Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-11-30
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 30/11/1998 (ANA)
- Simitis' letter to Blair 'third road' for European centre-left
- Greek-Iranian cooperation agreement signed in Tehran
- Santer quoted as saying Greece well-placed to enter EMU by 2001
- Customs strike this week
- Tsohatzopoulos: No disagreement between Athens, Nicosia
- Clerides: Cyprus today's 'Thermopylae'
- Human Rights Watch 1998 report details torture situation in Turkey
- Gov't unveils new police unit as measure against bank robberies
- Archdiocese of America calls for US support of Patriarchate
- Christodoulos touches on Church's role towards EMU
- Greek first division soccer results
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Simitis' letter to Blair 'third road' for European centre-left
Problems posed by today's "globalised reality" and the future of the modern
European centre-left, were the focus of Prime Minister Costas Simitis'
repsonse to British counterpart Tony Blair.
Mr. Simitis, who responded in a letter, expressed his thoughts on the so-
called "third road" for European centre-left governments.
Underlining the current problems posed by the globalised reality, Mr.
Simitis indicated that their solutions should correspond with a European
demand for the reinforcement of social cohesion and the creation of
conditions which "will permanently ward-off the spectre of social
exclusion", while safe-guarding economic development.
The Greek PM's letter focused on six points: first, that an effective
response to globalisation cannot ignore social cohesion; it should on the
contrary safeguard it, while not placing in danger economic development.
Mr. Simitis said societies of northern EU states should be organised on a
"more rational basis", while he stressed that the EU's southern states are
inadequate concerning basic social services.
Noting the importance of economic stability, which he called "acquis" of
the EU for the last decade, he stressed that this stability should become
the basic and adequate precondition to achieve social stability and low
He added that the incorporation of economic stability in a European centre-
left programme "would totally distance (the possibilty of) irresponsible
leftist practises of the past."
Regarding the environment and the quality of life, Mr. Simitis said that
for the centre-left "development is a qualitative and not just an economic
Mr. Simitis' letter also touched on what he called a new European
"European convergence should lead to cultural homogeneity. In the same way,
a strong national identity is not incomptible with the idea of a European
Lastly, Mr. Simitis insisted on the importance of culture in the development
of "our personality" and collective identity.
Greek-Iranian cooperation agreement signed in Tehran
Greece and Iran yesterday sealed a wide-ranging agreement expected to
inaugurate bilateral cooperation in the sectors of research, technology,
agriculture, informatics, energy and telecommunications.
Signing the memorandum in Tehran were Development Minister Vasso Papandreou
and Iran's Higher Education Minister, Mostafa Moin.
The agreement also refers to information exchanges, conferences, talks,
seminars and science fairs, while the sectors of food production and
cultural heritage are also included.
The two ministers underlined the need to broaden links between Greek and
Iranian scientific and technological institutions.
Scientific and technical committees will meet annually in order to arrange
seminars and verify that terms of the agreement are being carried
Santer quoted as saying Greece well-placed to enter EMU by 2001
Greece is well-placed to enter in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 2001,
European Commission President Jacques Santer was quoted as saying in an
interview published by an Athens daily yesterday.
Mr. Santer reportedly told "Ethnos" that he was categorically opposed to
reducing cohesion fund monies for Greece and said that economic and not
political criteria would determine Greece's accession into EMU .
He added that the Commission would persist with its decision to begin
accession negotiations with Cyprus and expressed the hope that accession
talks could stimulate a political resolution to the 24-year division of the
Mr. Santer called Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for Turkish
Cypriots' inclusion in the Cyprus delegation negotiating the island
republic's EU accession "very fair". He added that it was unfortunate that
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash refused the offer.
Customs strike this week
Customs officers begin a week of rolling strikes as of today, following the
breakdown of talks with the labour ministry over the future of their
Customs officers want their capital-rich pension fund exempted from labour
ministry plans to merge a number of public sector pension funds, part of
the ministry's "mini-reforms" of the pension and health system.
A warning strike by customs officers earlier this month caused chaos at
Greece's borders, with hundreds of lorries stranded at border posts.
