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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


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
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


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.

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 cooperation.

"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 1998."

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 capital.

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 markets.

"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 jurisprudence.

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 afternoon.

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 airports.

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," Papantoniou added.

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 Cyprus."

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 9.

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 shameless interests.``

Military visits

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 staff.

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 to another.

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 different cities.

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 season.

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 subside tomorrow.


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


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