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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-01-20

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, 20/01/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 fit.

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 announce.

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 home.

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 respectively.

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 conference today.

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 dialogue."

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 last week.

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.

WEATHER

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- 11C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(M.P.)


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