Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-29
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 29/04/1997 (ANA)
- Greece stands firm on EU-Turkey association agreement
- Black Sea group meeting starts in Istanbul
- Premier: Greece ready to improve relations with Turkey
- Premier outlines targets of Greece's economy
- Simitis invites Kohl to visit Greece
- Pangalos Christens baby daughter of murdered Greek Cypriot
- Defence Minister visits Greek troops stationed in Albania
- Greece rated EU's poorest country
- Greek Raiding Forces reservists to cross Aegean
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece stands firm on EU-Turkey association agreement
The European Union-Turkey Association Council convenes in Luxembourg today
to be attended on behalf of Greece by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos
and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and on behalf of Turkey by
Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller.
Greece, which is not opposed to Turkey's European orientation and pursues
rapprochement with the neighbouring country and has made a series of
goodwill gestures towards Ankara, has stated that it will not lift, at
today's Association Council, its veto for the financial protocol unless
Turkey responds to the preconditions set by the EU itself.
The Dutch EU presidency has made intensive efforts to have Ankara persuaded
to make a statement with which it will accept the conditions set by the
"15". The statement, if made, will have the nature of a positive response
to the Greek side which has requested from Turkey respect for international
treaties governing relations between Greece and Turkey and the lifting of
threats of war and the use of force.
In the light of these developments and internal political fluidity in
Turkey due to the feud between the generals and the government of Islamist
Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, an exploratory meeting between Mr.
Pangalos and Ms Ciller cannot be ruled out in Luxembourg today despite the
fact that such a meeting has not been scheduled.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Omer Akbel did not rule out the
possibility of a meeting between Ms Ciller and Mr. Pangalos which might be
arranged at the last moment. Mr. Akbel said that the Dutch presidency is
working actively to secure success for the session and added that "we are
maintaining cooperation with the Netherlands and we believe that if there
is support from the Greek side, the efforts might succeed."
Mr. Pangalos and Ms Ciller might meet in Istanbul tomorrow on the sidelines
of the Black Sea Cooperation Organisation's session which started with the
participation of Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova,
Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Greece.
Mr. Pangalos is expected to arrive in Istanbul tomorrow.
The session, under the sponsorship of Turkish President Suleyman Demirel,
is expected to be attended by senior officials from member-states, as well
as the presidents of certain countries participating.
Black Sea group meeting starts in Istanbul
Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact started in Istanbul yesterday with the
participation of Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova,
Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Greece.
The meeting, under the sponsorship of Turkish President Suleyman Demirel,
is expected to be attended by senior officials from member-states, while
the presidents of some of the countries participating are also expected.
More than 600 people are expected in all.
The Turkish presidency started on October 25, 1996, and over this period a
conference for Transport Ministers was organised in cooperation with the
initiative group from central Europe. The role of Greece, being an
important economy and a European Union member-state, as well as the role of
Russia as a major power in the region, are emerging from the course of the
Black Sea Cooperation Organisation's work.
Greece, Russia and Turkey, which took the initiative to establish the
organisation, constitute the main poles of the emerging regional cooperation
system, analysts say and stress the great potential contained in this
regional cooperation. The meeting wi ll pay particular attention to energy,
transport, telecommunications and environmental issues.
Premier: Greece ready to improve relations with Turkey
Prime Minister Costas Simitis reiterated on Friday that Greece would,
subject to conditions, be willing to discuss issues with Turkey at a
bilateral level aimed at improving the climate of relations between the two
At the same time, the premier underlined the preconditions for such a
dialogue, namely that Turkey abandons all threats or use of force and
accepts "the activation of an international body with jurisdiction" for
Mr. Simitis made clear however that the party whose territorial integrity
was being disputed did not have any obligation to enter into negotiations.
On the contrary, he said, the party which puts forward the relevant claims
is obliged to have recourse to the International Court at the Hague and
await its decision.
The premier was addressing an audience at Marburg University where he was
awarded an honorary doctorate.
Premier outlines targets of Greece's economy
Prime Minuister Costas Simitis said in a speech at Marburg University in
Germany that the Greek government's economic convergence programme being
implemented since 1996, would gradually lead Greece by 1998 to the
fulfilment of conditions for the country's accession to EMU.
Mr. Simitis based this assessment on the Greek economy's progress during
the last three years, particularly the curtailment of the public deficit by
6.5 per cent, the drop in inflation from 12 per cent in December 1993 to
6.8 per cent in February 1997 and the rate of growth of GDP which now
stands at 2.5 per cent, from -1 per cent in 1993. The premier noted that
this progress had been achieved without any wage freezes or dramatic
increase in unemployment.
Among the government's targets for 1997, Mr. Simitis said, was a further
drop in the public deficit to 4.2 per cent, GDP growth of 3 per cent and
inflation of 5 per cent.
Although the prospects for the Greek economy were good, Mr. Simitis told
his audience, the country's increased defence spending may place pressure
on the main indicators of public finances.
Premier Simitis concluded a six day visit to Germany yesterday with talks
with the Prime Minister of the Federal State of Essen Hans Eichel and a
dinner with local industrialists, businessmen and bankers.
