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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-18

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, 18/04/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Pangalos: Turkey must make certain moves to improve relations
  • Pangalos says ready to meet with Ciller
  • G. Papandreou: "we have not entered into negotiations"
  • Greek-Israeli cooperation in energy and tourism
  • Crete airport operational for military duties
  • Top contenders for post of new US ambassador to Greece
  • Premier's working visit to Austria on Sunday
  • Estonian FM's talks in Athens
  • Greek embassy in Bonn unveils Internet sites
  • Herma column found near Parliament
  • Weather
  • Marathon race in Rhodes
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Pangalos: Turkey must make certain moves to improve relations

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos reiterated last night that for a substantive improvement to be achieved in Greek-Turkish relations it is necessary for Turkey to find some way to state that it abandons its threat of war against Greece and to further state that it recognises and accepts the institutional framework governing relations between the two countries.

Mr. Pangalos was speaking after two-hour talks chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis last night. The meeting was attended by the foreign ministry's entire leadership and focused primarily on developments in Greek- Turkish relations.

Reports from Malta on Wednesday said that during consecutive meetings between Greece's Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Onur Oymen, important steps towards finding processes for resolving problems in Greek-Turkish relations were taken.

The meetings were held on the sidelines of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference.

Mr. Pangalos reminded that this framework is composed of international and bilateral agreements and is supplemented by international law and the international law of the sea.

"We must state that we accept this and from then on, we can discuss issues concerning its implementation and interpretation," he added.

Referring to the process "from then on", Mr. Pangalos reminded that Greece has accepted the jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague.

Mr. Pangalos referred in turn to process issues which are not linked to the two previous ones and reminded that the European Union Dutch presidency has made a proposal on the creation of what is called a "committee of wisemen", which Greece has not accepted because Athens believes it has no prospects of success.

He said that the contacts Alternate Foreign Minister Papandreou had in Malta concerned precisely these issues, which are still being processed and will be completed in the next few days, while Greece will give its reply to the Dutch presidency.

Mr. Pangalos reiterated that Greece was in favour of contacts of all kinds with the Turkish government but what it does not accept was negotiating.

Mr. Pangalos said that the EU Association Council with Turkey will be held according to schedule and that Greece had its views on the common position of the 15 EU member-states and that Greece does not consent to the lifting the veto on financial protocol, which it linked to the two general conditions and which it sets as an improvement in Greek-Turkish relations.

Pangalos says ready to meet with Ciller

He said that if Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller requests a meeting with him on the sidelines of the session for Black Sea Cooperation Pact Foreign Ministers, due to be held in Istanbul on April 30, he will accept the meeting which, he said, will be a very good opportunity for an exchange of views.

Mr. Pangalos said that both he and Mr. Papandreou will participate in the General Affairs Council and Turkey's Association Council in Luxembourg on April 28-29.

Replying to a question on a statement by Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo on Wednesday and reported by Reuters on the lifting of the deadlock on the islets issue, Alternate Foreign Minister Papandreou categorically denied that this issue was raised in the discussions and that such a statement was made on the part of the Dutch Foreign Minister.

Papandreou: "we have not entered into negotiations"

In statements earlier on his his talks with Mr. Oymen, Mr. Papandreou clarified that "we have not entered into negotiations with the other side and in particular we are not negotiating sovereign rights".

"However," Mr. Papandreou continued, "a dialogue helps towards a better understanding by both sides and enables one to focus on the dimensions of the problem".

Mr. Papandreou said that both sides appeared to accept "at least as a basis" the formation of a committee of experts, adding that his contacts in Malta with Mr. Oymen were simply a first step.

He reiterated that his talks with Mr. Oymen had not gone into the "substance" of issues, while asked whether he had discerned a different disposition on the part of the Turkish official towards Greece, Mr. Papandreou replied:

"I hope so. There is, however, a final conclusion to this initiative and I want to be optimistic but at the same time cautious".

Replying to other questions, Mr. Papandreou said it would be premature for one to forecast the next moves in the process.

Greek-Israeli cooperation in energy and tourism

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou commented here yesterday on what she called the great potential for developing economic relations with Israel, particularly in the energy and tourism sectors.

She made the statements after talks with the Israeli minister of Infrastructure, Ariel Sharon, and Tourism Minister Moshe Katzan.

"We particularly discussed the prospects for cooperation in the energy sector, as the Israeli government wishes to be supplied with natural gas from Greece. Israel is a country which can play an important role in the development of the region, and we ho pe that the stabilisation of peace will be achieved, so that this aim may be realised," she said after an initial meeting with Mr. Sharon.

The Israeli minister also noted his country's interest in expanding economic relations with Greece.

Talks with Mr. Katzan centred on cooperation in attracting tourists from countries of the Far East and the Americas.

Ms Papandreou said Greece intends to participate in the group set up by eight Middle East countries for cooperation in the tourism sector. She also invited Israeli businessmen to invest in Greece by participating in the tenders for the sale of land by the Greek Tourism Organisation (EOT).

It was agreed in the two meetings to speed up procedures for the signing of accords for the mutual protection of investments and the prevention of double taxation.

Ms Papandreou is expected to meet today with the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Diodoros, and tomorrow with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

Crete airport operational for military duties

The strengthening and widening of the unified defence doctrine between Greece and Cyprus will be achieved with the resumption of the operation of the Kasteli military airbase in Crete , National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Wednesday.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was on hand for the commencement of the airport's operation as the 133rd combat squadron.

