Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-21
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 21/09/1998 (ANA)
- PASOK's 5th congress set for next March
- Europe slams Albanian ex-president for latest turmoil
- Yilmaz-Mitsotakis hold "useful" talks in Istanbul
- Tsohatzopoulos stresses need for effective airforce
- KKE leader speaks at youth festival
- Papandreou promotes 'Olympic Truce' concept to Olympic medallists
- DANE announces new hi-speed vessel for Rhodes route
- Simitis speech tomorrow in Kallithea square
- Papoutsis to inaugurate conference on SMEs in Austria
- Three charged with stealing cars, blackmail owners
- Murder rate in Greece sharply rises over past 7 years
- Greek First Division soccer results
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
PASOK's 5th congress set for next March
Ruling PASOK's central committee on Saturday decided to hold the party's
5th congress next March.
A majority of 81 central committee members voted in favour of the PASOK
executive bureau's earlier proposal, while 31 voted against and eight blank
votes were cast.
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, before the vote said that he
believed a congress in March 1999 would fail for lack of "adequate time to
discuss the essence of policies and strategies." In turn, he favoured a
different date for the congress.
However, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos noted that all PASOK cadres will share the
essential responsibility of organising the congress, whether in favour or
not. He also said that the issue of the party's leadership was resolved
during the last congress.
Furthermore, he criticised certain aspects of the government's economic and
social policy, saying that a policy based only on taxation was of "marginal
He said despite the important steps achieved towards EMU accession, there
is an unequal burden on citizens.
European Union Commissioner and central committee member Christos Papoutsis
counter-proposed the congress be held in November 2000 after Greece's
accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and general elections.
Mr. Papoutsis, in his address, stressed that Greece will not enter (EMU) by
a political decision, therefore, the effort for reaching the criteria
Europe slams Albanian ex-president for latest turmoil
European envoys urged Albania's leading politicians on Saturday to find a
peaceful solution to the country's turmoil, blaming opposition leader and
former president Sali Berisha for undermining peace in the neighbouring co
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, representing the Council of
Europe in the delegation,warned the former president that he and his party
would be isolated by the international community unless they stopped
undermining Albania's political process.
"I...say to Sali Berisha that these tactics...have undermined democratic
institutions, and that if they continue, it is certain that the international
community will isolate not only his tactics but also him personally," Mr.
Papandreou told a press confere nce after the delegation met separately
with Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Mr.
Mr. Papandreou also said the CoE was ready to assist Mr. Mejdani and Mr.
Nano to overcome difficulties in the government's work as well as in the
effort to consolidate democratic institutions, promote economic reforms and
"The (Albanian) government agrees to that...What is now needed is to
advance rapidly in the implementation of the government's programme for the
country's stability. The problem is Sali Barisha's stance, who undermines
Albania's democratic institutions," he said.
Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek, participating in the mission as
chairman of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
"We fully support President Mejdani to develop the consensus and to find a
political solution. The opposition should participate".
Tirana witnessed the worst political violence in 18 months last Sunday and
Monday, sparked by the killing of Berisha aide Azem Hajdari.
But hopes of talks waned as Mr. Berisha accused Mr. Nano of sidelining the
president in the running of the country. Mr. Nano said after meeting the
delegation that he would "not cooperate with crime and its promoters".
His Socialist-led government has accused Mr. Berisha of attempting a coup
during the violence earlier last week and on Friday Albania's parliament
lifted his immunity from prosecution to open the way for his arrest.
Commenting on this issue, Mr. Papandreou said:
"Nobody questions the legality of the parliament's decisions, but one
should consider whether these lawful acts contribute to Albania's political
stability. This, of course, would be decided by President of the Republic
Mejdani and Prime Minister Nano".
"The place of the political opposition is in parliament, not in prison and
not in street demonstrations," Mr. Geremek said on his part.
