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Athens News Agency: News in English, 97-03-24

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, 24/03/1997 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Karamanlis calls for unity and an end to ND`s `introversion`
  • Greece ready to participate in multinational mission in Albania
  • Kranidiotis holds talks with Albanian socialist leader Fatos Nano
  • Greek leaders' Independence Day messages
  • EU General Affairs Council to discuss Turkey, Albania
  • Greek products exhibition in Odessa
  • Greek-Armenian agreement in agricultural sector

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Karamanlis calls for unity and an end to ND's 'introversion'

    Costas Karamanlis, the newly elected president of the main opposition New Democracy party, has called for an end to what he called the "phenomena of introversion and discriminations in the party".

    "An important step has been made in order to put aside all those things that harmed us in the past. If we simply elected a leader only to begin the same things anew, then we shall have lost a unique opportunity," Mr. Karamanlis said in obvious reference to recurrent internal party feuding.

    The 41-year-old nephew of ND party founder, former prime minister and president of the republic by the same name, was elected late Friday night - the first day of the party's fourth congress - during a second round of balloting. He won an overwhelming majority (69.10 per cent) of the vote, while his opponent, ND deputy from Larisa and former minister George Souflias, received only 30.84 per cent of the votes cast by party delegates and party deputies.

    Mr. Karamanlis' election to ND's leadership has apparently put an end to more than six months of internal party turmoil, following last September's general elections.

    Greece ready to participate in multinational mission in Albania

    Greece is ready to participate in a multinational action in Albania aimed at safeguarding the safe arrival of humanitarian aid in the crisis-ridden neighbouring country.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that Greece will support an Italian proposal for specific action in Albania, to be submitted today to the European Union Foreign Ministers' Council in Brussels.

    "Italy and Greece desire the immediate dispatch of humanitarian aid to Albania, in view of the danger of a wave of refugees from that country to Italy, as has already happened, but is also very likely to happen to Greece, " he said.

    Mr. Papandreou, who chaired a meeting on the issue in Ioannina yesterday, in the presence of the UN High Commission for Refugees representative Hoffman, said "the transportation of humanitarian aid to Albania is especially difficult under existing condi tions today, while the foreign ministry is in contact with the Tirana government and international organisations so that the mission is carried out safely and the distribution correctly.

    "Greek interest is not focused only on these immediate relief measures, but a plan is being prepared for the provision of further substantive support to Albania regarding democratisation and economic development," he added.

    Meanwhile, Greece's military attache in Rome was called to the Italian defence ministry on Friday night and handed a request for participation in the multinational force that would accompany and guarantee the safety of the proposed aid mission to Albania.

    The Italian proposal envisages a framework of activities for the distribution, mainly of humanitarian aid, but also for the economic and administrative reconstruction of the country.

    Details were discussed at a meeting yesterday at the Italian foreign ministry with the participation of military attaches from Greece, France, Portugal, and Spain, while a new meeting is scheduled today to clarify each country's contribution to the miss ion.

    Kranidiotis holds talks with Albanian socialist leader Fatos Nano

    Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and recently released Albanian Socialist leader Fatos Nano met yesterday in Thessaloniki.

    No statements were made after the talks.

    Specifically, Mr. Kranidiotis told reporters that he did not wish to elaborate on the content of his talks with Mr. Nano, adding that the Albanian politician's visit to Thessaloniki was of a private nature. The meeting, which lasted more than an hour, focused on developments in Albania, according to sources.

    Mr. Nano also met with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Saturday, as well as with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos on Friday evening. No statements were made after those meetings, as well.

    Mr. Nano entered Greece on Friday in order to visit his two children, who are attending educational institutions in Thessaloniki.

    He first escaped from an Albanian prison during the ongoing political turmoil in the neighbouring country, and was later pardoned by Albanian President Sali Berisha.

    He is expected to leave Greece early Tuesday.

    Humanitarian aid

    Meanwhile, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday announced the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the neighbouring country, where it will be delivered to a hospital and orphanage in the town of Korce.

    The supplies were purchased with ministry funds and sent to Albania through the Krystallopygi border post. The aid was met by representatives from the hospital, the orphanage and Korce's municipal government. The Macedonia- Thrace ministry received the request for humanitarian aid on Friday during a visit by a Korce delegation and members of the Epirot Society.

    Mr. Petsalnikos added that a donation of medical supplies gathered by all Thessaloniki-area hospitals will be distributed to health care facilities in Albania.

    Greek leaders' Independence Day messages

    The buttressing of our national independence from external threats has priority in Greece's goals, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos stated in a message to expatriate Greeks on the occasion of the country's national day tomorrow, March 25.

    The day marks the 176th anniversary of the declaration of the Greek War of Independence against Ottoman rule.

    "The threat is real and the provocations well known," he notes.

    The provocations rally the Greeks together and strengthen national consensus, he adds, noting that "Greece, with a steady European orientation, is carving a course demanding of everyone willing contributions, which will give it the potential of consoli dating its position internationally."

