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

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, 02/02/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Unions, farmers open difficult week for government
  • Kranidiotis tours southern, eastern African countries
  • US armed forces chief on Greece-Turkey visit
  • Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Albania honoured
  • 'Sailing through Time to the Aegean islands' essay contest
  • Protests greet US Sixth Fleet flagship in Thessaloniki
  • Casino strives for annulment of fine
  • Pangalos slams former armed forces chief
  • SAE initiative to reopen the Halki School of Theology
  • Basketball cup goes to Aris
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Unions, farmers open difficult week for government

The conflict between trade unions and the government over a controversial provision on labour relations in public utilities (DEKO) is coming to a peak today, with a rally organised by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSSE) outside Parliament,to coincide with the debate of the provision.

The vote on the provision has more trouble in stock for the leadership of both major parties, PASOK and New Democracy, with many PASOK deputies having voiced objections to the contents and usefulness of the provision.

Some main opposition ND deputies are also opposed to the party's negative stance.

According to sources, the opposition is likely to require a roll-call vote.

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis have scheduled a meeting with a loaded agenda a few hours before the debate on the crucial amendment, and they are considered certain to discuss the stand of ruling party deputies who disagree with the manner in which the issue has been handed by the National Economy Ministry.

Government sources said inspite of objections, PASOK deputies will vote in favour of the amendment.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that structural problems in DEKO needed to be immediately fixed, otherwise these public utilities and enterprises would not be able to face up to upcoming challenges.

Meanwhile, a survey on DEKO published in yesterday's newspaper Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia, found that as many as 78.4 percent of those asked were dissatisfied with services rendered by public corporations, with public transportation among the worst.

Today's schedule of industrial action in public transportation includes work stoppages by the Athens-Piraeus railway (HSAP) from 3 pm, trolley bus service and OASA from 5 pm, all until the end of the evening shift.

Disruptions are also expected to both international and domestic flight schedules by the national air carrier, Olympic Airways.

Unionists are further considering to take action, such as 24-hour rolling strikes, as each of the changes in the provision is debated in Parliament.

Farmers from Thessaly are taking action in their tractors as of today, to follow up the escalation of action in the past month.

Hundreds of tractors are expected to line up on both sides of the Athens- Thessaloniki national highway, from Tempi to Mikrothives, in protest against the government's agricultural policy.

Members of the Panthessaliki Coordinating Committee of Struggle have given reassurances that, at least at the present phase, they will not block the highway or disrupt traffic.

A demand by farmers to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis has already failed, while a meeting with Agriculture Minister Stefanos Tzoumakas seems to be out of the question, as farmers say there is no understanding between them and the minister.

Kranitiotis tours southern, eastern African countries

Foreign Undersecretary Yannos Kranidiotis is currently on a six-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 1 999- 2000 and to boost bilateral relations.

Mr. Kranidiotis was in Johannesburg yesterday, 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. Kranidiotis 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 in ternationally.

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 dev elopment 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 An dreas 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 Mgapa to visit Greece from his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

The foreign undersecretary began his African tour last 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 President Daniel arap Moi with a check for 50,000 dollars as symbolic Greek assistance to 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 the Kenyan president from Greek President Kostis 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 tomorrow for his return to Greece.

US armed forces chief on Greece-Turkey visit

The Pentagon announced on Friday that the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. (Air) Joseph Ralston would soon begin a three-day visit to Greece and Turkey.

The announcement said Gen. Ralston would discuss "bilateral and multilateral defence and security issues of mutual interest".

Details of his itinerary were not given for security reasons.

Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Albania honoured

Albanian political leaders and government ministers on Saturday attended a ceremony in the residence of the Greek ambassador during which Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Albania Anastasios was awarded the Greek Cross of the Legion of Honour.

The event was attended by President Rexhep Mejdani, Foreign Minister Paskal Milo, Minister to the Prime Minister Kastriot Islami, and many foreign diplomats.

The medal was awarded on behalf of Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos by ambassador K. Prevedourakis.

'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 has told the ANA.

The contest, taking place in collaboration with the Board of Education of New York City, carries a prize 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.

Protests greet US Sixth Fleet flagship in Thessaloniki

As the US Sixth Fleet flagship "USS La Salle" docked in Thessaloniki's harbour yesterday, a crowd of around 200 people from peace groups and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) gathered in the docks to protest against the US policy in the region.

The demonstrators, holding candles in their hands, shouted anti-American slogans, and later marched outside the US Consulate where they stayed for half an hour before dispersing.

