Stephanopoulos pleased with official talks in Finland
NEWS IN DETAIL
Visiting President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos said Greece is
not calling on its European partners to support one side or the other, but
is calling on its friends to express support for respect and implementation
of rules of international law.
Mr. Stephanopoulos was replying to a Finnish reporter during a press
conference in Helsinki yesterday on whether he requested Finland's
intervention in resolving Greek-Turkish problems.
President Stephanopoulos said Finland's position on the issue of Greek-
Turkish relations has been modified, saying that not much effort was
required for us to agree absolutely.
On his part, Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari several days ago had said
that Greek-Turkish differences can be tackled through dialogue between the
Mr. Stephanopoulos said Athens has no problem in discussing issues with
Turkey, but there can be no dialogue at present unless Ankara does not
withdraw its claims on Greek sovereign rights first, and threats of war,
which it hurls against Greece at times. He said that as time goes by,
Greece's position is being better understood. He said he is also pleased
with Finland's positions on the Cyprus issue, since Helsinki supports
Cyprus' accession to the European Union. Finland believes that the process
of Cyprus' accession to the EU will create favourable preconditions for
a solution to the Cyprus issue as well.
President Stephanopoulos said the Finnish side raised the Baltic countries'
request for accession to the EU and called for support from Greece.
Referring to the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
and replying to a relevant question, President Stephanopoulos said he is
neither optimistic nor pessimistic about a solution to the problem of that
landlocked state's name.
Appealing to the United States, President Stephanopoulos urged Washington
to remind FYROM of the commitments, stressing that so far Greece has
fulfilled all its commitments.
In his opening statement, Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed satisfaction over
the results of his talks in Helsinki, saying that differences with Finland
are non-existent, while there is ample ground for the two countries to
improve their relations, primarily in the commercial field.
Balkans and Greece's relations with all its neighbouring countries.
He also referred to the need for the EU to shape a common foreign policy
and security and defence policy, expressing optimism that the problems
currently being faced can be resolved in a satisfactory way, despite the
fact that the shaping of common fore ign policy and security and defence
policy is rendered difficult by various factors having their source in the
different historical experiences of each member-state, different economic
possibilities and, of course, differences in conceptions which each co
untry has on external dangers it might be facing.
Strong tremor hits Cyprus
NICOSIA (ANA/CNA/Reuters) P More than 50 people were injured in Cyprus when
a powerful tremor hit the east Mediterranean region at 13.11 GMT yesterday.
Most injuries occurred in the southern coastal town of Limassol when
residents tried to leave buildings.
One man, who was recovering from surgery in the intensive care unit of
Limassol hospital, died in the afternoon, however, doctors have not
established any link between the man's death and the earthquake.
The quake, whose epicentre was 40 kilometres west of the coastal town of
Paphos, measured 6.1 points on the Richter scale, and was also felt as far
as Egypt, where one person also died. It was also felt in Israel, Lebanon,
Syria, the Dodecanese islands and Turkey.
More than 100 aftershocks were recorded, measuring 3.5 to 5.5 points on the
Last year the western town of Paphos was hit by a strong earthquake which
left two elderly people dead and many injured.
Hungarian FM in Athens on Monday
VIENNA (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis) P Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovac
will visit Athens on Monday and is expected to confirm the excellent level
of relations existing between Greece and Hungary. Mr. Kovac will fly on to
Apart from bilateral relations, talks Mr. Kovac will have with his Greek
counterpart Theodoros Pangalos, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos,
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis
will focus on efforts b eing made by Hungary to join European and Atlantic
institutions. His visit to Greece is taking place about five months after
the one paid to Athens by Hungarian President Arpad Genc at the end of May,
and exactly 40 years after the restoration of diplomat ic relations between
Greece and Hungary which had been severed before World War II.
In Nicosia, Mr. Kovac will have talks with Foreign Minister Alecos
Michaelides, President Glafcos Clerides and Parliament President Spyros
Kyprianou, and will visit Hungarian soldiers participating in the Austrian
detachment of the UN peacekeeping force .
Tsohatzopoulos reiterates Greek position on dialogue with Turkey
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated Greece's standing
position yesterday that Athens will not enter into any unconditional
dialogue with Ankara.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos made the comments after briefing Prime Minister Costas
Simitis and in response to press questions concerning a letter National
Defence General Staff chief Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis addressed to his
Turkish counterpart yesterday express ing his regret over a Turkish F-16's
crash and a hope that the missing second pilot would be found.
