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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-02-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't examines strategy in the wake of Ocalan affair
  • [02] National Bank of Greece plans hefty share cap rise ahead of euro entry
  • [03] Stocks surge on assurance Greece still heading for EMU
  • [04] Gov't welcomes bourse rally, return of confidence
  • [05] Sfakianakis posts 10 pct rise in 1998 profit
  • [06] Barclays in Greece gets new general director
  • [07] Xiosbank posts 73 pct profit surge in 1998
  • [08] Ergobank to propose Dr 900 dividend
  • [09] Opportunities for domestic banks to extend business
  • [10] Christodoulakis cites stability factor in Greek economy
  • [11] Greek merchant fleet reported as world's largest
  • [12] GSEE to abstain from social dialogue
  • [13] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [14] Kranidiotis regarding Ocalan's rights,int'l reaction
  • [15] Turkish-Greek business council suspends joint activities
  • [16] Ocalan affair discussed at Europarliament plenum
  • [17] Amnesty International demands fair Ocalan trial, treatment
  • [18] Yiannopoulos remarks about Greek agent spark reactions
  • [19] Papantoniou warns against 'circles' attempting to undermine gov't policy
  • [20] Athens accuses Ankara of entangling Ocalan affair in Greek-Turkish relations
  • [21] French, British forces land in Thessaloniki before travelling to FYROM
  • [22] Greek delegation to discuss environmental problems with Bjerregaard
  • [23] Documentary details efforts to save Greek Jewry during WWII

  • [01] Gov't examines strategy in the wake of Ocalan affair

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired yesterday a meeting of the inner cabinet and ruling PASOK's political secretariat, convened to examine developments in the wake of the controversial Ocalan affair and the government's strategy.

    The meeting focused on practical aspects - including the safe passage out of Kenya of Greek citizens and the three Ocalan companions still holed up at the Greek embassy in Nairobi - as well as government strategy both on dealing with the negative effects of the capture of the Kurdish rebel leader after his stay at the Greek embassy and other issues.

    According to government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, the PASOK government is proceeding with business as usual. This includes hol-ding PASOK's congress in March as scheduled, the holding of European Parliament elections in June and continuing to work towa rds the country's inclusion in Economic and Monetary Union in 2000.

    The next national elections, he said, will be in 2000, as scheduled.

    Mr. Reppas said that the members of both bodies agreed on the need for a "common front" on dealing with the situation. There was no discussion on the "history of the issue", he added.

    He said that talks were underway to ensure the safe and secure transport of the three female associates of Ocalan still in the Greek embassy in Kenya.

    "The Greek government is in continuous contact with the Kenya government on this issue," he said.

    He said there was no question of Kenyan authorities entering the Greek embassy in Nairobi to eject the three women and that no deadline had been set for a resolution of this issue.

    The spokesman added that the prime minister will hold separate meetings with his European counterparts on the sidelines of the special European Union summit in Bonn tomorrow to inform them on the Ocalan affair.

    In a related development, Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Pavlos Apostolidis left for Nairobi yesterday evening for talks with Kenyan officials.

    He is scheduled to meet with the Kenyan foreign undersecretary this morning to discuss the safe passage of a Greek agent and two out of three Ocalan companions, to whom Greece has granted political asylum.

    Upon leaving Athens, he said the results of his efforts are "uncer-tain", although he will do everything within his power to guarantee the safe departure of all those in the embassy.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] National Bank of Greece plans hefty share cap rise ahead of euro entry

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece will propose to stockholders on March 18 a share capital increase of 150-180 billion drachmas to improve its position before the country enters the euro zone.

    The bank said in a statement yesterday that the terms of the increase, including the share price, would be announced at the shareholders meeting. National Bank wants to strengthen its capital base before Greece's planned entry into European economic and monetary union by January 1, 2001, the statement said.

    The share capital rise will enable the parent bank and its group to meet tougher competition and the globalisation of financial markets, it said.

    National Bank of Greece plans to maintain its leading position in the domestic market and create a powerful presence in the region, and in major financial centres.

    Futhermore, the bank aims to increase its business in Greece and abroad, especially in loans and new products and services.

    The bank also plans to selectively develop its branch network, especially in the Balkans.

    In addition, the share capital increase will help to fund major investments in banking technology in order to improve services, cut costs and improve productivity.

