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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-04-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 27/04/1998 (ANA)


  • Tsohatzopoulos comments on the Balkan peacekeeping force
  • Foreign Ministry to publish history of the Greek jews
  • Costas Karamanlis elected EDU Deputy President
  • Bulgarian army chief begins visit to Athens today
  • Athens hosts Int'l meeting of female journalists
  • British stage director Peter Hall visits Athens
  • British Euro-MP to address conference on 'Byron against Elgin'
  • Roman era tomb examined
  • Conference examines fate of domestic tour operators
  • Gov't says will not intervene in OA's operational plans
  • Greek soccer matches called off in pools revenue protest
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Tsohatzopoulos comments on the Balkan peacekeeping force

Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Saturday that a Balkan peacekeeping force whose creation is being discussed by regional leaders should have the right to act in any country facing a crisis, including its own members. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was speaking at a news conference in Ohrid in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) after talks with his counterpart Lazar Kitanovski.

FYROM believes that the multi-national force should not intervene to keep the peace in countries that take part in the group.

The final decision on the peacekeeping force's sphere of activity will be taken in September at a meeting in Skopje, FYROM's capital, the report said.

Turning to Kosovo, the two ministers agreed that borders in the Balkans should remain intact, and that a solution to the crisis should be sought through an immediate, unconditional start to talks between the two sides.

The talks should aim to secure the greatest degree of autonomy feasible for Kosovo within the framework of the Yugoslav Federation, they said.

Mr.Tsohatzopoulos, who said Athens was willing to contribute to guaranteeing borders throughout the Balkans, stressed that inhabitants of the region had every reason to fear the crisis in Kosovo, and its repercussions.

Although the dispute was an internal matter for Yugoslavia to resolve, Balkan countries and the international community had the right to contribute to a political solution to the crisis, he said.

Greece and FYROM both opposed any violence or terrorism as a solution, Mr. Kitanovski said.

Setting up a corridor for Albanians fleeing Kosovo was not discussed at the talks as Greece and FYROM placed emphasis on initiatives to resolve the crisis and therefore avoid an exodus, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

Finally, the two countries agreed that bilateral cooperation should be promoted, and the armed forces of the two countries could cooperate to safeguard borders.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said a positive outcome to the ongoing talks in New York would contribute to closer cooperation between the two countries that had already begun with the signing of an interim agreement, also in New York.

Greece opposes the use of the name Macedonia by the neighbouring country, arguing that it conceals expansionist designs against its northern province of the same name.

An interim accord aiming at normalising bilateral relations was signed in New York in September 1995 by the two countries.

Foreign Ministry to publish history of the Greek Jews

The Foreign Ministry will publish in late June a bilingual (Greek, English) history of the Greek Jews compiled from the ministry archives, Fotini Konstantopoulou, director of the Foreign Ministry's Historical Archives, announced yesterday during an event in Thessaloniki honouring the 50,000 Jews of Thessaloniki who died in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

She said the various files from the archives concerning the rich cultural, economic and political activities of the Greek Jews and the holocaust were being used for the publication.

Ms. Konstantopoulou said that the "Nazi operation to annihilate the Jews of Europe was a heinous crime, a murderous crime against humanity".

The memorial service and event, at Thessaloniki's Monastirioton Synagogue, was attended by many of the surviving Greek Jews and Greeks who had helped save their Jewish compatriots, the administration of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki headed by its president Andreas Sefiha, and representatives of political parties, local administration and the Church.

Only 62 of the 1,600 Thessaloniki Jews who survived the Holocaust are alive today. About 50,000 Thessaloniki Jews, the largest Jewish community in Greece at the time, were transported in 19 operations by the Nazis to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentr ation camps between March and August 1943. Only 1,600 of them or 4 percent of the Thessaloniki Jewish population, survived.

Costas Karamanlis elected EDU Deputy President

The 18th Conference of European Democratic Union,EDU, Party Leaders opened in Salzbourg on Friday at a time coinciding with the celebration of its 20th anniversary.

Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis was elected EDU Deputy President on Friday, while the Deputy Prime Minister of the Finnish government and National Economy Minister Saouli Ninisto was elected President. He succeeds Alois Mock who was EDU President for 19 years. Mesut Yilmaz was also elected Deputy President.

The Conference is attended by Prime Ministers and party leaders from Europe and all over the world. ND is participating with a delegation headed by Deputy Marietta Yiannakou.

The issues on the agenda are the citizen's security and protection, combatting organised crime and drug trafficking, the prospect of uniting all centre-right parties in Europe into a wider European party, social development and the employment policy.

Bulgarian army chief begins visit to Athens today

The chief of Bulgaria's army general staff, Lieutenant General Ginio Tonev, today begins a three-day visit to Athens and talks with Greek counterpart Lt.-Gen. Manoussos Parayoudakis.

Defence Ministry sources told the ANA the two men would discuss issues of mutual interest focusing on bilateral relations and developments in the region.

Mr. Tonev would also visit formations, infantry units and archaeological sites while in Greece.

Athens hosts int'l meeting of female journalists

The two-day work meeting between the European Network of Greek Women Journalists and colleagues of theirs from other countries came to a close in Athens on Saturday. The meeting was aimed at a briefing on issues of their concern and the acquaintance of wo men journalists from various countries.

The meeting was attended by women journalists from France, Albania, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Italy, Yugoslavia, Portugal, Romania and Turkey.

An exchange of views took place on European issues and ways and proposals were set out on Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and finding solutions to problems faced by women journalists in southeastern Europe.

The President of the Institute of Audiovisual Means Olga Kleiamaki said that a struggle should get underway for the equal participation of women in the informatics system.

It was further stressed at the meeting that the globalisation of the economy, and by extension of informatics and information, has created new problems in the sector of journalism in which women are primarily called on to play an assisting role.

British stage director Peter Hall visits Athens

British stage director Peter Hall paid a flash visit to Greece yesterday with a scheduled meeting with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and the National Theatre's artistic director Nikos Kourkoulos,

Peter Hall proposed cooperation between the Royal Shakespearean Theatre and the National Theatre for the production and presentation of a spectacle of great dimensions and a worldwide calibre in Sydney, Australia, during the Cultural Olympiad in the year 2000.

Mr. Venizelos said afterwards that the Culture Ministry has the volition to adopt and help in materialising the plan concerning the worldwide promotion of the Greek theatrical performance.

The two sides did not announce details. However, it was disclosed that Peter Hall will come to Greece again in July when details of the cooperation will be discussed.

British Euro-MP to address conference on 'Byron against Elgin'

British Euro-MP and President of the Bertrand Russell Foundation for Peace Ken Coates laid a wreath at Lord Byron's monument at the Zappeion at noon yesterday. The event was part of a visit he is paying to Greece at the invitation of the Committee for the

Protection of Lord Byron's Heritage and as part of events organised in memory of the great poet and philhellene over the April 25-27 period.

In a brief address, Mr. Coates referred to Lord Byron's work, particularly in contrast to Lord Elgin and the theft of the Parthenon Marbles. He stressed Lord Byron's strong opposition to Elgin's action "which was also noted in his poem Harold's Tour and to such a degree that its publisher was led to censoring it." Mr. Coates also underlined Byron's unshakeable opposition to oppression of any kind.

Wreaths were also laid at Byron's monument on the part of the Athens Municipality by Deputy Mayor Mr. Yiatrakos, on the part of the Committee by the journalist and its President Theodoros Karzis, on the part of the Greek Byron Society by its head profes sor V. Laizis and the President of the Mesolonghi branch Rodanthi Florou.

At 10 a.m. today, Mr. Coates will address a conference titled "Byron against Elgin", organised by the Committee for the Protection of Lord Byron's Heritage.

