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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-11

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, 11/04/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 nature.

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 1964).

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 defence industry.

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 Wednesday.

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 afternoon.

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- era reactor.

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 said.

"These goals must be achieved for the convergence programme," she stressed.

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 productivity.

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 port.

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 relations.

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 sterling).

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 10 years.

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 him up.

Vakrinos' second victim was Anastasia Simitzi, 26, whom he killed on Nov. 20, 1993.

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.

WEATHER

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- 15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(C.E.)


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