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

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 11/04/1997 (ANA)


  • Greece considering request to recall envoy from Iran
  • No Simitis-Erbakan meeting scheduled
  • ND leader Karamanlis attacks government policies
  • Foreigner dies of heroin overdose
  • Dutch presidency proposals on Greek-Turkish problems
  • Premier's official visit to Austria next weekend
  • Preparations underway for Greek force to Albania
  • Athens-Skopje relations vital for FYROM's stabilisation
  • Kavala residents demand closure of Bulgarian nuclear plant
  • People's Republic of China official in Athens
  • Re-opening of Greece-Novorossyisk shipping route discussed
  • Drachma depreciates against EU currencies
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Greece considering request to recall envoy from Iran

The Greek government said today that it was considering recalling its ambassador from Teheran following an EU suggestion that member states should do so after a German court accused Iran's leaders of ordering the killing of exiled Kurdish dissidents in Berlin.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas clarified however that the Greek ambassador at present remained at his post, adding that Athens had expressed certain reservations over the recall suggestion.

No Simitis-Erbakan meeting scheduled

The government said today that no meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Turkish counterpart, Necmettin Erbakan, had been scheduled on the sidelines of the NATO summit in June.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas added however that the two leaders ''may exchange greetings or even views, but this does not constitute a meeting with a planned agenda''.

ND leader Karamanlis attacks government policies

Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis today launched an attack on the government's policies in a number of sectors while addressing the party's Central Committee which is meeting to elect a new Executive Committee.

Karamanlis said ND was the party which believed in ''social dialogue'' which, he added, must be sincere and substantial ''not spasmodic''.

Accusing the government of following policies aimed at serving petty party interests, of being responsible for ''waves of retirements'' and ''waste which has inflated the problem'', Karamanlis urged ''innovations which are however not at the expense of low salary earners and those receiving low pensions''.

If the country does not enter ''an orbit of development'', Karamanlis said, the government would have to tackle the problem of unemployment by resorting to ''subterfuges''.

Karamanlis expressed the view that due to the shortfall in state revenue in March, the budget either risked being ''overturned'' or there would be ''a new tax offensive and new fiscal measures will be announced''.

Turning to Greek-Turkish relations, Karamanlis asked the government to clarify its position, speaking of ''rumours'' that Athens had already entered into a dialogue with Ankara.

Karamanlis stressed that ND was not opposed to dialogue with Turkey in principle, but on the condition that Ankara respected international treaties and international law.

Foreigner dies of heroin overdose

Police today discovered the body of an unidentified foreigner in a basement flat in the Athens district of Thission -- the thirteenth victim of a heroin overdose in the last two weeks.

Neighbours in the apartment building alerted the police due to a strong smell coming from the flat of the man who is believed to be about 30 years old.

The police coroner said his death was due to a heroin overdose.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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


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