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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, Greece, 10/05/1997 (ANA)


  • Simitis underlines importance of social issues in reviewing Maastricht
  • Santer sees Greece on path to single currency
  • Costas Karamanlis hails Greece's European orientation as decisive choice of ND
  • Former king continues to trade accusations with Karamanlis
  • Name dispute should not sour Athens-Skopje relations, Frckovski says
  • Simitis: Respect for int'l law a condition for support of Ankara in Europe
  • US hails decisions by Nicosia, Ankara to halt overflights
  • Greece, Israel to conduct joint exercise in Dodecanese
  • Greece, Georgia sign protocol on cultural exchange
  • Experts say they've found site of Colossus of Rhodes
  • EU economic and social committee reps meet in Athens
  • Three toms of marijuana confiscated


Simitis underlines importance of social issues in reviewing Maastricht

Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed the need for attention to social issues when reviewing the Maastricht Treaty, speaking yesterday at an event at Athens' Old Parliament House commemorating Europe Day.

The event was also addressed by European Commission President Jacques Santer, who is on an official visit to Greece.

This year's anniversary, said Mr. Simitis, came at a decisive time for the future of Europe, with important negotiations being planned over the next two years for the Europe of 2000.

He called for an end to the climate of scepticism and insecurity and support for cohesion within the European Union. Its citizens should realise, he said, that changes in institutions would not create a limitless bureaucracy. Mr. Santer said equality between member-states should be fully respected, while the Commission should undergo certain adjustments such as reduction in the number of Commissioners and review of its organisation.

He also favoured a more important role for the European Parliament, and called for more transparency. Meanwhile the EU's social model, he said, was Europe's strength.

"The European social model is characteristic of its achievements, the envy of all other regional cooperation groups," he said.

Santer sees Greece on path to single currency

European Commission President Jacques Santer yesterday expressed hope that Greece would remain on the path leading to participation in the single European currency the soonest possible.

In addressing the general assembly of the Federation of Northern Greece Industries, Mr. Santer said that he anticipated higher economic indicators.

"We expect that the economic development in Greece will reach 3.1 per cent in 1997 as against 2.6 per cent in the previous year," he said. He added that a 3.3 per cent growth was anticipated for 1998.

Praising efforts to boost the Greek economy, the president of the European Commission said that the Greek economy had shown steady progress since 1994, while inflation had fallen and a positive trend had been noted in the area of public finances.

Speaking on the occasion of Europe Day yesterday, European Union President Jacques Santer said "the date of May 9 takes us back to the first days of the building of Europe. Today, more than ever, 'organised solidarity' of European nations is the best means for Europeans' voice to be heard in the world.

"Built on common institutional bodies with true power and on a common law expressing common values, it continues to guarantee their peace."

He went on to say that "the demands of this solidarity, which its opponents exaggerate, must never make us forget its results, because the European vision is truly a vision of solidarity."

Costas Karamanlis hails Greece's European orientation as decisive choice of ND

In a message on Europe Day, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said Greece's stable European orientation is the major and decisive strategic choice of ND and its founder Constantine Karamanlis, which is vindicated absolutely by developments.

Mr. Karamanlis added that Greece, in participating as an equal member in the group of Europe's most developed countries, has fully consolidated its security and its stable course towards development and a better tomorrow.

Former king continues to trade accusations with Karamanlis

Ex-king Constantine yesterday continued a series of tit-for-tat accusations with former president of the republic Constantine Karamanlis with statements which appeared tantamount to direct political intervention.

"With regard to the views of former president Constantine Karamanlis and ex- king Constantine on forms of government, what is important is what the Greek people, which is alone sovereign, wishes and decides through the course of time," the former monarch said in a written statement issued by his press office.

The ex-king was responding to a statement by Mr. Karamanlis earlier this week advising "those who still feel sympathetic towards the institution of the monarch to realise at long last that the issue concerning the form of government in Greece has been resolved conclusively".

The monarchy in Greece was officially abolished in 1974 by a referendum following seven years of military dictatorship.

The former king and Mr. Karamanlis began trading accusations after the latter published his archives in which he claimed Constantine had planned a coup in 1975.

Name dispute should not sour Athens-Skopje relations, Frckovski says

Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) said yesterday the dispute with Greece over the use of the name "Macedonia" was not important enough to spoil the improved relations between the two neighbouring nations, nor could it influence "the strategic importance of interests and bilateral cooperation".

Speaking to the Greek press, the minister contended that the recent improvement in bilateral relations was not only due to the danger to both countries posed by the crisis in Albania but had its own dynamic, since Greece had found FYROM to be "a partner in the region".

While he stressed that FYROM was participating "in a constructive way" in the UN-sponsored talks in New York, he said: "There are certain limits which concern substantial interests and the very identity of the Macedonian state which cannot be overlooked."

