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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-12-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 04/12/1996 (ANA)


  • Simitis says Greece`s position reinforced with principles adopted at OSCE summit
  • No agreement on Cyprus flyover moratorium
  • Farmers reject govt. proposals, traffic problems mount
  • Palestinian terrorist to be released
  • P.N.O. warns of maritime workers strike
  • New investment programmes in eastern Macedonia
  • Turkish business leaders to meet in Athens


    Simitis: Greece's position reinforced

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said a Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit conference (OSCE), which ended here yesterday, had reaffirmed a "joint position to pursue cooperation and strengthen security and peace in Europe."

    The premier underlined that this issue was particularly important for Greece, "because as awareness increases of the need to eliminate or limit phenomena of violence, threat of the use of force, regional claims, contempt for international law and the trampling of human rights,

    "We want a climate which rejects aggressive behaviour," Mr. Simitis said.

    Addressing the summit conference earlier in the day, Mr. Simitis said OSCE should play an important role in peace procedures in conflicts or disputes between countries. This statement was considered by observers as a clear referrence to Greek-Turkish relations.

    "It is the hope and intention of Greece to see that its neighbouring countries are entering the family of democratic states, respecting the rights of minorities, the values of a pluralistic democracy, international law and human rights in an environment free of tension, dangers and threats, " Mr. Simitis said.

    Meetings with Demirel, Gligorov

    Mr. Simitis also had brief separate meetings yesterday with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and the president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Kiro Gligorov, on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting.

    He later described the contacts as being of a "social nature with political content," indicating also that he had discussed developments in the region.

    Referring to his meeting with Mr. Demirel, Mr. Simitis said "Athens ascertains that there are no margins for a dialogue between Greece and Turkey."

    Cyprus military overflights

    Greece and Cyprus yesterday stressed that there are no negotiations and no agreements on a possible moratorium concerning the flights of warplanes over the island republic.

    Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Lisbon, both Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides denied the existence of any agreement on this issue.

    He made the statement when replying to press questions on a reported proposal for an eight-month moratorium proposed by Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides to US State Department official Carey Cavanaugh on the condition that progress was made in political negotiations for settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    No agreement on ban, Clerides says

    President Clerides has indicated he would not commit himself at this stage to a ban on flights of Greek military aircraft over Cyprus.

    The president has also made it clear that the joint defence doctrine with Greece will continue to be to be strengthened and noted that plans for the construction of an air base in Cyprus would go ahead.

    Farmers reject govt. proposals

    As traffic and transportation problems throughout the country continued to mount yesterday with farmers' blockades of national and provincial highways as well as rail lines entering their sixth day, the government dismissed fears of an even larger wave of strikes by workers and civil servants.

    "The government does not believe we are facing such a possibility, and is trying to solve all problems it can in the framework of the potential of the Greek economy and in accordance with the policies of the European Union, " acting government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou told reporters.

    Earlier yesterday, farmers' groups rejected a package of measures put together by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas, saying that they would continue their protests and hold out for a meeting with the prime minister who was expected to make a statement today, after a session of the inner cabinet, which will deal exclusively with the issue.

    In a related development, a Thessaloniki public prosecutor has filed a lawsuit against anyone responsible for obstructing traffic, as much of Macedonia remained blockaded, particularly around the city, whose airport could only be reached with difficult y. Access to roads leading to Athens and central and western Macedonia was difficult to impossible.

    Convicted terrorist Rashid scheduled for release

    Convicted Palestinian terrorist Mohammed Rashid will be released from prison and deported from Greece after serving three-fifths of a 16-year- term for a bomb attack against a US airliner in August 1982.

    Rashid, 46, a self-proclaimed officer of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) was arrested at Athens airport in 1988 and convicted of premeditated homicide for planting a bomb in a Hawaii-bound Pan Am airliner which killed a Japanese teenager and injured 15 other passengers.

    Air force chief concludes high-level contacts in Moscow

    Russia wishes to develop its relations with Greece in the defence sector, especially after Athens' decision to set long-term goals in its defence policy and proceed to a qualitative upgrade of its armed forces, military observers said after the end of a six-day visit by Hellenic Air Force chief of staff Gen. Georgios Antonetsis on Monday.

    According to Gen. Antonetsis, the Hellenic Air Force will soon assess the operational capacity of two anti-aircraft missile systems, namely the US- made Patriot, and the Russian S-300, and is also interested in the purchase of more sophisticated fighters.

    The air force chief described the S-300 as effective, and stressed that Greece will have to choose between this and the Patriot system in the next few months. The new system will cover Greece's needs for the next 20 or 30 years, he added.

