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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-02-16

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, 16/02/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Clerides re-elected president of Cyprus in close election
  • Farmers temporarily lift roadblocks, to meet with party leaders
  • Pontian Hellenism Museum inaugurated in Athens
  • Primakov arrives in Athens for official visit
  • Tsohatzopoulos on official visit to Egypt
  • Karamanlis says radical changes needed to achieve EMU convergence
  • Protest held against installation of Macedonia Airport radar
  • Former minister Mylonas dies
  • PASOK conference on ideology concludes
  • Former ND minister Andrianopoulos on gov't prospects
  • Scandalidis, Laliotis comment on Andrianopoulos' positions
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Clerides re-elected president of Cyprus in close election

Glafcos Clerides was re-elected president of Cyprus yesterday with 50.8 per cent of the vote, against rival George Iacovou's 49.2 per cent, with the total number of votes having been counted.

Following his win in the run-off presidential election, Mr. Clerides called for unity, calm and consensus.

In a message read by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kassoulides, Mr. Clerides said "these are times of unity. We should all give our hands because serious developments in the Cyprus problem lay ahead of us."

"Tonight, there are no winners and losers," he stressed, calling on supporters to reach out to all citizens of the Republic, from all parties, with love, friendship and cooperation.

"Tonight, all Cypriots are patriots, they all love their country and they will work together in unity for the reunification of Cyprus," the re- elected president added.

Mr. Iacovou, conceding defeat, described the result of the elections as "honourable", saying however, that the race was unequal.

Mr. Iacovou told reporters last night he phoned Mr. Clerides personally and congratulated him on his re-election.

He also congratulated Mr. Clerides in public, describing the pre-election race as tough and lengthy.

Mr. Iacovou thanked the leadership and members of the left-wing AKEL and Centre-Right Democratic Party parties for their support, as well as his associates, and all those who voted for him even though they belonged to different parties.

Mr. Iacovou also said that he would be "present in all future struggles" of Cyprus.

Mr. Clerides, 78, won 40.06 per cent of the vote in the first round last week and was backed in the second round by the right-wing Democratic Rally party, the United Democrats, the New Horizons party, the Liberal Party and Alexis Galanos, who broke ranks with the Democratic Party, after his party supported Mr. Iacovou.

Mr. Iacovou, 60, polled 40.61 per cent of the vote last week and was backed by the left-wing AKEL party and the centre-right Democratic Party.

In Athens, Prime Minister Costas Simitis last night contacted Mr. Clerides and congratulated him on his victory, conveying his wish that close cooperation between them continues on all major Cypriot national issues.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos also phoned the Cypriot president to congratulate him on his re-election.

Farmers temporarily lift roadblocks, to meet with party leaders

An impasse created by protesting farmers' escalating mobilisations around the nation was eased yesterday evening as the most vocal farmers' group, the Panthessaly Coordinating Committee (PASE), agreed to temporarily lift roadblocks on main Greek roadways as of this morning.

PASE spokesman Evangelos Boutas, who is also a Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy, said roadblocks would be lifted at 6 a.m. in order for the group's representatives to meet in Athens with opposition party leaders.

PASE members have also expressed a desire to meet PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis.

The request for opposition political leaders' mediation in the farmers'- government confrontation was issued to every opposition leader that visited roadblocks Friday and over the weekend. Today's meeting is expected to take place in the afternoon.

Farmers' mobilisations over the weekend had cut the nation in half by using tractors and farm equipment to completely block the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway at Tembi, central Greece, as riot squads have been also dispatched to the Larisa area.

In addition, roadblocks had also been set up in Macedonia and Thrace by farmers protesting against the government's agricultural policy.

Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Saturday warned protesting farmers that the government will use every legal procedure available to avert, as he said, the use of society as hostage to the will and goals of the few.

Mr. Reppas added that such actions are well above and beyond the realm of farmers' struggle and can be classified as political actions.

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis called for an end to the roadblocks, saying they were harming other citizens.

He also criticised Prime Minister Costas Simitis, saying the premier was not personally campaigning for Greek agricultural products at the EU level, as his Spanish counterpart was doing. Mr. Karamanlis visited a roadblock on the Thessaloniki-Veria highway at the Nea Halkidona site yesterday afternoon.

