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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-12-15

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, 15/12/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • PM to brief opposition leaders on EU summit
  • President begins official Ukraine visit
  • One missing as cold snap hits Greece
  • Serb writer wins 1st Balkanika literature prize
  • New frigate for Greek navy
  • Black Sea group calls for m'ment on Greece-Bulgaria pipeline
  • PASOK delegation tours Albania
  • First Division Soccer Results
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

PM to brief opposition leaders on EU summit

Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to brief the opposition party leaders tomorrow morning on the results of the European Union summit meeting in Luxembourg that ended Saturday, according to government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

Simitis is to meet with the leaders separately, while it was also announced that he would brief President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Thursday after the latter's return from an official visit to Ukraine.

Commenting on Turkey's response to the summit, where it failed to obtain an invition to be included in the next wave of countries to join the EU, Reppas said:

"Greece is not gloating. It feels neither superior nor inferior... By making threats, Turkey is leading itself up a dead end and is losing a great deal."

Turkey failed to be named as candidate for membership due to its human rights record, its treatment of its Kurdish minority and its relations with Greece, apart from purely economic reasons.

Reppas stressed that Ankara should change its approach.

"All the threats, including that to annex the occupied sector of Cyprus, are viewed in a negative light by the EU and are a dead-end policy," he said.

Referring to reports of Turkish military manoeuvres in Mersin and Antalya, the spokesman said this had also occurred before the Luxembourg summit.

He expressed the view that the movement was not a problem, nor was the situation out of control.

In response to a question on the experts' committee set up to examine bilateral relations, Reppas said the process was now "frozen".

President begins official Ukraine visit

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos left today on an official three-day visit to Ukraine today, accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, to sign a series of bilateral agreements.

Mr. Stephanopoulos is scheduled to hold private talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma and with the Ukrainian prime minister, as well as meetings with members of the Ukraine Greek community.

He is also scheduled to address the country's Parliament in Kiev and visit Odessa and other major cities.

The visit is the first by a Greek dignitary since November 1994, when then Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias visited the former Soviet republic.

Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos visited Ukraine last July to observe the multinational "Partnership for Peace" exercise. Greece and Ukraine signed a friendship and cooperation protocol and three agreements in the sectors of transport, tourism and culture in November 1996 when Mr. Kuchma visited Athens.

A month earlier, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos had signed an agreement on defence cooperation between the two countries, when his Ukrainian counterpart visited Athens.

An increasing number of Greek concerns have expressed interest in investing or further developing business ties with Ukraine.

Greece has also expressed its support of Kiev's intention to join European and Atlantic organisations with Greece's defence minister saying last month that Athens intended to pursue improved relations between the Western European Union and Russia and Ukraine when it takes over the presidency in January next year.

The talks are expected to focus on bilateral relations particularly with regard to the economic and investment sectors. The president is accompanied by Greek business representatives active in Ukraine including Delta dairy products' owner Dimitris Daskalopoulos and engineering contractor Prodromos Emfietzoglou, along with the president of the Exports Promotion Organisation Yiannis Tzen.

Greek investments already under way or about to begin in Ukraine are valued at 100 million dollars, with shipbuilding projects at one billion dollars.

One missing as cold snap hits Greece

A man lost his life near the town of Kitries on the coast of Mani in the southern Peloponnese early today when his car was swept into the sea during heavy rain.

Marinos Panagakis, 48, is presumed to have drowned while a passenger in the car, Konstantina Antonopoulou, 23, managed to escape. The car was winched out of the sea by fire brigade but there was no sign of Panagakis.

Another four people escaped from their cars unharmed in separate incidents in the ports of Thessaloniki and Piraeus when their vehicles fell into the sea.

Bad weather conditions across the country have led to widespread disruption of transport services, with Olympic Airways flights to the islands of Karpathos, Kythera, Santorini and to the northern town of Kozani cancelled and others delayed by up to one and half hours.

The delays were exacerbated by a work-to-rule strike by OA stewards demanding permanent status for 210 seasonal workers.

Heavy snowfalls in northern Greece have cut off several villages. Chains are required for cars travelling on the Ioannina-Trikala highway and on a section of the Ioannina-Kozani road.

The Preveza-Igoumenitsa road has been blocked by water from the River Aheronta which broke its banks today. Traffic is being diverted onto the old highway.

