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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 04/08/1997 (ANA)


  • Government delegation to visit Tirana
  • Father and son arrested for murder, rape
  • Turkish Chamber delegation to visit Lesbos
  • Greek troops return from Albania
  • US dominates in track and field at World Championships in Athens
  • Delivery of modern weapons system
  • Greece second safest country in Europe for tourists
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Government delegation to visit Tirana

A seven-member government delegation headed by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos leaves for Tirana tomorrow in an effort to place Greek-Albanian relations on a new footing following recent general elections in the neighbouring country.

It will be the first visit by foreign ministers to Tirana and comes just five days after the international community agreed at a meeting in Rome to provide economic aid to Albania.

The one-day meeting was attended by delegations from 35 countries and international organisations and will be followed by a larger conference on Albania's future again in Italy sometime in the autumn.

Among the issues to be discussed between the government of Fatos Nanos and the Greek delegation are the despatch of advisers and equipment for the re- organisation of the Albanian army, the guarding of the common border also on the Albanian side and the liberalisation of education through the granting of permits for the operation of private schools.

The Greek delegation is also expected to confirm Athens' intention to expedite a promised loan of 20 million dollars and its continued support within the European Union for the granting of Community economic assistance to Albania.

Lastly, the two sides will exchange the relevant diplomatic notes for the entry into force of the agreement signed providing for the seasonal employment of Albanians in Greece.

At the same time, there is expected to be a broad discussion about the issue of illegal immigrants in Greece.

In addition to Pangalos, participating in the Greek delegation will be Public Order Minister George Romeos, National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, National Economy Undersecretary Alexandros Baltas, Public Works Undersecretary Dimitris Verelis and Labour Undersecretary Christos Protopappas.

Speaking in Thessaloniki, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos described as "a good beginning" the delegation's visit to Albania tomorrow.

"It is perfectly natural that a Greek government delegation should visit and talk with our neighbours, for whom we have the best feelings and with whom we maintain relations of longstanding friendship and economic, social and cultural cooperation," Tsohatzopoulos said, replying to reporters questions.

Father and son arrested for murder, rape

Police in northern Greece have arrested three Georgians, including a father and son, for the murder of a Romanian, rape and robbery.

According to the police, Nikoloz Mantartziev, 50, his son Malkhaz, 24 and Ivan Mantaniev, 22, (phonetic spellings), all from Georgia, last Thursday were lying in wait on a path used by illegal immigrants entering Greece from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Armed with a revolver and two pistols, they intended to rob anyone who passed.

Four Romanians, two men and two women, came along the path, were stopped by the Georgians and led to the nearby abandoned railway station of Axioupolis.

The Georgians robbed and tied up the two men, Johan Lucian Boga, 21 and Nikolae Nitou, 24 (phonetic spellings) and raped one of the two women in front of them.

Boga managed to free himself and although unarmed, attacked the Georgians. During the ensuing fight, one of the Georgians shot Boga, hitting a main artery in his leg, resulting in his death a few minutes later from massive haemorraging.

On the basis of the descriptions provided by the three Romanians, the police arrested the Georgians who were later positively identified by their victims.

The three arrested had been staying in Gorgopi, Kilkis prior to their arrest.

Turkish Chamber delegation to visit Lesbos

A delegation from the Chamber of Commerce of the Turkish town of Pergamum will visit Mytilene on Thursday within the framework of an initiative of Lesbos Prefecture to improve relations between the island and the opposite Turkish coast.

The visit follows a highly successful concert given by the Greek Radio and Television (ERT 3) orchestra in Pergamum as part of the same initiative.

Hospitality to the Turkish visitors will be extended for two days by the company "Hellenic Salt Works" and Lesbos Prefecture.

During their stay, they will be shown round the "Hellenic Salt Works" installations and have meetings with their chamber counterparts as well as with businesspeople on the island.

Greek troops return from Albania

The largest part of the Greek contigent which participated in the multinational peace force in Albania returned home yesterday, while a seven- member Greek government delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos leaves tomorrow for an official visit to Tirana.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday morning welcomed, during a special ceremony in the port of Thessaloniki, 278 officers and non- commissioned officers of the Greek army ELDAL (Greek Force for Albania) unit who arrived at 9.30 am, aboard Navy transport ships "Samos" and "Hios".

About seventy troops are still in Albania and are expected to return home by August 10. The first company of the Greek force arrived in the neighbouring country in mid-April. The multinational force's task was to help restore normality in Albania and as sist towards the holding of democratic elections. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos conveyed the government's congratulations for successfully carrying out their mission, stressing that "the fact that you have all returned, is the greatest joy for us".

In reference to the mission, the defence minister said that "the presence and initiatives of the Greek force made possible the holding of free and democratic elections in Albania, justifying the (soldiers') choice for taking part in the mission and the G reek people's support for it and thus opening the way for Greek armed forces to assume a role of 'ambassador of peace' in countries faced with long crises, instability and anomaly, and confirming Greece's role as a factor of peace, stability and cooperati on in the Balkans".

The minister made reference to the human dimension of the mission, saying that the men of ELDAL offered more than just protection with "the unique and spontaneous connection" they made with the Albanian people, through the solidarity developed between Gr eek soldiers, Albanian citizens and the local military.

