Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-21
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 21/07/1997 (ANA)
- Clerides cites need for quick Cyprus solution, `common future`
- Turkey calls for Cyprus' annexation on black anniversary
- Greece proposes regional security body covering Balkans, Caucasus
- Premier says `98 municipal elections significant for PASOK
- Athens still adamant on FYROM issue
- Athens` Olympic bid aired on CNN
- SAE headquarters inaugurated in Thessaloniki
- FOREIGN EXCHANGE
NEWS IN DETAIL
Clerides cites need for quick Cyprus solution, `common future`
President of the Cyprus Republic Glafcos Clerides reiterated the Nicosia
government's desire for a solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem "the
soonest possible" and stressed the need for Greek and Turkish Cypriots to
envisage a common future.
In a message to the people of Cyprus on the occasion of a July 15, 1974
coup against the Cypriot government staged by the military junta then
ruling Greece and the bloody Turkish invasion of the island republic that
followed five days later, President Clerides described these "tragic
events" as "the darkest periods of Cyprus' history".
Noting the consequences, such as the number of people killed, the missing,
the refugees and the violation of fundamental human rights, he stressed
that at the same time "the illegal colonisation and adverse conditions
created" in the Turkish-occupied north forced "many of our Turkish Cypriot
compatriots in the occupied area to emigrate".
"They are quickly disappearing as a community," he pointed out.
Mr. Clerides stressed that one of the conclusions of these tragic events is
that "we must all respect fully our democratic institutions and engage in
continuous dialogue and in a spirit of mutual understanding reach
He added that a second conclusion concerns the relations between the Greek
and Turkish Cypriot communities, calling on all to recall "not only the
bitter experiences of the past but also the happy experiences of harmonious
President Clerides stressed that the two communities "must envisage and
plan a common future" and noted that "as we enter the 21st century we must
abandon the mentality and practices which have brought about so many ills
He said a fair solution must be found that "will heal the wounds of the
past" and establish "a climate of confidence, mutual understanding and
Noting that the Greek Cypriot side has shown "goodwill and made painful
concessions" in these 23 years, he also added that the government showed a
positive attitude during the UN-led direct negotiations between himself and
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash held in the United States July 9-12.
Stressing that it will show the same attitude in the second round of
negotiations, scheduled to be held in Switzerland Aug. 11-16, President
Clerides said "our fervent desire is to achieve a solution to the
Cyprus problem the soonest possible.
"We all hope that the process that has already started may be the starting
point of an unprecedented effort to find a solution," he added.
Mr. Clerides said government policy has increased international involvement
on the Cyprus issue, while its European Union course as well as a joint
defence pact agreed with Greece in 1993 have "increased hopes for finding a
Noting that the efforts for a solution "will be very difficult and complex",
he stressed that "our future on the land of our ancestors depends on the
outcome of this course".
Assuring he will devote all his energy "to ensure that this course may have
the desirable conclusion to the benefit of the two communities," President
Clerides stressed he will not accept a solution "that will not safeguard
the future of Greek Cypriots, whatever the price we may have to pay for our
He also referred to an agreement reached during negotiations in New York to
meet with Mr. Denktash in Nicosia, before the second round of talks, in
order to discuss the issue of the persons missing since the Turkish
invasion as well as living conditions of about 500 Greek Cypriots who have
remained in their homes in the occupied areas.
"I am sure that with the solidarity of the people and Greeks everywhere,
with the close cooperation and assistance of the Greek government, the
political parties of Greece and the Greek people as well as the solidarity
and active support of other states and political figures, our struggle will
be successful," he concluded.
Turkey calls for Cyprus' annexation on black anniversary
Turkey marked the 23rd anniversary of its 1974 invasion of the island
republic with a call for the integration of the occupied north of Cyprus
and with mass vilations of the island republic's airspace.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who as prime minister ordered
the 1974 invasion, said annexation of the self-proclaimed 'Turkish republic
of northern Cyprus' (TRNC) -- which is recognised only by Ankara -- was
inevitable after the European Union last week gave the go-ahead for
accession negotiations with the Cyprus Republic while excluding Turkey.
Ecevit said the 'TRNC' would "live forever as an independent state, but its
foreign policy and defence will be handled by Turkey".
A joint declaration issued by Turkey and the pseudo-state outlined a
proposed series of steps toward integration, including efforts on defence,
foreign and economic policies.
Turkey maintains more than 30,000 troops in the occupied north. The Turkish
invasion in 1974, code-named "Attila", caused widespread death and
destruction and turned 200,000 Cypriots into refugees in their own land,
while 1,619 persons, among them five U.S. citizens, went missing during the
invasion and occupation.
Greece proposes regional security body covering Balkans, Caucasus
Upon completing a four-day tour of the Caucasus with the visit to Baku on
Friday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told the ANA that he had set out to his
counterparts ideas and proposals for establishing a regional security
organisation covering the Balkans and the Caucasus.
In Baku, the Greek defence minister met with Azerbaijan's President Haidar
Aliyev and the country's top political and military leaders.
He reported that the response was positive, and that there would soon be
clear and specific agreements for the promotion of such proposals. It had
been agreed, he added, that units of the Hellenic armed forces would also
participate in exercises in the Black Sea and the Caspian.
Asked to comment on Turkish criticism over Athens' initiatives in the
region, particularly a defence cooperation agreement with Armenia, Mr.
