Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-13
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 13/05/1997 (ANA)
- Balkan crisis and Greek-Russian economic cooperation discussed
- US State Department on air corridors over the Aegean
- Prime Minister holds talks in Luxembourg
- Conference on military law begins in Athens
- ECOFIN adopts recommendations on Greek fiscal deficit
- Patriarch cautions against isolation of Orthodox eastern Europe
- Greek ministers at WEU Paris conference
- Funds allocated for restoration of medieval village
- Greek literature events in Brussles
- Greek credits for Montenegro
- International fur exhibition opens in Kastoria
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Balkan crisis and Greek-Russian economic cooperation discussed
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and his Russian counterpart
Aleksandr Avdeyev held talks in Moscow yesterday which, among others,
examined the assumption of a Greek-Russian initiative in the framework of
the peace process to handle the crisis in the Balkans and Greek-Russian
economic cooperation in the region.
Other issues discussed were bilateral relations, Greek-Turkish relations
and the Cyprus issue. A protocol anticipating regular political consultations
was also signed.
Mr. Kranidiotis underlined the "excellent" level of relations between the
two countries and their great political significance, both due to their
traditional and historical ties and their "very many common interests."
Greece especially appreciates the role played by Russia in the Balkans and
the eastern Mediterranean, Mr. Kranidiotis said, hailing Moscow's
activation over the Cyprus issue.
Mr. Avdeyev said that Greek-Russian relations were a permanently a top
priority in Moscow's foreign policy.
A large part of their talks centred on Greek-Russian cooperation in the
economic sector in the Balkans and primarily energy and communications
networks and infrastructures in the region, as well as the possible
undertaking of a joint Greek-Russian initiative for peace in the region. In
this framework, the two officials reaffirmed the two countries' interest in
the construction of the Burgas- Alexandroupoli oil pipeline.
Mr. Kranidiotis also invited Russia to participate under an observer status
in the inter-Balkan meeting to be held in Thessaloniki in June.
He briefed his Russian counterpart of the forthcoming opening of a branch
of the Greek Culture foundation in Moscow and extended invitations on
behalf of Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos to Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Foreign Minister
Yevgeny Primakov to visit Greece.
US State Department on air corridors over the Aegean
US State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns yesterday stated that he was
unaware of any agreement regarding the use of air corridors over the Aegean
by Turkish aircraft, stating only that the US continuously seeks manners in
which to rebuild confidence between Greece and Turkey.
Replying to questions on whether the US was supporting Turkey against
Greece "for strategic reasons", as the "Washington Times" wrote quoting
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Mr Burns stressed that "the US does
not prefer one country to the other."
"I am sure Mr. Pangalos did not say something like this or his statements
were misinterpreted," he added, "as Mr. Pangalos knows well that the US is
a friend and ally of Greece as well as of Turkey, that we are neutral and
that we use our good services to bring Greece and Turkey together without
"Greece is one of the United State's oldest allies and we are very pleased
with the prime minister, Foreign Minister Pangalos.... we have an excellent
relation with him, and we are sure this will continue."
Prime Minister holds talks in Luxembourg
Prime Minister Costas Simitis begins talks in Luxembourg today with his
counterpart Jean-Claude Juncker on policies and economic developments in
the European Union and issues linked to Greek national interests.
The two prime ministers are expected to focus their interest on EU
institutional issues negotiated by the "15" in light of the extraordinary
summit for EU leaders on May 23.
Today's meeting has special importance for Greek foreign policy, since at
the end of June Luxembourg will succeed the Netherlands at the EU's
On the occasion of his visit to Luxembourg, Mr. Simitis will visit the
headquarters of three EU bodies this afternoon, the European Court, the
Auditing Council and the European Bank.
Conference on military law begins in Athens
Addressing the inauguration of the 14th conference of the International
Society on Military Law and War Convention yesterday, National Defence
Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis referred to the need for the establishment
and operation of a permanent international court to try to war crimes.
"The effort must be continuous and uninterrupted if we wish to consolidate
the fundamental international conditions of humanitarian aspects in the
international field," he said.
The ceremony was also addressed by the president of the conference's
organising committee, Major-Gen. Athanasios Kosioris and the president of
the society. The conference focuses on "investigating and prosecuting war
crimes - national law and processes. Military and legal cooperation."
The conference is taking place at the War Museum's amphitheatre and will
last until Thursday. Leading jurists from Greece, Albania, Algeria, Germany,
Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Britain, the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia (FYROM), Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech
Republic and the United States are attendingf the conference.
ECOFIN adopts recommendations on Greek fiscal deficit
The Council of European Union finance ministers (ECOFIN) convened in
Brussels yesterday and ratified, without making amendments, a document
containing recommendations adopted by the European Commission several weeks
ago aimed to end the excessive budget deficit in Greece.
The document contains no new measure and no new settlement, apart from what
is already known, because Greek fiscal deficit, despite pessimistic
predictions, decreased by 0.2 per cent more than the target set by the
Greek Convergence Programme. Namely, instead of a decrease amounting to 7.6
per cent of GDP, the deficit dropped to 7.4 per cent of GDP.
