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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, Greece, 17/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Greece expresses willingness to play more active role in Dayton peace accord
  • E.U. strongly condemns murder of Greek Cypriot
  • Burns remarks on Cyprus murder draws Athens displeasure
  • 200 drachma note in November
  • Merger approval gives rise to Europe's biggest metal mining company
  • Clashes as villagers protest gold processing plant
  • Iraqi Kurds request political asylum
  • Bulgarian mastermind behind flesh trade arrested


    Greece wishes to become more active in the implementation of the Dayton peace accord in Bosnia, with an increase in the number of its military contigent, and take part in efforts to reconstruct the country, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos was quoted by the state Bosnian B-H PRESS news agency as saying at a press conference in Sarajevo yesterday, after talks with the Bosnian leadership, including President Alija Izetbegovic and Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic.

    "Greece wishes to increase the number of its peace force in Bosnia, if this is asked by the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and if the other countries participating in NATO's peace force agree," Mr. Pangalos was quoted as saying, adding that Greece was willing to contribute $7 million to the reconstruction effort. Sarajevo was Mr. Pangalos' first stop on a tour of capitals in the former Yugoslavia, which began yesterday.

    The Greek foreign minister also announced that Greece would open an embassy in the Bosnian capital later this month, adding that he had received assurances that the Bosnian side would reciprocate as soon as possible.

    International news agencies reported Mr. Pangalos as saying that President Izetbegovic in person, and Bosnian Croat member of the collective presidium, Krezimir Zubak by telephone, had confirmed to him that they would be meeting with their Bosnian Serb counterpart Momcilo Krajisnik in Sarajevo next week.

    Mr. Pangalos' Bosnian counterpart, Jadranko Pirlic expressed satisfaction at the strengthening of relations with Greece, and stressed that he had received an assurance from his guest that Greece would help Bosnia become a member of the Council of Europe.

    He also met with international mediator Carl Bildt.

    Pangalos is due in Zagreb tomorrow.

    Politika interview

    Greece wishes the Balkans to become an area of peace and cooperation, and in this context, the basic goal of its policy is to develop such cooperation as much as possible at all levels, Mr. Pangalos says in an interview to the 'Politika' newspaper , published today.

    "Greece desires the strengthening of both inter-Balkan and bilateral cooperation, and is seeking the broadest possible cooperation of Balkan countries with the European Union," he says.

    Regarding bilateral relations with Yugoslavia, Mr. Pangalos emphasises that the two countries are connected with traditional links of friendship and cooperation, tested under difficult conditions, and holding scope for further broadening.

    "We are at the beginning of a new historical era, and it is in our hand for this period to be sealed in peace and progress," he adds.

    Referring to recent dramatic events in Cyprus, Mr. Pangalos stresses that the continuation of the island's division and occupation of its northern part by Turkey constituted a major issue of violation of the most basic rules of international law to wh ich the international communtiy ought to have paid more attention.

    "The latest criminal actions of occupation forces show that this situation cannot be continued," he says.

    Regarding the situation in the Aegean, the foreign minister stresses that Turkey must respect international law and treaties.

    The European Union yesterday strongly condemned the killing by Turkish occupation forces of an unarmed Greek Cypriot civilian, Petros Kakoullis, on Sunday.

    A declaration by the EU Irish Presidency said the EU "strongly condemns the killing by the forces on the north of Cyprus." It also said that the EU "deplores this latest tragic death, as it does all the violent deaths which have occurred recently in Cyprus."

    "The European Union fully endorses the principle stated by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) that deadly force must not be used by either side against persons who cross the respective ceasefire lines, or enter the UN buffer zone. The Europea n Union calls on both sides to look urgently at measures aimed at removing live ammunition from front line posts and increasing the area of demanning as called for in UN Security Council resolutions," the declaration said.

    Burns remarks on Cyprus murder draws Athens reaction

    Athens expressed displeasure yesterday at the statements of US State Department spokesperson Nicholas Burns on Tuesday regarding the murder of an unarmed Greek Cypriot by Turkish armed forces in Cyprus.

    Mr. Burns said political violence had taken place by both sides in Cyprus and let it be understood that the Greek side had responsibilities over the killing of a Turkish Cypriot soldier.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas criticised the US government of keeping equal distances towards both the victimiser and the victim.

    "It is wrong that the victimiser and the victim are kept on equal distances, " Mr. Reppas said.

    "Here we are dealing with a murderous act against an unarmed citizen who had no intention to cause tension or an act of violence in the region where he was killed," he added. for fresh international initiatives on Cyprus.

    Speaking to reporters in Washington, Mr. Burns said that "political violence has taken place by both sides."

    "Another young Greek Cypriot was killed recently and a Turkish soldier was killed. We think that the killings must stop on both sides. And we urged both sides to try to find the killer of the Turkish soldier. And this is the responsibility of the authorities in Cyprus," he added.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis held a meeting yesterday with US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Niles.

    The meeting, which took place at the request of Mr. Niles, centred on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.

