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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-08-04

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1254), August 4, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Greek troops home from Albania, ministerial delegation to Tirana
  • [02] Greek ministerial delegation to Tirana
  • [03] Albanian FM on Greek visit
  • [04] US dominates in track and field
  • [05] Performance of Greek athletes
  • [06] Tsohatzopoulos attends ceremony of delivery of modern weapons system
  • [07] Greece second safest country in Europe for tourists
  • [08] Authorities on state of alert due to Evros River contamination
  • [09] IOC and IAAF presidents impressed by World Athletics ceremony
  • [10] Athens mayor meets counterparts of 2000 Olympic Games candidate cities
  • [11] Premier begins summer vacations
  • [12] Two managers at PYRKAL charged following blast at plant
  • [13] Song writer, accused of killing, to appear before public prosecutor

  • [01] Greek troops home from Albania, ministerial delegation to Tirana

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    The largest part of the Greek contingent which participated in the multinational peace force in Albania returned home yesterday, while a seven-member Greek government delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos leaves tomorrow for an official visit to Tirana.

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday morning welcomed, during a special ceremony in the port of Thessaloniki, 278 officers and non-commissioned officers of the Greek army ELDAL (Greek Force for Albania) unit who arrived at 9.30 am, aboard Navy transport ships "Samos" and "Hios".

    About seventy troops are still in Albania and are expected to return home by August 10. The first company of the Greek force arrived in the neighboring country in mid-April. The multinational force's task was to help restore normality in Albania and assist towards the holding of democratic elections. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos conveyed the government's congratulations for successfully carrying out their mission, stressing that "the fact that you have all returned, is the greatest joy for us".

    In reference to the mission, the defense minister said that "the presence and initiatives of the Greek force made possible the holding of free and democratic elections in Albania, justifying the (soldiers') choice for taking part in the mission and the Greek people's support for it and thus opening the way for Greek armed forces to assume a role of 'ambassador of peace' in countries faced with long crises, instability and anomaly, and confirming Greece's role as a factor of peace, stability and cooperation in the Balkans".

    The minister made reference to the human dimension of the mission, saying that the men of ELDAL offered more than just protection with "the unique and spontaneous connection" they made with the Albanian people, through the solidarity developed between Greek soldiers, Albanian citizens and the local military.

    [02] Greek ministerial delegation to Tirana

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek positions concerning all pending issues between Greece and Albania are expected to be the focus of a series of meetings with the new government in Tirana, during an official visit to Albania by a seven-member Greek government delegation starting tomorrow. The Greek delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    The foreign minister will be accompanied by Public Order Minister George Romeos, as well as undersecretaries of foreign affairs Yiannos Kranidiotis, defense Dimitris Apostolakis, national economy Alexandros Baltas, public works Christos Verelis and labor Christos Protopappas. The top issue in the agenda of discussions is believed to be the issue of illegal Albanian immigrants in Greece, who are currently estimated at 200 to 300 thousand.

    The discussion of the issue seems to be timely, as an interstate agreement on seasonal work by Albanians in Greece is expected to be put into effect. It is also expected that Greece's Labor Ministry will soon announce regulations, contained in Presidential Decrees, regarding the granting of six- to nine-month visas to foreigners.

    Another issue to be examined during the Greek delegation's meetings with Albania's new government is the need to reorganize the country's police, as well as the need for co-operation between the two countries' police forces in order to effectively deal with crimes committed in Greece by Albanians, both in the inland and in border regions. The Greek delegation will ask Albanian officials to provide them with a list of escapees from Albanian prisons in the past months.

    As far as the issue of education is concerned, which mainly affects the Greek minority living in the neighboring country, Greece will put forward a demand relating to the establishment of private Greek schools, which in turn requires an overall modernization of the Albanian educational system.

    Finally, the Greek delegation will discuss the terms under which Greece will go ahead with the granting of a loan to Albania reaching $ 20 billion.

