Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-11-29
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 29/11/1997 (ANA)
- Simitis stresses Athens' resolve over Euro-Conference
- Pangalos on CNN: Parthenon Marbles will eventually return to Athens
- New US Ambassador's arrival
- SAE to hold first ordinary meeting
- EU environment ministers focus on Mediterranean islands
- ISTAME meeting on EU enlargement
- Lesvos reception centre for illegal immigrants
- Equipment for Albanian police
- AIDS cases in Greece
- Fouras: "Refereeing to blame for violence"
- Stock Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Simitis stresses Athens' resolve over Euro-Conference
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said after talks with his British counterpart
Tony Blair in London that Greece was prepared to block Turkey's participation
in the proposed European Conference for countries wishing to join the
Citing reports from Ankara, Mr. Simitis stressed that not even Ankara
accepted participation in the proposed Conference unless it secured
"candidate-member" status. At the most recent EU summit in Luxembourg, he
said that he had asked each of the EU leaders if they were ready to accept
Turkey as a candidate-member, and in each case he received a negative
Mr. Simitis left on Wednesday for London and Paris for talks with his
counterparts Tony Blair and French Premier Lionel Jospin on EU developments.
Explaining Greece's positions, Mr. Simitis told a press conference after
his talks with Mr. Blair that Turkey had to accept the terms which are
generally accepted by all the countries.
"We have built the EU on certain principles," he said, adding that in order
to avoid problems between the countries, the simplest way was for each
country to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of The
"Why have countries such as Slovakia and Hungary accepted this process and
yet Turkey refuses to do so?" he asked.
Referring to Turkish statements on the accession of Cyprus, Mr. Simitis
stressed that it was not acceptable for a candidate-country to threaten to
block the accession of another country or to make comments about another
Mr. Simitis also noted that Turkey had repeatedly spoken about the
"permanent partition" of Cyprus, underlining that this position was
contrary to UN resolutions, which are also accepted by the EU, since the UN
accepted that there is only one state entity on Cyprus.
The Greek prime minister also observed that it was unprecedented that
Turkey's military leadership has a say in whether Ankara participated in
the European Conference, underlining that decisions of this type should be
taken by elected governments.
Mr. Simitis said Mr. Blair considered Greece's positions to be "reasonable"
but had expressed the view that it was important for Turkey to participate
in the European Conference and for these issues to be subsequently
Experience has shown, Mr. Simitis continued, that the operating rules of a
club must first be accepted before one becomes a member of such a
Mr. Simitis stated quite categorically that Mr. Blair fully agreed that
negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the EU should begin as scheduled on
April 10, 1998 and that the issue should not be confused with the island
republic's political problem.
Turning to NATO's new structure, Mr. Simitis said that it was accepted by
Greece but not by Turkey, and therefore, constituted a difference between
the Alliance member-states and Turkey.
He expressed the hope that agreement would eventually be reached,
underlining that the new structure of NATO meets modern requirements and
must develop since NATO cannot have the same operational structure which it
had during the Cold War era.
Mr. Simitis expressed satisfaction at his talks with Mr. Blair, noting that
the British presidency of the EU, which begins on Jan. 1, will be
Pangalos on CNN: Parthenon Marbles will eventually return to Athens
In an interview with the US-based CNN network in London, Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos said that keeping the Parthenon Marbles in Britain was
"a crime against culture and humanity."
Speaking on the programme "Inside 'Europe", scheduled for broadcast tonight
at 9:30 p.m., the Greek foreign minister said that the ruling British
Labour Party had changed its position on the issue since coming to power.
Despite this, Mr. Pangalos said he felt British public opinion would one
day sway in Greece's favour.
"I'm finally convinced that British citizens, who are so close to ancient
culture, one day willIwant to see these marbles together with the
Mr. Pangalos said it was "not relevant" for the British government to claim
that returning the ancient friezes would throw the entire international
museum scene into confusion and uncertainty.
The Parthenon Marbles were removed from the Acropolis in the early 18th
century by Lord Elgin, a British diplomat then attached to the Ottoman
empire. Elgin later sold the exquisite friezes to the British Museum in
New US Ambassador's arrival
Newly-appointed US Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns is due to arrive in
Athens tomorrow, accompanied by his wife and three daughters.
Mr. Burns, who was officially sworn in at a State Department ceremony on
November 10, began his diplomatic career as a Vice-Consul in the Middle
East in 1983.
He later worked for six years in the White House as special presidential
adviser on Soviet (and later Russian) affairs on the National Security
Council. He also served as adviser to President George Bush on Greece,
Turkey and Cyprus, accompanying the president on his official visit to
Greece in 1991.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, Burns served as State Department
He speaks French and Arabic and is currently learning Greek.
SAE to hold first ordinary meeting
Thessaloniki will next week become the focus of interest of overseas Greeks
when it hosts the 1st Ordinary Meeting of the World Council of Hellenes
The 330 elected members of the Council who will be taking part in the
sessions will be reviewing the council's activities since its establishment
in 1995 and elect a new presidium.