Mr. Nano stressed that his government was committed to stabilising the
country with a three-month plan to fight crime and restore order. He did
The envoys said they would support any initiatives for peace in Albania and
urged President Mejdani, a former leader of the Socialist Party and now an
independent, to take charge of the process of mediating a political
Yilmaz-Mitsotakis hold "useful" talks in Istanbul
Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz held talks with former Greek Premier
Constantine Mitsotakis late last night and later told newsmen that the
discussion was "friendly and useful".
According to an ANA dispatch from Istanbul, the talks lasted one hour and
"We had a friendly and useful exchange of views on Greek-Turkish issues and
the Cyprus problem," Yilmaz said after the talks.
"There were and there will be messages," Yilmaz added, but declined to
elaborate on the contents of the talks.
Mitsotakis, who is an honourary member of the main opposition New Democracy
party said: "We hade a friendly and most sincere exchange of views. The
talks were useful and the question is for us to be able to find a way to
reduce tension (between Greece and Turkey) and arrive at a solution in due
time," Mitsotakis added also refusing further details on the talks.
Mitsotakis was in Istanbul to attend the wedding of New Democracy deputy
Manolis Kefaloyiannis at the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople
Tsohatzopoulos stresses need for effective airforce
The Hellenic Air Force must be strong and effective in order to avert
threats wherever they may come from, National Defence Minister Akis
Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday during a visit to a training centre for newly
inducted airmen in Tripoli, central Pelop onnese.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, accompanied by Airforce General Staff Chief Gen.
Georgios Antonetsos, said the country's efforts in the present crucial
period of time was hopeful and opened up new prospects, leading the country
towards a new century in the best ever conditions.
The minister declined to reply to reporters' questions on political
In a related development, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos will observe the final two
phases of the large-scale "Parmenion '98" military exercise being held in
Evros (land forces) and Hios (naval forces), sources said yesterday.
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will join Mr. Tsohatzopoulos
to observe the Evros exercise.
The final phases are scheduled to take place tomorrow and Wednesday.
All three branches of the armed forces are participating in the annual
exercise, which began last Thursday.
KKE leader speaks at youth festival
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga yesterday
criticised both the government and other opposition parties, saying
differences between KKE's policy from other political forces was a
deterrent to any likely cooperation.
Ms Papariga was speaking during the 24th festival of the Communist Youth of
She said KKE would see cooperation with other parties as a positive move
only under the condition that such cooperation "help the rallying of the
people against the neoliberal policy prescribed by the EUIagainst the
privatisation of education, health and social welfare," as she stated.
Referring to upcoming local elections, the KKE leader called on KKE and KNE
supporters to struggle "so that a serious blow is achieved against the
Papandreou promotes 'Olympic Truce' concept to Olympic medallists
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday called on Olympic
Games medallists meeting in Greece to support and become the symbols of the
idea for an "Olympic Truce".
Speaking on the first day of an international conference of Olympic medal
winners at the International Olympic Academy in Olympia, Mr. Papandreou
briefed participants on the project, which is being organised in close
cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
"The ancient tradition of the Olympic Truce can evolve into an effective
tool for the preventation and resolution of conflict, a fact which makes it
a moral obligation for Greece to support the respective initiatives of the
IOC to revive the insitution in a contemporary context," he said.
Mr. Papandreou said the support of past Olympic Games medallists was
"exceptionally important" as they could inspire and guide the young, and
particularly those coming from strife-torn regions, to help in consolidating
Organised by the Association of Greek Olympic 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.
Among the issues to be discussed at the conference are: the Olympic
movement and the Olympic Games; a historical approach to the Olympic Games;
the challenge of the Olympic Games; the timeless spirit of Olympism;
Olympic Games and the media; and women a nd the Olympic movement.
The conference ends on Sept. 23.
DANE announces new hi-speed vessel for Rhodes route
DANE Sea Lines announced yesterday that it was introducing a new high-speed
passenger vessel that is expected cut travelling time from Rhodes to
Piraeus to 5.5 hours.