Tsohatzopoulos: No disagreement between Athens, Nicosia
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed yesterday that both
Greece and Cyprus supported the policy decided on and followed regarding
the purchase by Nicosia of Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and various
scenarios for their deployment.
"The Cyprus and Greek government support the policy they have been up to
now announcing and applying. Nevertheless, we are obliged to follow
developments and, with tactical moves, to adapt ourselves to conditions and
problems that arise," Mr.Tsohatzopoulos told reporters before departing for
Finland to participate in a European Socialist Party (ESP) conference.
"In a discussion on various possible developments there are undoubtedly
different views, but that does not necessarily mean a disagreement," he
"We do the best we can to guarantee Cyprus' and Greece's security and
defence, and at the same time to support the positive prospect for a
settlement to the Cyprus problem through the island republic's EU accession
talks," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.
The defence minister's statements follow a Cyprus-Greece meeting between
government delegations last Friday in Athens presided over by Cyprus
President Glafcos Clerides and Prime Minister Costas Simitis. On Saturday
from Patra, Mr. Clerides also de nied that there was any breach between
Athens and Nicosia and that the joint defence doctrine between the two
countries was sound. Mr. Clerides told reporters that reports the Russian S-
300 missiles would be deployed on Crete rather than Cyprus were false and
denied that Mr. Simitis had proposed the alternative site.
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou denied yesterday that there
was a rift between Athens and Nicosia over deployment of the S-300s.
"There is no difference of opinion between Greece and Cyprus on the issue
of the Russian S-300 missiles," Mr. Papandreou told reporters in Patras.
Cooperation between the two governments was systematic and close, aimed at
achieving the best for both sides, as Mr. Clerides had pointed out, Mr.
Clerides: Cyprus today's 'Thermopylae'
Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Satruday called his island republic
the southern "Thermopylae of Hellenism" during a visit to Patras.
The Cypriot president arrived in the western Peloponnese port city to
honour Greek soldiers Alexis Christopoulos and Georgios Martzaklis, both
killed in action during the July 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Mr. Clerides called the Greek soldiers in Cyprus heroes, noting that Athens
and Nicosia have a joint course.
Local leaders and Cypriot representatives also addressed the event.
Mr. Clerides also spoke at the University of Patras on the latest
developments regarding the Cyprus problem.
Human Rights Watch 1998 report details torture situation in Turkey
The Human Rights Watch's (HRW) 1998 report was released on Friday, where
among others, it condemns Turkey for a series of human rights violations.
The report, covering the period December 1997 to November 1998, accused
Turkey for what it called systematical use of "torture and mistreatment
during pre-trial detention by the anti-terror police"; failure to aid those
the government forcibly displaced ; state control of women's virginity;
deaths while in police custody; abuse of the Greek ethnic minority in the
country and the torture of children.
According to the report, the "Teror le Mucadele Subesi" (anti-terrorist
branch of the Turkish interior ministry) is responsible for torture and
mistreatment of detainees.
"Turkey's anti-terror police have become infamous both within the country
and outside of Turkey for the widespread use of such practices against
detainees accused of political crimes, both violent and non-violent," the
It added that "criminal suspects also face the prospect of torture and
mistreatment at the hands of the regular police."
"The Council of Europe's committee for the Prevention of Torture (CTP)
stated that the maltreatment of seven suspects at the Anti-Terror Branch of
the Istanbul Police headquarters must rank among the most flagrant examples
of torture encountered by CTP delegations in Turkey," the report read.
It added that the extent of the problem is such that "certain departments
within the Interior Ministry were becoming a 'State within a State'."
The report also condemned Turkey for its forced displacement of two million
people from its southeastern provinces, subsequently failing to aid them
"Some 2,685 villages and hamlets in Turkey's southeastern provinces have
been completely or partially depopulated since fighting broke out in the
region in August 1984 between government forces and the Kurdistan Workers
Party (PKK)," the report said.
It added that the move intended to "deprive the PKK of logistical support,"
while in its efforts to root-out PKK sympathisers death-squads killed 2,000
HRW also compiled a special report on the state control of females'
virginity in Turkey, citing several separate incidents in "the spring of
1992, when young females committed suicide after authorities ordered them
to submit to examinations of their hymens."