    [03] Albanian FM on Greek visit

    Gjirokaster, Albania, 4/8/1997 (ANA - P. Barkas)

    Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo said that he considers his Greek counterpart's visit to Tirana as the expression of the will and desire of the Greek government to support Albania and its people.

    He said that the visit is within the "spirit" of the new government's policy statement voted by the Albanian Parliament last week, which refers to relations with neighboring countries as a cornerstone of Albanian foreign policy. "We evaluate these relations based on a variety of factors, not just geographical and historical".

    Mr. Milo refrained from revealing the agenda of the talks with Mr. Pangalos, however he did point to the issue of Albanian illegal immigrants' legal status in Greece, as a priority in talks between the two countries.

    Asked if Mr. Pangalos' visit could be considered equally important with the Albania-Italy Rome summit meeting last week, Mr. Milo replied that "the importance of visits is judged by their results. Therefore, it is too early to make comparisons". He also said that the Rome meeting was the first high level meeting for the new government and that it was very successful as it affirmed the mutual trust and understanding between the two countries.

    In statements on Saturday, Mr. Milo said that "Italy was and remains one of Albania's most important partners in all levels, political, economic and military. As a neighboring country it has won, by nature and by virtue, the position of a liked and worthy partner among Albanians. From this point of view and form the point of view of Albanian-Italian relations, we believe that Italy will continue to lead the drive for international aid to Albania".

    [04] US dominates in track and field

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    The United States dominated in yesterday's track and field events, collecting two gold medals during the second day of the Athens '97 World Athletics Championships.

    American Maurice Greene last night upset favorites Ato Bolton and defending champion Donovan Bailey to win the men's 100 meters gold medal in 9.86 seconds.

    Donovan Bailey of Canada took the silver in 9.91 seconds and American Tim Montgomery the bronze with 9.94.

    American Marion Jones won the women's 100 meters gold medal in 10.83 seconds. Zhanna Pintussevich of the Ukraine took the silver in 10.85 and Bahamian Sevatheda Fynes took the bronze medal in 11.03 seconds.

    German Heinz Weis won the hammer gold medal with 81.78 meters yesterday. Before his final attempt, Weis was second to Ukrainian Andrei Skvaruk.

    Skvaruk had been seemingly out of medal contention but in his final throw took the lead with 81.46 meters, winning the silver medal.

    Russian Vasiliy Sidorenko took the bronze with 80.76 meters

    In the shot put finals, on Saturday, Ukrainian veteran Aleksandr Bagach won his first world title with 21.47 meters, after a close battle with defending champion Jonh Godina.

    American Godina took the silver with 21.44 meters and Oliver-Sven Buder of Germany won bronze with 21.24 meters.

    Mexican Daniel Garcia won the men's 20 kms walk gold medal on Saturday, while Russian Mikhail Shchennikov took the silver and Mikhail Khmelnitsky of Belarus the bronze. Medals table after yesterday's second day of competition: United States: 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze; Ukraine: 1 gold, 2 silver; Germany: 1 gold, 1 bronze; Mexico: 1 gold; Russia: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Canada: 1 silver; Belarus: 1 bronze; Bahamas: 1 bronze.

    Russia's double Olympic champion Svetlana Masterkova left the world championships area on a stretcher yesterday after pulling up with a leg injury in the women's 1,500 meters semifinals.

    Masterkova, who dominated the 800 and 1,500 meters at last year's Atlanta Olympics, pulled up in the last 100 meters of the heat and hobbled over the line in last place.

    The Russian, who looked far from her best in the first round on Saturday, was carried away on a stretcher.

    [05] Performance of Greek athletes

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's sprinters Angelos Pavlakakis and Katerina Thanou made a brave effort but failed to reach the finals of the 100 m. race.

    Pavlakakis came sixth in the semi-finals, clocking 10.29 seconds. Thanou, who also failed to be among the fist four places which would have given her the ticket for the finals, timed 11.34 seconds.

