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Athens News Agency: News in English, 97-03-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.forthnet.gr/ape>


NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 13/03/1997 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Pangalos, Kranidiotis in Albania Friday
  • Efforts for EU humanitarian aid to Albania, Bulgaria
  • Premier defends modernisation policy
  • Greek-Austrian cooperation in defence sector
  • Greek participation at New York trade exhibition
  • Premier to meet shipowners board Monday
  • Helicopter repair centre at Hellenicon airport

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Pangalos, Kranidiotis in Albania Friday

    Greece will dispatch Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis to Tirana tomorrow as part of a mediation effort to defuse the explosive situation in Albania, Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced during a televised interview last night.

    "Greece will seek to avert confrontation and bloodshed, which would, besides other things, create a wave of refugees that we would not be able to deal with," he said, adding that the foreign minister will also meet with insurgents' leaders in southern Albania.

    The premier denied speculation about Greek-Italian antagonism concerning the Albanian crisis, stressing that he was in contact with his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi, while Mr. Pangalos spoke with his counterpart Lamberto Dini, in order to promote the common aim of averting bloodshed in favour of a political solution.

    Pangalos on military intervention

    Mr. Pangalos said yesterday expressed the hope that military intervention, even in the form of a peacekeeping force, would not be required in the neighbouring Albania since this would signal a general conflict in the region."

    Mr. Pangalos told Parliament's external affairs committee that Athens had held and continues to hold open communication channels with all opposing sides in neighbouring Albania, Mr. Pangalos denied accusations claiming that the government had given excessive support to Albanian President Sali Berisha .

    Saying that he believed the international community and the United States would soon lift their confidence in the Albanian president, the Greek minister expressed reserved optimism for a quick solution to the Albanian problem, "because the domestic environment in Albania is unstable."

    Meanwhile, an AFP dispatch from Rome reported that Italian Foreign Minister Dini yesterday had a telephone conversation with Mr. Pangalos in order for the two countries to coordinate their actions on the Albania issue.

    "The conversation confirmed the complete agreement and identical points of view regarding the Albanian crisis," Mr. Dini noted, according to an Italian foreign ministry announcement. Italy and Greece are in the "front line" to attempt to solve the Albanian crisis, the announcement added.

    WEU parliamentarians discuss events in Albania

    Addressing the Western European Union's (WEU) parliamentary conference in Athens yesterday, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said Greece and its European Union partners understood the need for immediate action in the neighbouring country.

    Delegates during yesterday's session focused on developments in Albania. "There is hope that the crisis will be resolved without weapons," Mr. Papandreou said, warning that destabilisation harbours dangers not only for Albania but also for its neighbours.

    Regarding NATO and WEU relations and the future of the WEU in view of expected enlargements in both organisations, Mr. Papandreou said that NATO, the Western European Union and the European Union participated equally in building Europe's new security structure.

    Referring to WEU's enlargement, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said it was not possible for all NATO members to become WEU members "because in this case there would be no differentiation between the two organisations."

    Efforts for EU humanitarian aid to Albania, Bulgaria

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas is making efforts to guarantee 12 billion drachmas-worth of food aid for Albania and Bulgaria from the European Union.

    In a letter to EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler, Mr. Tzoumakas requested that the issue be included in the agenda of the Council of Agriculture Ministers, which is due to convene in Brussels next week.

    In his letter, Mr. Tzoumakas said the two Balkan countries are in urgent need of food aid as their economies are collapsing due to a lack of administration and organisation during their switch to a market economy.

    He added that both countries are facing severe shortages of basic foodstuffs such as bread and milk, and that the EU has significant funds for food aid.

    Premier defends modernisation policy

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said a modernisation policy being implemented by the government is a "leftwing policy".

    In an interview with the private Mega and Antenna television stations as well as the state-run ET-1 network late last night and in Mr. Simitis said this policy serves the entire population and not those who "have and own" and that objections to the contrary are unsubstantiated.

    Mr. Simitis said debts in the public sector were created by past governments and that an effort is being made to increase revenues from sources which did not yield revenues in the past.

    He said the imposition of new taxes after the elections, such as the tax on real estate, and taxation of state securities did not increase income tax but deals a blow at those "who have and own".

    On the question of absorption of European Union funds, Mr. Simitis said that despite the fact that absorption currently amounts to 65-70 per cent, he is pressuring ministers to achieve a better performance.

    Simitis on Greek policy towards Turkey

    In the same interview Mr. Simitis said that Athens' policy concerning Greek- Turkish relations was based on the pursuit of peace and stability in the region.

    "We pursue peace not only because a (military) adventure would be negative and will have a cost in human lives but also because any war would lead Greece to the negotiating table, which it does not want."

    Mr. Simitis said Greece does not want Turkey to be excluded from Europe, adding that Athens would stand to benefit from the development of Euro- Turkish relations on the condition that the political problem created by Turkey's territorial claim sagainst Greece will be resolved.

    He reiterated that Turkey must raise whatever claims it had at the International Court at The Hague.

    Greel-Austrian cooperation in defence sector

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Austrian counterpart Werner Fasslabend yesterday expressed certainty regarding the expansion of the two countries' cooperation in the defence sector, during a visit to the installations of the Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO) in Thessaloniki.