    The cash will also be funnelled into share capital increases for the group's subsidiaries at home and abroad to strengthen its position.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Stocks surge on assurance Greece still heading for EMU

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices rebounded yesterday, recovering all of the previous session's losses after assurances given by the prime minister that the government was steadfast in its aim of entering EMU on January 1, 2001.

    Traders said the premier's statements restored the market's confidence in domestic political stability.

    Also helping sentiment were the avoidance so far of Western military action in Kosovo, gains in international markets and a further drop in domestic bond yields.

    The general index ended 7.14 percent, or 218 points up at 3270.05 points, recovering more than half its 12 percent drop since the Ocalan affair broke out.

    Turnover was 119.1 billion drachmas and volume 23,564,729 shares.

    Sector indices scored gains. Banks soared 7.9 percent, Leasing rose 7.9 percent, Insurance ended 5.31 percent up, Investment surged 7.53 percent, Construction jumped 7.45 percent, Industrials ended 7.43 percent higher, Miscellaneous ended 7.21 percent up and Holding rose 4.53 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 6.0 percent, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 7.01 percent up at 2,051.72.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 274 to 12 with another 6 issues unchanged.

    Thessaliki, Eskimo, Teletypos and Bank of Piraeus were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Many stocks hit the day's 8.0 percent limit up. Among them were most blue- chips, including National Bank of Greece, helped by talk of a new share capital increase.

    Macedonian Spinning Mills, Sarandopoulos, Alysida, Pavlides, Korinth Spinning Mills, Tasoglou, Elfico, Agrinio Metalplastics and Vis suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 19,980 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 32, 832, Ergobank at 22,970, Ionian Bank at 16,300, Titan Cement at 22,315, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,592, Intracom at 19,699, Minoan Lines at 7,641, Panafon at 9,530 and Hellenic Tele coms at 8,000.

    Buying interest was seen in the secondary bond market fuelled by buying opportunities after the previous session's price decline. Electronic trade was 137 billion drachmas.

    In the interbank market, the central bank kept its intervention rate steady for two-week funds. Buying interest in the drachma was reported in the foreign currency market.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Gov't welcomes bourse rally, return of confidence

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    The government welcomed yesterday's jump by the Athens Stock Exchange following a sharp decline on Tuesday.

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told reporters after a joint meeting of the inner cabinet and the ruling PASOK party's political secretariat that the rebound "means that the previous day's fall was based only on irresponsible rumours".

    Mr. Papantoniou noted that "the government's reaction had restored a sense of security among the public and investors".

    He expressed his belief that the stock market would continue its healthy progress linked to the economy's growth.

    Bear Sterns sees buying opportunities in Greek stocks, bonds : Bear Sterns, an international investment house, sees buying opportunities in Greek stocks and bonds in the event of any mass sell-off, Reuters said yesterday.

    In a report for investors carried by Reuters, Bear Sterns viewed the fallout of the Ocalan affair in Greece as a storm in a teacup and categorically ruled out the possibility of resignation by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    "Simitis will remain and PASOK's commitment for a timely entry by Greece into EMU will be reaffirmed next month at the ruling party's congress," the report said.

    The government was steadily pursuing a policy of economic alignment with the European Union, which was likely to fuel a new rally this year in Greek shares and bonds, it said.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Sfakianakis posts 10 pct rise in 1998 profit

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Sfakianakis, official representative of Japanese carmaker Suzuki in Greece, yesterday reported a 10 percent increase in its 1998 net profit to 4.5 billion drachmas from 4.1 billion the previous year.

    The company's turnover totalled 44.9 billion drachmas in 1998 from 36.9 billion in 1997, an increase of 21.7 percent.

    Sfakianakis last week signed a dealership agreement with Ford Motor Hellas covering eastern Attica.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Barclays in Greece gets new general director

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Antonis Hasiotis is the new general director of Barclays Bank in Greece.

    Mr. Hasiotis was working for Citibank in Greece, where he helped to develop the bank's Greek consumer business from 1991.

    Barclays on Tuesday announced cuts in its housing and office loan rates to 11.5 percent (floating), 8.5 percent (three-year fixed), and 8.0 percent (five-year fixed).

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Xiosbank posts 73 pct profit surge in 1998

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Xiosbank posted 1998 profits of 7.8 billion drachmas, up 73 percent on the previous year, it said in a statement yesterday.

