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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


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


  • Greece, Cyprus reiterate joint defence doctrine
  • Kaklamanis to address Black Sea Council Parliamentary assembly
  • Farmers blockades still on, but some lifted
  • Stranded foreign truck drivers assisted
  • Greece rejects Turkish proposal on NATO headquaqrters
  • Greek-Turkish business meeting viewed favourably
  • Credits earmarked for road, port, anti-flood projects
  • Kurdish organisation:"Turkey a state of mobsters"


    Greece-Cyprus joint defence doctrine

    Greece yesterday assured Cyprus that all the initiatives and exercises which began or were planned during 1996 within the framework of the joint defence doctrine between the two countries would proceed normally also during 1997.

    Speaking to reporters after the conclusion of two-day talks with his Cypriot counterpart Costas Eliades, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that the joint defence doctrine "constitutes the political reply against any external threat, specifically against Turkey, which threatens both Greece and Cyprus." Informed sources said that specific decisions were taken at the meeting concerning the purchase of defence equipment, the realisation of infrastructure works to boost Cyprus' defence and the better use of manpower.

    Asked to comment on UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's report attributing responsibility for the recent bloodshed in Cyprus to the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sides, Mr. Eliades said that the Turkish provocations could not but be recognised "since there are cold-blooded assassinations of innocent people in a region which falls under the command of the United Nations."

    Asked to comment on the Turkish-Israeli military agreement, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it did not affect the joint defence doctrine, "our political reply to Turkey's threats."

    Kaklamanis to address Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council today

    President of the Greek Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis will today address the 8th Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council which began its sessions yesterday.

    On the sidelines of the Tbilisi meeting, Mr. Kaklamanis held a meeting yesterday with his Georgian counterpart focusing on strengthening ties and cooperation between the two parliaments.

    Mr. Kaklamanis renewed his proposal to his counterpart to visit Greece in the first six months of 1997.

    Greece will assume the rotating six-month-long presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Parliamentary Assembly Plenary in January. Mr. Kaklamanis also held a meeting with Georgian Foreign Minister Mr. Menagarisvili focusing on issues of mutual interest especially cooperation between the two countries in the framework of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Inter-Orthodox Parliamentary Assembly.

    Farmers` blockades continue,country `held hostage`,gov`t says

    Serious traffic and transportation problems continued yesterday as farmers showed no signs of backing down from their 14-day blockades of roads throughout the country.

    PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis said after chairing a broad meeting at party headquarters that although farmers' and other working peoples' demands for improved income were legitimate, "the pursuit of a total political confrontation by some, three months after the election, " was not.

    Mr. Skandalidis added the government was trying to solve the admittedly real problem of Thessaly's cotton farmers, and called again for a lifting of the blockades that would permit the commencement of a dialogue for a "national agricultural policy".

    The topics of this dialogue, he said, would include the setting of a ceiling for cotton production in 1997, a deadline for the drafting of a Farmers` Register, a framework for claims in the European Union and structural changes in the sector.

    Northern Greece

    Farmers yesterday moved to block Thessaloniki's last exit to the east, and access to the city's 'Macedonia' airport could only be gained with extreme difficulty through small side roads.

    But two minor roadblocks were lifted in the region, one liberating the old Kavala to Thessaloniki road, and the other easing traffic around the city of Alexandroupolis near the Greek-Turkish border.

    Nevertheless, traffic from the city to the border, and the town of Oresteiada and the Greek-Bulgarian border posts to the north remained cut off. More than 150 TIR vehicles, mostly headed for Turkey, remained blocked in the Evros district.

    Meanwhile, businessmen in northern Greece yesterday called on the Supreme Court to intervene to end the 14-day farmers blockade of road and rail links which they say has cost them 150 billion drachmas so far.

    Stranded foreign truck drivers provided with assistance

    The ambassadors of Britain and the Netherlands visited Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos yesterday for talks on the problem being faced by British and Dutch truck drivers who have been stranded in Greece due to the blockading of motorways by protestin g farmers.

    Mr. Papadopoulos told the ambassadors that he had instructed regional governors days ago to take measures for providing food and accomodation. He added that funds have also been provided for expenses.

    Simitis to discuss Dublin Summit issues with Dutch counterpart

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Dutch counterpart Vim Kok are scheduled to meet today in order to discuss a range of issues to be raised during the Dublin Summit on Friday and Saturday, including the consolidation of security and territorial integrity of the European Union member-states and the protection of the Union's external borders.

    Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos also arrived at The Hague yesterday, while the prime Minister, who is accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, leaves for Dublin today to attend the Summit on the Intergovernmental Conference and the revision of the Maastricht Treaty as well as on the Economic and Monetary Union and the single currency process.

    Greece rejects Ciller proposal

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterdeay rejected a proposal by Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller at the NATO Foreign Ministers Summit on Tuesday for rotating the Presidency of NATO headquarters in Larissa between Greek and Turkish commanders "adding that the proposal did not draw the support of any other NATO member.

