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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-04-20

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, 20/04/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens says no decision on ground troops facilities
  • Greece faces no environmental danger from NATO bombing
  • Former PM calls on Simitis to 'speak frankly' at NATO summit
  • 42 Greek activists to Nis to form human shields
  • Greek women's group in Albania for refugee relief
  • Greek equities end down 0.37 pct
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens says no decision on ground troops facilities

Greece said on Tuesday that no decision had been taken over whether it would allow NATO troops destined for a land offensive in Kosovo to cross its territory, a spokesman said. "We hope that this issue will not be one we have to deal with," government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said. He said it was too soon to discuss whether Greek destroyer Themistocleous, currently part of the standing naval force in the Adriatic, would be involved in inspections of other vessels as part of monitoring of a touted oil embargo on Yugoslavia.

Greece faces no environmental danger from NATO bombing

Greece's Environment Minister denied on Tuesday that Greece was being affected by toxic clouds or radiation from the bombing of chemical plants in Yugoslavia. "To date all the measurements and reports from expert agencies have shown that there is absolutely no problem," Environment Minister Costas Laliotis told reporters after a meeting of experts. The meeting was attended by Laliotis, Deputy Health Minister Nikos Farmakis and representatives of a number of Greek agencies monitoring environmental effects. Laliotis said Greece was continually monitoring air and water pollution levels and that these checks would be extended to all of northern Greece. The minister called on the press and media to base their reports on expert advice and agencies involved with monitoring the situation, saying there was no need "for irresponsible statements and panic".

Former PM calls on Simitis to 'speak frankly' at NATO summit

Prime Minister Costas Simitis must seize the opportunity at the NATO summit to appeal for another chance at a political settlement to the conflict in Kosovo, a former Greek prime minister said on Tuesday. "He must speak with candour to NATO and address himself to U.S. and European public opinion because that is where there are allies for the achievement of a reasonable solution," Constantine Mitsotakis, premier from 1990-1993, said in a statement. "What is happening is so illogical that I believe that the premier's words will be heard and will influence. There is still time for a political settlement, which is the only hope for the Balkans," he said. Mitsotakis, who is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister George Papandreou, criticised the West for apparently taking sides in the Kosovo conflict. "The West must be an objective observer which impartially defends peace and human rights and does not become the ally of one side," he said.

42 Greek activists to Nis to form human shields

Forty-two members of a Greek trade union movement, PAME, said on Tuesday they would travel to Serbia to participate in 'human shields' Yugoslavs are forming around hospitals and bridges to protect them from NATO bombs. The delegation is expected to leave for the Yugoslav city of Nis from Thessaloniki on Thursday evening. A representative said another group of trade union activists would leave for Yugoslavia on a similar mission shortly.

Greek women's group in Albania for refugee relief

A delegation from the Union of Women's Balkan Cooperation Societies and the UNESCO Centre for Women and Peace in the Balkans began a three-day visit to refugee centres in Albanian on Tuesday. The aim of the delegation's visit is to define, with other non-governmental organisations, priorities in needs for the refugees. The delegation will have meetings in Tirana aimed at created centres which will act as distribution points for humanitarian aid destined for the refugees.

Greek equities end down 0.37 pct

Equity prices ended a nervous session slightly lower on the Athens Stock Exchange finding support in short-covering and other bargain buying. The general index ended 0.37 percent down to 3,373.62 points, off the day's lows of 3,289. Deutsche Bank's positive report on the Greek market's prospects and the Bank of Greece governor's forecast that inflation would drop to two percent by the end of the year helped sentiment. Traders said the market was also encouraged by the prime minister's reassurance that the country would participate in EMU despite the Kosovo crisis. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.22 percent down.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather will prevail throughout the country on Tuesday with the possibility of intermittent rain in northern Greece in the afternoon. Winds variable, light to strong. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 10-22C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 9-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          303.235
Pound sterling       490.742
Japanese yen (100)   257.107
French franc          49.202
German mark          165.018
Italian lira (100)    16.669
Irish Punt           409.804
Belgian franc          8.001
Luxembourg franc       8.001
Finnish mark          54.282
Dutch guilder        146.456
Danish kr.            43.436
Austrian sch.         23.455
Spanish peseta         1.939
Swedish kr.           36.315
Norwegian kr.         39.003
Swiss franc          201.614
Port. Escudo           1.610
Aus. dollar          197.735
Can. dollar          204.848
Cyprus pound         558.079
Euro                 322.747
(M.P.)
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