    Management is to propose to shareholders a dividend of 152 drachmas per share.

    The Xiosbank Group's consolidated pre-tax profits were 9.4 billion drachmas, the statement said.

    Capital managed by the private bank was 834.9 billion drachmas in 1998, up 58 percent on 1997.

    Deposits last year including repos totalled 403.9 billion drachmas and loans 174.7 billion drachmas, showing respective rises of 94 percent and 32 percent from the previous year.

    The breakdown for loans was 110 billion drachmas in consumer credit and 64.6 billion in business credit.

    Shareholders are to hold their general assembly on March 18 to vote on a share capital rise of 37 billion drachmas.

    At the end of November, Bank of Piraeus launched a strategic alliance with Xiosbank acquiring a 38 percent stake. Xiosbank gained around 8.5 percent in Bank of Piraeus.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Ergobank to propose Dr 900 dividend

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Ergobank is to propose a dividend of 900 drachmas to shareholders, up 11 percent on 1997, it said in a statement yesterday.

    Loans in 1998 totalled 741 billion drachmas, up 43.5 percent on the previous year, and deposits including repos totalled 1.4 trillion drachmas, up 29.1 percent, the bank said.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Opportunities for domestic banks to extend business

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    The deputy governor of National Bank of Greece, Nikos Karamouzis, said yesterday that domestic banks had great leeway to expand their business both at home and abroad, focused on the Balkans.

    At the same time, a concrete long-term strategy was needed, said Mr. Karamouzis, addressing a finance conference held by the Hellenic British Chamber of Commerce and the British Embassy.

    Mr. Karamouzis also underlined the importance of banking services stemming from the Internet, such as web banking.

    Helping to organise the conference were the Union of Greek Banks and Athens Stock Exchange.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Christodoulakis cites stability factor in Greek economy

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis stressed yesterday that over the past few years Greece has created a stable economy capable of withstanding international turmoil and crises.

    He was addressing an economic conference organised by the Hellenic British Chamber of Commerce and the British embassy.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said the Greek economy will not be affected by the recent political developments (Ocalan affair) in the country, on the contrary its position will be strengthened thanks to the PASOK government's insistence on a convergence policy.

    He added that the finance ministry does not intend from now on to fund the public deficit with bond issues featuring a fluctuating interest rate. On the contrary, it will issue 20-year bonds for the first time by June.

    Mr. Christodoulakis further said that the gradual enlargement of the domestic bonds market constitutes the ministry's policy and for this purpose contacts are already taking place with the administrations of insurance companies and insurance funds.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Greek merchant fleet reported as world's largest

    NEW YORK 25/02/1999 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Greece was proclaimed the largest shipping power in the world during 1998 with a transport capacity of 123.8 million tonnes.

    Greece also holds a 17.6 per cent stake of the international total, according to the Journal of Commerce in a report from Geneva.

    International sea trade increased by 2.2 per cent last year, 1.7 per cent less than in 1997, primarily due to the Asian crisis.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] GSEE to abstain from social dialogue

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    The board of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) yesterday decided by majority vote to abstain from "social dialogue" on the taxation system.

    Opposition party-affiliated factions won 23 votes needed of the total 45 to force the decision, out-voting the ruling PASOK-affiliated PASKE faction.

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou today is expected to initiate the dialogue, where the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) Yiannis Koutsoukos will participate, unlike his GSEE counterpart.

    GSEE announced a protest rally, while ADEDY announced a three-hour work stoppage for Athens area civil servants today.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: February 24, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes            Buying  Selling
    US Dollar            290.458 297.192
    Can.Dollar           193.182 197.661
    Australian Dlr       183.222 187.470
    Pound Sterling       465.208 475.994
    Irish Punt           406.089 415.504
    Pound Cyprus         550.560 563.325
    Pound Malta          714.625 744.401
    Turkish pound (100)    0.070   0.073
    French franc          48.757  49.887
    Swiss franc          200.766 205.421
    Belgian franc          7.928   8.112
    German Mark          163.522 167.314
    Finnish Mark          53.790  55.037
    Dutch Guilder        145.129 148.493
    Danish Kr.            43.019  44.016
    Swedish Kr.           35.867  36.698
    Norwegian Kr.         36.980  37.837
    Austrian Sh.          23.243  23.781
    Italian lira (100)    16.518  16.901
    Yen (100)            239.489 245.041
    Spanish Peseta         1.922   1.967
    Port. Escudo           1.595   1.632
    
