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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 07/07/1997 (ANA)


  • Premier leaves for important NATO summit in Madrid
  • US seeks to impose its views for smaller NATO enlargement
  • Harmonisation with EU imperative for DEH to face competition
  • Solana does not see armed conflict between Greece and Turkey
  • NATO headquarters issue to be discussed at December summit
  • Sofia counting on Athens' support for EU, NATO accession
  • V. Papandreou says tourism revenue still dropping
  • Solar refrigerator inaugurated in Crete
  • Wanted German suspect arrested in Halkidiki
  • Greece 4th at Eurobasket
  • IOC delegate from Peru satisfied with Olympiad facilities
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Premier leaves for important NATO summit in Madrid

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will leaves for Madrid today to attend the Tuesday's NATO summit, accompanied by Press Minister Dimitris Reppas and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.

The main issues on the agenda will be the alliance's enlargement and new structure, but according to consultations held to date, it does not appear possible that decisions will be taken on the new structure.

Ankara will be represented in Madrid by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and new Foreign Minister Ismail Jem. There is no scheduled meeting between Mr. Simitis and Mr. Demirel. Diplomatic sources said that if there is a meeting, it will have a social nature.

According to an ANA dispatch from Brussels, the leaders of NATO member- states will make a last-ditch effort to find certain compromise solutions to their differences, although being divided over NATO's future form, methods of operation and military targets.

The idea of France returning to NATO's military structure is accompanied by a second concerning the deep restructuring of NATO's functions. In short, this means that European Union countries which are proceeding in an irregular fashion but speedily towards their Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) need an "internal" coordination of their defence and security.

However, the proposal for the creation of a European security pylon in NATO does not meet with the understanding by the United States. The US views with distrust France's claim that the Europeans must be able to decide and execute action of a military nature by themselves in the framework of the West European Union (WEU), but using NATO's logistics structure in such cases.

US seeks to impose its views for smaller NATO enlargement

On the question of NATO's enlargement, the United States has sought to impose its view of the new European security order decreeing that only three former Warsaw Pact states - Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary - may join NATO in the first wave.

Many European allies, among them France, Italy and Greece, want Romania and Slovenia be added to that list, arguing that they qualify both as democratic market economies and as states in need of security on the edge of Black Sea and Balkan danger zones.

US President Bill Clinton, who spent the weekend relaxing with King Juan Carlos on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca, made it clear before leaving Washington he would not allow more than three entrants now.

NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said on Saturday there was no consensus yet on the number of states to be admitted, nor on any assurance to be given to those who do not join in the first wave, probably in 1999.

To avoid being seen as giving his blessing to the enlargement, Russian President Boris Yeltsin decided not to go to Madrid, where 28 east European nations will join the 16 NATO leaders for the first meeting of a new Euro- Atlantic Partnership Council on Wednesday.

Harmonisation with EU imperative for DEH to face competition

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou on Saturday underlined the urgent need for Greece's national legislation on power production to be harmonised with that of other European Union member-states. She spoke at the second day of a three-day conference on the energy sector entitled "The European trade union movement before the challenge posed by the deregulation of the electric p ower market" that was organised by the Public Power Corp. (DEH) employees' union.

Ms Papandreou said harmonisation was an absolute necessity if Greece was to successfully face competition in the power production market after the year 2001.

"The government is determined at the earliest to pass a law defining the framework for the overall operation of the electricity market, so that DEH will not be unprepared for the...tough competition which will be completely new for the utility," Ms Papandreou said.

She described as "a great success" the four-year grace period secured by Greece from the EU, which means that the relevant Community directive on the deregulation of the electrical power market will come into force in Greece as of February 2001.

Ms Papandreou stressed that the public nature of DEH should be preserved, adding however, that this would only be possible if the state-controlled utility was competitive.

The minister predicted that following the enforcement of the Community directive, only a small share of the domestic market would pass to the private sector, due to the high investment cost entailed and the comparatively small size of Greece's electrical power market.

Solana does not see armed conflict between Greece and Turkey

NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said he does not believe a war will break out between Greece and Turkey.

In an interview with the Sunday newspaper "To Vima", Mr. Solana said Greece and Turkey are two faithful members of the alliance. Replying to a question on a possible armed conflict between the nations, he said "to tell the truth, I do not foresee a conf rontation between these two countries."

Replying to another question on whether he ruled out the possibility of an incident, he said that "there might be tensions between the two countries, but I do not see a confrontation."

NATO headquarters issue to be discussed at December summit

The issue of new NATO headquarters will be discussed after the Madrid summit and at the next alliance summit in December, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said while in the Ukraine.

The Greek minister arrived in the city of Lviv to observe the exercise "Cooperative Neighbour '97", which is part of the NATO-sponsored programme "Partnership for Peace." Greek military forces also participated in the exercise.

Greece is responsible for coordinating the 13 countries participating in the exercise, due to be concluded this week.

