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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-04-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 13/04/1997 (ANA)


  • Cyprus Defence minister in Athens to discuss joint defence
  • Tsohatzopoulos: I am not aware of any Greek-Turkish dialogue
  • Little interest for Political Spring precongress conference
  • Greece to launch international initiative on Balkans
  • Greek force to go to Albania on Tuesday or Wednesday
  • Albanian arrested near border for smuggling weapons, drugs
  • Young mother arrested for killing newborn baby
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Cyprus Defence minister in Athens to discuss joint defence

Cypriot Defence Minister Costas Iliades arrived in Athens today for talks with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos on issues related to the defence of the Cypriot Republic, in particular the joint defence dogma.

The Cypriot official during his departure from Cyprus said that military exercises in the framework of the joint defence doctrine between Cypurs and Greece will be conducted as planned this year, adding that all infrastructure projects and plans related to the Greece-Cyprus joint defence space are being carried out according to schedule.

Mr. Iliades will meet the Greek Defence Minister on Tuesday, to discuss joint defence doctrine issues and other matters regarding cooperation with Greece in the defence field.

Meanwhile, Greece and Cyprus are continuing contacts in view of intensified efforts to achieve direct talks between the Cypriot government and the Turkish Cypriots. Following Ssaturday's visit to Nicosia by Greek Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, Cypriot Foreign Minister Yannakis Cassoulides is to visit Athens next Friday, following an invitation extended by his counterpart Theodoros Pangalos.

Nicosia and Athens have already decided to form a joint committee of legal experts to study the various issues and to make proposals duirng talks aimed at solving the Cyprus problem as well as regarding negotiations for the island republic's accession to the European Union.

Tsohatzopoulos: I am not aware of any Greek-Turkish dialogue

"I am not aware of any Greek-Turkish dialogue", said Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos in response to a relevant question today, while attendind a nursing conference.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos clarified that talks with NATO conducted by the two sides, are "to inform of the terms under which the existing Papoulias- Yilmaz (former Greek Foreign Minister-former Turkish PM) agreement and treaty can be implemented or otherwise".

The Defence minister's remark is in response to recent press reports about the conduct of a secret Greek-Turkish dialogue over the issues dividing the two countries, such as Cyprus and the status quo in the Aegean sea.

Asked if he supports dialogue whith Turkey at a prime ministerial level, Mr.Tsohatzopoulos replied that if Turkey decides to identify with Europe, it will have to respect international law, recognise the starus quo and Greek borders and contribute to addressing the international injustice in Cyprus that is going on for 22 years.

Little interest for Political Spring precongress conference

Diminished interest and low attendance marked the precongress conference of the Political Spring party, held today in the central Greece city of Larisa ahead of the conference scheduled for the end of May.

The hall in which the conference was held was a long way from full while many social groups invited to submit proposals did not attend. |ndicative of the lack of interest in the Political Spring forum was that a significant number of local members chose to spend Sunday mornign elsewhere.

The chairman of the precongress organizing committee Akis Gerontopoulos, said that although Spring is only a small party, it would like to obtain positions and proposals from social groups in order to formulate policy.

The precongress proceedings begun with an address by Spring leader and founder Antonis Samaras who, in response to recent speculation about returning to the New Democracy main opposition party, stressed that he was not a political drifter. Issues raised in the debate that followed included agriculture economy, small to medium enterprises, employment, the course of major projects in the Thessaly region and matters pertaining to the party's charter and organization.

Greece to launch international initiative on Balkans

Greece is preparing to launch an international initiative aimed at promoting Athens' relations with both Ankara and Skopje and improving the general climate in the region, according to an article in the Sunday newspaper To Vima today.

The newspaper reports that Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is to call a summit meeting of his counterparts from Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, to be held in June in Thessaloniki.

It said Pangalos sent letters to his counterparts last week briefing them on Athens' plans for such a meeting. To Vima, quoting "usually well- informed sources", said Prime Minister Costas Simitis was determined to keep (domestic) debate on relations with Ankara and Skope from becoming sidetracked by partisan concerns. It also said he wanted a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Necmettin Erbakan if talks between their foreign ministers produced some indication of positive intent on the part of Turkey.

The newspaper drew attention to what it called three new elements in Athens' stance. Firstly, the fact that Greece accepts direct bilateral dialogue at the level of a committee of experts. Secondly, that these experts' committees would be authorised to record bilateral problems and differences. Finally, it observed that for the first time in decades Athens appeared ready to discuss the demilitarisation of the Dodecanese islands on the condition that Turkey carried out similar moves, mainly concerning its large landing fleet and Fourth Army.

Greek force to go to Albania on Tuesday or Wednesday

The largest peacekeeping contingent ever sent abroad by Greece departs for strife-ridden Albania on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on weather conditions.

The bulk of the Greek force, roughly 720 troops, set out from the Nea Sanda, Kilkis army base today to participate in the UN-mandated multinational operation, code-named "Alba" (dawn).

Greece's mission officially began with an inspection today by the chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Manousos Paragioudakis, of the 71rd infantry brigade headquarters at Nea Sanda, where the battalion headed for Albania was stationed.

Albanian arrested near border for smuggling weapons, drugs

An Albanian national was arrested in posession of a large number of arms and ammunitions as well as a quantity of an illicit drug, near the Greek- Albanian border today.

24-year-old Behar Fousfkou from the Vlore region was arrested while keeping guard over a krypt containing 59 automatic pistols, 11 automatic "Kalashnikof" weapons, a hand grenade and houndreds of rounds of ammunition. Fousfkou's stash also included ten sacks with 173 kilos of dried cannabis.

Thesprotia police said that the Albanian had transported the illegal cargo by speedboat from his country the day before yesterday, aided by two accomplices from the Sarande region. Police suspected that the smugglers might attempt to land a second load but they had not reappeared by late yesterday afternoon.

Greek police has intensified patrols along the border with Albania, acting on information of more weapons and drugs being smuggled from the neighbouring country.

Young mother arrested for killing newborn baby

A 19-year-old woman has been arrested following the death of her new-born baby in hospital, hours after it was found in the light well of an apartment building in Kypseli, central Athens.

Ioanna Mertiri threw the baby girl in the light well of the building in which she lived with her parents, just a few hours after giving birth. The baby's cries alerted a neighbour, who called police. The child died in hospital early this morning.


Rain and snowfalls are expected tomorrow in most mountainous regions while rain and local thunderstorms are forecast for all other areas in the morning. Conditions are expected to improve later in the day. Winds will be of northerly direction, moderate to strong, reaching gale force in the Aegean.

Athens will be overcast with rain and local thunderstorms but the weather will soon improve. The temperature will range from 5 to 13 degrees Celcius. Similar conditions for Thessaloniki and temperature 0-10C.

Foreign exchange

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


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