Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-19
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 19/04/1997 (ANA)
- Cyprus, Aegean two separate issues, FM Pangalos says
- Report notes progress in Greek economy; calls for sustained effort
- PM Simitis starts visits to Austria, Germany
- Greek troops land at Durres
- Civil Aviation work stoppages cancelled
- Papantoniou concludes official part of US visit
- Santer to visit Athens in early May
- President to address Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
- Greek - Turkish concert tour in Germany
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Cyprus, Aegean two separate issues, FM Pangalos says
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday denied any knowledge of a US
initiative for a "package deal" regarding the Aegean and Cyprus, saying any
such approach on two separate issues, which concerns two different
countries, was unacceptable.
He was replying to reporters' questions after a meeting at the foreign
ministry on the Cyprus issue, also attended by Alternate Foreign Minister
George Papandreou, Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, and a delegation of
Cypriot officials headed by newly appointed Foreign Minister Yiannakis
Cassoulides confirmed that there have been absolutely no contacts with
Washington connecting the two issues. He said he had briefed his Greek
counterpart on the current UN-led proximity talks in Cyprus for the finding
of common ground, and the goodw ill gestures that might be made during
substantive negotiations. He also reiterated that the Cypriot government
intends to avoid during this period of consultations any actions that might
upset the climate of tranquillity.
Referring to the idea of a moratorium of military flights over Cyprus,
Cassoulides said his government had rejected the proposal because such any
such moratorium equated illegal Turkish overflights with legally sanctioned
flights by Greek planes, but noted that Nicosia was prepared not to act on
the basis of "unilateral decisions".
Finally, Cassoulides said it was not yet clear whether the current
proximity talks on the finding of common ground would yield any results.
"This will become apparent in three weeks time," he said.
Replying to questions, Pangalos said there had been no "reaction" from
Ankara concerning the proposed "committee of experts", adding he did not
know of any letter from Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller to the Dutch
EU presidency on the same issu e. Pangalos may meet with Ciller within the
framework of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation meeting
in Istanbul on April 28-30.
He underlined yesterday, however, that the subject of the Istanbul meeting
was not Greek-Turkish matters but rather economic and technological
"Ms Ciller will host the meeting and I will accept any informal contact
with her," Pangalos said. Commenting on concern expressed by the main
opposition New Democracy party that the proposed committee of experts would
develop into an informal p olitical dialogue, Pangalos said that this would
not happen since the committee would be of a specific nature.
Report notes progress in Greek economy; calls for sustained effort
The European Commission on Wednesday will release its annual report on the
guidelines of economic policy for EU member-states.
According to a copy obtained by the ANA, regarding the Greek economy the
Commission acknowledges that "steps of progress have been made in recent
years," particularly in reducing inflation, but stresses that "reinforced
efforts are needed in order to bring inflation to the official targets of
4.5 per cent at the end of 1997 and to below 3 per cent by the end of
With respect to public finances, the report states that "sustained efforts
on a wide range of fronts are required, including reinforced efforts to
widen the tax base, to increase the efficiency of tax administration and of
the tax collection system, to curb government spending and to pursue and
extend privatisation plans."
PM Simitis starts visit to Austria, Germany
Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima said yesterday that he was looking forward
to the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Costas Simitis to the Austrian
Simitis will arrive in Vienna on Sunday for talks with Austria's leadership,
the first visit by a Greek prime minister in the central European country
after 14 years.
Chancellor Klima, during an interview with ANA, said bilateral relations
between Greece and Austria should be enhanced further, particularly with
the creation of joint business ventures in eastern European and other
"Small countries such as Greece and Austria can play a very specific and
important role in the management of crises," he said, noting that these
countries are often important partners of international organisations in
peace-keeping missions and supervis ion of humanitarian aid missions.
Noting Austria's more than 30-year participation to the UN peace-keeping
force in Cyprus, Klima said "the common goal should be a lasting and viable
solution to the Cyprus problem."
The chancellor said Austria would be positive to an EU enlargement. The
Austrian government supports the European Council's decision for the
commencement of talks for a Cyprus-EU accession six months after the end of
the Intergovernmental Conference.
The two heads of government will meet on Monday. Talks are expected to
focus on international political developments, Greek-Austrian relations, EU-
related issues, cooperation between the two countries in international
organisations and the situation in the Balkans.
