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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 16/04/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Premier optimistic on course of social dialogue
  • Simitis talks with Chairman of EU Economic and Social Committee
  • Work stoppages by civil aviation employees
  • Ciller says Greek-Turkish problems 'complicated'
  • Compromise reached on WEU decision-making processes
  • Pangalos calls for expansion of economic cooperation with Turkey
  • Greece calls for respect for territorial integrity, human rights
  • Montenegro Premier on private Athens visit
  • Cooperation agreed between PASOK, British Labour party
  • Traffic deaths claimed for 2,176 in 1996
  • Extensive manganese reserves located in Drama
  • Weather
  • Record number of participants at World Athletics Championships
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Premier optimistic on course of social dialogue

Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday said he was optimistic about the course of "social dialogue", stressing that "all problems can be resolved through discussion."

He was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Tom Jenkins, the president of the Economic and Social Committee of the European Union.

Mr. Simitis said the government would try to achieve a consensus on social dialogue-related issues in order to achieve "an equal participation of our country in European unification."

Simitis talks with Chairman of EU Economic and Social Committee

The prime minister added that the meeting with Mr. Jenkins focused on issues related to social dialogue on a European level.

Mr. Simitis emphasised that Greece will also undertake initiatives for the development of social dialogue on a Balkan level.

In addition, it was stated that a conference of economic and social committees focusing on cooperation between the Balkan countries will be held in Thessaloniki in June.

Mr. Simitis said Greece will also promote dialogue on a Mediterranean-wide level.

Mr. Jenkins said he agreed with the prime minister on the social dialogue issues, stressing that the issue of employment should be one of the top items on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Conference.

Regarding Greece's initiative for the meeting in Thessaloniki, he voiced his agreement, adding that "the aim is to avoid what happened recently in Albania..."

Work stoppages by civil aviation employees

The Federation of Civil Aviation Associations (OSYPA) yesterday announced work stoppages from 12 noon to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, claiming that the Civil Aviation administration has delayed compensation for night shifts, Sundays and holi days over the past five months.

Employees also want the Civil Aviation administration's state control safeguarded as well as a meeting with Transport Minister Haris Kastanidis to discuss the organisation's legal status.

Ciller says Greek-Turkish problems 'complicated',

Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller said yesterday that "a solution to problems between Turkey and Greece will benefit both countries."

Inaugurating the 40th session of the joint Turkey-European Union Parliamentary Committee meeting in Ankara, Ms Ciller said Greek-Turkish problems "do not constitute a single issue but are linked to each other and are complicated."

"We favour dialogue," she said, adding that efforts are continuing to find a solution.

Ms Ciller said the proposal for the creation of a "committee of wisemen" is a "new satisfactory process" and that Greece's position on the issue of Turkey's accession to the EU is "more friendly" recently.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, Ms Ciller said "it is one of the rare problems in the world which cannot be resolved despite the fact that its solution is known."

"The solution is a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation," she said, adding that "this solution is acceptable to both sides as well as to Europe and world public opinion. However, the biggest obstacle in implementing the solution is the discontinuation of dialogue over the past two years and this is due to the Greek Cypriot side which does not feel the need for a dialogue due to the fact it has been promised unilateral accession (to the EU)."

Compromise reached on WEU decision-making processes

Greece agreed yesterday to a compromise proposal concerning the status and the terms of participation of Western European Union (WEU) associate and observer nations in WEU decision-making processes where the use of NATO installations is involved.

All 10 WEU members, which conferred at an ambassador-level meeting yesterday, announced after many months of consultations that an agreemet was finalised, whereby allied non-associate (Turkey, Iceland and Norway) and observer (Denmark) members of the WEU - primed as the defence arm of the EU - will participate with full rights in decision-making processes.

Greece had long argued that the institutional independence of the WEU required that final decisions regarding missions of the organisation are to be taken only by the 10 permanent members.

Reliable sources said, however, that the final text of the current WEU French presidency, which is an internal, non-publishable document of the organisation, states that the existing status of associate and observer nations remains unchanged.

Greece consented to the above arrangement, considering that it secures the institutional independence of the WEU.

The participation of associate and observer WEU members in decision-making processes for missions not involving NATO is not envisaged as necessary.

Turkey and Norway have long insisted on their participation, threatening that they would otherwise block the use of allied installations during relevant consultations within NATO.

Pangalos calls for expansion of economic cooperation with Turkey

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday called for a strengthening of economic cooperation with Turkey in every way.

"Greece must expand its contacts at all levels with that part of the economic and political establishment of Turkey which favours a different rationale of rapprochement between the two countries, far from extremism and sterile confrontations," he said d uring an address at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"There are two tendencies which conflict in Turkish diplomacy," he added.

"One, the 'old-type of diplomacy' supporting military power and its continuous proliferation. The second, a 'new-type diplomacy', is based on economic power and dominance in the sectors of raw materials, energy, transport axes, markets and new technolog ies. Greece has every interest in the prevalence of the second tendency," he said.

"But until that happens, it will necessarily continue defending its sovereign rights due to Ankara's illogical terrirorial claims," he emphasised.

Mr. Pangalos described economic diplomacy as the number one task of the Greek foreign ministry, and indirectly called for and increase in its budget.

