German-language info on Greece available on Internet
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens reserved over Turkish general's overtures
The presence of the Turkish armed forces chief General Ismail Hakki
Karadayi at the Greek independence day celebration in Ankara yesterday is
being viewed by diplomatic circles as an important political gesture
towards promoting Greek-Turkish relations, the ANA's Istanbul correspondent
It was the first time in a decade that the Turkish Chief of Staff had
attended the Greek Embassy's independence day reception. The Turkish press
gave extensive coverage to the story, also emphasising the low-level
representation of the foreign ministry at the reception, which was attended
by an assistant undersecretary.
Informed sources say Karadayi, who is considered to be a moderate and
stabilising force and had indirectly criticised the Ciller goverment's
handling of the Imia crisis in early 1996, was sending a message to the
political leaders of Turkey's diplomatic service.
The general is also seen to be responding to recent gestures by Greek
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, gestures which were positively
received by the Turkish public but met with a lukewarm response from the
Turkish foreign ministry. There was a high turnout by politicians, the
military and business circles at independence day receptions held by the
Ankara embassy and the Istanbul consulate.
Karadayi reportedly spoke to Greek Ambassador Dimitris Nezeritis of the
need to resolve bilateral differences "so that future generations will not
be burdened by these problems". He also drew attention to the ease with
which Greeks and Turks developed friendly relations on the social
General Karadayi, referring to his presence at the reception, said that
Greece and Turkey were "neighbours in the same apartment building" and that
there were more things uniting than dividing the two countries..
"We are under the same safety umbrella, we are members of NATO," he said,
adding that the two countries should "sit down and talk before the
arguments get beyond certain points. We haven't got anywhere with
The general extended an invitation, via the Greek military attache in
Ankara Constantine Balanos, to the Greek chief of staff to visit Turkey. He
also indicated that he himself was willing to visit Greece.
Athens' reaction to Karadayi's statements was reserved, as government
spokesman Dimitris Reppas called the general's attendance at the reception
a "polite gesture". Reppas said that while the statements were positive, he
hoped they also expressed a more general political direction.
He added that Greece expected similar political initiatives to show these
were not empty words, while the important thing was for Turkey to express
fully and concisely its positions on the entirety of Greek-Turkish
In response to a question regarding the possibility of Prime Minister
Costas Simitis visiting Ankara, Reppas linked the issue with a resolution
of the problems between the two countries.
With regard to Cyprus, he stressed that the European Union had committed
itself to starting accession talks with Cyprus six months after the end of
the Intergovernmental Conference. Greece, he said, would be undertaking
initiatives so that the EU respected that commitment.
Turkish fighters violate Greek airspace
A pair of Turkish F-16 fighter jets today infringed Athens FIR regulations
and violated Greek airspace on three separate occasions in the region east
of Rhodes, according to press sources.
The Turkish fighters were identified and intercepted by Greek Mirage 2000
According to the same sources, a Turkish minesweeper today illegally
entered Greek territorial waters east of the islet of Imia.
The Greek gunboat ''Armatolos'' which was patrolling the area at the time
and a coastguard vessel forced the Turkish minesweeper to leave Greek
No Simitis visit to FYROM before name decision reached
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will not be visiting the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) before a final outcome is reached on that
state's name in the UN-sponsored talks, government spokesman Dimitris
Reppas said today.
He added that bilateral summit talks would be held once the necessary
groundwork had been laid in bilateral relations, which needed improvement.
He called on Skopje to show its willingness to improve those relations.
Reppas indirectly ruled out a visit to Skopje by Simitis in order to
discuss the Albanian crisis. He referred to the recent visit by Foreign
Minister Theodoros Pangalos on the same issue, adding that if the need
arose, Greece would then decide on what action to take.
Greece ready to participate in protection force for Albania
Greece, Italy, France and Austria yesterday expressed here their readiness
to participate in a foreign protection force in Albania to secure
humanitarian aid arriving in the strife-ridden country.
The four nations were the only EU countries willing to participate in such
a force, although all EU members approve of the sending of humanitarian aid,
Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini said after an EU foreign ministers'
meeting in Rome yesterday,in which Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino
French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette said the sending of troops was a
very sensitive issue and needs further discussion, while Austria announced
it will only send military observers.
However, a protection force from only two countries was judged as being
unable to escort humanitarian aid to Albania. Thus, a delegation comprised
of a representative of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE) and military advisers of certain EU countries has left for
Tirana in order to examine developments and inform their respective
organisations. Within the OSCE's legal framework, a protection force is
expected to be formed.
