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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-12-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 30/12/1997 (ANA)


  • Yakovlev crew toxicology tests clean
  • Complaint filed over crash
  • Turks want bilateral meetings between expert c'tees
  • Greece, Albania sign transport cooperation agreement
  • Central Athens pedestrian mall opens
  • Greek peacekeepers to stay in Bosnia
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Yakovlev crew toxicology tests clean

Toxicology tests on the bodies of pilots and crew of the ill-fated Yakovlev- 42 which crashed into the side of a mountain near Thessaloniki on December 17 have shown no trace of alcohol or narcotics use, authorities said today.

Coroner Dimitris Psaroulis said that the internal organs of the three crew had undergone testing for eight categories of narcotic substances and alcohol.

"They were all negative and the issue for us is now closed," Psaroulis told reporters.

The Ukrainian airliner went down in the mountains of Pieria, northern Greece, in as yet undetermined circumstances. The wreckage was found after a three-day search hampered by snow, fog and the rough terrain. There were no survivors of the 70 crew and passengers.

Another two bodies, belonging to Greek passengers Fotis Lepidis and Evangelos Petsis, were identified by their relatives last night.

Psaroulis said that the process of recognising the bodies of the victims had now effectively ended and that the bodies of two young children not found had probably been completely incinerated.

The total number of passengers on the plane is still a point of contention, although the airline company Aerosweet insists that the plane was carrying only the passengers contained on their list.

Sources said that the Greek public order ministry had queried the exact number of passengers on the plane to its Ukrainian opposite number but had yet to receive a reply.

Complaint filed over crash

Prodromos Emfietzoglou, the president of Michaniki construction firm, today lodged a complaint requesting the initiation of criminal proceedings against all those found responsible for the air crash.

Twenty-three of Michaniki's employees were on the plane when it crashed. They were working on projects in Odessa and Mariupol and were returning to Greece for the Christmas holidays.

The complaint lodged by Emfietzoglou calls for criminal charges to be pressed against all those found responsible for the crash of the airliner and the death of at least 71 people aboard.

It claims that the crash came as a result of a series of "illegal acts and negligence" on the part of a number of related services and natural and legal persons, and notes that the flight was carried out by a Yakovlev-42 rather than the aircraft scheduled.

The complaint is being examined by a prosecutor and will most probably be referred to the Public Prosecutor's Office of Thessaloniki which has jurisdiction in the matter.

Turks want bilateral meetings between expert c'tees

The foreign ministry said today that a Turkish committee of experts had sent a letter to its Greek counterpart proposing the continuation of contacts directly between the two sides through the embassies in Athens and Ankara, rather than through the European Union.

Greece and Turkey earlier this year each set up a two-member committee of experts to examine ways of approaching bilateral differences between the two neighbours.

Since then, the two committees have exchanged views through the EU.

According to the foreign ministry, the Turkish experts have now notified their Greek counterparts that "they are obliged to take into consideration the recent decision of the Turkish government to cease its contacts with the EU with regard to Greek-Turkish relations".

Instead, the Turkish committee has proposed that contacts continue directly via the embassies of the two countries.

The letter from the Turkish experts was sent before they received the Greek committee's most recent reply of December 27.

The foreign ministry said that the Greek government, having been informed of the Turkish letter by the Greek experts, intended to raise the issue at the next EU Council of Ministers, given that the entire process constitutes a European initiative.

Greece, Albania sign transport cooperation agreement

Greece and Albania signed an agreement here today providing for cooperation in road, passenger and goods transportation.

The agreement was signed by Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis and his Albanian counterpart Gaqo Apostoli.

During today's talks, it was agreed that Albania should become part of the inter-European road network, with the inclusion of the Durres-Kapstitsa, Krystallopigi-Siatista and Ormenios-Burgas axis which will link Albania and the Black Sea via the planned Egnatia highway.

The Greek side agreed to provide technical assistance in matters related to the organisation and operation of long-distance and urban transport, the manufacture and operation of airports and heliports as well as the training of coach drivers and air traffic controllers.

It was also agreed that the conveyance of goods between the two countries and the transit of goods should be allowed to proceed freely without any quantitative restrictions.

Central Athens pedestrian mall opens

Athens' central Ermou St. pedestrian mall was officially opened today by Environment, Public Works and Town Planning Minister Costas Laliotis and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The 700 metre stretch of Athens' busiest shopping area has undergone a facelift as part of the "Athens SOS" plan to upgrade the city's central business "triangle" bounded by Mitropoleos, Athinas and Stadiou Sts. The area was closed to traffic nearly three years ago in an attempt to reduce pollution and improve the quality of life in the city centre.

The Ermou St. project was completed at a cost of 2.2 billion drachmas.

Laliotis suggested that the street be renamed "The Antonis Tritsis Pedestrian Mall" after the late mayor who had formerly served as environment minister in a PASOK government. He also suggested that Dionisiou Areopagitou St. be renamed "Melina Mercouri Pedestrian Mall" after the late actress and culture minister.

Greek peacekeepers to stay in Bosnia

Speaking at the end of his official visit to Bosnia yesterday, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed that the Greek contingent of the international force will remain in the war-torn country.

"Our position remains steadfast. Just as in the past we stated that the Greek contingent would remain, even if it is the only one to stay in Bosnia, we reiterate today that our contingent will remain in the future," he said.

Replying to a question on the duration of the Greek force's stay in Bosnia, he did not specify the time period.

"Greece's contribution will not only continue at a military level but also through the activation of cooperation on a bilateral level," he said.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that educational facilities will soon be built, as well as a hospital, adding that Greece will contribute to the renovation of a mosque in Visovo and to the building of several places of religious worship.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was the first high-ranking foreign official to have contacts with all three members of Bosnia-Herzegovina's presidium during a visit to the country.


Fair weather in most parts of Greece today with scattered showers in the eastern regions and the islands improving later in the day. Athens will be sunny with few clouds and temperatures between 7-15C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 4-12C.


Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 277.998 Pound sterling 465.804 Cyprus pd 532.208 French franc 46.785 Swiss franc 193.554 German mark 156.419 Italian lira (100) 15.929 Yen (100) 214.093 Canadian dlr. 193.837 Australian dlr. 182.230 Irish Punt 402.613 Belgian franc 7.587 Finnish mark 51.743 Dutch guilder 138.880 Danish kr. 41.089 Swedish kr. 35.672 Norwegian kr. 38.132 Austrian sch. 22.256 Spanish peseta 1.848 Port. Escudo 1.535


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