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
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
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-
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
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
"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
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
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.
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-
Thessaloniki will be overcast with rain and some snow in surrounding
mountainous areas. Temperature 3-7C.
Friday's closing rates - buying
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