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Athens News Agency: News in English, 97-03-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 17/03/1997 (ANA)


  • Active Greek involvement in EU diplomatic mission to Tirana
  • Greek aid reaches Albania
  • Greece reiterates position on EU expansion
  • Crucial week ahead for New Democracy
  • 18 illegal immigrants presumed dead as boat sinks
  • Thessaloniki hosts exhibition on Neolothic civilisation


    Active Greek involvement in EU diplomatic mission to Tirana

    Greece will be actively involved in the European Union's first tentative steps to help the Albanian authorities restore order in the anarchic Balkan republic and will continue its own contacts in Albania in an effort to bring an end to the crisis.

    As a first step, the EU has decided to send a high-level mission to Tirana today, led by Dutch diplomat Jan de Marchant et d'Ansembourg and including representatives from EU presidency the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, the European Commission and the Orga nisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

    The aim of the mission is to explore the steps needed to be taken to normalise the situation in Albania.

    The European Unions' Council of Foreign Ministers meeting informally over the weekend in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, shied away from sending troops into Albania but said they would send an expert military and police advisory group to try and help restore order.

    They said they would consider providing protection for the mission if it was needed, but stressed that it was not a military operation.

    "The European Union has decided the dispatch of representatives to Albania with the aim of studying the situation and offering assistance to the Albanian government in its efforts to restore public order and safety," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said in Athens yesterday.

    He said Greece would be represented in this mission by ambassador Dimitris Kypraios and Brigadier Ioannis Tsagaris.

    Kranidiotis in Girokaster

    Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis will visit Gjirokaster tomorrow, as part of intense diplomatic and political contacts on the part of the Greek government to find a peaceful political solution, Mr. Reppas said.

    "Greece will continue to offer humanitarian aid and we believe that soon the crisis will be over and Albanians and Albania will see better days," Mr. Reppas said.

    The Albanian crisis and prospects for the achievement of a political solution will be discussed at a meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis today.

    The meeting will be attended by foreign and defence ministry officials and ministers. In order to attend the meeting, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou's scheduled visit to Sweden has been postponed.

    Second evacuation operation successful

    The second operation by Greek armed forces to evacuate foreign citizens from Albania ended successfully on Saturday.

    By 1:35 p.m., 250 people, mainly Chinese, Jordanian and Egyptian nationals, had boarded the "Kava-loudis" missile boat.

    They headed for Corfu on board the frigate "Aegaio", which had been moored in the port of Durres.

    Greek aid reaches Albania

    The foreign ministry has announced that medical and pharmaceutical aid for Albania was delivered to hospitals in Sarande, Gjirokaster, Tepeleni and Premeti on Saturday. The aid was met at the Kakavia border crossing by ambulances and transported to the hospitals.

    The National Foundation for Welcoming and Rehabilitating Exaptriate Greeks (EIYAPOE) is to begin delivering food aid, mainly flour, to southern Albanian villages today, in cooperation with the prefectural and local self- admini-stration of Ioannina and Thesprotia.

    US envoy concerned at Albanian developments

    US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Niles assessed that developments in Albania may make the situation in Kosovo "difficult ".

    Speaking in Edessa on Saturday, Mr. Niles said "the situation in FYROM is calm and we hope it will stay calm. However, in Kosovo the situation can become difficult as a result of developments in Albania."

    Mr. Niles said the fact the population in Albania is armed is very dangerous, adding that "all the surrounding countries, and my country, must help in the creation of a national unity government in Albania."

    Archbishop Anastasios

    Albanian TV yesterday broadcast an urgent appeal by Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios, calling for an end to the acute problem of looting around the country. The appeal, also read at Orthodox Cathedrals in major cities throughout the country , said hysteria should come to an end.

    Greece reiterates position on EU expansion

    The European Union Council of Ministers reiterated over the weekend its explicit commitment that a structured dialogue with Cyprus will take place, together with the structured dialogue of other candidate countries, and that this issue will be discussed at the next meeting of the committee of EU member-states permanent representatives (COREPER), Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday.

    Mr. Pangalos highlighted the Cyprus issue, relations between the European Union and Turkey and Greek-Turkish relations during a press conference at the end of the informal Council of EU Foreign Ministers in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.

    The insistence of certain countries on the involvement of the Turkish Cypriot community in the negotiations for Cyprus' accession was "unacceptable", Mr. Pangalos said, because it placed in doubt the EU's existing commitment that Cyprus will be the firs tamong accession candidates with which accession negotiations will get under way.

    Commenting on relations between the EU and Turkey, Mr. Pangalos told reporters that "the discussion which took place was wider on the problems our country has with Turkey."

