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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-04-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 12/04/1998 (ANA)


  • Former President Karamanlis suffers heart attack
  • Archbishop Serapheim's funeral Monday
  • Greece, Romania, Bulgaria hold tripartite talks on Santorini
  • National Defence Minister on Israel-Turkey cooperation
  • Santer: Greek economic growth exceeds average of EU partners
  • Treasury bills auction postponed
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Former President Karamanlis suffers heart attack

Former President of the Republic Constantine Karamanlis suffered a mild heart attack early Sunday morning and was placed under intensive care at an Athens private hospital.

The 91-year-old statesman, who was hospitalised on Tuesday with bronchial pneumonia, went into heart seizure at 2.25 am., and doctors at YGEIA hospital acted immediately to restore the heart's function, and 20 minutes later moved him to the intensive care unit for better monitoring of his condition.

The former head of state has a history of closely monitored heart problems, mostly coronary disease. He suffered temporary heart failure due to severe arrhythmia, and His condition was described by his personal physicians, E. Vorides and E. Belonias, as "very serious".

Mr. Karamanlis' setback is attributed to a combination of factors, including the respiratory infection and his advanced age. Asked if other vital organs had been affected, the doctors said that his kidneyss function was "very good", but expressed fears that the various complications could render his condition irreversible at anytime.

A medical bulletin later Sunday said Karamanlis was in serious but slightly improved condition.

Doctors were considering taking him off of life support machines as prolonged use of them could have a detrimental effect on the patient's condition, which was complicated by bronchial pneumonia.

The ailing former head of state was visited in the morning by his nephew and namesake, leader of the New Democracy opposition party, Costas Karamanlis. Visitors also included former Prime Minister Georgios Rallis, former ND leader Miltiades Evert, Health Minister Costas Geitonas and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Archbishop Serapheim's funeral Monday

The funeral of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim who died on Friday, will be held on Monday with honours of a head of state.

The Archbishop passed away on Friday at the age of 85 after leading the Orthodox Church of Greece for 23 years. He died after 45 days in hospital fighting a viral infection, complicated by chronic renal failure and kidney dialysis treatments.

The Archbishop's body has been lying in state at the Athens Cathedral, known as the Metropolis since Friday. His funeral is scheduled for 10 am Monday while the burial will take place at Athens A' Cemetery around midday.

A four-day public mourning was declared by the Cabinet on Friday, and all public services will remain closed Monday in deference to the late prelate.

Greece, Romania, Bulgaria hold tripartite talks on Santorini

Greece, Romania and Bulgaria yesterday stressed the need for security, stability and cooperation in southeastern Europe.

In a joint declaration issued after two days of talks on the Greek island of Santorini, foreign ministers Theodoros Pangalos of Greece, Nadezhda Mihailova of Bulgaria and Andrei Plesu of Romania aalso proposed the opening of negotiations between Belgrade and the Albanian community of Kosovo.

They further endorsed Romania's and Bulgaria's applications for European Union and NATO membership, and agreed on further advancement of the principles of good neighbourhood and respect of international law, as well epxansion of economic, technical and police cooperation among their three countries.

In the joint declaration, and also in statements, the three ministers outlined the desire of the countries of southeastern Europe to upgrade their position in the international scene, through:

  • Reaffirmation of Bulgria's and Romania's desire to join the EU and NATO and speeding up the adaptation of their structures with the European structures. In that context, Mihailova explained, Greece would continue to provide training and specialisation in issues concerning the European Union and its integration, at inter-state level.

  • Coordination of police services in the fight against crime, particularly terrorism and trafficking in narcotics, arms, radioactive material and human organs, and also against economic crime. They ministers expressed support for Romania's initiative to host the corresponding division of SECI (Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative).

  • Coordination of the three countries' activities for successful settlement of the Kosovo problem, including consultations with the EU troika and all the sides concerned. On this issue, the declaration calls for the opening of preliminary talks between the Belgrade government and the Albanians of Kosovo. It also calls, in tandem, for full implementation of the educational agreement and the Dayton accords, and expresses the three countries' readiness to aid in the reconstruction of Bosnia- Herzegovina.

  • The three countries also reaffirmed their dedication to the principles of good neighbourhood which, as set out in the declaration, include the inviolability of borders, non-intervention in the domestic affrairs of another country, abandonment of the use of threat, and support for the resolution of any problems through creative efforts including recourse to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

  • Upgrading of infrastructures, particularly in the transports sector. Pangalos, in fact, spoke of "African-type infrastructures" that hindered the smooth movement of goods and people. The declaration notes the full agreement of the three ministers for advancement of sections of the major road artery that will run from St. Petersburg to Alexandropoulos which, with simultaneous upgrading of the ports of Kavala and Thessaloniki, could evolve into an attractive alternative to the Dardanelles Straits.

