Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-22
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 22/02/1998 (ANA)
- Pangalos willing to meet Cem, but negotiations 'out of question'
- Claims of Florina power plant improprieties dismissed
- Communist Party public debate on 'Anti-imperialist Front'
- Ministerial committee leaves for Albania
- Greek constitutional expert Dimitris Tstatsos in Albania
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Pangalos willing to meet Cem, but negotiations 'out of question'
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said today he was willing to meet with
Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem but that negotiations were out of the
question. In an interview published in the Sunday newspaper "To Vima",
given last Thursday, Pangalos also attacked dissidents within the ruling
PASOK party's youth group, saying the party should ignore internal
opposition and concentrate on broadening PASOK's electoral base.
Asked whether Greece's rejection of a five-point proposal by Turkeyo on
bilateral relations meant that these relations would be frozen in the
immediate future, Pangalos replied:
"First of all I wouldn't use the term 'rejection' so easily. In reality we
gave a response characterised by a different view of Greek-Turkish
relations, more in line with what we have often maintained and also in line
with international practice. I did not reject the idea of a meeting with
The foreign minister emphasised the terms of the declaration signed in
Madrid last July between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish
President Suleiman Demirel as being a condemnation of the threats of war
made on various occasions by Turkey against Greece.
"Before the Madrid declaration, our position, at least, was that we could
not meet with the Turks while the threats and the threat of violence still
held," he said, adding:
"I say to Mr. Cem that I am ready to meet with him, not however, to
negotiate. I see our next opportunity (to meet) as being the forthcoming
meeting in Rhodes of foreign ministers of Western European Union member and
affiliated states. It will be an opportunity for us to sit down and
Pangalos defined the possible content of such talks as being an "open
discussion in which each minister, as is natural, can say whatever he wants
and will not be restricted by agendas, by colleagues or by the press, but
will be able to speak as he wishes".
He ruled out however, the idea of negotiations.
"The Turks want political negotiations on what they see as problems in the
Aegean, which in reality are Turkish claims against Greece," said
He reiterated Greece's position that the only bilateral issue requiring
resolution was that of the Aegean continental shelf, adding that Turkey was
free to refer any other claims it might have to the International Court of
Justice at The Hague.
Turning to the issue of dissension within PASOK, highlighted by events
surrounding the PASOK youth congress currently under way, he said that a
complete absence of discord only existed in an "artificial paradise".
Emphasising that his relations with Prime Minister Costas Simitis were and
had always been "excellent", he described it as natural for relations
within a government to include "an expansion of views" and "questioning" of
Anything else, he said, happened only in an "artificial paradise", such as
that which existed during the leadership of the party's late founder,
"Andreas Papandreou had a charisma that proved to be fatal for a great
number of the nation's problems. He could make you forget what was
unpleasant ... and to feel happy simply by the fact that you were close to
It was these personal attributes of Papandreou, he said, which had
condemned him to an "indescribable loneliness", particularly during the
latter part of his life.
"(Simitis) and I ... are not like that... There is a new type of politician,
oriented towards the open society that will develop within the 21st century,
although not without opposition from Greek society because we are not used
to democracy, we are only now learning about it," he concluded.
Calling the dissent within the leadership of PASOK's youth organisation "an
unpleasant and disappointing phenomenon", he dismissed what he said were
the "antics" of youth leader Tonia Antoniou as of little concern to
Claims of Florina power plant improprieties dismissed
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas has dismissed claims of improprieties
in the procedures followed in approving the construction of a Public Power
Corporation (DEH) plant in Greece's northwestern town of Florina.
"The govenrment ensured terms of transparency and objectivity by promoting
the selection, through international tender, of an independent assessor in
order to check whether the price agreed by DEH was reasonable and
competitive. The independent assessor concluded that the price was 5-6 per
cent lower than the internationally acceptable level, and therefore
competitive," he said.
