Greece backs EU flexible fiscal Stability Pact
NEWS IN DETAIL
Turkish helicopter crashes in sea region near Rhodes
A Turkish military helicopter taking part in a NATO exercise crashed early
this morning in international waters south of the Greek island of Rhodes,
the National Defence Ministry said.
According to initial reports, the body of a crew member has been recovered
by a U.S. helicopter also taking part in the manoeuvres, while the other
three crew members are said to be trapped in the downed helicopter, which
is floating upside-down.
According to latest reports, the bodies of three crew members have been
recovered of the Turkish military helicopter that crashed in international
waters 30 nautical miles southeast of the Greek island of Rhodes.
A fourth crew member is still missing, as search and rescue operations in
the are are continuing.
The helicopter crashed into the sea at 3:15 a.m. local time after taking
off from the Turkish frigate ''Barbaross'' which was taking part in an
exercise with ships of the NATO SNFM force, which had set sail from
Alexandria on November 9 headed for Italy.
According to the National Defence Ministry, the search and rescue operation
is being coordinated by Captain K. Nikitiadis on board the Greek frigate
''Adrias''. Taking part in the operation are a Greek Air Force ''Hercules''
plane and four airforce helicopters, as well as the NATO Mediterranean
Command fleet of ships taking part in the exercise.
Immediately after the crash, a Greek Air Force C-130 aircraft flew to the
area and started sending off flares,
The Greek frigate ''Adrias'', which was nearby, rushed to the site together
with Air Force helicopters from Rhodes that specialises in search and
Greece,Ukraine sign friendship and cooperation agreement following Kuchma visit
Greece and Ukraine yesterday signed a friendship and cooperation
agreement following talks between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and
visiting Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.
Three accords on the transport, tourism, and cultural sectors were also
signed after talks between Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his
counterpart, Gennady Udovenko.
Mr. Kuchma, who arrived in Athens yesterday on an official two-day visit,
said he had received the fullest support from Athens on issues that had
been discussed, including the region's problems, Russian-Ukrainian
relations, his country's relations with the European Union and the expected
enlargement of NATO. He said particular emphasis was placed on economic
cooperation and European security issues.
Mr. Kuchma, who earlier met with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, extended
an invitation to Mr. Simitis to visit the Ukraine. "The multi-dimensional
character of Greek foreign policy and multi-faceted relations being
developed with the countrie s of eastern Europe was very much in evidence
in the talks with Mr. Kuchma," Mr. Simitis said.
The prime minister confirmed Athens' support for Kiev's efforts to find its
place in the new world emerging and noted the ties of friendship binding
the two peoples and the long and dynamic presence of Hellenism in the
Mr. Simitis added that the two men had also discussed Greek-Turkish
relations and the Cyprus problem, agreeing that differences between the
states should be resolved on the basis of the principles of international
law and respect for international treaties.
In a related development, Mr. Pangalos and Mr. Udovenko signed three
agreements in the transport, tourism and cultural sectors.
Mr. Pangalos said at the end of talks that Greece shares a number of the
Ukraine's ideas related to the organisation of the international community.
"We support the validity of the borders in Europe as they have been defined
by international treaties an d we are opposed to whatever effort to revise
them," he said. Mr. Pangalos said Greece will encourage the strengthening
of relations between the Ukraine and the European Union and its progressive
association with NATO. He further expressed support for its complete
participation in Balkan cooperation.
He said trade between the two countries had developed in leaps, speaking of
considerable Greek investments in Ukraine and adding that plans exist to
create new motorways, such as the one linking Helsinki with Athens via
Mr. Pangalos said this highway should be funded by the EU, by all countries
using it and by a Black Sea Investment Bank to be created in 1997 and
headquartered in Thessaloniki.
On his part, Mr. Udovenko referred to the tens of thousands of Greeks
living in the Ukraine who constitute an important bridge of friendship
between the two countries.
Mr. Udovenko said the signing of a friendship and cooperation agreement by
Mr. Simitis and Mr. Kuchma is an important foundation stone, announcing
that the mayor of Kiev, who is a member of the Ukrainian delegation, will
sign a cooperation agreement wit h Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos
Replying to a question on the problem posed by the Chernobyl nuclear plant,
Mr. Udovenko said the biggest problem does not concern the two reactors
that continue to operate but the one which exploded in 1986.
Mr. Udovenko said the reactor has been covered with cement and continues to
contain 180 tons of nuclear material in an unknown condition. He added that
ways are being sought with foreign experts to extract the nuclear material
from the reactor, but adde d that this will not be possible without
economic aid from the international community.
After meeting with the president and premier, Mr. Kuchma held separate
meetings with main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert,
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga and ruling
PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis .
After his meeting with Mr. Kuchma, Mr. Evert said the two men discussed the
possibility of political and economic cooperation between the two
During an official luncheon given last night in Mr. Kuchma's honour by
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, the Greek president
stressed the traditional, friendly relations between the two countries,
adding that Greece will contribute to the one-time Soviet republic's
efforts for gaining access to west European and Atlantic organisations.
In his address, among others, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that it was Greece's
wish to improve relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM) as soon as possible.
He said, however, that in order to improve relations, FYROM should show
respect to "our history and our cultural heritage."
Referring to Greek-Turkish relations as well as the continued Turkish
occupation of a part of Cyprus, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that Ankara, by
"refusing to respect the international treaties regulating the status quo
in the Aegean has reached the point o f disputing our sovereign rights,
causing tension in the region and not allowing for the development of
harmonious relations and peaceful cooperation" in the southeastern
Mr. Stephanopoulos also referred to Greece's initiatives in the Balkans and
opportunities for further development of bilateral relations between Greece
and the Ukraine.
