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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-08

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, 08/12/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Diaspora Greeks emerge 'more united than ever' from SAE convention
  • US gives green light to Greece for F-15 fighters
  • Major investments in Komotini to create new jobs
  • EU General Affairs Council to meet in Brussels
  • Kranidiotis on Turkish Cypriot participation in Cyprus-EU talks
  • Cyprus parliamentary delegation in Athens
  • Bad weather sweeps Greece, disrupts transport
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Diaspora Greeks emerge 'more united than ever' from SAE convention

The Greeks of the diaspora emerged more united than ever from the week-long first convention of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), which ended in Thessaloniki yesterday, SAE president Andrew Athens told reporters.

Mr. Athens, who was re-elected to the SAE presidency on Friday, said the new presidium's efforts during its two-year term would focus on effective promotion of Greece's national issues, with Cyprus as the top priority, through intercessions at the international decision-taking centres.

In that framework, the SAE president would meet with U.S. presidential emissary on the Cyprus issue, Richard Holbrooke, in a few weeks, while he would also discuss the problem with the new U.S. Ambassador in Athens, Nicholas Burns, at a reception the latter was due to host last night at the Embassy in Athens for the Greek-American representatives who took part in the SAE convention.

The new presidium's priorities also included providing assistance to the Greek communities in the former Soviet Union with the establishment of health centres in the Ukraine, initially, followed by Kazakhstan.

Mr. Athens, who is to tour the Caucasus early next month in order to pinpoint the problems of the Greek communities there, said a special SAE secretariat for the eastern countries would be set up to deal with the Greek communities' problems.

The SAE presidium will also visit, at the end of January, the countries of Africa with Greek communities, which are facing acute problems, Mr. Athens said.

Both the SAE and the Greek government will also deal with the issue of education of the overseas Greeks. The SAE presidium called on the Athens government to commit itself to implementation of Law 2413/1996 concerning the education of Greeks abroad.

"On the education issue, there was no progress. Although the law was passed (in 1996), it was in force only on the books, as not even the school consultants have been appointed yet," SAE president for Europe, Angelos Aslanidis, told the press conference .

Questioned on the possibility of the establishment of an Undersecretariat for overseas Greeks, Mr. Athens said he would take the matter up again with the government, adding "we would prefer that such a Ministry should be set up".

Turning to the target of SAE becoming financially autonomous, Mr.Athens said the goal was to render the Council self-financing. "We shall find our own funds. In addition to private initiatives, we will also seek the assistance of the Greek organisations throughout the world," he said.

The new SAE presidium is expected to meet early this week with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis.

The new SAE presidium is scheduled to meet in Thessaloniki in early February.

The SAE convention was attended by 340 elected delegates representing an estimated 7 million Greeks of the diaspora around the world.

The World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) was founded in 1995 with the aim of uniting the millions of Greeks living abroad and forging closer ties with the motherland.

SAE is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation with regional councils representing North and South America, Africa-Asia, Oceania and Europe. It is supported by the Foreign Ministry's General Secretariat for Overseas Greeks, and serves as an advisory body to the Greek State on all issues pertaining to Greeks abroad. The SAE's activities further aim at strengthening existing networks and organisations serving Greeks worldwide and Greece.

Chicago-born Andrew Athens was elected in 1995 as the Council's first president.

US gives green light to Greece for F-15 fighters

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatsopoulos has announced that the US had officially given its consent for the F-15 jet fighter plane to be among other planes in a tender called by the Hellenic Air Force to purchase new aircaft.

Mr. Tsohatsopoulos added that the EF-2000 Eurofighter jet, manufactured in four EU countries, will also be among the fighter jets to be considered for purchasing by the Air Force.

Major investments in Komotini to create new jobs

A large number of new jobs are to be created in the Komotini region through three major investments in the "Industrial Area", involving the influx of 5.5 billion drachmans in foreign currency.

The investments are to be made by the Atlantic EEL co. CA, an eel breeding and processing unit, the Groogeman-Palaiologou, a packaging and storage plastics company and the Vita Hellas SA, a dialysis filtre production company.

All job positions to be created will be filled by the local labour market.

EU General Affairs Council to meet in Brussels

The last meeting of the Euopean Union's General Affairs Council (foreign ministers) before this week's EU Luxemboug Summit, is taking place in Brussels today with the participation of Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

Issues to be examined at today's meeting include items in the "Agenda 2000" and the union's enlargement, while it is very likely that discussion will also touch upon the proposed Europan Conference which has preoccupied the EU in recent months.

The Greek side is expected to be firm on its position on this issue, namely that a European Conference is not regarded necessary at the present phase, since no aims and objectives have been determined as yet.

Another point to be pushed ahead by the Greek ministers is the opening of negotiations with candidate member countries.

It is probable that today's meeting will also examine the union's economic affairs.

The issue of establishing a European Conference was the focus of a meeting between representatives of EU member states' prime ministers yesterday. Premier Costas Simitis' advisor Nikos Themelis, who represented Mr. Simitis at the meeting, reiterated Gre ece's steadfast positions on the issue.

Kranidiotis on Turkish Cypriot participation in Cyprus-EU talks

The European Union wishes the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus' EU accession talks, however it is not true that this participation is aimed at achieving the recognition of the self-styled state in northern o ccupied Cyprus, Greek Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said during an interview with Cypriot newspaper "Phileleftheros", published here yesterday.

The underseretary further stressed that Turkey was attempting to push ahead explicit Turkish concerns which were not related to the Turkish CypriotsY interests.

He underlined that three out of the four conditions set by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for participation in Cyprus-EU accession talks, were clearly targeted at promoting Ankara's European ambitions.

The Turkish Cypriots, according to Mr. Kranidiotis, were used as a means by Ankara to serve Turkish interests.

Cyprus parliamentary delegation in Athens

A delegation of the Cyprus House of Representatives arrived in Athens yesterday to take part in a meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Greek and Cypriot parliaments.

The meeting will review developments in the Cyprus problem and other national issues, while views will also be exchanged on matters under discussion in the various parliamentary associations. The talks will also focus on Cyprus' European course in light of the imminent commencement of its accession talks with the European Union on April 2, 1998.

Bad weather sweeps Greece, disrupts transport

A spate of bad weather hit the country since yesterday morning, causing problems mainly in transport.

Snow is falling since yesterday morning in northern Greece, while in a large part of the road network, especially in Western Macedonia, vehicles must be equipped with snow chains.

Due to strong winds and rough seas in the Aegean, flights have been cancelled and passenger ships were instructed not to sail to southeast Aegean islands, the southeast Cretan sea and Karpathos.

Weather

The weather Monday will be cloudy, with light snowfall in the northeast and showers in the rest of the country, and improvement expected in the afternoon. Winds will be variable, ranging from strong to gale force in parts of the Aegean Sea. Athens will be overcast and rainy, while light snow is expected on Mt. Parnes and strong winds, with temperatures between 8-13C. Rain and sleet are forecast for Thessaloniki, with improvement in the afternoon and temperatures 4-8C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 275.687 Pound sterling 458.979 Cyprus pd 532.228 French franc 46.551 Swiss franc 192.949 German mark 155.764 Italian lira (100) 15.893 Yen (100) 213.022 Canadian dlr. 193.876 Australian dlr. 185.405 Irish Punt 404.240 Belgian franc 7.552 Finnish mark 51.524 Dutch guilder 138.240 Danish kr. 40.926 Swedish kr. 35.474 Norwegian kr. 38.450 Austrian sch. 22.140 Spanish peseta 1.844 Port. Escudo 1.525

(L.G.)


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