Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-04-14
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 14/04/1997 (ANA)
- Greece says Iran ambassador will remain while issue examined
- Greece's Albania contingent set to leave Wednesday
- Greek-Bulgaria relations focus of talks today
- Current accounts deficit totals 4.5 billion dollars
- PM supports withdrawal of Flisvos casino licence
- Theodorakis concert in Skopje warmly received
- New Cyprus FM Cassoulides due in Athens Friday
- Thessaloniki roundtable discussion on civilisation
- Olympiakos wins Greek basketball cup
- Greek soccer results
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece says Iran ambassador will remain while issue examined
The government said today that there had been no change regarding the issue
of recalling its ambassador from Tehran, following a European Union
presidency call that EU member-states should do so.
The EU suggestion came after a German court accused Iranian political
leaders of ordering the assassination of exiled Kurdish dissidents in
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Athens was continuing to examine
the issue ''in its details'' in order ''to see how it will handle'' the
Greece late last week expressed reservations on ''the necessity of this
measure'', drawing a reaction from Bonn, with the German Foreign Ministry
expressing surprise at the fact that Greece was the only EU country not to
recall its envoy from Iran and ''thus refusing European solidarity towards
Reppas said that ''there is solidarity with Germany'', adding however that
''but there is no antagonism with Iran''.
Asked to comment on media reports claiming that a telephone conversation
took place between German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and adviser to
Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Nikos Themelis, during which Kinkel
reportedly used the phrase ''it's gone far enough'', Reppas said he was not
willing to make statements ''on whatever is bandied about''.
Reppas underlined that ''cooperation is frequent and each side expresses
''There is not always agreement,'' the spokesman said, ''but there is a
desire for agreement.''
Greece's Albania contingent set to leave Wednesday
The government said today that the Greek contingent participating in the
multinational protection force in Albania would probably leave for the
neighbouring country on Wednesday.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas did not however rule out the
possibility of the contingent departing as early as tomorrow night.
Reppas said the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA)
would meet tomorrow morning for the sole purpose of giving its approval to
the despatch of the contingent.
The spokesman clarified however that KYSEA would hold a scheduled meeting
as planned on Friday.
According to the plans of the General Army Staff, the first company,
comprising 120 men, of the Greek contingent is expected to arrive in the
Adriatic port of Vlore on Thursday.
The 120, all full-time career soldiers, will most probably leave for
Albania in a tank landing craft tomorrow night. The unit will be self-
sufficient and serve with an Italian batallion.
The unit will be equipped with armoured personnel carriers, a modern mobile
kitchen and sanitary facilities and advanced communications equipment.
The second company of Greek troops will arrive by C-130 transport plane in
Tirana on Saturday. Lightly-armed, this unit will be part of the Greek
batallion to be stationed in the Albanian capital.
The rest of the Greek contingent will arrive by tank landing craft in the
port of Durres on 22 April, together with 20 jeeps and over 90 armoured
The Greek troops will have the right of self-defence and, if attacked, will
respond in accordance with United Nations provisions.
The estimated cost of the mission will be 2.5-3 billion drachmas for the 90
days initially foreseen for the stay of the multinational force in
Greek-Bulgarian relations focus of talks today
Greek-Bulgarian relations are being discussed in meetings between Ministers
in both countries today. Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is to meet
his Bulgarian counterpart in Sandanski, a region near the border between
the two countries, while Bulgaria's caretaker Foreign Minister Stoyan
Stalev is to visit Athens today following an invitation from Greek Foreign
Minister Theodoros Pangalos.
The talks in Athens will centre on Bulgaria's desire to join NATO and the
European Union, bilateral trade relations and cross-border programmes,
according to the ANA correspondent in Sofia.
Stalev will also meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis, President of the
Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Parliament Speaker Aposotolos Kaklamanis,
and will also visit Thessaloniki.
Tsohatzopoulos told his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Ananiev during a 90-
minute meeting that Greece unreservedly supported Bulgaria's accession to
NATO, according to a later ANA despatch from the border town of Sandanski.
It was also announced after the meeting that Greece and Bulgaria would in
the near future sign a military economic cooperation agreement.
According to sources, the Greek side proposed that a contingent of the
Bulgarian army medical corps should participate in the multinational
protection force for Albania.
Ananiev reiterated Sofia's position on participation in the force but
deferred the issue until after elections and the formation of a new
Parliament in Bulgaria.
Current accounts deficit totals 4.5 billion dollars
The current accounts deficit reached 4.5 billion dollars in 1997, compared
to 2.8 billion dollars in 1996, according to figures released today by the
Bank of Greece.
The increase was mainly due to 1.2 billion dollar rise in the trade deficit
and a 469 million dollar drop in the invisibles surplus.
In contrast, inflows of private capital increased this year to reach 7.2
Exchange reserves meanwhile totalled 19.2 billion dollars at the end of
1996, compared to 15.7 billion dollars in December 1995.
According to the central bank, the high level of exchange reserves was
maintained in March this year, reaching a record total of 19.4 billion
PM supports withdrawal of Flisvos casino licence
Prime Minister Costas Simitis today expressed full support for Development
Minister Vasso Papandreou's decision to rescind the Flisvos casino licence
and ruled out the possibility of the government paying compensation to the
casino consortium which is seeking recourse to justice.
Simitis today visited the tourism sector of the Development Ministry and
the Greek National Tourist Organisation (EOT), the first time a prime
minister has called on state tourist services.
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
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
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 Millennium",
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.
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
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