After Vienna, Simitis is going to Bonn on April 24 at the invitation of
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. German government spokesman Peter Hausmann
said the two men would have an approximately two-hour meeting which would
focus on "issues of European and security policy in view of the serious
decisions pending for the European Union and NATO".
Hausmann however did not rule out other issues also being discussed, since
the agenda would be open.
Later the same day, after his talks with Kohl, Simitis will meet with the
leader of Germany's opposition Social Democrats (SPD) Oskar Lafontaine.
The following day, April 25, Simitis will be awarded an honorary doctorate
by the University of Marburg in the state of Hesse for his contribution to
Simitis graduated with distinction from Marburg University in 1959. His
thesis was on the subject "Good morals and public life"
He later lectured in Commercial and Civil Law at Giessen University from
1971 to the fall of the military junta in Greece in 1974.
Greek troops land at Durres
The Hellenic Navy landing craft "Samos" was redirected by the multinational
force's Italian command to dock at the Albanian port of Durres yesterday,
instead of Vlore, as originally scheduled.
The decision was made due to the fact that the security operations in Vlore
had not yet been completed.
The 120-man Greek unit later arrived at the Adriatic port without incident.
After landing in Durres, the Greek company reached the town of Fieri by mid
According to reports, the Greek troops were expected to stay in the town
for 24 hours before moving on.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Simitis yesterday chaired a meeting of the
Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA), which focused
on the government's handling of the crisis in neighbouring Albania.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Foreign Minister
Pangalos and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos had briefed
KYSEA on the political and diplomatic steps taken so far and the dispatch
of the Greek contingent to Albania as p art of the UN-mandated and Italian-
led multinational protection force.
Reppas said Athens' position had been confirmed, namely, that in a
subsequent stage Greek troops would be sent to the border posts of Kakavia
and Krystallopigi as well as southern Albania in order to secure the
distribution of humanitarian aid.
According to sources, Tsohatzopoulos told KYSEA that Greece could propose
the formation of a committee made up of representatives from Greece, Italy
and France to assist the OSCE special envoy for Albania, former Austrian
chancellor Franz Vranitzky.
Civil Aviation work stoppages cancelled
The unions of Civil Aviation Authority employees yesterday cancelled their
planned work stoppages for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, after a meeting
with Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis.
The minister assured union representatives that employees will soon receive
past holiday pay that is overdue, and, discounting speculation, that there
are no plans for privatising of part or all of any of the country's
Papantoniou concludes official part of US tour
National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou concluded the official
portion of his US trip yesterday with an address before a group of
businessmen and public figures in New York.
The event was organised by the Harvard Business School at the Plaza hotel
and was sponsored by the Commercial Bank of Greece.
Papantoniou set out Greece's role as a pole of stability and its investment
environment as well as joint Greek-US business initiatives in the Balkans
and Black Sea region.
Speaking to reporters after the address, he referred to the significance of
his contacts with officials of major stock market firms, such as Salomon
Brothers and Morgan Stanley, as well as representatives of institutional
investors, all of whom expresse d interest in the Greek initiative for the
reconstruction of the Balkans.
After New York, Papantoniou is going to Washington to promote Greece as a
catalyst for development in the Balkans and the Black Sea region, according
to a comment in the daily "Washington Post" yesterday.
"These are economies where there can be substantial growth if we work on
financing, investment and infrastructure with private capital, government
assistance and international monetary institutions," the newspaper quoted
Mr. Papantoniou as saying.
"It is a no lose-situation, it would be better than doing nothing,"
The Greek minister said Turkey could contribute to this large collective
effort, adding that "we could agree under elementary political conditions,
such as Turkey's dropping territorial claims and finding a solution to
Santer to visit Greece in early May
European Commission President Jacques Santer will visit Greece in May to
attend, for the first time, events celebrating "European Day" on May
Santer will visit Athens from May 8-11 and during his stay have talks with
government and other officials.
"European Day" marked the May 9, 1950 decree issued by then French foreign
minister Robert Schumann which began the process that led to the creation
of the European Union.
President to address Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will address the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe as a special guest on Monday in
Strasbourg, it was announced yesterday.
During his visit, the President will have meetings with the president of
the Parliamentary assembly, the secretary general of the Council of Europe
and the mayor of Strasbourg.
A Greek delegation comprising 11 deputies will also leave on Sunday for
Strasbourg to attend the Assembly.
The session will focus on the situation in Albania, refugee rights
protection in Europe, the progress of economic change in central and
eastern Europe and the situation in the Transcaucasus.
