Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-27
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 27/05/1997 (ANA)
- Gov't unsurprised by Oymen statements
- Papandreou: Ankara must change or face isolation
- Greek experts submit preliminary texts to EU presidency
- Pangalos: Turkey lacks seriousness
- Czech minister meets Papandreou
- US House Committee:foreign aid for eastern Mediterranean
- Draft bill on Schengen tabled in Parliament
- Athens hosts UN conference on Mideast peace process
- Israeli business delegation to visit Athens in June
- Greek-Turkish business meeting
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Gov't unsurprised by Oymen statements
Greece is not surprised by the positions set out by Turkish Foreign
Undersecretary Onur Oymen yesterday since it is well aware of standing
Turkish positions, the government said today.
"Greece is under no illusions regarding Turkey's strategy in the region,"
acting government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou told reporters.
"It is our duty to show to all those who still suffer delusions about
Turkey's role that this role does nothing to guarantee stability in the
region," he said.
He reminded reporters of Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos's statements
that Turkey was the only European country which was pursuing a change of
The outcome of Oymen's visit to Athens yesterday - where he and Alternate
Foreign Minister George Papandreou spoke on Greek-Turkish relations - could
only be construed as less than positive, he said.
"It would have been positive if a better climate could have been created...Oymen's
statements were not in this direction," he said.
He noted, however, that Oymen's statements would have no effect on the
workings of the committees of experts set up to examine procedural issues
on Greek-Turkish relations.
"There is no connection between the two," he said.
Papandreou: Ankara must change or face isolation
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou today warned Ankara it would
remain isolated from the international community if it could not show the
political will to deal with problems in its relations with Greece, within
the framework of international law.
Speaking after a meeting with Czech Foreign Undersecretary Karel Kovada,
Papandreou said that statements by Turkish President Suleiman Demirel (in a
television interview on the Antenna channel) and by Turkish Foreign
Undersecretary Onur Oymen in Athens yesterday revealed contradictory
policies which caused concern as to what extent there existed an "increasing
intransigence" (on the part of Turkey).
"We have chosen the 'long road' of the experts committee via the European
Union," said Papandreou, adding:
"History and of course the international community, will be the judge of
the existence of the political will to deal with whatever problems exist,
within the framework of international law and peaceful coexistence."
"It is Turkey's responsibility to show that it is has that policial will,
otherwise it will continue to be isolated from the international community,
particularly from the European Union," he concluded.
Greek experts submit preliminary texts to EU presidency
The two members of the Greek "committee of experts" set up to discuss Greek-
Turkish relations yesterday conveyed the preliminary text with Greece's
positions on the issues to the Dutch EU presidency.
Argyris Fatouros and Krateros Ioannou handed the text, outlining Greece's
conditions for the exchange of views with the two Turkish experts on the
corresponding committee from the neighbouring country, to the Dutch
ambassador to Athens.
According to sources, the conditions include the avoidance of the use of
force or the threat to use force by Turkey;
- recognition by Ankara of the international legal framework determining
its relations with Greece, the existing borders (as set out in the treaties
of Lausanne and Paris, and the Italian-Turkish and Greek-Italian pacts);
- recognition of international accords (such as the International Law of
the Sea) and recognition of the procedure for settling differences through
the International Court at The Hague;
the seeking of manners of rapprochement on a procedural side of issues
projected by the two parties.
Pangalos: Turkey lacks seriousness
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday accused Turkish Foreign
Undersecretary Onur Oymen of lacking seriousness, adding that he contradicted
and embarrassed his President Suleyman Demirel with his recent statements
concerning documents on the Aegean.
"If he has papers and documents, as Mr. Oymen claims, which dispute the
status quo in the Aegean let him bring them before the relevant bodies,"
Mr. Pangalos said, reminding that Turkey is the only country which has not
signed the accord on the Law of the Sea and the only one in Europe which
raises an issue of borders and border differences. He also called on Turkey
to have an end put to this issue.
"Greece is ready to sign a non-aggression pact with Turkey (and not one of
friendship and cooperation which requires other preconditions) and this
would eliminate the notorious casus belli brandished by Turkey against us,"
he said, adding that "I listen ed to Mr. Demirel who said he accepts the
Treaty of Lausanne and the treaties determining the status of the
Dodecannese. And 24 hours afterwards Mr. Oymen disputed them. I call on
them to consult each other because an understanding with them becomes even
more difficult when they do not constitute a reliable interlocutor."
Mr. Pangalos and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou participated
in the annual ministerial session of the OECD, which concludes its sessions
at the organisation's headquarters in Paris today.
