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Athens News Agency: News in English, 97-03-30

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, 30/03/1997 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Albanian PM wants close cooperation with Athens to solve crisis
  • Tsohatzopoulos: Turkey's intransigence blocks Cyprus issue settlement
  • Ioannina hospitals face shortages
  • Two ships in emergency situations
  • Gligorov comments on FYROM-Greece relations
  • Trade unionists to voice concern
  • Unseasonal cold snap hits northern Greece

    Albanian PM wants close cooperation with Athens to solve crisis

    Albanian Prime Minister Baschim Fino said that a misunderstanding involving statements by certain Albanian MPs cannot harm the warm climate between Athens and Tirana.

    The Albanian leader, in an ANA interview in the light of his upcoming visit to Athens on Wednesday, reiterated the position of his government regarding the state of Greek-Albanian relations. Mr. Fino said that the MPs can say whatever they please within the freedom offered by the institution of parliament and pointed to the fact that the same members voted against national reconciliation government legislation stressing that such statements cannot influence the Greek and Albanian governments.

    Asked why he chose to visit Athens in his second venture out of Albania as PM and what he hoped to achieve, Mr. Fino said that he was coming to Greece at the invitation of Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Foreign Undersecretary Giannis Kranidiotis because he believed that Greece together with Italy have assisted with most of Albania's problems, something that the Albanian people are grateful for.

    "By making contacts and presenting the chaotic situation which exists in my country, I hope to secure more humanitarian and financial aid and, at the same time, as (the leader of) a national reconciliation government, to stress what I have already said to the Greek ambassador in Tirana, that we are open and prepared to co-operate with the (Greek Prime Minister's Costas) Simitis government", the Albanian leader said.

    Asked if he would seek political support from Greece for his government's mission, he said that the Greek government had already expressed it's support for the Albanian national reconciliation government along with many other European governments and the USA. "My visit to Greece once again confirms this support", he added.

    Meanwhile Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said today in Thessaloniki that Greece would be ready by the end of the week to contribute an army battalion to the multinational force that will oversee aid distribution in Albania.

    The minister, speaking during a Technical Chamber of Greece election, said that a Hellenic Air Force transport plane had delivered the second batch of food and medical aid to the Albanian Army, after direct consultations between the ministries of Defence of the two countries. He also said that three Greek defence experts were already in Albania assisting in the re- organization of the Albanian Armed Forces.

    Asked if Turkey would participate in the multinational force, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the Turkey had offered to take part and probably would. Final decisions regarding the multinational force expedition would be made in Rome in the next few days and a representative of the Greek Armed Forces will travel to the Italian capital for the purpose, he said.

    The Defence minister underlined that it would be a dangerous mission under adverse circumstances, calling for preparedness, discipline and coordination.

    Tsohatzopoulos: Turkey intransigent on Cyprus

    Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that Tyrkey is coming to negotiations on the Cyprus issue with the intention of not only consolidating the occupation regime, but through an artificial solution, to place free Cyprus under Turkish guardianship.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, in an interview with Cypriot daily "Ta Nea", said that after 23 years of Turkish occupation and intransigence, the Greek side had no serious cause to beleive that Ankara had changed it's position.

    The defence Minister said that as long as occupation of Northern Cyprus continued, the Cyprus issue will remain a major international problem and will constitute a decicive precondition for any normalisation process in Greek-Turkish relations. He added that as long as Turkish intransigence continued, the close security relations between Greece and the Republic of Cyprus would be strengthened as a counterbalance and warned that a "heated incident" in Cyprus would result in total mobilisation in the entire Aegean- Cyprus range.

    The stalemate in the Cyprus issue settlement was due to Ankara's intransigence, a problem which any international mediation effort undertaken is called upon to solve, he said.

    Ioannina hospitals face shortages

    The two hospitals in the northern Greek town of Ioannina are full to capacity following a steady influx of Albanians seeking treatment for serious gunshot and grenade injuries.

    The University Hospital and the General State Hospital are already treating 100 casualties, many of whom are children. In addition, they are providing care to about 300 Albanians with various medical complaints or recovering from surgery.

    Two ships in emergency situations

    Ferry boat "Agios Raphail" suffered partial engine failure while sailing off the island of Evia, on her way from Linmos to Rafina, this morning.

    The captain of the vessel transmitted a distress signal at 09:40, picked up by the Search and Rescue Center of the Merchant Marine Ministry, indicating that he intended to sail to the port of Pireaus for repairs. The ferry boat is carrying 40 pasengers and 15 vehicles.

    In another incident, cargo ship "Enalios Proteas" run aground near Lavrion this morning, when she came off her mooring due to strong winds.

    The ship, carrying no cargo, has a crew of 19 (17 Greek and 2 foreign nationals) all of which were reported safe. Tug boats "Aegean" and "Panormitis" were expected to assist in refloating the stranded vessel.

    Gligorov on FYROM-Greece relations

    The President of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Kiro Gligorov has told the French 'Le Monde' newspaper in an interview that he is satisfied with his country's relations with Greece, an AFP dispatch from Paris said.

    "We are satisfied with the development of our relationas with Greece. Contacts in New York with mediator Cyrus Vance on the issue of our constitutional name are continuing," Gligorov was quoted as saying.

    Trade unionists to voice concern

    Trade unionists in public utilities and the General Conferederation of the Workers (GSEE) have scheduled a press conference on Thursday, April 3, regarding what they view as government interference in the institution of free collective bargaining. They consider that the current impasse in ongoing negotiations with the management of several large state-run enterprises is due to government pressure, particularly by National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, for pay increases not to exceed seven per cent.

    Unseasonal cold snap hits northern Greece

    Daylight savings time introduction brought with it unseasonal cold weather for many parts of northern Greece.

    Northern towns of Florina, Kastoria and many regions of the Pella and Imathia prefectures, woke up to heavy snowfalls while light snow was reported in the northern outskirts of Thesslaloniki, without serious transport problems.

    Drivers travelling in the regional road network of Kastoria and Florina had to employ snow chains on their vehicles. In some locations such as Vigla and Vitsi, three to four inches of snow was reported.

    Temperatures in most northern urban centres hovered around the zero mark this morning. In Thessaloniki the mercury ranged between 2 and 8 degrees centigrade while the morning sleet was later followed by sunshine.

    WEATHER

    For Monday, Northern Greece can expect cloud with rain and some snowfalls in mountainous regions. The rest of the country can expect unsettled weather with cloud, rain and some local severe thunderstorms but also periods of sunshine. Winds will be strong to very strong but are expected to subside later in the day.

    Athens can expect unsettled weather with periods of rain and a chance of a thunderstorm as well as sunshine, while the temperature will be in the 7- 13C range.

    Thessaloniki will be overcast with rain and some snow in surrounding mountainous areas. Temperature 3-7C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Friday's closing rates - buying

    US dlr. 262.959 Pound sterling 429.476 Cyprus pd 524.391 French franc 46.600 Swiss franc 181.655 German mark 156.934 Italian lira (100) 15.721 Yen (100) 212.814 Canadian dlr. 190.444 Australian dlr. 206.276 Irish Punt 414.755 Belgian franc 7.607 Finnish mark 52.856 Dutch guilder 139.574 Danish kr. 41.212 Swedish kr. 34.851 Norwegian kr. 39.615 Austrian sch. 22.303 Spanish peseta 1.853 Portuguese escudo 1.548

    (K.G.)


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