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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-05

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, 05/10/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Delphi summit appeals for negotiated Kosovo settlement
  • Need for EU unified response to international crises
  • Tsohatzopoulos calls for immediate dialogue on Kosovo
  • Priority of EMU entry target date decisive, PM says
  • Karamanlis tours Eastern Macedonia, Thrace
  • Papandreou to attend ESP meeting on Europe's future
  • Positive developments for green card holders
  • Kavala hosts manufacture exhibition
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Delphi summit appeals for negotiated Kosovo settlement

Greece, Bulgaria and Romania yesterday called for a ceasefire in Kosovo in order to pave the way for a political solution and avert intervention by NATO in the strife-torn Yugoslav province.

"The (countries') three leaders make an urgent and dramatic appeal to all sides involved, and in particular the Yugoslav authorities, to work for a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Kosovo...namely a ceasefire should be put immediately into effec t," a joint statement by the three countries said.

The declaration was released after talks in Delphi, central Greece, at the weekend between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and Romanian President Emil Constantinescu.

"Parties should come to the negotiating table without preconditions, aiming at achieving a peaceful solution for a large autonomy for Kosovo within the internationally recognised borders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and respecting the rights and freedoms of all the inhabitants of Kosovo, so that another course of action be avoided," said the statement.

The three leaders said a failure to find a solution to the rift between Yugoslav authorities and ethnic Albanians in Kosovo could hurt the entire Balkan region.

"Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, immediate neighbours of Yugoslavia, are deeply concerned that the escalation of the conflict in Kosovo has reached a crucial point; further negative developments could have serious consequences for the three countries and the region as a whole," the declaration said.

Turning to Albania, the three leaders called on the country's government and political parties to use political dialogue and create a state of law, enabling democratic institutions to operate.

They also expressed support for initiatives by the international community.

In addition, the leaders welcomed the start of the enlargement process for the European Union, in which Bulgaria and Romania are candidate countries. Already an EU member, Greece has repeatedly worked on behalf of their applications to the 15-nation bloc.

The three leaders also praised NATO's "open door policy", hoping that an upcoming summit in Washington would take concrete steps to develop the approach in order to enhance the Alliance's decisive role in consolidating peace and stability in southeastern Europe and the continent as a whole.

They said they supported an agreement signed recently to establish a multinational peace force in southeastern Europe.

"The three leaders, whose countries share a common European destiny, reaffirmed their commitment to principles of international law, on peace, security and good-neighbourly relations, respect for sovereignty, integrity and inviolability of external bord ers, as well as the recourse to the International Court of Justice to settle territorial differences, which are enunciated in the European Union Presidency Conclusions of the Luxembourg Council of December 1997 and in the 'Agenda 2000'," the statement also said.

Trilateral cooperation : Finally, the three leaders agreed at the weekend meeting to step up their trilateral cooperation, which was launched in Ioannina, north-western Greece, in 1995.

During the Delphi Summit, "it was stressed that this cooperation has contributed importantly to the promotion of security, stability and cooperation in Europe as a whole, within the perspective of growing integration of the continent," the statement said.

Contacts on a bilateral, trilateral and multilateral level involving other countries in southeastern Europe should also receive practical encouragement, the statement said. Key fields to be promoted are infrastructure networks, transport, energy and eco nomic and trade relations.

Countries in the region should work together to combat organised crime, terrorism, financial crime and money-laundering; and the trafficking of drugs, weapons, and nuclear materials.

The three leaders "further agreed that their Ministers of Interior/Public Order and Justice should convene on a regular basis in joint meetings. They expressed support for the establishment in Bucharest of the SECI Regional Centre for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption and the initiative of Bulgaria to host the Regional Coordinating Centre for Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking," the statement said.

The three countries agreed to hold regular summits, with the next session due in Bulgaria in 1999.

Meetings of their ministers and experts also will continue to take place.

Need for EU unified response to international crises

Development Undersecretary Anna Diamantopoulou, who represented Greece in the informal meeting of EU industry ministers and the parallel Second Euro- Mediterranean Industry Ministers council, yesterday, told the ANA that there was an increasing need for a European unified response to international crises.

This was the main focus of the informal meeting of industry ministers, taking place in Austria, currently holding the EU's rotating presidency.

According to Ms. Diamantopoulou, discussion also touched upon the likely formation of an EU competitiveness council, similar to the ECOFIN.

Addressing the meeting, the development undersecretary expounded on Greece's positions on cooperation in Europe and with regard to small- and medium-sized enterprises at the transitional process of accepting new members from central and eastern Europe.

One of the points she stressed was Greek businesses' preparation to meet new market conditions in unified Europe, as well as in the Balkans.

Speaking during a session of the Euro-Mediterranean council, Ms. Diamantopoulou underlined the need to place more emphasis on networking, quality and new programmes for young entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, Cyprus was chosen to host the 3rd Euro-Mediterranean Industry Ministers Council in 1999, after a proposal by Cypriot Industry Minister Nikos Rolandis, who also attended the meeting.

Portugal and Morocco have asked to host the industry ministers council in 2000.

Participants in this year's council included the Union's 15 industry ministers and their counterparts from 12 Mediterranean nations.