A DANE official said the order placed for the high-speed Trimaran, combined
with the company's share capital increase, which began on Sept. 2 and ends
on Oct. 2, was part of efforts to save the indebted shipper by diversifying
Last week, DANE, which is listed on the Athens bourse, said the company
planned to buy a stake in a cruiseship to ply a route linking Rhodes,
Turkey and Cyprus. The company held talks last week with the Cypriot group,
which includes participation by a bank representing the interests of a
major international business concern.
The Trimaran is set to go into operation as of April 15, with the
Australian ship-building firm INCAT leasing DANE a Trimaran until its own
is constructed. DANE will pay INCAT 10 per cent of the proceeds from the
route as a downpayment on the new 55-m illion-dollar ship.
The Trimaran being leased can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, has
a capacity of 1,000 passengers and 380 passenger vehicles, whereas the new
Trimaran being acquired by DANE will be 120 metres long, with a capacity of
1,200 passengers and 420 vehicles. The new ship's delivery date is the
beginning of 2000.
Simitis speech tomorrow in Kallithea square
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is scheduled to speak at a rally of ruling
PASOK supporters tomorrow evening in the Athens distict of Kallithea to
mark the second anniversary of his party's 1996 general election victory.
Mr. Simitis is expected to out line the government's progress to date and
stress its commitment to achieving inclusion in Economic and Monetary
Papoutsis to inaugurate conference on SMEs in Austria
European Union Commissioner Christos Papoutsis will today declare open a
two-day European Union conference on SMEs, set for the Austrian city of
The meeting, organised by the European Commission and the Union's Austrian
presidency, will focus on an exchange of expertise on SMEs, aimed at
improving businesses. It expected to contribute to formulating the EU's
policy on SMEs in 2000.
Issues to be examined include funding and training of SME managers, as well
as national and international cooperation in further boosting developement
Three charged with stealing cars, blackmail owners
Police arrested three Albanians on charges of stealing cars and then
blackmailing their owners to get the vehicles back.
The three, Antoni Bezeri, 19, Alexi Prapi, 21, and a 13-year-old accomplice,
were arrested after the victim of a theft informed police that he was told
to pay 300,000 drachmas in order to get his stolen car back.
A meeting was organised in the near Athens suburb of Kolonos, where the
three suspects were arrested.
Murder rate in Greece sharply rises over past 7 years
The murder rate in Greece has increased dramatically over the past seven
years with the majority of victims and perpetrators being non-Greeks,
especially Albanian nationals.
The figures were presented at the First National Conference of Forensic
Scientists and Toxicologists, which began Friday in Thessaloniki.
According to research conducted for the Athens forensic service, in the 12-
year period 1978-1990 there were 406 murders, of which 55 involved
foreigners; in the seven-year period 1991-1997, there were 499 murders, of
which 153 involved foreigners - 69 A lbanians and 25 of undetermined
1996 was a bleakest year for homicide, with 83 murders recorded in Athens
alone. Of that number, 63 of the victims were foreign nationals. By
comparison, in 1978, Athens recorded 21 murders, with only two foreigners
The conference is being held with the participation of more than 150 Greek
and foreign experts.
Greek First Division soccer results
Apollon Athens-Panelefsiniakos 1-1 Ionikos Piraeus-Kavala 4-2
AEK Athens-Veria 2-0 Ethnikos Astir Athens-Ethnikos Piraeus 1-0
Xanthi-Paniliakos Pyrgos 2-1 Proodeftiki Piraeus-Iraklis Thessaloniki 0-
0 Olympiakos Piraeus-OFI Iraklion 3-0
PAOK Thessaloniki-Panathinaikos 2-0 Aris Thessaloniki-Panionios Athens play
Olympiakos, AEK, Ionikos 10, Panathinaikos 9, Aris, Iraklis, Xanthi 7,
Paniliakos, OFI, Ethnikos Astir 6
Occasional storms and rainfall across most of Greece today. Winds
northwesterly moderate to strong in the west and south. Temperatures will
range from 12-20 in the north, 15-26 in the Ionian and mainland and 18-27
in the Aegean. Athens overcast with possible rain in the afternoon and
temperatures between 17-25C. Thessaloniki will be cloudy with the
likelihood of evening rain and temperatures from 15-20C.
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