Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-20
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 20/01/1998 (ANA)
- Greece reiterates right to extend territorial waters
- Balkans must join Europe - Kranidiotis
- Farmers give notice of new protests
- Papandreou to open 'Greece in Britain' festival tomorrow
- US-Greek trade relations discussed
- Angry anarchists to blame for car bombs
- Albanian arrested on drug charges
- 12 illegal immigrants arrested on Samos
- Danielle Mitterrand in Athens
- Albania welcomes Greek offer on Kosovo talks
- Pangalos-Miller talks focus on Cyprus
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece reiterates right to extend territorial waters
Greece stressed today that it retained the inalienable right to extend its
territorial waters to twelve miles and would do so whenever it saw
Asked to comment on repeated statements by Turkish officials claiming that
Greece's territorial waters have a six-mile limit, government spokesman
Dimitris Reppas said it was not possible for Turkey to cite international
agreements "when at the very same time the neighbouring country blatantly
violates international law both outside the country and domestically".
Reppas said Greece's "choices" were in line with that which was in force
internationally "and in this sense there is no question of our negotiating
with anyone our right to extend our territorial waters to twelve miles".
Noting that Turkey already had enough domestic problems, Reppas said Ankara
would be well advised to concentrate on resolving these.
Asked meanwhile whether US mediator for the Cyprus problem Thomas Miller
had put forward any new proposals on Cyprus or the Aegean during recent
contacts with the Greek government, Reppas said he had nothing to
He added however that Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos would give a
press conference tomorrow covering all foreign policy issues.
Balkans must join Europe - Kranidiotis
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said today that the incorporation
of the Balkans in Europe and European institutions was an absolute
prerequisite if the countries of the region were to acquire political
stability and economic development.
"With this in mind and due to the fact that Greece is a member of both the
European Union and NATO, Athens wishes to serve as a bridge between the EU
and the Balkans," Kranidiotis added.
He was speaking at a meeting on the Balkans organised by the Hellenic
Centre for European Studies at the foreign ministry.
Kranidiotis said Greece could play a similar role in the greater region in
general, by further developing its relations with the countries of the
Black Sea and of the Middle East.
Against this background, he announced the opening in Thessaloniki in 15
days of the Black Sea Bank given that seven of the countries participating
in the venture which had delayed their capital contributions had now
deposited the relevant funds.
The meeting began with an address by Bulgaria's Finance Undersecretary D.
Randev who analysed the macroeconomic situation in the neighbouring country
and its aspiration to join the EU.
The strategy of the Bulgarian government, he said, is for the country's
economic development to reach a point in the year 2001 at which it will
fulfil EMU criteria.
Farmers give notice of new protests
Farmers in the prefecture of Thessaloniki are to blockade the Ministry of
Macedonia and Thrace building for two days starting February 2 as a protest
over funding arrangements, prices set for agricultural products and the
trials of farmers arrested in previous demonstrations.
The decision to blockade the ministry was confirmed at a meeting yesterday
of the Federation of Farmers' Associations of Thessaloniki, whose president
Dimitris Parlapanis said the demonstrations would be a warning. Any further
action, he said, would depend on the government's response.
Also on February 2, members of the Malgara-Kimina Farmers' Association are
planning to park their tractors along the Athens-Thessaloniki highway,
although they will not block the highway itself, according to the
association's president Costas Anestidis.
Papandreou to open 'Greece in Britain' festival tomorrow
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou leaves for London tomorrow to
officially open the "Greece in Britain" series of events.
"Greece in Britain" is a six-month series of events during the British
presidency of the European Union which is designed to throw the spotlight
on modern Greece and includes cultural and other events such as concerts,
exhibitions, dance performances, film screenings and conferences.
The official start to the programme will be on January 21 at the House of
Commons at which political figures from both countries will be present.
Papandreou is scheduled to meet with Britain's International Development
Secretary Clare Short during his visit.
Papandreou will make a stop in Lisbon on his departure from London, where
he is scheduled to meet Deputy Foreign Minister Francisco Seixas da Costa
on European Union issues.
US-Greek trade relations discussed
US-Greek trade and investment were discussed by US Ambassador in Athens
Nicholas Burns and Environment, Public Works and Town Planning Minister
Costas Laliotis in a meeting today.
Burns said the two countries could strengthen their relations in the
sectors of trade and invesment, adding that more US companies should become
active in Greece.
Laliotis called the meeting "positive", saying the talks were restricted to
areas within his ministry's competence.
Angry anarchists to blame for car bombs
A spate of attacks on cars in the greater Athens area are the work of
anarchists angry at the arrest of an anarchist last week on suspicion of
involvement in an urban guerrilla group, police said today.
