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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-17

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, 17/04/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Steps taken towards resolving Greek-Turkish differences
  • Turkish comments on the issue
  • Greek peacemakers land in Albania
  • Sofia will proceed with Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline
  • Premier announces formation of special border police units
  • Injunction filed against A. Papandreou Ekali property
  • Greek products at Melbourne foodstuffs display
  • Egnatia highway completion by the year 2000
  • Weather
  • First Int'l car racing track in Greece
  • Vangelis at World Athletics Championship
  • AEK wins Greek soccer cup
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Steps taken towards resolving Greek-Turkish differences

Important steps towards finding processes for resolving problems in Greek- Turkish relations were taken yesterday during back-to-back meetings between Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Onur Oymen on the sidelines of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference in Valletta.

Mr. Papandreou said that the opportunity was given in the Maltese capital for the Dutch European Union presidency to mediate and have views exchanged between Greece and Turkey.

"Positive steps were taken but we have no final outcome," Mr. Papandreou said.

According to a Reuters dispatch, Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo said that Greece and Turkey had made a breakthrough in their dispute over a group of uninhabited rocky Aegean islets.

"Progress (has been made) in discussions between Greece and Turkey in the problems they have," Mr. van Mierlo told reporters at the end of the two- day conference.

"A breakthrough took place today and we shall see results in the future," he said.

The Dutch foreign minister admitted that the breakthrough had been overshadowed by the Middle East peace crisis, but added:

"We hope for success on this. I don't want to anticipate the results we will have in the next few days, but they will be procedural in nature...and could lead to a way out."

He declined to elaborate.

Replying to questions by reporters, Alternate Foreign Minister Papandreou said that "we have always said that Greek-Turkish relations cannot improve unless problems of decisive importance are resolved, such as the Cyprus issue and the recent issue of Im ia."

In late January 1996, Greece and Turkey came close to an armed conflict after Ankara disputed Athens' sovereignty over the uninhabited Aegean islet of Imia, near Kalymnos.

On the question of what form rapprochement between the two countries will take, Mr. Papandreou said Greece is in favour of Turkey's European orientation, but this prospect can only be linked to basic preconditions which Turkey must observe, such as its position on the Aegean and the major issue of Cyprus.

According to reports, Mr. Papandreou and Mr. Oymen held consecutive meetings and in most cases in the presence of EU representatives. In one case, Mr. Papandreou and Mr. Oymen shook hands in the presence of the president of the EU Council of Ministers, Mr. van Mierlo.

Turkish comments on the issue

Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Oymen said his meeting with Mr. Papandreou was "important" and "useful", according to a report from Malta by the Anatolian news agency.

Mr. Oymen said after the meeting that these contacts secured considerable developments, adding that the proposal put forward by the Netherlands for the creation of a "committee of wisemen" to record existing Greek-Turkish problems was discussed in detail.

Replying to a question, Mr. Oymen said the two countries' foreign ministers might meet on the sidelines of an upcoming meeting between Black Sea Cooperation countries in Istanbul.

Positive steps towards the creation of a framework to tackle Greek-Turkish problems were taken in the repeated meetings in Malta, Turkish correspondents reported.

Greek peacemakers land in Albania

The first company of Greek troops participating in the multinational peace force in Albania landed at Tirana's airport yesterday without any problems.

The first C-130 transport plane carrying Greek troops landed at 1:10 p.m. local time, followed by four more planes transporting a total of 126 troops, supplies, military vehicles and weaponry. A short time later, the first Turkish troops landed at Tirana airport.

The first company of Greek troops immediately set out for two military bases on the city's western edge, where the main body of the Greek contingent will be stationed, with the exception of a company of troops to be stationed in Vlore.

The Greek embassy's military attache in Tirana, Col. Alexandros Xiros, said the operation was successful, with all details of the operation executed as planned.

According to the central command of the multinational force, the transport and deployment of the Greek contingent will be completed by April 22.

Sofia will proceed with Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Stoyan Stalev said yesterday that his two-day visit to Greece was within the framework of Sofia's efforts to accelerate its accession to the European Union and NATO as well as further strengthening relations with Greece.

Mr. Stalev, who arrived in Greece on Monday, had talks yesterday in Thessaloniki with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, whom he thanked on behalf of the Sofia government for the continuing shipments of humanitarian aid from Greece.

The talks centred on bilateral relations and in particular Bulgaria's economic ties with northern Greece.

Replying to reporters' questions on the planned construction of the Burgas- Alexandroupoli oil pipeliine, Mr. Stalev said Bulgaria's positions on the project remained unchanged.

Following general elections next Sunday and the formation of a new government, he said, a committee of experts would be set up to push forward implementation of the relevant agreement.

As part of efforts for the development of the Bulgarian economy, Mr. Stalev added that his government decided last Monday to privatise 70 per cent of the refinery installations at Burgas.