The airport is expected to cover air defence needs for air space region between Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus.

The minister said almost every type of modern warplane can use this airport, which reduces the distance to Cyprus by 150 miles.

"The reduction in the distance by more than 300 km provides new possibilities in time utilisation for Greek aircraft flights..." he said.

Top contenders for post of new US ambassador to Greece

Carey Cavanaugh, the director of Southern European affairs at the State Department, and John Negreponte, a career diplomat of Greek descent, are front-runners for the position of US ambassador to Athens, sources said yesterday.

Current US envoy Thomas Niles is due to leave the post in the summer, on completion of his three-year term.

US State Department sources told the ANA that there had been no decisions made as yet but that both Mr. Cavanaugh and Mr. Negreponte were favourites.

Mr. Cavanaugh is best known in Greece for his recent shuttle trips between Nicosia, Ankara and Athens in aid of the US initiative on the Aegean and Cyprus while Mr. Negreponte has served as US ambassador to the Philippines, Mexico and Honduras and was U S consul general in Thessaloniki from 1975 to 1977. He also served as assistant national security adviser under the Reagan administration.

Premier's working visit to Austria on Sunday

Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to pay a working visit to Austria between April 20 and 23 for discussion concerning the further development of bilateral economic cooperation.

According to the Greece's commercial attache in the Austrian capital, Alexandros Mitrogogos, beyond the traditional trade exchanges, the sectors of construction and subcontracting in third countries also presents considerble interest for cooperation.

He also referred to similar possibilities in the fields of banking and small- and medium-size enterprises for the application of new technologies.

Mr. Mitrogogos said he considers that the further development of bilateral economic and trade relations can be based on certain existing positive elements which each of the two countries possess, such as the particularly strong Austrian banking presence in central and eastern Europe, and the just as energetic Greek business activity in the Balkans and the Black Sea region in recent years.

He also stressed that the relatively high number of Austrian tourists in Greece (about 400,000 annually) creates a large potential market for Greek products.

Estonian FM's talks in Athens

Estonian Foreign Minister Toomas Ilves, currently on an official visit to Greece, had separate meetings yesterday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

After talks with Mr. Pangalos, Mr. Ilves described his contacts in Athens as "particularly important," underlining that the views of the two governments on the enlargement of NATO and the European Union were "very close."

Mr. Ilves, the first Estonian foreign minister to visit Greece, said his country's foreign policy was focused on efforts for accession to the EU.

Noting that Greece had never recognised Estonia's annexation by the former Soviet Union, Mr. Pangalos said Estonia was the first Baltic country to open an embassy in Athens.

Greece would in turn open an embassy in Estonia, he added.

During the talks at the foreign ministry, attended also by National Economy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas, two agreements were signed - one relating to reciprocal investments and the second to marine transport.

Mr. Pangalos said Greece would support Estonia's bid to join NATO, adding that his talks with Mr. Ilves had covered the issue of the alliance's enlargement and the possible problems this might create for Russia.

On Estonia's efforts to join the EU, Mr. Pangalos said the Baltic nation satisfied all the prerequisites for membership.

Greek embassy in Bonn unveils Internet sites

The Greek embassy in the German capital has inaugurated German-language electronic sites on the Internet, at the address: www.griechische- botschaft.de

Its E-mail address is: - press-and-information@griechische-botschaft.de

The sites aim to provide information on Greek government positions concerning current affairs. So far, the webs have been provided with briefs on developments in the Balkans and the Greek positions on

Albania, while archival material will be added soon.

The development follows the inauguration, a month ago, by the Greek

Press and Information Bureau in Hamburg of a pilot programme at the address http://www.griechenlandinformation.de with more general information on Greece.

Herma column found near Parliament

Archaeological excavations adjacent to Parliament in central Athens yesterday unearthed an inscripted Herma column complete with a bust of Chrysippos, one of the most important stoic philosophers.

The most common monument to the Olympian god Hermes - the god of commerce and messenger of the other Olympians - a Herma was a stone pillar which usually had a carved bust on top and was placed on the side of roadways.

The column, 1.31 metres in height and made of Penteli marble, was found in excellent condition.

Chrysippos lived in the third century BC.

WEATHER

Higher temperatures and weather improvement is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Local cloudiness with possibile drizzle in eastern Macedonia, Thrace, the eastern Aegean islands and the Dodecanese. Winds will be northerly, weak to moderate. Athens will be sunny to partly cloudy with temperatures between 6-17C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 0-13C.

Marathon race in Rhodes

Athletes from more than 25 countries will participate in the first international marathon race to be held on Rhodes this Sunday, while various cultural events will take place in the framework of the race, beginning today.

Countries declaring particiption so far are Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Israel, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Sudan, Egypt, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Palestinian self-rule areas.

The race will start at 9:30 a.m. in ancient Kameiros.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 269.507 Pound sterling 438.861 Cyprus pd 526.157 French franc 46.368 Swiss franc 183.138 German mark 155.952 Italian lira (100) 15.834 Yen (100) 213.945 Canadian dlr. 192.329 Australian dlr. 208.290 Irish Punt 415.747 Belgian franc 7.560 Finnish mark 52.048 Dutch guilder 138.806 Danish kr. 40.952 Swedish kr. 34.922 Norwegian kr. 38.134 Austrian sch. 22.164 Spanish peseta 1.851 Portuguese escudo 1.556

(C.E.)


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