Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-04-30
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 30/04/1997 (ANA)
- Greece maintains veto on EU funds to Turkey
- Common position by the EU '15'
- Pangalos in Istanbul for BSEC summit
- ND criticises government's stance on Greek-Turkish relations
- Government to initiate process of social dialoge on May 14
- Torrential rain in Athens causes extensive flooding
- EU Commission President to visit Mt. Athos
- Greek-Italian military coordination in Albania discussed
- Public transport fares, mobile phone dues to increase
- Eurostat service for media professionals
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece maintains veto on EU funds to Turkey
Greece yesterday maintained its veto on a European Union aid package to
Turkey, continuing to block aid worth Ecu375 million until Ankara stopped
threatening Greek sovereignty in the Aegean.
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said Turkey had not taken the necessary
steps allowing Greece to change its stance.
"Greece is facing a bilateral relations problem with Turkey, which is based
on the fact that Turkey does not withdraw its threat of war, which the
Turkish National Assembly has unanimously endorsed, in the event that
Greece extends its territorial wate rs to 12 (nautical) miles in the Aegean,
" Mr. Pangalos said.
"Turkey does not have the right to threaten," he noted, adding that "Turkey
should realise that the problems it may have in relation to the Aegean must
be resolved on the basis of the existing international law and international
treaties, such as the Lausanne Treaty, the Italy-Turkey 1932 Agreement, the
Italy-Greece 1947 Agreement and the Law of the Sea."
Mr. Pangalos said the Greek positions had not been accepted by the Turkish
side, "mainly because Turkey is not capable of sorting out its domestic
problems in relation to the course that it must follow."
"Certain circles," Mr. Pangalos said, "think that Turkey can exercise a
hegemonic policy at Greece's expense" and continue to maintain an "imperial
perception of their country's destiny."
The Greek foreign minister said he accepted a Dutch EU presidency proposal
for the creation of two experts committees, a Greek and a Turkish one,
which until June will communicate with each other via the Dutch presidency
and after that through the Luxembourg presidency.
The committees will form the framework for talks on Greek-Turkish
Common position by the EU '15'
The Council's common text, which was presented last night to Turkish
Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller, contains many references to Greek-Turkish
relations and the Cyprus issue.
Specifically, it is mentioned that the strengthening of relations between
the European Union and Turkey depends primarily on three factors:
Firstly, an improvement in relations between Greece and Turkey through the
settlement of issues concerning them on the basis of international law,
including mechanisms such as the International Court at The Hague, as well
as through relations of good neighbourliness and the rejection of the
threat or use of force. Secondly, an improvement in the situation of human
rights in Turkey and, thirdly, respect for human rights and the finding of
a political solution to the Kurdish problem.
On the Cyprus issue, the common position of the "15" said:
"On the question of Cyprus, the European Union's Council took a decision on
March 6, 1995, on the start to accession negotiations with Cyprus in the
framework of wider discussions also concerning Turkey. The Council decided
that the negotiations with Cyprus will start six months after the end of
the Intergovernmental Conference in accordance with its outcome. The
Council stressed that the accession of Cyprus should be beneficial for all
the communities on the island and will contribute to intercommunal peace
" The Union is convinced that a solution to the Cyprus problem is urgent on
this basis to delete the cause of continuous tension in Cyprus and the
region. The lack of progress will be to the detriment of Turkey, the EU and
relations between them.
"The Union urges Turkey to participate in the effort to find a solution
together with the other countries through negotiations with direct talks
between the sides this summer."
Speaking to German reporters, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said the
accession of Turkey to the EU is not predictable in the near future for
four reasons, namely, tension in Greek-Turkish relations; its economic
problems; problems faced by the Kurds and problems in Turkey's human rights
Pangalos in Istanbul for BSEC summit
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos arrived at Istanbul airport this
morning from Luxembourg to attend a Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC)
pact meeting today, according to a report from the ANA's Istanbul
Pangalos told reporters that he had a "substantial" meeting with his
Turkish counterpart Tansu Ciller in Luxembourg last night, adding however
that the discussion did not result in any progress towards satsifying
conditions set by Pangalos for progress in Greek-Turkish relations.
"While there is life there is hope," added the Greek Minister, with regard
to future prospects of talks with Turkey.