    Foreign Exchange     Buying  Selling
    New York             290.458 297.192
    Montreal             193.182 197.661
    Sydney               183.222 187.470
    London               465.208 475.994
    Dublin               406.089 415.504
    Nicosia              550.560 563.325
    Paris                 48.757  49.887
    Zurich               200.766 205.421
    Brussels               7.928   8.112
    Frankfurt            163.522 167.314
    Helsinki              53.790  55.037
    Amsterdam            145.129 148.493
    Copenhagen            43.019  44.016
    Stockholm             35.867  36.698
    Oslo                  36.980  37.837
    Vienna                23.243  23.781
    Milan                 16.518  16.901
    Tokyo                239.489 245.041
    Madrid                 1.922   1.967
    Lisbon                 1.595   1.632
    
    Athens News Agency

    [14] Kranidiotis regarding Ocalan's rights,int'l reaction

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    The internationalisation of the issue of the conditions of detention and the forthcoming trial of Abdullah Ocalan is a particularly important development, Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday, after reports of an announcement by the European Court of Human Rights.

    "The top judicial organ of the Council of Europe, the new European Court of Human Rights, taking into account the seriousness of claims by Ocalan's lawyers, has decided to ask Turkish authorities clarifications related to the arrest and detention of the

    Kurdish leader, as well as the speedy provision of information with regard to the possibility of communication with his lawyers," he said.

    Mr. Kranidiotis added that other statements, by the EU Council of Ministers, the external affairs committee of the European Parliament, and the Special United Nations Rappporteur Against Torture, have reminded Turkey of the evident principles for a true democracy which it has to uphold in the specific case, such as a fair and open trial by an independent court, the right to chose one's lawyer, attendance of international observers, non- application of the death penalty, safeguards regarding the physical and psychological integrity of the Kurdish leader and respect for his human dignity.

    "Greece will promote at an international level the need for Turkey to respect. Turkey's non-compliance with the requirements of the European legal order and worldwide recognised rules which establish the fundamental right of man and constitute non-negot iable conquests of our modern legal culture, isolates it from the international community," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Turkish-Greek business council suspends joint activities

    ANKARA 25/02/1999 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    The Turkish-Greek business council board,headed by Turkish entrepreneur Rahim Koc, yesterday sided with Ankara's handling of the Kurdish issue.

    During a press conference in Istanbul, Mr. Koc said the council cancelled all joint Greek-Turkish activities planned within the council's framework. "We expect of Greek business circles, the intelligentsia...who until this date succumbed without discussio n to the predisposed policy of their government, to act logically toward the interest of their country and distance themselves from the constant mistaken judgements," he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Ocalan affair discussed at Europarliament plenum

    BRUSSELS 25/02/1999 (ANA - C. Haralambopoulos)

    A German official told a European Parliament plenum yesterday that a solution to the Kurdish problem in a climate of democracy and human rights will contribute towards Turkey coming closer to the European Union.

    Council president and Deputy FM Luger Volmer said that the Kurdish people's right to self determination does not mean the creation of an independent state.

    Mr. Volmer, who in general adhered to the spirit of the statement made by the EU foreign ministers last Monday, underlined that the EU supports Turkey's legitimate interest in defending its territorial integrity, as well as the claim of the Kurdish people for recognition of their cultural existence.

    EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek said the statement made by the Council of Foreign Ministers last Monday coincides with the Commission's views on the Ocalan issue.

    Mr. van den Broek said that "terrorist activities" on the part of the PKK are worthy of condemnation, as well as the methods selected by Turkey to handle them.

    Mr. van den Broek, who reiterated that Mr. Ocalan is entitled to a defence and a fair trial, said the use of the MEDA programme in the southeastern regions of Turkey could contribute towards combatting terrorism and underlined that recognition of the Kurdish problem by Turkey will constitute a step towards resolving it.

    Pauline Green, the head of the Europarliament's Socialist group, said that latest developments in the Kurdish problem with the capture of Abdullah Ocalan show that the Kurdish issue is not a domestic problem of Turkey but an international one. She added that terrorism can only be combatted if the causes creating it are eliminated.

