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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 08/01/1999 (ANA)


  • PM: Greece will make EMU
  • Thessaloniki fishermen block port
  • Three Olympic flights cancelled
  • NATO official in Athens on visit
  • Greece buys fire-fighting aircraft
  • Margaret Papandreou recovers from minor surgery
  • Opposition leader in Albania
  • Gang of six arrested for robbery
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


PM: Greece will make EMU

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Friday that Greece would in 2000 "more than fulfil" the preconditions for the country's entry to European Economic and Monetary Union, while noting that EMU in itself was not a panacea but would provide a more stable base for a more just society. "Greece will enter EMU on its own strength, on an equal basis, without begging, without negotiating from a position of weakness, but making its presence felt in the hard nucleus of Europe," Simitis said in an address to the ruling PASOK party's Central Committee. The committee is meeting to discuss three proposals submitted for PASOK's national congress scheduled for March.

Thessaloniki fishermen block port

Trawler owners blocked access to the port of Thessaloniki on Friday in protest at a European Community directive preventing them from fishing within a three-mile zone from the coast. Among the vessels prevented from sailing out of port is a NATO transport vessel delivering military supplies destined for the multinational force in Skopje. The fishermen said that they would not move their vessels until Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis agreed to meet them over their demands following the cancellation of a scheduled meeting on Thursday. Coast guard officials raced to the port entrance where the trawler owners had anchored their vessels but failed to dissuade them from leaving.

Three Olympic flights cancelled

An Olympic Airways flight to Tel Aviv and another two domestic flights were cancelled on Friday morning as management and pilots continued to lock horns over staffing and wage demands. The national carrier's management is expected to shortly issue its flight schedule for the rest of January, with OA subsidiaries Macedonian Airlines and Olympic Aviation picking up much of the slack following OA pilots' refusal to work overtime. OA management estimates an 8-10 per cent reduction in the number of flights, while it is also apprehensive over the reaction by pilots, fearing pilots will call in sick en masse. OA pilots are refusing to work overtime in order to press demands, including the hiring of more flight personnel. The move has caused cancellations and long delays to OA's domestic and international flights.

NATO official in Athens on visit

The chairman of NATO's Military Committee, General Klaus Naumann, had talks here on Friday with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and the Chief of the National Defence General Staff, Wing Commander Athanasios Tzoganis. Naumann arrived in Greece yesterday for a three-day courtesy visit prior to his departure from the military committee post in April. At noon, the German general visited the foreign ministry and was to be received by President Kostis Stephanopoulos later in the day. Naumann will be succeeded by the former chief of Italy's national defence general staff, Admiral Quito Ventouroni.

Greece buys fire-fighting aircraft

Greece will soon take delivery of the first of 10 Canadair 415 GR fire- fighting aircraft following an agreement signed by the jointly competent ministries of national defence and public order and the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace. The agreement is in implementation of a decision taken by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) after last year's catastrophic forest fires. The cost of the aircraft is over 78 billion drachmas, which will cover also spare parts, ground equipment and crew training. The agreement contains an option for the purchase of a further five aircraft.

Margaret Papandreou recovers from minor surgery

The ex-wife of former prime minister Andreas Papandreou underwent surgery to remove gall stones at a local Athens hospital and was reported to be recovering satisfactorily, doctors said on Friday. Margaret Chant Papandreou, the U.S.-born former wife of Andreas and mother of Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, was admitted to hospital after complaining of discomfort. Doctors discovered gall stones and conducted "a routine operation." They said Papandreou's speedy recovery from the operation might result in her being discharged from hospital on Saturday.

Opposition leader in Albania

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday visited areas of southern Albania which are home to a sizeable ethnic Greek minority. He was received by Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania and local officials. During his visit to Livadia and Aliko in the department of Sarande, Karamanlis told local people that the Greek state had so far not lived up to the expectations of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania. Karamanlis said the good relations between Greece and Albania would not only benefit the greater region but also help the ethnic Greek minority in the neighbouring country.

Gang of six arrested for robbery

A minor oversight led to police arresting a six-member gang on a a robbery spree in northern Greece: the getaway car used by the gang to rob the gas station in their village belonged to one of their fathers and was quickly identified by police. Police said the six - including one Albanian national and two minors - had robbed three gas stations in eight days before over- confidence led to their fatal mistake, robbing the gas station in Kyspeli, their village in the prefecture of Imathias.


Mostly fair weather will prevail throughout Greece today with cloud in the west of the country. Showers in western Greece. Winds variable, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 7-20C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 1-15C.


Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.617 Pound sterling 455.606 Japanese yen (100) 248.298 French franc 49.036 German mark 164.460 Italian lira (100) 16.612 Irish Punt 408.419 Belgian franc 7.974 Finnish mark 54.099 Dutch guilder 145.961 Danish kr. 43.212 Austrian sch. 23.376 Spanish peseta 1.933 Swedish kr. 35.028 Norwegian kr. 37.271 Swiss franc 198.985 Port. Escudo 1.604 Aus. dollar 173.347 Can. dollar 182.528 Cyprus pound 553.199


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