The spokesman stressed the importance of the investment, part of Russian-
Greek agreement, both to the development of a border area and the tapping
of domestic energy sources.
"Critics also ignore the political importance of respecting the agreement
with Russia," he added.
Communist Party public debate on 'Anti-imperialist Front'
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) held its first public debate this
weekend on the formation of an "Anti-imperialist Anti-monopolistic
Democratic Front", with guests political figures and mainly trade unionists
who belong to other political camps, or are former KKE members, or are no
longer active in politics.
Sources said KKE aims to form alliances in particular strata of the
country's public life, which would be open to participation to anyone
provided they agreed on the need for coordinated action against the
policies of the government, the EU and NATO.
The party recently approved a policy of selective support for candidates in
the municipal elections later in the year that do not necessarily belong to
Disagreements are acceptable, but in due course it is expected that the
need for a minimum of common position will be understood, the party sources
Poliburo member Dimitris Koutsoubas said that "the formation of the front
is not based on an agreement on socialism".
"Activity in trade unions, local organisations, and all sorts of movements
is necessary for the formation of this front, and would include issues of
foreign policy, NATO and the EU, and, of course, the fields of education,
privatisations, the fight against drugs, and local government," said
PASOK Central Committee member and former health minister Dimitris
Kremastinos, who was among the attendants said the debate was timely, and
that a serious effort should be undertaken for a better and more efficient
Ministerial committee leaves for Albania
An inter-ministerial committee headed by National Economy Undersecretary
Alexandros Baltas left for Tirana today for talks with the Albanian
government and to attend the 6th meeting of the Greek-Albanian joint inter-
ministerial committee on economic cooperation.
The 30-member Greek delegation is due to meet with Albanian prime minister
Fatos Nano and several ministers during its visit, which is to run through
The meeting aims at upgrading and developing trade relations between the
two countries, while the details of a pending Greek loan to Albania and its
management will also be examined.
Greece has pledged 18 million in loans to Albania to aid in the implementation
of public works projects.
Last September, it also allocated two billion drachma (7 million dollar) to
Albania in urgent financial aid.
Mr. Baltas will further meet with Archbishop Anastasios of Albania while in
Greek constitutional expert Dimitris Tstatsos in Albania
"Europe is closer to Albania, but Albania, too, is one step closer to
Europe," Europarliamentarian and Greek constitutional expert Dimitris
Tsatsos told a press conference in Tirana today.
Mr. Tsatsos, a constitutional law professor and member of the European
Parliament's committee on institutional reforms, also praised the members
of the Albanian parliamentary commission drafting the country's new
constitution after the overthrow of the communist regime.
He said the commission's work so far had been "exemplary", and its members'
manner of operation "praiseworthy", adding that "the democratic nature of
the constitution is a condition for the country's accession to the European
Mr. Tsatsos today concluded his Tirana visit, in advisory capacity, that
also included talks with President Rejep Meidani, Nano, the Albanian
parliament's foreign affairs committee president, the reforms minister, the
minister of State, the parliament president, and representatives of rthe
Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in
MR. Tsatsos is due to visit Tirana again in mid-April.
Fair weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Partly cloudy in
the south of the country. Winds will be northerly, light, turning moderate
in the Aegean Sea. Athens will sunny with scattered cloud. Temperatures
will range between 5-18C. Fine weather with reduced visibility early in the
morning in Thessaloniki where temperatures will be 3-17C. The same is
forecast for Monday.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.021
Pound sterling 466.676 Cyprus pd 533.875
French franc 46.761 Swiss franc 194.298
German mark 156.761 Italian lira (100) 15.901
Yen (100) 224.093 Canadian dlr. 200.642
Australian dlr. 192.379 Irish Punt 389.261
Belgian franc 7.596 Finnish mark 51.677
Dutch guilder 139.088 Danish kr. 41.136
Swedish kr. 35.367 Norwegian kr. 37.625
Austrian sch. 22.280 Spanish peseta 1.851
Port. Escudo 1.531