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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-10-07

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, 07/10/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece, Russia caution against Kosovo strike
  • Russian defence minister to visit Syria
  • Comments on Cyprus S-300 missiles
  • Greek armaments programme to be discussed
  • NATO chief postpones visit to Athens
  • Premier meets with Cypriot Speaker
  • Gov't not being judged in weekend elections
  • Parliament committee lifts immunity for two MPs
  • Weak tremor recorded off Kalamata
  • British embassy holds conference on 2004 Olympics
  • Greek equities end moderately higher
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece, Russia caution against Kosovo strike

Greece is asking that its position as a Balkan country be taken into account with respect to any possible military intervention by NATO aimed at resolving the crisis in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Wednesday. Tsohatzopoulos made the statement at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Igor Sergeyev, when asked whether Greece would participate in any NATO military intervention in Yugoslavia. Sergeyev warned that any intervention would not be a punitive operation against one side but rather would escalate into war. Tsohatzopoulos expressed the hope that all diplomatic and political possibilities to end the crisis would be exhausted and that the use of force eventually averted.

Russian defence minister to visit Syria

Russia's defence Minister Igor Sergeyev described as "a serious issue" the recent escalation of tension in relations between Turkey and Syria and announced that he was planning to visit Damascus to discuss the matter. The worsening of relations between the two countries follows concern in Damascus at Ankara's growing military ties with Israel and accusations by Turkey that Syria is supporting Kurdish separatists. Sergeyev said Greece and Russia had agreed to study all aspects of relations between Turkey and Syria through the exchange of information and analyses on a permanent basis.

Comments on Cyprus S-300 missiles

Asked to comment on Turkey's threats to prevent the delivery of Russian- made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles ordered by Nicosia, Tsohatzopoulos underlined that neither Greece nor Cyprus needed anyone's permission to implement their cooperation "which guarantees our joint defence against a foreign threat". "As UN members, both Greece and Cyprus are exercising their inalienable right to implement a joint defence policy against a foreign threat," he said. Replying to the same question, Sergeyev said "we are very careful in all our movements from the viewpoint of international law".

Greek armaments programme to be discussed

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will confer on Thursday on the course of Greece's four trillion drachma armaments procurements programme and other issues, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday. Reppas added that there was still no decision on whether the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) would convene on Friday to take decisions on the armaments programme. But asked by reporters about the KYSEA meeting, Tsohatzopoulos on Wednesday said he didn't know why there was an issue about whether or not KYSEA would meet. "The KYSEA meeting is scheduled for Friday and tomorrow (Thursday) I will meet with the prime minister," he said.

NATO chief postpones visit to Athens

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana has called off his scheduled visit to Greece for this Friday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Wednesday. Solana was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. NATO foreign ministers however meet in Brussels on Saturday to discuss the Kosovo issue, instead of Thursday as orinally planned.

Premier meets with Cypriot Speaker

Cyprus House of Representatives Speaker Spyros Kyprianou expressed complete satisfaction with his talks here on Wednesday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and stressed that the Cyprus problem had entered a new, critical phase. On the one hand, Kyprianou said, there is the issue of the political problem and on the other, the commencement of negotiations for Cyprus' entry to the European Union. Kyprianou expressed optimism that any problems which might arise with respect to the latter issue would be overcome and referred to the efforts made by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos at the most recent EU Council meeting.

Gov't not being judged in weekend elections

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said today that although Sunday's municipal and prefectural elections had political overtones they could not be linked to the government's work, which would be assessed only at the end of the year 2000 when it completed its four-year term in office. Simitis said that the international economic environment continued to be unstable, but added there were some positive indications, such as an upward trend in the drachma at this critical period.

Parliament committee lifts immunity for two MPs

A parliamentary committee of justice today voted in favour of lifting the parliamentary immunity of two main opposition New Democracy deputies involved in recent incidents seen as unbecoming their status as members of the House. One refused to take a breathalyser test, reportedly citing his capacity as a member of parliament, after his car crashed and resulted in the death of a young woman. On July 22, ND expelled Varsamis Giovanoudas from the party for behaviour unbecoming a member of parliament after he admitted to having an extramarital relationship with a 25-year-old woman, but denied allegations that he assaulted her when she tried to end their affair.

Weak tremor recorded off Kalamata

Seismologist reported a weak tremor measuring 4.4 Richter with an epicentre 200 kilometres southwest of Athens, early on Wednesday. The epicentre of the quake was situated in the seabed 40 kilometres south of the Pelopponese town of Kalamata. No damage or injuries were reported. Yesterday, an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale was recorded at 15.28 local time with an epicentre 245 kilometres northwest of Athens in the seabed south of the Ionian island of Zakynthos. It was particularly felt in Zakynthos, Cephalonia, the western Peloponnese and Achaia.

British embassy holds conference on 2004 Olympics

The British Embassy in Athens, in cooperation with the British Department of Trade and Industry, is organising a one-day conference in London on "Olympic Opportunities-Athens 2004". The event, to take place November 3 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, aims to investigate prospects for business collaborations between Greek and British companies, mainly in the fields of construction companies, banks, consultancy firms, telecommunications and insurance, in view of Athens' hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games.

Greek equities end moderately higher

Greek equities ended moderately higher on the Athens Stock Exchange following a recovery in European markets amid hopes that lower interest rates would drive world economies out of a current financial crisis. The general index ended 1.34 percent higher to 1,930.56 points, sharply off the day's highs. Trading was thin with turnover at 37.1 billion drachmas. Volume was 8,649,000 shares.

WEATHER

Cloudy weather will prevail throughout Greece today with the possibility of rain in the northern Ionian, Epirus, western central Greece and western Macedonia in the afternoon. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Ionian. Overcast in Athens with temperatures between 16- 30C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 14-26C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 282.432 British pound 475.069 Japanese yen (100) 212.764 French franc 51.419 German mark 172.375 Italian lira (100) 17.440 Irish Punt 431.917 Belgian franc 8.357 Finnish mark 56.651 Dutch guilder 152.942 Danish kr. 45.348 Austrian sch. 24.503 Spanish peseta 2.029 Swedish kr. 35.311 Norwegian kr. 37.813 Swiss franc 209.590 Port. Escudo 1.682 Aus. dollar 164.603 Can. dollar 182.191 Cyprus pound 582.443

(M.P.)


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