Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-13
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 13/05/1997 (ANA)
- Athens condemns statements by Turkish general in Cyprus
- Russia can help in Cyprus solution, Kranidiotis says
- Kranidiotis to meet UK's Europe minister
- PM has talks in Luxembourg
- Athens hosts Balkan chambers meeting
- ANA sponsors national news agencies meeting
- US State Department on air corridors over the Aegean
- Patriarch cautions against isolation of Orthodox eastern Europe
- Greek ministers at WEU Paris conference
- Greek credits for Montenegro
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens condemns statements by Turkish general in Cyprus
Greece today described as ''provocative and particularly harmful''
statements by a Turkish General who announced the strengthening of Turkish
occupation forces on the divided island of Cyprus.
General Cevik Bir, second-in-command at the army's General Command, made
the statements during a visit to the Turkish-occupied northern part of the
island republic at the weekend.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that ''at the present moment in
time, when efforts are being made aimed at attaining some understanding,
particular care is required''.
Reppas called on all parties interested in stability prevailing in the
region to ''condemn and marginalise such statements which cause increased
tension and seriously harm an issue which has remained outstanding for
Asked about the possibility of an extension of the moratorium on the
flights of Greek and Turkish military aircraft over the Aegean, Reppas said
an agreement may be reached for the moratorium to be extended from the
present two months in the summer to three months.
Reppas however did not rule out the possibility of an agreement for the
extension of the moratorium to four months.
Russia can help in Cyprus solution, Kranidiotis says
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said today that Russia could
play a ''balancing'' role in relation to other initiatives and proposals
aimed at finding a settlement of the Cyprus problem, according to an ANA
despatch from Moscow.
Kranidiotis was speaking to reporters shortly before leaving for London
after a working visit and talks with his Russian counterpart Aleksandr
He described the seven points of a Russian proposal on the Cyprus problem
as ''welcome'' and expressed hope that a settlement would be found within
the next two years ''particularly in view of the opportunity provided by
the negotiations for Cyprus accession to the European Union which will be
beneficial to both communities on the island''.
Kranidiotis warned however that if no viable solution was found, it would
be difficult for any improvement in Greek-Turkish relations to be
''But this does not mean that efforts should not be made in this direction,
'' he added.
The Russian proposal was put forward at the end of April during a meeting
of the UN Security Council's permanent members in New York.
According to the proposal, the Cyprus solution should ensure the establishment
of a bicommunal, bizonal federation which safeguards the existence of one
independent and territorially integral state, with a single sovereignty,
international status and citizenship.
In his talks in Moscow at the head of a Greek delegation, Kranidiotis
discussed the Cyprus problem, the entire spectrum of bilateral relations
and Greek-Russian cooperation in the Balkans.
The Russian side accepted in principle an invitation for Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin to visit Greece, with both sides agreeing efforts
should be made for the visit to take place in the autumn.
During the talks, both sides ascertained a high degree of convergence with
respect to their positions and interests in the region of the Balkans.
As part of efforts to further promote cooperation in the energy sector,
Kranidiotis announced the convening in Athens next month of the committee
of experts set up to deal with issues related to the Burgas-Alexandroupoli
Replying to reporters' questions on the situation in Albania, Kranidiotis
said Greece, jointly with Italy, planned to take an initiative in the next
few days to assist the task of the OSCE's special envoy for Albania Franz
Vranitsky in the run-up to elections in Albania.
Kranidiotis described as ''constructive'' Russia's positions on the
Kranidiotis to meet UK's Europe minister
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis arrived today in London for
talks this afternoon with Britain's new Minister for Europe, Doug Henderson,
according to an ANA despatch from the British capital.
It will be the first meeting between the Greek side and the new British
government's minister for European affairs.
In addition to European issues in general, Kranidiotis is expected to
discuss the course of Cyprus's bid for European Union accession.
Tomorrow, Kranidiotis will have talks with Britain's special represenative
for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, before returning to Athens in the evening.
PM has talks in Luxembourg
Prime Minister Costas Simitis had talks today with his Luxembourg
counterpart, Jean Claude Juncker, on issues concerning the institutional
reform of the European Union in view of the intergovernmental conference
(IGC), according to an ANA despatch from Luxembourg.
The purpose of Simitis' visit is to exchange views with the government of
Luxembourg which will take over the rotating EU presidency after the
current Dutch presidency.
Simitis' two-hour meeting with Juncker also focused on the course towards
monetary union, concerning which the Luxembourg premier described as
''impressive'' the policy of economic rehabilitation and stabilisation
being implemented by the Greek government.
If the economic convergence programme is strictly adhered to, Juncker said,
Greece will be ready to meet the criteria set by the Maastricht Treaty in
Simitis said no distinction should be made between the group of countries
which will participate from the outset in the single currency and those
states which will join later.
The Greek premier said Juncker agreed with this position.
On institutional reforms, the two sides noted an identity of views,
particularly regarding the position that each member-state should
contribute one Commissioner.
Commenting on Greek-Turkish relations, Juncker said the Luxembourg
presidency would, if it deemed necessary, continue the mediating effort of
the present Dutch presidency for the normalisation of relations between
Athens and Ankara.
Simitis reiterated the Greek government's position that Turkey should
conform to the rules of international law and have recourse to the
Intenational Court at the Hague if it believed it had any claims against
Athens hosts Balkan chambers meeting
Taxation and investment laws in Balkan states will be on the agenda of the
general assembly of the Union of Balkan Chambers of Commerce in Athens next
Participants will be representatives of chambers in Albania, Bulgaria,
Yugoslavia, Romania, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as
well as Greece.
The agenda also includes a discussion of economic issues, the exchange of
information and the organisation of exhibitions. The meeting will be held
on May 19 and 20.
ANA sponsors national news agencies meeting
The Athens News Agency is holding a seminar entitled "National news
agencies in the new era of communications" on 31 May and 1 June, within the
framework of the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies.
The seminar will be attended by executives and other senior staff of of
national news agencies from Mediterranean nations - Mauritania, Morocco,
Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Albania, Italy, Spain,
Portugal and France, as well as Greece.
To be held at the Divani Caravel Hotel, it will also be attended by
representatives of the Athens Journalists' Union, the Athens' Newspaper
Publishers' Union and ten students from Athens' University's Communications
The seminar is to be sponsored by the Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation (OTE) and its subsidiary OTEnet.
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."
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.
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
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