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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 14/01/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Terrorist suspect to be charged today
  • Information centre opens for migrants
  • Greece protests to Turkey over attacks
  • Athens not ready to accept air space violations
  • More air space violations
  • Turkey 'provocative and aggressive' - Athens
  • Gov't comments on US position
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Terrorist suspect to be charged today

Police said today that they had proof that Nikos Maziotis, arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of involvement in bomb attacks, had written a note warning of a bomb placed at the development ministry last year.

The note was read out to Athens daily Eleftherotypia by telephone by an as yet unidentified person.

Maziotis is expected to be charged later today with possession of weapons, explosive material and seditious printed material.

Police said ballistic tests would be carried out on a .38 pistol also found at Maziotis's residence to determine whether it had been used in any criminal activity.

Maziotis was arrested along with 17 other people in dawn raids by police early on Tuesday morning. Police found a significant quantity of explosive material in the raids, including 9.5 kilos of explosive material at Maziotis's Kamatero home.

Police released all but two of the group after questioning. The two men detained are to be charged with offences that are unrelated to terrorist activity.

Maziotis is thought to be the ringleader of urban guerrilla Militant Guerrilla Formation, which has claimed responsibility for a number of bomb attacks since its appearance in 1996.

Documents found at Maziotis's home, including a 120-page diary and 15 computer diskettes, will also be examined by experts in the hope of shedding more light on his possible links with other organisations.

Information centre opens for migrants

An information centre for economic migrants was opened in central Athens today, designed to provide information on Greece's attempts to legalise thousands of illegal workers and migrants.

The centre's main tasks will be to forward applications by migrants for legal status (the White Card) and to liaise between migrants and labour unions.

Labour and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou urged all employers and unions to support the process of registering and legalising foreign workers.

The centre, situated at Ipirou 8 and 3rd September Sts, will offer information in nine languages - Polish, Russian, Arabic, Albanian, Serbian, Bulgarian, Romanian, English and French.

Opening the centre, General Confederation of Greek Unions (GSEE) president Christos Polyzogopoulos said the legalisation process for immigrants would strike a blow at racist attitudes as well as lead to a healthier labour market.

Greece protests to Turkey over attacks

Greece yesterday lodged a written protest with the Istanbul prefectural authorities over attacks against Greek institutions and Orthodox churches and Turkish officials' refusal to see the Greek Consul General.

The demarche was sent by the Greek Consul General to the Istanbul Prefecture after Consul General Photis Xidas was "unable to come into contact with the Prefect of Istanbul" last night, foreign ministry sources said.

In the demarche the Greek authorities stressed their "concern over the repeated incidents against foundations of the Greeks of Turkey and the refusal of the Turkish authorities to receive the Consul General or the Consul of Greece".

In the latest incident, an ethnic Greek sexton at the Aghios Therapontas Church in Istanbul was found dead yesterday in a church well after an unexplained fire at the church. He was found with a cracked skull after the fire was extinguished.

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday expressed the government's condemnation over the fire as well as other such incidents in Turkey against Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate staff and property, whose causes have continuously remained unexplained. He also accused Turkish authorities of inefficiency.

The Orthodox churches in Istanbul, and particularly churches in areas without a large Greek community, have been the target of systematic attacks by a gang that steals icons and other ecclesiastical objects, the sources said.

Athens not ready to accept air space violations

Greece will not tolerate any violation of its sovereign rights, National Defence Undersecratary Dimitris Apostolakis reiterated today with regard to yesterday's violations of Greek air space by Turkish air force jets.

"Turkey is trying to overstep the limits. Our reaction will be very forceful," he said after addressing air force academy cadets in Tatoi.

He added that there was still a danger of conflict (in the Aegean) and that the Greek armed forces were always prepared to deal with any provocation on the part of Turkey.

More air space violations

The Turkish air force infringed the Athens FIR today in two instances. Greek radar picked up two Turkish air craft south of Rhodes and one southeast of Limnos.

Defence Ministry sources said a total of 12 Turkish aircraft entered Athens FIR without submitting flight plans and were intercepted by Greek air force planes.

Later today it was announced that Greek air force fighters had taken off to intercept a second group of Turkish air force planes that were infringing Athens' FIR and violating Greek air space.

Between 11.30 and 14.00, six Turkish F-16, six F-4 and two RF-4 (aerial photography) entered the Athens FIR without warning and carried out 16 violations of Greece's national air space between Limnos and Hios and between Rhodes and Kos. All were intercepted by 10 Greek Mirage 2000 and F- 16, while in two cases the interceptions developed into mock dogfights.

Turkey 'provocative and aggressive' - Athens

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas condemned Turkey's behaviour as "provocative and aggressive", noting that the Greek government had taken all the necessary diplomatic action.

The government, said Reppas, had protested to the European Union, accusing Turkey of using its armed forces to exercise foreign policy.

Meanwhile, referring to an incident yesterday in which Turkish fighters flew above a helicopter carrying Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Reppas said this behaviour was not honourable, nor was it in keeping with the behaviour of a civilised nation.

"Greece is not worried, but is ready to face any eventuality," he said, accusing Turkey of trying to maintain tension in bilateral relations.

He also stressed that Greece was taking steps to de-escalate the tension, something which Turkey was not doing.

Asked what the outcome of Greece's protests regarding Turkey's behaviour had been, the spokesman said that these results were reflected in relations between the European Union and Turkey, since a good climate between Greece and Turkey was considered by the EU to be sine qua non.

Gov't comments on US position

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed that Greece would not change its positions regarding its territorial limits and its sovereign rights just because a third party had a different opinion.

Reppas was commenting on statements yesterday by US Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns. He was asked whether these statements were a reversal of the US position.

Burns yesterday denied he had linked the question of Greek sovereignty in the Aegean with the country's air space limits, as had been reported in the press last weekend.

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast throughout Greece today with some local clouds in the west and north and local fog in the morning. Winds southwesterly, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 6-17C. Good weather also in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 2-13C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.764 Pound sterling 465.228 Cyprus pd 534.688 French franc 46.737 Swiss franc 192.795 German mark 156.478 Italian lira (100) 15.919 Yen (100) 216.018 Canadian dlr. 198.440 Australian dlr. 183.530 Irish Punt 389.658 Belgian franc 7.586 Finnish mark 51.693 Dutch guilder 138.885 Danish kr. 41.099 Swedish kr. 35.456 Norwegian kr. 37.825 Austrian sch. 22.243 Spanish peseta 1.847 Port. Escudo 1.530

(M.P.)


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