Tsohatzopoulos stressed that "Greece has been and will be a force of peace,
security, cooperation and stability, both in the Balkans and the Caucasus,
and nobody will stop us from implementing this".
He also said his visit to the region confirmed that both the Balkans and
the Caucasus belonged to the same geopolitical region.
The defence minister also expressed support for the initiatives of the so-
called "Minsk group" of countries for the finding of "a just and peaceful
solution" to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh, which would guarantee
"Azerbaijan's sovereign rights", and formulate "terms of collective
security, cooperation and stability in the region."
Discussion with the Azeri leaders included bilateral political and economic
It should also be noted that the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation
(OTE) has submitted proposals for the carrying out of projects in the
Premier says `98 municipal elections significant for PASOK
Speaking at the end of his ruling PASOK party's two-day central committee
meeting in Nafplion on Saturday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said next
year's municipal elections have an increased significance for the
He emphasised municipal elections' significance by saying their success
will be a measure of the government policy's appeal and a criterion of the
electorate's support and citizens' confidence, thus enabling PASOK to re-
earn a mandate for continuation o f its four-year term.
Mr. Simitis said this is essential because time is necessary for results to
appear on many projects the government has started.
Referring to the "Ioannis Kapodistrias" programme concerning local
community mergers, Mr. Simitis said an almost universal coincidence of
views resulted, adding that what is required from now on is for this policy
to be disseminated to citizens.
Mr. Simitis called on all PASOK cadres to be present at the time of crisis,
stressing that it is up to the government to turn the plan into practice,
while he expressed certainty that this will happen.
He further said that the regional administration of each country is not
standardised (referring to the examples of Italy and Britain), noting that
efforts aimed at decentralisation started in 1981 and that what is
necessary is for the new formation to operate effectively and democratically.
PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said the party will undertake initiatives
at a central and regional level, opening a dialogue with other parties and
stressing that worthy cadres must be selected as local election candidates.
Athens still adamant on FYROM issue
Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said yesterday that Greece
was still seeking satisfaction of its well-known and permanent positions in
UN-sponsored negotiations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM) over the latter's name.
"The international community must understand that we do not accept doubts
or confusion regarding our identity," he said in his opening address to the
World Conference of Pan-Macedonian Associations in Thessaloniki.
The minister defended the now defunct embargo imposed by Greece on
"The decision was neither easy nor painless, but it was necessary, and led
to the abandonment (on FYROM's part) of irredentist claims, to a change of
symbols and the signing of the New York interim accord, which in turn, led
to a speedy and substantive improvement of relations between the two
countries," he said.
Mr. Petsalnikos announced that this year's 'Alexander The Great' awards,
established by his ministry for philhellene politicians, would go to the
chairman of the US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee, Ben
Gilman, former Australian PM Paul Keating and British MP Eddie O'Hara.
The 'Aristotelis' awards for scientists and researchers would go to
Canadian professor Ted McWinney, Australian archaeologist Norman George
Aston and his Austrian colleague Hans Swabl.
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, who also
spoke at the opening of the conference, said "there is no room for
political party games and personal strategies" in the handling of national
issues, and that Greece's wish to live i n peace, friendship and cooperation
with its neighbours "cannot lead to easy solutions and compromises, or make
us accept any pressures that are exercised on us".
Athens` Olympic bid aired on CNN
The president of the Athens 2004 Olympic candidacy committee, Gianna
Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, told CNN on Friday that the Greek capital holds the
prospect of a "virtually new city" as regards public transport, telecoms,
the environment, accommodations and sports installations.
"Most sports installations are already in place, and we have the financial
guarantees for completing all additional necessary projects well before
2004," she added.
Replying to a remark that Athens faces difficult traffic problems, Ms
Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said that any existing difficulties will be
effectively met with large projects already underway, such as the
underground metro, which she claimed will be ready in 1999, the city's new
airport at Spata (scheduled for completion by 2000) and a number of
circular roads. These projects, she said, will drastically change the
situation regarding public transport in Athens.
Turning to the economic impact of the Olympics, she said: "we expect 130,
000 new jobs to be created. The overall benefit will be huge..."
Regarding security, she said, "Greece is a safe country, as INTERPOL and
other independent analyses show. We have one of the lowest crime rates in
Europe, and moreover, what is very important is that no incident has taken
place during any sports, political, or other event that Greece has
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to select the host city of the
Games of 2004 in September.
SAE headquarters inaugurated in Thessaloniki
The World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) has its own headquarters in
Thessaloniki after SAE's offices were inaugurated in the country's second
largest city by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and SAE's
President Andrew Athens last night in the presence of authorities, deputies
and expatriate officials.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Papandreou said yesterday was "a moving moment
for every Greek immigrant, who ascertains today that his home is being
Fair weather is forecast over most of the country, with local cloud
expected in central mainland and northern Greece in the afternoon and
evening. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with
temperatures ranging from 22 to 36 C, and Thessaloniki should see some
light cloud in the evening, with temperatures 20-33 C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.347
Pound sterling 468.224 Cyprus pd 532.565
French franc 46.180 Swiss franc 189.026
German mark 155.893 Italian lira (100) 16.030
Yen (100) 242.504 Canadian dlr. 203.459
Australian dlr. 206.782 Irish Punt 418.307
Belgian franc 7.551 Finnish mark 52.878
Dutch guilder 138.518 Danish kr. 41.001
Swedish kr. 35.986 Norwegian kr. 37.847
Austrian sch. 22.162 Spanish peseta 1.854
Port. Escudo 1.547