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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 09/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Mass violations by Turkish fighters fail to impede joint Cyprus-Greece exercises
  • E.U.'s development, Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations dominate Stephanopoulos talks in Helsinki
  • Simitis says the wealthy will bear the brunt of developmemnt effort
  • International conference aims to provide answers to lack of Greek tourism marketing
  • Sustainable tourism in Thrace to promote British-Greek tourism cooperation
  • E.O.T. to announce tendering for international ad campaign
  • Russian business delegation tours Evros region


    Large-scale violations of the Athens and Nicosia Flight Information Regions (FIR) by Turkish warplanes occurred right up to the conclusion of joint Greek-Cypriot military exercises, resulting on one occasion in the crash of a Turkish F-16 fighter yesterday southwest of the eastern Aegean island of Hios.

    However, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas rejected claims that violations had been "continuous" or that the exercise had been prevented from proceeding as planned, saying press reports had overestimated the Turkish air force's activity in the region .

    "The exercise went ahead with complete success," he noted.

    He added that Hellenic Air Force planes had successfully intercepted Turkish violaters, at the same time sending the proper message to Ankara.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the message of the joint exercises "Nikiforos" and "Toxotis" was that the response of the Athens- Nicosia joint defence doctrine to any foreign threat was a given, effective, and could not be impeded by anyone.

    "With the joint Greek-Cypriot exercises we acquired new experiences that bolster both the country's defence capability and all the efforts towards promoting the just cause of the Cypriot people," he said.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added that no pressures had been exercised for a cancellation of the exercises, and that Turkish diversionary tactics had failed.

    Plane crashes

    According to Greek defence ministry reports, the Turkish F-16 fighter plane crashed in a sea region some 15 miles off Hios after being intercepted by two Hellenic Air Force French-made Mirage 2000 fighters at approximately 3 p.m. yesterday. Hellenic Navy helicopters and vessels which sped to the area rescued one of the aircraft's two pilots after he bailed out. The US- made Turkish plane had earlier violated the Athens FIR when it and another F-16 accompanied four Turkish F-4 "Phantom" fighters.

    Greek authorities said the Turkish pilot was taken to a hospital on Hios while Greek rescue boats continued to search for the second pilot on the two-seater training fighter. In a telephone conversation with Athens' ambassador to Ankara, Dimitris Nezeritis, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Inal Batu thanked Greece for the pilot's rescue, expressing hope that the co-pilot would also be found. He also claimed the incident had been an accident.

    US comment

    The crash of the Turkish F-16 near Hios was apparently due to mechanical failure, according to Washington's estimations.

    In response to press questions, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said that based on information the State Department received from the area, mechanical malfunction was the probable cause of the aircraft's downing. He said Washington's informati on was from direct communication with both Athens and Ankara.

    In addition, he praised Greece's handling of the incident, adding: "Fortunately, the Greek armed forces rushed to rescue of the Turkish pilot, who is now safe."

    The sixth International Hellenic-Australian Legal and Medical Conference will be held in Thessaloniki in June with the participation of scores of distinguished scientists from both countries.

    According to an announcement by the conference's organising committee president, Evgenia Mitraka, Thessaloniki was chosen because it will be the cultural capital of Europe over the same period.

    The previous conferences were distinguished for their high level and this is the reason that the next conference is expected to achieve a record number of participatants.

    European Union developments,bilateral relations and prospects for improving them were the main topics of discussion in President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos' meeting here with Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari yesterday.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos arrived in Helsinki yesterday on the first official visit by a Greek head of state to Finland for talks dominated by the development of European Union structure, Finnish officials said.

    The Greek president is accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    During his talks with Mr. Ahtisaari, the Greek president brought up the problems in Greek-Turkish relations, stressing that in international differences, dialogue and negotiations should prevail.

    He added, however, that it was difficult to commence dialogue with Ankara, not because Greece did not desire good relations with neighbouring countries but because the differences were due to groundless claims by Turkey against Greece.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos was expected to report on Greece's experience with the EU's Mediterranean programme, while his hosts will share their views on Baltic area cooperation.

    Ahtisaari emphasises need for solution to Cyprus problem

    Later,during an official dinner yesterday in honour of his Greek counterpart, Mr. Ahtisaari stressed the need for a solution to the Cyprus issue, expressing support for a start to procedures for Cyprus' EU accession six months after the intergovernmental conference ends.

    President Ahtisaari noted that the division of the island republic has lasted for many years, while a start to accession negotiations constitutes an additional reason for a solution to be found to the 22-year problem.

    On his part, President Stephanopoulos referred to Greek foreign policy targets in Europe and the Balkans, and primarily to Greece's relations with neighbouring countries with which it has differences, such as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Turkey.

    Commenting on developments in the European Union, President Stephanopoulos said "the Europe we envision must be a Europe of citizens, development and democracy, a Europe of justice, which must be open to people and capable of protecting the security of its citizens and the independence of member- states."

    He said a new Europe should not constitute a closed club or remain a privilege for the 15 nations comprising it.

    Hi-tech exhibition in Thessaloniki judged a success

    The 10th international informatics and hi-tech products exhibition "Infosystem Hi-Tech '96" was successfully organised by the HELEXPO- Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) at its facilities in Thessaloniki last week.

    An announcement by HELEXPO yesterday underlined the upward trend of this sector exhibition, in which 531 exhibitors from 22 countries participated this year.

    The number of visitors to the exhibition increased by 7 per cent compared to last year's exhibition.

    Specifically, 10,244 people visited the exhibition on Saturday, Oct. 5 and 10,608 on Sunday, Oct. 6, compared to 8,121 and 8,232 on the corresponding days in 1995.

