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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 14/08/1997 (ANA)


  • Ecumenical Patriarch to visit US
  • Milutinovic assesses visit to Athens
  • Stephanopoulos to tour Peloponnese
  • Cyprus talks continue despite Turkish Cypriot objections
  • IOC members continue visits to Athens
  • Augusta makers protest Merchant Marine ministry decision
  • Messages marking Armed Forces Day
  • Government aims to revitalise rural districts
  • Work on Athens' new airport proceeds at fast pace
  • Sariza mineral water withdrawn
  • Olympiakos thrashes Mozyr 5-0
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Ecumenical Patriarch to visit US

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Vartholomeos I, spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians, will visit the United States for one-month in October, a Patriarchate spokesman told the ANA today.

A programme of his visit released to ANA said the Patriarch will begin the tour, his first to the US, on October 19 and returning to his See on November 17.

He will be welcomed on arrival at Andrews Air Force Base by Archbishop Spyridon of North and South America, Cabinet members, members of the diplomatic corps, Orthodox hierarchs, ecumenical leaders, senators, congressmen, clergy and laity throughout the U.S.

During his visit, the Patriarch will meet with Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish and Moslem leaders, and hold talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

One of the highlights of the visit will be his meeting with Cardinal William Keeler as part of efforts to cement relations between the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches, which split in 1054.

He will also be the first Orthodox Patriarch to officiate at a service in a Catholic church in the U.S., when he presides over a prayer service at the Basilica of the national Shrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Baltimore, Maryland on October 23.

Other highlights will be a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in New York's Madison Square Garden and a prayer service at the Martin Luther King Centre for Social Change in Atlanta.

On the first leg of his tour, in Washington D.C., the Patriarch will visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and hold talks with Jewish leaders. He will also address the first the First Orthodox-Muslim Dialogue in America at the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.

Other cities on his itinerary are New Jersey, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Des Moines, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Florence (Arizona) and Pittsburgh.

Milutinovic assesses visit to Athens

Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic characterised his talks in Athens with Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos as "very constructive and comprehensive", according to statements he made to a Serb television station after returning from Greece this week.

Mr. Milutinovic believes the greatest progress in bilateral relations was made in the economic and investment sector. He also stressed Greece's support for the Yugoslav Federal Republic's return to the international community, particularly the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Mention was also made in Athens, he said, of a Balkan summit to be held in November on the island of Crete. Mr. Milutinovic's reference to the summit was interpreted by the Yugoslav press as a declaration that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was planning to attend.

The Foreign Minister expressed the hope that bilateral trade would increase, as great store is being set by commercial agreements expected to be signed.

The Yugoslav press yesterday focussed on the announcement of a loan from Greece for the construction of a national road network from Belgrade to Skopje, capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The "Nasa Borba" newspaper quoted a US State Department spokesperson's comment that it was up to Greece to make such decisions, which are not governed by the sactions which the US continues to impose on Belgrade. The US is demanding better cooperation from Yugoslavia with regard to the implementation of the Dayton accord and respect for minority rights in Serbia.

Stephanopoulos to tour Peloponnese

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to visit Messinia on 27 August, according to informed sources. He is also to visit the prefectures of Laconia and Arcadia on 28 and 29 August, respectively.

Cyprus talks continue despite Turkish Cypriot objections

Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash yesterday expressed his objections to a new United Nations document submitted on Tuesday for discussion at talks with Cyprus Republic President Glafcos Clerides near Montreux, Switzerland.

Talks continue today in the presence of Diego Cordovez, the UN secretary general's special advisor on the Cyprus issue, as diplomatic observers have stated that neither Mr. Denktash nor Turkey can afford a walk-out at this point. The two leaders are meeting for the second time after July in direct talks under UN auspices.

According to reports, the new document under discussion includes a draft for a joint communique to be signed by both leaders, and a lengthier annex named "Guidelines for drafts of legal documents which will contain a settlement for the solution of the Cyprus issue".

Mr. Denktash criticized the contents of the document and the procedure to be followed, and reiterated his opposition to the continuing process for Cyprus' accession to the European Union (EU).

According to sources, the document contains two changes that don't alter the essence of an initial document that was submitted during the first round of direct talks in Troutbeck, New York, from July 9 to 12. The documents are drafted along the plan for a bizonal, bicommunal single unity.

The same sources said one of the changes in the new document includes the deletion of a reference on "sovereignty" emanating from the two communities. It says instead that there should be one federalist state with single and indivisible sovereignty. It retains all other references to political equality between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.

The other change concerns the addition of a paragraph calling for the strict observation of all international treaties on human rights.

The document does not contain any reference to the need for the withdrawal of foreign occupation forces and settlers (from the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus), nor to the island's demilitarisation, or the deployment of multinational forces, something which the Greek Cypriot side has called for.

Whatever powers are not vested in the federal government shall be handed over to the federated states, each of which shall be responsible for its own administration, security, law and order and justice, all of which should be compatible with the federal constitution. This latter shall also include provisions for solving differences, but the document does not detail the method.