Simitis: Respect for int'l law a condition for support of Ankara in Europe

Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday reiterated Greece's support for Turkey's place in Europe, if Ankara indicated by its actions respect for the rules of international law and for human rights.

Addressing an event in central Athens' Old Parliament House to celebrate Europe Day in the presence of European Commission President Jacques Santer, Mr. Simitis said Greece was in favour of improved relations between the European Union and Turkey if the latter adhered to international law. Then, he added, Turkey would have Greece's support in Europe.

Europe Day commemorates the day in 1950 when Robert Schumann made a proclamation paving the way for the foundation of the European Community.

US hails decisions by Nicosia, Ankara to halt overflights

The US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns yesterday expressed the satisfaction of the US over unilateral decisions by Nicosia and Ankara to halt flights by Greek and Turkish warplanes over Cypriot airspace.

"The United States welcome the decision of the government of Cyprus not to invite Greek aircraft to make overflights over Cyprus during the exercises 'Toxotis' and 'Vergina', as well as a report that neither have other overflights been planned for this period. We also welcome the report from the government of Turkey that it is not planning overflights over Cyprus for as long as Greek aircraft do not fly over the island. We believe that these separate actions contribute towards a better atmosphere for ef forts under way in this period under the auspices of the United Nations, aimed at resolving the Cyprus problem," Mr. Burns said.

Greece, Israel to conduct joint exercise in Dodecanese

A scheduled joint Greek-Israeli miliatry exercise will take place in the sea region of the Dodecanese from June 24-29 within the framework of a bilateral agreement, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced yesterday.

An Israeli official will visit Greece within the next few days to participate in preparations for the exercise, Mr. Reppas added.

Greece, Georgia sign protocol on cultural exchange

A protocol signed between Greece and Georgia anticipates establishment of archaeological societies and institutes in Athens and Tbilisi. The protocol was signed by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and the president of the Georgian Academy of Sciences A. Tayhelidze, and is aimed at developing relations between the two countries in the cultural sector.

The protocol begins with reference to the "close bond between the peoples of Georgia and Greece from ancient times until today, and developing historical and archaeological research as well as maintenance and restoration of cultural monuments."

It also refers, among others, to prospects of cooperation by the year 2000.

Experts say they've found site of Colossus of Rhodes

The location of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was possibly at the entrance to Mandraki harbour where the statues of two fawns stand today, according to a research team under the supervision of a seismology professor.

The team, under Professor Evangelos Lekkas, studied the effects of earthquakes and other natural disasters on Rhodes in the classical and mediaeval periods. Professor Lekkas however rejected theories that the fawns in some way served as the bases for the legs of the Colossus since there were no fawns at the northeast end of the fortress of the Old City in ancient times. According to the research team, a major earthquake in 227 BC was accompanied by "seismic breaches" which caused significant damage to m onuments on the island and resulted in the collapse of the Colossus, no remains of which have ever been found.

Professor Lekkas announced his team's findings at the 4th International Symposium on the preservation of Mediterranean monuments which is currently being held in Rhodes.

The Colossus of Rhodes was a large bronze statue of the sun god, Helios, in the island's harbour. It is believed to have been built in whole or in part by Chares of Lindus (Rhodes) between 292 and 280 BC.

The bronze had been taken from the tools and machines left behind by Demetrius I after his unsuccessful siege of Rhodes.

EU economic and social committee reps meet in Athens

The annual meeting of the European Union's economic and social committee (ESC) with representatives from EU member-states was held in Athens yesterday, focusing on social dialogue processes throughout Europe.

The president of the Greek ESC, Ioannis Koukiadis, said the ESC will emerge as a social dialogue body, coordinate the discussion between partners and will finally present their structured positions to the government. Mr. Koukiadis also said the first phase of social dialogue will probably be completed by the end of November. ESC Secretary General Grigoris Papanikos, who chaired the meeting with his European counterparts, summed up the basic conclusions drawn in the discussion, saying that social dialogue is emerging in all countries as a basic "tool" in facing social and economic problems.

Three tons of marijuana confiscated

Police last night confiscated more than three tons of marijuana found in containers in the customs cargo storage area at the port of Piraeus.

The marijuana was found after police authorities received a tip-off last month, claiming that a large shipment was due to arrive in Greece from Cambodia.

A month ago, the finance ministry's drug squad noticed suspicious containers which had arrived on board a ship from Singapore.

The containers were placed under surveillance, but the drug squad decided to investigate them after no-one attempted to collect the shipment.

They were found to contain more than three tons of marijuana, making this the largest drug haul in Greece, police said.

According to initial reports, police are questioning three people in connection with the case, two of whom are customs officials, who have so far denied all knowledge of the shipment.

Authorities have already notified Interpol over the investigation.


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