The flagship's captain and Sixth Fleet commander, Vice Admiral Charles Abbot, told reporters that the US and Greece's military leaderships were working together for peace in the region.

Earlier, the vice admiral visited the city's Archaeological Museum and the church of Aghios Dimitrios, while he met Thessaloniki mayor Constantinos Kosmopoulos and the commander of the Third Army Corps, Lt. Gen. Panagiotakos.

In the five days of their stay, the vessel's crew of 25 officers and 420 sailors will be shown the sights around the city, while classical and jazz concerts have been organised on the occasion.

Yesterday evening, Vice Admiral Abbot hosted a reception in honour of the city's authorities. The event was also attended by US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns.

Casino strives for annulment of fine

The "Porto Karras Halkidiki Casino" has taken recourse to the Council of State, requesting that a decision by the Casino Operation Committee to fine the casino company with 170 million dr. be annuled.

The fine relates to various infringements, including non-payment of ticket dues to the state, delayed payment of arrears to the N. Marmaras community and assigning the casino's management to persons of inappropriate skills.

The company argues that the management has been changed and all debts, amounting to 4 billion dr., have been paid.

Pangalos slams former armed forces chief

"There was no proposal by anyone for a violent confrontation with the initiation of hostilities on our part," Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said in an interview with the Sunday edition of the newspaper Ethnos, in reference to the night of the seri ous Greek-Turkish stand-off in the eastern Aegean two years ago.

In the interiew, which marked the second anniversary of the Imia crisis, Mr. Pangalos launched a strong attack on the then Greek armed forces chief Admiral Christos Lymberis.

Replying to a guestion on the criticism of the government's handling of the crisis, the foreign minister said the chief of staff showed a most undignified attitude in the days that followed, in his particularly humiliating effort to avoid resignation.

"I do not wish to describe Mr. Lymberis' deplorable behaviour and obvious inefficiency during the incidents", said Mr. Pangalos. "However, I wish to say that apart of all moral shortcomings the chief of our armed forces showed that night, he has now pro ved to be a shameful liar", he added.

The minister said that he had cross-checked information that Admiral Lymberis "did not make the proposals he is now saying he was ready to make".

Replying to the accusations, Admiral Lymberis attributed them to Mr. Pangalos' emotionally unstable reactions and inaccuracies.

Former New Democracy prime ministerGeorge Rallis, in an article published in yesterday's Kathimerini, praised the foreign policy followed by minister Theodoros Pangalos.

The former PM further accused those who disagreed with the current foreign policy that they were acting on an " opposition drive".

Mr. Rallis, who has aslo served as a foreing minister, said in his article that the "turn" in the Greek foreign policy, brought about by Mr. Pangalos, "has a favourable development in the EU".

He said Mr. Pangalos' tactic proved that it was not merely Greece that hampered Turkey's EU course, but rather a series of Turkey's own problems.

SAE initiative to reopen the Halki School of Theology

The World Council of Hellenes (SAE) is embarking on an international campaign aimed at having the Halki School of Theology reopened.

The campaign will be officially launched on March 12 in Washington, and the ceremony will be attended by US officials and international dignitaries.

Last Saturday, SAE presedent Andrew Athens visited Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and they made a joint visit to the Halki School of Theology.

Mr. Athens told Patriarch Vartholomeos that all SAE bodies will participate in the international campaign, while he pledged that SAE will do everything in its power to assist the patriarchate in attaining economic independence.

The historic school was shut down in 1973 after a Turkish government decision.

Basketball Cup goes to Aris

Aris Thessaloniki yesterday won the men's Greek Basketball Cup, beating AEK Athens 71-68. Half time score was 34-36.

Greek First Division soccer results

Panionios-Kalamata 1-2 Xanthi-PAOK 2-2 Paniliakos-Apollon 3-0 OFI-Proodeftiki 3-0 Panathinaikos-Panahaiki 6-1 Ionikos-Veria 1-1 Athinaikos-Kavala 0-0 Iraklis-Ethnikos 3-2 AEK-Olympiakos: Monday, at 16.00 GMT Standings after the 20th round: Panathinaikos, Olympiakos (19 games) 49, AEK 47, PAOK 40, Ionikos 38, Iraklis 37, OFI 30, Xanthi 27.

WEATHER

Clouds and rainy weather throughout Greece today with snow in the mountainous regions in the northwest. Weather improvement is expected later in the day. Southwesterly winds light to moderate. Athens will be cloudy with rain expected later in the day and temperatures from 9-14C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3-7C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(C.E.)


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