Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-12
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 12/04/1997 (ANA)
- Pangalos concludes productive three-nation Caucasus tour
- Edirne Chamber delegation pays visit to Alexandroupolis
- Greece considering request to recall envoy from Iran
- FYROM FM: Pangalos'Skopje visit introduced "European rationalism to the
- Cyprus-EU accession could pave the way for a solution
to the problem, says Kranidiotis
- G. Papandreou to Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Malta
- Arsenis addresses meeting of Balkan youth groups
- ND leader Karamanlis attacks gov't policies
- ND executive committee elected
- IATA: Athens airport the most improved in the world
- Social dialogue to begin after Easter, Reppas says
- Greenpeace activists acquitted in Motor Oil blockade
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Pangalos concludes productive three-nation Caucasus tour
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos completed his tour of Armenia, Georgia
and Azerbaijan yesterday, with Baku as his last stop and after holding
talks with political and religious leaders in all three countries.
In Yerevan, Pangalos met with Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosian, Prime
Minister Robert Kocarian and Parliament President B. Arakcian, as well as
with the Patriarch of Armenia Karekin I.
Pangalos and his Armenian counterpart, Aleksandr Arzumanian, examined the
course of bilateral relations and regional problems faced in the Caucasus
region. They agreed to continue contacts in the framework of the tripartite
cooperation between Greec e, Iran and Armenia. Pangalos also signed a
bilateral agreement on post office and consular cooperation.
Replying to questions by reporters on relations between the two countries
and Turkey, he said "Turkey's threats against Greece are unethical and
illegal since they are contrary to international law, agreements and
Pangalos said it should be realised in Ankara that the Ottoman empire is
dead once and for all and there is no way to revive it.
In Tbilisi, Pangalos met President Eduard Shevardnadze, Parliament
President Z. Zvania and the Patriarch of Georgia Ilias II.
Pangalos and his counterpart, Irakli Menagarishvili, signed seven
agreements concerning telecommunications, road transport, air transport,
agriculture, customs, tourism and shipping. They also initialled a
friendship and cooperation pact.
On the sidelines of his visit, a delegation of the Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation (OTE) and the HELLASCOM subsidiary signed a US$14 million
agreement with the Georgian communications ministry on building an optical
network crossing through all the territory of Georgia and linking up with
the corresponding network of Armenia, and possibly Azerbaijan later
In Baku he met Azerbaijan President Haidar Alief and Prime Minister A.
Pangalos and his counterpart Hasan Hasanov signed three agreements on
consular and cultural cooperation and a cooperation protocol between the
All aspects of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem were also discussed. The
possibility of Greek assistance was discussed in the light of the good
relations Athens maintains with both sides in the framework of international
initiatives to resolve the problem i n the region.
Before his Caucasus tour, he officially visited the Czech Republic and
Edirne chamber delegation pays visit to Alexandroupoli
Members of the Edirne Chamber of Commerce in eastern Thrace yesterday paid
an initial visit to their Greek counterparts in Alexandroupoli, with a view
to exploring potential for cross-border business cooperation.
Alexandroupoli Chamber President Nikos Dasteridis said good cooperation
between the neighbouring cross-border prefectures is a must. He added that
a business delegation from the Greek border city will soon visit firms in
Edirne to study existing trade possibilities.
Edirne Chamber President Bulent Alamut agreed, stressing that "with close
cooperation as neighbours, we shall press the two governments towards the
development of friendly relations and mutual confidence, so that they may
follow our example."
Greece considering request to recall envoy from Iran
The Greek government said yesterday 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.
FYROM FM: Pangalos' Skopje visit introduced "European rationalism to
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Prime Minister Branko
Crvenkovski described Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos' recent visit to
Skopje as an "introduction of European rationalism to the Balkans," an ANA
despatch from Bonn said yesterday.
Replying to reporters' questions after talks with German Foreign Minister
Klaus Kinkel, he noted that progress in the relations between the two
countries since the signing of the New York interim accord in September
1995 had been considerable.