Greece calls for respect for territorial integrity, human rights

Addressing the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Valetta, Malta yesterday, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou placed emphasis on the need for respect for the territorial integrity of Mediterranean countries as well as respect for human rights.

Mr. Papandreou proposed to his counterparts from the other 26 countries participating in the conference to hold an informal meeting in Greece in order to discuss all issues concerning the Mediterranean basin and stressed that the creation of stability a nd security in the Mediterranean region will "bring one another closer together."

Referring to the economic sector, Mr. Papandreou said the target of creating a free trade zone is a challenge to strengthen the economies of all countries in the region.

In addition, he said the general conjuncture in the Mediterranean region is, unfortunately, not what all wish it to be and at this point he reiterated his proposal for an informal Euro-Mediterranean conference session in Greece.

Montenegro Premier on private Athens visit

Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic is due to arrive today in Athens on a private visit, sources close to that country's ruling Socialists Democratic Party said yesterday.

The sources did not rule out the possibility that Mr. Djukanovic will request a meeting with Greek government officials in order to brief them on the political crisis which recently broke out in that country.

Relations between Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic and Mr. Djukanovic took a turn for the worse following the latter's statements regarding the future of the Yugoslav federation and the possible candidacy of the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic for the presidency of the Federal Yugoslav Republic.

Cooperation agreed between PASOK, British Labour Party

High-ranking delegations of PASOK and the British Labour Party will exchange visits by the end of the year in the framework of a start to closer cooperation between the two parties, according to PASOK Secretary Costas Skan dalidis.

The agreement was the result of contacts Mr. Skandalidis had in London over the past two days with members of the Labour Party and primarily his counterpart, Tom Sawyer.

Mr. Sawyer will visit Athens at the head of a Labour delegation by June or July, while Mr. Skandalidis will head a PASOK delegation in October, which will officially attend the Labour Party's annual conference in Brighton. Mr. Skandalidis has accepted a n invitation to address the conference.

Summing up his assessments of his contacts in Britain, Mr. Skandalidis said he considers close cooperation between PASOK and the Labour Party at all levels very important given, as he said, that the Labour Party's victory in general elections on May 1 i s considered almost certain.

Traffic deaths claimed for 2,176 in 1996

The human cost of traffic accidents in Greece might be described as taking on dimensions of an undeclared civil war between motorists, after figures for 1996 were released.

Specifically, a total of 2,176 people died, 3,304 were seriously injured and 29,777 suffered minor injuries on Greek roadways in 1996, traffic police announced yesterday.

Commenting on the figures, Public Order Minister George Romeos said the main cause of accidents was the non-observance of traffic regulations, stressing that prevention would be far more effective than the policing of violations.

By far the largest number of traffic accidents - 9,384, or 88.12 per cent - took place in urban and semi-urban areas in 1996, while only 9.36 per cent occurred on the national highway network.

In 30,148 breathalyser tests, 3,621 drivers were found to be legally intoxicated.

Extensive manganese reserves located in Drama

The Institute of Geological and Metallurgical Research (IGME) has located manganese reserves estimated at over two million tonnes in the prefecture of Drama during exploratory drilling carried out within the framework of an ongoing programme in Eastern Ma cedonia and Thrace.

The programme, with European Union funding totalling 500 million drachmas, began last year.

The manganese reserves were located in the northern part of Drama prefecture near Nevrokopi where a manganese mine belonging to the state- controlled "Elefsina Bauxite" is already operating.

The area in which the manganese has been located is now being mapped prior to exploitation of the deposits by Elefsina Bauxite.

WEATHER

Rain accompanied by strong southwesterly winds are forecast for most parts of the country later today with snowfall in the mountainous regions of central and northern Greece. Weather conditions will start improving in the west from late in the evening. Athens will be sunny to cloudy with possible rain and temperatures betrween 5-15C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki where temperatures will range from 2-10C.

Record number of participants at World Athletics Championship

More than 3,400 athletes, coaches and officials from 209 countries and territories - a record number - are expected to attend the World Athletics Championship in Athens between Aug. 1 and 10, Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras announced on Monday.

"We are trying to organise a distinguished championship, with excellent results in all sectors," he said.

The 1995 championship was attended by 2,648 participants from 192 countries.

"Athens '97" organising committee general director Evangelos Savramis said a special terminal would be created at Athens airport to allow expected guests into the country without delays.

"Our aim is for all procedures to last not more than 15 minutes, and for the guests to be on their way...immediately," he said.

He added that of the 80,000 seats of the Athens Olympic Stadium, 26,600 have been earmarked for the needs of International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) officials, while tickets for the rest will cost between 1, 000 and 10,000 drachmas (approximate ly US$4 and $40).

In addition, Mr. Savramis said a recent 230-million-drachma investment programme would ensure that the stadium will be equipped with one of the best anti-doping control laboratories in the world.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 270.112 Pound sterling 439.357 Cyprus pd 526.454 French franc 46.356 Swiss franc 183.689 German mark 155.928 Italian lira (100) 15.872 Yen (100) 214.103 Canadian dlr. 193.182 Australian dlr. 209.491 Irish Punt 416.640 Belgian franc 7.558 Finnish mark 52.215 Dutch guilder 138.746 Danish kr. 40.950 Swedish kr. 35.105 Norwegian kr. 38.597 Austrian sch. 22.157 Spanish peseta 1.852 Portuguese escudo 1.559

(C.E.)


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