US dominates in track and field at World Championships in Athens

The United States dominated in yesterday's track and field events, collecting two gold medals during the second day of the Athens '97 World Athletics Championships. American Maurice Greene last night upset favourites Ato Bolton and defending champion Donovan Bailey to win the menYs 100 metres gold medal in 9.86 seconds.

Donovan Bailey of Canada took the silver in 9.91 seconds and American Tim Montgomery the bronze with 9.94.

American Marion Jones won the womenYs 100 metres gold medal in 10.83 seconds. Zhanna Pintussevich of the Ukraine took the silver in 10.85 and Bahamian Sevatheda Fynes took the bronze medal in 11.03 seconds.

German Heinz Weis won the hammer gold medal with 81.78 metres yesterday. Before his final attempt, Weis was second to Ukainian Andrei Skvaruk.

Skvaruk had been seemingly out of medal contention but in his final thow took the lead with 81.46 metres, winning the silver medal.

Russian Vasiliy Sidorenko took the bronze with 80.76 metres.

In the shot put finals, on Saturday, Ukrainian veteran Aleksandr Bagach won his first world title with 21.47 metres, after a close battle with defending champion Jonh Godina.

American Godina took the silver with 21.44 metres and Oliver-Sven Buder of Germany won bronze with 21.24 metres.

Mexican Daniel Garcia won the menYs 20 kms walk gold medal on Saturday, while Russian Mikhail Shchennikov took the silver and Mikhail Khmelnitsky of Belarus the bronze. Medals table after yesterday's second day of competition: United States: 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze; Ukraine: 1 gold, 2 silver; Germany: 1 gold, 1 bronze; Mexico: 1 gold; Russia: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Canada: 1 silver; Belarus: 1 bronze; Bahamas: 1 bronze.

Russia's double Olympic champion Svetlana Masterkova left the world championships area on a stretcher yesterday after pulling up with a leg injury in the womenYs 1,500 metres semifinals.

Masterkova, who dominated the 800 and 1,500 metres at last yearYs Atlanta Olympics, pulled up in the last 100 metres of the heat and hobbled over the line in last place.

The Russian, who looked far from her best in the first round on Saturday, was carried away on a stretcher.

Greece's sprinters Angelos Pavlakakis and Katerina Thanou made a brave effort but failed to reach the finals of the 100 m. race.

Pavlakakis came sixth in the semi-finals, clocking 10.29 seconds. Thanou, who also failed to be among the fist four places which would have given her the ticket for the finals, timed 11.34 seconds.

Greece's athletes did not perform well in the morning events, except for javelin thrower Kostas Gatzioudis, who in his first attempt threw the javelin 83 metres and 32 centimetres and qualified for today's final.

In the long jump, Kostas Koukodimos and Dimitris Hatzopoulos did not meet the required standard set for entry into the finals.

Costas Mamoulides failed to go beyond the preliminary stage of the 400 metres.

Delivery of modern weapons system

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday attended a ceremony in the port of Thessaloniki, to mark the delivery of a modern weapons system.

Addressing military and civil officials at the delivery of nine US-made MLRS missile launchers, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that reinforcing Greece's defence capability ensures that no-one will dare dispute the nation's sovereignty.

The defence minister stressed that with the modern weaponry its military is acquiring, Greece is sending out the message that it is a force of security and stability in the region. Yesterday's delivery concludes the formation of the MLRS Multiple Lau nchers Battalion, originally established in 1995 after the delivery of the first nine launchers. The procurement contract with the US was signed in 1995 and their total cost rises to 27 billion drachmas. Army Chief of Staff Manousos Paragioudakis said t hat the MLRS is considered one of the most advanced weapon systems in the world and is widely used in NATO defence forces.

The mobile launchers are based on all-terrain vehicles and feature fully automated launching procedures. Their capability to launch 12 missiles simultaneously, is equivalent to the fire power of 90, 155 mm artillery guns. Their range at the moment is 32 kilometres but it will increase to 165 and later to 300 with ammunition upgrades.

Greece second safest country in Europe for tourists

Greece is the second safest country in Europe for tourists, according to research carried out by the French insurers' Centre of Documentation and Information.

Portugal was the first country among European states, with two reports for theft per 1,000 residents. Greece has an average of four thefts per 1,000 residents, while Spain and France ranked third and fourth with six and eight thefts respectively.

Apart from Italy which is not contained in the report by the French centre, Belgium and Sweden have an average of 16 thefts reported per 1,000 residents, while Germany has 18, Finland 19, Denmark 20, Britain 27, and finally, Holland 37.


Today the weather is expected to be fine throughout the country, with some cloud developing in the north, later in the day. Mild northerly winds are forecast, strong in parts of the Aegean. Athens can expect almost fine weather with temperatures ranging between 22 and 33 degrees centigrade. Similar conditions for Thessaloniki with temperatures 19-29C.


Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.577 Pound sterling 468.819 Cyprus pd 528.339 French franc 45.900 Swiss franc 188.678 German mark 154.727 Italian lira (100) 15.862 Yen (100) 240.362 Canadian dlr. 207.130 Australian dlr. 212.119 Irish Punt 414.358 Belgian franc 7.495 Finnish mark 51.830 Dutch guilder 137.362 Danish kr. 40.614 Swedish kr. 35.722 Norwegian kr. 37.319 Austrian sch. 21.991 Spanish peseta 1.833 Port. Escudo 1.531


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