Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-11
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 11/04/1997 (ANA)
- Dutch presidency proposals on Greek-Turkish problems
- Premier's official visit to Austria next weekend
- Preparations underway for Greek force to Albania
- Apostolakis visit to US continues
- Athens-Skopje relations vital for FYROM's stabilisation
- Kavala residents demand closure of Bulgarian nuclear plant
- People's Republic of China official in Athens
- Convergence programme only way forward, says Vasso Papandreeou
- Re-opening of Greece-Novorossyisk shipping route discussed
- Drachma depreciates against EU currencies
- Greek businessmen look at investing in Croatia
- New bridge approved for Greek-Bulgarian border
- Taxi driver arrested for series of murders
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Dutch Presidency proposals on Greek-Turkish problems
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that a Dutch EU
Presidency proposal for the formation of a committee of experts to deal
with Greek-Turkish disputes, was "an element of policy within the framework
of broadening ways of resolving problems in Greek-Turkish relations".
Mr. Reppas said that talks between Alternate Foreign Minister George
Papandreou, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and the EU
presidency delegation was "within the framework of the effort to resolve
the problems in relations" between Greece and Turkey.
Referring to the conditions set by Greece as prerequisites for any
improvement in relations with neighbouring Turkey, Mr. Reppas reiterated
that these were refraining from using force, Ankara's retraction of its war
threats, respect by Turkey for intern ational law and recourse to the
International Court at the Hague for resolving differences of a legal
The spokesman also stressed that normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations
also presupposed a "positive response" from Ankara to Greece's proposals.
Meanwhile, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and US ambassador
to Athens Thomas Niles yesterday discussed Greek-Turkish relations and the
EU Dutch presidency's relevant initiatives on the issue.
Premier's official visit to Austria next weekend
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to pay an official visit to Austria
between April 20 and 23, it was announced yesterday.
Talks are expected to deal with a broad range of issues, including the
situation in the Balkans - particularly centring on Albania and the former
Yugoslavia - as well as on future EU and NATO expansion.
Discussions are also expected to focus on the Cypr us issue, with which
Austria has a special relationship, being the country with the longest-
serving contingent in the UN peacekeeping force on the island (since
The last visit of a Greek prime minister to Vienna was that of the late
Andreas Papandreou in May 1983. Former Austrian chancellor Franz Vranitzky
paid a brief visit to Athens during Athens' assumption of the rotating EU
presidency in January 1994, whic h oversaw the successful negotiations for
Austria's EU accession.
Mr. Simitis will head to Bonn for an official visit after Vienna.
Preparations underway for Greek force to Albania
The Greek force to be sent to Albania as part of a multinational force to
be deployed is in its final stage of preparation. The force will probably
leave the port of Igoumenitsa with Hellenic Navy vessels.
Apostolakis visit to US continues
National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis, currently on a visit
to the United States, visited the installations of the General Dynamics
company in Detroit on Wednesday.
Mr. Apostolakis is visiting the US at the head of a West European Union
(WEU) delegation in the framework of the Transatlantic Forum, where Athens
holds the presidency between July 1996 to June 1997.
Senior officials of the company briefed him on the operational capabilities
of the "Abrams" M1-A2 main battle tank and on the manufacturers' economic
proposals concerning off set benefits.
Mr. Apostolakis said that the choice between potential suppliers will
combine the best specifications and the lowest price, while particular
emphasis will be placed on securing the greatest workload for the domestic
Mr. Apostolakis arrived in Los Angeles, the second and last stop of the WEU
delegation's visit to the US, where he will head several meetings on
Athens-Skopje relations vital for FYROM's stabilisation
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Branko
Crvenkovski said here yesterday that normalisation of relations between
Skopje and Athens is important for his country's stabilisation and a factor
assisting in the effort to attract German investment.
Mr. Crvenkovski, who is paying an official visit to Bonn as of Wednesday,
was scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl yesterday
The FYROM official expressed satisfaction over the development of relations
between his country and Greece in an interview with "Deutsche Welle",
stressing the fact that Greece is emerging as the landlocked former
Yugoslav republic's largest trade partn er.
The main target of Mr. Crvenkovski's visit to Germany is the economic side
of bilateral relations and an effort to persuade German banks and
businessmen to invest in FYROM.
Kavala residents demand closure of Bulgarian nuclear plant
Several residents of the Kavala prefecture have voiced concern with the
continuing operation of Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear plant.
The issue was discussed in a prefectural council meeting yesterday. The
council approved a resolution demanding that the plant shut down and call
on the Greek government to use its status as a member of the European Union
in order to exert pressure to t he neighbouring country to close the Soviet-
People's Republic of China official in Athens
The minister and general auditor of the People's Republic of China Guo
Zuengyan will arrive in Athens tomorrow at the invitation of the State
Audit Council President Apostolos Botsos.
The Chinese official will meet senior judicial officials of the Council and
will be briefed on its organisation and functions and on the way fiscal
management is conducted.
Convergence programme only way forward, Vasso Papandreou says
The successful implementation of Greece's convergence programme with the
European Union is the only way forward for the country, Development
Minister Vasso Papandreou stressed yesterday in her opening speech at the
"Shaping a national policy for the futur e of the Greek economy" conference.
