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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)


  • Search continues for four missing after sinking of missile boat
  • Government: ''No honest stance on part of Turkey''
  • Contacts on Cyprus issue heat up prior to expected initiative
  • Konstantopoulos proposes meeting of party leaders to discuss initiatives taken by ''others'' on national issues
  • Two Turkish illegal immigrants seriously injured after entering minefield during attempt to cross into Greece
  • Ten Kurdish illegal immigrants arrested on Simi
  • Greenpeace activists chain themselves to tankers demanding stricter safety measures
  • Bertolucci to be honoured at Thessaloniki Film Festival


    Two Hellenic Navy vessels specially equipped to locate and raise sunken ships today arrived in the sea region north of Samos where a navy missile boat sank on Monday evening after being rammed by a ferry boat.

    At the same time, the search continued for four crew members of the ''Kostakos'' missile boat who are still missing.

    Meanwhile, a special navy committee chaired by a high-ranking officer is investigating the cause of the accident, as too is the Permanent Admiralty Court.

    According to General Navy Staff sources, the missile boat was about half a mile from the coast of Samos taking part in the ''Parmenia'' military exercise when it was struck by the ferry boat ''Samaina''.

    The same sources said that the ferry boat, sailing from Vathy to Karlovasi, suddenly changed course to port and hit the missile boat in its aft starboard section.

    The Kostakos had a crew of 38 while no injuries were reported aboard the ferry boat.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the government wished ''ample light to be shed at the soonest'' on the circumstances surrounding yesterday's accident.

    If any persons were found to be responsible for the accident, he added, they would be punished in exemplary fashion ''because accidents like this are not only terrible but also unacceptable''.

    Replying to questions, Reppas said that all necessary preparations had been made before the Parmenia exercise began to inform ''all those who should know about the exercise so that they could take the necessary steps''.

    ''The frequency of accidents in Greek waters, resulting in the loss of life, does not leave the government indifferent and we intend to take measures to improve rules of navigation,'' Reppas said, adding however that ''rules by themselves are not effective if they are not respected by individuals''.

    Meanwhile, the public prosecutor of Samos today initiated proceedings against Matthaios Pnevmatikakis and Antonis Tzouanou, the captain and first mate respectively of the ''Samaina'' for causing a shipwreck through negligence.

    Both men were later released pending trial.

    The violation of Cyprus airspace by Turkish warplanes which later landed in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island proves that there is no friendly disposition on the part of Ankara for rapprochement between Greece and Turkey, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

    ''There is no honest stance on the other side for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, since Ankara persists in its tactic of creating tension,'' Reppas added.

    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.

    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."

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Konstantopoulos today proposed to Prime Minister Costas Simitis the convening of a meeting of political party leaders to discuss the initiatives being undertaken by ''others'' concerning Greek national issues.

    Konstantopoulos charged that the government was watching developments ''without a plan and incapable of taking political decisions''.

    He called on the premier to take the initiative for a meeting with opposition party leaders so that the parties may be briefed ''and jointly examine all the facts at the present time concerning the initiatives of others''.

    Konstantopoulos said that the meeting should be held before the parliamentary debate on the budget and before any final decisions are taken regarding armaments programmes.

    The Coalition leader said that the country's foreign policy issues had entered a period of ''intense pressure which is being directed one-way towards Greece''.

    Two Turkish illegal immigrants were seriously injured early today after entering a minefield while trying to cross into Greece from Turkey.

    The two Turks were taken out of the minefield at Nea Vyssa, Evros by a special army mine disposal squad and are being treated at Didymoticho Hospital.

    Only the ages of the two men have so far been released -- 26 and 35 -- but according to sources they are believed to be of Kurdish origin.

    Ten Kurdish illegal immigrants from Iraq were arrested at dawn today after being landed on a remote beach on the island of Simi by a Turk who had ferried them in a speedboat from the Turkish coast.

    The eight men and two women told coastguard officers that they had each paid the Turkish smuggler 1,500 dollars to take them to Simi.

    An investigation is under way to ascertain the identity of the Turk.

    Greenpeace environmental organisation activists today chained themselves on tankers and a ship refuelling pipe at the Motor Oil installations in Aghioi Theodoroi, Corinth demanding stricter safety measures.

    Six activists from a Greenpeace ship currently in Greece arrived by smaller craft at the Motor Oil installations to protest for tougher measures aiming at averting the risk of sea pollution during the loading and unloading of tankers, such as the extensive oil slick stretching from the western shores of Salamina to the shores of Souvala in Aegina caused in early August after lightning struck the Aghioi Theodoroi installations.

    The protests have obstructed the loading and unloading of Motor Oil ships at Aghioi Theodoroi.

    Greenpeace is also calling for harsher legislation to be adopted covering oil pollution, and prohibitin of loading and unlaoding of tankers at night and during adverse weather conditions.

    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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