The sessions will be officially opened by President of the Republic Kostis
Speaking in Thessaloniki yesterday, SAE president Andrew Athens said that
he would be seeking re-election to the post. He added that the SAE had
given the opportunity to overseas Greeks to show that they can work
together and help each other.
Among other things, he referred to the recent inauguration of the first
medical diagnostic centre in Tbilisi, Georgia for members of the ethnic
Greek community in the region and said the SAE would continue its efforts
to provide medical and pharmaceutical assistance to ethnic Greeks in the
former Soviet Union. He also underlined the importance of the council's
efforts to strengthen ties between the United States, Greece and Israel.
Athens described the formation of an interparliamentary committee, made up
of deputies of Greek descent, as "a very important force which at the same
time provides a means of promoting national issues".
EU environment ministers focus on Mediterranean islands
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Undersecretary Theodoros
Koliopanos yesterday proposed a comprehensive environmental management and
financial programme for Mediterranean islands, during a Euro-Med Conference
EU environment ministers and their counterparts from 12 Mediterranean
member-states of the Euro-Med cooperation conference approved a short-term
and medium-term action programme through which funds from the EU's MEDA
programme will be allocated.
Mr. Koliopanos said that decisions and the declaration of the conference
offer new possibilities for cooperation in the Mediterranean, where Greece
can and must play a leading role.
He added that Greek companies could benefit from the export of environmental
technology to countries of the southern Mediterranean basin.
The conference focused on the managment of water resources, solid waste and
coastal areas, as well as with desertification and environmentally critical
ISTAME meeting on EU enlargement
The Institute of Strategic and Development Studies - Andreas Papandreou
(ISTAME) has organised a two-day international meeting for next week on
"European Union Enlargement and Southeastern Europe".
The meeting, which opens on December 5 and has been organised by the
Institute's scientific committee for foreign policy and defence, will be
attended by 34 representatives of Socialist and Social Democrat parties.
Also participating will be representatives of institutes from 21 Balkan and
During the meeting, participants are expected to put forward their
positions on various aspects of EU enlargement which affect political,
economic and social developments in southeast Europe.
Lesvos reception centre for illegal immigrants
The record number of illegal immigrants arriving on Lesvos this year has
prompted the prefectural authorities on the island to set up a reception
centre - the first in the eastern Aegean.
The centre will be housed in an abandoned school in the community of
Alifandes, Mytilene and will be repaired within the framework of the armed
forces' social work programme and specifically by engineers performing
their military service.
The cost of the work will be covered in total by the public order ministry.
When completed, the centre will relieve pressure on local police stations.
"Our aim is to create acceptable living conditions for these people who
most of the time have fallen victim to Turks taking advantage of their
plight, and in particular to protect the health of both the illegal
immigrants and those guarding them," said Lesvos Prefect Alekos Mathiellis.
According to authorities, 696 illegal immigrants have arrived on Lesvos
since the beginning of the current year, compared to 48 last year and 167
Equipment for Albanian police
The Greek Police yesterday handed over equipment and supplies to their
Albanian counterparts at the Kakavia border post. The supplies come under
the agreement signed by the two countries' public order ministers in
Ioannina recently, aimed at assisting the restructuring of the Albanian
Previous aid shipments included police cars, motorcycles and desks. More
vehicles and other equipment requested by the Albanian police will be
delivered next week.
AIDS cases in Greece
A total of 1,638 AIDS cases were recorded in Greece between 1982 - the
first year that official recording was commenced by the health ministry's
centre for Infectious Diseases (KEEL) - and June 6 this year, KEEL
KEEL statistics showed that 59 confirmed AIDS cases were recorded in the
first half of 1997, compared with 208 cases for all of 1996, and 162 cases
in 1993. The overwhelming majority of cases were males, according to the
figures released by KEEL.
Only one case of AIDS was recorded in 1982, with the number inceasing to 4
in 1983, 5 in 1984, 15 in 1985, 23 in 1986, 61 in 1987, 73 in 1988, 104 in
1989, 143 in 1990, 181 in 1991 and 197 in 1992.
There were 1,615 surviving AIDS patients in Greece as of June 30, 1997 (1,
420 men and 195 women).
Fouras: "Refereeing to blame for violence"
Violence at soccer games was primarily the result of poor officiating and
the poor adminstration of sports justice, Sports Undersecretary Andreas
Fouras said yesterday in Parliament.
Mr. Fouras said he would meet with all referees of first division soccer
games in order to remind them of their responsibilities.
Cloud and scattered showers are forecast throughout Greece today. Winds
will be east-northeasterly, light to moderate. Showers in Athens where
temperatures will range from 13C to 17C, and cloud in Thessaloniki with a
high of 15C and low of 12C.
Greek equities ended the week sharply higher reflecting investors' renewed
confidence in the course of the economy and signs that interest rates may
resume their decline.
The general index closed 2.60 percent higher at 1,474.02 points to show a
net gain of 2.45 percent on the week. The index was relatively steady
during the month showing a 0.97 percent decline on the aftermath of an
international market turmoil at the end of October.
Trading was moderate with turnover at 21.1 billion drachmas.