Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-04-24
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 24/04/1998 (ANA)
- Greece lays statesman Karamanlis to rest today
- Miller, Kranidiotis agree on UN framework for Cyprus
- President reiterates need for adherence to international law
- Priorities of Greece's presidency of the Council of Europe
- Government condemns attack on Jewish agency
- Greek basketball team fails in try for European trophy
- Former German ambassador visits Athens
- Greenpeace condemns Turkish nuclear power plan
- Greek state telecom gets third flotation in autumn
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece lays statesman Karamanlis to rest today
Greece today lays to rest its elder statesman, Constantine Karamanlis, who
died early yesterday of heart failure at the age of 91.
Karamanlis, the man who guided Greece into the European Community and took
the helm of the country for the smooth return to democracy after the
collapse of the military dictatorship, died after two weeks in hospital
with a lung infection compounded by heart and kidney complications.
The news of Karamanlis's death drew tributes from the gamut of Greece's
political parties and from prominent figures and dignitaries throughout the
Both President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis
hailed Karamanlis's contribution to shaping modern Greece and leading it
from military rule to "its rightful place among the family of European
nations", as Mr. Simitis said.
The prime minister and the Cabinet will be present at the funeral today, as
will President Stephanopoulos. The presidency of the republic has opened a
book of condolences for Karamanlis.
A three-day national mourning was declared yesterday, while Interior
Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said that all government and public services
will not operate today.
Karamanlis, whose political career spanned five decades, will be buried in
the grounds of the institute bearing his name in the Athens suburb of
Filothei, following a private service to be attended by close friends,
family and colleagues, in accordance with Karamanlis's wishes, entrusted in
writing to close associate Petros Molyviatis.
People wishing to pay their final respects to the late statesman will be
allowed into the courtyard of the chapel of Aghia Filothei, but not inside
for the funeral service, which begins at 6:00 p.m.
The funeral and burial will be broadcast by the state television network ET,
by decision of the Karamanlis family.
Miller, Kranidiotis agree on UN framework for Cyprus
The US State Department's special coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas Miller,
said yesterday that the American initiative for a resolution of the
island's political problem was under the aegis of the United Nations and
aimed at the attainment of a bizonal, bi communal, federal scheme. He made
the statement after talks with foreign undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis
in Athens, where he arrived as part of a tour of the region in preparation
of a new visit to Cyprus by President Clinton's special emissary Richard
Holbrooke next month.
Mr. Miller said that Mr. Holbrooke, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright,
and himself were fully convinced that the current period was the most
appropriate for an intensive effort to resolve the long protracted problem,
as solutions for a number of oth er equally difficult issues, such as the
Northern Irish, the Middle Eastern, and the Bosnian questions were on
Asked if the American initiative aimed at a resumption of dialogue between
Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash,
Mr. Miller replied affirmatively, saying the American side had indications
that the two leaders did d esire a resolution of the problem. He described
the resumption of such talks as a matter of substance, while regarding the
possible participation of other interested parties, he said "this is a
He announced that on May 1 Mr. Holbrooke and himself would return to Cyprus
for intensive discussions whose duration could not be foretold.
Mr. Kranidiotis stressed that Greece supported the American initiative,
noting that the US was a big and powerful country able to exercise its
influence on the other side. He reiterated Greece's position that the
iniative should be in the framework of UN efforts and Security Council
resolutions as points of reference.
"Mr. Miller provided us with assurances to that effect," he said, adding
that the quest for a bizonal, bicommunal federation should enjoy the
broadest possible support. Mr. Kranidiotis noted further that the
resumption of bicommunal dialogue was an obligation of the two sides
specified by UN resolutions.
Earlier, the government said that it was opposed to the idea of a Dayton-
type conference on the Cyprus problem in reply to reporters' questions
following recent speculation in the Greek press.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Athens believed a proposal for
such a conference would not be constructive and would not facilitate
efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. Replying to other
questions, Mr. Reppas clarified that such a proposal had not been
officially put to the Cyprus government.
President reiterates need for adherence to international law
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday reiterated that
Greece, for reasons of justice and the general interest of all peoples,
proposed the resolution of current or future disputes on the basis of
respect for international law and recognition of the standing of international
His reference, made in Budapest at an official dinner hosted by his
Hungarian counterpart Arpad Goncz, was considered as an indirect but clear
address to Turkey.
If this proposal is not accepted, "undesirable situations will be
perpetuated, and tensions, for which Greece is not responsible, will be
maintained," he said. "For we are not willing to accept baseless claims
which are put forward with the aim of altering the established for decades
status quo in the Aegean," he added.
The president also reiterated Greece's support for Hungary's bid to join
the Euro-Atlantic structures.
Mr. Stephanopoulos also pointed out Greece's initiatives in the Balkans for
a normalisation of the situation in Kosovo, while in reference to Cyprus,
he stressed that Greece sought a fair solution to its political problem and
its unimpeded realisation of full membership of the EU.
Priorities of Greece's presidency of the Council of Europe
Priorities of the Greek presidency of the Council of Europe, which begins
on May 5, include upgrading the Parliamentary Assembly, and human rights,
with the operation of a new Human Rights Court (through the merger of the
Human Rights Commission and the court into a single body), Alternate
Foreign Minister George Papandreou told a press conference yesterday.