    Diplomatic sources said there was no agenda and that the two men exchanged views on various issues ranging from developments in Greek-Turkish relations to Greek initiatives in the Balkans on the occasion of Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos' tou r to the countries of former Yugoslavia.

    Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papadimos yesterday presented the new 200 drachma note that will come into circulation on November 4.

    The new note bears on one side the figure of Rigas Feraios, an 18th century Greek champion of a Balkan federation, independent of Ottoman rule.

    Mr. Papadimas said this will be one of the last Greek notes to be printed.

    "Our aim is for the country to join EMU by the year 2000 or 2001, when notes will be printed in Euro denominations thereafter," he said.

    The AEE Argyromettalevmaton and Varytinis (AEEAV) has become the biggest metal mining company in Europe, following the agreement yesterday for the acquisition of AEM Parnassos Bauxite company.

    Both companies belong to the Iliopoulos - Kyriakopoulos group, and their merger was approved by both companiesY general assemblies yesterday, along with a decision to increase AEEAVYs equity capital by 1.7 billion drachmas with the floatation of 2,660 ,650 new shares.

    Parnassos, founded in 1933, is today the biggest bauxite producer in Europe, with exploitable reserves of 120 million tonnes estimated to last about 100 years, and it exports more than 60 per cent of its production. AEEAV, founded in 1934, has mines on the island of Milos, and is the biggest exporter of perlite and betonite in the world.

    The merger is expected to allow the two companies to expand to new products, through resulting economies of scale. Their joint sales are estimated at 19 billion drachmas in 1996 and profits at 3.7 billion, with projected corresponding figures for 199 7, 25 and 4.5 billion drachmas.

    Three injured as villagers protest gold processing plant

    Three people were slightly injured earlier today in clashes between police and villagers protesting the operation of a gold processing plant by the Canadian TVX Gold Inc. company in Olympiada, near Halkidiki in northern Greece.

    The clashes broke out when company trucks tried to break through a 10-month- long barricade erected by residents of the Olympiada and Varvaras villages, who say the plant will threaten the area's tourism business and the environment.

    TVX Gold on Tuesday said it would suspend its $270 million investment if the residents continued to disrupt the work. A company spokesman said TVX Gold had lost about $28 million from the delay and that it had so far paid its 600 workers without making any profits.

    However, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday that the government's commitment to the investment would be honoured.

    A strong police force was sent to the region this morning to prevent incidents but the tension was evident.

    The three injured were taken to the Paliohorou Health Centre where a doctor told the ANA they had received light injuries - two on the face and one on the shoulder - from stones.

    31 Iraqi Kurds request political asylum

    Thirty-one Iraqi Kurds, including nine children and a pregnant woman, were picked up today on the islet of Ro after illegally entering Greece and have requested political asylum.

    Police said the illegal immigrants -- 16 men, six women and nine children -- were left off on the Laimos region of Ro by a Turkish smuggler and located by a Greek coast guard patrol boat.

    The Iraqi Kurds told authorities they had paid 1,500 dollars each to the Turkish smuggler. They were taken to the police station on nearby Kastellorizo island, where they requested political asylum.

    The request was being examined, police said.

    Bulgarian 'flesh trader' arrested

    Police in the northern Greek town of Serres said today that they had snared the 'big fish' in a flourishing cross-border trade in young woman, following the arrest of a Bulgarian man near the Promahonas border post.

    Stotsef Iliev, 24, is the mastermind behind a ring importing young women from the Balkan and former Soviet Union states, according to Interpol.

    "We have been chasing the young Bulgarian for two years," Serres Police Chief Constantine Sotiriou told reporters. "We were aware that he was importing young foreign women into Greece and 'selling' them for between 1, 000 and 2,000 dollars".

    Sotiriou said Greek and Bulgarian police cooperated to set a trap for Iliev near the Promahonas border post.

    Also arrested were Iliev's Greek accomplice Vassilis Ioannidis, 56, and three young Bulgarian women, "a special order" from a nightclub owner in Athens.

    Greek police authorities said Iliev had brought more than 150 young women into Greece in the past two years, assisted by an accomplice identified only as 'Valentino'.

    The women, some of them as young as 17 and without any travel papers, were destined for work as hostesses in nightclubs in Athens, Thessaloniki and other major urban centres.


    Partly cloudy in most parts of the country with rainfalls expected later on in the day.Temperatures will range in Athens from 16-23C and in Thessaloniki from 13-21C.


    U.S. dlr 239.003 Can. dlr.176.278, Australian dlr. 189.085, Pound sterling 379.043, Irish punt 384.102, Cyprus pd 511.078, French franc 45.846, Swiss franc 188.321 Belgian franc 7.529, German mark 155.154 Finnish mark 51.985, Dutch guilder 138.265 Danish Kr. 40.493, Swedish Kr. 36.089, Norwegian Kr. 36.575, Austrian Sh. 22.062, Italian lira (100) 15.591 Yen (100) 212.953 Spanish Peseta 1.845, Portuguese Escudo 1.538.


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