Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-29
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 29/07/1997 (ANA)
- Greece has "no reason" to comment on "para-Egnatia" statements
- Meeting of Greek and Turkish committees of experts still possible
- Ministerial delegation to visit Albania next Tuesday
- Simitis chairs meeting on national issues
- Tsohatzopoulos in talks with former US presidential advisor
- Greece takes delivery of four new F-16 fighter jets
- Stringent security measures for World Athletics Championships
- Mirage jet crashes in sea, pilot missing
- Greek envoy submits memorandum to US gov't on Turkish violations
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece has "no reason" to comment on "para-Egnatia" statements
Greece has no reason to comment on statements about an initiative for the
construction of the so-called "para-Egnatia" highway made after a meeting
between the presidents of Bulgaria and Turkey, government spokesman
Dimitris Reppas said today.
Reppas said Athens did not believe the "para-Egnatia" project could go
ahead, reiterating that what Greece was interested in was the completion of
the Egnatia Highway and the opening of vertical road axes "so that the
Egnatia acquires value and can help the neighbouring countries".
The spokesman was referring to statements made by Bulgarian President Petar
Stoyanov and his Turkish counterpart, Suleyman Demirel during an ongoing
three-day visit by the former to Ankara.
The so-called "para-Egnatia" project, discussed in the past by Bulgaria,
Turkey, Albania and FYROM, concerns the construction of a highway through
the Balkans, linking Durres on the Adriatic with Istanbul.
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said
recently that the Egnatia Highway, being built on Greek soil, would be
finished by the year 2000.
When complete, the Egnatia Highway will span the breadth of northern Greece,
extending for 680 kilometres from the port of Igoumenitsa on the Ionian Sea
to the Greek-Turkish border.
Reppas underlined that relations between Greece and Bulgaria were excellent,
while noting that Athens desired friendly relations with all countries.
"The issue of the so-called para-Egnatia has been discussed in the past and
the hopes of those who believed it might proceed proved to be groundless
because due not only to a lack of funds but also of the necessary interest,
" Reppas said.
Meeting of Greek and Turkish committees of experts still possible
The government today once again left open the possibility of a meeting
between the Greek and the Turkish committees of experts set up recently to
examine procedural matters related to Greek-Turkish differences.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said however that the issue would be
dealt with "during the next period", without clarifying which period he was
Reppas said Greece had not yet replied to the second memorandum prepared
and sent by the Turkish committee, via the European Union presidency,
adding that "in the present phase, the procedure will continue through the
exchange of letters".
The spokesman clarified that the issue of the Greek committee of experts'
third memorandum had not been discussed at today's meeting of the foreign
ministry leadership chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Ministerial delegation to visit Albania next Tuesday
A delegation of ministers headed by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos
will visit Tirana next Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
Noting that it had not yet been decided which ministers would participate,
the spokesman said that Public Order Minister George Romeos would certainly
Simitis chairs meeting on national issues
Prime Minister Costas Simitis today chaired a meeting of the foreign
ministry leadership focusing on national issues.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Alternate
Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos
According to sources, discussion centred on Greek-Turkish relations and the
Cyprus problem, in view of the resumption of direct talks between Cyprus
President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash
scheduled for August 11-16 in Montreux, Switzerland.
Also discussed were the latest violations of Greek airspace over the Aegean
by Turkish warplanes and the agenda for tomorrow's meeting of the
Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA).
No statements were made after the meeting.
Tsohatzopoulos in talks with former US presidential advisor
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos met today with visiting
former U.S. presidential advisor George Stephanopoulos, whom he briefed on
developments in the Balkans, the Middle East and the Caucasus, which he
Tsohatzopoulos also pointed out the importance of being able to take part
in initiatives on peace and stability in the wider geopolitical region,
while the two men further exchanged "useful views" on the Cyprus issue and
Stephanopoulos praised the role Greece could play in the wider region of
southern Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus, where there were regional
Questioned on the Cyprus issue, Stephanopoulos recalled U.S. President Bill
Clinton's interest, which he said was indicated by the mediation of Richard
Holbrooke who, he added, would do everything possible to advance the search
for a solution, as the U.S. believed the time was appropriate for
Tsohatzopoulos said Cyprus was going through a critical period in view of
its prospective EU accession, adding that the Holbrooke mediation indicated
the severity of the problem, which had serious prospects for a solution.
He also described the U.S. government's initiative for a solution of the
problem as being of "immense importance", adding that "on all the other
issues, let us await the protagonists".
