Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-09
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 09/02/1998 (ANA)
- Greece refutes Turkish claims
- OA cancels five flights
- Gov't extends hand to disaffected farmers
- Greek, Turkish journalists concerned over tension
- Turkish freighter refloated
- Commission president Santer to visit Athens
- 12% increase in British tourists projected
- Quake recorded
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece refutes Turkish claims
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas today confirmed a report that Greece
had sent a non-paper to NATO refuting Turkish claims that Greece was giving
support to Turkey's Kurdish minority.
The report, which appeared in Sunday's issue of the Athens daily "Kathimerini",
said the non-paper also presented NATO with data indicating that Turkey was
undermining the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations.
With regard to the referral of bilateral differences to the International
Court of Justice, Reppas said Greece's position was unchanged.
As reiterated by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in parliament last Wednesday,
the only issue that the two countries could jointly refer to the International
Court was the question of the continental shelf, he said.
If Turkey recognised the Court's jurisidiction, something which Reppas did
not think likely, then it would be able to take recourse to that Court over
any issue it wished.
"It is not necessary (for Turkey) to raise these issues by means of
irregular military action," he added.
OA cancels five flights
Olympic Airways announced the cancellation of five flights today and merger
of two other flights in a bid to ease problems caused by the ongoing
dispute between the government and the Union of Flight Attendants and
It said two flights from Athens to Thessaloniki and one flight each to
Chania, Paris and Rome were cancelled, while its Geneva-Zurich and
Stuttgard-Frankfurt flights were merged, while assistance would be sought
from Olympic Aviation in carrying out OA flights when possible.
Travellers are advised to contact local airports to confirm flights.
OA managing director Theodoros Tsikiris said Sunday that OA would
unilaterally set up flight plans if no agreement was reached with the Union
at the end of the two-month deadline.
Gov't extends hand to disaffected farmers
Protesting farmers today continued a week-long blockade of national
highways in norther Greece as the government set up a team of troubleshooters
in a bid to end the standoff.
The team, headed by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and comprising
Finance undersecretary George Drys, Agriculture undersecretaries Dimitris
Sotirlis and Vassilis Geranidis, and governor of the Agricultural Bank of
Greece Petros Lambrou, invited protesting farmers' representatives to the
Ministry for talks on Thursday.
The farmers have said they will intensify blockades this week and continue
their protest until their demands are met for state subsidies and cheaper
petrol for agricultural use.
Farmers are blocking the national road arteries at several points in the
prefectures of Thessaloniki, Pieria and Imathia, causing serious disruption
to traffic and forcing drivers to use side roads.
They plan a two-hour blockade near the Greek-Yugoslav border post at Evzoni
beginning at 2:00 p.m. today.
Greek, Turkish journalists concerned over tension
A group of Greek and Turkish journalists today expressed concern over the
"perpetuating tension" in relations between Greece and Turkey and called on
the two sides to avoid any provocative military or other actions.
A resolution issued after a three-day meeting in the Turkish city of Izmir,
which ended last night, said:
"We consider negative for both countries, the implication in Greek-Turkish
relations of foreign military formations regardless of how they are
manifested, as they entail the danger of war or an arbiter's role".
More than 250 journalists, politicians and intellectuals attended the "2nd
solidarity meeting of Greek and Turkish journalists" organised by the
"Journalists in the Aegean and Thrace for Peace" movement, in a follow up
to the first meeting last year on the Greek island of Chios.
The resolution expressed "deep concern over the perpetuating tension in
relations between Greece and Turkey".
It reiterated the journalists' "firm position that the problems between the
two countries can and should be resolved through the application of the
rules of international law, bilateral treaties, and full respect of the
It called on both sides to "finally decide to avoid every provocative
military or other action".
The resolution said that "any hesitation on the path of dialogue, often the
result of pressure from nationalistic circles in both countries, and every
hesitation in respecting international law only intensifies the crisis and
gives rise to interventions by third parties that serve only the arms
dealers at the expense of the standard of living of the two peoples".
Regarding the Cyprus problem, the resolution stressed "the need for
demilitarisation of the island and solving its internal problems to the
benefit of the two communities".
At another point the resolution stressed that "the minorities in Greece and
Turkey could form a bridge of friendship among the two countries," adding
that "we feel compelled to demand the implementation of any human rights
that are violated today".
The delegates said that the next solidarity meeting would be held in
Alexandroupolis, Thrace next year.
Turkish freighter refloated
Greek tugboats refloated a Turkish freighter that had run aground in the
shallows off the islet of Matrhaki, northeast of the island of Corfu,
harbour officials said today.
They said the Ecuador-flagged "C. Osman", which ran aground last Friday
while en route to the Yugoslav port of Veka, was refloated late last night
by two Greek tugs after transferring part of its cargo to a Greek cargo
Meanwhile, the Piraeus harbour authority said that the 2,037-ton Greek
tanker "Aegean VI" ran aground this morning in the sandy shallows off the
island of Poros.
The tanker's nine-member crew were all safe, and efforts were being made to
Commission president Santer to visit Athens
European Commission president Jacques Santer will pay a formal visit to
Greece from April 9 to 13, an ANA dispatch from Brussels said today.
While in Athens, Santer will meet with the state and political leadership
of the country.
He will also be the keynote speaker at a banquet in the context of an
international conference on "Greeting a new Business Age" being organised
in Athens by The Economist magazine on April 9.
Santer is further scheduled to visit the island of Crete, where he will
meet with representatives of the local authorities and producers.
It will be Santer's third official visit to Greece since assuming the helm
of the Commission in January 1995.
12% increase in British tourists projected
Greece expects a 12 percent increase in tourist traffic from Great Britain,
according to recent figures from the Greek National Tourist Organisation in
Bookings in December 1997 were up by 35 percent compared with the same
month in 1996, with bookings for January 1998 already over the December
The most popular destinations for holidaying Britons were: Athens (up 195
percent), Lefkada (up 72%), Cephallonia (up 62 percent), Skiathos (up 61
percent), Corfu (30 percent), Rhodes (22 percent) and Zakynthos (20
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded at 16.00
today, its epicentre located 20 km. east of Athens in the sea bed near the
port of Rafina, according to an announcement by Athens seismologists.
The tremor was felt in Rafina, Loutsa and Athens, particularly the northern
suburbs. No damages have been reported.
Cloud and scattered showers are forecast for most parts of Greece today,
with light snowfalls in mountainous regions. Northeasterly stong to very
strong winds will reach gale force in parts of the Aegean Sea. Athens
partly cloudy, with possible light rain and temperatures from 3-10C.
Thessaloniki will be overcast with temperatures between 1-6C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 282.164
Pound sterling 464.514 Cyprus pd 533.339
French franc 46.882 Swiss franc 194.635
German mark 157.113 Italian lira (100) 15.903
Yen (100) 227.158 Canadian dlr. 197.507
Australian dlr. 190.772 Irish Punt 393.665
Belgian franc 7.613 Finnish mark 51.802
Dutch guilder 139.386 Danish kr. 41.237
Swedish kr. 35.156 Norwegian kr. 37.706
Austrian sch. 22.333 Spanish peseta 1.853
Port. Escudo 1.535