"After years of stagnation, very significant progress has been recordedIWe
note the very impressive increase in trade exchanges, the rise in Greek
investment, while transportation and transports are conducted without any
problems, and with the visit of the Greek foreign minister to Skopje
something which was inconceivable a few years ago was realised," he
Asked by ANA whether he shared Pangalos' view that a solution had to be
found to the issue of the name that took account of both the integrity of
the new state and Greece's concern over possible territorial claims against
its northern province of Ma cedonia, Crvenkovski said: "We are participating
in negotiations in goodwill and with constructive disposition, but there
are limits we cannot exceed, and these do not only concern what you
called integrity of our state, but also the identity of our people and
the constitutional foundations of our state..."
Cyprus EU accession could pave the way for a solution to the problem,
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday that Cyprus'
European Union accession prospects could act as a catalyst for the
settlement of the political problem on the divided island, according to an
ANA dispatch from Nicosia.
Referring to the EU decision of March 6, 1995 concerning the procedure for
Cyprus' accession, Kranidiotis said "the clear and unequivocal fixing of a
time schedule for the commencement of negotiations can and should serve as
a catalyst for a just an d viable solution of the Cyprus problem".
"This decision means that the course towards accession is a reality and the
Cyprus issue moves out of inaction and takes on new impetus," he added.
Kranidiotis, who left for Cyprus yesterday, was speaking at an event
organised by the Union of European Journalists on the issue of "Cyprus-
The foreign undersecretary continued by stressing that the EU decision
showed that Cyprus' accession was a domestic affair of the Community and
could not be vetoed by any third country.
Kranidiotis described as "arbitrary" the effort by "certain EU partners" to
link the island republic's accession with a settlement of the Cyprus
"The message being sent to Turkey is quite clear. Its constructive
cooperation in resolving Cyprus' political problem and improving Greek-
Turkish relations will make a positive contribution to European policy,"
Cyprus' newly-appointed Foreign Minister, Yiannakis Cassoulides echoed Mr.
Kranidiotis' statements, saying "if Turkey really wants the Turkish
Cypriots to fully benefit from accession and at the same time improve its
own relations with the EU and Greece , then it must display good intentions
and cooperate for the attainment of a mutually acceptable solution to the
G. Papandreou to Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Malta
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to attend the Euro-
Mediterranean Conference in Malta on April 15 and 16, which is a follow-up
to the Barcelona conference.
The gathering aims to further develop links between the EU and third
countries around the Mediterranean.
Within this framework, the EU has approved a "financial protocol" for such
countries, with the exception of Libya, which is not participating, and
Cyprus, Malta, and Israel, due to the relatively high living standards in
Arsenis addresses meeting of Balkan youth groups
Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis yesterday addressed the first meeting
of student unions from Balkan countries, while at the same event he replied
to reporters' questions concerning Greek soldiers being sent to Albania.
"Iit is natural for Greece, which is a country neighbouring Albania, to
also have a considerable contribution to an international effort to help
Albania to create elementary security conditions for the inhabitants
themselves," he said, adding:
"Borders are not walls which separate peoples but are bridges which unite
peoples. For this reason the minorities living in our borders must be
elements of association and cooperation with the neighbouring countries and
not flashpoints of disputes and c onflicts," he said.
Arsenis went on to say that Greece, being a member of the European Union,
is in a position and desires to constitute a link between the common
efforts made by Balkan countries in this direction and their cooperation
with the EU.
He said he would positively view an initiative for the formation of a
"Balkan Youth Centre", adding that it would be a forum through which youth
in the region will be able to take necessary initiatives and promote a
climate of cooperation.
Youth representatives from all Balkan countries participated in the
ND leader Karamanlis attacks gov't policies
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday
launched an attack on the government's policies in a number of sectors
while addressing the party's Central Committee which was 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", Mr. Karamanlis urged "innovations which are
however not at the expense of l ow salary earners and those receiving low
If the country does not enter "an orbit of development", Mr. 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, Mr. 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.
ND executive committee elected
The main opposition New Democracy party's executive committee was elected
during a central committee meeting yesterday.
