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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-12-19

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, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Pangalos satisfied with Britain`s positions on Cyprus
  • Euro-court blasts Turkey for human rights violations in Cyprus
  • Talks between Greece and FYROM resume
  • Diplomatic corps strike suspended
  • Farmers in N.Greece begin dismantling roadblocks
  • '97 budget follows 'necessary economic policy'
  • Traffic measures for Christmas exodus
  • SOS on Turkish plans for nuclear plant

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Pangalos satisfied with British positions on Cyprus

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos expressed satisfaction yesterday over his talks here with British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, noting that Britain's positions on the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations are very positive.

    Pangalos said it was now clear that Britain was not setting the settlement of the Cyprus issue as a condition for the start of negotiations for Cyprus' entry to the EU, or even the start of talks for a Cyprus settlement."

    "But they (Britain) say, and this I will not have trouble accepting myself, that if there is progress on the Cyprus problem then negotiations between the Union and Cyprus would be much easier, conducted in a better atmosphere and concern the entire population of Cyprus." "We do not want a Cyprus' EU accession to be to the detriment of the Turkish Cypriot community," Mr. Pangalos added.

    Asked to comment on the British minister's statements regarding an "arms race" in Cyprus, which Mr. Rifkind termed as "a step in the wrong direction, " Mr. Pangalos said:

    "Athens, and I believe Nicosia also, are in favour of a decrease in armaments, in favour of demilitarisation of Cyprus. But demilitarisation must first start from the mightier," he added.

    Mr. Pangalos said Turkey has not yet accepted the idea of the demilitarisation of the island and retains there 300 tanks, heavy artillery and 40,000 Turkish soldiers."

    Euro Court condemns Turkey for human rights violations in Cyprus

    President Glafcos Clerides said a decision yesterday by the European Court of Human Rights, which found Turkey guilty of continuing human rights violations, will have immense effects on the Cyprus problem.

    Attorney General Alecos Markides described the decision as "historic".

    Yesterday's ruling by the Strasbourg-based court marks an unprecedented move which offers the opportunity to hundreds of Greek Cypriot refugees to claim their right to use and enjoy their property in the Turkish-occupied part of the island republic.

    The court's decision was warmly welcomed by lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, who argued the case before the European Court on behalf of his client, Greek Cypriot refugee Titina Loizidou, a summer resident of the currently Turkish-occupied port city of Kyrenia.

    Describing the decision as a "great success", President Clerides noted that Ms Loizidou's case was justified.

    The decision also states that the "Republic of Cyprus remains the sole legitimate government of Cyprus" and that the international community does not regard the puppet regime in occupied Cyprus as a state under international law.

    Mr. Demetriades, who took Turkey to the court seven years ago, told the press conference that the ruling acknowledges that the property in question "was, is and will remain the property of my client."

    He explained that he has already asked for half a million Cyprus pounds in compensation (about one million US dollars) with regard to the denial of access to the property and has also asked to exercise freely the right to peacefully enjoy her property.

    Should Turkey refuse to pay damages, the applicant can ask for yesterday's ruling to be implemented with regard to Turkey's property or funds allocated to the country by international organisations.

    Talks between Greece, FYROM resume

    Talks between Greece's permanent representative to the United Nations, Christos Zacharakis, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) representative, Ivan Tosevski, resumed here yesterday on the issue of the one-time Yugoslav republic's name.

    The talks were being held under the aegis of special UN mediator Cyrus Vance who said that "the two sides are expected to meet again in January, at a date to be detemined in the near future."

    Diplomatic corps' strike suspended

    A strike called by the foreign ministry's diplomatic employees will be suspended as of Monday after the Union of Diplomatic Employees' general assembly reached a majority decision on the issue yesterday. Diplomats will not turn up for work today and tomorrow.

    According to reports, the diplomats' representatives received assurances from the government that their claim that an overseas bonus should not be taxed will be examined in January, before the tax bill is tabled in Parliament.

    The diplomats' union provided special permission for diplomats to accompany President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on his four-day official visit to Egypt, which begins tomorrow.

    Farmers dismantle roadblocks in northern Greece

    Farmers in northern Greece began to dismantle roadblocks which have stood in place since the beginning of protests three weeks ago.

    At midnight Tuesday night, farmers and stockbreeders in the southern part of Evros prefecture suspended their protest action and lifted a roadblock at the Ardanios junction, freeing the flow of traffic between Alexandroupolis and the Greek-Turkish border.

    The decision meant that 110 international transport trucks coming from Turkey, which had been stranded at the Kipi border post for a fortnight, could continue their journey to Greece and other European countries.

    The farmers' coordinating committee for Macedonia and Thrace decided to lift their blockade of the road linking Thessaloniki with the Macedonia International airport as goodwill gesture to the government.

    The committee, however, decided to maintain the blockade of other roads in the prefectures of Thessaloniki, Imathia and in central Macedonia until Friday, when it will reconvene to examine the situation.

