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Athens News Agency: News in English, 97-03-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.forthnet.gr/ape>


Athens, Greece, 25/03/1997 (ANA)


  • Greek leaders' Independence Day messages
  • Defence Minister reaffirms policy towards Turkey
  • Albanian Prime Minister satisfied with Greece's role
  • Uzbekistani President to visit Greece
  • Plans for Arab Common Market
  • Man sought in murder of Georgian
  • Albanians involved in robberies


    Greek 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. 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, culminated in a military parade through central Athens today.

    Defence Minister reaffirms policy towards Turkey

    Greece's defence strategy is centred on both a policy of deterrence and one of de-escalating tensions, said Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos last night, addressing an event at Patras University in honour of Greece's Independence Day.

    A display of determination, he said, was the only way to block Ankara's expansionist plans and provocations.

    "That is why it has to be made clear to Ankara, the USA and Europe that Greece will respond instantly and with all the appropriate means to any provocation against its territorial integrity...that is why we have created a new defence policy aimed at securing the country's strategic sufficiency, " he added.

    "Greece does not want to provoke crises or conflicts. We must emphasise that the containment of Turkish agression and the removal of any state of vulnerability in the Aegean and Cyprus create the objective conditions for peaceful relations in the region," he stressed.

    Meanwhile, in response to questions regarding his meeting with Albanian Socialist leader Fatos Nano, currently in Greece on a private visit, Tsohatzopoulos drew attention to the need for solidarity with and support for the entire Albanian people on the part of the European Union in order for the crisis to be overcome.

    He expressed his complete agreement with the deployment of an international police force in Albania.

    Albanian Prime Minister satisfied with Greece's role

    Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino said last night that Albania was satisfied with Greece's contribution towards efforts to bring about national reconciliation in Albania.

    Speaking to Thessaloniki's ET3 television station, Fino attributed Albanian reactions to a visit to Gjirokaster last week by Foreign Undersecretary Yannos Kranidiotis to "a diplomatic technicality which has since been resolved". The Albanian Prime Minister also expressed satisfaction with humanitarian aid sent by Greece to Albania, stressing the need for Greek economic aid, including investments in the near future.

    Uzbekistani President to visit Greece

    Economic and trade relations between Uzbekistan and Greece, particularly in the sector of civil aviation, will be the focus of a visit to Greece at the end of March by a delegation led by Uzbekistani President Islam Karimov.

    Karimov will have talks with Greece's leaders and is to visit the Athens Chamber of Trade and Industry on Wednesday 2 April.

    The delegation includes finance and economy ministers, as well as representatives of the country's business and financial circles, including Uzbekistan Airways general director, Mr. Rouzmetov, who is to meet with officals of Olympic Airways and the Civil Aviation Service.

    Rouzmetov is expected to raise the issue of a possible second weekly flight to from Tashkent to Thessaloniki via Larnaca. Uzbekistan is also interested in making Greece a transit station for air cargo between Tashkent and European countries. In addition, Rouzmetov is expected to raise a former proposal by Uzbekistan Airways for an interline agreement to be signed with OA, giving the latter access to Asian states, as well as access to new destinations for the former.

    Plans for Arab Common Market

    The eventual emergence of an "Arab Common Market" was foreseen at conference of communist and labour parties from the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East countries, held in Athens by the Communist Party of Greece.

    The two-day conference was attended by delegations from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, Bahrein, Palestine, Syria and the Sudan. According to KKE public relations director Babis Aggourakis, the participants concluded that organisations such as the International Monetary Union, the European Union and even the World Bank, aimed at keeping countries in the region in an underdeveloped state in order to strike at every breeding ground of resistance, particularly the communist labour parties and workers.

    The purpose of the conference, said Aggourakis, was to make a joint assessment of the situation following recent developments in Albania as well as the stance of the Israelis and Americans regarding adherence to the terms of the Palestine peace accords. The conference also condemned any expansion of NATO towards the east and south.

    Man sought in murder of Georgian

    An Albanian is being sought by police in northern Greece in connection with death of a Georgian in an alleged settling of accounts over the transport of illegal immigrants.

    Theodoros Tzovanidis was shot and killed on Saturday near the village of Rizo, Pella, in front of his six-year-old son who later identified Kosta Kotsi, 38, from police photographs.

    Pella police report that Kotsi is known to have been involved in transporting illegal immigrants, while it is believed that Tzovidis, who was a driver, had provided the means of transport in his own vehicle.

    Albanians involved in robberies

    Three crimes involving Albanians were reported yesterday, one involving an attack on an Athenian taxi driver. Anastasios Boidas, 35, was beaten and robbed by Leka Loulas, 27 and Marios Markos, 26 who had flagged down the taxi in the inner suburb of Pangrati. They were later arrested in a nearby cafe.

    Two Albanians were attacked and robbed by four of their compatriots in the inner Athens district of Kolonos. The two victims, Edouardo Duro, 21 and Arma Selini, 19, are in a satisfactory condition in Nikea General Hospital.

    In another incident, seven Albanians were arrested in a billiard hall in Kipseli, central Athens, after charges were brought against them by a compatriot. Christos Paras, 17, was beaten up and robbed by the seven men after he confronted them and accused them of burgling his home.


    Tomorrow there will be cloud and rain in the east during the afternoon, with heavy rain in the south and scattered snow in mountainous areas. The weather will start to clear from the northwest during the afternoon. Athens will be cloudy and wet with temperatures between 7-14C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 2-9C.


    In soccer, AEK beat Edessa 2-0, putting it within four points of Olympiakos (62 and 58). Panathinaikos is in third place with 54. Three out of Greece's four competitors have been beaten in main event of the "Greece I" tennis tournament in Kalamata. Greek champion Kostas Economidis is still to play, facing Germany's Michael Kochman tonight.


    Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 264.269 Pound sterling 424.973 Cyprus pd 522.943 French franc 46.360 Swiss franc 180.767 German mark 156.304 Italian lira (100) 15.622 Yen (100) 215.135 Canadian dlr. 191.714 Australian dlr. 208.518 Irish Punt 416.402 Belgian franc 7.575 Finnish mark 52.358 Dutch guilder 138.900 Danish kr. 40.960 Swedish kr. 34.694 Norwegian kr. 39.460 Austrian sch. 22.221 Spanish peseta 1.844


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