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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 07/11/1996 (ANA)


  • Greece determined to join EMU, Commission calls for further measures
  • Greek leadership sends Clinton congratulations on his re-election
  • 10 violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes reported
  • Premier itinerary
  • New Foreign Press Association (FPA) board announced
  • European, Arab youth organisations to confer in Athens
  • Greenpeace blockade of Motor Oil refinery broken up
  • Greek firms to present wares at Belgrade trade fair
  • October inflation falls to 83 per cent


    Greece determined to join EMU, Commission calls for further measures

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday Greece was steadfastly dedicated to equal participation in the European Union, the same day a European Commission report called on Greece to adopt further measures in the effort to reduce its public deficit.

    In Brussels, Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies, expressed confidence that Greece can effectively reduce its deficit.

    "Greece can meet the target of reducing public deficit below 7.6 per cent of GDP for 1996, as stated in the convergence programme of the Greek economy, but on the condition that the Greek government proceeds immediately to the adoption of the necessary corrective measures," she said.

    EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Yves Thibault de Silguy made statements to the same effect, stressing that no country could be excluded from the final phase of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), stressing, however, the need for Greece to make increased efforts towards monetary stabilisation.

    The European Commission's twice-yearly review of economic conditions in the EU was published yesterday.

    According to the Commission, only Greece, Italy and Britain will fail to meet the deficit criteria laid down in the Maastricht Treaty as part of the prerequisites set for countries wishing to join a single currency in 1999.

    Greek leadership sends Clinton congratulations on his re-election

    The nation's top political leadership extended its congratulations yesterday on the re-election of Bill Clinton to the US presidency.

    In a message of congratulations, President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos wished Mr. Clinton, who defeated Republican challenger Bob Dole, "success in his great and demanding mission."

    President Stephanopoulos also expressed his conviction that close ties between Greece and the United States "will continue to be developed and strengthened continuously for the mutual benefit of both our countries and for the promotion of the purposes of peace, security and progress throughout the world."

    In his message, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said: "On the occasion of your re-election as president of the United States, I would like to address my warmest congratulations to you and my sincere wishes for every success in your important mission".

    "I am convinced that during the course of your term in office, the friendly and constructive relations between the United States and Greece will continue to develop, not only to the benefit of their people, but also to the benefit of peace and prosperit y in the sensitive regions of the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean," Mr. Simitis added.

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert also sent Mr. Clinton a congratulatory telegram, expressing his certainty that the "longterm and historical ties" between Greece and the United States will become even stronger during his next four-year tenure.

    In addition, the government yesterday officially welcomed Mr. Clinton's re- election victory, adding that it would judge the Clinton Administration's policy on Greece by actions and not words.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that with regard to Mr. Clinton's policy on Greece's national issues "we shall judge his deeds".

    Meanwhile, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday predicted that Washington would undertake "a new vigorous initiative" on the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations by February at the earliest, following the re-election of Mr. Clint on.

    Mr. Papandreou said Mr. Clinton's statements on adherence to international rules, international law and UN resolutions concerning the region "has indicated a turn in US policy in recent months, particularly following the Imia problem". Greece and Turkey nearly went to war earlier this year when Ankara openly disputed Greek sovereignty of the uninhabited eastern Aegean islet of Imia.

    Mr. Papandreou said that the thrust of US interest over the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations should be directed "in the form of pressure" to Ankara, "which bears all the responsibility for the Cyprus problem and its unacceptable claims in the Aegean."

    "We shall see, however, to what extent the US has the will to exert pressure on Turkey and to what extent there will be a substantial response from Ankara," Mr. Papandreu said, stressing that at the present time Turkey's foreign policy is represented by "many faces, and it is difficult for one to diagnose its true direction."

    10 violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes reported

    Greek national airspace and Athens FIR regulations were violated on 10 separate occasions by Turkish warplanes yesterday, with seven of the violations being perpetrated by Turkish F-16 fighters and three with F-4 "Phantom" aircraft between the islands of Samos and Hios, sources said.

    In all 10 instances, Hellenic Air Force aircraft intercepted the violators and escorted them out of Greek airspace.

    Premier's itinerary

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will visit Rome on November 20 and take part in the CSCE summit in Lisbon on December 2, according to his schedule for the next month announced yesterday by government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    On December 12, Mr. Simitis will pay a working visit to the Hague before flying the following day to Dublin to attend the European Union summit.

    Mr. Reppas said that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma would visit Greece on November 12-13, followed by Irish Premier John Bruton on November 14.

    New FPA board announced

    The new board of the Foreign Press Association of Greece following the organisation's Oct. 30 election are as follows: President: Evangelos Antonaros (Die Welt) Vice-President: Costas Paris (Reuter) Secretary General: Patrick Quinn (Associated Press) Treasurer: Nawab Khan (IRNA) Special Secretary: Vera Koridi (Cypriot Press) Advisors: Costas Tsatsaronis (Deutsche Welle)

    Rea Sourmeli (Agence France Presse) Takis Berberakis (Milliyet) Alternates: Nikos Papazoglou (Associated Press) Sameh Abdallah (Al Ahram)

    European, Arab youth organisations to confer in Athens

    Representatives of several European and Arab youth organisations are to attend the third preliminary meeting being organised in Athens by the Greek youth general secretariat, in cooperation with the Council of Europe.

    The meeting aims to prepare the conference on "Euro-Arab Youth Dialogue for Mutual Understanding and Cooperation", which is to be held in Budapest this December.

    Representatives of roughly 100 European and Arab youth and international organisations are to attend the conference.