Theodorakis-Livaneli concerts in Germany
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel will host composer Mikis Theodorakis
and his Turkish counterpart Zulfi Livaneli to an official dinner on April
29, ahead of a joint tour of the country by the two artists, both of whom
have be en active in the goal of Greek-Turkish friendship in 1987.
The political side of the two artists' presence in Germany is financially
supported by the FDP-affiliated Naumann Foundation and the German foreign
ministry, while some of the concerts have been placed under the aegis of
Social Democrat political figur es and affiliated organisations.
SPD president Oscar Lafontaine will attend the concert in Berlin on May 4,
and will host a reception for the artists at Willy Brandt House, in the
party's new offices.
The concert at Hanover on May 5 has been placed under the aegis of the IG-
Metall trade union.
The political side of the tour will be based on a declaration entitled
"Under the constellation of Greek-Turkish friendship", in which it is
stated that "todayYs problems must be resolved peacefully, recognising the
existing borders and the principles o f international law".
It is also added that "tensions between the two countries can have
catastrophic consequences, while helpin others makes profits and satisfies
The Chief of the National Defence General Staff, Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis,
will represent Greece at the scheduled 126th meeting of NATO's military
committee, which will convene from April 22-25 in Brussels.
Meanwhile, Hellenic Navy General Staff Chief, Vice-Adm. Paliogiorgos, will
visit Italy from April 21-23 at the invitation of his Italian counterpart,
Adm. Angelo Mariani, according to an announcement by the navy general
It was also announced yesterday that cadets from Germany's military academy
will pay an official visit to Greece from April 20-25 within the framework
of a training programme.
Consumers Institute says artificial shortages plaguing Greek market
The Greek Consumers Institute (INKA) has denounced what it called fake
product shortages in order to force consumers to turn to other products as
well as huge differences in the prices of similar products from one region
Research conducted by INKA ascertained that differences in prices reached
53 per cent in stores in the same area and 114 per cent between shops in
According to the results of a nationwide price survey conducted by INKA and
presented in Thessaloniki yesterday, the phenomenon of fake shortages in
specific products is now greater than in any other past time, abolishing
consumers' right to choose.
According to the survey, first place on the consumers' disappointment list
is held by public administration followed by the Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation (OTE), television, political parties, health services,
education, the Public Power Corp.
(DEH) and taxi drivers.
On the other hand, Greek consumers have a very good opinion of the fire
brigade, radio stations and inter-cities bus services.
Domestic tourism programme by EOT
The Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) yesterday presented its
"April 1997-March 1998" domestic tourism programme, offering Greeks and
expatriate Greeks the possibility for low-cost vacations within Greece.
The programme, according to EOT Secretary General Nikos Skoulas, is aimed
at bringing the people closer to the "(natural) beauties of their homeland,
" as well as keeping Greek tourists in Greece and extending the tourist
Personalities honoured in Sweden for efforts against Greek junta
Approximately 30 Greek and Swedish personalities who participated in anti-
dictatorial organisations in Sweden in the wake of an April 1967 coup dY
etat in Greece, and the Swedish Committee for the Restoration of Democracy
in Greece, will be awarded the title of honourary member of the Centre of
Hellenic Culture here on May 10. They include former Greek ambassador to
Sweden, Manolis Poniridis, Social Democratic Party deputy, Hans Goran Frank,
and Swedish Academy member Lars Gyllensten. The awards will be presented by
prominent members of Swedish society, including minister Pierre Schori.
The awards will coincide with the opening of an exhibition with material of
anti-dictatorial organisations of that period.
Rain is forecast for the whole country with local thunderstorms for central
and southern Greece. The weather will improve gradually from the west later
tonight and tomorrow. Winds will be southeasterly but will turn northwesterly
in the evening. Both Athens and Thessaloniki can expect rain for today with
temperature ranges of 9-20C and 7-16C respectively. The rain is expected to
Friday's closing rates. Buying.
US dlr. 270.366 Pound sterling 440.893
Cyprus pd 530.404 French franc 46.693
Swiss franc 184.889 German mark 157.247
Italian lira (100) 15.940 Yen (100) 214.634
Canadian dlr. 192.760 Australian dlr. 208.916
Irish Punt 418.441 Belgian franc 7.623
Finnish mark 52.053 Dutch guilder 139.964
Danish kr. 41.342 Swedish kr. 35.222
Norwegian kr. 38.052 Austrian sch. 22.354
Spanish peseta 1.864 Portuguese escudo 1.577