Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-23
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 23/04/1997 (ANA)
- Premier to visit all EU member states by end of summer
- Closer cooperation between Greece and Romania in combating crime
- Pangalos: 'Committee of Experts' strictly of a procedural nature
- Kranidiotis says: "Committee" should not cause concern
- Albright-Van den Broek discuss Greek-Turkish issues, Cyprus
- US State Dept. supports initiatives on Cyprus, Greek-Turkish issues
- More Greek aid to Bulgaria
- Contract for new Florina power plant signed
- Appeal for an end to feud over A. Papandreou residence
- Greek team in Euroleague final
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Premier to visit all EU member-states by end of summer
Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed yesterday that Greece's European
Union partners were dealing with Athens positively despite the existence of
certain difficulties. Mr. Simitis announced that he will visit all EU
member-states by the end of the summer, with the exception of Denmark.
Politics require discussion and an exchange of views, he noted.
Commenting on the working visit he has been paying to Austria since last
Sunday, and due to end this morning with his departure for Bonn, Mr.
Simitis said his purpose was the best coordination between the two
countries within the framework of revising EU's Maastricht Treaty.
Mr. Simitis said Greece and Austria, being two smaller EU countries, have
an interest in consolidating the interests of small countries and securing
their influence in developments. To this end, he agreed with his Austrian
interlocutors (Chancellor Vikt or Klima, Federal President Thomas Klestil,
Parliament President Heinz Fischer and Deputy Chancellor and Foreign
Minister Wolfgang Schussel) on such issues as each country having one
commissioner, while a common Greek-Austrian position exists on the process
The two countries also agree on a strong social policy for the EU and for
this reason want a special chapter on employment included in the EU's new
Mr. Simitis said he also discussed the EU's future problems, such as
Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the avoidance of different speeds for
countries and the problem of resources in relation to enlargement, because
Greece maintains that structural pol icies must continue.
Mr. Simitis said that many common points of contact were found during his
talks in Austria and this also applies to Greek national interests, where
Austria supports Greek positions. This fact shows that every contact and
Closer cooperation between Greece and Romania in combating crime
Public Order Minister George Romeos held prolonged talks with visiting
Romanian Interior Minister Gavril Dejeu yesterday and both agreed to closer
cooperation between the police forces of the two countries in order to
combat drug trafficking, organised cr ime and illegal immigration.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Romeos stressed the immediate need
for cooperation among Balkan countries. "Tripartite or even greater
cooperations are necessary on some of the serious issues preoccupying our
neighbouring countries, following the discussions he said.
Mr. Dejeu said his country was facing serious problems with economic reform
and organised crime. "For this reason, cooperation with the other countries
is necessary since we will have mutual information, cooperation and methods
in this way to facilitate the effective handling of these problems," he
Pangalos: `committee of experts` strictly of a procedural nature
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that a proposed Greek-
Turkish "committee of experts" would be of a "strictly procedural nature"
and its objective would be "to ascertain whether there are misunderstandings
on each side and to facilitate the procedures which might possibly
Stressing that political will was required on the part of Ankara, Mr.
Pangalos said that Athens intended to pursue with all means the settlement
of problems within generally accepted frameworks, such as international law,
the International Court at The Hague, respect for peace and refraining from
the use of threats.
Mr. Pangalos was speaking to reporters after briefing main opposition New
Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on foreign policy issues.
"Turkey would be doing us no favours by having recourse to The Hague. In
reality, it would be the action one would expect of a bad neighbour. A move
illustrative of good intentions would be if Ankara abandoned its Imia claim
and said 'we made a mistake, we recognise that Imia is Greek,' as indeed it
is," Mr. Pangalos said.
After the 75-minute meeting, Mr. Karamanlis expressed concern and
reservations about "the framework and content of government handling" with
respect to the proposed committee of experts.
Mr. Karamanlis said ND would follow developments closely and impede any
handling by the government which was not in the nation's best interests and
led to increased tension in Greek-Turkish relations.
Kranidiotis says: "committee" should not cause concern
The setting up of a Greek-Turkish "committee of experts" should not be a
source for concern since Athens follows a firm policy on Greek-Turkish
relations, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis reiterated yesterday
from Vienna, where he is accompanying the prime minister on his official
The government has laid clear conditions for the normalisation of Greek-
Turkish relations as well as regarding the EU-Turkey Association Council,
Mr. Kranidiotis said.
He said Athens had suggested to the Dutch EU presidency that the committee
aimed to clear certain procedural issues, stressing that "under no
circumstances should the committee assume a character of dialogue and
certainly not of arbitration."
"If created, the committee's work should be procedural and aimed at the
exchange of ideas regarding the procedure which should proceed the
resolution of Greek-Turkish issues," he added.
According to Mr. Kranidiotis, the committee would discuss the issues that
each side considers as Greek-Turkish differences, "but Greece is especially
cautious and does not consider that all the items on the Turkish list
constitute Greek-Turkish differen ces.
"Greece," he said, "believes that the issue mainly concerns the continental
Albright-Van den Broek discuss Greek-Turkish issues, Cyprus
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and EU External Affairs Commissioner
Hans van den Broek yesterday discussed the Greek-Turkish differences and
the Cyprus problem at the US State Department.
