Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-21
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 21/05/1997 (ANA)
- Pangalos calls for a successful Albanian election
- IMF: good economic progress but work still needed
- Official suspended for banning Kazantzakis
- PM Simitis to visit Sweden
- Albanians kidnap two Greeks
- Armenians deputies visit Greek Parliament
- Iraqi ambassador condemns Turkish invasion
- Tsohatzopoulos: Turkish threats a crucial priority for Athens
- Greece to send EU presidency memo on Greek-Turkish differences
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Pangalos calls for a successful Albanian election
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos today called on all political forces in
Albania to make every effort towards a successful outcome for the June 29
elections, promising that Greece "will continue to offer every possible
assistance on the diplomatic, economic and humanitarian front."
In a statement issued this morning, Pangalos warned against allowing
"partisan concerns to thwart" what he called "the historic opportunity
offered by the elections". He said the "international community would have
to review its position with regard to Albania if the elections foundered."
" If the elections were not held under free and fair conditions," Pangalos
said he feared "the end of Albania's troubles would not be at hand."
There are no plans for Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos to visit Albania,
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today replying to reporters'
Commenting meanwhile on the situation in the neighbouring country, Reppas
said it was the responsibility of the political forces of Albania to give a
solution to the problem which exists.
On the presence of the multinational protection force in Albania and its
role, Reppas said ''no one is prepared to whitewash unilateral actions and
it is not possible for the international community to legitimize handling
which serves the plans of individuals or parties''.
''The international community will not remain indifferent,'' Reppas
The spokesman expressed the hope that the political parties in Albania will
in the next few days find a way to communicate.
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday that Greece
intended to raise the issue of whether its military contingent should
remain in Albania in the event that the political parties of the neighbouring
country fail to reach agreement on the electoral law and the terms under
which elections scheduled for next month will be held.
''We went to Albania to support the agreement and not to be used by one
side or the other,'' Tsohatzopoulos warned.
IMF: good economic progress but work still needed
The Greek economy has showed a marked improvement with growth rates
accelerating and inflation falling to 20-year lows, upgrading the country's
position in international financial markets, the International Monetary
But the IMF, in its preliminary survey on the Greek economy drafted by a
delegation of experts after a recent visit to Athens, urges the government
to take measures in all sectors of the economy and particularly the social
insurance system, employment, incomes policy and public sector hiring.
The IMF underlines that "participation in European Economic and Monetary
Union (EMU) and the gradual convergence of income towards EU living
standards are now a realistic target".
The IMF experts recommend government restraint on wage increases, a more
austere incomes policy, a decrease in the number of public sector workers,
cutbacks in subsidies to state social insurance funds and public sector
spending, swifter privatisation and lower subsidies to state enterprises to
be offset by a higher pricing policy.
They also recommend an increase in the years of service as a base for
pensions in the public sector, cutbacks in early retirement schemes, a
review of pensions for the disabled, monitoring of recruitment and pay in
the public sector, flexibility in working hours, a lower minimum wage for
the young, and deregulation of recruitment and dismissals.
The IMF experts applaud the monetary and foreign exchange policies followed
by the Bank of Greece and note that interest rates should fall gradually in
line with the decrease in the inflation rate.
Finally, they forecast that the central government deficit will exceed this
year's budgetary target by 0.5 percent of GDP and that inflation will not
fall below five percent in 1997.
Official suspended for banning Kazantzakis
A school counsellor has been suspended in Larissa, central Greece for
sending a circular to the schools of the region telling teachers not to use
the works of Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis whom he described as ''blasphemous''.
Education Undersecretary Yiannis Anthopoulos today condemned the action of
counsellor Achilleas Pitsilkas, saying he had already ordered an official
At the same time, Anthopoulos said a ministry directive had already been
sent to schools instructing them to continue using the works of Kazantzakis
as teaching material.
Anthopoulos described the action of Pitsilkas as ''a return to the Dark
Ages'', stressing that Kazantzakis should not be ''recrucified''.
The title of one of the Cretan-born writer's most famous novels was
''Christ Recrucified'' or, in the English translation, ''The Greek
A prolific writer and translator of many classics, Kazantzakis, who died in
1957, also directed the Greek ministry of public welfare and held the post
of minister of state.
PM Simitis to visit Sweden
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will pay a working visit to Sweden from June
3-5, according to an ANA despatch from Stockholm.
After arriving in Stockholm, Simitis will travel to Malmo to attend a
conference of European socialist and social democrat parties which is being
held just a few days before the European Union summit.
According to the programme for the premier's visit, Simitis will arrive in
Stockholm on June 3 and the same day attend a dinner given in his honour by
Swedish Prime Minister Goran Person.
The following day, Simitis will have talks with Person and Swedish Foreign
Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallen. Later the same day, he will attend a meeting of
Sweden's Social Democrat party cadres.
On June 5, in the morning, the premier will be received by King Carl Gustav
XVI and immediately after leave for Malmo.
Simitis will be accompanied on his first visit to Sweden as premier by
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
Albanians kidnap two Greeks
Two livestock breeders were kidnapped by eight armed Albanians in the
prefecture of Thesprotia, northern Greece, last night and were forced to
drive their kidnappers to the Albanian border.
Leonidas Tsepas, 41 and George Prokopiou, 23, were held up while on their
way to their stockyards. According to police, the kidnappers have taken the
men into Albania and are demanding a ransom from their families.
Armenians deputies visit Greek Parliament
The members of the Armenian parliamentary delegation at the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organisation, headed by
Karapet Roubinyan, had talks today with Parliament President Apostolos
During the meeting, both sides underlined the close ties of friendship
linking the two countries and confirmed their will for the further
broadening of bilateral cooperation for the benefit of both peoples.