    Greece's athletes did not perform well in the morning events, except for javelin thrower Kostas Gatzioudis, who in his first attempt threw the javelin 83 meters and 32 centimeters and qualified for today's final.

    In the long jump, Kostas Koukodimos and Dimitris Hatzopoulos did not meet the required standard set for entry into the finals.

    Costas Mamoulides failed to go beyond the preliminary stage of the 400 meters.

    [06] Tsohatzopoulos attends ceremony of delivery of modern weapons system

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday attended a ceremony in the port of Thessaloniki, to mark the delivery of a modern weapons system.

    Addressing military and civil officials at the delivery of nine US-made MLRS missile launchers, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that reinforcing Greece's defense capability ensures that no-one will dare dispute the nation's sovereignty.

    The defense minister stressed that with the modern weaponry its military is acquiring, Greece is sending out the message that it is a force of security and stability in the region. Yesterday's delivery concludes the formation of the MLRS Multiple Launchers Battalion, originally established in 1995 after the delivery of the first nine launchers. The procurement contract with the US was signed in 1995 and their total cost rises to 27 billion drachmas. Army Chief of Staff Manousos Paragioudakis said that the MLRS is considered one of the most advanced weapon systems in the world and is widely used in NATO defense forces.

    The mobile launchers are based on all-terrain vehicles and feature fully automated launching procedures. Their capability to launch 12 missiles simultaneously, is equivalent to the fire power of 90, 155 mm artillery guns. Their range at the moment is 32 kilometers but it will increase to 165 and later to 300 with ammunition upgrades.

    In statements to the press, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also commented on the government's new defense policy saying that it foreshadows Greece's presence, contribution and active involvement in regions where peace, stability and security are under threat. In this way, he said, the government aims to attest the country's role as a force of peace, security and stability and co-operation in the wider geopolitical region it forms part of, be that the Balkans or Caucasus.

    Asked whether the conscription of women was considered, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos denied such a move. He further commented on decisions last week by the Government Council of Foreign and Defense Policy (KYSEA). He said that the policy decided upon, attests the country's defense dogma as established by (the late former PM) Andreas Papandreou, though extending and reinforcing it.

    "This is achieved with the armed forces' ability to defend the country's integrity", he said "while developing a flexible, retributive capability and effective low- intensity crisis handling ability on political and military levels".

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed that although he didn't expect any new crises in the Aegean, "we have made clear the framework on which we operate strategically and from a defense point of view".

    "Statements of good intent and the acceptance and adherence to principles are positive elements, that remain to be tested in deeds. Beyond that, the country's National Defense policy has much wider scope and therefore is based on the objective assessment of our region", he said.

    [07] Greece second safest country in Europe for tourists

    Paris, 4/8/1997 (ANA/AFP)

    Greece is the second safest country in Europe for tourists, according to a research carried out by the French insurers' Center of Documentation and Information.

    Portugal was the first country among European states, with two reports for theft per 1,000 residents. Greece has an average of four thefts per 1,000 residents, while Spain and France ranked third and fourth with six and eight thefts respectively.

    Apart from Italy which is not contained in the report by the French center, Belgium and Sweden have an average of 16 thefts reported per 1,000 residents, while Germany has 18, Finland 19, Denmark 20, Britain 27, and finally, Holland 37.

    [08] Authorities on state of alert due to Evros River contamination

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    Authorities in the prefecture of Evros remained on a state of alert for the third day yesterday due to the contamination of the Evros River waters. The waters were contaminated after chemical substances leaked from the Bulgarian plant NEOCHEM in Dimitrovgrant.

    Teams of specialists are examining the waters of the river just in case the contamination rises over the limits and measures need to be taken. Authorities said, however, that for the time being there was no danger for animals drinking water from Evros, neither for irrigation and fishing.