Participating in the discussion between the 15 economy ministers on the
draft plan for the EU Budget for 1998, National Economy and Finance
Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said, among others, that his government is
opposed to any decrease in its rersources in the future and particularly in
connection with fiscal austerity which is supported by the overwhelming
majority of EU countries and is threatening decreases in the resources of
Mr. Papantoniou said an increase in the resources of the EU's budget,
particularly after Economic and Monetary Union, must be independent from
fiscal austerity policies as they are reflected in the national budgets of
member-states, while the EU budget must also cover financially a series of
actions and policies which are covered at present by national budgets, such
as combatting unemployment by creating new jobs.
Patriarch cautions against isolation of Orthodox eastern Europe
An interview published in the Romanian newspaper "Adevarul" yesterday
quoted Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos as saying that NATO's expansion
towards the former eastern bloc countries should not create a new division
between Catholics and Protestants in western Europe and Orthodox faithful
in eastern Europe.
The comment was seen as support for predominately Orthodox Romania's
efforts to become a NATO member in the upcoming wave of expansion.
"The maintenance of unity in Europe is the ultimate duty of all churches
today," the Patriarch said.
"The view prevailing now in certain western circles is for return to a kind
of isolation of the western world, considered by some as genuine Roman
Catholicism or Protestantism," according to Vartholomeos, the spiritual
leader of approximately 300 million Orthodox Christians around the
"This aims at the creation of a new split in Europe, as well as the entry
into NATO of only the countries with a Roman Catholic or Protestant
tradition," he added.
Greek ministers at WEU Paris conference
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and National Defence Minister Akis
Tsohatzopoulos arrived in Paris yesterday to participate in the West
European Union's three-day foreign and defence ministers' council.
Greece, which is to assume the rotating WEU presidency in January 1998, is
to present the union's "Transatlantic Forum", which foresees contacts and
briefings with the United States and Canada. An international seminar on
the subject was held in Athens earlier this month.
Issues to be discussed will include implementation of the Berlin,
Birmingham and Brussels Accords regarding the WEU's capacities and its
relations with the European Union and NATO, as well as its role in the
operation and planning of defence.
Funds allocated for restoration of medieval village
Aegean Minister Elisabeth Papazoi and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos
will visit the island of Hios today in order to sign an agreement for the
restoration of the mediaeval village of Anavatos.
The agreement will be signed between the culture ministry and the
municipality of Omiroupolis. One billion drachmas will be allocated for the
restoration of the Anavatos village, built nine centuries ago.
Greek literature events in Brussels
Greek literature will be represented for the second year in a row during
the Belgitude et Grecite event, focusing on problems in the translation and
promotion of Greek prose in Francophone countries.
The event will be held in the Brussels Royal Library on June 6 and
Speeches will be made by distinguished translators, including Jacques
Lacarriere, Michel Grodin, Michel Volkovic and professor of literature in
the University of Liege, Jacques Dubois.
The event is being organised by the Fonds Culturel Hellenique and the Greek
embassy's press attache here, Yiannis Starakis.
Greek credits for Montenegro
A Montenegrin government delegation paid a three-day visit to Athens for
talks with Greek-based bank representatives and Greek businessmen on the
implementation of credits for the Yugoslav republic amounting to US$50
The agreement had been worked out during Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo
Djukanovic's recent visit to Athens.
The Montenegrin delegation was comprised of the government's deputy prime
minister, the finance minister and the minister of commerce.
Speaking in Podgorica, Deputy Prime Minister Slavko Dirlievic said the
draft agreement on the loan for US$50 million was prepared at the General
Bank of Greece. Further talks will be held on the loan issue in Podgorica
on Wednesday, during a visit by a Greek business and banking delegation.
An agreement for the purchase of goods from Greece worth US$40 million is
expected to be signed in Podgorica, while a list will be composed listing
goods currently in short supply on the Montenegrin market. Podgorica has
also agreed with the Apostolopoulos group on another loan amounting to
US$10 million for the purchase of consumer goods from Greece.
In addition, Serbian press reports have commented on a recent agreement
signed between the Mytilineos company and the Trepca mines in Kossovo,
amounting to US$519 million.
The general director of Trepca, Novak Bielic, told the "Borba" newspaper
yesterday that the mines will honour all the conditions set out in the
agreement because only a third of the mines' potential will have to be
activated for the implementation of the five-year agreement with the Greek
International fur exhibition opens in Kastoria
Development Undersecretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis inaugurates the 22nd
International Fur Exhibition in Kastoria today.
The fur sector in the region, despite difficulties faced over the past five
years, continues to constitute the primary activity for local residents,
with roughly 2,500 businesses and an annual turnover of about US$150-180
million. Fur producers in the Kastoria region have set the target of an
annual turnover amounting to US$600 million.
A total of 125 exhibitors from Greece and abroad will participate in the
exhibition, due to last until May 18.
Mostly sunny weather throughout Greece today with locally northerly
moderate winds getting stronger in the northern Aegean Sea. Athens will be
sunny with temperatures between 15-29C. Same in Thessaloniki with
temperatures between 14-28C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 268.336
Pound sterling 434.099 Cyprus pd 529.827
French franc 47.055 Swiss franc 188.138
German mark 158.651 Italian lira (100) 15.991
Yen (100) 226.176 Canadian dlr. 192.984
Australian dlr. 209.342 Irish Punt 408.248
Belgian franc 7.687 Finnish mark 52.530
Dutch guilder 141.033 Danish kr. 41.676
Swedish kr. 35.107 Norwegian kr. 38.210
Austrian sch. 22.550 Spanish peseta 1.876
Port. Escudo 1.574