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Athens News Agency: News in English, 97-04-04

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, 04/04/1997 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • International meeting in Athens calls for end to Albanian crisis
  • Simitis, Vranitzky agree on political solution
  • Albanian Socialist Party official urges Berisha's isolation
  • Greece demands retraction of Ankara's war threat
  • Athens says Denktash exposing Turkey, Turkish Cypriots
  • Reorganisation of Albanian police force discussed
  • Details of Greek loan to Albania discussed
  • More Turkish violations of Greek airspace
  • EU's Flynn stresses need for better absorption rate by Athens
  • Simitis confers with European unionist official
  • National Bank of Greece turns to international capital borrowing
  • Weather
  • Aris of Thessaloniki takes Korac Cup
  • Foreign exchange

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    International meeting in Athens calls for end to Albanian crisis

    The solidarity of the international community in restoring peace and stability in Albania was confirmed at a meeting at the foreign ministry yesterday between EU council president, Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo, OSCE special envoy for Albania Franz Vranitzky and new Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino, according to Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who also participated in the meeting.

    Mr. Fino, who participated in the latter part of the talks, placed special emphasis on the holding of elections, which he stressed would be fair and democratic and would be held with the support of the OSCE and the EU.

    Vranitzky set out the three areas of action planned by the international community. These are distribution of humanitarian and economic aid, to be directed by the European Union, as well as establishment and protect ion of democracy and human rights, which include the June elections that will be coordinated by the OSCE.

    Simitis, Vranitzky agree on political solution

    During a separate meeting later, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Mr. Vranitzky agreed on the need for efforts to continue at finding a political solution to the Albanian crisis.

    Both stressed that every possible effort would be made by the European Union to provide financial assistance to Albania, while the OSCE would try to ensure political normality and the holding of unimpeachable elections.

    The multinational protection force, they said, will ensure that humanitarian aid reaches its destination and is properly used.

    Mr. Simitis said the international community would act in a decisive manner, while Mr. Vranitzky said yet another step had been taken in Athens for defusing the crisis in Albania.

    Albanian Socialist Party official urges Berisha's isolation

    The secretary general of Albania's Socialist Party, Rejep Meidan, during an interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) yesterday appealed to the international communtiy to support the government of Prime Minister Bashkim Fino a nd to isolate Albanian President Sali Berisha.

    Mr. Meidan accused the ruling Democratic Party of aiming to lead the country back into chaos. Asked to respond to Mr. Berisha's refusal to resign, despite insurgents' demands, Mr. Meidan said the Albanian president "has neither the desire nor the courag e to leave. But we must not waste our time with him. We call on the international community to support Bashkim Fino and to leave Berisha in the sidelines."

    Questioned on whether he believes elections in Albania are possible when civilians are armed, the leader of the Socialist Party said "the elections have nothing to do with the guns. Some say they should turn them in first and elections to be held afterw ards. But in this way, elections will never be held. In Bosnia and in Chechnya, though, elections were held even though there were weapons.

    "The international community must support us to hold free elections. If it is possible for there to be a foreign observer in each of the 4,000 - 5,000 polling stations."

    Greece demands retraction of Ankara's war threat

    Athens called on Ankara yesterday to retract its threat of war against Greece and to accept the existing borders in the Aegean in light of efforts to find common ground in Greek-Turkish relations.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told a press conference after talks with the Dutch president of the EU Council of Ministers, Hans van Mierlo, that the Greek side had clarified three "very simple things".

    The Dutch EU presidency has embarked on an effort to establish a common ground for resolving differences between Greece and Turkey. Yesterday's meeting focused on Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Pangalos said that Turkey should first retract its threat of war if Athens exercises its right to extend its territorial waters from six to 12 nautical miles. The Turkish national assembly passed a resolution threatening Greece with war in the event

    Mr. Pangalos clarified that Greece did not intend to exercise this right immediately "but this does not mean that because we do not relinquish this right of ours any other country is entitled to threaten us with war."

    He said both Athens and Ankara must declare that war between the two countires was inconceivable.

    "We are not asking for this to be done by means of a resolution of the Turkish national assembly. The Turkish premier or foreign minister could make such a statement," Mr. Pangalos said.

    The Greek foreign minister stressed that Turkey's aspiration to secure an overall renegotiation was both inconceivable and impossible as far as Greece was concerned, "because apart from anything else, it would mean that for the first time there would be discussion in Europe about the re- delineation of borders.

    Mr. Pangalos implied that Athens had rejected a proposal of the Dutch presidency for the formation of a so-called "committee of wise men" to examine Greek-Turkish differences.

    He said that Greece did not accept that third parties could negotiate on behalf of the Greek and Turkish governments.

    He clarified, though, that Greece was not opposed to the effort being made by the Dutch presidency to achieve some convergence between Greek and Turkish views regarding the procedure for resolving the problems.

    Commenting on the presence of the Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Ismail Karadayi at a Greek embassy reception in Ankara on the occasion of Greek Independence Day at the end of March, Mr. Pangalos said it was "a very good move which flatters us, but it is not enough."

    Replying to a question on the EU-Turkey Association Council meeting, Mr. Pangalos stressed that Greece had never been opposed to its convening, "but we do insist on the refusal to approve the financial protocol for as long as Turkey fails to satisfy the rudimentary conditions which we have set."

    Athens says Denktash exposing Turkey, Turkish Cypriots

    The stance maintained by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash during proximity talks "exposes the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey itself," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said in reply to a question yesterday.