    Mr. Pangalos said Turkey must make its choices because it cannot "want to be a member of the EU and at the same time behave to political and ethnic minorities in the way it is behaving, to violate human rights and freedom of the press, not to contribute towards resolving the Cyprus issue, thinking that it can do this indefinitely and, lastly, to raise historically inaccurate and legally untenable territorial claims against a country such as Greece which is a member of the EU."

    Mr. Pangalos said German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel asked him whether Greece intends to lift its reservations in relation to the EU-Turkey financial protocol and he replied "certainly not." Mr. Kinkel walked out of the session afterwards. He said this stance is not unprecedented but is considered unacceptable by Greece.

    "Nobody can come and submit an ultimatum and then become angry when the ultimatum is not accepted," he said.

    Mr. Pangalos said the Dutch presidency was of the opinion that Turkey and Greece should each choose a "wise man" to have the process examined by which resorting to The Hague will be feasible. He said that in Greece's view such a process was not necessary, but added that Greece did not wish to exclude the presidency's initiative.

    Crucial week ahead for New Democracy

    The main opposition New Democracy party's three-day 4th Congress will start at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday where some 3,400 delegates will elect a new party leader from four candidates in what is believed by many to be the party's most cruc ial congress in its 22-year history.

    The candidates contesting the leadership are the incumbent leader Miltiades Evert and his challengers George Souflias, Costas Karamanlis and Vyron Polydoras.

    The 4th congress will be the first to elect a party leader but many concede that it will constitute an important step towards widening democracy in the party, while many others claim that the problems of the party's political orientation and cohesion will not be resolved during the upcoming congress.

    What remains to be seen is whether the outcome of the congress at the Peace and Friendship Stadium will bring peace and friendship to strife-torn ND.

    18 illegal immigrants presumed dead as boat sinks in Aegean

    Eighteen illegal immigrants were presumed dead last night after a boat carrying them from Turkey sank in Turkish territorial waters just off the islet of Ro early yesterday.

    Port authorities on Ro were notified of the incident by a survivor of the incident, an Iranian man, who said he swam to the Greek islet after the boat sank. A further two survivors were rescued by port police vessels arriving at the scene shortly after the initial reports. The port police said they saw bodies floating within Turkish territorial waters. Turkish authorities and ships sailing nearby were notified to search the area for possible survivors. After the incident was reported, Turkish coast guard vessels collected the bodies and transported them back to Kas.

    According to reports, the 21 illegal immigrants, including three women and three children, bought the boat, without an engine, in the town of Kas in Turkey in order to row to Kastellorizo and request political asylum from the Greek authorities. The three survivors said that half-way between the Turkish coast and the island, the boat began to leak and sank soon afterwards. They said none of the 18 who perished could swim, and there were no life jackets on board.

    The three surviving men have been hospitalised in Kastellorizo, whe-re one, whose four-month pregnant wife drowned in the incident, is being treated for severe shock.

    Thessaloniki hosts exhibition on Neolithic civilisation

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos inaugurated a major exhibition in Thessaloniki yesterday called "Neolithic Civilisation in Greece." The exhibition includes hundreds of items such as urns, tools, statuettes, ceramics and jewellery dating from 6800 t o 3200 B.C. and originating from 48 museums from Greece and four from Cyprus.

    "The exhibition constitutes a challenge for European cultural history and aesthetics," Mr. Venizelos said during the inauguration ceremony, adding that "many of the items on display bear many common points with modern industrial design."


    Fine weather is forecast for most of Greece today with only a few clouds in eastern Macedonia and Thrace and the northern Aegean sea with possible showers. Moderate northerly winds getting stronger in the Aegean. Athens will be mostly sunny with temperatures between 9-18C. Thessaloniki will be partly cloudy with temperatures between 8-14C.


    Greek First Division soccer results

    Olympiakos-Edessa 4-0 AEK Athens-Panahaiki 2-0 Pyrgos-Panathinaikos 2-1 Heraklis-OFI Crete 0-1 Apollon-Kavala 2-0 Veria-Ionikos 1-1 Kalamata-Kastoria 2-0 Athinaikos-Xanthi 0-0 PAOK Thessaloniki-Aris Thessalonoiki 2-1


    Olympiakos 61 AEK 55 Panathinaikos 51 OFI 49 PAOK 44 Kavala 43 Pyrgos 38 Veria 34 Ionikos 33


    Friday's closing rates

    US dlr. 266.243 Pound sterling 424.675 Cyprus pd 522.784 French franc 46.287 Swiss franc 181.501 German mark 156.180 Italian lira (100) 15.669 Yen (100) 215.204 Canadian dlr. 195.364 Australian dlr. 212.427 Irish Punt 415.350 Belgian franc 7.571 Finnish mark 52.308 Dutch guilder 138.806 Danish kr. 40.932 Swedish kr. 34.367 Norwegian kr. 38.829 Austrian sch. 22.192 Spanish peseta 1.840 Portuguese escudo 1.553


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