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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 05/11/1996 (ANA)


  • Contacts on Cyprus issue heat up prior to expected initiative
  • Modern Greek chair at University of Venice
  • Numerous Turkish violations of Greek airspace reported
  • Navy ship sinks after collision with ferry, 4 missing
  • Mt. Athos monastery denies reports of Karadzic, Mladic asylum requests
  • Premier to endorse package of economic measures
  • Moody's to upgrade Greece's int'l credit rating
  • Greece, Czech Republic agree on exports cooperation
  • Unified strategy between Greece, Cyprus on earthquake response proposed by scientists
  • Athens Mayor, basketball federation discuss '98 World Basketball Championship in Athens
  • Bertolucci to be honoured at Thessaloniki Film Festival

    Contacts on Cyprus issue heat up prior to expected initiative

    The government said yesterday that Foreign Undersecretary Christos Rozakis' visit to Nicosia was indicative of Greece's "particular interest" concerning the Cyprus problem.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that Mr. Rozakis, who arrived in Cyprus on Sunday at the head of a delegation, will have talks with the Nicosia government and opposition parties in order to gain a "comprehensive view" of the problem.

    The Greek government delegation will be discussing a common stance between Athens and Nicosia regarding latest developments on the Cyprus problem in view of a US initiative expected to be taken within the next few months.

    "There is a new period before us in view of US elections and also because the time is approaching for commencement of negotiations on Cyprus' accession to the European Union. There is also talk of initiatives being taken, and besides, there is increased movement (on the Cyprus problem)," Mr. Reppas said.

    "For this reason and in order that there be no surprises, and in order for there to be better coordination, all these efforts are being made, including the foreign undersecretary's visit to Nicosia," Mr. Reppas said.

    On his part, Mr. Rozakis described as his meeting yesterday with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides as productive. The Greek official was briefed on Nicosia's positions on the Cyprus problem, according to an ANA dispatch from the island republic's capita l.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Rozakis said that the purpose of the Greek delegation's contacts with the Cyprus government was "to gather the material which is necessary in order to finalise positions in view of the new phase into which the Cyprus problem is entering."

    Mr. Rozakis said the delegation would have further contacts later yesterday and today, "in order to gain a comprehensive picture and work out its views when it returns to Athens".

    Modern Greek chair at University of Venice

    An agreement for the establishment of a university chair for modern Greek at the University of Venice was signed yesterday by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and the rector of the university.

    The agreement provides for a permanent instructor's position, which will be paid for by the Greek culture ministry's budget over the next five years.

    During the signing of the agreement, Mr. Venizelos spoke of the historical and cultural ties connecting Greece and Venice, which for a significant period was the centre of Greek language printing and literature.

    Mr. Venizelos visited an exhibition on the subject of "Greeks in the West" during his stay in Venice.

    Numerous Turkish violations of Greek airspace reported

    Turkish F-16 and F-4 "Phantom" fighters yesterday violated Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) regulations and infringed on Greek national airspace on at least 12 occasions between the eastern Aegean islands of Hios and Lesvos and north of Rhodes, sour ces said.

    According to reports, Hellenic Air Force F-16s and F-4s along with French- made Mirage 2000 fighters intercepted the intruders in every instance.

    Navy ship sinks after collision with ferry boat, 4 missing

    Four crew members of a Hellenic Navy missile boat were reported missing at presstime yesterday after the vessel collided with a passenger ship and sank north of the eastern Aegean island of Samos at approximately 6:45 p.m.

    In addition, according to a merchant marine ministry announcement, no injuries were reported aboard the Greek-flagged "Samaina" ferry boat.

    No details were as yet available concerning the causes of the accident. The warship had a crew of 38.

    Commenting on the accident, Premier Costas Simitis expressed last night his regret for the likely loss of human life and said he had given instructions for "the examplary punishment of those who were criminally negligent of their duties".

    Mount Athos monastery denies reports of Karadzic, Mladic asylum requests

    The Hiliandariou monastery on Mount Athos yesterday denied reports that it had received requests or "expressions of desire" from former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and military leader Gen. Ratko Mladic to be allowed to join the monastic community .

    The denial was made by a representative of the monastery, who categorically denied that any such request had ever been made by anyone.

    Premier to endorse package of economic measures

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to approve today a package with new taxes and other economic measures which will be applied next year.

    These measures include taxes on large real estate holdings, interest on treasury bills and government bonds, financial derivatives, abolition of tax exemptions, an increase in taxation criteria for conspicuous consumption, cutbacks in state expenses and a slashing of waste in the public sector.

    The estimated fiduciary yield of the new measures has been included in the new budget, which envisages an increase in revenue in the region of one trillion drachmas.