Pontian Hellenism Museum inaugurated in Athens

A Museum of Pontian Hellenism was opened in Athens yesterday by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

The museum's exhibition halls display the history of the Pontian (Black Sea) Greeks up until the time of their resettlement in Greece in the early 20th century, as well as their ancient customs and traditions.

"Unfortunately, the history of the Pontian Greeks is not widely known. Not even I myself know enough about it, but I don't know what Greeks would be today if it had not been for the positive influence of the Greeks of Pontus, " said Mr. Stephanopoulos.

The opening was part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Committee for Pontian Studies, which houses (73, Agnoston Martyron St., Nea Smyrni) the museum.

Primakov arrives in Athens for official visit

Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov arrived early last night in Athens for an official visit.

In statements to reporters at Athens' airport, Mr. Primakov said Greek- Russian relations were very good and that his talks today with Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos will focus on bilateral relations, issues of regional and Balkan interest as well as on international developments. Mr. Primakov will also meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

Press sources said Mr. Primakov's talks were expected to focus on the ongoing Iraqi crisis, developments in the Middle East and Cyprus as well as relations with Turkey.

Emphasis is also expected to fall on strengthening bilateral cooperation in the Balkans.

Mr. Primakov will kick-off his visit today by visiting the offices of the Prometheus Gas Co., which is involved in the distribution of Russian natural gas.

He will then meet Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Foreign Minister Pangalos, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, and finally Mr. Simitis and Mr. Stephanopoulos.

He is scheduled to give a brief press conference tonight.

Tsohatzopoulos on official visit to Egypt

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos leaves for an official visit to Egypt today for talks with his Egyptian counterpart and visits to local defence industries. He will be received by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak tomorrow and also hav e talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mousa.

On Wednesday, he is to meet representatives of Egypt's ethnic Greek community, as well as Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros.

Karamanlis says radical changes needed to achieve EMU convergence

The need for decisive and in-depth changes to achieve real convergence with Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the country's development was stressed by main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis over the weedend.

The ND leader made the statements during a meeting with the board of the Federation of Greek Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE).

SBBE President Vassilis Takas briefed the ND leader on problems faced by industries in Macedonia and Thrace.

Speaking to the press later, Mr. Karamanlis referred to the development law, saying SBBE's insights were extremely useful, adding that he ascertained "an important similarity with ND positions".

Referring to the policy on development, Mr. Karamanlis stressed the need for radical changes in the role of the state.

"Instead of operating as an assistant to citizens, (the state) is hostile towards them, having a downgraded effectiveness which some of the times was characterised by phenomena of corruption".

The opposition leader further argued that development in northern Greece should focus on infrastructure.

Protest held against installation of Macedonia Airport radar

A demonstration against the installation of a new radar system for Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport was held yesterday by local residents, who cited concerns over possible radiation emitted by the equipment.

Municipal council members and residents of Perea, west of Thessaloniki, and four other districts surrounding the airport gathered in the town to protest the move. They proposed an alternative radio-link between the airport control tower and the Hortiati military radar station, adding that Perea municipality will pay for such an installation.

The government, however, appears determined to go ahead, as stated by Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis in Thessaloniki this week.

Perea Mayor Antonis Matzaris said civil aviation officials visited the area on Friday to make arrangements for compensation to be paid to owners of land appropriated for the new radar installation.

Residents have already appealed to the Council of State and are expected to apply to the European Court.

Former minister Mylonas dies

Former minister Georgios Mylonas died yesterday at the age of 79. Mylonas was a close aide to Greek statesman and premier George Papandreou, and was repeatedly elected deputy for the Ioannina seat with the Centre Union (Enosi Kentrou).

Mylonas had served as an undersecretary to the premier's office and education undersecretary in 1963-65. He assumed the transport portfolio in the first post-junta government in 1974 and was culture minister in 1989-90 governments.

Mylonas was the author of the book "Escape From Amorgos", detailing his escape from the island, were he was exiled during the 1967-74 military dictatorship.