In terms of Greece, the report stated that human rights abuses in the
country focus on "migrants and ethinc minorities", but added that the PASOK
government took "some positive steps" since it was elected in 1996.
According to the report, the Greek government has taken steps to legalise
the presence of "an estimated 500,000 illegal Albanian migrants" and to
increase infrastructure investments in regions of Thrace populated by
Finally, the report said that last February "Prime Minister Simitis openly
acknowledged the problem of racism in Greece, a first for a Greek prime
Gov't unveils new police unit as measure against bank robberies
The government announced the creation of a squad of specially trained
police officers to deal with a recent epidemic of bank robberies
Speaking to cadets at the police academy on Saturday, Public Order Minister
Philipos Petsalnikos said 250 police officers would be trained specifically
in guarding banks and quickly tracking down robbers.
The new squad will be equipped with 100 motorcycles, some unmarked, he
He also told the audience that a police helicopter will patrol Attica skies
during banking hours, with a police officer on duty in the helicopter
expected to coordinate ground chases of bank robbers.
Special training in disarming and shooting at robbers without harming
civilians is also on the agenda of the squad's training. The police hotline
will provide more lines to enable prompt communication between services.
Mr. Petsalnikos took office last month in a government mini reshuffle,
replacing George Romeos at the helm of a ministry besieged by charges of
corruption and ineptitude in police ranks.
Bank robberies have became an almost daily occurrence in Greece, with many
smaller bank branches targetted by robbers, most of whom make quick
getaways, usually on high-power motorbikes, before police arrive.
Archdiocese of America calls for US support of Patriarchate
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on Saturday addressed a letter to
US President Bill Clinton calling for Washington's solidarity towards the
Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as respect of human and religious rights by
the Turkish government.
"...We ask you to act decisively in support of freedom, basic human rights
and free religious expression. We ask you to courageously defend the
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople's rights..." the letter, signed
by Archbishop of America Spyridon among others, reads.
Christodoulos touches on Church's role towards EMU
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Saturday spoke on the
Church's role in Greece's efforts to enter Economic Monetary Union
Speaking in Kilkis prefecture, Christodoulos said it would be a mistake to
underestimate the spiritual element of the course towards the EMU, "since
economic problems cannot be solved without the existence of honest
He noted that at the base of every economic programme there lies the human
element, adding that attention must be paid "so as to have cultured persons,
" otherwise society is transformed into a field of exploitation.
Greek first division soccer results
PAOK Thessaloniki-Panelfsiniakos 3-1 Panionios Athens-Paniliakos Pyrgos 5-
2 Iraklis Thessaloniki-Ethnikos Piraeus 5-0
Ionikos-Apollon Athens 3-0 Proodeftiki-OFI Iraklion 0-1
Ethnikos Asteras-Veria 4-0 Olympiakos Piraeus-Kavala 4-1
AEK Athens-Aris Thessaloniki 6-0 Monday: Xanthi vs Panathinaikos
Standings: AEK 26, Panathinaikos, Olympiakos 25, Xanthi 20, Aris, PAOK 17,
Panionios, OFI, Ionikos, Ethnikos Asteras, Paniliakos 16.
The Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) stripped three points from PAOK for crowd
trouble in an interrupted match with Olympiakos, awarding the match to
Olympiakos with a 2-0 score. The actual score at time of interruption was 2-
1 in favour of Olympiakos.
Rainy weather and storms are forecast in eastern Greece today easing later
in the day. Cloudy in the rest of the country likely to turn into rain in
the evening, especially in the west. Winds variable, moderate to strong.
Sunny with scattered cloud in Athens and temperatures ranging from 10-16C.
Overcast in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 7C to 12C.
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.345
British pound 469.117 Japanese yen (100) 231.265
French franc 49.650 German mark 166.458
Italian lira (100) 16.814 Irish Punt 414.061
Belgian franc 8.070 Finnish mark 54.768
Dutch guilder 147.684 Danish kr. 43.793
Austrian sch. 23.660 Spanish peseta 1.956
Swedish kr. 34.899 Norwegian kr. 37.849
Swiss franc 201.996 Port. Escudo 1.623
Aus. dollar 179.671 Can. dollar 184.532
Cyprus pound 563.456