Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-15
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 15/04/1997 (ANA)
- Greece to propose initiatives for Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
- Government unveils blueprint on social dialogue
- Greece Cyprus military exercise to go ahead
- Greek support for Bulgaria's NATO accession reiterated
- Bulgarian FM to hold talks in Athens
- Albanian FM thanks Greece for recent support
- Bundestag fact-finding delegation meets with Ecumenical Patriarch
- Iranian FM attends Independence Day ceremony at Greek embassy
- Women's meeting on peace ends on Lesvos
- Conference of young parliamentarians on Rhodes
- Premier stresses efforts to improve tourism
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece to propose initiatives for Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
Greece is to propose several important initiatives for the development of
cooperation between European Union countries and 12 Mediterranean nations
at the Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Foreign Ministers, which opens
today in Valletta, Malta.
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who represents Greece at the
conference, told the press yesterday that Athens will propose the convening
of an informal meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference - probably on a
Greece, he said, is also expected to play a significant role in the
beginning of a dialogue on religion in the Mediterranean as part of a
cultural cooperation between the 15 EU member-states and the 12 non-EU
Mr. Papandreou said this would open a "new significant level of initiatives
in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation".
Greece's role, he said, focuses on a dialogue between Orthodoxy and
The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece
would be invited to begin talks on these issues, he added.
He said the spirit of cooperation among Mediterranean countries had begun
with the EU summit on Corfu during the Greek presidency in 1994, and was
bolstered in Barcelona, at which it was decided that cooperation should
centre on three axes: economic and institutional issues, culture and
society as well as security.
Replying to questions, he said that the Middle East issue (Israel and the
Palestinian areas) will not constitute a main issue at the Euro-Mediterranean
Conference because the EU had decided to have Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
promoted regardless of discussions between the two sides.
Gov't unveils blueprint on social dialogue
The government yesterday unveiled a 19-point blueprint with the topics of
the proposed social dialogue on economic, investment and labour policy.
The text was sent to trade unions, agricultural organisations, local
government, the Federation of Greek Industry (SEB), merchants and small
manufacturers organisations, banks, chambers etc, in the form of a letter
by the ministers of National Economy, Yiannos Papantoniou, and Labour and
Social Security, Miltiades Papaioannou.
It includes topics such as securing real incomes under conditions of low
inflation, changes in investmet incentives, developmental criteria for
ailing enterprises, the promotion of efficiency in the public sector, work
time and part-time employment, for eign workers, and employent policy in
the European Union.
The stated aims of the dialogue include participation in the Economic and
Monetary Union of the EU in time, control of profiteering, the introduction
of the principle of 'funding investmenst on basis of attaining targets',
strong economic presence and cooperation in the Balkans, quality and
efficiency control of training programmes, privatisation of ailing
enterprises, wage increases on the basis of an inflation plus national
productivity clause, and the linking of new forms of work with social
securi ty systems.
Greece-Cyprus military exercise to go ahead
The "Toxotis" combined military exercise between Greece and Cyprus will go
ahead as planned in early May, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said
Greek support for Bulgaria`s NATO accession reiterated
Greece unconditionally supports Bulgaria's admission to NATO, National
Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said following a meeting with his
Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Ananiev, here yesterday.
The two ministers had a working meeting at the Bulgarian border town of
Sandanski, while Bulgarian caretaker Foreign Minister Stoyan Stalev arrived
yesterday in Athens for talks with his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos
and Premier Costas Simitis.
In Sandanski, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told his Bulgarian counterpart during a 90-
minute meeting that Athens unreservedly supported Bulgaria's accession to
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's medical corps participate in the multinational protection force
approved for Albania.
Mr. Ananiev deferred the issue until after elections and the formation of a
new parliament in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian FM to hold talks in Athens
Mr. Stalev's visit to Greece comes after an invitation from Mr. 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.
Mr. Stalev will also meet President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos,
Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis and visit Thessaloniki.
In a statement at Sofia Airport before leaving for Greece, Mr. Stalev said
"Greece, being simultaneously a member of the European Union and NATO, is a
particularly important partner for Bulgaria and we will seek Greek support
in connection with the future enlargement of these two organisations."
Referring to his visit to Greece, he said it is "part of a series of talks
related to the priorities of Bulgaria's foreign policy."
Mr. Stalev said there is a need to intensify cooperation on attracting
investments, fighting crime, accelerating work to open new border crossings
and a slackening of the procedures governing entrance visas into Greece.
Albanian FM Starova thanks Greece for recent support
Albanian Foreign Minister Arjan Starova has addressed a letter to his Greek
counterpart Theodoros Pangalos expressing Tirana's gratitude for the aid
and support offered so far by the Greek government.
Mr. Pangalos had sent a letter to Mr. Starova on March 28 listing the
efforts being made by Athens to enable Albania to tackle the severe
political crisis in the neighbouring country.
Mr. Starova stresses in his letter that the national reconciliation
government of Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino "is making every
possible effort to implement in practice the platform of national
reconciliation planned by (Albanian) President (Sal i) Berisha, and
approved by Albania's 10 most important parties, and we ascertain with
satisfaction that the internal situation in Albania is showing some
improvement and is moving ahead."