Fino thanks Greece for support
Mr. Fino at the meeting thanked Greece for its support and help.
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said after the meeting that
"we had the opportunity, both Italy and Greece, to stress our support to
Mr. Fino. I also had the opportunity to underline the friendly relations
between Greece and Albania and our unlimited suppport in all help and long-
term cooperation for the reorganisation of Albania.
"I stressed common ties, which (stem) from common borders and the (Greek)
minority and the mutual interest for security in the region," he said.
Mr. Papandreou added that Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and
himself had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Fino personally, inviting him
to visit Greece.
Council of Foreign Ministers
The European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers agreed Monday on the
actions which must be taken to provide humanitarian aid to Albania.
Speaking to Greek reporters, Mr. Papandreou, who represented Greece at the
meeting, said the 15 foreign ministers agreed on the dispatch of an
"advance team" to Albania which would pave the way for the arrival of a
large "advisory committee" to draw up a plan for Albania's transition into
political, social and economic normality.
Dutch reporter shot in Albania brought to Corfu
A Dutch reporter who was shot yesterday morning in Albania was hospitalised
in Corfu after being transported by sea from Sarande.
Vilma Gundabel, 32, whose condition was described as critical, was operated
on at Corfu General Hospital.
According to a companion, she was shot by an unidentified individual while
speaking on the telephone. He said Ms Gundabel's reports over the past
month had been critical of Albanian President Sali Berisha. The Dutch
reporter has been working in Albania for the past five years as correspondent
for a number of international media outlets.
Foreign ministry reacts to Albanian statement
The foreign ministry said on Monday that a press release issued by the
Albanian embassy in Athens following a conversation between Foreign
Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino
contained "inaccurate statements and unacceptable characterisations, which
have been repeatedly answered by the Greek side."
"It seems that there is a gap of communication between the Albanian
government and the embassy in Athens," the announcement stated.
The foreign ministry expressed the hope that the positive cooperation
between the two countries will continue, and reiterated that Mr. Kranidiotis'
visit to Albania "was made known in advance to the Albanian government and
was carried out with its conse nt and in accordance with established
"The consulate general of Greece in Gjirokaster and the consul general
carry out their duties under particularly difficult circumstances, aiming
at cooperating with the local Albanian authorities, at encouraging the
suffering Greek minority and at secur ing the effective distribution of
Greek humanitarian aid," the announcement continued.
"All missions of Greek vessels, military or civilian, in Albanian
territorial waters was carried out in full knowledge of Albanian authorities
and after the granting of permission.
"The Greek government undertook from the outset of the Albanian crisis
concrete measures both at bilateral and multilateral levels for a peaceful
solution," the foreign ministry said.
"The Greek government has expressed its support to the government of
national reconciliation led by Prime Minister Fino and its determination to
assist its efforts, and...will continue this policy," the statement
Transport commissioner Kinnock to visit
European Commissioner for transport, Neil Kinnock, is due to arrive in
Greece tomorrow at the invitation of Merchant Marine Minister Stavros
Announcing the visit today, Soumakis said both he and Transport and
Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis would be having talks with
Kinnock will also be meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Soumakis
US businessmen seek trade cooperation in Greece
More than 250 US businessmen will be represented by their state trade
directors at an exhibition entitled "Multi-state/Catalog Exhibition" to be
held at the Ledra Marriott Hotel in Athens on March 27 and 28.
The event, sponsored by the commerical section of the US embassy in Athens,
will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The US firms are seeking commercial cooperation and/or representation in
Greece. Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to obtain information
on the products and services of an additional 100 US companies through
their catalogs, which will be avai lable during the event.
Those interested in discussing cooperation ventures with the state trade
directors can make arrangements through the commercial section of the US
embassy, 91, Vassilissis Sofias Ave., Athens 10 160 P Fax: 72.18.660.
German-language information on Greece available on Internet
The Greek Press and Information Office in Hamburg has introduced an
experimental programme with German-language pages on the internet.
The office aims to provide information on Greece in several sectors,
including the economy, media, tourism, culture and politics.
This programme marks the first German-language access to a web site of an
official Greek service. Its address is: http://www.griechenlandinformation.de
Local cloudiness and rainfall is forecast for eastern Macedonia, Thrace,
the eastern Aegean and the Dodecanese islands. The rest of the country will
be cloudy with drizzle. Moderate to strong winds with rainfall and snowfall
in the mountainous regions of western Greece. Athens will be partly cloudy
with light rain and temperatures between 8-13C. Same for Thessaloniki with
temperatures between 2-10C.
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
Portuguese escudo 1.557