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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-14

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, 14/05/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Luxembourg: Cyprus EU entry talks should begin as planned
  • Greece calls for common European defence policy
  • Cyprus issue, IGC discussed by Kranidiotis in Britain
  • US State Dept. denies reports of Aegean air corridors accord
  • Karamanlis' 12th volume to be officially released today
  • Greece sends more aid to Iran
  • Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria to begin African tour
  • Anglican delegation visits Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • European Court ruling on cheaper imported second hand cars expected
  • Finance ministry takes action against tax evasion
  • Current accounts balance in the red during January
  • New rates for state treasury bills
  • Marathon classical route at IAAF World Championships
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Luxembourg: Cyprus EU entry talks should begin as planned

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said yesterday that his country believes negotiations for Cyprus's entry into the EU should begin, as already decided, simultaneously with entry negotiations for central and eastern European countries.

He said after talks with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis that the process for Cyprus' entry should not be linked to "political conditions", nor should they be delayed for such reasons.

Speaking to the press, the Greek premier reiterated Greece's positions on EU relations with Turkey, noting that based on the Council of Ministers' decision of July 15, 1996, Turkey must make certain statements which "will lift the existing reservations on their part," while it must also conform to international law and must recourse to the International Court at The Hague if it believes it has demands from Greece.

Greece calls for common European defence policy

Summing up the results of the West European Union's (WEU) Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers' session, concluded in Paris last night, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said it was a very important meeting on Europe's common defence policy.

He said a new element in the meeting was that it was not merely a new relationship between the WEU, the Europen Union and NATO, but the shaping of new improved preconditions with which the WEU will be able to operate as a defence arm for the EU with NATO's resources.

The meeting in Paris was the confirmation of this step, he said, adding that with the reformulation of the relevant clause in the final proclamation of the session, the associate members of the WEU, such as Turkey, can participate in operations and specific decisions but without exceeding the status defining their relations with the organisation.

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who participated in the Paris meeting said last night that his talks with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook as being "particularly interesting".

"Labour, in contrast with the Conservatives, are not setting the resolution of the Cyprus problem as a condition for Cyprus' entry into the EU," he said.

"Mr. Cook assured me that he will shortly undertake an initiative in this direction."

Cyprus issue, IGC discussed by Kranidiotis in Britain

Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis met in London yesterday with British Foreign Secretary responsible for European issues, Douglas Henderson, in what was the first official meeting between a Greek government official and the new Labour government.

The two discussed the Cyprus issue, the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), Greece's initiatives in view of the IGC in June and new prospects for cooperation between the governments of Greece and Britain.

Mr. Kranidiotis noted that the climate on the Cyprus issue was very positive.

"I have ensured Mr. Henderson's clear assurance that the Labour government will now implement the pre-election positions they stated regarding the Cyprus issue."

US State Dept. denies reports of Aegean air corridors accord

The United States yesterday denied reports that there is an agreement between Greece and Turkey for Athens to cede air corridors in the Aegean to be used by Turkish aircraft.

US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said "the talks we had last week with the Greek defence ministry in Crete covered a broad range of bilateral issues, as always occurs."

"We were suprised by certain publications in the Greek media which claimed there was an agreement between Greece and Turkey at last week's meeting for the creation of air corridors over the Aegean, or that discussions involved a proposal for Greek aircr aft to fly over the Aegean without equipment. These publications are incorrect."

Karamanlis` 12th volume to be officially released today

Former president of the republic Constantine Karamanlis released the 12th volume of his archives yesterday, which contain criticism against PASOK founder and late prime minister Andreas Papandreou as well as former premier Constantine Mitsotakis.

All 12 volumes will be officially presented at the Athens Concert Hall this evening.

In the 12th volume, which covers the period between 1985-1995, Mr. Karamanlis accuses Andreas Papandreou of deceiving him, saying that despite Papandreou's assurances, the PASOK founder did not nominate him for president in 1985, at the last minute nominating Christos Sartzetakis.

In Mr. Karamanlis' view, Andreas Papandreou had indisputable abilities which, however, were based on "demagogy and hypocrisy", accusing him of taking harmful decisions for the country with the purpose of achieving his own international promotion.

Referring to Mr. Mitsotakis, Mr. Karamanlis said their relations were never at a good level, adding that he nominated him for president of the republic in 1990 because he had no other choice.

Commenting on former foreign minister Antonis Samaras, currently the leader of the Political Spring party, Mr. Karamanlis said that during Mr. Samaras' tenure at the foreign ministry Greece's relations with all its Balkan neighbours deteriorated.

The publication of the 12th volume of Mr. Karamanlis' archives drew strong reaction from the ruling PASOK party and PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis, who referred to falsification of the country's modern history.

Mr. Skandalidis said it is not by chance that this move was taking place at a time when the country was making a great effort and a major leap forward.