    SEB estimates losses

    The value of industrial production lost as a result of farmers' mobilisations amounts to 56 billion drachmas, a sum representing 0.7 per cent of the estimated total for 1996, Association of Greek Industries (SEB) President Iason Stratos told reporters.

    He added that deliveries of industrial goods were down by 134 billion drachmas, of which 84 billion were destined for the domestic market, and the rest abroad, while 208,000 working days had been lost, corresponding to some two billion drachmas.

    `97 budget follows `necessary` economic policy

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou outlined the government's economic policy on the second day of Parliamentary debate on the 1997 state budget yesterday, stressing that it would be a difficult year.

    Appearing optimistic over the outcome of economic policy, Mr. Papantoniou called on businessmen, working people and property owners to de-escalate their nominal incomes claims, so as to safeguard their real incomes in a better way with a decrease in inflation. Referring to the economy in general, he said inflation decreased by 5.9 percentage points, the economy recovered by 6.2 points over the last three-year period of economic output anticipated by the Convergence Programme, while the deficit was decreased by 6.6 units of the GDP.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that despite progress achieved, the country still had a great deal of ground to cover to achieve real and nominal convergence with its other European partners.

    Traffic measures for Xmas exodus

    Traffic police will introduce special measures to facilitate the exodus of holiday makers from Athens during the Christmas holidays and the circulation of vehicles and pedestrians in the city.

    An extra lane will be introduced for outgoing traffic from Dafni to the Elefsina toll station on the Athens to Corinth highway between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and on Jan. 3, and at the same times and place on Sunday, Dec. 22. The same measures will be applied on the same dates and times at several stretches of the Athens to Lamia highway.

    SOS on Turkish plans for nuclear plant

    The environmental organisation "Mediterranean SOS" yesterday warned of the dangers posed by Turkish plans to build the country's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu in the area of Mersin on its eastern Mediterranean coast. The organisation called on local government, ecological groups and citizens in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus to cooperate in protesting the planned construction.

    Mersin lies to the north of Cyprus and just 300 kilometres from the Dodecanese islands.

    Mediterranean SOS condemned what it called "the promotion of unsafe technology in the Balkans by the nuclear lobby and the nuclear mafia" at a time when nuclear energy is being abandoned in countries with a strong ecology movement.

    Glory of Byzantium to go on show at NY's Met

    A major exhibition entitled "The Glory of Byzantium" will be held in March 1997 at the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

    Among the treasures to be sent to New York for the exhibition is the 13th century Liturgy of St. Basil from the Library of St. John's Monastery on the island of Patmos.

    The cross on the frontspiece of the liturgy has been selected by renowned Greek jeweller Makis Mihalas as his 1997 good luck charm, in honour of the event.

    Museum exhibit

    Approval has been granted for the exhibition "Aidonion Treasure", to be presented again at the National Archaeological Museum, by order of the culture ministry.

    The exhibition will open in the museum's periodical exhibitions hall tomorrow and will continue until May 31.

    Onassis Foundation honours Olympic medallists

    Athens 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Alexandros Onassis Foundation honoured several athletes and their coaches yesterday that distinguished themselves in the recent Atlanta Olympics.

    The foundation is the sole private body which has begun an effort over the past 10 years to support sports in Greece by offering athletic scholarships, up to 83 so far. Among those studying with the foundation's scholarships are gymnastics Olympic gold medallist Yiannis Melissanidis, national high- jumping champion Lambros Papakostas and wrestling champion Iordanis Constantinidis.

    Speaking at the event, the foundation's President Stelios Papadimitriou said the board will also provide scholarships for the children of the Olympic champions. Namely, a full university scholarship in Greece and then an overseas scholarship for post-gr aduate studies.

    Melbourne Greeks to celebrate their centenary

    The Greek communities in the city of Melbourne and state-wide will mark the first hundred years since the Greek community's foundation with a series of events lasting throughout 1997, it was announced yesterday.

    Events include cultural conferences with the participation of Greek intellectuals from Greece and expatriate communities abroad, photographic and art exhibitions, sports events, lectures, concerts, theatre performances and a world conference entitled "H ellenism in the 21st century."

    WEATHER

    Improved weather is forecast for most parts of Greece with scattered rain in the western regions and the Aegean islands, but improvement is expected later in the day. Athens will be partly cloudy with sunny spells and temperatures ranging from 10-16C. Same for Thessaloniki with temperatures between 6-13C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    (Closing rates - buying) U.S. dlr. 243.695 Can. dlr. 178.758 Australian dlr. 193.043 Pound sterling 408.208 Irish punt 406.125 Cyprus pd 519.411, French franc 46.465 Swiss franc 183.619 Belgian franc 7.623 German mark 157.093 Finnish mark 52.596 Dutch guilder 139.971 Danish Kr. 41.099 Swedish Kr. 35.660 Norwegian Kr. 37.750 Austrian Sh. 22.328 Italian lira (100) 15.947 Yen (100) 214.649 Spanish Peseta 1.868 Portuguese Escudo 1.560

    (C.E.)


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