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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 26/10/1998 (ANA)


  • Simitis terms informal EU summit as 'positive','useful'
  • Political, ecclesiastical leaderships attend events on Mount Athos
  • Athens warns Ankara over mass violations by Turkish warplanes
  • Karamanlis calls for Romeos' ouster following recent violent crimes
  • Yiannopoulos speaks at event focusing on fighting organised crime
  • Bomb blast at building housing tax bureau office
  • Policeman charged with intentional homicide in Serb student's death
  • Anarchists claim responsibility for weekend car torchings
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Simitis terms informal EU summit as 'positive','useful'

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that the European Union's informal summit was positive because it reconfirmed the need for a common stance on international economic developments, the need to promote the unification process as well as for Europe to take steps forward.

Consequently, he termed the summit useful and added that its conclusions will be helpful, while noting that decisions are not taken at an informal summit.

On the question of the Union's Common Foreign Policy and Security Policy, Mr. Simitis said that all agree that decisions taken must be realised to enable Europe to have a role and a presence.

Mr. Simitis referred in particular to the issue of employment and the European social model, saying that all agree that it constitutes a main issue for Europe and that defining new policies to decrease unemployment are necessary. He also noted that following a change in government in Germany and Italy a different disposition appears to exist for more determination on these issues but, as he said, the disposition was merely expressed at this time.

Mr. Simitis said that despite different approaches by the "15" there is a common direction in that initiatives must be undertaken to handle the international crisis. In any case, he added, this issue will also be discussed at the Vienna summit in early December where, as it has been disclosed, the 15 EU finance and monetary affairs ministers will have to make specific proposals.

At the same time, he said, the "15" agree that the European economy has positive performances to show (a positive rate of development despite its expected decrease in 1999 compared to predictions), which is due to the process leading to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the prospect of a unified currency, etc.

Mr. Simitis referred to the decision taken by the "15" on the need to reform the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an increase in its available funds and the need to define a common European strategy at all international forums, such as the G-7.

An extensive discussion on the situation in Russia and Japan was also held at the summit.

Mr. Simitis said that the common conclusion was that the decrease in inflation in Europe justifies the existence of developments on the interest rate front which, however, will be examined by EU member-states' central bankers.

Apart from the economic policy issues, the questions of internal security and the handling of crime were also discussed. Mr. Simitis said that there is a joint conviction that better cooperation and common policies for handling these problems are necess ary.

Mr. Simitis said that crime emanating from economic immigration concerns all countries and all must contribute to its tackling. In any case, he added, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema said that his country cannot handle the problem alone and it must be examined by all at a European level.

Mr. Simitis said that the majority of EU leaders appeared not to share the view of French President Jacques Chirac for the need to enact a common tax policy since each country has its individualities although, as he said, many believe that that there must be no competition differences due to different tax settlements in each country.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the summit, Mr. Simitis again appealed to all of the country's social partners to make a positive contribution in the effort to combat inflation.

On the occasion of the discussion held between the "15" on the prospect of decreasing interest rates at a European-wide level in the effort to handle the international crisis, a speedup in development and combatting unemployment, Mr. Simitis observed that there is an acceptance by the majority of citizens in Greece for accession to EMU but, as he said, apart from acceptance of the target acceptance of measures is also necessary to enable them to produce results.

"When we will achieve accession to EMU then the interest rates will fall very quickly to approach the lower interest rates of EU countries, resulting in more investments and more jobs," he said.

Mr. Simitis said that it is a common conviction that this is the sole course to combat unemployment and for stability, while there will also be more funds for other policies, such as health and education, as a result of this development.

Mr. Simitis said that a drastic decrease in inflation is necessary in Greece and the role played by interest rates is different since there can be no correlations between the situation in Greece and that in the EU.

Political, ecclesiastical leaderships attend events on Mount Athos

Two-day celebrations to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the Xenofon Monastery on Mount Athos concluded yesterday in the presence of high-ranking political and ecclesiastical leaders.

The Greek state was represented by President Kostis Stephanopoulos, while also present were Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, among others.

Citing the commemorative events as an example, Vartholomeos stressed the need for Hellenism to be kept united, noting that the nation has experienced many divisions in the past.