Czech minister meets Papandreou
Greece's support for the Czech Republic's effort to join European and
transatlantic institutions was expressed by Alternate Foreign Minister
George Papandreou in a meeting with Czech Foreign Undersecretary Karel
"The Czech Republic is particularly interested in joining NATO and we have
declared that we support this effort," said Papandreou, adding that Kovada
had expressed understanding for Greece's problems with Turkey and the
Referring today's signing in Paris of a cooperation accord on security in
Europe by NATO and Russia, the Czech Undersecretary expressed the hope that
his country would be invited to participate in the expansion of the north
US House Committee:foreign aid for eastern Mediterranean
Peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean can only be safeguarded by
applying international treaties and respecting internationally accepted
borders between countries in the area, the US House of Representatives said
In a report for foreign aid for 1998-9, the International Relations
Committee said that "whoever doubts the application or interpretation of
international treaties should take recourse to the proper bodies as
provided by international legal practice", a n indirect reference to
Turkish claims in the Aegean.
Referring to the eastern Aegean area, the report said that it was very
important that all countries in the area follow internationally accepted
"The United States and other countries have publicly voiced their strong
disagreement over the use of violence or threat of use of violence to solve
such issues," it said.
Referring to Cyprus, the report urged US President Bill Clinton to "take
[an] immediate and serious initiative that [...] would aim at creating a bi-
communal, bi-zonal federation with a single sovereignty and international
in nature, and a single citize nship, with a guaranteed independence and
territorial integrity, consisting of two politically equal communities".
It called for the demilitarisation of Cyprus because its present situation
"and the great number of Turkish occupation forces comprises a permanent
source of tension and instability on the island and in the greater
Draft bill on Schengen tabled in Parliament
A draft bill ratifying the Schengen Accord on free movement of people
between European Union members was tabled in Parliament late yesterday.
The treaty calls for a progressive end of border controls between countries
that have ratified the accord, and the founding of a database that allows
police and customs officials to monitor violations relating to arms or drug
smuggling, use of false pas sports and movement of stolen vehicles.
The accord has already been ratified by Belgium, France, Germany,
Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
In its final form it is expected to have computerised listings of a million
people with a criminal record.
Athens hosts UN conference on Mideast peace process
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday inaugurated a two-
day UN-sponsored international conference on the Mideast peace process and
the challenges it faces.
"Greece's concern is the implementation of peace in the Middle East," Mr.
Papandreou said. "This has been the steady and clear aim during the past
few years... We are convinvced that there is no other solution for the
peoples of the region apart from th e peace process." Greece has traditional
ties of friendship and cooperation with both Arab countries and with Israel,
he said, and has supported the peace process from the outset both
unilaterally and at forums such as the European Union.
The conference, which is taking place with the participation of distinguished
international figures, members of the PLO's Executive Committee and
journalists from the Middle East, yesterday focused on the issues of the
occupied territories, peace procedures, the Oslo agreements and future
Israeli business delegation to visit Athens in June
The Israeli embassy in Athens yesterday announced a visit by Israeli
business representatives to Athens on June 25 for meetings with Greek
Twenty businesses are participating in the delegation, organised by the
Israeli Export Institute and the Israeli embassy in Athens, which include
firms active in the foodstuffs, cosmetics and health products sector, air
conditioning, detergents and toys , as well as companies preparing studies
for ports, marinas, agricultural installations and companies providing
medical services by phone.
Greek-Turkish business meeting
More than one hundred businessmen from Greece and Turkey began a two-day
meeting in Istanbul to discuss bilateral economic relations. Turkey's State
Secretary Abdullah Gyul said after a closed-door session that Greece and
Turkey were two countries important for the region and that the development
of their cooperation would benefit both.
The Turkish minister noted that both governments supported the business
meeting and expressed the hope that such initiatives would contribute to
the resolution of differences between the two countries. The meeting was
attended by a business del egation from Cyprus and from the Turkish-Cypriot
Meanwhile, Turkey's Foreign Undersecretary Onur Oymen, addressing a meeting
on Greek-Turkish relations organised by the Center for Political Research
and Information (CPRI) in Athens, stressed the need for an improvement in
Greek-Turkish trade relations.
The two countries had gained nothing from the policy of confrontation, and
in fact Greece and Turkey had lost a lot in bilateral relations, Mr. Oymen
Trade figures between Turkey and Greece were surprisingly low, he said.
Greece was one of the lowest ranking trade partners of Turkey among OECD
Bilateral imports and exports were respectively 210 and 201 million dollars
in 1995, representing only 1.9 and 1.2 percent respectively of total trade
with European Union countries. Construction activity surges
Fine weather will prevail in most parts of Greece today except for the
central and northern regions where intermittent rain is expected. Winds
northerly, moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny
with some clouds with temperatures between 16-28C. Possible rain in
Thessaloniki with temperatures between 4-26C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 267.185
Pound sterling 438.583 Cyprus pd 532.982
French franc 46.987 Swiss franc 191.198
German mark 158.591 Italian lira (100) 16.078
Yen (100) 230.630 Canadian dlr. 194.452
Australian dlr. 205.458 Irish Punt 406.899
Belgian franc 7.683 Finnish mark 52.518
Dutch guilder 141.062 Danish kr. 41.658
Swedish kr. 35.216 Norwegian kr. 38.123
Austrian sch. 22.539 Spanish peseta 1.879
Port. Escudo 1.573