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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-04-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 21/04/1999 (ANA)


  • FM Papandreou to visit Moscow next week
  • Justice minister calls for EU action
  • Greeks see 'hypocrisy' in NATO action
  • Scuffles, two arrests during protest march
  • Naval officer gets 2.5 year suspended sentence
  • Anarchists in peaceful demonstration at Citibank
  • Swedish royal couple begin visit on Monday
  • Greek equities end moderately lower
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


FM Papandreou to visit Moscow next week

The government confirmed on Wednesday that Foreign Minister George Papandreou would visit Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov on the Kosovo crisis, immediately after returning from Washington where he will attend the NATO summit.

Justice minister calls for EU action

Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos has invited his European Union counterparts to hold talks and take decisions concerning the ongoing NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. A letter containing the invitation was sent on Tuesday to the foreign and justice ministers of Germany, the current holder of the rotating EU presidency, with copies sent to the justice ministers of the EU member states. In the letter, Yiannopoulos describes the bombing as a "war crime, a crime against humanity and a crime against peace". He also sets out the international laws which have been violated and asks rhetorically whether international law and order is still functioning.

Greeks see 'hypocrisy' in NATO action

Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Wednesday said that those who are not familiar with the great tragedy of Hellenism, namely the Turkish occupation of one-third of Cyprus' territory, cannot understand why the Greek people sees much hypocrisy in NATO's intervention in Yugoslavia. He made the statement during an official visit to office in parliament by Norway's Ambassador in Athens, Jan Hegg. Kaklamanis reiterated Greece's position that the rights of all minorities should be protected and in favour of the inviolability of borders.

Scuffles, two arrests during protest march

Three different protest marches converged on the U.S. Embassy in Athens on Wednesday with police reporting minor scuffles and incidents during one of the marches. During one of the marches, by hundreds of university students, some youths threw red paint, eggs and planks of wood at the European Commission offices in Athens, a short distance from the Embassy. Police clashed with the demonstrators, firing tear gas and arresting two youths. There were no incidents reported outside the Embassy itself where the protestors shouted slogans against NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia.

Naval officer gets 2.5 year suspended sentence

A Greek naval officer who refused to sail with his ship to join a NATO mission in the Adriatic was sentenced to two and a half years jail, suspended for three years, by a naval court on Wednesday. Sublieutenant Marinos Ritsioudis had cited religious reasons for his refusal. Ritsioudis, 26, said that he would not have been protecting the borders of his country had he taken up his mission on the Greek warship Themistocleous "but I would have come up against a people sharing the same religion". The Themistocleous set sail on Sunday for the Adriatic, relieving warship Kimon from duty in the Standing Naval Mediterranean Force. Apart from Ritsioudis, another Greek sailor due to sail with the Themistocleous refused his assignment and is expected to face the same court.

Anarchists in peaceful demonstration at Citibank

A group of anarchists blocked the entrance to a downtown branch of Citibank in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Wednesday. About 30 youths from "Anarchist Initiative" picketed the entrance to the bank, holding banners with slogans protesting NATO's bombing of Belgrade and against U.S. policy. After the hour-long protest, the demonstrators dispersed peacefully.

Swedish royal couple begin visit on Monday

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia of Sweden are due in Athens on Monday for a three day visit at the invitation of President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, in the first-ever visit by a head of state between the two countries. They will receive a state welcome at the Presidential Mansion immediately after their arrival before meeting with Stephanopoulos. On Wednesday, the royal couple will visit Ancient Asini, near Nafplion in the Peloponnese, where the king's grandfather, prominent Swedish archaeologist Gustaf VI Adolf carried out his first Greek excavations in the 1920s. The excavations are continuing today. The Swedish royal couple departs Athens on Thursday morning for the return home.

Greek equities end moderately lower

Equity prices ended moderately lower on Wednesday extending their decline for the fifth consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange. The general index ended 0.68 percent off to 3,350.56 points, losing 10.24 percent in the last five sessions. The market initially reacted favourably to reassurances from government officials and Bank of Greece governor that the impact of the Kosovo crisis was limited on the economy pushing the index 2.53 percent up in the first hour of transactions. Later on, however, investors resumed their cautious attitude and pushed prices lower. Turnover was 107.481 billion drachmas and volume 20,502,215 shares. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.92 percent down while the FTSE/ASE 20 index dropped 0.59 percent to 2,096.88.


Mostly fair weather with rising temperatures will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds variable, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 8-24C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-22C.

Foreign Exchange

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 303.393 Pound sterling 490.108 Japanese yen (100) 257.176 French franc 49.263 German mark 165.221 Italian lira (100) 16.689 Irish Punt 410.308 Belgian franc 8.010 Luxembourg franc 8.010 Finnish mark 54.349 Dutch guilder 146.636 Danish kr. 43.479 Austrian sch. 23.484 Spanish peseta 1.942 Swedish kr. 36.273 Norwegian kr. 39.051 Swiss franc 201.510 Port. Escudo 1.612 Aus. dollar 196.986 Can. dollar 203.856 Cyprus pound 559.369 Euro 323.144


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