Greece takes delivery of four new F-16 fighter jets
The first four F-16 fighter jets of a batch of 40 ordered by Greece in 1992
arrived at the 111 Fighter Wing at Nea Aghialos base yesterday, while the
government will tomorrow take the final decision awarding the tender for
the modernisation of 39 Hellenic Air Force Phantom F-4 jets.
The four F-16 Block 50 -- two twin-seater and two single-seater jets --
were flown to Greece by US pilots via Ramstein, Germany.
The new aircraft are equipped with improved radar systems, a more powerful
engine and an enhanced weapons platform as compared to the F-16s already in
service with the Hellenic Air Force.
Greek pilots had visited the US to receive training for the new aircraft
and they will in turn train colleagues here.
The official entry into service of the new aircraft will be marked by a
special ceremony in late September to be attended by National Defence
Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
The government said yesterday that the final decision awarding the tender
for the modernisation of 39 Hellenic Air Force Phantom F-4 jets would be
taken at tomorrow's meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs
and Defence (KYSEA).
On the basis of the tender terms, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said,
one of which is that the aircraft must be ready by the end of the year 2000,
it had been decided that the bid of the German company -- DASA -- was
superior to that of the US firm which participated in the tender.
Stringent security measures for World Athletics Championships
Over 9,000 policemen will be on duty equipped with the very latest
equipment when the IAAF World Athletics Championships open in Athens on
Friday, Attica police chief Ioannis Georgakopoulos said yesterday.
The giant security operation got under way last Friday and was immediately
apparent to Athenians unaccustomed to seeing so many policemen and cars
patrolling the capital.
Mr. Georgakopoulos said the operation would peak on Friday and continue
until the end of the championships on August 10.
Some 7,500 officers, supported by approximately 1,500 police cadets, will
be on duty during the games, while increased security measures will be
taken for the Marathon and long distance walking races.
Mr. Georgakopoulos said the police would be providing security from the
moment teams arrive at Athens international airport and are escorted to
Police officers will accompany the teams as they travel to and from the
Athens Olympic Sports Complex each day, while security at the hotels will
In particular during the games, Mr. Georgakopoulos said, the police will
carry out stringent checks of people entering the hotels at which athletes
will be staying.
Meanwhile it was announced that International Olympics Committee (IOC)
President Juan Antonio Samaranch will arrive in Athens on Thursday, eve of
the start of the IAAF Championships, while nother prominent IOC member,
Prince Albert of Monaco, is due on August 4.
Mirage jet crashes in sea, pilot missing
A Hellenic Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter plane crashed into the sea
northeast of the island of Skyros yesterday morning as it was carrying out
a training flight, and its pilot was missing, Airforce sources said.
Two helicopters and a C-130 plane joined nearby ships in a search operation
for Lt. Ioakeim Pantelakis, an experienced pilot with 420 flight hours on
Wreckage from the Mirage was spotted 25 nautical miles northeast of
The jet-fighter took off with another Mirage from Tanagra airforce base on
a routine training flight in interception and went crashing into the sea at
10:50, the sources said.
A committee of experts has been set up to investigate the causes of the
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that all Greeks were
grieved by the tragic accident. He said that the tough training by the
Greek Airforce to enable it to meet the responsibility it has to defend the
country, also had its costs.
Greek envoy submits memorandum to US gov't on Turkish violations
Greece's Ambassador in Washington has submitted a memorandum to the US
government setting out in detail the latest spate of violations by Turkish
warplanes of Greek airspace over the Aegean, government spokesman Dimitris
Reppas said yesterday.
Confirming press reports of the memorandum, Mr. Reppas said it clearly
stated Greece's position that "such phenomena not only fail to help but
upset the climate which is being aspired to following the Madrid communique".
He was referring to the joint communique signed by Prime Minister Costas
Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel early this month on the
sidelines of the recent NATO summit in Madrid, defining the principles
which should govern Greek-Turkish rela tions.
"These phenomena (violations) may be sporadic but they must stop," Mr.
Reppas said, clarifying that similar memorandums had not been submitted to
Sporadic showers over Macedonia and Thrace in the afternoon are expected
today. The rest of the country will have fair weather initially, but it may
rain locally over mainland regions later. Winds will be northerly
northeasterly, mostly moderate, but becoming very strong locally in the
Aegean in the afternoon. Athens will be mostly sunny with local clouding in
the afternoon and temperatures ranging from 22-33 C, while Thessaloniki
will be partly cloudy with chances of afternoon showers and temperatures of
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