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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, Greece, 01/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Simitis in Cyprus today
  • Greece demands inquiry over latest attack against Phanar by Turkish terrorists
  • Eurodeputy calls for E.U. intervention
  • Gligorov: Athens, Skopje talks to resume at end of October
  • Greenpeace protestors at electricity company
  • Preliminary work on Rio-Antirrio link begins
  • Dramatic increase of Greek exports to Spain
  • Shipping exchange inflows up


    Simitis in Cyprus today for independence day celebrations

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis arrived in Nicosia today for talks with the Cyprus government and to attend events marking the 36th anniversary of the island republic's independence, according to an ANA despatch from Cyprus.

    Greeting Simitis, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides noted that it was the first time a Greek premier has visited the island on the occasion of the anniversary celebrations.

    Simitis said the fact that his first visit outside Greece had been to Cyprus underlined the importance attached by the Greek government to the Cyprus problem which, he added, remained the top priority for Greek foreign policy.

    The Greek premier stressed that his presence at the independence celebrations symbolized ''in the most categorical manner, the determination of Hellenism to struggle using all means in order to restore the territorial integrity and sovereignty'' of the divided island.

    Simitis reiterated that the Cyprus problem was one of invasion and occupation, adding that the objective was to find a peaceful solution through diplomatic efforts.

    ''International experience has shown however that dialogue does not usually bring satisfactory results when conducted between unequal sides,'' Simitis said, adding that ''this is the reason why the governments of Greece and Cyprus are promoting the bolstering of Cyprus' defences within the framework of the joint defence doctrine''.

    In his talks with Clerides, the Cyprus government, political party leaders and Archbishop Chrysostomos, Simitis said, he would be discussing not only developments in the Cyprus problem but also issues pertaining to cooperation in all sectors, the progress in Cyprus' accession to the European Union, as well as matters relating to persons missing and trapped in enclaves in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island.

    Simitis said that memories were still fresh from the recent murders of two unarmed Greek Cypriot protesters by Turks and Turkish Cypriots. The premier stressed that their sacrifice would not be forgotten nor be in vain.

    ''Already, international public opinion senses that the illegal (Turkish) occupation of Cyprus cannot be allowed to go on forever,'' Simitis said, citing the recent resolution of the European Parliament condemning Turkey for its human rights record and behaviour towards Greece.

    Simitis and Clerides later attended an impressive military parade as part of independence celebrations in Nicosia.

    Speaking after the parade, Simitis said that a deterrent force existed which could cause severe blows to the enemy ''which must think very carefully before attempting any designs''.

    The parade, he said, illustrated the fighting capability of Cyprus' armed forces and their high morale in the face of Turkish aggression.

    ''The joint defence doctrine constitutes a fixed principle for us,'' Simitis said, adding that ''Cyprus' defence is Greece's defence, it is the defence of all Hellenism and we shall continue on this path.''

    Expressing his satisfaction with the parade, Clerides said ''it showed that people can sleep soundly''.

    Greece will proceed via diplomatic channels to express its displeasure over the latest terrorist incident at the Ecumenical Patriar-chate of Constantinople as well as to request a full inquiry, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    A strong explosion went off shortly before midnight Sunday night in the grounds of the Patriarchate's buildings in the Phanar district of Istanbul. Although nobody was hurt, the Agios Georgios Church was seriously damaged.

    Mr. Reppas said the terrorist attack was an attempt to undermine rapprochement between the two countries, stressing that it had also been condemned by Turkish circles as an attempt to destabilise rapprochement efforts with Europe.

    He characterised the organisation as an Islamist extreme right-wing nationalist organisation, motivated by anti-Greek sentiment.

    Turkish police still silent on attack

    According to reports, there had still not been any official announcement from Turkish police on the attack by late yesterday.

    An unidentified caller to the "Hurriyet" newspaper early yesterday said an organisation calling itself Great Eastern Islamic Raiders Front (IBDA-C) had been planning the attack for some time.

    In 1994, the same organisation had placed a bomb in the northern part of the Patriarch's residence and had threatened to kill Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    The organisation is suspected of involvement in a number of bomb attacks on liberal and progressive figures in Turkey and has organised demonstrations in support of the Moslems of Bosnia, including one in which demonstrators broke into the courtyard of the US Embassy in Ankara.

    Greek Eurodeputy calls for EU intervention

    Meanwhile, PASOK Eurodeputy and vice-president of the Socialist Group, Yiannis Roubatis, has called for the immediate intervention by the Council of Ministers and the European Commission following the terrorist attack against the Ecumeni cal Patriarchate.

    Mr. Roubatis asked to be informed whether the two EU bodies intend to issue strong protests to the Turkish authorities regarding the bomb attack and whether they intend to call for an increase in security measures for the Patriarchate, whose status is p rotected by international treaties.

    He has also asked the two EU bodies whether they consider the attack to be coincidental, as it follows the killings of two Greek-Cypriots and 12 Kurds in Diyarbakir Prison in southeastern Turkey, and how concerned they are over "Turkey's apparent reluctance to act according to the basic principles of human rights, which form the foundation of European civilisation."

    Mr. Roubatis stressed it is the second time that an apparent Islamist organisation has committed a terrorist act against the centre of Orthodoxy, and stressed the "obvious indifference of the Turkish authorities for taking necessary security measures for the protection of the Patriarchate."

    The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Kiro Gligorov yesterday announced that talks in New York for the normalisation of relations with Athens, interrupted because of the recent elections in Greece, would continue at the end of October.

    Returning from New York, where he attended sessions of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Gligorov told reporters that he did not expect a "speedy resolution of outstanding differences" between the two countries.

