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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 27/05/1997 (ANA)


  • Gov't unsurprised by Oymen statements
  • Papandreou: Ankara must change or face isolation
  • Greek experts submit preliminary texts to EU presidency
  • Pangalos: Turkey lacks seriousness
  • Czech minister meets Papandreou
  • US House Committee:foreign aid for eastern Mediterranean
  • Draft bill on Schengen tabled in Parliament
  • Athens hosts UN conference on Mideast peace process
  • Israeli business delegation to visit Athens in June
  • Greek-Turkish business meeting
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Gov't unsurprised by Oymen statements

Greece is not surprised by the positions set out by Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Onur Oymen yesterday since it is well aware of standing Turkish positions, the government said today.

"Greece is under no illusions regarding Turkey's strategy in the region," acting government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou told reporters.

"It is our duty to show to all those who still suffer delusions about Turkey's role that this role does nothing to guarantee stability in the region," he said.

He reminded reporters of Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos's statements that Turkey was the only European country which was pursuing a change of borders.

The outcome of Oymen's visit to Athens yesterday - where he and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou spoke on Greek-Turkish relations - could only be construed as less than positive, he said.

"It would have been positive if a better climate could have been created...Oymen's statements were not in this direction," he said.

He noted, however, that Oymen's statements would have no effect on the workings of the committees of experts set up to examine procedural issues on Greek-Turkish relations.

"There is no connection between the two," he said.

Papandreou: Ankara must change or face isolation

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou today warned Ankara it would remain isolated from the international community if it could not show the political will to deal with problems in its relations with Greece, within the framework of international law.

Speaking after a meeting with Czech Foreign Undersecretary Karel Kovada, Papandreou said that statements by Turkish President Suleiman Demirel (in a television interview on the Antenna channel) and by Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Onur Oymen in Athens yesterday revealed contradictory policies which caused concern as to what extent there existed an "increasing intransigence" (on the part of Turkey).

"We have chosen the 'long road' of the experts committee via the European Union," said Papandreou, adding:

"History and of course the international community, will be the judge of the existence of the political will to deal with whatever problems exist, within the framework of international law and peaceful coexistence."

"It is Turkey's responsibility to show that it is has that policial will, otherwise it will continue to be isolated from the international community, particularly from the European Union," he concluded.

Greek experts submit preliminary texts to EU presidency

The two members of the Greek "committee of experts" set up to discuss Greek- Turkish relations yesterday conveyed the preliminary text with Greece's positions on the issues to the Dutch EU presidency.

Argyris Fatouros and Krateros Ioannou handed the text, outlining Greece's conditions for the exchange of views with the two Turkish experts on the corresponding committee from the neighbouring country, to the Dutch ambassador to Athens.

According to sources, the conditions include the avoidance of the use of force or the threat to use force by Turkey;

- recognition by Ankara of the international legal framework determining its relations with Greece, the existing borders (as set out in the treaties of Lausanne and Paris, and the Italian-Turkish and Greek-Italian pacts);

- recognition of international accords (such as the International Law of the Sea) and recognition of the procedure for settling differences through the International Court at The Hague;

the seeking of manners of rapprochement on a procedural side of issues projected by the two parties.

Pangalos: Turkey lacks seriousness

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday accused Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Onur Oymen of lacking seriousness, adding that he contradicted and embarrassed his President Suleyman Demirel with his recent statements concerning documents on the Aegean.

"If he has papers and documents, as Mr. Oymen claims, which dispute the status quo in the Aegean let him bring them before the relevant bodies," Mr. Pangalos said, reminding that Turkey is the only country which has not signed the accord on the Law of the Sea and the only one in Europe which raises an issue of borders and border differences. He also called on Turkey to have an end put to this issue.

"Greece is ready to sign a non-aggression pact with Turkey (and not one of friendship and cooperation which requires other preconditions) and this would eliminate the notorious casus belli brandished by Turkey against us," he said, adding that "I listen ed to Mr. Demirel who said he accepts the Treaty of Lausanne and the treaties determining the status of the Dodecannese. And 24 hours afterwards Mr. Oymen disputed them. I call on them to consult each other because an understanding with them becomes even more difficult when they do not constitute a reliable interlocutor."

Mr. Pangalos and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou participated in the annual ministerial session of the OECD, which concludes its sessions at the organisation's headquarters in Paris today.

Czech minister meets Papandreou

Greece's support for the Czech Republic's effort to join European and transatlantic institutions was expressed by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou in a meeting with Czech Foreign Undersecretary Karel Kovada today.

"The Czech Republic is particularly interested in joining NATO and we have declared that we support this effort," said Papandreou, adding that Kovada had expressed understanding for Greece's problems with Turkey and the Cyprus issue.

Referring today's signing in Paris of a cooperation accord on security in Europe by NATO and Russia, the Czech Undersecretary expressed the hope that his country would be invited to participate in the expansion of the north Atlantic alliance.