''We feel to be not only friends but allies of the Armenian nation and we
must preserve, strengthen and transfer this relationship to coming
generations as a joint defence stance against the expansionist policy of
Turkey,'' Kaklamanis said.
Echoing Kaklamanis' views, Roubinyan underlined Turkey's negative stance
towards Armenia against the background of Erevan's efforts to resolve
differences with Azerbaijan.
''We are determined to continuously condemn this policy of Turkey at all
international organisations,'' Roubinyan added.
Iraqi ambassador condemns Turkish invasion
Baghdad's envoy to Greece, Issam Khalil, today issued an appeal to the
international community and the Greek government and people to condemn the
Turkish thrust into northern Iraq and demand the immediate withdrawal of
Turkish troops from the region.
Khalil said the reason given by Ankara for the incursion, namely that it is
pursuing Kurdish PKK guerillas, was merely a pretext.
''Turkey's action constitutes a blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty and
integrity as well as of international agreements, laws and the principles
of good neighbourliness, despite the fact that Turkey has declared it
supports these principles,'' Khalil told a press conference.
Khalil warned Ankara it should be aware that Iraq was entitled, according
to international law, ''to reply accordingly to Turkey's aggressive act''
and demand compensation for the loss of life and material damage incurred.
''Turkey must stop acting like a phoney policeman and realize that the era
of old and sick empires has gone forever,'' the envoy said.
The duty of Turkey's political and military leaders, Khalil said, is to
protect their country's borders from attack and not to invade other states,
irrespective of pretexts.
Khalil called on the international community to condemn the policy of
''double standards'' in international relations and Turkey's aggressive
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday condemned Ankara's
cross-border thrust into northern Iraq against Kurdish guerillas, saying it
was unprecedented for a country to claim it was solving its domestic
problems by invading another state.
"Turkey must provide explanations about its action," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos
Commenting on the Kurdish problem, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it required a
political, not a military solution.
"In such cases, whoever opts for a military solution bears full responsibility
for the cost as well as for the condemnation from international public
opinion," he said.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added that any country aspiring to join the European
Union should respect the principles of international law.
Tsohatzopoulos: Turkish threats a crucial priority for Athens
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday said that
confronting the Turkish threat was a crucial national priority for
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told a Foreign Press Association luncheon that Ankara
had recently shown a more "aggressive orientation" against Greece, adding
that this orientation included "territorial claims."
Greece, however, "has a stabilising role in the region contrary to Turkey,
the role of which is destabilising and perilous," he said.
He said the sea delineation between Greece and Turkey was clearly defined
in the treaties of Lausanne and Paris.
Regarding Greece's sovereign rights to extend its territorial sea waters to
12 nautical miles, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said: "It is Greece's inalienable
right. It is a matter of tactics, timing and circumstances to make such a
Referring to recent press speculation about the rumoured creation of air
corridors in Greek airspace over the Aegean in order to facilitate Turkish
military training flights, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that Greece is in
a position to secure corridors for safe passage on the sea, under the sea
and in the air, but with a simultaneous extension of territorial waters to
12 nautical miles.
Regarding the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR), he said the same
rules apply for the aircraft of all countries, and there will be no special
Responding to a question on confidence-building measures in the Aegean, he
said there has been no relevant negotiations with Turkey, and there is no
need for additional measures to those envisaged under the 1988 Papoulias-
He also referred to the Greek proposal for extending the moratorium of
flights over the Aegean from two to three summer months, stressing that it
was a goodwill move on the part of Greece.
The defence minister also reiterated that for Greece there is no issue
regarding the sovereignty of uninhabited islets in the Aegean, as there is
clear mention of them in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, and that any disputing
of their status should be referred to the International Court at The
He described the Cyprus issue as a vital national problem for Greece,
adding that the strengthening of Cyprus in combination with the prospect of
its EU membership constituted two basic factors for positive developments
on the issue.
Regarding the order of Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles by Cyprus,
he said it exclusively concerned the right of a threatened small country to
defend itself. The missiles are intended to protect the new airport at
Paphos, which is expected to be ready at the beginning of 1998.
Greece to send EU presidency memo on Greek-Turkish differences
Greece is to send a memorandum outlining its positions on Greek-Turkish
differences to the Dutch European Union presidency soon, Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou said here yesterday.
Greece is also expecting a memorandum from Turkey in order to be able to
decide on procedures which must be followed in relation to the "committees
On the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers' council for the Intergovernmental
Conference, Mr. Papandreou met yesterday with members of the Dutch foreign
ministry dealing with Greek-Turkish issues.
Speaking to the press, he said the Dutch EU presidency is aiming for an
interim report on Greek-Turkish differences to be issued by mid-June,
underlining that Greece has no objections, although he clarified that
"everything will depend on the content of the Turkish memorandum."
Mostly sunny weather is forecast throughout the country today with
scattered clouds only in central and northern Greece. Winds will be light
to moderate. A slight rise in temperatures in Athens ranging from 18-34C.
Thessaloniki will be sunny with local cloudiness in the afternoon and
temperatures between 16-31C.
Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 267.443
Pound sterling 440.924 Cyprus pd 530.918
French franc 46.832 Swiss franc 190.112
German mark 157.763 Italian lira (100) 16.048
Yen (100) 235.997 Canadian dlr. 194.928
Australian dlr. 207.080 Irish Punt 411.581
Belgian franc 7.638 Finnish mark 52.374
Dutch guilder 140.318 Danish kr. 41.424
Swedish kr. 35.341 Norwegian kr. 38.006
Austrian sch. 22.409 Spanish peseta 1.876
Port. Escudo 1.569