    He described the Turkish diplomacy's failed efforts to upgrade Turkey's membership with the Western European Union to full member status as being a "success" of the Greek delegation.

    Merchant marine minister to attend EU Council on Friday

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis leaves for Brussels today to participate in the EU Maritime Transport Ministers Council to be held on Friday. The Council will focus on such issues as the European Commission's proposal to amend an existing directive on sea transportation of dangerous and toxic cargoes, the safety of more than 24-metre-long fishing vessels and the Community strategy on the improvement of the EU shipping industry competitiveness.

    "We are firm on our positions regarding competitiveness and the reinforcement of the Greek flag," Mr. Soumakis told a press conference.

    Greek-Turkish business conference viewed favourably by Turkish press

    A Greek-Turkish business conference which ended in Athens on Tuesday gained positive coverage in the Turkish press, which ran articles under headlines such as "search for an economic peace with Greece," and "Slogun: Business not war."

    Most press reports consider the conference, organised by the Business Consultants Company "Kantor," as the "beginning of a serious rapprochement, " noting that "trade will make politicians more flexible."

    President of the Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists Association, Halis Komili said that businessmen wanted to improve economic relations between the two countries, believing that this will also have an effect in politics.

    Credits earmarked for road, port, anti-flood projects

    The Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry has earmarked credits amounting to 1.63 billion drachmas for roadworks, anti-flood and port improvement projects.

    Of the above amount, 290 million drachmas will go to restore the Xanthi- Ehinou-Bulgarian border highway, 100 million for lights and improvements at crossroads in the Attica region, 100 million for works to contain the Kosynthos River and 1.05 billion fo r works at the Kasteli-Kissamou port on the island of Crete.

    Arab Emirates interested in Greek products

    Businessmen in the United Arab Emirates have shown great interest in importing Greek products, it was announced yesterday. Representatives from the biggest chain of consumer goods in the region, "Soultan Center," who arrived in Greece on Monday at the invitation of the Greek Organisation for External Trade, expressed interest in importing Greek products.

    Basketball match between Greek, Turkish teams degenerates into brawl

    A basketball match between Aris Thessaloniki of Greece and Besiktas of Turkey was abandoned yesterday when the game degenerated into a general brawl during the second half, after a Turkish player punched a member of the Greek team to the ground and threw him off the pitch.

    Aris, playing on home ground in Thessaloniki, was winning 40-31 at the time the scuffle broke out and was tipped to qualify for the next round of the European Korac Basketball Cup after beating Besiktas 65-64 in Istanbul a week ago.

    The commissar of the FIBA basketball association took the two referees to the dressing room where it was decided to abandon the match. The fate of the match is expected to be decided by the reports they will make.

    Turkey 'a state of mobsters', Kurdish organisation says

    A National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (NLFK) spokesman yesterday described Turkey as "a state of mobsters" at a press conference at which he presented a dossier of information, mainly from the Turkish press, concerning the involvement of the Turkish po lice, army and politicians in criminal activities.

    NLFK spokesman Chevded Amet said that "the reality of the Turkish state of mobsters which is increasingly coming to light is strongly linked to the barbaric, dirty war being waged against our people."

    Listing Turkey's deep economic problems and Ankara's insistence on spending approximately 15 billion dollars a year on the war, Mr. Amet alleged that the military's main source of funding, apart from tourism, came from drug trafficking and other illegal activities in which the state was directly involved.

    Film festival in Brussels dedicated to Greek cinema

    The International Film Festival in Brussels, entitled "70 years of the Greek Cinema: 1926-1996," will present about 30 Greek films in the Belgian cities of Brussels, Gent and Mons.

    The festivial is being organised with the cooperation of the Greek Film Centre and the participation of "Fonds Culturel Hellenique", based in Brussels, as well of Eurodeputies from all parties.

    Films to be screened will include "Stella" by Mihalis Kakoyiannis, "Maria Pentayiotissa" by Andreas Madras, "Rembetiko" by Costas Ferris, "Attilas '74" by Mihalis Kakoyiannis and "Never on Sunday" by Jules Dassin.


    Rainfalls and cloudy skies in most parts of Greece especially in the west. Unstable weather in the rest of the country with local rain and storms in the Cyclades, Crete and the Dodecanese. Athens will be overcast with occasional showers and sunny spells with temperatures ranging from 10-15C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6-12C.


    (Closing rates -buying) U.S. dlr 241.453, Can. dlr.177.290, Australian dlr. 191.332, Pound sterling 400.014, Irish punt 401.661, Cyprus pd 517.725, French franc 46.285, Swiss franc 183.629, Belgian franc 7.600, German mark 156.667, Finnish mark 52.358, Dutch guilder 139.708, Danish Kr. 40.930, Swedish Kr. 35.603, Norwegian Kr. 37.513, Austrian Sh. 22.278, Italian lira (100) 15.850, Yen (100) 214.212, Spanish Peseta 1.864, Portuguese Escudo 1.553.


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