    He stressed that Turkey must exert pressure on Mr. Denktash in order for a solution to the Cyprus problem to be found.

    Questioned on whether the United States is giving priority to the solving of Greek-Turkish relations before the Cyprus issue, Mr. Reppas said the government was not aware of any such priority.

    "Greece willingly accepts the participation of all those who can contribute to the resolution of its national problems such as the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations," Mr. Reppas said.

    Reorganisation of Albanian police force discussed

    Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino yesterday thanked Public Order Minister George Romeos for the material help promised towards the reorganisation of his country`s police force.

    Mr. Romeos promised the Albanian police eight patrol cars, two jeeps, two ordinary cars, 2,500 bullet-proof vests, 20 motorcycles, uniforms and fire- proof garments.

    "Albania`s paramount problem at this time is the restoration of order. In our discussion there was also reference to the problem of illegal immigration..." he said.

    Details of Greek loan to Albania discussed

    National Economy Minister Alexandros Baltas and Albanian Finance Minister Malai yesterday discussed the details of the 20-billion-drachma loan, which the two countries agreed to on Wednesday.

    The Albanian side has been invited to submit detailed proposals for its needs in the sectors of housing, administrative services (particularly equipment and assistance in tax collection), restoration of infrastructure, technical assistance and support for businesses, either Greek or of mixed interests.

    Developent Minister Vaso Papandreou, meanwhile, met with her Albanian counterpart of Industry, Transport and Trade, Photos Douka, who asked for Greek support in reconstructing the trade sector.

    Mr. Douka also raised the issue of the repairs needed to Albania's power distribution network. The Public Power Corp. (DEH) is to also consider the possible ways of providing assistance.

    More Turkish violations of Greek airspace

    Turkish aircraft yesterday infringed air traffic rules in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and violated Greek airspace on several occasions between the islands of Limnos, Lesvos, Kos and Rhodes.

    According to reports, three formations of Turkish F-16 and F-4 "Phantom" warplanes violated Greek airspace in the region between Kos and Rhodes 15 times.

    In all cases the Turkish aircraft were recognised and intercepted by Hellenic Air Force Mirage 2000 and F-16 fighters. In one case recognition and interception developed into an engagement.

    EU's Flynn stresses need for better absorption rate by Athens

    Greece has absorbed less than one-fifth of the funds it is entitled to through the EU's social and regional funds for the modernisation and improvement of its educational and vocational training system in the 1994- 99 period, EU Commissioner Padraig Flynn said yesterday.

    He specified that the Ecu1.38 billion absorbed in the first three years of the relevant programme represented about 18.5 per cent of the total funds envisaged for the entire spectrum of educational services.

    He urged the Greek government to intensify efforts so that there may be notable improvement in 1997.

    Simitis confers with European unionist official

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis discussed Greece's position on workers' rights with visiting European Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Emilio Gabaglio yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis referred to Greece's repeated proposals at European Union summits for the need for amendments to the Maastricht treaty taking into consideration the views of trade unions.

    He stressed that the European trade union movement should be particularly forceful, particularly in the immediate future during negotiations for the EU budget, to support social funds and find more resources for employment and economic growth.

    Mr. Gabaglio spoke of the European unions' concern over unemployment, calling for changes at EU level which could be taken by the upcoming Amsterdam summit meeting.

    National Bank turns to international capital borrowing

    National Bank of Greece will turn to international markets for a long-term subordinated debt bond loan of US$150-200 million.

    The general meeting of shareholders yesterday gave the bank's administration the green light to proceed with the loan, which is expected to have a duration of up to 10 years.

    Underwriters of the loan are international financial house Salomon Brothers and the Chase Bank.

    National Bank of Greece Governor Theodoros Karatzas told shareholders at the assembly that the loan would bolster the bank's credit ratings and lay the groundwork for a future successful share capital increase with the participation of foreign investors .

    WEATHER

    Temporary weather improvement is expected during the day, but will continue to be unstable in most parts of the country with cloudiness, rain and storms in the eastern and southern parts getting worse overnight. Winds will be westerly, weak to moderate, turning strong by nightfall. Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures between 6-18C. Thessaloniki will be overcast with possible rain and temperatures between 4-15C.

    Aris of Thessaloniki takes Korac Cup

    Aris Thessaloniki won the European basketball Korac Cup after beating Tofas Bursa 88-70 in Turkey last night and overturning a 77-66 home field defeat by Tofas last week.

    Aris was winning 85-67 roughly 30 seconds before the end of the match when disgruntled Turkish fans started throwing thousands of objects onto the court, leading to a temporary suspension to the match. Referees ordered the evacuation of the arena and the game resumed and ended normally.

    Aris is the second Greek basketball team, along with local rival PAOK, to win both the European Cup and the Korac Cup.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 262.820 Pound sterling 431.361 Cyprus pd 526.752 French franc 46.684 Swiss franc 182.870 German mark 157.292 Italian lira (100) 15.824 Yen (100) 214.143 Canadian dlr. 189.651 Australian dlr. 205.542 Irish Punt 415.152 Belgian franc 7.621 Finnish mark 52.475 Dutch guilder 139.793 Danish kr. 41.241 Swedish kr. 34.349 Norwegian kr. 38.718 Austrian sch. 22.345 Spanish peseta 1.857 Portuguese escudo 1.573

    (C.E.)


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