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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-02-25

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, 25/02/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece replies to Turkish FM's five-point proposal
  • Karamanlis says gov't jeopardising Greece's sovereign rights
  • Pangalos to visit Belgrade next week
  • Tsohatzopoulos reiterates need for military's modernisation
  • Athens in contact with Nicosia over mass grave allegations
  • CoE protocols ratified by Parliament
  • Rescue vessel donated to Georgian navy
  • Additional law enforcement measures unveiled
  • KKE cadre Kaloudis dies
  • Greek stocks rebound, aided by stable money market
  • Greece to tender new T-bills tomorrow
  • Gov't again to tender Cretabank, bids due June 12
  • Govt' to tender relocation of OA to new Athens airport
  • Yugoslavia, Greece sign economic cooperation deal
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece replies to Turkish FM's five-point proposal

Athens response to a five-point proposal by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem on the improvement of bilateral relations was submitted to Ankara by Greece's ambassador, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday. The response, said Mr. Reppas, includes Greece's long-established positions, as put forward by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

In an announcement later, the foreign ministry called on Turkey to accept Greece's proposals as "sincere and well-intentioned", as they were the "only way to bring about a steady and substantial improvement in Greek- Turkish relations".

Athens's response to Ankara's proposals, the announcement stated, pointed to international law as the means to resolve bilateral problems.

Replying to Mr. Cem's five-point plan, the foreign ministry noted Greece's repeated suggestions to refer the issue of the continental shelf to the International Court of Justice.

The announcement also stressed the importance of the Madrid communique, signed last July by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, as a political commitment by both countries to respect the principles of international law and good-neighbourly relations.

Nevertheless, the statement added, the Madrid communique could not be interpreted in order to restrict rights governed by international law. This particular reference is an apparent reminder to Ankara that its position regarding the 12-nautical mile limi t for territorial waters in the Aegean has no foundation in international law.

Therefore, it adds, Turkey cannot attempt to block rights accorded to Greece under international law.

Additionally, Athens replied that the Greek government was working closely with NATO's general secretary for the creation of a framework for confidence-building measures in the Aegean, an issue also covered by Mr. Cem's proposal, therefore, no other procedure was necessary.

The Greek government, it added, supports the EU-brokered committee of experts on Greek-Turkish relations, although Turkey had unilaterally distanced itself from this process, aiming for these talks to be held solely at a bilateral level.

It also mentioned Mr. Pangalos' invitation to his Turkish counterpart to meet on the sidelines of a Western European Union meeting in Rhodes this May.

The announcement urged Turkey to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court and reiterates Greece's desire for progress in its relations with Turkey.

Karamanlis says gov't jeopardising Greece's sovereign rights

The govenrment is slipping from permanent Greek positions on Greek-Turkish relations, jeopardasing the country's sovereign rights, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis charged during a press conference yesterday.

Mr. Karamanlis said Greece had slided from a "step-by-step" approach in resolving differences with Turkey to referring all disputes to the International Court at The Hague, without a change of behaviour on the part of Ankara or securing anything in exchange.

Speaking at a Foreign Press Association (FPA) luncheon, he stressed that New Democracy's unshakeable belief was that ways of normalising Greek- Turkish relations should be found, but Ankara had to respect Greece's territorial integrity and sovereign rights, international law and treaties, as well as avoid actions that escalated tension.

"Ankara's behaviour does not meet any of the three preconditions," he said.

Mr. Karamanlis added that he preferred Turkey to be integrated into European processes and that Greece should encourage this course, but stressed that Turkey had to decide and win this bet itself.

Referring to the economy, Mr. Karamanlis charged that the government lacked boldness and that its policy led to merely nominal convergence with other European economies.

Mr. Karamanlis ruled out a return of the six recently expelled prominent party members, noting that his aim to make ND "a party of wide appeal, with a high degree of quality and efficiency which depends on persuasive, clear and united positions and strate gy".

He did not rule out the possibility of further expulsions, saying he did not intend to allow the reappearance of the phenomenon of introversion, which is responsible for the party's repeated defeats.

Asked if there would be disciplinary action against members expressing extreme right-wing views, he said: "I don't know and it doesn't depend on me. My own intention is to avoid such measures".

Later government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Mr. Karamanlis criticised the government, while at the same time with the positions he formulated he proved that in essence that he agrees with the government's foreign policy.

On the question of the economy, Mr. Reppas said while Mr. Karamanlis stressed the need for state enterprises to be restructured at the same time he criticises the government for the initiatives it is undertaking in this direction on the basis of specific planning.