    "'Macedonia' and Greece are closely connected neighbours, with common economic interests. The majority of 'Macedonians' have the same religion with the inhabitants of Greece," he pointed out in reference to the landlocked, one-time Yugoslav republic's residents, the majority of which are Slavic-speaking Orthodox believers, with a large minority of ethnic Albanians.

    Greenpeace protest

    Three members of the environmental organisation ''Greenpeace'' today suspended themselves from the seventh floor of the headquarters of the Public Power Corporation (DEH) to protest the non-operation of two large- scale wind-energy parks on Crete and Euboea.

    The three protesters tied themselves with ropes on the outside of the building in central Athens and unfurled a banner which read ''clean solutions now''.

    Greenpeace accuses DEH of being principally responsible for causing environmental pollution in Greece, claiming that the corporation accounts for 50 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions.

    The organisation maintains that 1.5 billion drachmas are being lost as a result of the non-operation of the two wind park.

    Rio-Antirrio bridge prelim works begin

    The preliminary stage of works on the Rio-Antirrio bridge project linking the Peloponnese with northwestern Greece formally commences today.

    A delegation from the GEFYRA S.A. consortium, which has undertaken the project following international tendering initiated as far back as the 1980s, submitted the timetable of works, as well as applications for the necessary permits, to Patras central port chief Vassilis Kantas. The contract between the Greek State and the consortium was signed early January.

    Under the timetable, geophysical and underwater studies will be conducted -- by foreign research vessels and specialised technicians from abroad -- through mid-December this year, as well as drillings in the Rio-Antirrio strait.

    Italian specialised technicians will be conducting studies in the sea region in early October, while a specially-designed floating platform arrives Thursday in the port of Patras, where it will be assembled before it is towed to Ri, to begin underwater research on October 6. A ship equipped for underwater research also arrives between October 5-7, while the Norwegian drilling vessel ''Norskalo'' arrives between October 6-8, to conduct research and drilllings until mid December.

    The Rio-Antirrio link, budgeted at 210 billion dr., comprises a cable bridge supported on four blocks with a total span (length) of 2.5 kilometres and width of 25 metres. It will have two traffic lanes in each direction plus one emergency lane.

    Construction will funded on a co-financing basis, with the Greek State footing 65 billion dr. of the 210 billion dr. budget, the contracting consortium 15 billion dr., and the remainder to be raised by a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB), which is due to be approved sometime this autumn.

    The GEFYRA (Bridge) consortium comprises the French firms GTM International, GTM Batiments et Travaux Publics (BTP) and Dyckerhoff und Widmann, the Greek firms Volos Technical Company (TEB), Elliniki Technodomiki, Proodeftiki, I. Sarantopoulos, Athina, and the Cypriot firm Joannou & Paraskevaides.

    Traffic presently crosses from the Peloponnese to northwestern Greece by ferry, which service is interruped in adverse weather conditions. The bridge will not only eliminate the disruptions, but will also reduce the crossing time from the prsent 45 minutes to a mere 5 minutes.

    More than 2 million vehicles cross the Rio-Antirrio strait each year

    Greek exports to Spain increased by 74.7 per cent over the January to May period this year, compared to the corresponding period last year, according to data provided by the Spanish Statistical Organisation.

    Greek exports to Spain over the period in '96 amounted to 84.15 billion Pesetas as against 48.14 billion Pesetas over the same period last year.

    The Spanish economy has a wide margin allowing for a further increase in the import of products from other European Union countries, while most of its sectors have not been saturated, as is the case more and more with its remaining partners in the EU, a ccording to reports.

    European chambers of commerce to meet in Greece this month

    The president of the Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EBE) A. Kyriazis and the president of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, G. Kasimatis, addressed a press conference yesterday on the importance and the issues to be examined at th e fourth conference of European chambers at Vouliagmeni from Oct. 8-9.

    The conference will focus on "Enterprise in the 21st century: technical assistance and support by the EBEs" and is aimed at setting out necessary pre-conditions for the success of enterprises, as well as to determine technical aid and support, which the chambers of commerce and industry can provide for them.

    Referring to the significance of the conference, Mr. Kasimatis said it constitutes one of the most important economic events in Europe, since representatives from more than 140 chambers from 28 European Union and central European countries will particip ate, as well as many well-known European businessmen.

    Mr. Kyriazis focused on the important agreement, which will be signed during the conference and concerns cooperation between the Union of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Union of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

    Shipping exchange-May

    Inflows of shipping exchange continued to increase this year, totalling 909 million dollars in the first five months of 1996, compared to 855.7 million dollars in the same period last year, marking an increase of 6.2 per cent.

    According to figures released today by the Bank of Greece, inflows of shipping exchange totalled 193 million dollars in May, against 188.9 million dollars in the same month of 1995, marking an increase of 2.2 per cent.


    Partly cloudy in most parts of the country with a further drop in temperatures ranging from 15-22C in Athens and from 13-2OC in Thessaloniki


    U.S. dlr 240.576, Can. dlr.176.369, Australian dlr. 190.517, Pound sterling 375.769, Irish punt 384.942, Cyprus pd 515.250, French franc 46.520, Swiss franc 191.394 Belgian franc 7.647, German mark 157.426, Finnish mark 52.556, Dutch guilder 140.368 Danish Kr. 40.991, Swedish Kr. 36.281, Norwegian Kr. 36.929, Austrian Sh. 22.379, Italian lira (100) 15.757 Yen (100) 215.681, Spanish Peseta 1.872, Portuguese Escudo 1.548.


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