Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-17
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 17/05/1997 (ANA)
- Greek, Turkish committees will not meet, Pangalos says
- Athens accepts two CBMs of US proposal
- More aid en route to quake-stricken Iran
- Quake jolts northern Greece
- Gov't denies US moratorium on arms deliveries
- Reactions to Greek-Turkish pop concert in Cyprus
- Landfill worker disappears
- International Museums' Day in Greece
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greek, Turkish committees will not meet, Pangalos says
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos today rejected a proposal of the Dutch
EU presidency for a meeting of the Greek and Turkish committees of experts
set up to examine procedural issues relating to bilatteral differences.
Pangalos said Dutch Foreign Minister Hans Van Mierlo proposed that the two
committees should meet at the end of the month.
Expressing the view that such a meeting would serve no useful purpose,
Pangalos spoke in terms of a ''mistake'' on the part of Van Mierlo.
Pangalos confirmed he had received a letter today from his Dutch counterpart
proposing a meeting of the two committees between May 26 and 28.
''First of all, the process of exchanging views by correspondence must
proceed,'' Pangalos said.
Pangalos also stressed that in order for Greece to lift its veto of EU
financial assistance to Turkey within the framework of the EU-Turkey
customs union, Ankara would first have to satisfy the three conditions set
by Greece, irrespective of any process or initiative in progress.
Athens has repeatedly stated that Ankara must reject the use and threat of
force, respect international law and international treaties and have
recourse to the International Court at the Hague for the settlement of any
claims it might have.
In the letter from Van Mierlo, Pangalos said, the Dutch presidency accepted
a Greek proposal that views should be exchanged between the committees of
experts in the form of memorandums.
He added however that Greece did not accept the presidency's proposal for a
direct meeting of the two committees until the two sides had exchanged
Pangalos described Van Mierlo's proposal for a meeting of the two
committees as ''naive'' and ''mistaken''.
Speaking to reporters after talks with his Slovenian counterpart, Zoran
Thaler, Pangalos said:
''If the aim of the (EU) presidency is to exert pressure for the commencement
of direct talks, in order to secure the release of the EU-Turkey financial
protocol, then it is a naive approach, because Greece has repeatedly stated
that it will not consent to the release of these funds unless Turkey
satisfies the three conditions set by Athens.''
Pangalos assured however that the procedure regarding the committees would
continue, adding that the letter of the Greek side would be sent to the
Dutch presidency at the beginning of next week, on the condition however
that the Van Mierlo proposal for a meeting of the committees is withdrawn.
Athens accepts two CBMS of US proposal
Commenting meanwhile on statements last night by US Pentagon spokesman Ken
Bacon, who announced the five proposals submitted by NATO as confidence-
building measures (CBMs) between Greece and Turkey, Pangalos said Athens
had already accepted two but rejected the other three.
He said Greece had accepted the proposal for the extension of a moratorium
on military exercises in the Aegean from June 15 to September 15, which
Turkey had rejected.
Both countries have accepted the proposal for the monitoring by NATO of
Greek and Turkish military flights over the Aegean, Pangalos said, noting
that this was already being implemented.
With respect to the other three proposals, concerning the disarming of
military aircraft taking part in training flights, the use of the IFF
electronic system for the identification of aircraft in order to avoid
engagements and the setting up of a centre for direct communication between
the operations centres of Greece and Turkey, Pangalos said Athens did not
accept them because in one way or another they disputed Greek responsibility
in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR).
Speaking later to reporters, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos
also said that Greece accepted to discuss only two of the proposals
announced by Bacon.
''Greece has accepted to send on a four-month trial basis a picture of
activity in the Aegean to NATO headquarters in Naples in order to confirm
and prove the extent and frequency of violations of national airspace by
Turkish aircraft which is taking place on an almost daily basis,''
He added that Greece had been sending the picture to Naples since February
''When the four-month period expires, we shall see NATO's reaction and have
contacts with the Alliance in order to examine the results of this effort
and the conclusions,'' Tsohatzopoulos said.
He also confirmed that Greece was willing to discuss extending the
moratorium on military flights and exercises in the Aegean in the summer
from two to three months.
Tsohatzopoulos said however that it was out of the question for Greece to
discuss the disarming of Greek aircraft flying over the Aegean.
''There are instances when Greek aircraft are not armed when flying in
national airspace. But when someone has not submitted a flight plan, you
are obliged by international treaties to go out and confront the aircraft
in question armed,'' he stressed.
