Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-04-15
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 15/04/1997 (ANA)
- Greek troops get official go-ahead for Albanian force
- Greece, Bulgaria agree to give fresh impetus to cooperation
- US displeased at Greek stance on Iran
- President to visit Strasbourg
- Policy on rapprochement with Turkey unchanged, Athens says
- Greece to propose initiatives for Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
- Government unveils blueprint on social dialogue
- Albanian FM thanks Greece for recent support
- Premier stresses efforts to improve tourism
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greek troops get official go-ahead for Albanian force
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) today
formally ratified Greece's participation in the multinational peace force
in Albania, as the tank landing craft Samos arrived in Thessaloniki to
transport the first 120 Greek troops, all officers and NCOs, to Albania.
Following the KYSEA meeting, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that
according to the Italian command's final plan, the vanguard of the Greek
force will leave for Tirana tomorrow morning after arriving in the Adriatic
port of Vlore. The remainder of the total 760 men are expected to be in
position by the end of the week.
The multinational force's mission is to secure the speedy distribution of
humanitarian aid to the Albanian people. The Greek troops will have the
right to defend themselves, and if attacked will respond in accordance with
Greece, Bulgaria agree to give fresh impetus to cooperation
Greece and Bulgaria today agreed to give fresh impetus to bilateral
cooperation during talks between Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and
his Bulgarian counterpart Stoyan Stalev.
Earlier, Stalev, who arrived in Athens yesterday, had talks with Prime
Minister Costas Simitis. The Bulgarian foreign minister is currently the
guest of honour at a luncheon being attended by Pangalos, Foreign
Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, ministry officials and a number of
prominent Greek businessmen, many of whom already have business activities
in the neighbouring country.
Replying to reporters' questions concerning the presence of Greek
businessmen at the luncheon, Pangalos said the government attached
particular importance to the potential of the Bulgarian economy and was
encouraging Greek businessmen to establish activities there.
Stressing the traditional ties of friendship and cooperation between the
two Balkan neighbours, Pangalos assured Stalev of Greece's support for
Bulgaria's efforts to join the European Union and NATO.
Owing to the holding of general elections in Bulgaria next Sunday, Pangalos
said he had not gone into ''technical detail'' during his talks with Stalev
whom, he noted, would not be standing as a candidate.
Stalev underlined that Bulgaria was already on its way out of the acute
economic crisis which it underwent last year, while attaching to the
importance to the fact that Bulgarian foreign policy had remained
''active'' during this difficult period.
He described as ''very important'' Greece's support for Bulgaria's bid to
join the EU and NATO and announced that Sofia would be participating in the
two-day meeting of Balkan foreign ministers in Thessaloniki in June.
Stalev also stressed the importance for Bulgaria of matters such as the
stabilisation of public administration, the conveyance of energy and the
upgrading of road networks, issues on which it was decided to step up
cooperation with Greece.
Replying to reporters' questions on the planned Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil
pipeline, Pangalos said the conditions and framework within which the
project will be carried out have largely been clarified. He expressed the
hope that a final agreement would be reached very soon.
Referring to his recent visit to the Caucasus, Pangalos said several
countries in the region with large oil reserves, such as Azerbaijan and
Turmenistan, desired ''multiple options for the export of their products'',
indicating that some would be channelled to the Black Sea port of
''Our idea is for the (oil) pipeline to go from Novorossisk to Burgas,''
The foreign minister also conveyed to Stalev the interest of the Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) in the imminent privatisation of
telecommunications in Bulgaria.
He also assured Stalev of Greek support for Bulgaria's efforts to improve
its road and rail network and announced the Greek government's decision to
reduce the cost of visas for Bulgarians wishing to travel to Greece from 50,
000 to 30,000 lev.
US displeased at Greek stance on Iran
US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns has expressed the Department's
displeasure at Athens' decision not to recall its Ambassador from Tehran,
according to the ANA's correspondent in Washington.
The other European Union member states have responded to a call from the EU
presidency to recall their ambassadors after a German court last week
accused Iranian leaders of ordering the killing of exiled Kurdish
dissidents in Berlin.
"We are of course displeased that the Greek government has not gone along
with the EU's unanimous vote and recalled its ambassador," he said,
"According the evidents presented to the German people during the Mykonos
trial, it is quite clear what happened regarding the murder of the people
who were in the Cafe Mykonos. We therefore congratulate the countries of
the European Union who acted decisively and we wish that all of them had
President to visit Strasbourg
President Kostis Stephanopoulos will visit Strasbourg next Monday at the
official invitation of the Council of Europe, it was announced today.
Stephanopoulos will address the Council's Parliamentary Assembly and reply
to questions put by its members.
Policy on rapprochement with Turkey unchanged, Athens says
The government said today that its policy in pursuit of rapprochement with
Turkey remained unchanged.
''Within the framework of this policy, the government is willing to examine
certain procedural ways of discussing some of the issues in Greek-Turkish
relations regarded by certain quarters as pending,'' government spokesman
Dimitris Reppas said.
At all events, the spokesman added however, ''all this presupposes respect
for international law on the part of Turkey''.
Reppas denied reports that a decision had been taken for the formation of a
Greek-Turkish committee to examine these issues.
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.
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
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