    PASOK Eurodeputies Paraskevas Avgerinos and Irini Lambraki briefed members of the Socialist group's presidium on the issue of Mr. Ocalan's capture. The presidium members made it clear that the responsibility lies entirely on the EU for the development of the issue and expressed support for the Greek government.

    New Democracy Eurodeputy Takis Lambrias referred to the EU's responsibilities and to those of its member-states, such as Germany, which refused to cary out its own international arrest warrant from the very moment that the Ocalan issue was created.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Eurodeputy Vassilis Efraimidis placed responsibility on the EU for the capture of Mr. Ocalan. He said the struggle of the Kurdish people, such as other similar historic cases, will continue until its victorious outcome.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Amnesty International demands fair Ocalan trial, treatment

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Amnesty International (AI) called on Turkey yesterday to abolish the death penalty by signing the relevant protocol of the EU convention, while it urged the Turkish national assembly to observe its moratorium on the capital punishment.

    In a letter sent to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, the international human rights advocacy organisation stressed that international standards of delivering justice must be observed in the trial of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    AI said that concerns over a fair trial for the Kurdish leader were levelled from the moment and the way in which Mr. Ocalan was arrested, and continue to exist during his questioning. It also expressed concerns for the fact that Mr. Ocalan was not allo wed to consult with his legal defence since he was handed over to the Turks.

    AI further reminded the Turkish PM that the international community will judge the fairness of the PKK leader's trial under international human rights criteria.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Yiannopoulos remarks about Greek agent spark reactions

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    A justice ministry official yesterday claimed that Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos never "adopted the view" that Greek Intelligence Service (EYP) officer Savvas Kalenderidis is an agent for Israel's Mossad.

    Mr. Kalenteridis was dispatched to the Greek embassy in Nairobi to provide protection to Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan during his stay. He has yet to return to Greece and is still holed up at the embassy along with three of Ocalan's companions.

    Ministry special secretary Argyris Sideris made the statement in a letter of response to a stinging press release by the Federation of Pontian (Black Sea) Associations of Northern Greece, which protested a reference to that effect by Mr. Yiannopoulos du ring a televised interview on Tuesday night.

    "The press release in question is unacceptably insulting and misleading. Mr. Yiannopoulos did not adopt the allegations of Kalenderidis' relations with Mossad, but repeated a view, a rumour of specific people, which was published in the daily press and has not been denied," he said.

    The federation's press release stressed that "the minister's views constituted an insult to Greek officers, whose uniform Savvas Kalenderidis has honoured without a shadow of a doubt".

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas earlier yesterday said Mr. Yiannopoulos had only repeated a rumour and had not indicated that he believed this rumour.

    Mr. Reppas added that all the issues related to this specific rumour would be examined within the context of an inquiry on the Ocalan affair, currently under way in the courts. Commenting on the same issue, main opposition New Democracy spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos attacked government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, who adopted a similar stance as Mr. Sideris, "not hesitating to sling mud on a Greek officer, accusing him of being a Mossad agent".

    Mr. Spiliotopoulos called on the prime minister to immediately release all evidence proving "these untenable allegations, manufactured by people close to the government in EYP."

    The Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI), meanwhile, issued a statement condemning "the Goebels-like methods used by the government to tarnish people in relation to the Ocalan affair."

    Israeli denial : In a related development, the Israeli embassy in Athens announced yesterday that the director general of Israel's foreign ministry, Eitan Bentsur, brought up the issue of Mr. Yiannopoulos' remarks during a farewell meeting with outgoing Greek ambassador t o Israel Sotiris Varouxakis.

    The Israeli embassy announcement added that the Israeli official "expressed his amazement at the Greek minister's statements" and referred to the categorical statements of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon, "den ying any Israeli involvement whatsoever in the capture of Ocalan."

    Rally : Finally, dozens of residents from the Visaltias municipality in Serres prefecture held a support rally for Mr. Kalenteridis, who hails from the area.

    Speakers, led by the mayor Georgios Vassiloudis, called for the state to bring the man home. The demonstrators also handed a petition to local authorities.

    Speakers were also critical of statements by Mr.Yiannopoulos.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Papantoniou warns against 'circles' attempting to undermine gov't policy

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou lashed out yesterday at what he called "circles attempting to harvest petty partisan gains by undermining the government."

