Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-02-19
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 19/02/1998 (ANA)
- 'No margin' now for new initiative on Greek-Turkish relations
- Greece hopes for 'successful' outcome of Annan's Iraqi visit
- Tsohatzopoulos: Right to extend territorial waters indisputable
- Kranidiotis: Turkish Cypriots can gain from Cyprus EU membership
- Papariga says plan to formally divide Cyprus, Aegean in the works
- Gov't concern over Turkish nuclear waste processing plant
- Lions club event for visiting Kalash tribe children
- Jules Dassin well after operation
- One million Greeks suffer from migranes
- Simitis responds to tabled question on troubled Olympic Airways
- Gov't spokesman on farmers' demands
- National Bank of Greece courts Bulgarian bank
- Greece to spend Dr 14 bln to advertise tourism in 1998
- Europarliament demands tougher petrol standards
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
'No margin' now for new initiative on Greek-Turkish relations
Athens stressed yesterday that there was no margin for undertaking a new
initiative to improve relations with Turkey.
"We consider that, at present, conditions for doing something different
from what has been done thus far are not in place," said government
spokesman Dimitris Reppas, after a meeting at the foreign ministry that was
chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
The meeting dealt with Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem, as
well as a recent five-point proposal by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail
"The other side must exhibit a behaviour that shows respect for the rules
of good neighbourliness and abstain from the provocations, violations and
infringements it has been engaging in lately, so as to contribute to a
climate that will render fruitful the contacts between officials of the two
sides," he added. Referring to a Turkish foreign ministry statement
yesterday, Mr. Reppas protested that it was inconceivable that the
(possible) exercise of Greece's lawful right to extend territorial waters
to 12 nautical miles should be considered a hostile act or be construed as
"Greece's foreign policy is compatible with the international legal order,
and so should Turkey's," he added, stressing that Greece would continue
insisting on its veto of EU financial aid to Turkey.
Mr. Reppas specified that no meeting between the two countries' foreign
ministers, Theodoros Pangalos and Mr. Cem, had been scheduled. He said any
such meeting, which was possible and desirable in the framework of
international organisations, had no relation to dialogue, and, indeed, with
any form of negotiation on sovereign rights.
Regarding Cyprus, in view of an expected renewed US mediation, he said
Greece would "contribute towards an effective tackling of the problem in
the framework of this initiative".
Finally, responding to questions, he said the exact time and manner of the
reply to the Turkish proposal could not be determined as yet.
Greece hopes for 'successful' outcome of Annan's Iraqi visit
Greece reiterated yesterday its opposition to any country producing,
possessing or using chemical or nuclear weapons.
"Greece does not want somebody producing, possessing or, furthermore, using
chemical or nuclear weapons," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told
reporters when asked to comment on the Iraqi crisis.
"There is no manifestation of the tripartite initiative of (Foreign
Minister Theodoros) Pangalos, (Russian counterpart Yevgeny) Primakov and
the French foreign minister for peace in the (Persian) Gulf, other than
their telephone contact with the Iraqi government," Mr. Reppas added.
On Tuesday, visiting FM Primakov and his Greek counterpart, together with
Hubert Vedrine, the French foreign minister, initiated efforts aimed at
promoting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's visit to Iraq to persuade
Baghdad to allow UN weapons inspections.
Mr. Reppas said Mr. Annan's visit to Iraq was a positive development,
adding that the Greek government hoped for a successful outcome of the UN
chief's mission, thus averting the use of force. He also underlined that UN
Security Council resolutions shou ld be respected.
In an ANA dispatch from Alexandria, National Defence Minister Akis
Tsohatzopoulos said "there is an urgent need for a political and diplomatic
solution", adding that (military) intervention would create more problems
than it would solve.
Tsohatzopoulos: Right to extend territorial waters indisputable
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated yesterday that
Greece's right to extend territorial waters to 12 nautical miles emanates
from "internationally consolidated rights, such as the treaty on the Law of
the Sea, which nobody can question."
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was speaking here during his three-day visit to
Replying to an announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry, warning that
unless the existing status quo is maintained on the extent of territorial
waters in the Aegean, resolving Greek-Turkish issues will be impossible,
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "Turkey's position can never be raised as a
precondition for dialogue...In no way can this be done."
However, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that Greece "does not have the
intention of extending territorial waters now. However, according to what
is anticipated by the treaty, it is possible that the safeguarding of
absolute freedom of passage in the Aegean can be carried out. When Greece
will decide such a thing is a matter of time.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' visit here focused on defence issues and cooperation in
the military sector, as well as on the views of Arab countries regarding a
possible US military strike against Iraq.