He made particular reference to efforts being made by the Church in this direction and underlined the work being done to disseminate the spirit of Orthodoxy and Hellenism in all nations hosting ethnic Greek communities.

The Patriarch also officiated at a service held at the monastery's chapel in the morning together with Archbishop Christodoulos.

Speaking at the end of the Church service, President Stephanopoulos also referred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and pondered how much "cleverer it would be" for the Turkish Republic if it promoted the Patriarchate of Constantinople (located in Istanbul ) so as to be able to also participate in the honours bestowed upon it. He said that this "would result in us not feeling anxious over the Fanar and not being in need of international laws for the continuation of its presence."

President Stephanopoulos also praised the contribution of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop and the monks on Mount Athos towards disseminating the Orthodox spirit.

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos gave President Stephanopoulos the Grand Cross commemorating the 1,000th anniversary of Xenofon Monastery.

The Ecumenical Patriarch also symbolically planted a cypress tree in the yard outside the monastery. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Venizelos inaugurated the monastery's museum.

Referring to the celebration, ND leader Karamanlis said that "the thousand- year uninterrupted course of the Holy Xenofon Monastery promotes the elements of uniqueness and passage through time."

On his part, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the event was a message which confirmed the strength and appeal of Orthodoxy all over the world.

Athens warns Ankara over mass violations by Turkish warplanes

Greece sternly warned Turkish leadership yesterday that they would be "solely responsible" in case of any accident related to military flights over the Aegean.

"Turkey assumes tremendous responsibilities and is being called to realise that, given its aggressive behaviour in the Aegean, it will be responsible for future accidents," National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in Evros prefecture, on the Greek-Turkish border, referring to mass violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes over the past few days. Turkish aircraft have been violating Greek and Cypriot airspace since last Thursday, trying to prevent Greek fighters and transport planes from participating in a joint Greece-Cyprus military exercise.

"Turkey will be held totally responsible. Greece will not tolerate any further conduct of the Turkish aircraft that jeopardise the safety of military planes, crews as well as the safety of civil aviation," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added.

"Turkish aircraft even harassed commuter planes, in fact, commuter planes belonging to third countries. We have not spoken during the holding of the exercise because we wanted it to be completed, making it clear that whatever means they (Turkish military) use, they are not in a position to prevent the implementation of the joint defence doctrine between Greece and Cyprus," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos further said.

"Turkey should definitely and clearly realise that, contrary to other countries where its threats yield results, this is not the case either with Greece or Cyprus. The sooner they realise this, the brighter their future in the European Union will be...Turkey will either learn to behave in a European fashion or it will be definitely left out of Europe," he said.

Harassment continued as Turkey's air force was out in numbers again yesterday over the area between Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus, in another effort to interfere with Greece's participation in the Greece-Cyprus joint military exercises "Toxotis-Nikiforos".

Eleven Turkish formations infringed on Athens and Nicosia Flight Information Regions' (FIR) regulations, before being indentified and intercepted by an equal number of Greek warplanes. In several instances interceptions escalated into engagements.

Karamanlis calls for Romeos' ouster following recent violent crimes

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday placed political responsibilities directly on Prime Minister Costas Simitis for the recent surge in violent crime and police-related corruption, demanding the removal of Public Order Minis ter George Romeos.

On arrival at Macedonia Airport in Thessaloniki, Mr. Karamanlis said "the situation in the public order sector has gone too far. Crime, corruption and excess have sharply increased. Citizens in cities and in the provinces feel insecurity. We have a 'political party state' which is in a state of dissolution and decay and which is the enemy of the citizen. Citizens were never so alone, so vulnerable and so unprotected. The dissolution of the state entails grave political responsibilities, which Mr. Simitis himself is shouldering since he doesn't even dare to do what is self-evident, to remove an overtly failed minister."

Yiannopoulos speaks at event focusing on fighting organised crime

There has been a dramatic increase in crime throughout Greece over recent years and effectively dealing with this requires the rallying of a number of different agencies simultaneously, Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos stressed in Komotini yesterday.

Mr. Yiannopoulos was speaking during the official opening of the seventh national conference of the Greek Society of Criminal Law, which will focus this year on organised crime.

