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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-13

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 13/05/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 years''.

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 Avdeyev.

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 attained.

''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 oil pipeline.

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 issue.

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 1998.

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 Greece.

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 week.

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 School.

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 showing preferences.

"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 world.

"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 million.

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 side.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(M.P.)


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