per cent share.

    Tsohatzopoulos visit to Cyprus announced

    Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will soon visit Cyprus, press ministry secretary general Nikos Athanasakis said yesterday.

    Mr. Athanasakis said there is no problem over the fact that Mr. Tsohatzopoulos is not currently visiting the island republic with the prime minister.

    He added that Cyprus Defence Minister Costas Eliades will visit Athens and meet with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos during the next few days.

    Petrol prices increase

    According to an announcement by the development ministry yesterday, retail prices of super gasoline will be 211.90 drachmas per litre in the Attica region and Thessaloniki prefecture, while the price will stand at 195.90 drachmas per litre for unleaded ga soline.

    The the retail price of diesel oil will also increase by 2.70 drachmas per litre.

    The above prices will be in effect from today until Oct. 10.

    Evert,Souflias continue contacts prior to ND election tomorrow

    The two remaining contenders for the leadership of the main opposition New Democracy party, Miltiades Evert - who recently resigned from the post - and former minister George Souflias, continued their contacts yesterday with deputies and prominent party members in view of tomorrow's vote for the party's leadership.

    Both men expressed optimism regarding the outcome.

    Commenting on Wednesday's election of the 76 electors that will participate in the voting, along with the 108 ND deputies and nine Eurodeputies, Mr. Souflias stated: "We went very well and the message from the grass-roots is clear".

    Meanwhile, ND vice-president Ioannis Varvitsiotis yesterday issued a message of support for Mr. Evert, saying that "his candidacy in the present phase would secure the goals of party unity, renewal and future prospects, and the smooth course towards a democratic party congress."

    Solana declines to provide details on NATO's policy vis-a-vis Turkish expansionism

    NATO Secretary General Javier Solana yesterday observed a policy of equal distances between Greece and Turkey, while replying to questions by members of the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee.

    "I understand your concerns, we have them also. However, I hope that in practice fears will not come true," Mr. Solana replied to a question on NATO's position vis-a-vis Turkish territorial claims against another member- state of the alliance.

    Mr. Solana avoided going into details, but expressed the view that the best way for problems among allies to be resolved is by peaceful dialogue.

    Greece's request for the return of the Elgin Marbles has gained the support of 252 Eurodeputies from all European Union member-states and from all political groupings.

    A relevant request was submitted by British Labour Eurodeputy Alfred Lomas with a European Parliament protocol.

    Speaking at a press conference in Brussels yesterday, Mr. Lomas said the signatures of such a large number of Eurodeputies confirm the strong feeling of European peoples that the marbles should be returned to their proper place - the Acropolis in Athens .

    He also called on the Major government to examine the Greek request positively, because "it would constitute a major act of international solidarity. These marbles are a crucial part of Greek history and culture."

    On his part, Coalition of the Left and Progress Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos, who has received a negative reply from London to the same request he had made in the past, told the same press conference that "although, due to strict processes, it was not pos sible to gather half (314) of the total number of European Parliament members in support of the Lomas proposal so that it will constitute an official position of Parliament, support for the request for the return of the friezes is great, warm and comes fr om various groupings."

    Specifically, 252 signatures were gathered, while in usual practice most decisions taken by a Europarliament plenary session are approved with about 200 votes.

    The Greek request was supported by 39 Eurodeputies from Britain, 34 from Italy, 33 from Spain, 26 from France, 22 from Germany, 19 from Portugal, 14 from Belgium, 10 from Ireland and by the Greek Eurodeputies.

    Florida the latest stop of exhibition on Macedonian culture

    An archeological exhibition entitled "Macedonians - The Greeks of the North" opened at Florida's International Museum in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

    The exhibition includes 428 ancient works and 10 replicas, and is aimed at presenting the history of Macedonia through archeological findings, from the nomadic way of life in the third millenium B.C. until the spreading of Hellenic culture to Asia.

    A special dedication is made to the era of Alexander the Great, while the same location comprises a second exhibition on the renown Macedonian leader, constituting continuation of the first, which is being organised by the Memmo Foundation of Rome.

    The exhibition has so far toured Montreal, Hannover, Copenhagen, Marseilles, Rome and Buenos Aires.

    The Council of State has ruled that a measure forbidding individuals with outstanding public debts to leave the country is in place for reasons of public benefit.

    The ban on leaving the country can be lifted only if authorities provided with a monetary guarantee, if there are adequate property assets to cover the debt or if there are exceptionally serious reasons for travel abroad, such as severe illness.

    The Council of State has rejected an application by a debtor who requested to be allowed to leave the country, suggesting a mortgage be taken out on a foreign-flagged vessel in order to cover the public debt. According to court records, the debt was inc urred through the levying of a multiple fine for a smuggling charge, amounting to 120.6 million drachmas.

    The nation's highest administrative court judged that irrespective of problems of the businessman's ownership of the vessel, the proposal for a mortgage does not satisfy the state's demands, mainly due to problems which would arise in the confiscation of the foreign-flagged ship.

    The government is considering rescinding a contract with the Olympic Metro consortium, sources said yesterday, following the consortium's reported move to halt work on four underground stations and tunnel-drilling work.

    Attiko Metro, which represents the Greek state in the project, issued an announcement on Tuesday evening stating that problems arising in the construction of the 520-billion-drachma metro project were the fault of Olympic Metro. Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis told the Athens daily "Ta Nea" yesterday that the government would not sign a new contract and would not renegotiate terms beyond those already in the current contract.

    If there is no agreement, the minister added, there is always the possibility of arbitration or court adjudication.

    OTE, SEB consider methods of increasing cooperation

    The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) has announced the establishment of a committee to look into ways of furthering their cooperation.

    At a joint press conference after a meeting of the two organisations' board of governors yesterday, OTE managing director P. Lambrou said their joint venture was at present executing projects worth more than $40 million, with prospects of surpassing $1 00 million in 1997.

    Both Mr. Lambrou and OTE president D. Papoulias stressed the significance of programmatic agreements with SEB for the supply of high quality and competitively priced equipment.

    Mr. Papoulias also underlined the large potential for joint investments in Greece and abroad, especially in the Balkans.

    Referring to OTE's expected financial performance, Mr. Lambrou said profits were forecast at 1.5 trillion drachmas in the 1996-2000 period, with investment reaching about the same amount, and turnover topping four trillion drachmas.


    Sunny to partly cloudy in most parts of the country with an increase in temperatures which will range from 18-26C in Athensand from 13-24C in Thessaloniki.


    U.S. dlr 239.908, Can. dlr.176.449, Australian dlr. 190.846, Pound sterling 375.769, Irish punt 383.945, Cyprus pd 515.449, French franc 46.462, Swiss franc 191.723 Belgian franc 7.545, German mark 157.416, Finnish mark 52.679, Dutch guilder 140.348 Danish Kr. 41.011, Swedish Kr. 36.345, Norwegian Kr. 36.899, Austrian Sh. 22.379, Italian lira (100) 15.806 Yen (100) 214.614 Spanish Peseta 1.870, Portuguese Escudo 1.563.


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