The government has targeted fiscal reform and monetary stability through a
reduction of deficits and a stable parity of the drachma, Ms Papandreou
"These goals must be achieved for the convergence programme," she
At the same time, she added, the government's development programme aims to
boost the competitiveness of the Greek economy through the completion of
basic infrastructure works, upgrading human resources and improving
The effective implementation of the development programme will lead to an
increase in the domestic product and, subsequently, to admittedly small but
real increases in workers' incomes.
So far, she said, the successful implementation of the convergence
programme and the fall in inflation and interest rates as well as deficits
has significantly improved the investment climate.
Re-opening of the Greece-Novorossyisk shipping route discussed
Secretary general of overseas Greeks, Stavros Lambrianidis, held a meeting
yesterday with the mayor and representatives of the local parliament in
Novorossyisk, focusing on the re-opening of the Greece-Novorossyisk
shipping route and the teaching of Greek in this Russian Black Sea
Visiting the city within the framework of the "Greek Cultural Month in
Northern Russia," Mr. Lambrianidis elaborated on the positive consequences
a re-opening of the shipping route would have on Greek-Russian trade
The president of the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) Ioannis Tzen, who
is also visiting Russia as part of the Greek delegation, held talks with
Greek-Russian and several Russian entrepreneurs concerning the prospect of
establishing a Greek- Russian chamber in the region.
Novorossyisk, the largest Russian port on the Black Sea, is home to some
120,000 ethnic Greeks.
Drachma depreciates against EU currencies
The value of the drachma fell against almost all European Union member-
state currencies in March, compared to February, according to the monthly
bulletin of foreign currency parities compiled by the Exports Research and
Studies Centre (KEEM).
A total of eleven EU member-state currencies appreciated against the
drachma by between 0.005 per cent (Finnish mark) and 0.60 per cent (pound
The Italian lira and the Swedish krona depreciated against the drachma by
0.54 per cent.
The following foreign currencies appreciated against the drachma in March
(compared to the previous month):
US dollar (1.68 per cent), Swiss franc (0.99 per cent), Canadian dollar
(0.38 per cent), Australian dollar (4.4 per cent), Japanese yen (1.86 per
cent) and the Cyprus pound (0.54 per cent).
In the same month, the value of the Norwegian krona dropped by 0.65 per
cent against the drachma.
Greek businessmen look at investing in Croatia
A business mission of Greek entrepreneurs and investors is visiting Zagreb
to examine the opportunities for economic cooperation and trade, as well as
the promotion of joint programmes with third countries.
The mission, representing 21 Greek firms is organised by the Hellenic
External Trade Organisation with the support of the Croatian Chamber of
Commerce and the Croatian and Greek embassies.
The mission was scheduled to meet with representatives of 45 Croatian
businesses and visit three major supermarket chains to discuss possible
exports from Croatia.
New bridge approved for Greek-Bulgarian border
The Bulgarian government has approved a Greek proposal for the construction
of a new bridge in the area of the Koulata-Promahon border post.
Foreign Minister Stojan Stalev has been authorised to sign the agreement.
Taxi driver arrested for series of murders
Athens police arrested a taxi driver on charges of committing five murders
as well as a number of attempted murders and armed robberies over the past
Dimitris Vakrinos, 35, has reportedly admitted to killing his room-mate, 53-
year-old Panayiotis Gaglias on Aug. 6, 1987, by using an iron bar. The
victim had apparently stolen a hunting rifle from Vakrinos and when the
latter told him that he would go t o the police, Gaglias threatened to beat
Vakrinos' second victim was Anastasia Simitzi, 26, whom he killed on Nov.
According to reports, after leaving a nightclub the woman asked Vakrinos to
take her home. Instead, he asked her to make love with him and when she
refused and insulted him, Vakrinos drove her to a remote area near Mantra,
Attica, doused her with petrol and burned her alive, police said.
His third victim was a collague, Theodoros Andreadis, 39, who was murdered
on Jan. 9, 1994. The two taxi drivers had quarrelled four months before the
murder because the victim had picked up a customer from a taxi lane.
Posing as a customer, Vakrinos asked Andreadis to take him to Loutraki.
Along the way, he asked the driver to stop and shot him four times. He then
drove the taxi back to Elefsina where he doused it in petrol, burning both
the vehicle and the driver.
Vakrinos' last two victims were the brothers Costas and Antonis Spyropoulos,
33 and 35, respectively, whom he killed on Dec. 21, 1995.
The two brothers were shot repeatedly after chasing Vakrinos, who had
earlier stolen the car of Costas Spyropoulos.
Vakrinos is also alleged to be responsible for four cases of attempted
murder, one of which was against a police officer and five armed robberies.
Authorities believe Vakrinos committed the murders because he had an acute
inferiority complex and psychological problems since a child, in addition
to childhood abuse.
Vakrinos reportedly spent many of his childhood years in an orphanage.
Sunny weather with some local cloudiness is forecast for most parts of
Greece today. Winds will be variable, weak to moderate with a slight rise
in temperatures. Athens will be mostly sunny with temperatures between 4-
16C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki where temperatures will range from 1-
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 267.751
Pound sterling 434.198 Cyprus pd 524.768
French franc 46.295 Swiss franc 181.814
German mark 155.838 Italian lira (100) 15.783
Yen (100) 212.238 Canadian dlr. 192.210
Australian dlr. 208.117 Irish Punt 415.053
Belgian franc 7.554 Finnish mark 52.189
Dutch guilder 138.577 Danish kr. 40.904
Swedish kr. 34.791 Norwegian kr. 38.507
Austrian sch. 22.146 Spanish peseta 1.846
Portuguese escudo 1.555