On her return to Istanbul from Luxembourg, the Turkish Foreign Minister
said there was still some leeway for a step by step improvement in Greek-
In statements to the Turkish press, Ciller said that Greece's veto
continued to prevent the release of (EU) funds to Turkey, but that Turkey
"could live without" the European aid package.
''We believe that the two countries will find the way to peaceful relations
and cooperation which will be to the benefit of both peoples,'' Pangalos
said after talks with Ciller, according to a later ANA despatch from
The meeting at an Istanbul hotel was held on the sidelines of the Black Sea
regional cooperation forum.
Pangalos also reiterated Greece's belief that Turkey's place is in
The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) meeting was attended by foreign
ministers or senior ministry officials from the organisation's 11 member-
states, namely Greece, Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania,
Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Armenia.
ND criticises government's stance on Greek-Turkish relations
The government said today that Turkey's inability to respond to Greece's
proposal for dialogue subject to conditions illustrated the groundlessness
of its claims and the aggressive nature of Ankara's foreign policy.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas was replying to criticism from the
main opposition New Democracy (ND) party concerning the government's stance
on Greek-Turkish relations.
Reppas reiterated the prerequisites set by Athens for a Greek-Turkish
dialogue, namely that Ankara rejects the use and threat of force, respects
international law and international treaties and uses the procedures of the
International Court at the Hague for the settlement of any differences.
Turkey's inability to respond to this proposal, Reppas said, illustrated
the groundlessness of Ankara's claims.
Earlier, ND charged that the government was being enticed into a form of
dialogue with Turkey without fulfilment of the prerequisites which the main
opposition party has repeatedly urged.
''Greek reservations concerning the release of EU funds to Turkey are being
neutralised by the formation of the committee of experts,'' ND spokesman
Aris Spiliotopoulos said.
Greece and Turkey yesterday agreed to appoint two non-governmental
personalities each to examine Greek-Turkish relations. The agreement was
announced in Luxembourg at the end of the EU-Turkey Association Council
meeting at which Athens maintained its veto of EU financial aid to
''A serious dialogue presupposes a credible interlocutor,'' Spiliotopoulos
said, adding that ''the political instability and manifest confusion in
Turkey evidence the existence of many and conflicting power centres in the
As a result, Spiliotopoulos said, the Greek government did not know which
centre would guarantee Ankara's adherence to any obligations it might
Reppas countered saying it was ''ridiculous'' for ND to play the role of
accuser because ''when it was in power (1990-1993), its leadership and
cadres proclaimed the need for Greek-Turkish dialogue without any terms and
The spokesman clarified that the ''committee of experts'' to be formed
would deal only with procedural matters and its findings would not be
binding on either side.
''The operation of the committee does not constitute political dialogue,
nor any kind of negotiation whatsoever. On the contary, it constitutes an
effective way to reveal Turkey's policy and confront it in a determined and
substantiated manner,'' Reppas said.
''We hope however that the process will prove to be beneficial for both
countries, provided Turkey adapts itself to the principles of the EU and
international law and order,'' he added.
Government to initiate process of social dialoge on May 14
The government decided today to officially initiate the process of social
dialogue on May 14 with a meeting of ministers and government officials and
the participation of representatives of social bodies, to be chaired by
Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Announcing the decision, which was taken at a meeting this morning presided
over by Simitis, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou
declined to elaborate on the content of the government's views on social
Attending today's meeting, which lasted 90 minutes, were ruling PASOK party
Secretary, Costas Skandalides, Undersecretary to the Prime Minister's
Office, George Paschalides and Labour Undersecretary Christos Protopappas.
Torrential rain in Athens causes extensive flooding
Torrential rain in Athens today caused flooding of basement flats and
stores and put traffic lights out of order on a number of streets in the
Worst hit were the suburbs of Glyfada, Voula, Ilioupolis and Argyroupolis,
where the level of water on many streets was over 40 centimetres.
The fire brigade received dozens of calls for assistance, provided by ten
teams of firemen.
In the seaside suburb of Voula, drains quickly became blocked, causing
extensive flooding of roads which immobilized many cars. Traffic chaos in
the district was made worse by the fact that traffic lights at many
The rain was also responsible for a pile-up in Kifissos involving three
trucks and three cars. Fortunately no one was injured.
