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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 01/02/1998 (ANA)


  • Europarliament president: Protection of EU external borders
  • Public transport stoppages Monday
  • Foreign Undersecretary tours southern, eastern African countries
  • Mountain climbers killed in avalanche
  • British Ambassador urges EU-Turkey dialogue
  • Illegal immigrants arrested on Samos
  • Albanian illegal immigrants arrested
  • 'Sailing through Time to the Aegean Islands' essay contest
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Europarliament president: Protection of EU external borders

European Parliament President Jose Maria Gil-Robles, winding up a three-day visit to Athens on the weekend, stressed the importance of adopting a common foreign and defence policy for protection of the European Union's external borders, and praised Greece's contribution in that direction.

Addressing a special meeting of Parliament's standing committee on European Affairs convened in his honour, Mr. Gil-Robles described the issue of EU- Turkey relations as "difficult", noting that Ankara must fulfill the terms laid down for EU accession which concered clearing up its human rights record, respect for democratic principles and minorities, and ending its occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus.

Replying to a question on Greek-Turkish relations, he underlined that the Aegean islands constituted external borders of the European Union.

While in Athens, Mr. Gil-Robles also discussed EU enlargement, EU-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem during a lucnh hosted in his honour by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, sources said. The talks also covered the institutional role of the European Parliament in securing balance in the European structure.

He was also briefed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Athens' efforts to meet Maastricht targets and on the course of Greek-Turkish relations.

Public transport stoppages Monday

Public transport stoppages and demonstrations are expected tomorrow as parliament debates and is expected to vote on a controversial bill on the restructuring of the ailing state-controlled public utility services. The stoppages will begin at 3.00 p.m. for the subway and at 5.00 p.m. for buses and trolley buses until the end of the night ship.

Problems are also expected in Olympic Airways, the country's national carrier between 5.00 p.m. and 9.00 a.m. Tuesday, with delays in several domestic and international flights.

Foreign Undersecretary tours southern, eastern African countries

Foreign Undersecretary Yannos Kranidiotis is currently on a 6-day tour of southern and eastern African countries to promote Greece's candidacy for a non-permanent member seat on the UN Security Council for the period 1999- 2000 and to boost bilateral relations.

Mr. Kranidiotis was in Johannesburg on Sunday, in a visit that coincided with the arrival of Patriarch Petros of Alexandria and All Africa and president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) for the installation of the new Metropolitan of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Ioannis. It is recalled that the Patriarchate of Alexandria announced in September 1997 the establishment of four new bishoprics, including one in Tanzania.

Addressing the Greek Chamber of Commerce of S. Africa last night, Mr. Kranidiootis confirmed Greece's interest in the overseas Greeks and their "invaluable role" as a bridge with other peoples and their contribution to strengthening Greece's positions internationally.

Earlier, Mr. Kranidiotis visited Swaziland, the first by a Greek minister, and had talks with Swazi foreign minister Arthur Koza on prospects for development of relations between the two countries. He pledged Greece's assistance in financing several development programmes in Swaziland in such sectors as animal breeding and tourism.

He also invited Mr. Koza to visit Greece, while the latter said his country would favourably examine Greece's candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council

On Friday Mr. Kranidiotis was in dar-es-Salaam where he met with Tanzanian foreign minister Jakaya Kikuete for talks on bilateral relations and international developments.

He recalled the "Initiative of the Six" for peace launched in 1982 by the late Andreas Papandreou, then prime minister of Greece, together with then Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere, the presidents of Mexico and Argentina and the prime ministers of Sweden and India, and described relations between the two countries as excellent, with margins for investment collaboration among Greek and Tanzanian businessmen.

Mr. Kranidiotis also conveyed an invitation to Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa to visit Greece from his Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos.

The foreign undersecretary began his African tour on Thursday with a meeting in Nairobi with newly re-elected Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi, whom he briefed on Greek foreign policy issues including Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue, Greece's course in the context of the European Union and its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council. They also discussed prospects for developing bilateral relations, while Mr. Kranidiotis further held talks with the Kenyan foreign minister and undersecretary, the minister for industrial development and the health minister.

He presented Mr. arap Moi with a check for 50,000 dollars as symbolic Greek assistance for the victims of the recent floods, and promised food aid.