Sofia counting on Athens' support for EU, NATO accession

Bulgaria is counting on Greece's assistance for the promotion of Bulgarian interests vis-a-vis the European Union and NATO, Bulgarian president Petar Stoyanov said in a television interview here yesterday, following his official visit to Greece.

Commenting on his visit to Athens, the first by a Bulgarian head of state in eight years, Mr. Stoyanov said his talks were "parti-cularly effective" and conducted "in a climate of good will". "Greek-Bulgarian relations are defined not just in the c ontext of two neighbouring and friendly countries but assume a new meaning and framework in the light of Bulgaria's strategic objective for accession to the EU and NATO," Mr. Stoyanov said, stressing that Athens clearly supports Sofia's bid for accession to the two organisations.

V. Papandreou says tourism revenue still dropping

The tourism sector was the focus of Development Minister Vasso Papandreou's address to a ruling PASOK party meeting on Rhodes.

Ms Papandreou said that tourism in Greece was operating in a "vicious circle". Although tourist arrivals have increased, income created by tourism has actually dropped as hotels are offering greater discounts to foreign operators, she said.

Presenting a national strategy for the sector, the minister said that the current model of mass tourism needs to be replaced or added to with additional forms of tourism, such as ecological, cultural, marine, rural, religious etc.

She also stressed the need for the development of additional tourism infrastructure, with facilities such as golf courses, thalassotherapy centres, conference centers etc.

Ms Papandreou also underlined the need for more luxury hotel accommodations to assist the growth of "high-end tourism", saying that first category and luxury hotel beds accounted for only 27 per cent of the total.

Solar refrigerator inaugurated in Crete

A Renewable Energy Sources Centre and a solar refrigerator were inaugurated in the Vatali Prasse region near Hania, Crete last night, which will be used by communities in the region for the needs of refrigerating and preserving farm and stockbreeding prod ucts.

The ceremony was attended by Agriculture Undersecretary Vassilis Geranidis, the North Rhine Research Minister Mr. Brun, the Palestinian Higher Education Minister Mr. Abrawi, the Palestinian Minister to the Presidency Abu-Ada and the Jordanian Commerce Minister Mr. Malki.

Wanted German suspect arrested in Halkidiki

A German national wanted by Interpol for fraud and embezzlement in his country involving millions of deutschmarks was arrested on Friday in Polygyros, Halkidiki, police sources said here Saturday.

George-Ralf Planck (phonetic spelling), 50, had been staying in a rented apartment near Vourvourou.

During his stay in Greece, Planck is alleged to have used forged documents, including a false Belgian passport and a driver's licence in the name of Johann Peters.

Police stopped him on Friday afternoon on the Nea Moudania-Sithonia highway and after checking his fingerprints, ascertained that it was Planck.

The suspect was due to appear before a public prosecutor in Polygyros, charged with using forged documents, while the procedures have already begun for his extradition.

Greece 4th at Eurobasket

Greece's national men's basketball team came fourth at the European Basketball Championship here after losing yesterday to Russia 97-77. Yugoslavia beat Italy 61-49 retaining the championship.

On Saturday night Greece lost to Yugoslavia 88-80 in a semi-final match and lost the opportunity to play in the final.

IOC delegate from Peru satisfied with Olympiad facilities

Peru's International Olympics Committee (IOC) delegate, Ivan Dibos, yesterday said he was satisfied with a presentation of Athens' candidacy to host the Olympic Games in 2004.

The presentation was made for him by candidacy committee president Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki.

Mr. Dibos was given a guided tour of sports installations at Peace and Friendship Stadium and the Athens Olympic Stadium on Saturday.

Immediately after a ceremony at the "Park for IOC members" on Friday where he planted an olive tree bearing his name, Mr. Dibos said: "I have planted many trees as mayor of Lima, but what I feel today I have never felt before." Two more IOC members arrived in Athens on Saturday. They are Vitaly Smirnov from Russia and Nat Intrapana from Thailand.


A two-day heatwave that gripped Greece over the weekend subsided yesterday evening. Strong northerly winds in the west and north with few local clouds and possible local showers and thunderstorms. Athens will be sunny with a drop in temperatures ranging from 23-35C. Thessaloniki will be sunny to partly cloudy with a possible thunderstorm at night in the mountainous regions with temperatures between 20-32C.


Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 273.296 Pound sterling 460.883 Cyprus pd 530.383 French franc 46.344 Swiss franc 186.436 German mark 156.166 Italian lira (100) 16.040 Yen (100) 241.125 Canadian dlr. 197.805 Australian dlr. 203.955 Irish Punt 416.243 Belgian franc 7.568 Finnish mark 52.493 Dutch guilder 138.746 Danish kr. 41.017 Swedish kr. 35.442 Norwegian kr. 37.508 Austrian sch. 22.181 Spanish peseta 1.850 Port. Escudo 1.548


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