Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-12
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 12/02/1998 (ANA)
- Greece turns down Cem proposals
- Turkey ready for war over 1996 Imia crisis
- Vietnam, Greece discuss bilateral relations
- Former Albanian president in Greece for treatment
- Athens gets new English newspaper
- Greek loan to Black Sea countries, Yugoslavia
- Russian businessman to be extradited
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece turns down Cem proposals
Athens today rejected a five-point proposal from Turkish Foreign Minister
Ismail Cem to thrash out differences between the two countries.
"The Greek government does not accept the Turkish proposal because it
includes issues which are already being dealt with and reiterates the
standing Turkish position for dialogue on all issues," government spokesman
Dimitris Reppas told reporters.
Cem handed over details of the proposal to Greece's ambassador in Ankara
this morning. He proposes a high-level meeting to identify problem areas in
the Aegean, formalise principles of good-neighbourly relations and bolster
Reppas said Ankara's suggestion for a high-level meeting to determine
points of contention could only be held in regard to the delineation of the
Aegean continental shelf.
"Everything else is about unilateral Turkish claims," Reppas said.
Reppas also rejected Ankara's proposal that national expert committees set
up under a European Union initiative meet on a bilateral basis to continue
"This is a European Union initiative and can only continue as such," he
Reppas said Greece respects the Madrid communique signed with Turkey last
year, which set out basic principles governing relations between the two
countries, and expected Turkey to do the same.
The Madrid communique is not a treaty but a political declaration, he
Turkey's proposal on confidence-building measures in the Aegean, he
continued, was moot: "There is already a related proposal from NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana which is being discussed at the ambassadorial
Turkey ready for war over 1996 Imia crisis
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis told Parliament today that
Turkey wanted war with Greece during the crisis in late January 1996 when
Ankara openly disputed Greek sovereignty of the Imia islets in the
Kranidiotis based his assessment on what he called the "recent revelations"
about the role of the Turkish political leadership during the crisis and
developments "in the meantime".
Admiral Guven Erkaya, Turkey's navy chief at the time of the crisis, said
during a programme on Turkish television last night that former Turkish
premier Tansu Ciller and her foreign minister Deniz Baykal were in favour
of a military confrontation with Greece during the crisis.
Baykal was in favour of a confrontation from early on in the stand-off, the
admiral said in reference to a meeting on January 29, 1996, but the idea
"caused fear among the others".
He also revealed that Ciller was putting pressure on him to speed up the
occupation of the smaller of the two Imia islets, in order to create faits
accomplis before any diplomatic efforts bore fruit.
Replying to a a question tabled in Parliament by main opposition New
Democracy deputy Alexandros Papadogonas, Kranidiotis said the foreign
ministry had no information indicating that the Greek embassy in Washington
had been notified beforehand about imminent moves by the Turks on Imia the
night of the crisis.
He reiterated Greece's call on Turkey to accept the compulsory jurisdiction
of the International Court at the Hague on the basis of reciprocity in
order for the two countries to examine their relations.
"The Greek proposal for a step-by-step approach is realistic, since it
provides for recourse to the Hague on the issues of the continental shelf
in the Aegean and Imia," Kranidiotis said.
He underlined that the approach proposed by Greece had international
backing, including that of both the European Union and the United
Asked by reporters to comment on Erkaya's statements concerning the Imia
crisis, US Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns replied:
"It would not be correct for a US ambassador to comment on these events. I
would like to leave this to the Greek government."
Burns was speaking after a meeting this morning with Social Democratic
Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas, who expressed the view that
Erkaya's statements "do not reflect reality".
Tsovolas said they were aimed at "creating the appropriate psychological
climate in order to put forward the false dilemma 'peace or war' and
ultimately to shape the suitable conditions to get concessions from Greece
outside the framework of international law and international conventions".
Vietnam, Greece discuss bilateral relations
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam,
currently on an official visit to Greece, met today with Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou for a discussion of bilateral relations.
