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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-23

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 23/02/1998 (ANA)


  • Greece says no definite terms for non-aggression pact
  • Greece welcomes UN-Iraq accord
  • Pangalos willing to meet but not negotiate with Turkey's Cem
  • Simitis, EBEA president meet on economy
  • American-Hellenic Institute awards
  • Albanian couple arrested with drugs
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greece says no definite terms for non-aggression pace

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today that there was no definite proposal for a non-aggression pact between Greece and Turkey, and that although such ideas had been put forward from time to time in the past, they had not been in the form of official proposals.

Reppas was replying to questions regarding a reported initiative by US special envoy Richard Holbrooke. The spokesman said there was "no specific formula with an explicit content" regarding the signing of a non-aggression pact between the two countries.

"Suggestions such as these began to be made many years before PASOK came into power," he said, adding that while Greece desired rapprochement, it should not be "devoid of substance".

"Athens' policy allows third parties to perceive how well-intentioned it is... Greece wants the rules of international law and order to be implemented," said the spokesman.

"If Turkey comes forward and declares it will abide by (these rules) and international law, and that it recognises the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, then new conditions can be created. However, that has not yet happened," he added.

The government's response to proposals made by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem would soon be forthcoming, he said, although he declined to give further details.

He characterised Turkish President Suleiman Demirel's statements regarding "grey areas" in the Aegean as a provocation, coming as they did at the same time Turkey was talking about good neighbourly relations and friendship.

Greece welcomes UN-Iraq accord

Greece views the agreement over weapons inspections reached between the United Nations and Iraq by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Baghdad as a "positive development", government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today, noting Greece's efforts to ensure that all avenues were explored in order to avoid an outbreak of war.

Reppas expressed the view that the current process would be successful and that hostilities would be averted.

Pangalos willing to meet but not negotiate with Turkey's Cem

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said he was willing to meet with Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem but that negotiations were out of the question.

"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 associated states. It will be an opp ortunity for us to sit down and talk," Mr. Pangalos said in an interview published in the Sunday newspaper "To Vima", given last Thursday.

Mr. 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 Mr. Pangalos.

He reiterated Greece's position that the only bilateral issue requiring resolution was that of the continental shelf, adding that Turkey was free to refer any other claims it might have to the International Court of Justice. Asked whether Greece's rejection of a five-point proposal by Turkey on bilateral relations meant that these rel ations would be frozen in the immediate future, Mr. 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 Mr. Cem."

The foreign minister emphasised the terms of a declaration signed in Madrid last July between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel as being a "condemnation of the threats of war made on various occasions by Turkey agains t 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 use of violence still held," he said.

Simitis, EBEA president meet on economy

Prime Minister Costas Simitis had a brief meeting today with Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) president Yiannis Papathanassiou.

The Premier told reporters after the meeting that they had discussed the state of the Greek economy from the busines community's perspective, and agreed to closer cooperation between the Chamber and government to speed up solutins to the problems of the trade and industry sectors.

Asked for the business community's views of the present state of the economy, Mr. Papathanassiou said:

"Our views are firm. The structural changes necessary so that we may break out of this vicious circle must be advanced as soon as possible."

American-Hellenic Institute awards

Four prominent Greek Americans have been awarded the American Hellenic Institute's annual "Greek Heritage and Public Service" awards.

The awards were presented in Washington over the weekend to Dr. Stamatis Krimigis, professor of space sciences, television station owner Harry Pappas, and entrepreneurs George Behrakis and Dr. Ioanna Morfessis.

The four were honoured for their "long-standing efforts towards strengthening the Greek community's place in the political, social and scientific life of the United States".

Also honoured at the event were California Congressmen Brad Sherman and Randall Cunningham.

In their acceptance speeches, the award winners speeches, spoke of their efforts over the past 24 years towards seeking a solution to the Cyprus issue and strengthening Greek-US relations.

At a separate event organised in Washington by the "Mediterranean Quarterly" periodical, former US Undersecretary of State Joe Sisco briefly outlined the two waves of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July and August 1974, bringing Greece and Turkey to the brink of war.

House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee member Donald Payne (D) told the gathering that the Cyprus problem was not an issue of differences between two communities but one of invasion and illegal occupation of a section of Cyprus by Turkish troops.

He added that the principles of legality were widely supported in the U.S. Congress, a fact that acquired increased significance at this critical period in which a US initiative on the Cyprus issue was anticipated.

Albanian couple arrested with drugs

An Albanian couple has been arrested in Florina, northern Greece, and quantities of drugs were confiscated from their house, police said today.

They said Nelson Souliotis, 41, and his wife Vassilika, 29, both from Tirana, were arrested last night after 215 grams of heroin and 190 grams of cocaine destined for their Greek customers were found in their home.

Police said another Albanian, 31-year-old Ferenc Kovaci, smuggled the narcotics into Greece from Albania. The three are believed to be members of a major Albanian drug smuggling ring.

Greek First Division soccer results

Athinaikos-Panathinaikos 0-3 Kalamata-Proodeftiki 3-1 Panahaiki-Apollon 1-0 Olympiakos-PAOK 2-0 Veria-Panionios 4-0 Kavala-Xanthi 2-0 Ethnikos-Paniliakos 1-0 Iraklis-OFI 3-1 Monday: Ionikos-AEK 13.00 GMT STANDINGS-POINTS after 23 matches: Panathinaikos 58, Olympiakos 58, AEK (22 games) 52, PAOK 45, Ionikos (22) 44, Iraklis 44, OFI 33, Xanthi 23.


Spring-like weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Partly cloudy in the south of the country. Winds northerly, light to moderate in the Aegean Sea. Athens sunny with few clouds and temperatures between 5- 18C. Fine weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3-17C.


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


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