Greece plans to help finance several developmental projects in Kenya through non-governmental organisations, while the Kenyan government has expressed strong interest in Greek investments.

Mr. Kranidiotis also delivered two letters to Mr. arap Moi from Greek president Costis Stephanopoulos and prime minister Costas Simitis inviting him to visit Greece.

The Greek foreign undersecretary is scheduled to visit Namibia, Mozambique and Ethiopia before departing on Tuesday for his return to Greece.

Mountain climbers killed in avalanche

Two mountain climbers were killed in an avalanche on Mt. Orvilos in Drama, northern Greece, while a third mountaineer was in hospital with several fractures, police said today.

They said the three men had scaled Mt. Orvilos and were on the descent Saturday afternoon when they were swept away by an avalanche.

The bodies of 52-year-old tax consultant Costas Barouhtsis and 46-year old Nikos Voivoutopoulos, assistant director of the Mortgage Bank in Xanthi were dug up from the snow from a 200-metre ravine in a marathon operation involving land rescue teams and military helicopters hampered by unsteady ground and a snowstorm. The bodies were taken to a Drama hospital for autopsy, a police spokesman told the ANA.

Nikos Sioumadis, 63, managed to reach a rural road after a three-hour battle with a snow and was taken by a passing taxi to Xanthi, where he informed the local police of the accident before being taken to hospital, where he was being treated for fractured ribs, thighs and legs, the spokesman said.

British Ambassador urges EU-Turkey dialogue

"Turkey's relations with the European Union are a challenge for the British (EU) presidency, British ambassador to Athens Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith said during a ceremony at which several Greek scientists were presented with European achievement awards.

" We strongly believe that it is in the interests not only of the EU and its member-states, but also of Turkey, for relations between the EU and Turkey to improve and become stronger," Sir Michael said.

"There must be dialogue. In other words, we agree with Greece that Turkey has a European vocation and we are trying to find a way to encourage that vocation," he said.

Illegal immigrants arrested on Samos

A group of 13 Iraqi illegal immigrants were arrested at dawn today on the island of Samos, police said.

A police spokesman told the ANA that the 10 men and three women had been dropped off at Cape Prasso on the eastern coast of the island.

The illegal immigrants told police they had been conveyed to Samos by a Turkish capitain in a white, seven-metre long speedboat, police said.

They said the same smuggler "has been described by several groups" of illegal immigrants as having brought them over from the Turkish coast.

Albanian illegal immigrants arrested

Police in Epirus, northern Greece arrested 226 Albanian illegal immigrants Friday and sent them back to their country via the Kakavia border post.

Meanwhile, a 29-year-old Albanian was arrested on the Ioannina-Kozani highway for smuggling 64 Albanian illegal immigrants into the country in his lorry.

The Albanians, who told police that they had each paid the driver 65,000 drachmas, were deported.

'Sailing through Time to the Aegean Islands' essay contest

The National Tourism Organisation of Greece (EOT) and the Federation of the Aegean Islands Associations in the United States, are sponsoring an essay context for 10th and 11th grade students, an EOT representative told the ANA.

The contest, taking place in collaboration with the Board of Education of New York City, carries a prise of a cruise to the Aegean islands in Greece in the spring of 1998 for four student winners and two teacher chaperones.

The contestants must submit essays of between 750 and 1,000 words on the historical achievements of the Aegean islands in Greece and how they affect life today.

Information is available from Ms. Ronnie Solow, Director of Special Projects, School Programmes and Support Services at (718) 935-3475 in New York.


Clouds and rainy weather throughout Greece today with snow in the mountainous regions in the northwest. Southwesterly winds light to moderate. Athens will be cloudy with rain expected later in the day and temperatures ranging from 6 to 13 C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki, with temperatures 3 to 7 C.


Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 286.946 Pound sterling 469.613 Cyprus pd 534.390 French franc 46.926 Swiss franc 194.888 German mark 157.252 Italian lira (100) 15.945 Yen (100) 225.968 Canadian dlr. 196.019 Australian dlr. 192.746 Irish Punt 394.201 Belgian franc 7.621 Finnish mark 51.895 Dutch guilder 139.525 Danish kr. 41.269 Swedish kr. 35.504 Norwegian kr. 37.894 Austrian sch. 22.350 Spanish peseta 1.854 Port. Escudo 1.538


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