Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-03-11
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 11/03/1998 (ANA)
- Greece's position on Kosovo
- Joint Greek, Albanian crews to man patrol boats
- Greek hopes for Cyprus after impasse
- Hungarian prime minister to visit
- Albanian-Greek dictionary published
- Florina plant to go ahead
- EU wants its money back from Roussel
- Man caught using forged US Embassy documents
- Albanians arrested with stolen goods
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece's position on Kosovo
Greece urges respect for human rights, supports the inviolability and
preservation of external borders and opposes secessionist tendencies,
government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said today replying to questions on
the crisis in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo.
The spokesman said Greece and other Balkan countries had appealed to all
sides to exercise self-restraint and moderation and work towards dialogue.
He was referring to a joint declaration by the foreign ministers of Greece,
Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM) unveiled yesterday in Sofia.
The declaration expresses serious concern over the deterioration of the
political situation in Kosovo as well as the possibility of conflagration
which may spread throughout the region.
Asked whether pressure had been put on the government to put its signature
to the declaration, Athanasakis replied in the negative, saying that
Greece's position on the Kosovo crisis did not differ from that of other
US Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns said meanwhile that Washington and
Athens were working together to avert the spread of the Kosovo crisis
throughout the Balkans.
Burns was speaking in Heraklion, Crete at the end of a two-day visit to the
Joint Greek, Albanian crews to man patrol boats
Joint crews of Greek and Albanian officers will man coast guard patrols in
the area between the Greek island of Corfu and the Albanian coast in a bid
to curb crime, the Merchant Marine Ministry said today.
Ministry sources told the ANA that joint crews would be manning 10 patrol
boats that would comb the region in an effort to stop marauding gangs from
The sources said that "this cooperation is based on the recent agreement
signed between the two countries to combat crime in the sea off both Greece
and Albania, which has been on the rise in the past three years".
According to Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis, "the joint
operations will be led by a senior officer of the Greek Coast Guard, who
will be authorised to decide whether the 10 patrol boats will enter
Albanian territorial waters" where Albanian criminals usually take
He said the joint crews would be "authorised to return fire" in the event
of attack by unidentified boats.
Greek hopes for Cyprus after impasse
The Greek government today expressed hope that no tension would arise in
Cyprus and the Aegean after an apparent impasse on the Cyprus issue.
Acting government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said that it was up to
Turkey how it would react from here on, and recalled that Greece has
insisted to date on the preservation of calm in the region.
Asked to comment on an impasse which had apparently arisen in the Cyprus
problem, Athanassakis accused Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of
"persisting with intransigence".
"We hope for a change of that stance," Athanassakis said. "Cyprus' course
towards the European Union and the Republic of Cyprus itself cannot be held
hostage by the Turkish Cypriot leadership," he added.
Hungarian prime minister to visit
Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn is due in Athens on March 18 for for
talks with Greek counterpart Costas Simitis and other government officials,
it was announced today.
Acting government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said the Simitis-Horn talks
would focus on the development of bilateral relations, the course of
Hungary's accession to the European Union and NATO, and the situation in
the wider region.
Albanian-Greek dictionary published
An Albanian-Greek dictionary was launched today at a ceremony attended by
visiting Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani and his Greek counterpart Kostis
Funded by the Foundation for the Rehabilitation of Repatriated Greeks, the
dictionary, which has 50,000 entries, was published by Ioannina University.
It follows a Greek-Albanian volume issued in 1994. Both were compiled by N.
The Albanian president expressed his gratitude for Greece's assistance in
emancipating Albania by means of the "powerful weapon of culture".
An economy that developed without concurrent cultural development, he said,
led to "homogenisation", which could only be fought by "the mind, the pen
and living traditions".
Florina plant to go ahead
Plans for an electric power plant near the northern town of Florina are to
proceed in line with Cabinet's unanimous decision, acting government
spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said today.
Athanasakis said the project would go ahead according to the original plan.
Tomorrow a government delegation headed by Development Minister Vasso
Papandreou is to visit Florina at the invitation of local authorities.