PASOK conference on ideology concludes

A two-day conference by the ruling PASOK party on ideological issues wound up Saturday evening,with PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis saying that the meeting's proceedings had "a constructive and positive impact".

Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis told participants that Greece, as a state which has incorporated technological and economic realities into its policy, should attempt a new composition of its foreign policy by strengthening its position on the international scene.

According to Mr. Kranidiotis, Greece should also deal with and resolve regional problems, especially those with Turkey, and broaden its participation in international bodies and procedures.

European Commissioner Christos Papoutsis argued that the leftist movement should not remain inert towards new international developments, nor should it accept the theory of "one-wayism".

"For us, the market and production globalisation should go hand in hand with the globalisation of democracy," he told the meeting.

Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis primarily spoke on his portfolio, saying that he expected educational reforms to be well underway by the year 2000.

The minister also asked for help to that effect from all relevant agencies, saying that the timetable for educational reform will be a basic element in PASOK's political presence within Greek society.

Mr. Arsenis said the proper context should be created to allow the operation of a democracy of knowledge, giving free access to that knowledge for all citizens.

Eurodeputy Paraskevas Avgerinos told the meeting that the way to European unification was long, as "many issues were not 'ripe' yet, so as to create the appropriate conditions for international cooperation and processes of equivalent politcal proposals.

Mr. Skandalidis, declaring the end of proceedings, said the exchange of ideas was "a guide to all of us".

Former ND minister Andrianopoulos on gov't prospects

Former New Democracy minister Andreas Andrianopoulos believes that two options are likely to emerge from the current political scene in Greece.

In a bylined article published in Saturday's "Ependitis" newspaper, the former ND high-ranking cadre said a first likely outcome was that the government would consciously continue with radical modernisation policies for society.

According to Mr. Andrianopoulos, this would allow Prime Minister Costas Simitis to further increase support from two political areas, namely, the moderate left and right.

He said this could possibly lead to main opposition ND's weakening.

The second possibility, said the former minister, was for the government to continue to move within social and economic deadlocks.

If that happens, a political rallying under the banner of modernisation would be inevitable.

Skandalidis, Laliotis comment on Andrianopoulos' positions

Asked to comment on Mr. Andrianopoulos' views, ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis replied that the kind of PASOK described by the former ND cadre did not exist.

"It would have a different name", he said.

"And since my dear friend Andreas is not naive at all - for two years now he has been trying to set the vital grounds for a new party - let him found the new party he wants..." Mr. Skandalidis concluded.

Also commenting on Mr. Andianopoulos' article and his statements about the likelihood of joining PASOK, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said he held Mr. Andrianopoulos in high esteem, but disagreed with his neo-liberal ideas.

It would be better if Mr. Andrianopoulos tried to improve things within his own - conservative - political realm, Mr. Laliotis said.

Greek First Division soccer results

Panathinaikos-Ethnikos 4-2 Xanthi-Olympiakos 0-4 AEK-Heraklis 2-2 PAOK-Proodeftiki 3-1 Ionikos-Athinaikos 1-0 OFI-Kavala 3-0 Pyrgos-Veria 0-0 Panionios-Panahaiki 1-0 Apollon-Kalamata 1-0 Standings-points: Panathinaikos, Olympiakos 55 pts, AEK 52, PAOK 45, Ionikos 44, Heraklis 41, OFI 33, Xanthi 31, Apollon 29, Pyrgos 28, Panionios 27, Veria, Proodeftiki, Panahaiki 19.

WEATHER

Fine weather in most parts of Greece with scattered clouds in the east and north of the country. Winds moderate and strong to very strong at times in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with few clouds and temperature from 8- 17C. Same weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures 6-15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.012 Pound sterling 466.617 Cyprus pd 533.379 French franc 46.709 Swiss franc 194.784 German mark 156.577 Italian lira (100) 15.860 Yen (100) 227.604 Canadian dlr. 198.400 Australian dlr. 191.813 Irish Punt 392.118 Belgian franc 7.587 Finnish mark 51.604 Dutch guilder 138.905 Danish kr. 41.087 Swedish kr. 35.168 Norwegian kr. 37.676 Austrian sch. 22.254 Spanish peseta 1.847 Port. Escudo 1.531

(C.E.)


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