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Athens News Agency: News in English, 97-02-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 24/02/1997 (ANA)


  • Threats by Turkish Cypriot nationalists a crude provocation, says Athens
  • Athens says positions on relations with Turkey based on international law
  • Evert announces candidacy for party's leadership
  • Greece launches effort to increase olive oil exports to US,Canada
  • Police arrests drug traffickers
  • "Militant Geurrilla Group" behind Penteli bomb scare
  • Premier defends the creation of an ``open society`` against critics
  • New appeal to teachers to end strike
  • Lithuanian president begins visit today
  • Defence Minister to visit Belgrade in March
  • Turkish planes try to take photos of Cyprus defences


    Threats by Turkish Cypriot nationalists a crude provocation, says Athens

    Threats by Turkish Cypriot ultra-nationalists over the weekend to seize Greek Cypriot property and take over the abandoned town of Famagusta are a "crude provocation", Athens said today.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas called on the UN Security Council, the United States and the European Union to investigate the matter and to intervene.

    Reppas was responding to a call by Turkish Cypriot ultra-nationalist Mehmet Arslan to his supporters to enter the empty city of Famagusta and lay claim to houses belonging to Greek Cypriots.

    The rally at the protective fence encircling the abandoned city on Saturday was also attended by members of the Turkish Cypriot occupation regime, who expressed full support for the move.

    Under a UN-brokered agreement, the town remains fenced off and uninhabited. The UN holds the Turkish government responsible for the maintenance of the status quo there.

    Reppas said the government in Athens was carefully and closely monitoring the matter and that "there will be a response if need be".

    Athens says positions on relations with Turkey based on international law

    Greece's positions on relations with neighbouring Turkey are in line with international law and constitute the key to finding solutions, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

    Reppas was commenting on statements made over the weekend by former assistant secretary of state Richard Holbrooke, during his acceptance speech for the "Excellent Citizen" award from the Turkish-American Council.

    Holbrooke expressed the same views on Greek-Turkish relations that he has expressed in the past, Reppas said, adding that whoever wanted to help in a positive direction would realise that Greece's positions are in accordance with international law and the key to resolving problems.

    Evert announces candidacy for party's leadership

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert officially announced today that he would be a candidate for the party's leadership, to be contested at a party congress next month.

    He has set out his political platform in a six-point plan for the centre- right and what he called liberalism with a social conscience.

    Evert will be facing competition from George Souflias, an experienced ND cadre and former minister, and possibly from Kostas Karamanlis, who has been proposed by a group of 30 ND deputies as a unifying figure representing the "forties" generation. Karamanlis is a nephew of veteran statesman, former President of the Republic Constantine Karamanlis.

    Greece launches effort to increase olive oil exports to US,Canada

    The Greek Promotions Organisation (OPE) has begun its second two-yer campaign aimed at increasing Greek olive oil's share of the US and Canadian markets to 15 percent.

    Greek olive oil currently holds about 3.0-5.0 percent of the market share and the one billion drachma programme hopes to establish new Greek brands as well as increase sales of brands already on the market.

    The US market for olive oil is a major focus for exports as it is both the biggest non-olive oil producing market and holds extensive potential for development.

    The olive oil sector in Greece provides income for some 500,000 Greek farming families and contributes significantly to the gross value of Greece's agricultural production, with production exceeding 300,000 tonnes annually, the third-largest internationally after Italy and Spain.

    Of that amount, two-thirds is consumed domestically while the remainder is exported, primarily to Italy, with exports to the US totalling only 4,500 tonnes.

    Police arrests drug traffickers

    A six-member gang of Greeks and Albanians have been arrested for dealing in drugs they imported from Fier, Albania over the past three months.

    Arturos Koukas, 26, Pantelis Grecou, 23, Panayotis Sifonios, 34, Ilir Grecou, 24, Ioannis Kouris, 34 and Youli Tala, 34, were arrested in possession of 16 kilos of hashish, small amounts of cocaine and heroin and over two million drachmas in cash. Three of the men were arrested as they were trying to hide drugs in an isolated area of Elefsina, near Athens. In a search of Koukas' home, 3.5 kg. of hashish were found along with a set of precision scales. Other quantities of drugs were later found in rocks near Mandra, Attica.

    "Militant Guerrilla Group," behind Penteli bomb scare

    The "Militant Guerrilla Group" has claimed responsibility for a bomb found outside the home of Mary Bosi, former chief of a committee of anti- terrorism experts, late last night in the northern Athens suburb of Penteli.

    An unidentified caller telephoned SKAI radio station and newspaper Eleftherotypia claiming responsibility for the bomb, which was found by a sniffer dog and defused by police experts.

    The same group had claimed responsibility for explosive devices found at the Polytechnic on 13 November 1996 and at the Peruvian Embassy last 30 December.

