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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-14

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, 14/04/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek peacekeeping battalion ready to leave for Albania
  • Orthodox Archbishop's visit to Gjirokaster
  • Theodorakis concert in Skopje warmly received
  • New Cyprus FM Cassoulides due in Athens Friday
  • Vasso Papandreou on SMEs' development
  • Thessaloniki roundtable discussion on civilisation
  • Weather
  • Olympiakos wins Greek basketball cup
  • Greek soccer results
  • Foreign Exchange


NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek peacekeeping battalion ready to leave for Albania

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

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

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

Mr. Paragioudakis was initially briefed by the commander of the 71st brigade, Brigadier Gen. Athanasios Galinos, and then inspected the troops composing the Greek peacekeeping battalion, together with the battalion's commander, infantry Lt.-Col. Constantinos Katsikoyiannis.

"Today is a special day. We feel proud of you who compose the largest peacekeeping force which has ever left Greece for abroad. As in Bosnia, where we had no accident, I hope we will not face any problems in Albania as well. Greece is basing its international image on you," the army general staff chief told the troops.

Gen. Paragioudakis also referred to the dangers the Greek battalion may be faced with and provided them with a pamphlet containing basic instructions on details of the mission and the method of defence in various dangerous situations, as well as the leg al status governing military presence in a foreign country.

Approximately 600 officers and NCOs will be stationed in Tirana, while the remaining 120 in Vlore. Another 80 officers and NCOs are in full readiness at the Nea Sanda base.

The Greek battalion will stay in Albania for three months until elections are held in that country. On the other hand, if the situation is not normalised its stay will be extended for another three months. The troops will be decorated immediately after the end of the peacekeeping mission.

Orthodox Archbishop's Gjirokaster visit

Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios visited Gjirokaster yesterday and referred to the work done by the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Albania at a crucial time experienced by Albania, the Orthodox community and ethnic Greeks living in Albania.

He said that "we are offering resistance to the wave of fear, flight and desperation and we are continuing...with faith, love and hope."

Anastasios laid the foundation stone of a new cathedral in the ethnic Greek village of Kakavia in the Pano Dropoli region on Saturday.

Theodorakis concert in Skopje warmly received

World famous composer Mikis Theodorakis received an enthusiastic ovation at the Popular Theatre in Skopje on Saturday night, repeating two parts from his symphony "Zorba the Greek" after prolonged applause from the audience.

The concert was attended by Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) President Kiro Gligorov, top members of Skopje's government, representatives of the diplomatic corps and 200 guests from Greece.

The concert, broadcast live by FYROM's state radio and state television network, as well as by Greek state radio, included participation by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Skopje, the Popular Theatre's Orchestra, a choir, mezzosoprano Sofia Mihailidou and bouzouki player Grigoris Tsistoudis.

Before the concert began, addresses were made by FYROM writer Meto Jovanovski, president of a friendship society between the two countries, and by Paraskevas Paraskevopoulos, a state deputy from the ruling PASOK party, who termed the event "an evening of friendship, peace and mutual understanding."

"We must start from common points uniting us, a climate of confidence and mutual understanding must be created and the governments must find solutions which are mutually beneficial for both peoples," he said.

New Cyprus FM Cassoulides due in Athens on Friday

New Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides will visit Athens on Friday at the invitation of Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos for talks with the Greek government.

Greek Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis extended the invitation during a meeting on Saturday with the Cypriot foreign minister, during which they discussed Cyprus' prospects for accession to the European Union and the ongoing UN-sponsore d proximity talks.

Mr. Kranidiotis told the press after the meeting, that the next two to three years will be crucial to the Cyprus problem in relation to the island's EU accession course, reiterating that this course is progressing normally.

"We don't foresee an easy road, there will be difficulties, but I believe that there will also be opportunities," Mr. Kranidiotis said, stressing that those opportunities must be taken advantage of through a long-term strategy.