The Committee was established a few months ago by residents of Vyronas (Byron) Municipality in eastern Athens to sensitise Greek public opinion on the danger of destruction faced by the ancestral home of Lord Byron in Newstead Abbey in Nottingham, England, as a result of subsidence caused by coal mining in the region.

Roman era tomb examined

A tomb dating back to Roman times located to the north of the Spileou Orestiadas community has been examined by the Antiquities Service of Thrace in the framework of excavations being conducted in the northern Evros area.

The tomb has a diametre of 30 metres and a height of three metres. It was made of several strata of earth having a different texture and covering only one cremation dating back to the early 2nd century A.D. The cremation was discovered at the southeastern sector of the tomb.

Clay and glass urns were found, a small copper urn, fragments of gold and a part of a metal ring containing a stone.

Conference examines fate of domestic tour operators

Representatives of tourist agencies from Greece, Armenia, Malta, Turkey and Cyprus on Saturday met to discuss how to deal with a growing trend in the tourism industry that may leave domestic tour operators at the mercy of larger northern European organisa tions.

Speakers at the Hellenic Association of Tourist and Travel Agencies (HATTA) conference on "Expansion: development or threat?" said the travel industry - the third largest sector in Europe - was being transformed by mergers and buyouts by strong travel organisations primarily based in northern Europe, such as Neckermann, TUI, LTU and Alltours.

Speakers said that these groups had the power to place demands on local hoteliers and tourist agents who could comply or face extinction.

This trend was of immediate concern to the countries of southern Europe, the main destination of package tours by holidaymakers from the north of Europe.

Gov't says will not intervene in OA's operational plans

The government will not intervene in the operational and commercial plans of Olympic Airways, Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis told a delegation of the airline's pilots who met him on Saturday to set out their objections to the curtai lment of flight routes and their reasons for refusing to work overtime.

The minister emphasised that the recently approved law on streamlining the airline must be implemented, and that the changes introduced to the bill at the last minute were made on the recommendation of the unions. He urged pilots to sort out problems wi th management so that the carrier's operation may return to normal. OA management yesterday did not rule out the possibility of suspending operations if flight schedules do not return to normal.

The airline's flight attendants union, meanwhile, has reportedly withdrawn its threat to start work stoppages on Monday.

Olympic Airways on Saturday urged its pilots to end an overtime ban that has led to daily flight cancellations and delays, crippling the ailing national carrier's finances.

OA's management said in a statement that it had no wish to formally reduce the airline's operations, but continuing disruption meant that a new flight schedule would have to be drawn up based on commercial and financial criteria.

The pilots' union has so far indicated it will stick to its original strike plan and order one or more stoppages during the week, probably on Wednesday or Thursday.

Greek soccer matches called off in pools revenue protest

Greek first division soccer games were called off this weekend in protest at the way pools revenue is distributed. Clubs are demanding a greater share of soccer pools income from the Greek sports ministry which distributes part of the money to the teams.

The Greek soccer association EPAE decided to call off this weekend's games - - the 31st round -- as a protest and reschedule them for next weekend. The Greek first division has four rounds left. Olympiakos Piraeus lead the table and look set to win the title.


Overcast weather is forecast throughout the country today with local showers in the eastern regions and the islands. Winds moderate to strong in the Aegean Sea later today. Athens will be mostly sunny with temperatures from 10-22C. Thessaloniki will be overcast with temperatures between 10- 20C.


Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 310.794 British pound 517.784 Japanese yen(100) 239.528 French franc 51.584 German mark 172.920 Italian lira (100) 17.502 Irish Punt 436.480 Belgian franc 8.388 Finnish mark 56.990 Dutch guilder 153.700 Danish kr. 45.378 Austrian sch. 24.587 Spanish peseta 2.037 Swedish kr. 40.319 Norwegian kr. 41.614 Swiss franc 208.464 Port. Escudo 1.686 Aus. dollar 202.829 Can. dollar 217.228 Cyprus pound 591.351


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