Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-08
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 08/12/1997 (ANA)
- 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
- 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
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
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
The new SAE presidium is scheduled to meet in Thessaloniki in early
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
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
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
All job positions to be created will be filled by the local labour
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
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
The underseretary further stressed that Turkey was attempting to push ahead
explicit Turkish concerns which were not related to the Turkish CypriotsY
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.
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.
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