    Return of Parthenon Marbles

    PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannos Kranidiotis is raising the issue of Britain returning the Parthenon Marbles to Greece at the Council of European Union Ministers, after the return of the Stone of Scone to Scotland now at Westminster Abbey in London.

    Mr. Kranidiotis maintains that respect for the cultural heritage of each member-state constitutes a basic principle for the EU, adding that a new Acropolis Museum is being built in Athens to house the Marbles.

    PNO says maritime workers will strike if demands aren't met

    The Panhellenic Maritime Federation (PNO) is warning of a strike in coastal and ocean-going shipping in the event maritime workers' and seamen's claims are not met, namely, full and continuous employment, upgrades of social insurance protection and fairer taxation treatment.

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, PNO Secretary General Yiannis Halas stressed the need to redefine crew compositions on the basis of vessels' real needs, removal of all foreign seamen from Greek vessels and the radical reorganisation of the Maritime Labour Finding Bureau (GENE) to enable it to function for purpose for which it was established. Mr. Halas said cabotage must be preserved and illicit and unacceptable competition against the work of Greek seamen by uninsured and convenience-flag ships sailing to Italian and other overseas ports should be countered.

    86 % of Greeks work for SMEs

    Figures provided by Eurostat yesterday revealed that 86 per cent of Greeks employed in the private sector (apart from the agricultural sector) work for small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) - the highest in Europe. According to reports, Greece has a little more than one million SMEs and holds sixth place in Europe in number of SMEs. Italy holds first place and is followed by Britain, Germany, Spain and France.

    91 new investment programmes approved for eastern Macedonia, Thrace

    A consultative committee of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Region yesterday approved 91 new investment programmes out of the 267 originally submitted for the second half of 1996 amounting to a total of 43.4 bil lion drachmas, while 1,650 new jobs will be created in the region. In the Evros prefecture, 37 new investments have been approved, with 17 in the Rodopi prefecture, 22 in Xanthi, nine in Kavala and six in Drama.

    Prosecution launched into non-payment of 'Spatosimo' by private airlines

    Athens chief prosecutor Anastasios Kanellopoulos yesterday launched legal proceedings over criminal embezzlement charges against several representatives of private airline companies and bad faith charges against a number of civil aviation employees.

    A preliminary investigation was also bering conducted by prosecutor G. Vrakatselis in the wake of press reports over the non-payment to the state of the duty paid for the building of the new Athens airport at Spata, known as "Spatosimo".

    Turkish business leaders in Athens

    Several leading Turkish business leaders are scheduled to meet with their Greek counterparts on Dec. 9-10 in Athens on the initiative of the council of Greek-Turkish Business Cooperation following an invitation by the Union of Young Businessmen of Greece, which visited Istanbul last October.

    Academics, union members and reporters are also due to attend the meeting.

    "I believe the chain of meetings that will be held will constitute a positive base for the policies of both countries," the president of the Istanbul Industrial Chamber, Husametin Kavi, said.

    The Committee of Foreign Economic Relations (DEIK) has announced that trade between the two countries totals US$400 million, adding that the Athens meeting will further improve existing cooperation.

    Greek-Romanian business federation planning investment programmes

    The Greek-Romanian Business Federation (EPES) is ready to implement a series of investment programmes in Romania, EPES representatives told a press conference yesterday.

    EPES, three-quarters of which are comprised of Greek enterprises with the rest Romanian, is organising a mission to Romania on Dec. 8-14 for contacts with Romanian politicians and economic officials. Additionally, EPES has established a bank investment planning committee aimed at improving coordination of bilateral business contacts.

    EPES' immediate plans include opening a bank in Bucharest, "Tetractus Black Sea Bank", with share capital amounting to 25 billion lei (about US$7 million), 70 per cent of which will belong to Greek interests and 30 per cent to Romanian concerns.


    A further drop in temperatures is forecast in most parts of Greece today with storms in the Aegean sea. Athens will be cloudy with raifalls in the north and eastern parts and temperatures ranging from 8-13C. Thessaloniki will also be cloudy and rainy with temperatures ranging from 4-12C. The rest of the country will also be cloudy and rainy with snowfalls in the mountainous regions in the north and eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Weather improvement is expected from tomorrow.



    Closing rates (buying) U.S. dlr 243.407, Can. dlr.180.584, Australian dlr. 196.614, Pound sterling 405.807, Irish punt 405.232, Cyprus pd 516.653, French franc 45.955, Swiss franc 183.614 Belgian franc 7.544, German mark 155.526, Finnish mark 52.062, Dutch guilder 138.597, Danish Kr. 40.654, Swedish Kr. 35.827, Norwegian Kr. 37.398, Austrian Sh. 22.106, Italian lira (100) 15.856, Yen (100) 213.488, Spanish Peseta 1.849, Portuguese Escudo 1.543.


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