    Greenpeace blockade of Motor Oil refinery broken up

    The captain of the Greenpeace vessel "Arctic Sunrise" and 15 activists of the international environmental organisation were arrested early yesterday at the Motor Oil refinery installations at Aghioi Theodoroi, Corinth, charged with breaking the law by disrupting sea navigation.

    Greenpeace activists had chained themselves since Tuesday to mooring buoys and loading cranes, while the Arctic Sunrise blocked access to the refinery's port demanding stricter safety measures.

    The 16 activists were arrested early in the morning on order of the Corinth Public Prosecutor, who had warned the protesters that they were breaking the law by obstructing marine navigation.

    The Arctic Sunrise's captain, David Enever, was arrested later after refusing to move the ship out of the area.

    Late last night, the 16 activists were set free, after a Corinth public prosecutor referred them for trial on February 6 on charges of disturbing the peace.

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis later told reporters that he had asked the Greenpeace activists to leave the Motor Oil installations peacefully.

    "Unfortunately, on the instructions of the public prosecutor of Corinth, 14 persons, the captain and the person in charge of the ecology operation, Nikos Charalambidis, were arrested. Since yesterday morning, I personally had tried to persuade the protesters, underlining our sensitivity on environmental issues," Mr. Soumakis said.

    Expressing regret over the outcome of the operation, Mr. Soumakis added that in addition to his own efforts, the chief of the coastguard sent a fax to the (Corinth) Isthmus Coastguard Headquarters informing that a group of officers were considering taking "new security measures."

    Mr. Soumakis said that the Isthmus coastguard chief forwarded the fax to the protesters who, however, were not persuaded.

    "Excesses do not help, but the decision was taken by the public prosecutor, " the minister added.

    Commenting on the arrests,government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that the government showed sensitivity regarding ecological issues and underlined that the motives of the persons arrested "are certainly not ignoble."

    Distancing the government from yesterday's arrests, Mr. Reppas stressed that the entire procedure had been carried out on the orders of the public prosecutor.

    Mr. Reppas said that the government had already set up a 17-member committee to deal with issues related to the protection of the marine environment and called on Greenpeace to cooperate with the committee.

    Greek firms to present wares at Belgrade trade fair

    A number of Eastern Macedonia-Thrace based companies will participate in an international foodstuffs and beverages exhibition to be held in Belgrade on December 11-14, in an attempt to enter the Yugoslav market.

    On the sidelines of the exhibition, which is held with the participation of the largest Yugoslav companies in the sector of foodstuffs production as well as with the largest importers and distributors of foodstuffs from Balkan and European countries, th e Greek businessmen are expected to meet and discuss cooperation with their Yugoslav colleagues and other businessmen from the Balkans.

    Prospects in the food sector of the Yugoslav market look promising but a wave of Western European companies which has appeared in the market is causing increasing competition.

    October inflation falls to 8.3 per cent

    Inflation fell in October to 8.3 per cent from 8.5 per cent in September, according to figures released yesterday by the National Statistics Service (ESYE).

    The figure is the same as for October 1995 and resulted from a 0.9 per cent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) compared to a 1.1. per cent increase in the same month last year.

    The rise in the October CPI was mainly due to price increases of winter clothing and footwear, pork, lamb, goat meat, fruit, vegetables, furniture and household consumer goods.

    In addition there were price increases of gasoline, bus fares in the provinces and rents.

    These increases were offset by reductions in the prices of fresh fish, potatoes and heating oil.

    The ESYE estimated that if the present good weather keeps up and there are no "unexpected" developments, inflation will mark a further drop in November.

    Greeks preparing giant sand sculpture in Egypt

    Three Greeks are creating what they say will be the largest current land art project in the world - a set of perfect cones made of sand and arranged in spirals over 10 hectares (25 acres) of Egyptian desert.

    Bulldozers started work at the site on the Red Sea coast in September and the work of art, known as Desert Breath, will be ready for inauguration in ceremonies between November 29 and December 1, one of the organisers said on Wedensday.

    Once the work is complete, they will document its decay over six months as the wind wears the cones away, said Wail Khalil, a marketing executive with sponsoring company Orascom.

    The project is the brainchild of Alexandra Stratou, Danae Stratou and Stella Constantinides, known as the D.A.S.T. Art Team, a statement from the organisers said.

    Khalid said the centre of the work would be an artificial lake 30 metres (100 feet) in diameter. Two spirals, one of sand cones and one of conical depressions cut into the floor of the desert, would circle outwards in the shape of a nautilus shell.

    The 178 cones start small, at about 50 cm (20 inches) high, rising at the outside to almost four metres (13 feet).

    "The climax, when everything is geometricaly perfect, will be at sunset and we'll light it with torches. Then we will follow the sand as it moves and the work decays," said Khalid.

    "By creating conical volumes as precise geometrical forms, the passage of time can be measured through their slow disintegration," the statement said.

    "At this instant in time, which signals the simultaneous completion of all the cones, the ritual of inauguration will take place to make time zero before the work begins its gradual transformation," it added.

    The site of the work is a flat expanse of sand between the Red Sea and mountains at El Gouna, 21 km (13 miles) north of the southeastern tourist resort of Hurghada.


    U.S. dlr 237.267 Can. dlr.178.024, Australian dlr. 187.781 Pound sterling 390.054, Irish punt 389.757, Cyprus pd 512.864, French franc 46.191, Swiss franc 185.886 Belgian franc 7.579, German mark 156.091 Finnish mark 51.967, Dutch guilder 139.207 Danish Kr. 40.652, Swedish Kr. 35.845, Norwegian Kr. 37.031, Austrian Sh. 22.191, Italian lira (100) 15.558 Yen (100) 208.300 Spanish Peseta 1.857, Portuguese Escudo 1.548.


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