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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-12

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 12/05/1997 (ANA)


  • Ruling PASOK party ready to reorganise
  • Simitis: Turkey must match words to deeds
  • Premier goes to Luxembourg today
  • EU Commission to help Mount Athos
  • Friday's marijuana haul largest ever in Greece
  • One killed, two arrested in shoot-out with drug smugglers
  • Woman's body found near Russian hitman's house
  • Gligorov hopes name issue will not sour Athens-Skopje ties
  • Kranidiotis in Moscow for talks
  • Oymen may visit Athens later this month
  • Olympiakos Greek champions after 10 years
  • Greek First division soccer results/standings
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Ruling PASOK party ready to reorganise

Prime Minister Costas Simitis's addresses on Saturday during ruling PASOK's Policy Organising Sector Panhellenic Conference focused on unifying the party and influenced procedures positively, the conference participants said after the closing session yesterday.

During his speech at the conference on Saturday, Mr. Simitis stressed the need for the ruling PASOK party to "obtain new characteristics, as it has already turned over a new leaf".

He said that the party's reorganisation "is not simply an organising effort, " stressing that although PASOK should not forget the past, it should also look dynamically to the future "with new power and new ideas".

For this reason, he said, the party's reorganisation is tantamount to "refounding and restructuring".

He said that in order for this to be achieved, "all powers must be activated and reunited with the realisation that the (June 1996) congress (in which Mr. Simitis was elected party president) is now history, and the personal differences which arose must be overcome."

The Policy Organising Sector secretary, Mihalis Neonakis, described the conference as "one of the most substantial and constructive procedures in the history of PASOK."

He stressed that all those who had predicted a climate of disagreement and conflict were proven wrong, as "in PASOK, politics, history, struggles, solidarity and comradeship unite."

Simitis: Turkey must match words to deeds

Speaking on Greek-Turkish relations on Saturday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis reiterated that Greece was not putting its sovereign rights up for negotiation and was not questioning the status quo in the Aegean.

"The government's policy aims to reinforce our positions," he said.

"Greece differs from Turkey because it has a clear policy and positions based on international law and international treaties, while Turkey is an element of destabilisation in the ... area."

He reiterated that if Turkey proves it respects international law and withdraws its expansionist intentions, then Greece will aid its course towards Europe.

Turning to the forming of the committee of experts to discuss procedural issues in Greek-Turkish relations, Mr Simitis said Greece aims to promote an improvement in relations with Turkey, stressing however that the committee will not constitute the begi nning of political dialogue, nor will it have any mediatory qualities.

"This dialogue has two possibilities," he reiterated. "Either it will be a turning point in Ankara's policies, in which case it will pave the way for a peaceful course of both countries within the framework of the European Union, or Ankara's true intent ions will be revealed."

"It is the Turks and not us who have the problem of proving that words match deeds," he said.

Premier goes to Luxembourg today

Prime Minister Costas Simitis leaves today for Luxembourg accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

Mr. Papandreou said the working visit would deal with issues such as the intergovernmental conference, Greece's important issues within the framework of the European Union's common foreign policy for defence and security, as well as other matters concer ning the EU.

Mr Papandreou also addressed a meeting in Thessaloniki of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) yesterday, announcing that during the next two weeks, a proposal will be submitted for the drawing up of a bill to regulate the SAE's operation.

EU Commission to help Mount Athos

European Commission President Jacques Santer has announced a Commission decision to provide aid to Mount Athos during a visit to the autonomous monastic community on Saturday, in recognition of "its great importance to Europe".

He praised the spiritual tradition of Mount Athos, which he said could be a model for the Europe of the future, and expressed his belief that the provision of aid will be to the benefit of Europe as a whole.

Mr. Santer added that the monastic community's cultural heritage and history have contributed to the creation of "a unique type of society which is based on spiritual values."

Friday's marijuana haul largest ever in Greece

Police said on Saturday that the four tonnes of marijuana confiscated from a container in a Piraeus port storage area in Piraeus Friday night was the largest drug haul ever in Greece.

Initial reports on Friday put the haul at three tonnes.

The drugs, packed in 286 cardboard boxes, were found after police authorities received a tip-off claiming a large shipment of marijuana was due to arrive in the country from Cambodia.

The container, which according to its documents was carrying a cargo of plates and flower vases, was unloaded from the "Mare" on March 19 and was immediately placed under surveilance.

According to the export documents, the Phnom Penh-based "Delmex" company sent the container to the "Alvita" company, owned by Petros Christopoulou and based in Aspropyrgos in Attica.

Following a preliminary investigation, police suspect the shipment was organised by Cypriot Eleftherios Pafitis, 40, who is believed to be a permanent resident of Belgium.

When questioned by police, Mr. Christopoulou claimed Mr. Pafitis used his packaging company, but that he himself was unaware of the marijuana shipment.

One killed, two arrested in shoot-out with drug smugglers

One Albanian was killed and two arrested during a shoot-out at dawn on Saturday between police and drug smugglers at Kalami, Plataria in Thesprotia, northern Greece.