The US-made Turkish warplane fell southwest of the eastern Aegean island of
Hios on Tuesday while violating the Athens FIR and after it had been
intercepted by Hellenic Air Force fighters.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said understandable reactions of a humanitarian nature
regarding the saving of human life should not be misinterpreted as having
any political extensions.
"We cannot draw political conclusions from humanitarian initiatives," he
said, reiterating that there was no dialogue with Turkey, nor are there any
Five pairs of Turkish warplanes violated air traffic regulations in the
Athens FIR yesterday, south of Greece's easternmost island of Kastellorizo,
according to reports.
In all cases the violators were intercepted by Greek aircraft, with close
engagements in some cases reported.
Two Turkish soldiers requested political asylum yesterday, 24 hours after
an Alexandroupolis court ordered their extradition to Turkey, together with
an underaged juvenile friend. The three crashed with a vehicle through a
Greek border pos t on Monday, citing poor conditions in the Turkish
In requesting the asylum, the two soldiers cited their "opposition to the
socio-political regime prevailing in Turkey.
Commission adopts van den Broek report on EU relations with Ankara
"BRUSSELS (ANA - M. Spinthourakis) P The European Commission yesterday
adopted a report by External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den B roek on
the development of the UnionYs relations with Turkey.
Reliable sources said the report, whose main points will be released today,
despite accepting in general terms that the human rights situation in
Turkey remains problematic with deterioration in certain cases, and that
Ankara's behaviour towards Greece presently does not seem to be aimed at a
de-escalation of tension, essentially comes out against the freezing of
credits to Turkey, thus conflicting with a recent resolution adopted by the
In his address, Greek Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis stressed that
the Commission ought to side with the Europarliament's view in order to put
pressure on Turkey to realise that the strengthening of its relations with
the EU is not possible with out respect for human rights and if it does not
stop its provocative actions against Greece.
He called for an end to instances of EU "double-talk" regarding Turkey,
emphasising that the Union must play a prominent role in the solution of
the Cyprus problem and stop watching in embarrasment the dimplomatic
efforts of the United States to impose its own terms.
Mr. van den Broek accepted several of the amendments to the text of the
report proposed by Mr. Papoutsis and several other commissioners. The final
text, which will be submitted to the Europarliament for briefing purposes,
clearly states that the de-esc alation of tension in the Aegean must be
realised on the basis of the principles of international law, and that the
Union must remain firm regarding the maintenance of an open dialogue aiming
at a permanent and fair solution of the Cyprus problem.
Papandreou speaks at London School of Economics
LONDON (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis) P Speaking at the London School of Economics
yesterday, Foreign Undersecretary George Papandreou developed the theme
"Politics as Education", influenced, as he said, on recent experiences
within the ruling party following th e death of his father, PASOK founder
"I set out personal thoughts on how politics ought to be treated in the
very different society we are entering, which views politics as an
educational process, very different from the traditional manner of
exercising policy," he said.
The undersecretary today is due to inaugurate the Greek Section at LSE P
the research section of the Modern Greek Studies Department.
"Generally, I consider that the the creation of chairs of Greek studies is
very important. We make important contacts with educationalists and
researchers to the benefit of our country and to the mutual benefit with
the countries we cooperate," he said.
Souflias rejects Evert`s overtures
The main opposition New Democracy party`s leadership woes appeared to be
far from over yesterday when a leading party member turned down a proposal
from ND president Miltiades Evert to participate in senior party bodies and
characterised Mr. Evert's tenur e at the helm of ND as "temporary".
George Souflias, former education minister and the defeated ND candidate in
last week's leadership election, rejected proposals by Mr. Evert that he
remain spokesman for ND deputies and to participate in the party's
Mr. Souflias stressed that there should be a genuine democractic representation
of the ND rank and file at the congress.
Petsalnikos to visit Australia
MELBOURNE (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis) R Greece's Minister for Macedonia and
Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos will visit Australia at the end of the month
to take part in the annual "Dimitria" festival, organised by the Victorian
Mr. Petsalnikos will arrive in Sydney on October 30 for a two-day visit and
will then visit Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Senate to discuss resolution condemning Turkey
Shadow justice minister Senator Nick Bolkus, a former federal immigration
minister, has tabled a resolution in the Australian Senate calling on the
government to condemn the "provocative and expansionist policy of Turkey in
the Aegean" as well as stressin g that the islet of Imia belongs to
"It is necessary that this proposal be approved by the Australian Senate so
as to act as pressure on Turkey to abandon its provocation. At the same
time, however, it puts pressure on the Australian government to more
vigorously support Greek positions i n the Aegean," Senator Bolkus said.