Simitis invites Kohl to visit Greece
Prime Minister Costas Simitis has extended an invitation to German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl to pay an official visit to Greece which has been
accepted. Mr. Kohl has never officially visited Greece during his 14 years
in office. According to informed sources the visit might take place this
In an interview to the German radio DLF Mr. Simitis rejected criticism
addressed to Greece by Germany for failing to recall the Greek ambassador
from Tehran when the verdict was issued on the murder of four Kurd
politicians in Berlin, attributing respon sibility to the Iranian
leadership for having given instructions to the perpetrators.
Mr. Simitis exercised criticism over the hasty character of recalling
ambassadors which was demanded by Germany, as well as for the absence of
necessary processes in the framework of the European Union in connection
with the issue.
Pangalos christens baby daughter of murdered Greek Cypriot
Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos, state officials, political leaders and hundreds of people
attended yesterday the christening of Anastasia Isaac, 8-month old daughter
of a Greek Cypriot brutally beaten to death last summer by Turkish
Mr. Pangalos went to Cyprus on Sunday to represent the Greek government,
which has undertaken the child's upbringing.
Anastasia, which literally means resurrection in Greek, was given her
father's name during a ceremony at the church of Agios Georgios, in the
south-eastern coastal town Paralimni, attended by hundreds of Greek
Cypriots who had watched Tasos' brutal murder on TV.
The Greek minister called on all countries dealing with the Cyprus problem
not to accept the fait accompli on the island.
He reiterated Greek support and said Athens will continue its efforts for a
peaceful and viable solution to the Cyprus question.
Mr. Pangalos also called on everyone to continue working towards the
"resurrection" of the island, divided since 1974 when Turkish troops
invaded and occupied 37 per cent of its territory.
Tasos, 24, was killed by Turkish extremists during a peaceful anti-
occupation march on August 11, 1996, and his daughter was born September
17. Mr. Pangalos was returned to Athens last night.
Defence Minister visits Greek troops stationed in Albania
Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday visited Greek troops of the
multinational aid protection force in Albania, on the occasion of the
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos arrived in Tirana in the afternoon and visited Greek
troops stationed near the Albanian capital.
Due to bad weather conditions, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos cancelled his trip to the
southern port of Vlore where a company of the Greek contingent is
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also met with Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino and
his Albanian counterpart as well with Orthodox Archbishop Anastassios.
Mr. Fino extended an invitation to Mr. Tsohatzopolulos to pay an official
visit to the neighbouring country. The date of the visit will be set
through diplomatic channels.
The two men discussed issues related to the multinational force.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos is scheduled to meet in Rome today with his Italian
counterpart on the Albanian issue.
Greece rated EU's poorest country
Greece is the poorest country in the 15-nation European Union and
Luxembourg the richest, while Epirus is the poorest region in the EU and
Hamburg the richest.
This data was included in the special bulletin published by the EU
statistical service on the "rich and poor" in the EU with data referring to
The bulletin stated that in 1994 the average income per capita in the EU in
Ecu and Agricultural Potential Units (APU) amounted to 16,644. On the basis
of 100 for the EU, Greece has an income per capita of 65 (7,193 in Ecu and
10,799 in APU). Portugal h ad an income per capita of 67 (7,224 in Ecu and
11,348 in APU), while Luxembourg has an income per capita of 169 (30,446 in
Ecu and 28,069 in APU).
Eight regions in the EU exceed the average income per capita 1.5 times.
Epirus is the poorest region with an income per capita of 43 (5,211 Ecu and
7,112 APU), followed by the French overseas territory, the Azores and the
Greek Raiding Forces reservists to cross Aegean
For the third consecutive year, reservists of the Greek Raiding Forces will
cross the Aegean in inflated boats with the help of the Association of Open
According to the programme, 70 reservists in 12 inflated boats, capable of
speeds of up to 40 mph in calm seas, will leave Sounion for Alexandroupoli
from where they will sail for Kastellorizo on May 2.
The crossing of 1,100 nautical miles is part of celebrations marking the
surrender in 1945 of the last units of Nazi armies in Europe, according to
Lt. General (Ret.) Nikolaos Mangafossis, President of the Raiding Forces
and Sacred Regiment Veterans.
The celebrations will culminate on May 8 in Rhodes, where the boats will
arrive on their return trip from Kastellorizo.
After setting out from Alexandroupoli, the boats will stop at Samothrace,
Lemnos, Aghios Efstratios, Plomari in Mitylini, Psara, Chios, Samos,
Agathonisi, Farmakonisi, Leros, Kalymnos, Psarimos, Nisyros, Tilos, Chalki,
Rhodes and finally, Ro on Kastellorizo.
Unstable weather with local cloudiness and sporadic rain with some sunny
spells is forecast for most parts of Greece today, especially in the
western regions. Moderate southerly winds. Athens will be partly cloudy
with possible rain in the afternoon and temperatures between 112-21C.
Thessaloniki will be cloudy with local rain and temperatures between 10-
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