    The more affluent members of society will bear the main burden of Greece's development effort, which aims at improving the position of those economically and socially disadvantaged, Prime Minister Costas Simitis told the inaugural session of his party's Parliamentary group yesterday.

    "Those having and possessing (wealth) will mainly contribute to a strong Greece, to social justice, the change in the country's course. They must be those who will bolster the countryYs modernisation to everyone's benefit," he said in reference to prio rities in the drafting of a new 1997 budget.

    The premier emphasised that consistency, reliability and effectiveness in all options would comprise the government's doctrine, and that the principle in its functioning would be "the elimination of the concept of the political cost."

    An international conference on "Greek Tourism and Marketing" is being organised for October 25 by the Centre for Vocational Training of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) and the Greek Marketing Institute (EIM).

    At a press conference yesterday, SETE President Spyros Kootos and EIM president Antonis Gortzis stressed that their joint aim was to bring to Greece the experiences of tourist marketing of other tourist-developed countries and to promote specific soluti ons to problems in Greek tourism.

    They said this was necessary at a time when the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) appeared to be unable to draft a long-term marketing policy for the Greek tourist product abroad, in an effort to turn around the fall in arrivals to Greece noted this year and last.

    "The problems of Greek tourism, despite efforts made recently, continue to be dealt with a not-very-technical orientation," Mr. Kokotas said. He asked the government to immediately implement SETE's proposal for a five-year marketing plan taking into acc ount country, region and tourist enterprise.

    Mr. Gortzis welcomed the decision of Development Minister Vasso Papandreou to apply as of next year a complete marketing plan for Greek tourist in tandem with an overseas advertising campaign and said he hoped it would be applied immediately.

    Sustainable tourism in Xanthi

    A seminar on the subject "Sustainable tourism and the region of Eastern Macedonia-Thrace" will take place in Xanthi on October 11 with the aim of promoting cooperation between British and Greek tourist enterprises and organisations.

    The seminar is being co-organised by the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, the British Embassy, the British Council, the Xanthi Chamber, and the prefect and mayor of Xanthi, with the support of EOT and the regional secretary of Eastern Macedonia-Thr ace. The seminar will take place in the lecture hall of the Polytechnic School of the Demokritos University of Thrace.

    British Ambassador Sir Michael Llewelyn Smith will open the seminar and there will be presentations by experts in the field of sustainable tourism from the UK and Greece. A team of representatives of specialist British tour operators will also take part .

    Citibank raises short-term loan interest rates

    Citibank announced a 0.5 per cent increase in its basic interest rate for short-term loans as of yesterday and for one week.

    Specifically, the interest rate rose to 17.25 per cent from 16.75 per cent, while the basic interest rates for other currency accounts will be 7.97 per cent in US dollars, 3.06 per cent in Japanese yen, 5.62 per cent in German marks, 6.70 per cent in Ec us, 8.43 per cent in British pounds sterling, 6.06 per cent in French francs and 5.37 per cent in Dutch guilders.

    PASEGES against any decrease in EU's grain subsidisation

    The Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) announced its categorical opposition yesterday to a proposal by a relevant European Union committee for a 7 to 30 per cent decrease in grain subsidisation.

    The proposal aims at finding funds to combat a crisis in the beef sector, due primarily to "mad cow" disease.

    The opposition was set out by PASEGES president and EU Economic and Social Committee member Nikos Liolos.

    According to a PASEGES announcement, Mr. Liolos denounced the committee for handling the issue with what he called "frivolity", adding that it was unacceptable for grain producers to have to foot the bill for the mad cow disease. He also underlined the disastrous consequences Greek stockbreeders will face if the proposal is accepted.

    Greek trade exhibit in Beirut

    An exhibition of Greek products will be held in Beirut from Oct. 20-25, as part of the trade mission organised by the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development.

    Among others, the exhibition will include aluminium products, household items, ventilating equipment, plastics, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, clothing and footwear. For more information, call the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce and Development at 67.11 .210.

    EOT to announce tendering for int'l ad campaign

    The Greek Tourist Organisation (EOT) is expected to proclaim international tendering for selection of a company to undertake a comprehensive advertising and public relations campaign for the organisation.

    The contract will cover a period of one year from the time it is awarded, without providing the possibility of extension and with a budget of six billion drachmas.

    The proclamation also contains the term that interested parties must submit a letter of credit for 25 million drachmas and anticipates that the contractor must be based in Athens, while in every other case it is essential that any winning bidder has or opens an office in Athens with staff and suitable equipment for the work to be carried out.

    Interested firms can submit their proposals at EOT's offices in Athens, 2 Amerikis St., by Nov. 25 at the latest.

    Russian business delegation tours Evros region

    A nine-member Russian business delegation is currently on a tour of the Evros region to consider investments in Thrace.

    The Russian investors, from Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, had contacts with Evros Prefect Giorgos Dolios, local mayors and economic leaders. According to reports, they concluded an agreement to purchase a seaside hotel in Maronia, Rodopi.

    Additionally, a company headquartered in Alexandroupolis was established under the name Kras Maronia to support any efforts for investments in the region.

    A first major investment in the Evros area by Russian investors would concern the creation of an aluminium factory.


    Rainy and cloudy in most parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 16-24C in Athens and from 15-19C in Thessaloniki.


    U.S. dlr 240.905, Can. dlr.176.828, Australian dlr. 190.133, Pound sterling 376.906, Irish punt 384.942, Cyprus pd 514.552, French franc 46.418, Swiss franc 191.628 Belgian franc 7.629, German mark 157.117, Finnish mark 52.642, Dutch guilder 140.049 Danish Kr. 40.987, Swedish Kr. 36.404, Norwegian Kr. 36.943, Austrian Sh. 22.344, Italian lira (100) 15.844 Yen (100) 216.170 Spanish Peseta 1.868, Portuguese Escudo 1.551.


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