    Premier defends the creation of an 'open society' against critics

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis gave a tough reply to critics both inside and outside the ruling party socialist PASOK, proposing "an open society without established and vested interests creating one-way roads".

    Mr. Simitis was addressing the party's youth organisation political and organising conference on Saturday.

    Replying to complaints by PASOK's youth wing's Secretary Tonia Antoniou on the government's social policy and the party's political orientation, Mr. Simitis criticised the "representatives of trade unions who put forward partisan interests at the expense of the general interest," referring to cotton growers in Thessaly as an example.

    "The Coordinating Committee of Thessaly Farmers does not express Greek farmers, but cotton growers with large expanses of land. This is what figures say. They receive three times the international price of cotton thanks to European Union subsidies. Nobody has heard the poor farmers of Sparti and Pindos," Mr. Simitis said.

    "Jobs necessitate investments and the latter cannot be achieved in an economy which is sliding, has huge fiscal deficits and resorts to loaning. Grants and subsidies are easy and they are paid for by society at large. Out of a thousand drachmas, 340 are paid in interest on loans of the past 15 years. These 340 drachmas could be used on education, welfare, culture and quality of life. The other course is all of us being poorer," he said.

    Mr. Simitis stressed that the government does not fear critical thought but dogmatism.

    New appeal to teachers to end strike

    Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis and Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis late last night made an appeal to striking teachers to end their six-week strike and return to classrooms.

    Mr. Arsenis stressed that the strike was hurting students and said increases granted to teachers were the highest in the public service and that they stood to gain an annual increase of between 300,000-800,000 drachmas.

    Their appeal came after a threat from the high school teachers' union (OLME) that it would recommend the continuation of the strike at a meeting today if there was no positive response from the government.

    In the course of a press conference, OLME board members accused the government of misleading the public on the size of their salaries, and reiterated demands for the appointment of 6,000 new teachers and 250,000 drachmas as net starting monthly pay.

    Mr. Arsenis said that discussion on institutional demands was open but that the issue of economic demands was closed.

    Lithuanian president begins official visit

    Lithuanian President Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas will begin a two-day official visit to Greece today in which he will be holding talks with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and party leaders.

    President Brazauskas is expected to request Greek support for Lithuaniais applications for European Union and NATO memberships. Talks will focus on these issues as well as bilateral relations.

    Talks on NATO membership will be of particular interest since Russia is reacting strongly to the accession of the Baltic states.

    Details of these issues will be discussed by the foreign ministers of the two countries, Theodoros Pangalos and Algirdas Saudargas, while a cultural agreement is expected to be signed between Greece and Lithuania.

    Defence Minister to visit Belgrade in March

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will pay an official visit to Belgrade on March 5-6, according to diplomatic circles in the Yugoslav capital.

    In a meeting on Friday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Radoje Kodic, the Yugoslav government planned the framework for the talks Yugoslav Defence Minister Pavle Bulatovic will have with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.

    The visit will take place at the invitation of the Yugoslav side and Mr. Tsohatzopoulos will have the opportunity of holding talks with Yugoslavia's civil and military leadership.

    Turkish planes attempt to document defensive positions

    Two Turkish aircraft last week attempted to take photographs of defensive positions and monitor movements taking place in the framework of the unified defence pact between Greece and Cyprus.

    The two reconnaissance RF-4 planes, specialised in taking photos, violated the Nicosia Flight Control Region on Thursday, flying over the area between Rhodes and Cyprus, while for about half an hour they flew over the sea region between Paphos and Limassol.

    The planes first appeared 80 km west of Paphos and then flew 50 km south of the British base at Akrotiri.

    From the moment they entered the Nicosia Flight Control Region they were placed under surveillance by the radar systems of the National Guard and the Nicosia Air Traffic Control Centre.

    According to information by the National Guard General Staff and the National Defence General Staff, the Turkish aircraft were seeking out targets to photograph which are related to the unified defence doctrine, because programmes concerning the transfer of defence equipment to Cyprus are under way.

    The government of Cyprus has lodged a demarche with the UN over the new provocation.


    Sunny with some local cloudiness throughout Greece. Southerly winds light to moderate with steady temperatures. Athens will be sunny with few light clouds and temperatures between 7-16C. Same for Thessaloniki with temperatures between 5-15C.


    Closing rates - buying US dlr. 262.136 Pound sterling 424.536 Cyprus pd 519.510 French franc 46.009 Swiss franc 177.766 German mark 155.387 Italian lira (100) 15.719 Yen (100) 213.478 Canadian dlr. 192.567 Australian dlr. 203.112 Irish Punt 413.942 Belgian franc 7.530 Finnish mark 52.040 Dutch guilder 138.344 Danish kr. 40.757 Swedish kr. 35.361 Norwegian kr. 38.966 Austrian sch. 22.086 Spanish peseta 1.838 Portuguese escudo 1.54
    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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