The Vietnamese Minister, who also had meetings today with President of the
Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis, is to
sign three cooperation protocols while in Greece, on double taxation,
shipping and investment protection.
Former Albanian president in Greece for treatment
Former Albanian president Ramiz Alia has been granted a visa enabling him
to fly to Thessaloniki on Friday night to undergo open-heart surgery, it
was officially announced.
The 73-year-old last communist president of Albania, who has had severe
heart problems for the past five years, will be operated on at the George
Papanicolaou hospital on Saturday or Sunday by well-known Greek heart
surgeon Panayotis Spyrou, who has performed similar operations on several
Informed sources said that Alia was given a medical visa by the Greek
Consulate in Tirana.
The sources said Dr. Spyrou, who saw Alia a few days ago in Tirana, said
that "because of the seriousness of his condition, he should be operated on
Albanian hospitals lack the technical equipment for such operations, the
Meanwhile, an ANA report quoting informed sources in Tirana, said that
Nexhmije Hoxha, the 77-year-old widow of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, was
"seriously ill and living in a small apartment located in an old military
camp in a Tirana suburb".
Athens gets new English newspaper
International Herald Tribune publisher and chief executive Richard McClean
and Greek daily Kathimerini chairman of the board Aristidis Alafouzos today
announced that the newspapers have joined forces to publish a daily
newspaper for distribution in Greece, starting early March.
The paper will inclue the entire edition of the International Herald
Tribune plus a daily section in English from Kathimerini.
The combined newspaper will deliver an international look at world politics,
business, culture and sport from the IHT while providing local coverage of
the day's news in Greece, including economics, commentary and entertainment
listings from the pages of Kathimerini, a press release said.
The IHT, founded in Paris in 1887, will be printed on the Kathimerini
presses, combined with the daily supplements and distributed in the early
hours to subscribers, hotels, airlines and newsstands. Greece thus becomes
the 15th of the Herald Tribune's remote printside locations spread over
Greek loan to Black Sea countries, Yugoslavia
The government intends to grant a further 140 million dollars in export
credits to the countries of the Black Sea region and Federal Yugoslavia to
facilitate their purchase of Greek products, National Economy Undersecretary
Alekos Baltas said today.
A total of 125 million dollars in export credits has already been allocated
from the credit facility programme.
Baltas was speaking at a press conference on the priorities of Greece's
international economic relations.
Referring to the priorities for 1998, Baltas announced that the forum of
ministers of foreign economic relations of the countries of central and
southeastern Europe was being scheduled for May in Greece.
Russian businessman to be extradited
An Appeals Court today decided to extradite a Russian businessman who was
arrested a few days ago at Athens international aiport after arriving from
a European country.
The Russian authorities had requested the extradition of Andrei Kozlenov,
39, who is accused of embezzling precious gems worth 55 billion drachmas.
Kozlenov told the three-member Athens court that the safety of himself and
his family would be in danger if he was extradited to Russia. He claimed
that members of the Russian establishment wanted to take over his business
because he refused to collaborate with them and for this reason they had
kidnapped his son.
As a result, Kozlenov said, he had been forced to sign over a large part of
his business. He denied embezzling the gems.
Kozlenov has the right to appeal his extradition before the Supreme
Spring weather with rising temperatures is forecast for most parts of
Greece today. Winds northerly, northwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens
will be sunny with temperatures between 6-16C. Similar weather in
Thessaloniki with temperatures from 2-15C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.962
Pound sterling 464.990 Cyprus pd 535.680
French franc 46.761 Swiss franc 194.402
German mark 156.776 Italian lira (100) 15.880
Yen (100) 229.797 Canadian dlr. 198.797
Australian dlr. 194.194 Irish Punt 393.923
Belgian franc 7.595 Finnish mark 51.647
Dutch guilder 139.073 Danish kr. 41.134
Swedish kr. 35.037 Norwegian kr. 37.666
Austrian sch. 22.280 Spanish peseta 1.850
Port. Escudo 1.532