More aid en route to quake-stricken Iran
A Hellenic Air Force C-130 transport plane took off from Elefsina yesterday
with 20 tonnes of humanitarian aid, mainly medical supplies, for quake-
stricken eastern Iran.
The Greek government said a second shipment would follow in the next few
Quake jolts northern Greece
A strong earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale jolted western
Macedonia yesterday causing panic and minor damage to old homes, but no
casualties, police said.
The tremor was recorded by the Thessaloniki University's seismological
department at 10.01 local time and its epicentre was the coast of Lake
Ohrid in the nearby Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). It was
strongly felt in the northern Greek border cities of Florina, Kastoria,
Kozani and Edessa. Inhabitants rushed out of their homes in panic.
According to reports from FYROM the quake caused minor damage to old homes
in Ohrid. In 1911, a stronger quake measuring 6,7 Richter had shook the
Gov't denies US moratorium on arms deliveries
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas denied as "absolutely false" press
reports of a delay in the delivery of weapons systems to Greece from the
"These reports have nothing to do with reality," he said.
Referring to weapons systems scheduled to be ordered, Mr. Reppas said a
study of these systems is being completed but no contact has been made with
anyone so far, either a government or agent. He added that very often
certain reports on the issue reflect the aims of interested third
Reactions to Greek-Turkish pop concert in Cyprus
Preparations are underway for a joint Greek-Turkish pop concert to be held
on Monday on the Cyprus Green Line separating the island's Greek and the
Turkish communities, while the event has caused a variety of reactions in
Cyprus as well as in Greece.
The concert by Greek pop idol Sakis Rouvas and his Turkish collegue Ismail
Cout is expected to draw about 6,000 youths from both communities and has
received the endorsement on the United Nations as well as the Cyrpriot
Government. However some of the republic's political parties and at least
one citizens' group have been critical of the initiative in the light of
occupation situation in northern Cyprus. Similarly in Greece a number of
cultural figures have expressed their opposition to the concert.
UN security is being steped up around the area where the concert will be
held in Cyprus' "no-man's-land", while the organisation's spokesman
Valtemar Rokosovski denied recent press reports that the two nationalities
in the audience will be separated saying that "there would be no reason to
have this concert if we kept Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots apart".
Landfill worker disappears
The search for refuse collection worker George Drakides who disappeared
this morning in the main Athens landfill in Ano Liossia continues, as fears
mount that he has been covered by tons of refuse dumped in large quantities
since services resumed today, after a recent strike.
The 50-year-old Drakides who was part of the crew of an Agia Paraskevi
municipality collection truck, was last seen when a collegue went off and
left him alone in the vehicle at 4.30 am. The collegue went to get help to
tow the truck which had become stuck on the soft landfill surface.
Police and fire brigade crews with specially trained sniffer dogs have been
searching the area but the only sign of Drakides found so far is his
International Museums' Day in Greece
International Museums' Day will be celebrated in Greece with the usual free
entry to all of the country's museums in order to invite people's interest
to what Greek museums have to offer.
The theme for this year's celebration is "the struggle against the illegal
trade of our cultural heritage", addressing a major problem for most
countries that have a long history of civilisation to exhibit. The
International Commission of Museums issued a resolution in which it calls
for museums "to become vehicles for cultural exchanges to strengthen
education in order to develop mutual understanding and peace and cooperation
A few months ago the Ministry of Culture announced a pilot programme for
the upgrading of services offered in ten of the country's largest museums.
The programme involves making museums more vital and visitor-friendly
through the introduction of various services beyond the dry exhibition of
artifacts. Today the Minister Evangelos Venizelos in his message on the
occasion of International Museums' Day said that "museums being these
organised and complex spaces of culture, are the main institutions charged
with the safekeeping and promotion of our cultural heritage".
Warm weather with light winds is forecast for Sunday, with some cloud
developing over central and northern Greece in the afternoon and rain and
storms in mountainous regions. Athens can expect a fine day with temperature
19-31C. Thessaloniki similar but with local cloud in the afternoon and
temperatures ranging 16-30C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 269.130
Pound sterling 441.777 Cyprus pd 532.307
French franc 46.999 Swiss franc 187.796
German mark 158.219 Italian lira (100) 16.059
Yen (100) 232.981 Canadian dlr. 196.356
Australian dlr. 208.528 Irish Punt 410.053
Belgian franc 7.667 Finnish mark 52.407
Dutch guilder 140.715 Danish kr. 41.547
Swedish kr. 35.266 Norwegian kr. 37.988
Austrian sch. 22.475 Spanish peseta 1.874
Port. Escudo 1.568