Tsohatzopoulos calls for immediate dialogue on Kosovo

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday called on Yugoslavia and Albanians in Kosovo to begin talks in order to avert a military intervention by NATO in Kosovo.

Calling on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova to begin talks, he said: "They should proceed immediately with the start of dialogue to allow broad autonomy in Kosovo within the framework of Yugoslavia's existing borders."

"I am optimistic that the logic of dialogue will prevail and that there will be a political solution," said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, speaking in Thessaloniki.

Priority of EMU entry target date decisive, PM says

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that the government's primary aim remained attaining entry into the European Union's economic and monetary union by the target date of January 1, 2001.

He was commenting on allegations by several Sunday newspapers that economic policy was a hostage to election politics as Greece still had leeway of one year to meet the five economic criteria needed for EMU entry, when asked by reporters in Delphi on the sidelines of a tripartite summit between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. "The priority of EMU entry is decisive in any decisions taken," Mr. Simitis said. Joining the euro, the EU's future single currency, would help to ensure economic stability and contribute to attaining greater social justice, he said.

Karamanlis tours Eastern Macedonia, Thrace

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis launched an attack on the goverment during a speech in Kavala, Saturday, criticising its policies on health, education, the economy, investments and tourism, among others.

Mr. Karamanlis was speaking during a pre-electoral meeting, where he presented the political programme of his party's candidate for the post of Kavala prefect, Theodoros Kallionzis.

His criticism of the government also touched upon the Athens Stock Exchange and the compulsory mergers in the first level of local government, saying when his party would come in office, it will allow citizens themselves to decide on the future of the regions they live in.

According to the opposition leader, the state deprived the youth of the means to achieve a competitive future.

Earlier, in Komotini, Mr. Karamanlis addressed a rally organised by the 'Kalimera Thraki" coalition, running for the prefecture of Thrace.

He stressed the local elections of Oct. 11 were a "deeply political" process, as the "entire electorate" was to vote to elect local leaders.

He added that "it was a unique chance to strengthen the local government."

Mr. Karamanlis referred to the problems of the region's farmers, pledging that as a prime minister he would personally undertake the responsibility "to negotiate on agricultural products with the European Union."

Further, he once again accused the government for delays in the completion of major infrastructure projects, describing a new law on development as "unacceptable", as it abolished investment incentives for the specific region.

Papandreou to attend ESP meeting on Europe's future

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou is scheduled to represent ruling PASOK party president Costas Simitis at today's meeting of socialist parties' leaders, affiliated with the European Socialist Party (ESP), taking place in Vienna.

Discussions will focus on "Europe's future", with emphasis on employment, subsidiarity, democratic legality, as well as issues in preparation of the October 25 meeting of EU member-states' heads, also to be held in Austria.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Mr. Papandreou will have contacts with a number of European socialist figures.

Positive developments for green card holders

Foreign workers who are in possession of the green work and residence card may now enjoy the same labour and social insurance rights as their Greek colleagues, officials of the Athens Labour Centre (EKA) told representatives of immigrant organisations du ring a briefing Saturday.

Foreign workers legally employed in Greece now number 380,000, while the process is underway for the granting of the green card to another 100, 000.

The gross monthly minimum wage for domestic assistants is now set at 164, 000 drachmas, of which 10,000 drachmas is deducted for social security. The employers' contribution is 18,000 drachmas.

Other provisions already in place stipulate the compulsory attendance of primary school by immigrants' children, while those that are over age will receive supplementary tuition in order to be placed in the appropriate grade, the officials said.

Kavala hosts manufacture exhibition

National Economy Ministry Secretary Ilias Plaskovitis said Saturday from Kavala that Greek businesses, especially those in northern Greece, have made tremendous steps forward in the Balkan region.

Mr. Plaskovitis was speaking during an Industry-Handicraft-Manufucture exhibition in Kavala, which he inaugurated.

"Interborder business, on both public and private levels, is constantly developing" said the official.

The commercial show, with 75 exhibitors and many visitors from private and state bodies from Greece and the Balkans, presented products mainly produced by Kavala-based businesses.

Greek First Division soccer results

PAOK-Iraklis 2-1 Apollon-OFI 1-0 Ionikos-Ethnikos 5-0 AEK-Paniliakos 3-1 Olympiakos-Proodeftiki 6-1 Ethnikos Asteras-Xanthi 0-1 Panelefsiniakos-Veria 2-0 Kavala-Panionios play Monday Aris-Panathinaikos play Monday Standings/points: AEK 16, Olympiakos, Ionikos, Xanthi 13, Panathinaikos 12, Aris 10, Paniliakos 9, Iraklis, PAOK 8.

WEATHER

Fair weather forecast throughout the country today with winds variable, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with few clouds and temperatures ranging from 16-27C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 14- 24C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 281.827 British pound 481.318 Japanese yen (100) 210.125 French franc 51.463 German mark 172.509 Italian lira (100) 17.454 Irish Punt 431.123 Belgian franc 8.363 Finnish mark 56.701 Dutch guilder 153.011 Danish kr. 45.390 Austrian sch. 24.528 Spanish peseta 2.031 Swedish kr. 35.621 Norwegian kr. 37.781 Swiss franc 209.223 Port. Escudo 1.684 Aus. dollar 167.946 Can. dollar 181.953 Cyprus pound 580.320

(C.E.)


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