    ELBO makes armoured personnel carriers, military and civilian trucks, fire engines, buses and other equipment.

    ELBO president Lykourgos Sakellaris referred to the company's cooperation with the Austria-based Stayer company, stressing that it would be expanded, and that ELBO was in a position to respond to the requirements of the Greek armed forces.

    Stephanopoulos, Herzog meet

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday met with visiting German President Roman Herzog, who is in Greece on a private visit.

    Mr. Herzog on Tuesday received an honorary doctorate from the Athens University Law School. The two presidents exchanged views on bilateral relations and the international situation, with emphasis on the Balkans and the Albanian crisis and Greek-Turkish relations and Cyprus.

    Report says Athens' environment will dramatically improve by 2004

    A report commissioned by the Athens 2004 Olympics committee has concluded that the Greek capital in 2004 "will be a clean city, without air pollution or traffic problems and with more green spaces."

    The report, conducted by Greek and foreign researchers, concerns the repercussions of major public works projects and was released yesterday.

    The report asserts that the public works projects currently underway will significantly improve the quality of life in the Greek capital in time for the 2004 Olympic Games, which Athens hopes to host.

    The International Olympic Committee recently put Athens alongside Rome as front-runners for the 2004 Games, but stressed that Athens' suffocating air pollution is the greatest obstacle to the Greek capital's bid.

    The report noted that since 1990 smog levels in the greater Athens area have shown a gradual reduction and that the completion of the underground metro system, the international airport at Spata, construction of a number of major road axes and the introduction of natural gas in industry will contribute significantly in further reducing air and noise pollution.

    Greek participation at New York trade exhibition

    The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) announced a Greek participation in the international foodstuffs and beverages exhibition "International Fancy Food and Confection Show" in New York, from June 29 to July 2. The products to be displayed at the exhibition will include dairy products, pasta, honey, olive oil, olives, wines, mineral water, marmalade, specialties, confectionery products and canned goods.

    For more information call 99.82.204.

    Simitis to meet shipowners board on Monday

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will have a meeting on Monday with the presidium of the Greek Shipowners Union. Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis will attend the meeting. Speaking to the press, Mr. Soumakis said yesterday the meeting will focus on measures to reinforce the competitiveness of the Greek merchant fleet as well as employment issues.

    Mutual funds' total assets increased

    Total assets of mutual funds increased by 60.8 per cent in 1996 compared to 1995 and amounted to 3.9 trillion drachmas by Dec. 31, 1996.

    Four new mutual fund management companies were added to the mutual fund sector, as well as 29 new mutual funds of various categories, and as a result the number of mutual fund management companies amounted to 30 at the end of 1996 and the numb er of mutual funds to 150.

    The above figures were released by the Union of Institutional Investors. According to the data, amounts invested in mutual funds as of Dec. 31, 1996 constituted about 24 per cent of deposits made with banks by private persons, compared to 16.3 per cent as of Dec. 31, 1995.

    Helicopter repair centre at Hellenikon

    Olympic Aerospace will acquire a helicopter repair centre at Hellenikon's western airport in a year's time.

    According to a contract signed yesterday by representatives of Olympic Aerospace and Eurocopter, the investment will amount to 200 million drachmas in the initial stage, and aims at the repair and maintenance of helicopters from Greece, Bulgaria, the Fo rmer Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Cyprus and Malta.

    The company also intends to transfer to Thessaloniki in the future.

    WEATHER

    Sunny weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today, except for some local cloudiness and possible showers in Crete and the Dodecanese islands. Strong winds in thre Aegean sea will gradually subside and the weather will improve later in the day. Athens and Thessaloniki will be mostly sunny with temperatures between 6-15C in the former and 2-13C in the latter.

    SPORTS

    IAAF council slated for Athens in May

    The International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) council is to be held in Athens on May 28-29, IAAF Secretary General Istvan Gulai told members of the "Athens '97" organising committee and the Greek Amateur Athletics Association (SEGAS) during their meeting yesterday.

    Representatives of the organising committee said that on the first day of the World Athletics Championships, due to be held in Athens between Aug. 1- 10, a comemorative stamp for the event will be issued.

    In a related development, representatives of 10 foreign broadcasting networks were briefed on the world championships, about the programme of events, camera positioning and commentator boxes, among others. The television press centre will open on July 26.

    The US television network NBC, the German ZDF and ARD and the Japanese TBS have requested the use of a total of 1,500 square metres for coverage. The two German channels are to send 150 sports reporters and technicians, with NBC sending 100 and the BBC and TBS sending 70 each.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 265.439 Pound sterling 422.354 Cyprus pd 520.800 French franc 46.128 Swiss franc 180.053 German mark 155.565 Italian lira (100) 15.632 Yen (100) 216.345 Canadian dlr. 194.234 Australian dlr. 211.053 Irish Punt 411.918 Belgian franc 7.540 Finnish mark 52.064 Dutch guilder 138.210 Danish kr. 40.769 Swedish kr. 34.583 Norwegian kr. 38.972 Austrian sch. 22.103 Spanish peseta 1.834 Portuguese escudo 1.550

    (C.E.)


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