The gunfight erupted after three Albanians had reached the Greek coast by speedboat and were hiding 20 sacks - a reported 500 kilos - of marijuana which the police believe were to be picked up later by accomplices. However, special police forc es and drug squad officers from Athens were lying in wait. Two coastguard vessels also took part in the operation.

The other two Albanians are being held at Igoumenitsa coastguard headquarters.

The Greek authorities are now trying to determine whether the speedboat used by the Albanians is the same as that used in recent attacks against coastguard boats in the Ionian Sea. A later dispatch from Ioannina said the boat had been stolen from Corfu.

Two Kalashnikovs were found in the speedboat which had been used by the Albanians to fire at the police.

Woman's body found near Russian hitman's house

The decomposing and dismembered body of a young woman was found on Saturday in a shallow grave three kilometres outside the southern Athens suburb of Saronida, police said.

The body was found near the house of a suspected Russian hitman, Alexander Solonik, who was found murdered in the northern Athens suburb of Varibobi in early February.

The makeshift grave contained a suitcase with the woman's torso and a travel bag with her head and limbs. The woman's internal organs had been wrapped in a towel.

A coroner set the woman's age at roughly 20.

Police suspect the dead woman may be Svetlana Kokivi, 19, a former Miss Russia who was reported missing three months before the discovery of Solonik's body. Kokivi is believed to have been having an affair with Solonik.

Gligorov hopes name issue will not sour Athens-Skopje ties

The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Kiro Gligorov is "very optimistic and convinced that there will be better relations between Greece and FYROM".

Mr. Gligorov was speaking at a press conference on Saturday for Greek reporters invited to visit the neighbouring country by the FYROM ministry of information.

Greece and FYROM have the same policy and aspirations on strategic goals, he said.

"I would not want the relations between 'Macedonia' and Greece to not develop and remain static only on the basis of the name issue," Mr. Gligorov said, referring to "the only" problem in Greece and FYROM's bilateral relations.

FYROM is in favour of a compromise on the gamut of bilateral problems and it was in this spirit that the FYROM parliament passed two amendments to the constitution earlier this year, one saying that the country has no territorial designs on neighbours and the other which stresses the non- involvement in internal matters of neighbouring countries, he said. Mr. Gligorov said the New York interim accord of 1995 was an expression of this spirit of compromise and stressed that his country's admission to the United Nations came with the proviso that "the two countries must discuss their differences on the issue of the name".

Kranidiotis in Moscow for talks

Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis arrived in Moscow yesterday for talks with Russian Foreign Undersecretary responsible for European and Cyprus affairs Alexander Avdiev and with other Russian foreign ministry officials.

Discussions will include issues of Balkan interest, the Cyprus problem and Greek-Russian relations.

Mr. Kranidiotis will then travel to London, for talks with British Undersecretary for European Affairs Sir David Hannay and other British foreign ministry officials and discuss the course of the Cyprus problem and issues of bilateral interest.

Oymen may visit Athens later this month

Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Onur Oymen, Ankara's main representative in recent talks with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou on the formation of committees of experts to examine procedural issues related to Greek-Turkish differences, will vis it Athens on May 26, it was reported here Saturday.

Sources said Mr. Oymen had accepted an invitation from the Centre for Political Research (KPE) to take part in a meeting on the issue of Greek- Turkish relations and the European perspective of the two countries.

Olympiakos Greek champions after 10 years

Olympiakos Piraeus clinched the Greek soccer title for the first time in 10 years on Sunday with a 2-0 win over AEK Athens.

With two rounds to go Olympiakos, unbeaten for 17 matches, head the standings with 78 points, 12 ahead of AEK. AEK trailed the leaders by nine points before the match and needed a victory to keep their slim hopes alive.

Greek First division soccer results/standings

Olympiakos-AEK 2-O Panathinaikos- Kastoria 7-0 OFI-Ionikos 4-0 PAOK-Xanthi 4-1 Veria-Kavala 0-1 Athinaikos-Paniliakos 3-0 Iraklis-Aris 1-2 Kalamata-Edesaikos 1-0 Apollon-Panahaiki 2-0

Standings: Olympiakos 78 AEK 66 OFI 65 Panathinaikos 60 PAOK 60 Kavala 55 Paniliakos 44 Ionikos 41 Iraklis 39


Sunny weather in most of Greece today with rising temperatures. Winds will be northerly moderate to strong especially in the northern Aegean. Athens will be sunny with moderate winds and temperatures between 17-30C. Thessaloniki will be mostly sunny with temperatures between 15-28C.


Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 268.544 Pound sterling 435.548 Cyprus pd 529.907 French franc 46.818 Swiss franc 187.205 German mark 157.797 Italian lira (100) 15.968 Yen (100) 220.293 Canadian dlr. 193.797 Australian dlr. 208.876 Irish Punt 408.188 Belgian franc 7.652 Finnish mark 52.372 Dutch guilder 140.472 Danish kr. 41.507 Swedish kr. 35.059 Norwegian kr. 38.117 Austrian sch. 22.446 Spanish peseta 1.871 Port. Escudo 1.569


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