Mr. Kranidiotis also said a Cyprus solution must be based on the 1977 and 1979 High Level Agreements the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides have signed, and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, adding that ideas discussed in the past affect discussion s for a solution.

The High Level Agreements provide for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in Cyprus.

Mr. Kranidiotis said the Greek Cypriot side was right to reject the "set of ideas" on the Cyprus problem, proposed by former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali in their entirety, because they do not serve its interests.

Mr. Kranidiotis added, however, that this does not mean there are no positive aspects to the "set of ideas", and that the ideas could not affect future talks.

"This, however, does not mean we are throwing them in the waste basket. We need to modify them to allow the state to function and ensure they are in line with Cyprus' EU accession course," he said.

Mr. Cassoulides also noted that these ideas should not create any problems during a transitional period in relation to the international recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.

As far as common ground on the views of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides is concerned, Mr. Kranidiotis said both Greece and Cyprus will assess whether there is any when the proximity talks conclude, adding that it is too early at this stage to make t hat assessment.

Mr. Kranidiotis denied press speculation that he would announce his candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections in Cyprus early next year. Mr. Kranidiotis is of Cypriot origin.

In fresh statements yesterday at Larnaca Airport before departing for Athens , Mr. Kranidiotis said no duplicity exists over the Cyprus issue between Athens and Nicosia. He said the policy on Cyprus is unified between Greece and Cyprus, close cooperation exists and targets and visions are common.

Vasso Papandreou on SMEs' development

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said "the field of small-and medium- sized enterprises is particularly sensitive, many of them close down and many open."

She added: "There is great mobility in this sector. All must be aware that we need enterprises which will not have a circumstantial nature, they must not be antiquated and above all they must not expect to be supported and operate solely with subsidies. "

Ms Papandreou said that in no way can SMEs base their survival on the state. She said we must support SMEs but the state can never play the role of the father who takes care of and protects his "invalid" children.

Thessaloniki roundtable discussion on civilisation

Speaking at a roundtable discussion at the Byzantine Museum in Thessaloniki on Saturday on the sidelines of a meeting of intellectuals from around the world entitled "Civilisation on the Threshold of the Third Millenium", Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos stressed the need for the principle of cultural equality among European Union countries to be included in Article 128 of the Maastricht Treaty.

Speaking during another discussion, the former president of the European Parliament, Simone Veil, expressed the conviction that cultural unification can be achieved in Europe.

Former UN secretary-general Javier Perez de Cuellar said culture is of particular importance for the development of peoples.

He said cooperation at an inter-state and local level is an imperative need for the development of the "culture of peace", adding that one cannot speak of development in regions where wars are underway.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the meeting, the president of the University of Europe Eleni Ahrweiler-Glykatzi, who directs the event, said "civilisation is not a question of borders but an issue of equality", adding that "the last word of ci vilisation in Europe is a dialogue with goodwill, namely that you must not only listen to what you say but also to what the person next to you says."

The meeting was ended yesterday with the adoption of the "Charter of Thessaloniki", which will contain 10 basic points.

WEATHER

Cloudiness with sunny spells, occasional rainfall and snowfalls in the mountainous regions are expected for most parts of Greece today. Some improvement is expected later in the day. Winds will be northerly 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 temperatures will range from 5 to 13C. Similar conditions for Thessaloniki with temperatures between 0-10C.

Olympiakos wins Greek basketball cup

Olympiakos of Piraeus yesterday won the Greek basketball cup by beating Apollon of Patras 80-78. Half-time score 42-37.

Greek soccer results

AEK-Panathinaikos 3-0 Olympiakos-Veria 2-0 Panahaiki-OFI 2-0 Paniliakos-PAOK 0-2 Aris-Kavala 1-3 Xanthi-Ionikos 3-0 Athinaikos-Iraklis 2-0 Apollon and Kalamata play today

Standings: Olympiakos 71 AEK 65 OFI 56 Panathinaikos 54 PAOK 53 Kavala 51

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

(C.E.)


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