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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-23

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, 23/04/1997 (ANA)


KMAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 of decision-making.

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 treaty.

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 understanding helps.

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 said.

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 arise."

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 visit.

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 shelf."

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 said.

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 Broek said.

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 alliance".

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 lignite.

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 1992.

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.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(C.E.)


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