Asked whether the issue would be discussed in parliament, the spokesman
said the project had already been discussed in full by the parliamentary
EU wants its money back from Roussel
The European Union is pursuing the return of a nine million dollar subsidy
it had allocated to French businessman Thierry Roussel for an aborted
extensive investment programme in an underdeveloped region of Portugal
nearly a decade ago, European Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler said in
reply to a question tabled by a Greek Euro-MP.
Replying to Coalition of Left and Progress Eurodeputy Alecos Alavanos'
question, Fischler said that "the return of the subsidy allocated to
Thierry Roussel's company Oderfruta has been requested" by the Commission,
invoking the regulations and clauses of the EU's Structural Funds
pertaining to "ensure the proper implementation of the financed actions,
the prevention and prosecution of irregularities, and the recovery of
capital lost due to misappropriation or negligence".
Roussel -- the father of the only survivng heir to the vast Onassis
fortune, Athina, who divorced from Christina Onassis a year before her
death in 1988 -- arrived in Alendejo in 1988 promising 66 million dollars
in investments and the creation of new jobs.
Alendejo is considered one of the poorest regions in the EU with an
unemployment rate of 30 percent, more than double that of the EU average.
The sources said Roussel's project had envisaged turning the region into a
producer of top-grade fruit and vegetables for export to the markets of
Europe, and was therefore "generously" subsidised by the then Portuguese
government of Anibal Cavaco Silva and under the EU's Structural Funds.
Roussel eventually invested only 34 million dollars -- 40 percent coming
from the Portuguese state and the EU and the rest put up in a loan by the
Portuguese bank Caixa General de Depositos. But the Oderfruta venture went
bankrupt in 1994 "leaving behind massive debts, unpaid fruit producers and
workers, and extensive environmental destruction, as the unit was
established in a protected zone", the sources said.
Fischler said in his reply to Alavanos that the Commission, having learnt
that "the financial viability of the project was in danger, requested in
September 1993 detailed explanations from the (Portuguese) national
authorities, and a second letter followed in May 1994".
He said that when the Oderfruta enterprise was declared bankrupt in a
Portuguese court in 1994, the procedure for recovery of the EU subsidy "was
Man caught using forged US Embassy documents
Police today arrested a man for trying to use forged documents, supposedly
issued by the US Embassy in Athens, to acquire a visa to enter the United
The man was identified as Charalambos Karanoutsos, 46. The visa, in the
name of Costas Zelkas, was eventually not issued by the embassy.
The police discovered that Karanoutsos had been supplied with the forged
documents by two other Greeks, George Michailidis, 45 and Nikos Karnavos,
53 who were also arrested.
A fourth person, Dimitrios Papas, 41, is wanted by police for questioning
in connection with the case.
Karnavos had been arrested for a similar offence in December 1997.
Albanians arrested with stolen goods
Police have broken up a 27-member gang of Albanians found in possession of
stolen goods which included electrical appliances, 144 mobile phones, goods
in bulk, jewellery and clothing worth an estimated 215 million drachmas.
The Albanians had occupied a vacant house, an abandoned factory and an old
farmhouse in Aspropyrgos.
Police believe that the gang, operating in different groups each time, have
stolen from warehouses, apartments and trucks parked in the area of
Cloudiness and rain is forecast for most of Greece today. Showers in the
eastern and southern Greek islands. Snow in the northern mountainous
regions. Winds strong to gale force. Partly cloudy with rain in Athens and
temperatures between 7-12C. Rain and possible hail in Thessaloniki with
temperatures from 4-7C.
Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 286.926
Pound sterling 469.593 Cyprus pd 536.870
French franc 46.743 Swiss franc 192.473
German mark 156.721 Italian lira (100) 15.926
Yen (100) 224.916 Canadian dlr. 203.102
Australian dlr. 191.952 Irish Punt 388.269
Belgian franc 7.597 Finnish mark 51.624
Dutch guilder 139.049 Danish kr. 41.122
Swedish kr. 35.789 Norwegian kr. 37.716
Austrian sch. 22.279 Spanish peseta 1.849
Port. Escudo 1.533