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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-04-13

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, 13/04/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • PM to confer with foreign, defence ministers
  • Athens denies agreement with FYROM on name issue
  • Australian politician asks Greek help for aid workers
  • German woman attacked; two arrested
  • 521 illegal immigrants to be deported
  • Polish national found dead in farmhouse
  • Greek equities end up after Easter break
  • FM: NATO decision not to send ground troops still holds
  • Albright praises Greece's role in the region
  • Constantopoulos to visit FYROM on Thursday
  • DHKKI begins collecting aid for Yugoslavia
  • Tsohatzopoulos visits Kosovo refugees in Albania
  • More humanitarian aid to Albania
  • 41 killed in traffic accidents over Easter period
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

PM to confer with foreign, defence ministers

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair a meeting of the defence and foreign ministers on Wednesday morning to examine issues related to this week's European Union and NATO summits. Simitis will leave later in the day for Brussels to represent Greece at the EU summit. On Thursday he will leave for Sofia, for an official visit at the invitation of Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov. Simitis returns to Athens on Friday, where he will brief President Costis Stephanopoulos on developments in Yugoslavia and the wider Balkans as well as on the outcome of the EU summit. The prime minister leaves for New York on Sunday to take part in the NATO summit marking the 50th anniversary of the Alliance.

Athens denies agreement with FYROM on name issue

Greece on Tuesday denied press reports that an agreement settling the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was in the works. "There is no agreement about to be signed," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters. Press reports had speculated that an agreement would be signed in the U.S., during a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and FYROM President Kiro Gligorov. Athens and Skopje are currently holding talks under UN auspices to reach a compromise on the issue of the name of Greece's northern neighbour. Greece says the term 'Macedonia', which Skopje insists on using for its constitutional name, implies territorial claims on the Greek province of Macedonia. Reppas said Gligorov had requested a meeting with the Greek premier and that the meeting had been set for April 25, but that the name issue had not been cited as the reason for the meeting.

Australian politician asks Greek help for aid workers

An Australian politician has asked Greece to intercede with Belgrade to release two Australian aid workers being held on charges of espionage, the ANA reports from Melbourne. ANA said Mike Wran, the leader of the South Australian Labor Party, had written to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis asking him to intercede with the Yugoslav authorities to release the two Australians. Steve Pratt and Peter Wallace, part of Care Australia's refugee relief programme in Yugoslavia, were reported missing two weeks ago. Pratt was shown "confessing" to intelligence gathering activities for NATO on Serbian television on Sunday. Allegations that the two spied for NATO have been strongly denied by the mens' families, Care Australia and the Australian government. In his letter to Simitis, Wran says the charges against the two are "completely baseless" and given that Australia was not involved militarily in the air strikes against Serbia, there was no justification for their being held as "prisoners of war".

German woman attacked; two arrested

Police in the northwest port of Igoumenitsa said on Tuesday they had arrested two men suspected of raping a 21-year-old German woman. Theysaid the woman, identified only by her initials K.O., told them she had been attacked by a group of foreign men while walking in the port city's park. K.O. told police she was initially approached by two men who attacked her. She was then sexually assaulted by them and other men. Following the rape, K.O. was beaten and had her passport and $600 stolen from her. Police said they had arrested two Iraqi Kurds and were seeking the others involved in the attack.

521 illegal immigrants to be deported

Police in Ioannina said they arrested a total of 521 Albanian nationals attempting to enter Greece illegally over the four-day Easter weekend. The police said the high number of arrests was due to the mistaken assumption by the would-be illegal immigrants that border controls would be more lax over the holiday period. The 521 Albanians will all be returned to Albanian territory through the Kakavias border post.

Polish national found dead in farmhouse

A Polish national was found dead in a farmhouse near Argolis in the Peloponnese, police said today. The man, identified as Anatol Ostarkiewicz, 35, was found dead by local farmers late last night and his body was brought to Athens for a post mortem. Police gave no other details except for the man's passport No. 9745901 issued in Poland on 7 October 1996.

Greek equities end up after Easter break

Equity prices ended the first trading session following a four-day Easter break sharply higher. The general index ended 2.72 percent up to 3,720.16 points, only 54.13 points off its record close of March 19 before the start of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia. The Athens bourse fluctuated widely, within the 3,100-3,700 range, since the crisis began in Kosovo. Traders said the market reacted, belatedly, to a decision last Thursday by European Central Bank to lower its short-term rate by 50 basis points and a record rally in European stock markets which followed through.

