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

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 05/10/1998 (ANA)


  • Greece "very reserved" about Kosovo action
  • Athens points finger at Turkey over Syrian tension
  • NATO chief Solana to visit Athens on Friday
  • Athens welcomes visit by Russian defence minister
  • Global crisis will not derail Greek economy policy
  • Peacekeeping missions conference under way
  • Greece needs European arms dimension
  • Thessaloniki faces water supply problems
  • Concern over rising drug deaths in Thessaloniki
  • Strong blast damages four Cretan homes
  • Greek equities end 0.15% off
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greece "very reserved" about Kosovo action

Greece said Monday that it had "serious reservations" about the undertaking of any military action to resolve the conflict in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement when asked what stance Greece would adopt in the event of military intervention by NATO. "The solution to the crisis must be political and found through dialogue," Reppas said, expressing the hope that the consultations currently under way will yield positive results. "There must be no more bloodshed in the region," the spokesman stressed.

Athens points finger at Turkey over Syrian tension

Greece on Monday attributed responsibility to Ankara for the recent tension between Turkey and Syria. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said all countries should take steps to ensure a climate of stability and security in the region. "Turkey dynamites all attempts at creating such a climate," Reppas added in the context of Greek-Turkish relations. The spokesman underlined the need for "good faith, a desire to reach an understanding and the behaviour one would expect from a good neighbour". In addition, he said, problems should be resolved on the basis of international law.

NATO chief Solana to visit Athens on Friday

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana will be in Athens on Friday and will meet with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis later the same day, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Monday. Reppas said he had no new information on the dialogue between Greece and Turkey at NATO under Solana's auspices and did not comment on press reports that there had been a recent meeting between Greek and Turkish officials on the issue, saying that it was Solana's and Athens and Ankara's wish that these talks remain confidential.

Athens welcomes visit by Russian defence minister

Greece on Monday said a forthcoming visit by Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev to Athens was an "important event". "We want close cooperation with Russia at all levels," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters. Details of Sergeyev's visit are not yet ready, but according to press sources he will probably have talks with Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, and meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

Global crisis will not derail Greek economy policy

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that there was no need to change the government's economic policy because of an international financial crisis. He noted that the current economic policy was efficient and repeated that the aim of the country's participation in European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was of national significance.

Peacekeeping missions conference under way

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos today stressed the significance placed by Greece on peacekeeping operations while opening a seminar on "civil and military aspects of peace-keeping operations", being held under the aegis of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance Council and organised by the national defence general staff. The seminar will examine the recent peace- keeping operations in Bosnia, Albania and Somalia. Delegates include 70 representatives from NATO member states and Partnership for Peace members.

Greece needs European arms dimension

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed the need for Greece's defence industry to participate in European aramaments programmes in order to survive and improve its competitivenes. Opening a day-seminar orgaanised by the federation of Greek defence matieriele manufacturers in Vouliagmeni on "Armaments - Cooperation among Defence Industries - Economy", Tsohatzopoulos noted that at a time when defence industries were merging on a world scale, Greece could not possibly operate with "little shops". Turning to the prospect of a NATO intervention in Kosovo, Tsohatzopoulos reiterated Greece's firm position that such an eventuality required a decision of the UN Security Council and a new NATO political decision.

Thessaloniki faces water supply problems

Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, was facing problems with its water supply on Monday, in the wake of rolling 24-hour strikes since Saturday by workers at the city's Water Company. Residents of the city were expected to face long delays in the repair of any faults and erratic provision, given that only skeleton staff was on duty during the strike. Workers called the strike to press for changes to the government's plans to merge the city's water and sewerage agencies. They want subsidiary organisations that will be established under the merger to be controlled by the state and, possibly, local authorities.

Concern over rising drug deaths in Thessaloniki

A recent spate of drug-related deaths in Thessaloniki has spread panic among users and caused deep concern among police authorities in the northern Greek capital. Four men aged 30 to 40 have died after the use of narcotic substances over the past 48 hours, and medical examiner Matthaios Tsougas anticipates an increase in drug-related deaths. He told the ANA that, according to figures from the detoxification centres, only 300 of Greece's estimated 100,000 drug addicts have entered detox programmes. Tsougas, who performed the autopsies on the four bodies, said that all four deaths were attributed to heroin. According to local police, 38 people have died of drug overdoses in Thessaloniki since the beginning of the year.

Strong blast damages four Cretan homes

A strong blast caused by a makeshift explosive device destroyed a farm vehicle and damaged four houses in the village of Zachariana near Chania, Crete early this morning. The device had been placed under the vehicle, owned by farmer Nikolaos Malefakis, 60. The vehicle was completely destroyed while the doors and windows of four adjacent houses were seriously damaged. The blast left a small crater in the road where the vehicle had been parked. An investigation is being conducted by the Kissamos police department.

Greek equities end 0.15% off

Greek equities ended a highly volatile session slightly lower on the Athens Stock Exchange. Traders said the market was nervous in the wake of renewed turmoil in international markets and attributed a partial recovery of the market to bargain-hunting and other speculative buying. The general index ended 0.15 percent off to 1,889.69 points, sharply off the day's lows. Trading was moderate with turnover at 43 billion drachmas. Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 0.10 percent, Insurance rose 0.38 percent, Investment ended 0.26 percent down, Leasing dropped 2.34 percent, Industrials fell 0.04 percent, Construction rose 0.99 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.20 percent up and Holding eased 2.33 percent.


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.


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


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