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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-12-26

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 26/12/1997 (ANA)


  • Tsohatzopoulos on Turkish violations
  • US a reliable ally of Greece, says Burns
  • Iranian FM: US-Iran rapprochement depends on Washington
  • Romanian woman dies in home fire
  • Illegal immigrants abandoned by Turkish boatman
  • Irate ferry passengers protest mistake in schedule
  • Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy set up
  • Kostakis collection may find permanent home in Greece
  • Stephanopoulos message to expatriate Greeks
  • Bank of Greece charter revision approved
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Tsohatzopoulos on Turkish violations

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday that the violations of Greek air space and the infringement on Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) by Turkish war planes on Christmas day are unprecedented and unacceptable.

At 12:15 12 Turkish F-16 war planes violated the Athens FIR and Greek air space over the Aegian islands, Chios, Psara, Lesbos and Skiros. At 15:40 another 14 Turkish F16 repeated the earlier violations.

Hellenic Air Force F-16, Miraz 2000 and F-4 war planes intercepted the Turkish war planes on both occations.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that these new violations betray an organised plan by Turkey and confirm Greece's position on the distance between Turkey and Eyrope.

These violations are against the principles of earlier agreements, which mandate that both Greece and Turkey refrain from any tension building actions during national or religious holidays of either of the two countries.

US a reliable ally of Greece, says Burns

New US Ambassador to Greece, Nicholas Burns, described as "excellent" his first meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

Mr. Burns, who presented his credentials to President Kostis Stephanopoulos Wednesday, said President Bill Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had great respect for Mr. Simitis "and the work he has done for Greece to join Economic and Monetary Union".

The envoy added that his one hour of talks with Mr. Simitis had covered all issues but declined to elaborate.

His mandate from President Clinton, he continued, is to work closely with the Greek government in order to further strengthen Greek-US relations and to ensure that the US is a reliable and good ally of Greece.

Iranian FM: US-Iran rapprochement depends on Washington

Improvement in relations between Iran and the United States depends on Washington, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi said during a speech at the Pantion University's Institute of International Relations. The Iranian foreign minister was speaking on the topic of his country's foreign policy priorities.

Mr. Kharrazi stressed that a military agreement between Turkey and Israel has strengthened Israel's expansionist designs, reminding at the same time that the agreement was condemned at a recent conference of Islamic nations. He said Iran possessed the m ost direct route for the new pipelines carrying oil from the Caspian region, since Iran enjoyed as high degree of stability, as he said.

Asked about the possibility of such a pipeline running through Greece, the Iranian minister replied that it was "an interesting idea" and that it had been touched upon during his talks in Athens.

The Iranian official said Greece was a significant nation, playing an equally important role in the European Union, southern Europe and the Mediterranean. He added that Athens had contributed to resolving a crisis between Iran and the EU and had showed a good understanding of the Iranian reality, compared to other EU member-states.

Romanian woman dies in home fire

A 22-year-old Romanian woman Loxandra Naou died in a fire that destroyed her home in the village of Keramoti, Nestos, in the prefecture of Kavala this morning.

The woman was apparently asleep when the fire broke out. Earlier, a friend had passed by to take her year-old child to the home of a neighbour who cared for it while Naou went to work.

The Nestos fire brigade is investigating the cause of the fire.

Illegal immigrants abandoned by Turkish boatman

A group of 64 illegal immigrants of Kurdish origin found in a small wooden boat drifting off the island of Lesvos were apprehended by the Greek coast guard today.

Lesvos harbour authorities said the immigrants, 50 men, six women and eight children, were found by a patrol boat 2.5 nautical miles off Lesvos in the eastern Aegean after their boat "had been drifting for more than three hours".

The immigrants told the authorities that they paid 2,000 dollars each to Turkish smugglers, who put them on the boat and abandoned them before returning to the Turkish coast in a speedboat.

Irate ferry passengers protest mistake in schedule

Pandemonium broke out on a dock in Piraeus this morning when approximately 150 passengers carrying tickets for the ferry Apollon Express to Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini were told the ship was not scheduled to sail.

The few port officials present were the butt of angry protests, as it appeared that the ship had mistakenly been entered on the list of today's departures for the islands. The list appears in the daily press and on the recorded telephone itinerary.