While in Alexandria, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also met with the Patriarch of
Alexandria and All Africa Petros and members of the Greek community.
Summing up the results of his visit to Egypt, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the
two countries agreed to the implementation of joint cooperation programmes
on the holding of military exercises in the southeastern Mediterranean and
exchanges of military represe ntations to enable Athens and Cairo to
contribute towards the consolidation of peace, security and stability in
Kranidiotis: Turkish Cypriots can gain from Cyprus EU membership
Cyprus' economic prosperity is a strong incentive for Turkey to put an end
to its occupation of one third of the island, Foreign Undersecretary
Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday.
The average Turkish Cypriot, he added, would greatly benefit from a
settlement to the problem "if of course Turkey allows this" because they
are comparatively few in number and have a low standard of living.
As such, Mr. Kranidiotis said, they would be given considerable assistance.
"Despite the Turkish invasion and 23-year occupation, Cyprus' economy is
going from strength to strength and already fulfils the Maastricht criteria
for participation in EMU, in deed having a very low rate of unemployment,"
Mr. Kranidiotis said.
Due to its strong economy, he added, it is believed that very little time
will be required to overcome whatever problems may arise during EU
accession negotiations which begin next month.
Mr. Kranidiotis was speaking at an event organised to mark Greek and
Cypriot cooperation in insurance studies.
Papariga says plan to formally divide Cyprus, Aegean in the works
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga focused on
Greek-Turkish relations yesterday during a press conference at Zappeio
Ms Papariga said there is a plan to divide the Aegean's sovereignty and to
legalise the division of Cyprus.
"What is left are the signatures," she said, adding the Greek and Turkish
governments are bickering for reasons of internal political consumption and
Regarding the recent proposals by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, she
said they emanate from last summer's Madrid communique, which she noted KKE
had strenuously condemned at the time. Ms Papariga also said that KKE was
against taking recourse to t he International Court at The Hague for issues
dealing with national sovereignty and borders, except in the case of the
Aegean's continental shelf.
In regards to the ongoing Iraqi crisis, Ms Papariga said a "massacre" is
being prepared for Iraq, while she criticised the government for its stance
on the issue, as well as other opposition parties.
Gov't concern over Turkish nuclear waste processing plant
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday expressed the government's
concern regarding an under construction Turkish plant for the processing of
nuclear waste at Mersin, on that country's southern coast.
In reply to a question by main opposition ND deputy Anastasios Kamarios, he
described the issue as serious, adding that the Greek government was
closely following its construction and has drawn attention to the
unacceptability of certain arrangements.
He also said the government had made representations to the Canadian
government regarding the terms of the contract between Turkey and a
Mr. Pangalos drew attention to the fact that the area where the plant was
being constructed was earthquake prone and that according to information,
construction did not meet international safety standards.
Lions Club event for visiting Kalash tribe children
The Lions Club hosted an event for a group of 10 visiting children of the
Kalash tribe at the War Musuem in Athens yesterday.
The children arrived in Greece two months ago to visit northern Greece and
several archaeological sites. Soldiers from Alexander the Great's army are
believed to be among the Kalash tribe's ancestors. The Kalash occupy about
20 villages isolated from the rest of the world in the Hindu Kush mountain
range of Pakistan and near the border with Afghanistan.
Athanasios Lerounis, who was among the first individuals in Greece to
cultivate ties with the Kalash tribe, spoke at an event on Alexander the
Great's campaigns in the Hindu Kush and the presence of Hellenic culture in
Jules Dassin well after operation
France's veteran film and stage director Jules Dassin yesterday underwent a
successful operation for the removal of an aneurism from a stomach
Doctors said after the operation at the Ygeia Hospital in Athens that the
widower of actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri was in a satisfactory
Dassin made big hits like "Never on Sunday", "Rififi" and "Christ
One million Greeks suffer from migraines
More than one million Greeks suffer from migraines and two-thirds of that
number are women, experts said yesterday.
However, only 10 percent of Greeks suffering from persistent headaches
consulted their doctors who could provide relief with the right combination
of medications, they said.
Migraines are the most common form of headache and are often accompanied by
nausea and extreme sensitivity to light. They can be triggered by stress,
some forms of medication and emotional and hormonal imbalances prompted by
lack of sleep, fatigue, the weather as well as excessive exposure to
computer and television screens.