The last paragraph of the document mentions that the talks aiming for a solution to the Cyprus problem are carried on with respect of one side for the other, in an effort to establish a joint partnership based on a spirit of friendship and cooperation. This means that both sides must pledge to change policies that might possibly create problems in the effort to establish the federal republic of Cyprus.

Diplomatic observers expressed fears that this particular point could be interpreted by the Turkish Cypriot side as an argument either against Cyprus' accession talks to the EU or against the deployment of the Russian- made SS-300 missiles in the island republic.

The first section of the document, acting as a joint communique, consists of five paragraphs, while the guidelines consist of 13 paragraphs.

The joint communique section includes the provision that talks to formulate a constitution shall be held in parallel with talks on the rest of the issues related to the bizonal and bicommunal unity.

IOC members continue visits to Athens

With only three weeks remaining for the crucial day of September 5 when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is due to announce its decision over the city that will host the Olympic Games in the year 2004, IOC members continue their visits to the five candidate cities.

The six members of the IOC currenty in Athens are from Israel, Libya, Norway, Australia, New Zealand and China.

The IOC life members yesterday planted olive trees with their names on them in Athens' IOC Members Park. They were also shown around the Olympic Stadium and were briefed on the Athens file to host the 2004 Olympics.

Augusta makers protest Merchant Marine ministry decision

Italian helicopter-makers Augusta company has appealed to the Council of State to cancel a decision for the purchase of six search-and-rescue helicopters by the Merchant Marine ministry.

Augusta argued that the tender and decision for the purchase excluded middle-sized helicopters, made for 18 of the 24 existing types of helicopters, violated Greek presidential decision 370/1995 on preventing favoritism among suppliers and was too costly.

According to the company, the 18 billion drachmas allotted for the purchase was enough only for three heavy-duty helicopters, while statistics on rescue missions show that middle-sized helicopters which would cost less were perfectly able to be used for rescue missions.

The helicopters will be used by the Port Authorities and according to the tender specifications may hold up to 12 rescued people.

Messages marking Armed Forces Day

Political parties and leaders issued messages for Armed Forces Day tomorrow.

New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said in his message that "the armed forces provide a living guarantee of the independence, integrity and the honour of the nation," and that the responsibility of political forces is to formulate a single and long-term foreign and defence policy, which is the only one effectively capable of securing the country against any provocations and designs.

The Coalition of the Left stressed the importance of promoting a national strategy of peace and security, but also the need for transparency and control of armaments contracts and procurements.

Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas stressed that the state must contribute to further strengthening the armed forces through economic upgrading and meritocracy for officers, and the rational and transparent utilisation of funds for defence.

Government aims to revitalise rural districts

Interior and Public Administration Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said yesterday that reactions against government plans for the merging of the multitude of the country's small municipalities into larger units have been overplayed by a section of the press.

He said that many recommendations and observations had been taken into account, but what could not be accepted as a factor in the mapping out of the new municipalities was the personal strategies of local strongmen and their parochial interests.

Finally, he reiterated that the endeavour aimed at revitalising rural districts that were in a state of collapse.

Work on Athens' new airport proceeds at fast pace

Work for the new Athens airport at Spata are proceeding at a pace faster than envisaged by the plan, it was reported yesterday.

One year after the laying of the founding stone, 60 per cent of earth removing works has been completed, and construction of the main building of the airport is proceeding normally.

Also, since August 1, work has started on the water supply and drainage systems and the fire station.

Sariza mineral water withdrawn

The Health Ministry has ordered the withdrawal of "Sariza" bottled mineral and soda water after lab tests found enterococcus and pseudomonad micro- organisms in bottle samplings.

The infectious pseudomonad can resist even the strongest antibiotics. The bottling plant on Andros island was also shut down pending disinfection.

The Ministry said the problem was pinpointed at the plant, while the famed Sariza spring was given a clean bill of health.

Olympiakos thrashes Mozyr 5-0

Olympiakos last night beat Mozyr of Belarus 5-0 in the preliminary round of the European Champions soccer League.

The held at the Athens Olympic Stadium was attended by 50,000 spectators who saw an impressive Olympiakos score all five goals in the second half. The return match will take place in Belarus on August 27.


Unsettled weather will continue in most parts of Greece today, with possible showers and thurderstorms in the mainland and the islands of the northern and eastern Aegean Sea. Winds northerly, light to moderate, becoming strong in the southern Aegean. Athens will be partly cloudy with possible showers in the afternoon and temperatures from 19-28C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 18-28C.


Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 289.638 Pound sterling 455.569 Cyprus pd 532.199 French franc 46.430 Swiss franc 190.272 German mark 156.554 Italian lira (100) 15.997 Yen (100) 248.712 Canadian dlr. 207.655 Australian dlr. 214.928 Irish Punt 416.008 Belgian franc 7.581 Finnish mark 52.275 Dutch guilder 139.022 Danish kr. 41.100 Swedish kr. 36.277 Norwegian kr. 37.734 Austrian sch. 22.251 Spanish peseta 1.854 Port. Escudo 1.545


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