Mr. Stalev noted that Greece-based enterprises had shown a strong interest in the privatisation.

On other matters of bilateral interest, Mr. Stalev acknowledged that the waters of the River Nestos were being polluted on the Bulgarian side.

However, he gave his assurance that within the framework of efforts to privatise 500 state-owned firms, Sofia would set about resolving environmental problems "despite the huge cost", in order to attract foreign investors.

Mr. Petsalnikos said Mr. Stalev had assured him that Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear plant, about which fears have been expressed concerning the risk of a Chernobyl-type accident, had been modernised and that all the necessary measures had been taken for its safe operation .

Premier announces formation of special border police units

Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday announced the setting up of a special police force to guard Greece's borders in an effort to stem the flow of illegal immigrants entering the country.

He said he hoped the force will become operational early next year.

In order to increase the manpower available for duties with new services being set up or the reinforcement of existing departments, the premier said, efforts would be made to release officers from non-policing duties, such as serving court documents and guarding low-risk "targets".

The premier said that every effort would also be made to improve traffic safety enforcement, with the aim of reducing the high number of road accidents and fatalities.

These efforts, Mr. Simitis added, would also be aimed at easing traffic congestion in cities, particularly when exacerbated by protests and street demonstrations.

Injunction filed against A. Papandreou Ekali property

Lawyers representing the buyer of a house sold by the late prime minister Andreas Papandreou in 1992, yesterday submitted an application for an injunction against the property of his widow and heir, Dimitra Liani- Papandreou, for the sum of 500 million dra chmas.

The property, located in the Psychiko suburb of Athens, is being contested by three of the late prime minister's children on the basis of a recently discovered will of their grandmother. They argue that the will, bequeathing the property to them, annuls the sale, the proceeds of which were used to build Papandreou's fashionable villa in Ekali.

The application for injuction will be heard on Tuesday. One of the later premier's children, Sophia Papandreou-Katsaneva, said yesterday that the house sold by their father was of great sentimental value to her and her two brothers, and they were only seeking to fulfill their grandmother's last wish, as they had also done with their father.

Greek products at Melbourne foodstuffs display

The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) will organise Greece's participation in the international foodstuffs and beverages exhibition "Fine Food '97", to be held in Melbourne from Sept. 7-10.

Products to be displayed at the exhibition include dairy products, canned foods, fruit juices, cheeses, wines and beverages, cereals, pasta products, frozen food as well as confectionery and baked products. For more information call HEPO at 99.82.245.

Egnatia highway completion by the year 2000

Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis yesterday appeared optimistic regarding the prospects for completion of the 680-km-long Egnatia Highway across the breadth of northern Greece by the year 2000.

The minister said 122km have already been constructed, while funds have been secured for another 430km, and that more will be secured - possibly including participation of private entrepreneurs - for the remaining 140km until autumn.

Mr. Laliotis also announced that the "para-Egnatia" project, conceived by Turkey, Bulgaria, FYROM and Albania, as a rival parallel axis to supposedly run from Istanbul to Dqrres on the Adriatic had been cancelled on the basis of a relevant study, and th at the latter three countries had already expressed interest in linking up with Egnatia at eight points, for which provision was being made.

Egnatia is also planned to link with five ports and eight airports. It will be a closed motorway, with two circulation and one emergency lane per direction.

WEATHER

Unstable weather with sunny spells and intermittent rainfall is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds will be northwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens will be partly cloudy with possible rain. Temperatures will be between 5-15C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures ranging from 4- 11C.

First int'l car racing track in Greece

The first racing track of international standards in Greece will become a reality after ELPA, in cooperation with local government authorities, hopes to inaugurate the track near Orhomenos in the Viotia prefecture.

The track is expected to be ready in 20 months' time.

Vangelis at World Athletics Championship

Oscar-winning composer Vangelis Papathanasiou has been assigned the directorship of the artistic organisation and inaugural ceremony of the sixth World Athletics Championship in Athens, August 1-10.

He is offering his services for free.

AEK wins Greek soccer cup

AEK Athens beat cross-town rival Panathinaikos yesterday 5-4 on penalties to win the Greek cup, after the regular match ended 0-0.

AEK, last year's cup winner as well, takes the trophy for the 10th time in its 73-year-old history.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 269.100 Pound sterling 436.678 Cyprus pd 526.554 French franc 46.430 Swiss franc 183.679 German mark 156.121 Italian lira (100) 15.853 Yen (100) 214.103 Canadian dlr. 192.746 Australian dlr. 208.211 Irish Punt 414.656 Belgian franc 7.569 Finnish mark 52.108 Dutch guilder 138.910 Danish kr. 40.983 Swedish kr. 34.978 Norwegian kr. 38.357 Austrian sch. 22.182 Spanish peseta 1.853 Portuguese escudo 1.558

(C.E.)


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