In the framework of human rights, Greece will promote a new institution
aimed at operating by the end of the presidency and concerns the institution
of Human Rights Commissioner.
Another priority of the Greek presidency is illegal immigration and the
refugee issue. Greece will propose cooperation among all member-states in
tackling illegal immigration and will promote a policy in the refugee
Moreover, another priority is the policy towards states desiring to join
this international organisation. The Greek presidency will examine the
possibilities of promoting the applications of Armenia, Azerbaijan and
Georgia and, in parallel, will address the application submitted by the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Government condemns attack on Jewish agency
The government yesterday condemned a bomb attack, apparently targetting the
offices of a Greek Jewish agency, which caused material damage but no
injuries. "The placement of incendiary devices at the offices of the Jewish
Council in Athens is condemned by all Greeks. Such acts are alien to the
sentiments of our people and do harm to the country. The government is
intensifying its efforts so that the police can track down the attackers,"
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said in a statement.
Two makeshift bombs exploded in the building housing the main offices of
the Central Jewish Council in Athens, causing a fire.
The Jewish Council offices are housed on the sixth floor of an apartment
building on the corner of Sourmeli and Acharnon streets in downtown
One bomb was placed on the stairs between the fifth and sixth floors and
the other in the elevator, the attackers having calculated the time needed
for it to reach the sixth floor.
The elevator door is exactly opposite the entrance of the Jewish Council
The makeshift devices, consisting of gas cannisters, exploded, causing
Four fire engines and 15 firemen immediately rushed to the building and put
out the blazes.
An anonymous caller had meanwhile phoned the police about the bombs without
claiming responsibility on behalf of any group.
Greek basketball team fails in try for European trophy
AEK Athens last night failed to win the European Basketball Championship,
losing 58-44 (28-20 at half-time) in the final to Kinder Bologna in
Former German ambassador visits Athens
The Federal Republic of Germany's ambassador to Athens from October 1969 to
April 1972 Peter Limbourg, who was forced to leave Greece as a persona non
grata by the 1967-1974 military dictatorship, is visiting Greece.
Mr. Limbourg incurred the displeasure of the Colonels' junta for his
assistance to George A. Mangakis' secret exit from Greece on a German
warplane, an action which forced the German government to recall him from
Greece awarded to Mr. Limbourg the Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix
in 1974 for his contribution to the restoration of democracy.
Mr. Limbourg was the only ambassador to Athens during the 7-year dictatorship
to be regarded as a persona non grata by those in power, while his
relations with those opposed to the illegal regime were those of friendship.
He finished his career at the post of ambassador to Brussels in 1980.
Mr. Limbourg will be received by the President of the Republic Kostis
Stephanopoulos on Monday, while later in the day political leaders and
diplomats will give a dinner in his honour at an Athens hotel.
Greenpeace condemns Turkish nuclear power plan
Greenpeace, the international environmental protection organisation
yesterday condemned a plan by Turkey to build a nuclear power plant located
between Cyprus and Rhodes.
Greenpeace released the statement in Athens to mark the twelfth anniversary
of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster in the former Soviet Union. The
first nuclear reactor at the Turkish plant has a scheduled start-up date in
June 2006, and the second re actor a year later, Greenpeace said. An
international tender called in 1997 to find a contractor for the new plant
is expected to produce a winner in June this year.
Turkey plans to install ten nuclear reactors by 2020, totalling 10,000
megawatts, the statement said.
Greenpeace also held an exhibition on Turkey's nuclear programme yesterday,
and the threat it poses to Greece, Cyprus and the whole Mediterranean
Greenpeace's Athens director, Stelios Psomas, has been waging a campaign
against Turkish nuclear energy for many years.
The group has called on Turkey to call off the tender, saying the country
has other ways of obtaining energy. Mr. Psomas also charged the European
Union and other countries with hypocrisy in connection with subsidies for
the Bulgarian nuclear plant.
Greek state telecom gets third flotation in autumn
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) will float 10-15 percent of
its stock on the Athens Stock Exchange in the autumn, National Economy and
Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday. He w as speaking after
a meeting with Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis,
Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and senior OTE executives.
The float, which is the third for the state telecom on the bourse's main
market, is slated for September or October, Mr. Papantoniou said.
A change to the law will be made in the summer allowing the firm to have
more than 25 percent of its shares listed.
A healthy performance by the Athens bourse augured well for the listing, he
Cloudy weather is forecast for Greece today, mostly turning to rain late in
the day. Winds variable, strong to very strong. Athens and Thessaloniki
will be overcast with rain expected in the evening, and temperatures
reaching 20 and 19 C respectively.
Thursday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 309.316
British pound 515.265 Japanese yen(100) 236.939
French franc 51.459 German mark 172.514
Italian lira (100) 17.443 Irish Punt 434.893
Belgian franc 8.353 Finnish mark 56.893
Dutch guilder 153.115 Danish kr. 45.235
Austrian sch. 24.510 Spanish peseta 2.030
Swedish kr. 40.295 Norwegian kr. 41.664
Swiss franc 208.236 Port. Escudo 1.686
Aus. dollar 201.614 Can. dollar 215.958
Cyprus pound 589.248