The Albanian foreign minister also expressed his appreciation for support
given to his country by Greece, both at bilateral and international level,
and for its readiness to be included in the international force to be sent
Bundestag fact-finding delegation meets with Patriarch
A seven-member German Bundestag delegation currently visiting Turkey to
examine that nation's human rights situation visited Ecumenical Patriarch
Vartholomeos yesterday for talks on problems faced by the Patriarchate.
The German deputies, headed by Irmgard Schwaetzer, said afterwards that the
reports they will prepare and submit to both the Bundestag and the Bonn
government will detail problems faced by the Greek minority and the
Ecumenical Patriarchate. They also criticised the continuing refusal of
Ankara to grant a licence for the Halki Theology School to reopen.
Apart from the issue of Halki, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its
charitable foundations are also experiencing administrative pressures
lately. The prosecution of the Metropolitan of Laodikia for attending a
church service in an ethnic Orthodox Bulgarian parish in the city
underlined such pressures.
In addition, the German deputies said that Turkey was not honouring
promises it has given on human rights, adding that disappearances of
individuals held in detention are continuing; suspicious murders still take
place with unidentified perpetrators, while the ill-treatment of prison
inmates and prisoners held in custody is continuing.
Iranian FM attends Independence Day ceremony at Greek embassy
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati attended the Greek Independence
Day ceremony at the Greek embassy in Tehran on Sunday.
At the ceremony, Mr. Velayati and Greek ambassador Dimitris Tsikouris
exchanged views on promotion of bilateral and multilateral cooperation at
the international level, as well as the deepening of the ties between
Athens and Tehran.
The two officials also focused on expansion of cooperation between Iran,
Greece, Georgia and Armenia.
A Greek embassy official stated that Athens has clearly announced its
stance in matters related to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The independence day reception was held on Sunday and not on March 25, due
to the long Islamic New Year holidays in Iran.
Women's meeting on peace ends on Lesvos
"The defence of peace is nothing but the defence of life which we, women,
give birth to," according to a resolution issued at the end of a three-day
meeting of women from the Greek islands of Lesvos, Hios and Samos, and
their counterparts on the opposite Turkish coast.
During the meeting, which ended on Lesvos yesterday, there was an exchange
of views on issues of peace, work, and education. The resolution called on
"the governments of the two countries to improve the political climate and
solve existing problems, wit hout foreign interventions, through talks, and
on the assumption of respect for international agreements, treaties and
borders, as determined after World War II." The women taking part also
stated their opposition to proliferation of armaments, the perpet uation of
hostile relations as especially cultivated through school books.
Conference of young parliamentarians on Rhodes
A conference of young parliamentarians, including representatives from the
European Union and the Council of Europe, is continuing on Rhodes with
discussions on issues concerning peace and economic cooperation between
eastern Mediterranean countries.
Representatives of Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian self-rule areas and
Cyprus expressed concern over the situation prevailing in the Middle East
and the Aegean and criticised Israel and Turkey.
The Palestinian representative said "Israel is a bulldozer which is digging
away at the foundations of peace in the region" and is not implementing
agreements which have been signed.
The representative of Cyprus referred to the absence of the Turkish Cypriot
community from the conference and the continuing Turkish occupation on the
island for the past 23 years.
The conference is attended by representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Turkey,
Malta, Israel, the Palestinian authority, Cyprus and Greece, as well as
observers from Russia.
Premier stresses efforts to improve tourism
Efforts to improve services in the tourism industry, including protection
of the environment and its features particular to Greece, were announced by
Prime Minister Costas Simitis during a visit to the Greek National Tourism
Organisation (EOT) yesterday.
"Our objective," he said, "is to offer foreigners an attractive environment
and at the same time improve the competitiveness of Greek tourism on an
Emphasis will also be given to to necessary structural changes, particularly
by promoting alternative forms of tourism such as eco-tourism and trekking,
in order to extend the tourist season.
At the same time, the Prime Minister expressed full support for Development
Minist er 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 resource to justice.
Mr. Simitis said the cabinet would soon discuss and table a bill in
Parliament formally rescinding the Flisvos licence.
The same bill, he said, would provide for stricter controls of private
casinos already operating in the country, while legislation will be
introduced renewing the state's control of the Mt. Parnes casino, assigning
its management to the private sector a nd offering a minority share
Mr. Simitis stressed that "casinos do not constitute a linchpin for
development and moreover create social problems."
This, he added, was why licences had not eventually been granted for the
operation of casinos in Epirus and Doirani, as had initially been
Fine weather with a slight rise in temperatures expected for most parts of
Greece today but is expected to change in the evening turning to cloudy
with local rainfall starting in the north and the Ionian islands. Athens
will be mostly sunny with temperatures between 3-15C. Same for Thessaloniki
with temperatures between 0-12C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 268.534
Pound sterling 435.984 Cyprus pd 525.562
French franc 46.350 Swiss franc 182.984
German mark 155.863 Italian lira (100) 15.844
Yen (100) 212.209 Canadian dlr. 192.111
Australian dlr. 209.307 Irish Punt 416.045
Belgian franc 7.556 Finnish mark 52.120
Dutch guilder 138.642 Danish kr. 40.924
Swedish kr. 35.194 Norwegian kr. 38.569
Austrian sch. 22.141 Spanish peseta 1.851
Portuguese escudo 1.560