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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-04-26

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, 26/04/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Papandreou: Greece extends hand of friendship to Turkey
  • Athens, Skopje agree to cooperate on Kosovo problems
  • Greece's EMU prospects unaffected by Kosovo
  • Opposition parties ask for meeting with government
  • Seven MPs ask for Parliament debate on Kosovo
  • Swedish royal couple begin Athens visit
  • Nine arrested in drug arrests
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Papandreou: Greece extends hand of friendship to Turkey

Foreign Minister George Papandreou last night said Greece extended its friendship to Turkey not out weakness, but in the belief that cooperation between the two neighbouring countries could only benefit them. "Greece extends its friendship to Turkey not out of weakness, but out of the strength of its (Greece's) positions and in its belief that cooperation between the two countries can prove only of benefit to both of them," Papandreou said in Washington while addressing the opening of a conference on "NATO and Southeastern Europe" organised by Tufts University's Foreign Policy Institute in collaboration with the Kokkalis Foundation. Papandreou expressed hope that the the determination and desire will exist for cooperation between the two countries similar to that in facing the Kosovo crisis.

Athens, Skopje agree to cooperate on Kosovo problems

Athens and Skopje expressed their desire to cooperation in facing the repercussions of the Kosovo crisis as well as in bilateral economic cooperation, during talks between Greek prime minister Costas Simitis and FYROM president Kiro Gligorov in Washigton on Sunday. The two men also said after the 45-minute meeting that talks on the FYROM name issue would continue in New York under the auspices of the United Nations. Gligorov said this issue had not been covered in his meeting with Simitis but was an issue of the UN-brokered talks. He said, however, that the name talks were progressing, while Simitis added his hope that a solution would be found.

Greece's EMU prospects unaffected by Kosovo

Greece said on Monday that the effects of the Kosovo crisis would not be of such magnitude as to prevent Greece from achieving its inclusion in economic and monetary union. Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis told reporters that fears developments in the Balkans would derail the economy's attempt to meet the Maastricht criteria were baseless. Turning to the results of the NATO summit in Washington, he reiterated Prime Minister Costas Simitis's words that Greece's participation in NATO was a necessity. "Those with an understanding of reality in the world and the operations of international organisations completely understand Greece's positions," Athanassakis said. "Our participation in NATO aims at facilitating our own interests but our participation also creates rights and obligations." Simitis will return to Athens later on Monday.

Opposition parties ask for meeting with government

Main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis began a round of meetings with political party leaders on Monday, hoping to exert pressure on the government to convene a meeting of the council of party leaders on Greece's involvement in the Yugoslav conflict. "Despite differences, there is room for meetings and discussions," Karamanlis said. He criticised the prime minister for refusing to call the council, despite broad support from all the opposition parties. He noted that Greece has not set out in "a clear and strong voice" its positions and objections to the Yugoslav conflict, which, he said, "is destabilising the region and causing casualties on both sides."

Seven MPs ask for Parliament debate on Kosovo

In a related development, seven ruling party MPs have sent a letter to Parliament President Apostolos Kakalamanis asked for the House to hold a debate on the developments in Yugoslavia. "The tragic events on the territory of neighbouring countries are being dealt with in the absence of the Assembly," the MPs say in their letter. "Decisions are being taken which are constitutionally questionable." Members of Parliament have been relegated to the sidelines as "spectators" and the institution of Parliament downgraded, they say. Parliament, meanwhile, will hold an off- the-agenda deabte on NATO's new structure at political party leader level on May 3.

Swedish royal couple begin Athens visit

A aircraft problem caused a delay in the start of an official three-day visit by the Swedish royal couple to Greece, press reports said. Although the technical fault in the airplane scheduled to bring King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia to Greece has been fixed, the delay is expected to cause some changes to the royal couple's official schedule. The royal couple are expected to have a private meeting with President Costis Stephanopoulos after the official reception on their arrival, which is expected to be early in the afternoon.

Nine arrested in drug arrests

Six members of a Greek-Romanian drug smuggling ring and three Iranian narcotics dealers were arrested in separate incidents, police said today. They said four Greek men and a woman -- Constantine Karayannis 40, Nicos Helmis 36, Geroge Petrakos 37, Evangelos Varkatzas 30, and Vassiliki Yannaraki 22 -- and a Romanian, identified as Mario Petrescou, 27, were arrested last night with 669 grams of heroin, 11 grams of cannabis, one gram of cocaine, a pen/gun, two pistols, a machine gun, two rifles and a quantity of bullets in their posession. The arms and ammunition, as well as 6.5 million dr., 358 dollars, six mobile phones and two cars, were confiscated.

WEATHER

Scattered cloud and showers and long spells of sunshine are forecast for most parts of the country today with mild to moderate westerly winds. Athens will be fine with local cloud in the afternoon and temperatures from 10-20C. Thessaloniki will be overcast with small possibility of showers in outlying areas and temperatures from 8-17C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          304.286
Pound sterling       491.139
Japanese yen (100)   254.269
French franc          49.337
German mark          165.470
Italian lira (100)    16.714
Irish Punt           410.925
Belgian franc          8.023
Luxembourg franc       8.023
Finnish mark          54.431
Dutch guilder        146.857
Danish kr.            43.543
Austrian sch.         23.519
Spanish peseta         1.945
Swedish kr.           36.416
Norwegian kr.         39.124
Swiss franc          202.095
Port. Escudo           1.614
Aus. dollar          198.331
Can. dollar          205.780
Cyprus pound         559.488
Euro                 323.630
(M.P.)
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