  • The establishment of a military rapid deployment deterrent force by the SE European countries. This issue is slated for discussion among the defence ministries of the countries involved in Bucharest on April 15. Although a specific reference to this issue is not included in the declaration, it was nevertheless discussed during the three ministers' talks, according to Pangalos.

  • Upgrading of Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and the operation of the Thessaloniki-based BSEC bank which opens at the end of the year or early 1999.

    The Romanian and Bulgarian foreign ministers also invited Greek businessmen to invest in their countries.

    National Defence Minister on Israel-Turkey cooperation

    Greece today criticised the creation of a Turkey-Israel military-economic axis, considering that such reasoning led to the counter-rallying of the other countries in the region, which did not contribute to security in the region.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatsopoulos told a meeting of overseas Greek youths in Thessaloniki that it was the inalienable right of every country to engage in trade and negotiations with any country it desired.

    "But," he warned, "in the critical region we are located, it would be wise for one who looks at the economic interests alone to keep in mind that a collaboration between two countries through which the ability is provided for one to develop technologically advanced military armament -- such as Turkey is attempting through its cooperation with Israel -- will create problems with the other peoples".

    Tsohatzopoulos said Greece fully accepted total freedom in commercial transactions.

    But when those bilateral transactions eveolved into relations of miloitary significance, "everyone must comprehend that the rationale of axis' in today's strategies lead to the counter-rallying of all the others.

    The security of Turkey or Israel cannot be strengthened except only in the context of the collective security of the entire region, Tsohatzopoulos said.

    The defence minister announced that after Orthodox Easter he would meet with his Israeli counterpart to discuss the entire network of Greek-Israeli relations, and would put this position forward at that meeting.

    Santer: Greek economic growth exceeds average of EU partners

    Visiting European Commission president Jacques Santer today expressed satisfaction with Greece's developmental course, saying that the rate of economic growth in Greece exceeded the average of the other European Union countries.

    Speaking in Hania after talks with the government in Athens and a tour of Crete, Santer also said that the position of the European Commission and himself was that all differences between Greece and Turkey should be referred for difinitive solution to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    But, he added, Greece's volition for this did not suffice, it was necessary that the Turkish side also desired it.

    Santer said the EU was continuing accession negotiations with the Republic of Cyprus and the dialogue with Cyprus president Glafcos Clerides.

    The Commission president recalled that President Clerides had proposed the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the Cypriot delegation negotiating the island republic's membership with the EU, adding: "I am very saddened that Mr. (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash did not respond to that proposal".

    "We are continuing the bilateral negotiations with the Repuyblic of Cyprus. This position is clearcut," Santer said, adding that this position had been reaffirmed at the EU summit in Luxembourg this past December.

    Santer, accompanied by the Cretan-born former premier and honorary president of the main opposition New Democracy party Constantine Mitsotakis, national defence undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis and local officials, visited the Vamos community, the Venizelos family graves at Akrotiri, the Archaeological Museum, the old city of Hania and the Catholic church there.

    He described his three-day visit to the island as "pleasant", adding that the island was "moving decisively along the road of progress, taking the best possible advantage of the EU funds".

    Treasury bills auction postponed

    Auctions of state securities scheduled for Monday have been postponed for a day due to a four-day official mourning period for the passing away of Archbishop Serapheim of Athens and All Greece, who died on Friday. The auctions will be held on Tuesday, April 14.


    Scattered cloud throughout the country and the possibility of rain in the northwest is forecast for Monday. Moderate to strong winds in the east will keep temperatures high for the season. Athens and Thessaloniki can expect light cloud and maximum temps of 22 and 19 degrees respectively.


    Friday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 315.258 British pound 527.982 Japanese Yen(100) 245.401 French franc 51.659 German mark 173.114 Italian lira (100) 17.535 Irish Punt 436.480 Belgian franc 8.393 Finnish mark 57.100 Dutch guilder 153.194 Danish kr. 45.442 Austrian sch. 24.611 Spanish peseta 2.046 Swedish kr. 40.144 Norwegian kr. 41.799 Swiss franc 208.474 Port. Escudo 1.671 AUS dollar 206.911 Can. dollar 221.573 Cyprus pound 593.811


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