Pangalos to visit Belgrade next week

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos will pay an official visit to the Yugoslav capital on March 6, a statement by the Yugoslav foreign ministry said yesterday.

Mr. Pangalos will have talks with his counterpart Zivadin Jovanovic on bilateral relations and on international issues of common interest, the statement added.

Tsohatzopoulos reiterates need for military's modernisation

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed the need for the modernisation of the country's armed forces with the procurement of several modern weapons systems.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was speaking at a working luncheon given by the commander of the Crete firing range, Army Gen. Papadomanolakis at noon yesterday. Addressing officers and guests, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos termed the firing range a model unit. He further stressed the country's need to possess modern weaponry and in this direction the procurement of anti- aircraft systems is necessary. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said Turkish provocations and designs obliged Greece to arm itself.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also observed the test firing of the the OSA anti- aircraft missile system. Four missiles were fired against two moving targets, both successful. After the test, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the anti- aircraft system was already in use by the military in the Evros region, while other units around the country will soon be equipped with it.

Athens in contact with Nicosia over mass grave allegations

Athens is in constant contact with the Cyprus authorities the startling information given by a Kurd exile last month about a mass grave of executed Greek Cypriots in Turkish-occupied territory, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday.

Mr. Pangalos was replying to a relevant question by PASOK deputy and Parliament vice-president Panayiotis Kritikos.

According to the information disclosed last month in Germany by Mustafa Ongan, the Greek Cypriots were murdered by Turkish troops during the invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

The foreign minister said Athens was informed on the report by the Kurdish exile before publication, adding that authorities in Nicosia had taken all steps to collect information in order to go ahead with further moves. Mr. Pangalos said that if the in formation proved to be correct, then the Greek government will lend its assistance to the Cypriot government, both bilaterally and in the context of international bodies.

CoE protocols ratified by Parliament

Two protocols by the Council of Europe (CoE) aimed at improving the European Social Charter were ratified last night by a majority of Parliament's committee for defence and foreign affairs.

Presenting the protocols to the committee, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou underlined the role of the Council of Europe in the consolidation of social institutions and protection of individual and social rights.

The minister also referred to Greece's chance to promote those principles and directions during its rotating presidency of the CoE in the second half on 1998.

The protocols' texts contain provisions which should govern national policy on social matters, especially in safeguarding equality of employment opportunities, employees' access to business information of direct concern to them, employees' participation in improving working conditions and the right of the elderly to social protection.

The protocols were approval by the rapporteurs of all parties, except the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which said the government should ratify relevant international labour agreements.

Rescue vessel donated to Georgian Navy

Two Greek naval vessels leave Thessaloniki tomorrow for Georgia bearing military aid under the terms of a bilateral agreement signed last year in Tbilisi by Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

The 30-metre patrol boat "Lindos", a gift from the Greek Defence Ministry to the Georgian navy, was built at the Skaramanga shipyards in the early 1980s. To be renamed "Iberia", it will be used to patrol Georgia's coasts.

Accompanying it is the tank landing craft "Samos" which is to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia's ethnic Greeks as well as equipment for Georgia's armed forces.

Greek navy frogmen travelling on the "Samos" are to assist the Georgians in trying to salvage ships sunk during the 1993 civil war between Georgians and Abkhazians.

Additional law enforcement measures unveiled

Public Order Minister George Romeos yesterday announced several immediate measures to stem what he called the rising crime rate in Greece over the past few years.

According to the ministry's data the rise of criminal behaviour is due in a large part to the activities of illegal immigrants, and especially Albanian gangs, not only in Athens but throughout Greece.

Murders rose by 37.67 per cent to 251 in 1997, compared to figures from 1996, while the percentage of unsolved crimes rose by 45.51 per cent during the same period.

Measures to combat crime include: - Assignment of an additional 1,500 police officers in regions lacking adequate law enforcement personnel. - A three-year plan for upgrading equipment, due to be approved next week.

  • Acquisition of several new patrol cars and motorcycles.
  • A grant of 65 motorcycles and 250 patrol cars by banks.
  • Modernisation of an emergency control centre. The ministry's long-term plans include creation of a police unit to combat organised crime and more control of police productivity around the country.

    KKE cadre Kaloudis dies

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) yesterday announced the death of veteran cadre Nikos Kaloudis, who died at the age of 81.

    Mr. Kaloudis joined the seamen's trade union movement at an early age, while during World War II he worked for the Allies resupply network.

    He fought in 1943 with the Allied forces at Anzio, Italy, and in 1947 was elected secretary of the Federation of the Greek Seamen's Unions. While in the United States he joined the US Communist Party, was arrested and jailed for his trade union activities and was deported in 1952 to eastern Europe.