EU Commission President to visit Mt. Athos
European Commission President Jacques Santer is to visit the monastic
community of Mt. Athos at the end of next week. According to sources in
Thessaloniki, Santer is to fly to Karyes by helicopter on 10 May accompanied
by National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pachtas, and possibly by
Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis.
There are currently three EU-funded programmes in progress at Mt. Athos for
the maintenance and repair of the historic buildings. The provisional
programme for Santer's visit includes a meeting with members of the
community and a tour of the Megisti Lavra and Vatopedi monasteries.
Santer's visit to Greece is scheduled to coincide with events celebrating
"Europe Day", which he will be attending for the first time. On May 9, 1950,
then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman began the process that led to
the creation of the European Union.
Also on May 9, Santer is to address the general assembly of the Industrialists
Association of Northern Greece.
Greek-Italian military coordination in Albania discussed
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday discussed
cooperation and coordination in efforts between Greece and Italy in Albania
with his Italian counterpart, Beniamino Andreata.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday's
meeting provided the opportunity for the terms of a successful cooperation
to be discussed regarding the effectiveness of the multinational force in
Albania and, in parallel, confirmation of the good cooperation between the
military forces of Greece and Italy in the common effort in Albania.
"We ascertained the need for closer cooperation to enable us to contribute
to the success of the targets of the European Union and the OSCE,
concerning the successful holding of elections in Albania," he said.
Public transport fares, mobile phone dues to increase
Taxi fares, mobile telephone and postage dues, railway and bus tickets will
increase over the next two months.
Specifically, increases of up to 50 per cent (in summoning radio taxis)
will take effect for taxi fares as of May 1. The single tariff will
increase to 62 drachmas from 58 and the double tariff to 200 from 113. The
largest increase will concern calls for radio taxis, with an ordinary call
increasing to 300 drachmas from 200, while a pre-arranged appointment rises
to 400 drachmas from 300.
The starting price (200 drachmas), the chronometrical cost (2,000) and
fares from airports and ports (300) remain unchanged.
Additionally, a fare from bus and railway stations will decrease to 150
drachmas from 160 as well as the cost for carrying luggage exceeding 10kg
to 50 drachmas from 55.
As of tomorrow, mobile telephony dues (the average increase will be about 4
per cent) for the mobile telephony supplier Telestet will also increase.
Similar increases will also apply for the mobile telephony dues of the
Panafon firm, as of May 12.
Lastly, at peak hours for the "City" package, local calls will be charged
84 drachmas per minute (from 80); national calls 250 drachmas per minute;
from one mobile phone to a mobile phone 117 drachmas per minute (from 112)
and for non-peak hours 84 drachmas (from 80) per minute.
As of July 1 increases of up to 25 per cent will be implemented for postal
dues, 15 per cent for railway fares and 35 per cent for urban bus tickets
(100 drachmas from 75).
Eurostat service for media professionals
The European Commission has created a statistical information service
through Eurostat, aimed to assist journalists and the media.
The information service will be provided free of charge after an application,
with an Ecu200 limit per application. It will provide information on issues
concerning general statistical data, economic and financial matters,
population and social conditions, energy and industry, commerce, services
and transport, the environment, research and development.
Professionals interested in obtaining such Eurostat statistics can receive
more information at: Eurostat Media Support, Ana Maria Martinez, Tel+ (352)
43.01.33.408, Fax + (352) 43.01.32.649, e-mail: ana.martinez&eurostat.cec.be
Additional information can be obtained through the internet at: http:
Local Cloudiness, scattered showers and rainstorms are forecast for most
parts of Greece today including the northern Aegean and Ionian Seas. Winds
will be southerly, weak to moderate. Athens will be rainy with a possible
storm in the afternoon with temperatures between 10-17C. Similar weather in
Thessaloniki with temperatures between 8-14C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 272.403
Pound sterling 443.761 Cyprus pd 530.720
French franc 46.767 Swiss franc 185.335
German mark 157.629 Italian lira (100) 15.904
Yen (100) 215.125 Canadian dlr. 194.789
Australian dlr. 212.754 Irish Punt 407.117
Belgian franc 7.643 Finnish mark 52.391
Dutch guilder 140.140 Danish kr. 41.412
Swedish kr. 34.819 Norwegian kr. 38.361
Austrian sch. 22.399 Spanish peseta 1.871
Port. Escudo 1.568