He said that what was needed were speedier procedures of prevention which, combined with technological advances, could restrict the opportunities for organised crime to operate freely in the country.

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Yiannopoulos said calls for the resignation of Public Order Minister George Romeos, following the fatal shooting of a Yugoslav high school student on holiday in Thessaloniki on Friday by a police officer, were "unfair".

"The attack against him is unfair, and it would also be unfair if he submitted his resignation," Mr. Yiannopoulos said.

Bomb blast at building housing tax bureau office

A bomb exploded at the ground-floor level of a Piraeus building housing a tax bureau office yesterday evening.

An unidentified caller reportedly called the Athens daily "Athinaiki" before the blast, recorded at 8:40 p.m., to warn of the explosion. However, the caller reportedly said the bomb would detonate at 8:30 p.m.

Policeman charged with intentional homicide in Serb student's death

The police officer that fatally shot an 18-year-old Yugoslav high school student on vacation in downtown Thessaloniki on Friday was charged yesterday with intentional homicide and illegal use of a firearm.

Kyriakos Vandoulis, 32, was initially referred to a magistrate with the charge of unintentional homicide, which however, was upgraded. He is also scheduled to provide a statement tomorrow - today is a public holiday in Thessaloniki. The body of the victim, Marko Bulatovic, will be transported to Yugoslavia today, accompanied by the 215 fellow students with him.

Eyewitnesses said that the youth and his companions had been standing outside a clothing store on Thessaloniki's main commercial avenue, Egnatia, when police arrived. The eyewitnesses said police attempted to arrest the youths and that the teen was shot in the head while trying to free himself.

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Saturday expressed the government's deep regret over the death of the teen.

Anarchists claim responsibility for weekend car torchings

A group calling itself "Terrorist Core" claimed responsibility for the torching of a car early yesterday morning, in a telephone call to a local television station.

The car, belonging to an architect, was parked in the Athens suburb of Halandri. It was doused in gasoline and set alight. It was completely destroyed, while a neighbouring car was also severely damaged.

The anonymous caller claimed that similar attacks would follow. Police said another two cars were also torched, most likely deliberately, overnight, one in Neo Irakleio and another in central Athens. On Saturday, the organisation "Cooperation

Between Anarchist Groups" claimed responsibility for arson attacks overnight against the cars of two police officers and a lawyer in the east Athens district of Ilioupoli.

The three attacks with makeshift incendiary devices took place between 1:55 a.m. and 2 a.m.

At 3:20 a.m., an anonymous caller telephoned an Athens radio station to claim responsibility.

Greek First Division soccer results

Ethnikos Astir-Olympiakos Piraeus 1-3 Proodeftiki-AEK Athens 1-1 Iraklis Thessaloniki-Ionikos Piraeus 2-1 OFI Iraklion-Panelefsiniakos 3- 0 Paniliakos Pyrgos-Apollon Athens 3-1 Ethnikos Piraeus-Aris Thessaloniki 1-1 Xanthi-PAOK Thessaloniki 0- 1 Panionios Athens-Veria and Panathinaikos-Kavala today. Standings/points: AEK 17, Olympiakos 16, Panathinaikos 15, Ionikos Piraeus, Xanthi 13, Paniliakos Pyrgos 12 Iraklis, Aris, PAOK 11.


Cloud, rain and local thunderstorms are forecast today for western and mainland Greece. Scattered cloud and the possibility of rain in the rest of the country and the eastern part of the Aegean Sea. West-southwesterly winds. Athens will be overcast with occasional drizzle and temperatures from 15-23C. Same in Thessaloniki with showers and temperatures between 14- 19C.


Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 278.087 British pound 471.299 Japanese yen (100) 234.400 French franc 50.548 German mark 169.468 Italian lira (100) 17.136 Irish Punt 422.592 Belgian franc 8.214 Finnish mark 55.738 Dutch guilder 150.263 Danish kr. 44.578 Austrian sch. 24.087 Spanish peseta 1.996 Swedish kr. 36.020 Norwegian kr. 37.763 Swiss franc 207.293 Port. Escudo 1.652 Aus. dollar 173.600 Can. dollar 179.949 Cyprus pound 572.245


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