    Greek stocks rebound, aided by stable money market

    Greek equities recovered all of Monday's losses on the Athens Stock Exchange, helped by a return of stability to domestic money markets yesterday.

    The general index ended 2.49 percent higher at 1,428.21 points with all sector indices scoring gains.

    Banks rose 2.90 percent, Insurance increased 1.37 percent, Leasing was stable, Investment ended 1.90 percent up, Construction jumped 2.88 percent, Industrials rose 1.74 percent, Miscellaneous ended 2.11 percent higher and Holding increased 1.65 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies soared 3.65 percent. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index ended 2.90 percent up at 789.45 points.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 16 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 181 to 32 with another 18 issues unchanged.

    Metrolife, Keranis, Elfico, Singular, Rocas, Sysware and Sea Farm Ionian scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Ippotour, Balkan Export, Endysi and Nafpaktos Mills suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,600 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,200, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,350, Delta Dairy at 2,900, Titan Cement at 13,185, Intracom at 14,900 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5, 595.

    In the domestic interbank market interest rates dropped by 1-1/2 percentage points. Bankers reported capital inflows totalling 140 million US dollars. The drachma rebounded spectacularly against the US dollar and it was slightly higher against the deuts chmark and the Ecu.

    Greece to tender new T-bills tomorrow

    Greece's finance ministry will auction a new issue of T-bills tomorrow.

    The tender will be held with the participation of a newly created group of primary dealers from domestic banks. The finance ministry aims to collect 220 billion drachmas from the tender.

    Gov't again to tender Cretabank, bids due June 12

    The government will hold a second international tender for the sale of Cretabank with bids due by June 12.

    The decision was reached after a meeting yesterday between National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos on the terms of the tender.

    Bids will be accepted until June 12 while the international call for tender will be completed by the end of March.

    The evaluation of bids is scheduled by mid-July.

    Deloitte & Touche, an international auditing firm, will hold a thorough auditing of Cretabank's balance sheet using internationally accepted standards.

    The government has decided not to impose a minimum bid - a condition which led to the failure of a previous attempt to sell the bank.

    Gov't to tender relocation of OA to new Athens airport

    Relocation of Olympic Airways, the state-run national carrier, to a new airport being built for Athens at Spata will be tendered in order to ensure transparency, Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis told reporters yesterday.

    Mr. Laliotis was speaking after a meeting of the government's ministerial major works commission chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    "(A tender will be called) so there is no confusion," said Mr. Laliotis, who heads the commission.

    Relocation of the airline would be defined as an extension of the existing contract for construction the airport, which is to replace the facility at Hellenikon.

    Talks on relocation between OA and Athens International Airport, which is supervising construction, would begin on March 15, Mr. Laliotis said.

    A consortium led by Hochtief of Germany is building the new airport at Spata, east of Athens, which will be launched on March 1, 2001, Mr. Laliotis also told reporters. He said works were proceeding at a brisk pace.

    Yugoslavia, Greece sign economic cooperation deal

    Yugoslav and Greek trade authorities signed an economic partnership agreement on Monday in order to extend cooperation in joint ventures, technology transfer and information exchanges on trade and the economy.

    The agreement was signed by the president of the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO), Ioannis Tzen, and the chairman of Yugoslavia's Economic Chamber, Mihailo Milojevic.

    Mr. Tzen said that the pact would facilitate the promotion of business deals between the two countries. His organisation was interested in investing in Yugoslav industrial concerns that remained closed due to a lack of finance, in order to aid moderni sation.

    He said that 160 Greek-Yugoslav joint enterprises existed along with another 88 Greek private businesses, worth 654 million deutschmarks.

    According to Mr. Milojevic, bilateral trade relations totalled 296 million US dollars last year of which Yugoslav exports accounted for 116 million.

    WEATHER

    Partly cloudy weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with the possibility of local rain in the west and north. Fog in some areas in the morning. Winds light to moderate. Scattered clouds in Athens with temperatures between 7-19C. Possibility of intermittent rain in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6-15C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 282.045 Pound sterling 464.415 Cyprus pd 535.581 French franc 46.789 Swiss franc 194.358 German mark 156.845 Italian lira (100) 15.894 Yen (100) 220.869 Canadian dlr. 197.924 Australian dlr. 188.048 Irish Punt 389.796 Belgian franc 7.600 Finnish mark 51.697 Dutch guilder 139.158 Danish kr. 41.148 Swedish kr. 35.214 Norwegian kr. 37.500 Austrian sch. 22.297 Spanish peseta 1.850 Port. Escudo 1.531

    (C.E.)


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