US House Committee:foreign aid for eastern Mediterranean

Peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean can only be safeguarded by applying international treaties and respecting internationally accepted borders between countries in the area, the US House of Representatives said yesterday.

In a report for foreign aid for 1998-9, the International Relations Committee said that "whoever doubts the application or interpretation of international treaties should take recourse to the proper bodies as provided by international legal practice", a n indirect reference to Turkish claims in the Aegean.

Referring to the eastern Aegean area, the report said that it was very important that all countries in the area follow internationally accepted behaviour.

"The United States and other countries have publicly voiced their strong disagreement over the use of violence or threat of use of violence to solve such issues," it said.

Referring to Cyprus, the report urged US President Bill Clinton to "take [an] immediate and serious initiative that [...] would aim at creating a bi- communal, bi-zonal federation with a single sovereignty and international in nature, and a single citize nship, with a guaranteed independence and territorial integrity, consisting of two politically equal communities".

It called for the demilitarisation of Cyprus because its present situation "and the great number of Turkish occupation forces comprises a permanent source of tension and instability on the island and in the greater area".

Draft bill on Schengen tabled in Parliament

A draft bill ratifying the Schengen Accord on free movement of people between European Union members was tabled in Parliament late yesterday.

The treaty calls for a progressive end of border controls between countries that have ratified the accord, and the founding of a database that allows police and customs officials to monitor violations relating to arms or drug smuggling, use of false pas sports and movement of stolen vehicles.

The accord has already been ratified by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

In its final form it is expected to have computerised listings of a million people with a criminal record.

Athens hosts UN conference on Mideast peace process

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday inaugurated a two- day UN-sponsored international conference on the Mideast peace process and the challenges it faces.

"Greece's concern is the implementation of peace in the Middle East," Mr. Papandreou said. "This has been the steady and clear aim during the past few years... We are convinvced that there is no other solution for the peoples of the region apart from th e peace process." Greece has traditional ties of friendship and cooperation with both Arab countries and with Israel, he said, and has supported the peace process from the outset both unilaterally and at forums such as the European Union.

The conference, which is taking place with the participation of distinguished international figures, members of the PLO's Executive Committee and journalists from the Middle East, yesterday focused on the issues of the occupied territories, peace procedures, the Oslo agreements and future prospects.

Israeli business delegation to visit Athens in June

The Israeli embassy in Athens yesterday announced a visit by Israeli business representatives to Athens on June 25 for meetings with Greek counterparts.

Twenty businesses are participating in the delegation, organised by the Israeli Export Institute and the Israeli embassy in Athens, which include firms active in the foodstuffs, cosmetics and health products sector, air conditioning, detergents and toys , as well as companies preparing studies for ports, marinas, agricultural installations and companies providing medical services by phone.

Greek-Turkish business meeting

More than one hundred businessmen from Greece and Turkey began a two-day meeting in Istanbul to discuss bilateral economic relations. Turkey's State Secretary Abdullah Gyul said after a closed-door session that Greece and Turkey were two countries important for the region and that the development of their cooperation would benefit both.

The Turkish minister noted that both governments supported the business meeting and expressed the hope that such initiatives would contribute to the resolution of differences between the two countries. The meeting was attended by a business del egation from Cyprus and from the Turkish-Cypriot community.

Meanwhile, Turkey's Foreign Undersecretary Onur Oymen, addressing a meeting on Greek-Turkish relations organised by the Center for Political Research and Information (CPRI) in Athens, stressed the need for an improvement in Greek-Turkish trade relations.

The two countries had gained nothing from the policy of confrontation, and in fact Greece and Turkey had lost a lot in bilateral relations, Mr. Oymen said.

Trade figures between Turkey and Greece were surprisingly low, he said. Greece was one of the lowest ranking trade partners of Turkey among OECD members.

Bilateral imports and exports were respectively 210 and 201 million dollars in 1995, representing only 1.9 and 1.2 percent respectively of total trade with European Union countries. Construction activity surges


Fine weather will prevail in most parts of Greece today except for the central and northern regions where intermittent rain is expected. Winds northerly, moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with some clouds with temperatures between 16-28C. Possible rain in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 4-26C.


Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 267.185 Pound sterling 438.583 Cyprus pd 532.982 French franc 46.987 Swiss franc 191.198 German mark 158.591 Italian lira (100) 16.078 Yen (100) 230.630 Canadian dlr. 194.452 Australian dlr. 205.458 Irish Punt 406.899 Belgian franc 7.683 Finnish mark 52.518 Dutch guilder 141.062 Danish kr. 41.658 Swedish kr. 35.216 Norwegian kr. 38.123 Austrian sch. 22.539 Spanish peseta 1.879 Port. Escudo 1.573


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