Order was restored after it was announced that all passengers would depart this afternoon on the "Naias Express".

Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy set up

The main opposition New Democracy party has announced the creation of the non-profit Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy.

The institute's president will be Ioannis Varvitsiotis, while its goals will be promotion of democracy as well as the study, analysis and presentation of proposals on a wide scope of educational, political and international matters.

Kostakis collection may find permanent home in Greece

Hopes were raised yesterday that the Greek state might in the near future acquire the fabulous "Kostakis Collection" of Russian avant-garde works of art.

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced that a final agreement had been reached between the state and the Kostakis family, providing for the purchase by the state of the main part of the collection belonging to the grand-daughter of the famous collector, Aliki Kostaki, which is being kept in a Cologne bank.

Art lover George Kostakis, a Muscovite of Greek descent, built up his collection between 1930 and 1960 by exchanging works by western artists for paintings dating from the period 1910-1930 by then unknown Russian avant- garde artists.

In 1977, he donated about 150 works to the Tretiakov Art Gallery in Moscow, while the approximately 600 works he retained have been kept in Cologne.

The collection includes works by Malevic, founder of the 'Supremacist' school, Tatlin, the founder of 'Constructivism', Popova, Rozanova, and Matiushin.

Kostakis had himself expressed the wish that the 600 works now in Cologne be brought to and remain in Greece.

Mr. Venizelos hinted that the collection might be housed at the Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki.

Mr. Venizelos declined to make any statement when asked about the purchase price, but according to press sources, Aliki Kostaki had in the past asked the Greek state for 6.5 billion drachmas.

Stephanopoulos message to expatriate Greeks

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos has addressed a message to expatriate Greeks on the occasion of the Christmas and New Year holidays.

"All of you Greeks who live and prosper in various places of the world with your ever lively national conscience, function as the 'other' Greece, a dynamic and creative Greece that actively supports the efforts being made by metropolitan Greece to successfully deal with its foreign policy problems," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

The president also spoke about the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), saying that the organisation was a great help in promoting issues which relate to the further progress of Greek expatriate communities.

Unity among the people and their organisations in all corners of the world, said Mr. Stephanopoulos, was of vital importance to them.

"We need knowledge, prudence, merit and braveness in order to be able to sail again in the open seas, go through rough seas and obstacles and to defend Hellenism and Orthodoxy internationally," the president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SEA) Andrew Athens said in a message addressed to expatriate Greeks on the occasion of Christmas and the New Year.

Mr. Athens added that a few days after the SAE conference in Thessaloniki, it was now evident that the SAE was the realisation of a major dream and a unique endeavour to achieve Hellenism's universal unity.

The SAE president compared the SAE to a boat which was directing expatriate Greeks into the new millenium, with responsibility for its navigation lying with all Greeks. He further said that 1997 had been a very constructive year, with SAE's work being tested and acclaimed, while there was still a long way ahead.

Bank of Greece charter revision approved

An extraordinary general assembly of the Bank of Greece shareholders has approved a revision of the central bank's charter to bring it in line with a recently passed bill on "arrangements for the Bank of Greece".

The Parliament bill provides for the central bank's autonomy, stipulating that the bank's administration does not ask for nor accept instructions from the government or state bodies.

The legislation was provided for in the European Union treaty for all member-states as a necessary prerequisite for participation in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).


Partly cloudy weather will prevail throughout Greece today with the possibility of light rain in the islands of the eastern Aegean where temperatures will go up to 19C. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Athens will be mostly sunny with few clouds and temperatures from 7-16C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-11C.


Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 277.929 Pound sterling 462.927 Cyprus pd 531.712 French franc 46.757 Swiss franc 193.564 German mark 156.428 Italian lira (100) 15.945 Yen (100) 214.470 Canadian dlr. 193.063 Australian dlr. 182.285 Irish Punt 404.438 Belgian franc 7.584 Finnish mark 51.693 Dutch guilder 138.860 Danish kr. 41.085 Swedish kr. 35.698 Norwegian kr. 38.172 Austrian sch. 22.242 Spanish peseta 1.850 Port. Escudo 1.533


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