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis observed that Greece's independence could be secured not only by means of a strong deterrent force, but by the country's equal participation in all phases of European integration, as well as its participation in the Economic and Monetary Union.

    In order to be strong and proud, he added, Greece should play a major role in setting a common course in the strife-torn Balkans.

    The new leader of the main opposition New Democracy party Costas Karamanlis said that Greece and Hellenism had achieved astounding successes under conditions of national understanding, calm public dialogue, a sense of moderation and above all the belief that there was much that united Greeks.

    The traumatic experiences of the past, he added, should act as lessons, particularly when the people were demanding a way out of the decline of recent years.

    A statement from the Coalition of the Left and Progress said that it was in Greece's power to overcome the crisis in which it found itself. Foreign policy, it said, was trapped in dead ends created by wrong moves. A far- sighted strategy was needed to deal with Turkish hostility. Meanwhile, the economic crisis was continuing, the environment and cultural life were in decline.

    Independence Day celebrations marking the beginning of the revolution against Ottoman rule on 25 March, 1821, culminate in a military parade through central Athens tomorrow.

    EU General Affairs Council to discuss Turkey, Albania

    The EU General Affairs Council will discuss relations with Turkey and Albania as well as hold structured dialogue with the countries of eastern and central Europe during a meeting in Brussels today.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that Greece had no objection to the convening of the Association Council with Turkey, scheduled for April 29, but disagreed with the financial protocol with Ankara.

    "We expect a move of goodwill and political will from the Turkish side in order to free the financial protocol," he said.

    Regarding the structured dialogue with propective new members, Mr. Papandreou pointed out that a common position among member-states had not been stipulated as a precondition, unlike COREPER's decision concerning Cyprus.

    He stressed that double standards were impermissible, and that Greece insisted on the equal treatment of all prospective members.

    Greek products exhibition in Odessa

    Ninety Greek enterprises, public bodies and chambers are participating in the second exhibition of Greek-made products in Odessa, organised by the HELEXPO Thessaloniki International Trade Fair Organisation in cooperation with the Greek-Ukrainian Association.

    The Greek government is represented by Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis and Cabinet secretary Socrates Kosmidis. The exhibition ends tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, the crew of the Hellenic Navy frigate "Ydra", which arrived in the Black Sea port city as part of a NATO squadron yesterday, is to participate in events marking Greek Independence Day tomorrow.

    Odessa is the birthplace of the "Society of Friends", a secret organisation that promoted the idea of a revolution against Ottoman rule in the early 19th century.

    Greek-Armenian agreement in agriculture sector

    Greece and Armenia signed a cooperation agreement in the agriculture sector, it was announced yesterday.

    The agreement was signed between Agriculture Undersecretary Vassilis Geranidis and his Armenian counterpart during a visit late last week to Yerevan.

    The agreement provides for a cooperation between the two countries with exchange of technical know-how, organisation of seminars in the sectors of manufacturing, packaging and marketing of agricultural products as well as encouragement of joint ventures between businesses in both countries.

    While in Armenia, Mr. Geranidis met with representatives of the Greek Communities Federation in that country.

    Kaklamanis on Greek-Armenian friendship

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis stressed the long-standing ties between the Greek and the Armenian people in an address at an event organised by the Armenian Boy Scouts of Greece.

    "The Greek and Armenian nations have centuries-old fraternal bonds, bonds of common culture, but also rivers of blood and tears.

    "Armenians living in Greece, but also the entire Armenian nation knows that Greek areas: the Aegean, Thrace and Cyprus, constitute a bastion of civilisation and democracy against Turkish expansionism and the aggressiveness characterising the leadership of the neighbouring country," he said.

    WEATHER

    Local cloudiness, rain and snowfall in the mountainous regions are forecast for today in most parts of Greece, especially in the west. The weather is expected to improve during the day. Winds will be northernly, moderate to strong in the Ionian and Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny to partly cloudy and cold with temperatures between 3-10C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 0-7C.

    SPORTS

    Aris Thessaloniki-Olympiakos 0-0 Panathinaikos-Veria 1-0 OFI Crete-Kalamata 2-0 Ionikos-PAOK Thessaloniki 2-1 Kavala-Athinaikos 1-1 Heraklis-Pyrgos 3-0 Xanthi-Panahaiki 4-3 Kastoria-Apollon 0-0 Edessa-AEK Athens match today

    Standings-points: Olympiakos 62 AEK 55 Panathinaikos 54 OFI Crete 52 PAOK 44 Kavala 44 Pyrgos 38 Ionikos 36 Veria 34

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 264.328 Pound sterling 421.739 Cyprus pd 522.486 French franc 46.328 Swiss franc 181.189 German mark 156.290 Italian lira (100) 15.625 Yen (100) 214.123 Canadian dlr. 191.853 Australian dlr. 207.353 Irish Punt 414.160 Belgian franc 7.575 Finnish mark 52.358 Dutch guilder 138.875 Danish kr. 40.995 Swedish kr. 34.569 Norwegian kr. 39.261 Austrian sch. 22.207 Spanish peseta 1.841 Portuguese escudo 1.554

    (Y.B.)


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