    Delivering a speech at a gathering in the western Athens municipality of Peristeri, Mr. Papantoniou referred to the controversial Ocalan affair and condemned what he called "irresponsible games being played on the back of national security."

    "We are and we will be on the side of the Kurdish people, on the side of liberation movements," he said, adding that the PASOK government had "clear intentions" and wished to help.

    However, he admitted that "the handling of the case was not effective, and that is why responsibilities have been undertaken," apparently referring to the dismissal of three key ministers last week.

    Mr. Papantoniou also attacked the main opposition New Democracy party, accusing it of preparing to win the 2000 elections by appropriating for its own benefit the successes of PASOK's economic policy.

    Referring to today's opening of social dialogue on tax reforms, Mr. Papantoniou pledged tax reliefs for low and medium-income wage earners through an increase of the tax-free bracket, tax co-efficients and tax discounts.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Athens accuses Ankara of entangling Ocalan affair in Greek-Turkish relations

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek foreign ministry yesterday accused Turkey of making a coordinated attempt to entangle the Ocalan issue in Greek-Turkish relations.

    "In the knowledge that it is accountable before the international community for the violation of basic human rights, not only of minorities, but also of those who disagree with its authoritarian policy, Ankara has launched a coordinated attempt to shi ft the issue, entangling it in Greek-Turkish relations," a statement said.

    It further stressed that Greece would not follow the tactics of indiscriminate accusations used against it by Turkey.

    "The Greek side cannot but fend off any attempt at converting an internal Turkish problem into a Greek-Turkish difference. At the same time, the Greek government, in the face of a barrage of of baseless and unsupportable accusatios against Greece, has no other option but to remind that the international community and the European Union have asked Turkey not to violate internatinoal law, not to violate international treaties and the rules determining relations of good neighbourliness and mutual respect, avoiding the threats of use of military force which it launches against its neighbours from time to time," the statement added.

    "The position of the Greek government concering the problem of southeastern Turkey is most clear. It is fully expressed by the recent statement of the EU, which expects Turkey to comply with its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe and res olve the problem through political means, with full respect for human rights and the principles of the rule of law which pertain to democratic societies," the statement read.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] French, British forces land in Thessaloniki before travelling to FYROM

    Athens 25/02/1999 (ANA)

    Six British C-130 transport planes landed at Macedonia Airport in Thessaloniki yesterday carrying troops and 60 vehicles, all destined for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), where they will be stationed pending possible NATO orders to head for the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

    Two French Airbuses carrying 10 vehicles and 140 personnel and an American Tri-Star carrying 225 British troops also landed at the airport yesterday.

    Meanwhile, the French vessel "Foudre" arrived at the port of Thessaloniki in the afternoon carrying 130 vehicles and 500 troops, also destined for FYROM.

    At the same time, Greek armed forces at Litohoro were preparing to receive three US vessels carrying marines for the projected NATO force in Kosovo.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Greek delegation to discuss environmental problems with Bjerregaard

    BRUSSELS 25/02/1999 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    A delegation of Greek environmental groups are to meet with EU Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard for talks on latest developments regarding environmental issues.

    The focus of discussions will be the nuclear power station at Kozlodui, Bulgaria and a proposed plant that Turkey wants to build in SE Anatolia, as well as environmental pollution in the Aegean. During their meeting, the delegation will be briefed on crucial environmental problems within the context of discussions regarding "Agenda 2000".

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Documentary details efforts to save Greek Jewry during WWII

    WASHINGTON 25/02/1999 (ANA- T. Ellis)

    The Greek embassy yesterday organised a joint event with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) for the screening of a documentary entitled "It was nothing, It was everything."

    The documentary recounts the heroic efforts of several Greeks during World War II to save Greek Jews from Nazi occupiers.

    The event was attended by several members of the US administration, special US State Department coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller, and the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ben Gilman, as well as about 70 AJC members.

    Actress Irene Papas is featured as the main narrator of the documentary.

    Greek ambassador Alexandros Filon, in his address, referred to Greece's struggle and sacrifices against the Axis powers during WWII. NEW YORK (ANA - M. Georgiadou) - A New York-based radio station in cooperation with the Queens Arts Council will sponsor a "Greek Musical Journey '99" next month at the Lincoln Center.

    The programme of Aktina FM aims to support efforts to preserve and promote Greek cultural heritage.

    Athens News Agency

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