The unregulated use of some medications for headache relief could lead,
paradoxically, to their triggering migraines, doctors said.
They warned against self-diagnosis and administration of pain killers to
provide relief from headaches, saying that doctors should always be
Simitis responds to tabled question on troubled Olympic Airways
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday said that Olympic Airways (OA) will
very soon be on the road to recovery, since the situation in the loss-
making state-run national carrier is one "that must be confronted."
The prime minister said during his Parliament address and in answer to a
relevant question posed by Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos)
leader Nikos Constantopoulos, namely, that OA's future is bleak, and that
OA employees and management will not decisively help confront the
Mr. Simitis announced that the government will exhaust all margins for
dialogue with employees.
He added that by April 1, at the latest, "dialogue with employees will
begin, if there will be no conclusion to dialogue, the government will take
all necessary legislative measures."
Mr. Simitis noted that the government will take all the necessary measures
to guard the role of the national air carrier as a viable and competative
one for the benefit of the public and the employees.
Mr. Constantopoulos said the government had no recovery plans for OA or its
relocation to the new airport at Spata.
Synaspismos' leader added that the government is responsible for the
"bankruptcy of a monopoly, such as OA."
Mr. Simitis answered that there is a specific recovery plan that has been
decided upon by relevant ministers, while "employees are attempting to
force solutions that we are not going to accept."
Gov't spokesman on farmers' demands
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday said that the government
cannot allocate huge amounts of money to satisfy farmers' demands, because
such a move would lead the national economy to destruction.
Mr. Reppas added that the government is making every effort to satisfy the
just claims of farmers, citing the case of the private stockpiling of olive
oil, recently allowed by the European Union. The last of the blockades set
up by farmers on roads in western and central Macedonia were dismantled
The last of the tractors left the Malgara and Stivos junctions yesterday.
Traffic on all national roads is now normal.
National Bank of Greece courts Bulgarian bank
National Bank of Greece, the country's largest, is the most suitable buyer
for Bulgaria's Postbank, the Greek bank's chief executive in Bulgaria said
Christos Kastanis told the Bulgarian press that National Bank of Greece's
advantages were its policy of fully developing banking activities. At the
same time it was the only European institution seeking to take part in the
Japanese financial group Nomura and US-based AIG insurance group are also
participants in the sale of Postbank.
National Bank of Greece sees its bid for Postbank bank as a strategic
investment that would turn the bank into a major financial institution in
the Balkans, the Greek banker said.
Greece to spend Dr 14 bln to advertise tourism in 1998
Greece's tourism advertising campaign budget totals 14 billion drachmas
this year, the Greek National Tourist Organisation said yesterday in a
The country's tourism agency said that it will spend 4.0 billion drachmas
on its traditional advertising campaign in 1998 in more than 20 countries
around the world, and another 10 billion on promotion.
Greek tourism authorities will focus their efforts on improving marketing
and public relations.
Europarliament demands tougher petrol standards
The European Parliament yesterday shrugged off intense lobbying from the
European Union's oil industry and demanded tougher standards than agreed by
EU governments for oil and diesel quality.
Adopting a report by Finnish Green Euro-MP Heidi Hautala, the assembly,
which has a power of joint decision with EU governments on the issue, said
binding rather than target standards should be set for petrol and diesel
The outcome of the vote had been uncertain until the end as some deputies
wilted under lobbying from national oil companies, who said binding
standards from 2005 would be expensive to implement. The Parliament also
said exemptions, granted to countries unable to meet a ban on leaded petrol
from 2000 for social or economic reasons, should be tightened up.
Partly cloudy weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with light
rain in Evia, Peloponnese, Crete, west Thessaly and the Cycladic islands.
Winds northerly, northeasterly, moderate to strong, turning to gale force
in the east of the country and the Aegean Sea. Athens will be windy with
few clouds and temperatures between 5-13C. Scattered clouds in Thessaloniki
with temperatures from 1-11C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.508
Pound sterling 467.847 Cyprus pd 533.676
French franc 46.691 Swiss franc 193.703
German mark 156.463 Italian lira (100) 15.872
Yen (100) 226.057 Canadian dlr. 198.261
Australian dlr. 190.464 Irish Punt 387.872
Belgian franc 7.583 Finnish mark 51.594
Dutch guilder 138.855 Danish kr. 41.069
Swedish kr. 35.172 Norwegian kr. 37.517
Austrian sch. 22.245 Spanish peseta 1.847
Port. Escudo 1.529