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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-09-19

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, 19/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • PASOK executive council approves March congress
  • Papandreou visits Tirana
  • Simitis wants PASOK congress `united, and ideological`
  • Pangalos pushes for Cyprus' EU accession
  • Olympic medallists conference in Olympia
  • Briton arrives to lobby for Parthenon Marbles return
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

PASOK executive council approves March congress

Prime Minister Costas Simitis' proposal, in his capacity as president of PASOK's executive council, to hold the 5th party congress on March 18 to 21, 1999, was approved on Saturday by the council. The PASOK executive council results of the vote are: 81 for, 31 against and 8 blank.

Papandreou visits Tirana

Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou arrived in Tirana on Saturday and is expected to meet with Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani and Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, while there are unconfirmed reports he might meet with Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha, in an effort to help ease the political crisis in Albania, according to an ANA dispatch from the Albanian capital Meanwhile, police arrested 100 people during clashes and there were reports of clashes between Berisha's supporters and police 15 klm north of the Albanian capital.

Simitis wants PASOK congress `united, and ideological`

Prime Minister and ruling PASOK President Costas Simitis yesterday stressed that he was looking forward to a "united and profoundly ideological as well as political party congress", adding that a united and strong PASOK will emerge from it.

He added that the congress will be a prelude to the party's victory in the general elections in the year 2000.

Addressing a meeting of PASOK's central committee, convened yesterday to proclaim the party's 5th congress, Mr. Simitis said that he will continue the implementation of government policy steadfastly and underlined the crucial nature of the present perio d of turmoil in the world economy, as well as of next month's municipal and prefectural elections.

Mr. Simitis said that party cadres are obliged to shape PASOK as a "pioneering party" in society for which (party founder and former prime minister) Andreas Papandreou "had worked and struggled".

He also criticised what he called the neo-liberal ideology which, as he said, is trying to overturn gains by society and break the social tissue, while at the same time criticising left opposition of insisting in immobility and following dogmas of past eras, as he noted.

Insisting on differentiating his policy from that supported by the main opposition New Democracy party, he said he categorically rejected the proclamation of the market as an exclusive and absolute authority of social organisation.

Mr. Simitis also criticised "va-rious commentators" who, as he said, interpreted the attention currently paid by the government to the country's economic course as an acceptance on the part of PASOK of the "absolute and inconsiderate domination of the m arket".

Referring to next month's municipal and prefectural elections, Mr. Simitis said the government and its work were not being judged in these elections, adding that it was a confrontation between "conceptions and strategic programmes for decentralisation, reforming and modernisation of the state". He said that in this sense their character is profoundly political.

Mr. Simitis said PASOK attributed great importance and would throw all its weight on the two major metropolitan centres of prefectural administration, to the enlarged prefectural administration of Athens-Piraeus and the corresponding one of Thessaloniki .

Referring to the congress in particular, Mr. Simitis said that there should be a substantive pre-congress dialogue, and a draft programme should be shaped on guidelines in light of the next century and a modern charter should result which would express the structure and functioning of a modern socialist party.

He also stressed the "risk of the logic of correlations, confrontation between groups and personal competition of reigning in the path towards the congress", adding that such a development would be particularly negative.

Summing up, Mr. Simitis said that the "PASOK of tomorrow can only be the PASOK of the steadfast principles of socialism".

Pangalos pushes for Cyprus' EU accession

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday called on Europe and Washington to support Cyprus' European Union accession regardless of the political problem prevailing on the island republic.

He was addressing a crowd at the Greek Studies Programme of Columbia University in New York.

Expressing Athens' concern over certain views in some European capitals, as well as in Washington, which claim that Cyprus should not become a member of the European Union because it is a divided country, Mr. Pangalos said:

"This seems as if we want to punish the victim instead of the criminal, (instead) of those who are responsible for the invasion and occupation of a portion of the island."

Mr. Pangalos said that "Cyprus is a special case in this procedure. It is the only country which can tomorrow become a member of the Union and take part in its budget."

The Greek minister also spoke on the strength of the Cypriot economy, which has practically no inflation and unemployment, while he added that the island republic is almost ready to fulfill Ecomomic Monetary Union (EMU) criteria.

He also said that "in this process of expansion, every member-state has its preferences, for example, Italy favours Slovenia; Germany gives priority to Poland and Hungary ''Our choice is Cyprus."

Olympic medallists conference in Olympia

The first international conference of Olympic medal winners begins this Sunday at the International Olympic Academy in Olympia. Organised by the Association of Greek Olympics medal winners, SEO, the conference has drawn the participation of 35 Greek and 120 foreign athletes who have won a total of 300 Olympic medals. Undersecretary for Sports Andreas Fouras will be present at an official reception for the participants on Saturday evening at the Zappeion Hall. The conference ends on September 23.

Briton arrives to lobby for Parthenon Marbles return

The chairman of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles brought his campaign to "home ground" Friday as he arrived in Greece for a series of meetings and lectures focusing on the London-based group's efforts to pursuade the British Museum to repatriate the classical friezes. "The (Parthenon) marbles will definitely be returned to Greece in the long-term...and before the 2004 Olympics if the Acropolis Museum is built to house them," Graham Binns confidently predicted just after a press conference at the Centre of Acropolis Studies, only a few hundred metres from the

WEATHER

Cloud and scattered showers will prevail thoughout Greece on Saturday. Winds southerly, southwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens will be sunny with increased cloud in the evening and temperatures between 17-29C. Thessaloniki cloudy and rainy with temperatures from 14-24C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 288.811 British pound 484.790 Japanese yen (100) 218.250 French franc 50.777 German mark 170.267 Italian lira (100) 17.228 Irish Punt 426.362 Belgian franc 8.253 Finnish mark 55.947 Dutch guilder 150.982 Danish kr. 44.658 Austrian sch. 24.200 Spanish peseta 2.007 Swedish kr. 36.972 Norwegian kr. 38.420 Swiss franc 207.179 Port. Escudo 1.664 Aus. dollar 170.475 Can. dollar 188.282 Cyprus pound 575.360

(M.S.)


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