More specifically, out of the 12 executive committee members elected, five
are affiliated to party leader Costas Karamanlis, four to former prime
minister and honorary ND leader Constantine Mitsotakis and three to former
party leader Miltiades Evert.
The five Parliamentary members elected are Achilleas Karamanlis with 75
votes; Dora Bakoyianni, 60; Yiannis Kefaloyiannis, 60; Vassilis Michaloliakos,
59, and Fani-Palli Petralia, 43.
The seven non-Parliamentary members elected are: Lefteris Zagoritis, 71;
Evripidis Stylianidis, 43; Kyriakos Vridaias, 43; Meropi Spyropoulou, 40;
Dimos Katsiyiannis, 40; Thomas Kourtis, 39, and Nikos Melissaris,
At the proposal of Mr. Karamanlis, members entitled to vote had the right
to give up to three crosses of preference for Parliamentary members and up
to four for non-Parliamentary members.
IATA: Athens airport the most improved in the world
The Information and Research Service of the International Air Transport
Association (IATA) has evaluated Athens airport as the most improved
airport in the world on the basis security, speed in processing passengers
and staff efficiency.
The Greek capital's airport is followed by those in Inverel and Melbourne,
both in Australia, Bangkok and Hong Kong.
The commendation also praises Greek efforts in improving the conditions in
air traffic through installation of new radars.
Social dialogue to begin after Easter, Reppas says
Social dialogue between the government, unions and employers will begin in
earnest after the Easter break at the end of the month and following the
receipt by social partners of the text of the government's positions, to be
sent out next week, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.
Reppas said the prime minister briefed the Cabinet on Thursday's discussion
on the issue at the joint party-ministerial committee.
The committee will reconvene in two to three weeks' time to consider the
issue of social insurance, he added.
The government is attempting to find a balance between social partners and
is not going in to the dialogue with prejudice or demands, he said.
On workers' "privileges', Mr. Reppas said there was no decision to abolish
anything and that everything was up for discussion.
Concluding, the spokesman said that the dialogue would once again
demonstrate that ruling PASOK was a socialist party. ANA
Greenpeace activists acquitted in Motor Oil blockade
A court in Corinth yesterday acquitted 17 Greenpeace activists who had
participated in the sea blockade of the Motor Oil refinery at Agioi
Theodoroi last November.
The 17 activists were protesting against oil pollution from the facility
following an oil spill last August, caused when lightning hit a Motor Oil
off-shore unloading unit of crude oil from a tanker.
The eight Greek and nine foreign defendants were found not guilty of
trespassing and obstructing the operation of a public service company.
However, the British captain of the Greenpeace vessel "Arctic Sunrise",
David Enever, that took part in the prote st, was found guilty of
disobeying coastguard orders. Mr. Enever received a suspended four-month
sentence and was set free following an appeal.
One worker was killed during the August incident, which led to some 300
tons of crude oil being released into the sea.
Motor Oil, jointly owned by the Saudi-based Aramco and the Vardinoyiannis
group, was fined 150 million drachmas for the accident.
"The court's decision shows that the activity of Greenpeace for the
protection of the environment can be described as neither legal or illegal,
it is simply necessary," said director of Greenpeace's Greek bureau, Ilias
Unstable weather conditions throughout most of the country with clouds and
local rain in the northwest, Macedonia and Thrace. Scattered clouds in rest
of country. Winds southwesterly moderate to strong. Some cloud and moderate
winds in Athens. Rain expected in Thessaloniki in the afternoon.
Friday's closing rates - buying
US dlr. 268.673 Pound sterling 436.817
Cyprus pd 526.192 French franc 46.394
Swiss franc 183.123 German mark 156.042
Italian lira (100) 15.820 Yen (100) 213.240
Canadian dlr. 192.746 Australian dlr. 211.787
Irish Punt 416.144 Belgian franc 7.565
Finnish mark 52.247 Dutch guilder 138.835
Danish kr. 40.978 Swedish kr. 35.002
Norwegian kr. 38.589 Austrian sch. 22.190
Spanish peseta 1.854 Portuguese escudo 1.561