Some 11 cars have been torched by makeshift bombs since last Thursday and
police said they expect the attacks to continue, if not increase. Five cars,
including one belonging to a foreigner, were torched in four separate
attacks early on Tuesday.
At a meeting on Monday, the public order ministry decided to increase the
number of police patrols and boost security on possible targets.
Nikos Maziotis, 27, was charged last week with possession of weapons,
explosive material and seditious printed material after a police swoop on a
number of Athens homes. Police found a significant quantity of explosive
material in the raids, including 9.5 kilos at Maziotis's Kamatero
The finds, police say, link Maziotis with the urban guerrilla group
Militant Guerrilla Formation, which has claimed responsibility for a number
of bomb attacks since its appearance in 1996.
Albanian arrested on drug charges
A 22-year-old Albanian, Andouard Rouko, was arrested today after police
found two kilos of hashish at his home in Psari, Aspropyrgos.
The police also recovered a motorcycle and a bicycle which had been stolen
from Peristeri in August 1996 and from Aspropyrgos earlier this month
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 21-year-old Albanian Nikolin
Bresi who was living with Rouko.
12 illegal immigrants arrested on Samos
Harbour authorities yesterday arrested 12 Iraqi illegal immigrants of
Kurdish origin on the island of Samos, but the Turkish smuggler who dropped
them off managed to escape in a chase by the Greek coast guard.
"We chased the Turkish smuggler for more than 30 minutes, but he managed to
get away in his speedboat by dangerous manoeuvering after dropping off the
Iraqi Kurds," a Samos harbour official told the ANA.
After their arrest, the Kurds -- five men, four women and three children --
applied for political asylum in Greece.
Danielle Mitterrand in Athens
Danielle Mitterrand is to be guest speaker at a conference on "Racism
against Democracy" to be held in Athens on Monday January 26 by the
Institute for Strategic and Developmental Studies (ISTAME) - Andreas
Papandreou, the institute's president G. Souladakis announced at a press
Mitterrand, the widow of the late Francois Mitterrand, former President of
the French Republic, is attending the meeting in her capacity as president
of the "France Liberte" foundation.
Albania welcomes Greek offer on Kosovo talks
Albania yesterday welcomed an offer by Greece to host talks between
Yugoslavia and Albania over Serbia's troubled region of Kosovo.
"Initiatives contributing to the (solution) of the Kosovo issue are
welcomed by the Albanian government," said Vladimir Prela, political
advisor to Socialist Prime Minister Fatos Nano.
"I think the Kosovo issue could be solved step by step and through
However, Mr. Prela said there was as yet no formal invitation from Greece,
which on Friday offered to host talks on Kosovo, a southern province of
Serbia where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs nine to one.
The Greek offer came after U.S. envoy Robert Gelbard on Thursday urged
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to open a dialogue between Serbs and
Albanians to defuse rising tensions.
A wave of violence over the past year has prompted fears among Western
governments that Kosovo could become the next flashpoint in the Balkans
after the devastating wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Greek Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou said Athens would be willing to bring together
Mr. Milosevic, Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Ibrahim Rugova, the
leader of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
Mr. Papandreou said Greece agreed with the European Union position on
Kosovo -- that it should remain part of Yugoslavia but with wide-ranging
autonomy, which Serbia revoked in 1989. Greece hosted a summit of regional
leaders on the island of Crete last year at which Mr. Milosevic and Mr.
Nano discussed Kosovo.
Pangalos-Miller talks focus on Cyprus
US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller yesterday
held talks with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary
Yiannos Kranidiotis on the Cyprus issue.
Details of the talks were not disclosed, while sources said that Mr. Miller
briefed the Greek officials on the results of his contacts in Ankara early
Washington's ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns was also present at the
meeting, as was Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Ambassador Alexandros
Filon and the ministry's head of the Greek-Turkish affairs department,
Ilias Klis. Mr. Miller departs today for Washington.
Rain is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds southerly,
southwesterly, strong to gale force. Drizzle in Athens with temperatures
between 9-15C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 7-
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 287.571
Pound sterling 470.069 Cyprus pd 534.291
French franc 46.584 Swiss franc 191.059
German mark 156.032 Italian lira (100) 15.854
Yen (100) 222.714 Canadian dlr. 200.086
Australian dlr. 191.357 Irish Punt 395.312
Belgian franc 7.564 Finnish mark 51.697
Dutch guilder 138.478 Danish kr. 40.960
Swedish kr. 35.623 Norwegian kr. 37.914
Austrian sch. 22.181 Spanish peseta 1.826
Port. Escudo 1.526