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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-04-29

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, 29/04/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece to remain firm on EU-Turkey association agreement
  • Unidentified assailant shoots Albanian
  • 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
  • The final company of Greek troops leaves for Albania
  • Turks sentenced for smuggling illegal immigrants
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece to remain firm on EU-Turkey association agreement

Statements today by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou indicated that Greece would remain firm in its positions concerning the European Union-Turkey association agreement, according to an ANA despatch from Luxembourg.

Papandreou, who together with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is in Luxembourg for today's EU-Turkey Association Council, said the ''15'' had prepared a text which was satisfactory for Greece and which must be accepted by Ankara.

According to informed sources, the Turkish side appears unwilling to accept the text and this may be the reason for Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller's late arrival in Luxembourg.

Greece has stated that it will not lift its veto of the fourth financial protocol, which provides for Community funds for Ankara, unless Turkey satisfies the prerequisites set by the EU.

The EU prerequisites largely reflect Greek demands that Turkey recognise international treaties governing relations between the two countries and lift its threats of war and use of force against Greece.

Unidentified assailant shoots Albanian

An Albanian is recovering in a Thessaloniki hospital after being shot by an unidentified assailant in the hut outside the city, where he lived with three other compatriots.

The assailant drove up to the hut and fired a shot at its occupants, hitting Leonidas Alberiami in the shoulder. The man then fired another shot into the air and drove off.

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 countries.

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 resolving differences.

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 year.

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 extremists.

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 Orthdox Easter.

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 stationed.

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 1994.

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 Northern Aegean.

The final company of Greek troops leaves for Albania

The final company of Greek troops participating in the multinational force overseeing the distribution of aid to Albania leaves this afternoon from Thessaloniki.

The 100 men, along with vehicles and equipment, are to sail for Albania aboard the Greek navy landing craft Hios and Kos.

Turks sentenced for smuggling illegal immigrants

Two Turks were each sentenced by a Kos magistrates court to 10 years imprisonment and a 4,520,000 drachma fine for smuggling illegal immigrants into Greece.

Jusal Getin, 22 and Topoz Murat, 19, were arrested on 22 April on the Dodecanese island of Farmakonisi after landing 55 Iraqi illegal immigrants on the island in their boat.

WEATHER

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- 17C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Closing rates - buying US dlr. 272.205 Pound sterling 441.579 Cyprus pd 528.042 French franc 46.632 Swiss franc 184.834 German mark 157.158 Italian lira (100) 15.856 Yen (100) 214.877 Canadian dlr. 193.134 Australian dlr. 212.000 Irish Punt 419.318 Belgian franc 7.618 Finnish mark 52.175 Dutch guilder 139.798 Danish kr. 41.297 Swedish kr. 34.649 Norwegian kr. 38.440 Austrian sch. 22.330 Spanish peseta 1.867 Portuguese escudo 1.569

(Y.B.)


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