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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-24

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

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


NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 24/10/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • I.O.C. Evaluation Commission in Athens to examine bid for 2004 Olympic Games
  • Prime Minister leaves for Moscow today for B.S.E.C. summit
  • Turkey is 'prime source of tension in the Aegean', says Reppas
  • E.U. presidency asks for Turkish reply to E.U. statements regarding relations with Greece
  • New fuel price increase as of today
  • Talks on Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline gather momentum

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission for the 2004 Olympic Games is due to arrive in Athens this morning, in order to be briefed on the cityYs candidacy file and to visit existing sports infrastructure and facilities.

    The commission will be met at the airport by members of the 'Athens 2004' Candidacy Committee, headed by President Gianna Angelopoulou - Daskalaki, and is to be received by Prime Minister Costas Simitis at midday.

    The commission will meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos and then inspect sports facilities.

    The Evaluation Commission members are Thomas Bach (Chairman - Germany), Chiharu Igaya (Japan), Major-General Henry Adefope (Nigeria), Fernando Lima Bello (Portugal), Denis Oswald (Switzerland), Hein Verbruggen (Netherlands), Julio Cesar Maglione (Uruguay), Carol Anne Letheren (Canada), Francisco Elizalde (Philippines), Els van Breda Vriesman (Netherlands), Mingde Tu (China), Mark Tewksbury (Canada), Charles Battle (USA), Olav Myrholt (Norway), Pere Miro (Spain), Jacqueline Barrett (UK), Lyanne Millhouse (UK), Anders Ronningen and Petter Ronningen (Norway).

    Athens is the sixth candidate city visited by the Evaluation Commission, after St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Lille, Seville, Rome and Istanbul, and is to be followed by San Juan, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Cape Town.

    Of the 11 candidate cities, four or five will be shortlisted in March, with the final selection scheduled for September 5, 1997.

    Evert says balance of power in post-election period has changed to ND's benefit

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert confirmed that the party congress will be held in June and said he was preparing to form a front with other opposition parties in order to face the government.

    Addressing the party's central committee yesterday, Mr. Evert said that the balance of power in the post-election period had changed to the benefit of New Democracy. He said these changes include the fact that the Political Spring (POL.AN) party lost its parliamentary seats at the September general election.

    "This new development," he added, "will allow New Democracy to broaden, without delay, its influence" to include POL.AN's liberal voters.

    In a direct call on POL.AN's supporters, Mr. Evert said that "New Democracy keeps its doors open for everyone who accepts its principles and its positions,...(for everyone) who does not return to partitions of the past, but aspires to convergences of th e future."


    Prime Minister Costas Simitis leaves for Moscow today in order to participate in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Summit, in the sidelines of which he is expected to meet with heads of national delegations.

    Mr. Simitis is to be accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    The summit is due to discuss the possibility of a more in-depth cooperation between members or a possible enlargement of the organisation. It will also explore the possibility of turning the BSEC, which was founded in 1992, into an international organisation.

    Cyprus' accession 'a binding decision by the EU', Reppas says

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that a statement made by Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller that the Cyprus issue should be resolved before Cyprus joins the European Union, is one which is repeatedly made by Turkey.

    Mr. Reppas reiterated that Cyprus' accession constitutes a binding decision by the EU, adding that Greece will contribute towards having all obstacles overcome and have accession completed in the time scheduled.

    Stephanopoulos visits WWII concentration camps before leaving Poland

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos wrapped up his visit to Poland yesterday by touring the World War Two German concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau.

    He was taken on a tour of the premises and installations where thousands of people, mostly Jews, from all over Europe were imprisoned and killed.

    President Stephanopoulos laid a wreath at the wall used for executions and signed the visitors' book before leaving for the nearby Birkenau concentration camp.

    President Stephanopoulos returned to Athens late last night at the end of his three-day visit to this eastern European country.

    Tsohatzopoulos says possibility still exists for Turkey to create new `Imia incident`

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos again did not rule out the possibility of another "Imia type" incident between Greece and Turkey, saying that Turkey believes it can only change the situation with an incident.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, who toured military units in the Evros Prefecture yesterday, expressed satisfaction over the readiness and high morale of the armed forces and said Greece is completely prepared to confront any Turkish design and that Ankara is aware of this message.

    Speaking to members of the 12th and 16th Infantry Divisions in Alexandroupolis and Didimotiho, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said Turkey continues to dispute the status quo in the region and international treaties, such as the Lausanne Treaty, adding that the neig hbouring country has expansionist designs and is promoting the tactic of coercive diplomacy to lead Greece to negotiations.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that despite the fact that in past days a great deal of violations have been ascertained at operational level, Turkey is aware that Greece has military readiness and political will to put an end to all of Ankara's designs.


    Greece yesterday called on Ankara to show "in practice" whether it wanted a new relation with Athens.

    "It is Turkey which should show in practice that it is interested in a new relation between the two countries and undertake initiatives to prove that its words do not lack susbtance," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, adding that "if Turkey pr oves that its interest is real, Greece will consider it positive and appreciate it accordingly."

    Asked about a Turkish proposal that "the moratorium" in the Aegean be expanded for the duration of the year, Mr. Reppas said the Greek government did not desire tension in the Aegean.

