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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-02-03

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From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 03/02/1999 (ANA)


  • No dissent over missiles decision
  • U.S. says Greek-Turkish conflict less likely
  • Greece supports efforts for Kosovo solution
  • Police nab elusive immigrant smuggler
  • Experts defusing bomb at shipyards
  • First clue appears in missing crew mystery
  • Austrian teenager found safe
  • Illegal immigrants begin hunger strike
  • Crowd robs bank
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


No dissent over missiles decision

The government on Wednesday dismissed any notion of a major difference of opinion between Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Cyprus' order for Russian S-300 missiles and the subsequent decision not to deploy them on the divided island. Nicosia had originally ordered the anti-aircraft missiles to bolster its defences but President Glafcos Clerides recently decided against their deployment. Cyprus' plans to install the missiles had been criticised by the United States and European countries which feared that it would increase tension in the region. Turkey had openly threatened to prevent their deployment.

U.S. says Greek-Turkish conflict less likely

The risk of a Greek-Turkish war has declined over the past year, according to George Tenet, director of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) said Tuesday, according to an ANA dispatch from Washington In a brief reference to Greek-Turkish relations during a briefing of the Senate armed forces committee, Tenet said that "prospects were improved in the Aegean, where tension remains but the possibility of an armed conflict between Greece and Turkey has declined now that Cyprus president Glafcos Clerides agreed to the deployment of the Russian missiles on Crete (instead of Cyprus)".

Greece supports efforts for Kosovo solution

Greece on Wednesday voiced support for efforts aimed at finding a solution to the crisis in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, referring in particular to those of US envoy Chris Hill. "Greece supports the efforts to find a solution in Kosovo. The Hill plan (providing) for the recognition of the rights of the Moslems of Kosovo and the granting of autonomy to the region without any change of borders is a good basis for reaching agreement at talks in France," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. Hill, the US Ambassador to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), has for the past few months been leading efforts aimed at a peaceful settlement of the crisis in the strife-torn province. The Contact Group on former Yugoslavia - comprising the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia - last week warned the parties to the conflict in Kosovo to attend peace talks in France at the weekend or face military action by NATO.

Police nab elusive immigrant smuggler

Greek police said on Wednesday they had arrested a leading figure in the trade in illegal immigrants as he attempted to 'take delivery' of three illegal immigrants. Eftyhios Zervoudakis, 43, and an unnamed foreign accomplice were arrested on the Attica coast, at the summer resort of Anavyssos, on Tuesday. They were waiting for three Indian illegal immigrants placed on shore by the Honduras-flagged vessel 'Volha', which belongs to Zervoudakis. Zervoudakis was one of four Greeks charged with murder in January 1997, for allegedly causing the deaths of 283 illegal immigrants by sinking the vessel which was carrying them off the coast of Sicily on Christmas Day 1996.

Experts defusing bomb at shipyards

The Avlis shipyards in Halkis and a nearby chemicals industry have been evacuated by police after a live time-bomb was discovered in the shipyard's floating dock by worker's on the morning shift, police said today. The Halkis coast guard and merchant marine ministry were immediately alerted, and ministry officers, including three bomb disposal experts, were on their way to Halkis, on Evia island, a ministry spokesman told the ANA. The shipyard and a nearby chemicals industry compound have been evacuated as a precautionary measure against the potential explosion of the time- bomb.

First clue appears in missing crew mystery

An amateur fishermen on Wednesday turned over to port authorities in Crete a wooden fish crate belonging to a trawler that went missing without a trace nearly two weeks ago. The trawler 'Lyberius', with two Greek seamen and five Egyptian fishermen aboard, set sail from the port of Keratsini, near Piraeus, on January 23, destined for the Cyclades Islands. The Lyberius was last seen the following evening off the coast of the island of Santorini by another fishing boat. The Coast Guard had been scouring the area since, but had failed to come up with any traces of the missing trawler and seamen.

Austrian teenager found safe

A 16-year-old Austrian schoolgirl who went missing five days ago in the port city of Patras showed up at a police station today, police said, giving no further details. Silvia Hobarth was last seen on Saturday on the pleasure boat "Noah", which was docked in the port of Patras. Hobarth came to Greece on a school trip sponsored by the Austrian government for "children with social adjustment difficulties". Police declined to make further statements until the girl completed her testimony, but police sources said she had gone to Athens with a group of friends.

Illegal immigrants begin hunger strike

Twenty-five illegal immigrants being held at the Drapetsona police station pending deportation began a hunger strike on Tuesday night to press for better conditions during their detention. The 25 are all reported to be Moslems. They are demanding better food and living conditions as well as access to doctors. The group said they would continue the strike until their deportation. There was no information on when they would be deported.

Crowd robs bank

Five armed men held up a branch of the Agricultural Bank of Greece in Kleitoria, Kalavryta on Wednesday and escaped with three million drachmas. The masked robbers made their getaway in two cars.


Intermittent rain is forecast in most parts of Greece today with light snowfall in the mountainous regions and possibly in areas of central Greece. Winds northerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Sunny spells in Athens with possible rain in the afternoon and temperatures from 2-11C. Overcast in Thessaloniki with temperatures from - 2C to 4C.


Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 281.371 Pound sterling 462.847 Japanese yen (100) 248.417 French franc 48.519 German mark 162.726 Italian lira (100) 16.436 Irish Punt 404.111 Belgian franc 7.890 Finnish mark 53.528 Dutch guilder 144.421 Danish kr. 42.791 Austrian sch. 23.130 Spanish peseta 1.913 Swedish kr. 35.869 Norwegian kr. 37.091 Swiss franc 198.564 Port. Escudo 1.587 Aus. dollar 179.478 Can. dollar 186.317 Cyprus pound 549.370


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