"The refusal of Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to take a position is
worrying. It sends the wrong message to Ankara."
The senator, who is of Greek origin, said there were international treaties
which clearly show that Imia was a part of sovereign Greek territory.
"Unfortunately," he continued, "Turkey has lately ignored international
treaties and repeatedly provoked Greece. Recently the European Parliament
called on Turkey to respect international legality. I, too, call on the
Australian government to condemn in the most vehement fashion Turkish
provocations in the Aegean."
Thessaloniki police investigating reports of baby-selling rings from
Thessaloniki's Chief of Police Kostas Economou told reporters yesterday
that he was awaiting a briefing from Interpol regarding reports in the
Bulgarian press of the existence of a network selling Bulgarian babies in
Bulgarian newspapers recently reported police officials in the town of
Burgas saying they had uncovered a network dealing in selling infants from
Bulgaria in Greece.
Mr. Economou added that the Thessaloniki police had dealt with such a case
once before, in September last year, when a young Bulgarian couple and
three Bulgarian women were arrested and charged with acting as middlemen
selling infants from Bulgaria to c ouples in northern Greece.
European insurance firms' general assembly in Thessaloniki
A three-day general assembly of the Comite Europeen Des Assurances (CEA)
will get underway in Thessaloniki today.
The CEA constitutes the Federation of Insurance Unions from 25 European
countries, which it represents officially in international organisations.
It also plays a decisive role in all issues connected to private insurance
in the EU's unified market.
About 150 leading insurance agents from around Europe will participate in
the general assembly, scheduled to be held at the Makedonia Palace Hotel.
Decisions will be taken concerning the current rapid developments in the
insurance sector, with an emphas is being placed on the consequences the
future establishment of a single currency will have on private insurance.
The event is being organised by the Union of Insurance Companies of
Xiosbank drops interest rates on loans
The administration of Xiosbank has decided to reduce interest rates on
consumer and housing loans by one to one and a half percentage points.
Specifically, Xiosbank's new interest rates are as follows:
- Xios Stegi (housing loan): 16 per cent (from 17 per cent).
- Housing loan of limited action (for the first year): 9 per cent (from 10
- Repairs loan with prior notification: 18.5 per cent (from 19.5 per
- Multi-loan (consumer loan): 23 per cent (from 24 per cent).
- Xiosbank Visa (credit card): 26.5 per cent (from 27.5 per cent).
The above interest rates do not include a 1 per cent contribution
anticipated by Greek law.
The Greek telecommunications firm Intracom yesterday sealed a US$3.5
million contract with the US-based Hughes Co. to participate on the
development of a new air-to-sea missile for NATO member-states, the Sea
Under the terms of the contract, Intracom will develop and manufacture the
missile's telemetric guidance system (WCT) and will participate in the
initial stage of the preliminary design of the ESSM, as well as coordinating
other Greek subcontractors wor king on the missile. The development
programme for the missile involves another 10 NATO countries and is
budgeted at $2 billion.
The contract was signed by an Intracom official and the managing consultant
of the German firm RamSys, which is coordinating the European portion of
the programme. The signing was attended by officials of the national
defence ministry, as well as US and German officials.
Conference of European chambers concludes
The two-day fourth Conference of European Chambers of Commerce reached a
successful conclusion yesterday, with the participation of 300 delegates
from 31 European countries and representatives of 1,200 chambers representing
14 million members.
The conference, focusing on "Business in the 21st century-Technical Aid and
Support from the Chambers of Commerce and Industry", concluded that the
European business community is faced with two main challenges: the global
expansion of the economy and enl argement of the European Union, which will
include countries from central and southern Europe.
Giorgos Yiourgas was elected president of the work group for tourism,
succeeding Bernard Theman from France.
Partly cloudy with occasional rainfalls in most parts of the country with
temperatures ranging from 16-24C in Athens and from 15-19C in Thessaloniki.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 238.179, Can. dlr.175.703, Australian dlr. 187.885, Pound sterling
372.595, Irish punt 381.722, Cyprus pd 511.416, French franc 46.033, Swiss
franc 189.665 Belgian franc 7.731, German mark 155.600 Finnish mark 52.130,
Dutch guilder 138.706 Danish Kr. 40.656, Swedish Kr. 36.188, Norwegian Kr.
36.559, Austrian Sh. 22.127, Italian lira (100) 15.672 Yen (100) 213.528
Spanish Peseta 1.852, Portuguese Escudo 1.542.