    "This is the reason Greece agreed that both countries should not hold military exercices in the Aegean during summer," he said, adding that "as far as the rest of the year is concerned, the activities in the Aegean should abide by current conditions and international law."

    Mr. Reppas said Turkey was "the prime source of tension" in the region since it continuously violates the Greek FIR (flight information region) and air traffic regulations.

    He did not exclude however the eventuality of a social meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries.

    Mr. Reppas declined to comment on statements made on Tuesday by US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns regarding what he called "disputed islets in the Aegean."

    Mr. Burns had told reporters that "it's up to Greece and Turkey to decide to work together amicably, peacefully without the threat of force, the use of force, to decide the disposition of these islets, disputed islets."

    Mr. Reppas reiterated Greece's positions that the status quo in the Aegean is clear and that the government remains steadfast in its position.

    According to an ANA dispatch from Washington late last night, Mr Burns, during his briefing, expressed his regret over "any confusion" created by his statements Tuesday.

    "I regret if there has been any confusion, the United States do not take sides in the difference between Greece and Turkey over the disputed island which is called Kardak and Imia. The United States believe that Greece and Turkey should solve together t heir differences," he said.

    Referring to the statements made by Mr. Burns, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos called on the government "to take a clear position on the issue immediately and at last to brief the Greek people on the extent its consult ations with the US government have reached."

    "If the representative of the US State Department really expresses American policy in speaking of 'disputed islets' in the Aegean, then we believe that it is impossible for the Greek government to accept an American initiative or mediation on Greek-Turk ish relations. And the reason for this is that it is evident that Mr. Burns' statements indicate acceptance of the Turkish positions," Mr. Pavlopoulos said.


    The Irish president of the European Union's Council of Ministers, Dick Spring, yesterday reminded Turkey it was still expecting a reply to the CommissionYs July 15 statement on the countryYs relations with Greece, par ticularly regarding the promotion of good neighbourly relations.

    "The European Union, on the basis of its July 15 statement, continues to expect a reply from the Turkish government regarding the problem of its relations with Greece, and we hope that this reply will be such that will allow us to improve our relations with it," he said.

    He refused to elaborate, apparently in view of todayYs vote in the European Parliament regarding budgetary provisions for Mediterranean Assistance (MEDA) programme credits to Turkey.

    Meeting on absorption of EU social funds

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday discussed the issue of the abso rption of the EUYs social funds with Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou and Undersecretary Christos Protopapas.

    According to reliable sources, the labour ministry proposed benefits for those on low pensions to be funded by the budget instead of by social security funds.

    The same sources said proposals were made for promoting and accelerating procedures for the legalisation of immigrants living in Greece.


    Retail prices of petrol are to increase by 1.80 drachmas per litre today and until October 30. Diesel prices will also increase by 0.5 drachmas per litre.

    An announcement by the Development Ministry and the Public Petroleum Corporation (DEP) said the new prices were adjusted due to an increase in international fuel prices.


    Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister D.Konakchiev said yesterday that decisions reached during a recent meeting between officials from Russia, Bulgaria and Greece in Sofia included the acceleration of processes concerning the creation of the joint company "Transbalkan pipeline".

    A report by the Bulgarian news agency BTA said Mr. Konakchiev disclosed that a tripartite meeting at government level was in the offing for the signing of an agreement to build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    "The three sides have undertaken the commitment to brief the European Union on studies carried out and, in the framework of the section of the project corresponding to them, to submit requests for the funding of the finalised programme," Mr. Konakchiev said.

    He added that for the time being, there has been no revision in the share of each side's participation in the project which, according to Bulgaria's previous position, amounts to 50 per cent for Russia and 25 per cent each for Bulgaria and Greece.

    Undersecretary releases details on draft bill for private insurance market

    Development Undersecretary Michalis Chrysohoidis yesterday released details of a draft bill on the private insurance market, designed to upgrade safeguards for customers and rationalise certain aspects of the industry.

    The bill includes strict provisions regarding the 'small print' in policy contracts, sets a 30-day deadline for payment of compensation following approval and increases the equity capital required for insurance companies to be set up in future to a leve l at least three times that of the minimum guarantee capital for each insurance branch.

    It also provides for the participation of representsatives of consumer organisations in the Private Insurance Commission.

    Meanwhile, the Development Ministry yesterday revoked the licence of the 'Messogios Zimion AAE' and 'Panelladiki AEGA' insurance companies for failing to meet the obligations of compensation to customers, contributions to the Auxiliary Fund for compen sation of motorists and large outstanding dues to the state.

    WEATHER

    Partly cloudy with possible drizzle and some storms in the southern parts of the country. Temperatures in Athens will range from 11-18C and in Thressaloniki from 6-14C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    U.S. dlr 236.790 Can. dlr.175.862, Australian dlr. 188.311 Pound sterling 378.031, Irish punt 381.622, Cyprus pd 510.285, French franc 45.928, Swiss franc 188.778 Belgian franc 7.541, German mark 155.347 Finnish mark 51.765, Dutch guilder 138.483 Danish Kr. 40.535, Swedish Kr. 36.035, Norwegian Kr. 36.615, Austrian Sh. 22.081, Italian lira (100) 15.508 Yen (100) 209.699 Spanish Peseta 1.844, Portuguese Escudo 1.541.

    (C.E.)


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