    Yesterday, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, after successive meetings with colleagues and top officials, put the final touches on a package of measures which also includes proposals for incomes policy.

    In another development, Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas said after a meeting with the prime minister yesterday that he had submitted a four- year programme with specific priorities for his ministry's sector and the cost of its application.

    The plan includes three draft bills tabled in Parliament in September, which deal, among others, with the establishment of appropriate bodies for the management of European Union subsidies and for quality control of agricultural products, leasing in the agricultural sector and farmers' insurance.

    Mr. Tzoumakas also mentioned that in a meeting with Mr. Papantoniou, it was agreed that a tax added to general commercial activities and distribution of agricultural products could be necessary to support an autonomous pension fund for farmers. He added that the possibility of such funds being sought from EU coffers and Structural Programmes would also be examined, saying farmers' social insurance is a structural issue in Greece.

    Referring to farmers' demands for budget subsidies on certain products, he reiterated the prime minister's position that this was not possible.

    After another meeting with the prime minister, Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said the government's final positions regarding farmers' insurance and the supplementary social solidarity benefit for pensioners would be made known a few days after t he release of the new budget.

    Moody's to upgrade Greece's int'l credit rating

    Moody's, the New York-based economic ratings firm, is examining an upgrading of Greece credit rating for foreign investors.

    According to a Reuters dispatch, Moody's sees an improvement of the Greek economy in its basic figures, particularly a decline in inflation to single- digit levels, and believes that the country poses fewer risks to foreign investors, both in their short - and in their long-term investments.

    Greece, Czech Republic agree on exports cooperation

    The Export Promotion Organisation (OPE) has signed an agreement with the International Economic Relations Centre in Prague for bilateral cooperation in the sectors of commerce and information and the organisation of meetings between Greek a nd Czech experts.

    The agreement, signed in Prague, provides for the organisation of a symposium in Greece, training of employees of the two organisations, a visit by a Czech trade mission to Greece, and Greece's assistance regarding promotion of Czech programmes through existing EU programmes.

    OPE President John Gen said the new prospects for cooperation between the two countries in the direction of developing trade relations looked promising.

    Unified strategy between Greece, Cyprus on earthquake response proposed by scientists

    Scientists stressed the need for a unified doctrine between Greece and Cyprus on earthquake preparedness and response, adding that seismic substrata in both countries have a "stunning resemblance."

    A scientific "scan" of the subsoils in Cyprus, undertaken after a strong earthquake on the island recently, and its results, were presented at a conference of seismologists and other officials in Cyprus last week.

    It was shown that the island republic's seismic arc is surprisingly similar to that of Greece, which begins from the islands in the Ionian and extends to Rhodes.

    "The rift in Cyprus is identical to the Greek seismic arc, with which it has surprising resemblance, as research has shown," Prof. Vassilis Papazahos of the Aristotelion University's geophysics laboratory told ANA.

    "This means that it gives us the possibility to implement results of plans and research, which we have on the Greek seismic area and on anti-seismic protection of Cyprus, as well as to derive experiences," he added.

    Athens Mayor, basketball federation discuss '98 World Basketball Championship in Athens

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos held talks at city hall yesterday with the presidium of the Greek Basketball Federation concerning the World Basketball Championship, slated to be held in Athens in 1998.

    "This tournament will certainly play a very important role in promoting Greek basketball, as well as the city of Athens, in light of the Olympic Games of 2004," Mr. Avramopoulos said after the meeting.

    "Therefore, we must support the World Basketball Championship of 1998 from now, we must encourage it and facilitate it in every way to secure its success," he added.

    Bertolucci to be honoured at Thessaloniki Film Festival

    Internationally renowned Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci is due to arrive in Thessaloniki on Saturday in order to attend events at the city's annual film festival.

    One hundred and thirty movies will be screened at this year's 37th Thessaloniki Film Festival.

    Fourteen of Mr. Bertolucci's movies will be screened at the festival in a special tribute to the director.

    The international part of the festival also includes seven French movies and another seven films directed by Balkan directors.


    U.S. dlr 236.304 Can. dlr.177.171, Australian dlr. 186.188 Pound sterling 387.495, Irish punt 387.852, Cyprus pd 511.872, French franc 46.249, Swiss franc 186.446 Belgian franc 7.590, German mark 156.270 Finnish mark 52.179, Dutch guilder 139.465 Danish Kr. 40.692, Swedish Kr. 35.841, Norwegian Kr. 37.121, Austrian Sh. 22.211, Italian lira (100) 15.587 Yen (100) 209.252 Spanish Peseta 1.859, Portuguese Escudo 1.548.


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