Serb writer wins 1st Balkanika literature prize

The first "Balkanika" prize for literature was awarded at a ceremony in Thessaloniki last night to the 49-year-old Serb writer David Albahari for his book "The Bait".

Albahari, who was born in Belgrade in 1948 and moved to Canada in 1994, has written several other books which have been translated into eight languages.

The prize was awarded by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos. Albahari was chosen from among seven candidates representing Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

New frigate for Greek navy

The Greek ensign was raised today on the frigate "Koundouriotis", the sixth Standard frigate to join the Greek Navy.

The ceremony, held at a Dutch shipyard, was attended by National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis, the Navy Chief of Staff Vice-Admiral Leonidas Paleologos and Dutch officials.

Last Friday, the navy also obtained its sixth P-3 Bravo aircraft.

Black Sea group calls for m'ment on Greece-Bulgaria pipeline

A group to promote economic cooperation in the Black Sea region called on their national parliaments to support a delayed project to build an oil pipeline to Greece through Bulgaria.

Closing a meeting in Moldova, the Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC) urged the parliaments to back the scheme involving Russian oil and other energy projects in the region named in a European Union memorandum.

The vote to support the memorandum, which was signed in November by the European Union's Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis and 13 regional energy ministers, was proposed by Greek deputy Theodoros Kassimis.

The oil pipeline project, repeatedly stalled by political uncertainty and disputes over the terms of the deal involving three governments, involves construction of a pipeline linking Burgas in Bulgaria to Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece.

Also endorsed was a resolution put forward by the Greek delegation, led by deputy Maria Arseni, to transform Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) into an international organisation.

Members of BSEC include countries in the Black Sea region and southeastern Europe.

PASOK delegation tours Albania

A delegation of the ruling PASOK party, currently on an official visit to Tirana at the invitation of the Albanian Socialist Party, held contacts on Saturday with the secretary-generals of the Albanian Socialist Party's prefect ural organisations, as well as with Parliament President Skeder Gjinousi.

On Friday, the delegation visited Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano and held two-hour talks with him.

Mr. Nano expressed satisfaction over the level of relations between the two parties, referring to his party's priorities as well as those of the government which are relations of confidence, the creation of a positive climate between Balkan countries and the accession of Albania to the European Union.

Mr. Nano also referred to Greece's position towards Albanian immigrants and to the effort being made by Greece to support Albania at present to help create conditions for an exit to the crisis.

The delegation's head Theodoros Tsoukatos conveyed greetings by Greek Prime Minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis, adding that the visit was aimed at upgrading relations between the two parties and the two countries.

The PASOK cadres further visited Archbishop of Albania Anastasios on Saturday who briefed them on the role played by the Orthodox Church and on conditions prevailing in Albania.

First Division soccer results

Olympiakos-Panionios 2-0 Heraklis- Panathinaikos 0-1 Panahaiki-PAOK 1-4 Ethnikos-OFI O-1 Apollon-Proodeftiki 1-0 Veria-Xanthi 2-1 Kavala-Pyrgos 1-1 Ionikos-Kalamata play today Athinaikos-AEK play today standings-points: AEK, Olympiakos 34, Panathinaikos 33, Ionikos 30, PAOK 28, Heraklis, OFI 23

WEATHER

Rains and local storms will continue today in the east of the country with snow falling on central and northern mountain regions. Winds strong to very strong northerlies with local gales. Temperatures will range from 1-8C in the north, 5-13C in the Ionian Sea and 8-16C in the Aegean. Athens will be overcast with rains and local storms with temperatures from 8-11C. Thessaloniki will be rainy and windy with temperatures from 5-7C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 274.982 Pound sterling 457.570 Cyprus pd 532.101 French franc 46.555 Swiss franc 192.775 German mark 155.893 Italian lira (100) 15.922 Yen (100) 211.782 Canadian dlr. 192.845 Australian dlr. 182.290 Irish Punt 405.212 Belgian franc 7.559 Finnish mark 51.663 Dutch guilder 138.399 Danish kr. 40.940 Swedish kr. 35.569 Norwegian kr. 38.043 Austrian sch. 22.170 Spanish peseta 1.845 Port. Escudo 1.525

(M.P.)


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