    [09] IOC and IAAF presidents impressed by World Athletics ceremony

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    The opening ceremony of the 6th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Athens' Panathenian Stadium, last Friday, seems to have impressed the presidents of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Juan Antonio Samaranch and of the IAAF, Dr. Primo Nebiolo, as they both made complimentary comments.

    "It was the best ceremony I have ever attended in my life", said Mr. Samaranch adding that "the ceremony fully represented the Olympic ideals, as well as the culture and history of the Greek people". The IOC president also stressed that the Greek people "will give the world championships the shape it deserved".

    From his side, IAAF president Primo Nebiolo noted that he trusted Vangelis for the organization of the ceremony and he was sure of the event's success.

    [10] Athens mayor meets counterparts of 2000 Olympic Games candidate cities

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday met at his office his counterparts of Rome, Stockholm and Cape Town, which are candidate cities -- along with Athens and Buenos Aires -- for the 2004 Olympic Games.

    During the meeting, which was also attended by the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Juan Antonio Samaranch, the four mayors exchanged views on the progress of the bidding process for the 2004 Games.

    Mr. Avramopoulos had another meeting on Saturday with Mr. Samaranch, after which the IOC president told reporters that the opening ceremony of the "6th IAAF World Athletics Championships" in Athens, was one of the best he had ever attended.

    The IOC president also referred to recent changes in the city of Athens, saying "I can now see a different city. I believe it will become even better in future. The Athens Metro, the Spata airport and other major projects currently underway will turn Athens into an ancient - modern city".

    [11] Premier begins summer vacations

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis left Athens yesterday for his summer vacations on the Cyclades island of Sifnos. Although on holidays, Mr. Simitis has taken with him the "files" containing the countries serious problems in the areas of domestic and foreign policy. In the past few days, the prime minister has had successive deliberations with government ministers and his aides, in order to have a fuller picture of the country's course and future prospects.

    Among the issues Mr. Simitis will consider during his vacation are also those relating to likely changes in the government -- although such changes have been denied -- as well as the function of the PASOK party.

    [12] Two managers at PYRKAL charged following blast at plant

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    Two managers at a Greek munitions factory were charged on Saturday with manslaughter and causing bodily harm through negligence following a blast at the plant in which one worker died and 14 were injured.

    The explosion on Friday at the Gunpowder and Cartridge Company (PYRKAL) in Lavrio, southeast Attica was apparently caused by flammable gas leaking from a denitrification tower.

    Charged by a public prosecutor in connection with the blast were PYRKAL's plant manager Panayotis Floros and safety manager Ilias Kokkinovasilis, who were later released.

    Maintenance worker Vassilis Hatzidimas, 52, died instantly in the explosion.

    Six workers, one of whom lost a leg, are being treated at the General State Hospital in Athens, and another eight were discharged on Friday from Lavrio medical center after treatment for light injuries.

    Lavrio Mayor Stavros Papastavropoulos has charged negligence at the denitrification tower, the scene of another blast on May 5.

    Papastavropoulos on Friday claimed PYRKAL's management had promised to decommission the tower after the first accident, but operations had continued.

    The General Confederation of Greek Labor has called for stricter implementation of worker health and safety measures. According to the Communist Party of Greece, the country has the highest rate of industrial accidents in Europe.

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, whose ministry supervises the company, visited the scene of the explosion on Friday.

    [13] Song writer, accused of killing, to appear before public prosecutor

    Athens, 4/8/1997 (ANA)

    Akis Panou, a well-known song writer and composer, is to appear before a Xanthi public prosecutor today for the killing of his 20-year-old daughter's boyfriend Sotiris Yalamas, 31. On Saturday, Panou had asked for two days to prepare for answering for his crime. Panou, who faces charges of manslaughter with intention and possession and use of a weapon, gave a detailed account on Saturday during the reconstruction of the crime. While in custody, his wife, Anna, visited him but his daughter, Eleftheria has refused to meet him. He has pleaded guilty of killing Yalamas.

    End of English language section.

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