The Association of Athens Stock Exchange members discontinues dialogue with government
The Association of Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) members (SMEHA) has
discontinued dialogue with the government, association president Dimitris
The government, the ASE supervising authorities and the SMEHA governinng
board agreed Sunday on the terms and conditions for the reopening of the
ASE, an agreement which was, however, overturned by a stockbrokers'general
assembly on Monday, and consultations were resumed today but were finally
The ASE suspended trading on Friday for the first time in its history when
SMEHA abatained following the inability of Delta Securities S.A. to cover
2.6 billion dr. cash obligations to the Titles Depository, which is
responsible for clearing transactions.
The brokers have called on the national economy ministry to ensure the
correct operation of the transactions clearance system, cliaming that the
Titles Depository owed brokerage firms money.
SMEHA discontinued its consultations with the government today following an
effort by the ASE supervising authority to operate the exchange with the
participation only of the brokerage firms that are subsidiaries of the
major state-controlled banks (National Bank of Greece, Commercial Bank,
Ionian Bank, ErgoBank). This sparked protest from other brokerage
A ''mini-session'' finally took place, with activity in only seven shares.
The general price index closed up by 0.29% at 920.81 points, while the
value of transactions was 4 million dr.
Illegal immigrants in hearse
Two men have been arrested while transporting Iraqi illegal immigrants
from Komotini or Xanthi to Thessaloniki, northern Greece, in the Xanthi
muftiship's hearse, police said today.
They said Jesair Jemali, 50, and Reya Yiasar, 32, both Moslem residents of
Xanthi, had charged the four Iraqis 200 dollars each to transport them to
The two men had been under surveilance for some time and were finally
arrested Monday as they boarded the four Iraqis on the hearse after
receiving 800 dollars from them.
The hearse was driven by Jemali, while Yiasar followed in his car.
The two vehicles were confiscated and drivers and refugees were ordered to
appear before the Xanthi Public Prosecutor.
Meanwhile, the Kavala police said that 160 illegal immigrants were deported
from Kavala in October. They said that the immigrants, who came from
Albania, Bangladesh, Bulgaria and Russia, were working illegally in
agricultural regions and animal-breeding units in Kavala.
US representative for Cyprus due in Athens today
Washington's representative for Cyprus, Carey Cavanaugh, is due to arrive
in Athens today for talks with the Greek government.
After his visit to Athens, Mr. Cavanaugh will continue his consultations in
Ankara and then Nicosia.
Sources said that the US official will have a meeting with Ilias Klis, the
head of the Greek-Turkish relations department at the foreign ministry.
Justice Minister in Cyprus today
Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos will leave for Cyprus today to
attend events marking the continuing occupation of a third of the island-
republic by Turkish troops. Mr. Yiannopoulos will be the main speaker at an
event marking the anniversary of the declaration of 'autonomy' of the
pseudo-state in the occupied territories.
The Turkish Cypriot regime in the occupied territories is not recognised by
any country, other than Turkey.
This year's events are dedicated to the memory of Tassos Isaac and Solomos
Solomou, the two young Greek Cypriot men killed by Turkish occupation
forces earlier this year.
Mr. Yiannopoulos will be received by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and
will have meetings with president of the Cyprus Socialist Party Vassos
Lyssarides, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Spyros Kyprianou,
as well as with Archbishop Chryso stomos. Mr. Yiannopoulos is expected back
in Athens on Thursday.
Greece backs EU flexible fiscal Stability Pact
The European Union Economy and Finance Ministers' Council (ECOFIN)
yesterday discussed in Brussels the terms and conditions for the so-called
Stability Pact, and the new Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), which concerns
the currencies of the member-states which will not adopt the single
currency from the start.
Disagreements emerged during the session, particularly regarding the pact
involving countries which will adopt the single currency from its inception,
and mainly due to the inflexible stand of the German side, who insisted on
the imposition of strict sa nctions against countries which do not achieve
the continuous and steady reduction in fiscal deficits.
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who represented
Greece, said Athens does not disagree with the proposal for the imposition
of sanctions, but noted that they must be proportionate with the breadth of
the fiscal deficit and have a ceiling. He added that an account ought to be
taken of "situations of extraordinary and temporary nature", the level of
investment and defence expenditure, which should mitigate the severity of
He stated that, in general, he was in favour of a flexible definition
regarding the "situations of extraordinary and temporary nature".
Regarding the new ERM, which will be applied from 1999 for countries that
will not initially participate in the single currency, Mr. Papantoniou said
it would contain significant margins of fluctuation, possibly in the order
of 15 per cent, as the old E RM.
He added that although participation in the new mechanism will be formally
voluntary, in essence, it will be compulsory for the countries wishing to
participate in the single currency, and stressed that the drachma will
participate in the new mechanism to the degree that integration in the
single currency is a declared aim of the Greek government.
Mild and lightly cloudy, with temperatures in Athens ranging from 11-22 C
and in Thessaloniki 7-19 C.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 235.868 Can. dlr.177.032, Australian dlr. 185.960 Pound sterling
388.646, Irish punt 389.856, Cyprus pd 514.154, French franc 46.358, Swiss
franc 186.367 Belgian franc 7.609, German mark 156.800 Finnish mark 51.932,
Dutch guilder 139.808 Danish Kr. 40.771, Swedish Kr. 35.670, Norwegian Kr.
37.279, Austrian Sh. 22.280, Italian lira (100) 15.549 Yen (100) 211.961
Spanish Peseta 1.862, Portuguese Escudo 1.549.