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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 03/06/1999 (ANA)


  • Greece hopes Kosovo diplomacy will prevail
  • Serb Parliament approves peace plan
  • NATO movements through Thessaloniki
  • Government dismisses Cem statements
  • 268 illegal immigrants expelled
  • Investigation into bus hijacking
  • Three arrested in drug haul
  • Partizan's Tumbakovic new AEK coach
  • Greek equities end higher on peace hopes
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greece hopes Kosovo diplomacy will prevail

Greece reiterated on Thursday its hope that a political settlement of the Yugoslav crisis would be achieved. Government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou was speaking as the Serb parliament convened to discuss a proposal drafted by the Russian, American and EU mediators. He refused to go into details of the negotiations or the possible role a Greek military mission would play. "The resolution of the Kosovo situation will not be a one-day procedure and Greece must play a role of stabililty and peace-making in the region," he said.

Serb Parliament approves peace plan

Serbia's Parliament approved the new peace proposals brought to Belgrade by Russian and European Union representatives, an ANA dispatch from Belgrade reported. The dispatch said the vote was 136 in favour of the plan, 74 against, 10 blank and one abstention. Membersof the Serbian Radical Party voted against the proposal, with the party's president, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Sesjeli telling reporters that his party would leave the government. "We will not welcome the forces of the aggressor and at the same time remain in the government and we do not accept that the Yugoslav army withdraw (from Kosovo) before an end to the bombing," he said.

NATO movements through Thessaloniki

Two NATO convoys left Thessaloniki port at dawn on Thursday with supplies for the French and Italian military contingents deployed in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The first convoy consisted of 35 armoured personnel carriers, one tank and dozens of containers unloaded at the port by the Italian vessel 'Major'. The second, bound for Skopje, was made up of 14 heavy vehicles and 15 trailers which reached Thessaloniki on the French freighter 'Peltsaspoer'. The passage of NATO convoys through Thessaloniki will be suspended on Friday because of the European elections, following agreement between the Greek government and the Alliance.

Government dismisses Cem statements

Greece on Thursday dismissed recent statements from Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem reiterating Ankara's claims of 'grey zones' in the Aegean. "There is no reason for us to protest about the statements of Turkish officials. As long as Turkey continues to make intransigent and aggressive statements, it puts itself in a difficult position in front of the international community," government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said. Nikolaou said Greece's stance on this issue - that Turkey should take its claims to the International Court of Justice at the Hague if it felt it had a case - still stood. Turkey has not made any move to refer the issue to the Hague.

268 illegal immigrants expelled

Greece on Thursday expelled 268 illegal immigrants found working without the appropriate papers in various areas of Kavala. The majority of illegal immigrants were Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Iraqis and Pakistani nationals. Earlier this week, Kavala police had deported another 190 illegal immigrants who were found to be without papers. Kavala police chief Anestis Lalinis said that the deportations would continue. Police in Serres, Drama, Xanthi, Alexandroupolis and Orestiada are also reported to be conducting checks in their areas to detect and arrest illegal immigrants.

Investigation into bus hijacking

The driver and ticket inspector of a bus hijacked by an Albanian man in Thessaloniki last Friday gave testimony on Thursday to a city prosecutor examining the circumstances of the incident, which led to the killing of the hijacker and one Greek hostage by Albanian police. In Athens, government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said the entire incident was the focus of an "objective" investigation which would examine at the same time conflicting claims by the Albanian authorities as to how the deaths occured. The Albanian man, working illegally in Greece, hijacked the inter- city bus as it travelled from the village of Scholari to Thessaloniki. He took eight Greeks on the bus hostage and kept police at bay for hours by brandishing a Kalashnikov and hand grenade and driving around the northern Greek region.

Three arrested in drug haul

Greek police on Thursday announced the arrest of three Albanians alleged to have smuggled large quantities of marijuana into the country and seized over 81 kilos of the illegal substance. The three were identified Rolan Nikola, 40, Luan Gela, 19 and Nikoli Nano, 30. The police seized a total of 81.25 kilos of marijuana, wrapped in 81 brick-shaped packs, which had been concealed in specially created compartments in a car. The three Albanians were due to appear before a public prosecutor in Athens later today.

Partizan's Tumbakovic new AEK coach

Serb soccer coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic on Thursday officially assumed his new job at AEK Athens after signing a three-year contract worth 500 million drachmas. Tumbakovic has for the past six years been coach of Partizan Belgrade, the team which AEK played in a friendly on April 7 to raise money for Serb victims of the Yugoslav crisis. AEK finished second in the Greek first division this season and will participate in the coming European Champions' League.

Greek equities end higher on peace hopes

Renewed hopes of a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis combined with reports of a surprise fall in inflation encouraged sentiment on the Athens Stock Exchange and led equity prices sharply higher on Thursday. The general index ended 1.27 percent higher at 4,123.02 points, sharply off the day's highs of 4,180 points. Turnover was 177 billion drachmas with 29,934, 000 shares changing hands.


Fair weather will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Partly cloudy in the afternoon in northern Greece with the possibility of showers in the mountainous regions. Winds variable, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Fair in Athens with temperatures between 17-32C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 17-32C.


Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          309.950
Pound sterling       499.670
Japanese yen (100)   256.372
French franc          48.998
German mark          164.334
Italian lira (100)    16.599
Irish Punt           408.104
Belgian franc          7.968
Luxembourg franc       7.968
Finnish mark          54.057
Dutch guilder        145.849
Danish kr.            43.247
Austrian sch.         23.358
Spanish peseta         1.931
Swedish kr.           35.783
Norwegian kr.         39.005
Swiss franc          202.219
Port. Escudo           1.603
Can. dollar          208.737
Aus. dollar          200.196
Cyprus pound         556.631
Euro                 321.408
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