Greece sends more aid to Iran

The health and welfare ministry said yesterday it was sending urgent humanitarian aid to quake-stricken eastern Iran, including medical supplies, 200 tents and 500 blankets.

The ministry added that it was conferring with the foreign ministry to arrange for the dispatch of the aid by chartered flights.

The foreign ministry said on Monday that it would be sending 20 tons of medical and other aid this week to Iran.

Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday sent a telegram to his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Natek Nouri, expressing his deepest regrets at the catastrophic earthquake which has killed and injured thousands of people.

Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria to begin African tour

The new Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa Petros will begin a visit to several African countries on May 24, with Uganda as his first stop.

The purpose of his visit is to enthrone the new Metropolitan of Kampala and all Uganda Ionas. He will also have the opportunity of meeting with local clergymen and faithful.

On May 28, the Patriarch and his entourage will fly to the neighbouring Metropolis of Kenya for an official visit. Patriarch Petros will be received by the presidents of the two countries. He will also meet the ambassadors of Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and of several predominately Orthodox countries.

Anglican delegation visits Ecumenical Patriarchate

An official delegation from the Anglican Church visited the Phanar over the weekend for talks with the Ecumenical Patriarchate's relevant committee on inter-denominational issues, chaired by the Metropolitan of Ephesos Chrysostomos.

The delegation was composed of Anglican Bishops Edward Holland and Mark Dyer, David Hamid, Dr. Richard Marsh and Dr. John Peterson.

The members of the delegation were received by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, while the head of the delegation delivered a personal message to the Patriarch from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

European Court ruling on cheaper imported second hand cars expected

The European Court will hear the Commission's suit against Greece for excessive charges on imported secondhand cars on May 29, and most sources in the Belgian capital say a win for the Commission is likely.

The Commission filed suit against Greece in June 1995 for non-harmonisation with EU legislation on the import of secondhand cars. Greece claims that it has imposed extra taxes on older technology cars as a disincentive because they would further harm th e environment and worsen air pollution.

The Commission however rebuts this argument by saying that negative repercussions on the environment should be countered with technical checks and not taxes.

The final ruling is expected to be issued by the full bench of the court later this year.

Finance ministry takes action against tax evasion

The finance ministry has ordered the closure of four businesses for a duration of between three to 18 days and started disciplinary action against seven tax collectors on charges of bribery and negligence.

The ministry ordered the temporary closure of four businesses accused with tax evasion. These include a restaurant in Rafina, a fur manufacturing unit in Kastoria, a fur shop in Siatista and a coffee shop in Livadia.

Current accounts balance in the red during January

The current accounts balance showed a deficit of US$21 million in January this year compared to a surplus of US$363.7 million in the corresponding month of 1996, according to a statement by the Bank of Greece yesterday.

The deterioration in the current accounts balance is the result of both an increase in the trade deficit by US$197.8 million and a decrease in the surplus of invisible transactions by US$186.9 million as against January 1996.

Without an assessment of net fuel imports, the current accounts balance produced a surplus of US$243 million in January this year compared to a surplus of US$483.9 million in January 1996.

The increase in the trade deficit, set at US$1.59 billion, is due to an increase in expenditure for imports by US$126.7 million (6.5 per cent) as well as to a parallel decrease in receipts from exports by US$71.1 million (-13.3 per cent). It is notewort hy that the increase in expenditure for imports comes exclusively from fuel imports which increased by US$143.2 million (92.5 per cent) compared to January 1996.

New rates for state treasury bills

The finance ministry yesterday announced the interest rates for state treasury bills which are valid as of today. Three-month treasury bills will have an interest rate of 8.6 per cent, six-month ones 8.9 per cent and 12- month ones 9.7 per cent.

Marathon classical route at IAAF World Championships

Television networks from around the world have expressed interest in the Athens '97 IAAF World Championships marathon race, which will cover the classical route from Marathon to the centre of Athens - reputed to be one of the most difficult marathon races in the world.

For the first time in World Championship history, the finish line for the event will not be in the main stadium. Athletes will finish their race in the Panathenian Stadium, in which the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896.

WEATHER

Fine weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with local northerly winds, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with temperatures ranging between 17-30C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15-29C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 268.812 Pound sterling 436.857 Cyprus pd 531.910 French franc 46.965 Swiss franc 187.374 German mark 158.318 Italian lira (100) 15.997 Yen (100) 225.680 Canadian dlr. 194.015 Australian dlr. 209.907 Irish Punt 408.803 Belgian franc 7.669 Finnish mark 52.455 Dutch guilder 140.750 Danish kr. 41.569 Swedish kr. 35.045 Norwegian kr. 38.041 Austrian sch. 22.490 Spanish peseta 1.874 Port. Escudo 1.563

(C.E.)


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