FM: NATO decision not to send ground troops still holds

Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday expressed satisfaction over the response proposals for a political settlement to the Kosovo crisis met with at the meeting of NATO member-states' foreign ministers. He said the decision not to use the alliance's ground forces still holds and consent was also reached both on the promotion of diplomatic solutions, with the contribution of Russia, and the safeguarding of Yugoslavia's present borders.

Albright praises Greece's role in the region

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praised Greece's role in the region and the rendering of humanitarian aid at a press conference she gave at the end of the meeting. "The Greeks have helped us and they will help more," she said. Referring to the climate of consensus prevailing at the meeting, she focused in particular on her meeting with Mr. Papandreou on the sidelines of the meeting and to Greece's role in the region. Mr. Papandreou said Greece's role is not limited to its contribution to overcoming the crisis but extends to the next day as well, as a force of peace in the region.

Constantopoulos to visit FYROM on Thursday

Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos)leader Nikos Constantopoulos will visit the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Thursday for talks with the country's political leadership. Mr. Constantopoulos will also be visiting Tirana and B ucharest in the near future. Mr. Constantopoulos' visits are part of the party's initiatives "for an end to NATO bombings, the achievement of a political solution to the Kosovo crisis, humanitarian aid for refugees and conditions of peace, stability and multifaceted cooperation being secured in the Balkans."

DHKKI begins collecting aid for Yugoslavia

The Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) is collecting humanitarian aid for Yugoslavia, hit by NATO bombings, officials said yesterday. DHKKI asked its members and the public to contribute whatever they could. The party's headquarters in central Athens are to be used as a collection point throughout the day. The project is being undertaken with the Yugoslav embassy in Athens.

Tsohatzopoulos visits Kosovo refugees in Albania

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos visited regions on Saturday where the biggest part of refugees from Kosovo have been located. Accompanied by members of the Greek Embassy in Tirana and the Orthodox Archbishop of Albania Anastasios, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos visited the town of Kukes which is the main point of entry into Albania for Kosovo Albanians. He visited the Greek military force which in recent days has been creating a refugee settlement, while Greek officers briefed him on the daily shipments of foodstuffs to northern Albania and talked to many refugees staying there. On Saturday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was received by Albanian Prime Minister Panteli Majko who expressed satisfaction over Greece's speedy response to the Albanian government's request for humanitarian aid to avert a humanitarian disaster in the country. He further said that Greece's example must be followed by other countries, appreciating as positive the creation of settlements by the Greek military force.

More humanitarian aid to Albania

Humanitarian aid, particularly for the Albanian people who are currently facing an acute refugee accumulation problem, is being gathered by a newly- established solidarity committee in Thessaloniki in cooperation with the Archbishop of Albania Anastasios. The Solidarity for All Committee, composed of Aristotelion University professors and the publisher Petros Papasarantopoulos, is already gathering quantities of foodstuffs which will be sent with an aircraft to be provided by the Greek government and will be distriubuted in Albania at the responsibility of the Archdiocese.

41 killed in traffic accidents over Easter period

This year's Easter was one of the worst in traffic accidents over past years as 41 people were killed and 430 injured in 305 traffic accidents all over the country from Thursday until Monday afternoon. Twelve people were killed in four traffic accidents alone.

WEATHER

Cloud and scattered showers are expected in many parts of the country today. Athens will be sunny with a few clouds and temperatures ranging from 12-21C. Same in Thessaloniki with rain likely in the evening and temperatures ranging from 8-18C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Rates Tuesday        (buying)
U.S. dollar          297.679
Pound sterling       477.688
Japanese yen (100)   246.423
French franc          49.086
German mark          164.627
Italian lira (100)    16.629
Irish Punt           408.835
Belgian franc          7.982
Luxembourg franc       7.982
Finnish mark          54.153
Dutch guilder        146.110
Danish kr.            43.342
Austrian sch.         23.399
Spanish peseta         1.935
Swedish kr.           35.930
Norwegian kr.         38.337
Swiss franc          201.822
Port. Escudo           1.606
Aus. dollar          186.079
Can. dollar          198.995
Cyprus pound         557.742
Euro                 321.983
(M.P.)
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