Speaking to the ANA after the meeting, Mr. van den Broek declined to
disclose any details of the discussion, saying only that Washington and
Brussels agree on the need to improve the current situation, and are
working towards this end.
"The European Union agrees with the US on the need to safeguard Turkey's
western orientation, but we cannot overlook serious issues which must be
resolved. We have a common interest to prevent an explosion in the Aegean,
where things almost went out of control last year and, likewise, the
situation in Cyprus, which became particularly tense last summer," he
He noted that the EU supports the current UN initiative on Cyprus "in this
crucial year, as the start to negotiations for Cyprus' EU membership and
presidential elections in the island republic approach".
"We would like direct talks before the end of the year. The UN, in
combination with the US and the EU, are working on the political essense of
the problem, which is the creation of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal
state. We in the European Commission have tried to send the message to the
Turkish Cypriot community that Cypriot membership of the EU will confer
significant benefits to them and to Turkey, and that the EU is prepared to
help regarding their concern on the security issue and ties with Turkey, as
long as the latter is not a member of the EU. But for a lifting of the
impasse, there must be political will on the island itself," Mr. van den
Regarding the Aegean, he expressed the view that "differences have been
left as they are, because the rest of the world considers them a bilateral
problem, but when things get out of hand, it will no longer be a bilateral
problem, particularly when we are talking about two members of the same
US State Dept. supports initiatives on Cyprus, Greek-Turkish issues
US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said yesterday that "the US
supports all initiatives for progress (in Cyprus and on issues related to
Greek-Turkish differences), but the responsibility lies with Greece, Turkey,
Cyprus and the other parties involved in these differences."
Mr. Burns added that Secretary of State Albright has a keen interest in
this part of the world.
More Greek aid to Bulgaria
The municipality of Kalamaria in Thessaloniki has sent 15 tons of
humanitarian aid to the municipality of Dimitrovgrad in Bulgaria, following
a relevant initiative undertaken by the foreign ministry and the Central
Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE).
Foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals were collected through contributions by
residents, local agencies and businesses in Kalamaria. According to Mayor
Thrasyvoulos Lazaridis, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals will continue to be
collected after the Easter holidays.
Contract for new Florina power plant signed
The Public Power Corp. (DEH) yesterday signed a contract with a consortium
of four companies for the construction of a 330-MW steam-turbine power
plant in Meliti, Florina prefecture.
The consortium that has undertaken the project, budgeted at 179.5 billion
drachmas, comprises the companies Technopromexport, EVTGMM, ABB Kraftwerke
and Prometheus GAS.
The plant, which will be ready in about four-and-a-half years, will utilise
the xylite deposits in the area, in combination with Russian natural gas
that will be supplied in future.
It is considered that the operation of the plant will have beneficial
results on the country's balance of energy resources, and will contribute
significantly to the development of this border region, evolving into an
autonomous energy centre in the futu re, particularly as it is envisaged
that a second unit will be built.
The plant is considered as fully in line with modern environmental
standards, with an advanced system for the desulphurisation of atmospheric
emissions with electrostatic filters and the restriction of nitrogen oxide
emissions. It will also proved centr al heating to the town of Florina,
thereby reducing the present level of pollution from the use of wood and
Appeal for an end to feud over A. Papandreou residence
PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis yesterday called for
an end to the conflict between Dimitra Liani-Papandreou, the widow of
former prime minister and PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou, and his
children by his second wife, concerning a house sold by the late premier in
The children claim that a recently discovered will of their paternal
grandmother annuls the sale, whose proceeds were used to build a upscale
residence in Ekali now owned by Ms Liani-Papandreou.
"The conflict between the children and the widow of Andreas Papandreou must
stop at all costs and as soon as possible. All the people in PASOK are
saddened by what they see, and of course, this conflict does not touch the
memory of Andreas Papandreou," Mr. Skandalidis said.
In response to an application for an injunction against the sale of the
Ekali property, submitted by the buyer of the original Papandreou house in
Psychico, Ms Liani-Papandreou yesterday submitted a statement to court
saying she did not intend to transfer or sell the property.
Local Cloudiness and scattered showers are forecast for most parts of
Greece today, especially in central, western and northern Greece and the
Ionian Sea. Winds will be southwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens will be
sunny to partly cloudy with temperatures between 12-21C. Possible rain in
Thessaloniki with temperatures between 7-15C.
Greek team in Euroleague final
The Olympiakos, Pireaus basketball team qualified for the final of the
Euroleague last night after beating Slovenia's Olympia 74-65 in the Final
Four semifinal (half-time 37-32). Olympiakos will play Barcelona on
Thursday night in the final.
Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 269.948
Pound sterling 441.990 Cyprus pd 532.797
French franc 47.088 Swiss franc 186.299
German mark 158.867 Italian lira (100) 15.964
Yen (100) 214.515 Canadian dlr. 193.298
Australian dlr. 209.235 Irish Punt 420.634
Belgian franc 7.674 Finnish mark 52.480
Dutch guilder 141.225 Danish kr. 41.687
Swedish kr. 35.431 Norwegian kr. 38.414
Austrian sch. 22.556 Spanish peseta 1.878