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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-02-02

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, 02/02/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Ocalan issue raised at meeting between Pangalos and US envoy
  • Bank robber shot dead by security guard
  • Thessaloniki airport back to normal after bad weather
  • Ankara urged to help end long-standing Cyprus issue
  • SPD delegation in Athens
  • Man accused of murdering his US fiancee ruled sane
  • Stagira municipal council rejects second TVX gold mine
  • Metka to expand in defence, power sectors
  • Eurodeputy tables report on EU's tobacco sector
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Ocalan issue raised at meeting between Pangalos and US envoy

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos met on Tuesday with US Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns during which he raised the issue of Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, diplomatic sources said.

Pangalos reiterated to the US envoy Greece's view that the international community should make efforts for a political solution of the Kurdish problem, possibly within a European framework.

Greece on Monday denied reports that Ocalan had attempted to enter the country early in the morning.

Diplomatic sources said the foreign ministry had no idea where Ocalan was, following speculation that the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) leader was headed for Athens after being denied permission to enter the Netherlands.

The reports were also denied by government spokesman Dimitris Reppas and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

Reppas again on Tuesday flatly denied that Ocalan had entered Greece.

Asked by reporters whether the PKK leader had come to Greece, the spokesman curtly replied "no".

He reiterated that it would be neither "expedient" nor "useful" for Ocalan to come to Greece because this would reduce an international question concerning the recognition of the Kurdish people's rights to a bilateral Greek-Turkish issue.

Reppas also underlined Greece's support for the "just struggle" of the Kurdish people.

The spokesman said four ministers had investigated the reports claiming that Ocalan had entered Greece - Pangalos, Tsohatzopoulos, Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos and Public Order Minister Philippos Petsalnikos.

He said it emerged from their inquiries that Ocalan had not come to Greece and Prime Minister Costas Simitis had been briefed on the matter.

Reppas said today's meeting between Pangalos and Burns was a regular one which focused on matters of common interest and was unconnected with the Ocalan issue.

Bank robber shot dead by security guard

A robber was shot dead on Tuesday by a security guard during a hold-up at a branch of the Agricultural Bank in Paleo Faliro on the outskirts of Athens.

According to initial reports, two robbers entered the bank and ordered customers and staff to freeze.

A security guard shouted to one of the robbers to surrender and seconds later shot the man in the stomach when, according to unconfirmed reports, the robber attempted to resist.

The man was taken to the Erythros Stavros hospital in serious condition and died soon after arrival.

His accomplice managed to escape but, again according to reports, was arrested by the police shortly afterwards.

Thessaloniki airport back to normal after bad weather

Flights to and from Thessaloniki's international airport resumed on Tuesday after a spate of bad weather caused delays and cancellations during the past few days.

The airport began operating normally at 10.30 local time with a flight from Thessaloniki to Stuttgart.

Before the Stuttgart flight however, six Olympic Airways (OA) flights, one Air Greece flight and one Air Cronus flight had to be cancelled because of ice and frost on the runway which presented a hazard for landings and take- offs.

Two OA flights from Athens - one to Munich and the other to Amsterdam - went ahead without making the scheduled stop-over at the northern city's Macedonia airport.

Ankara urged to help end long-standing Cyprus issue

European Union Foreign Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek yesterday called on Turkey to assume its responsibilities and contribute towards a solution to the protracted Cyprus issue.

He made the statement after a meeting in Brussels with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, calling on Turkey to stop placing obstacles in the EU accession course of Cyprus.

"I realise that the political problem was not resolved despite the courageous decision by President (Glafcos) Clerides on the S-300 missiles. However, a solution does not depend only on the one side. A positive contribution by the other side is also nec essary," he said.

Mr. van den Broek described the decision by Mr. Clerides not to deploy the Russian-made missiles system in Cyprus as courageous and important and as a decision toward defusing tension and achieving political settlement of the Cyprus problem.

He said the decision would strengthen EU ties with Cyprus and especially the continuation of the Republic's accession talks, which opened last year.

SPD delegation in Athens

A German Social Democrat Party (SPD) delegation headed by Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs Gunther Verheugen arrives in Athens today and will hold talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

The delegation will also be holding a series of contacts with ruling PASOK party and government cadres.

Man accused of murdering his US fiancee ruled sane

A Kavala hospital psychiatrist yesterday pronounced a 24-year-old man charged with the murder of his American fiancee as "sane and not suffering from any psychological problems."

Defence attorneys for Georgios Skiadopoulos, accused of strangling to death and brutally decapitating the body of July-Marie Scully, were expected to submit a statement today to a Kavala magistrate.

Authorities said Skiadopoulos converted large sums of the woman's money from US dollars into drachmas after the murder, withdrawing several hundred dollars from a joint account.

Stagira municipal council rejects second TVX gold mine

The Halkidiki municipality of Stagira-Akanthos yesterday reiterated its opposition to the creation of a second gold mine by the Canadian firm TVX in the Skouries site.

In a decision yesterday, the town's municipal council said that it agreed to the operation of the existing TVX installations for as long as required.

However,it said operation of a second mine,which the company had announced in 1997,``would have irreversible condequences on water resources and the area's natural wealth...``

Metka to expand in defence, power sectors

Metka, which plans to become a key player in the defence, mining, and energy sectors, is to hold a stock split and turn its preferred shares into common in the wake of its entry into the Mytilineos Group, also listed on the Athens bourse.

The Mytilineos Group's chairman, Evangelos Mytilineos, announced yesterday an alliance with Krupp and Mann of Germany in mining operations in the Balkans. Metka's activities would be funded by means of project finance, without resorting to bank loans or share capital increases, Mr. Mytilineos said.

Metka is seeking to become a player in the European defence industry, working to attain government contracts involving Patriot missiles, tanks and submarines.

The firm is due next week to sign a construction deal involving Patriots.

Eurodeputy tables report on EU's tobacco sector

New Democracy Eurodeputy Antonis Trakatellis has submitted a report on tobacco in the Europarliament, with which he is attempting to overturn proposals by the Commission on determining subsidies and tobacco quotas over the next three years (1999-2001).

The Eurodeputy said he considers the proposals to be very unfavourable for Greek tobacco growers.

Mr. Trakatellis pointed out that no increase in subsidisation prices is anticipated for tobacco varieties, as determined since 1995, resulting in the decrease in producers' income continuing.

He said that it is impossible for Greek producers to replace their production with other varieties in three years. He further said that the proposal for a total transfer to other varieties is leading producers, at least those in Greece, to deadlock since they have planned their production for 1999 and are unable to cover the demands for a change in cultivations both in time and in funds.

Mr. Trakatellis' report has already been discussed at the European Parliament's agriculture committee and is expected to be ratified soon.

WEATHER

Intermittent rain is forecast in most parts of Greece today. Light snowfall in the mountainous regions and possibly in areas of centeral and northern Greece. Winds northerly, northeasterly, moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Showers in Athens with temperatures ranging from 2C to 10C. Overcast in Thessaloniki with temperatures from -4C to 2C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.982 Pound sterling 460.288 Japanese yen (100) 242.663 French franc 48.573 German mark 162.908 Italian lira (100) 16.455 Irish Punt 404.564 Belgian franc 7.898 Finnish mark 53.588 Dutch guilder 144.584 Danish kr. 42.843 Austrian sch. 23.155 Spanish peseta 1.915 Swedish kr. 35.895 Norwegian kr. 37.234 Swiss franc 198.033 Port. Escudo 1.589 Aus. dollar 177.469 Can. dollar 185.087 Cyprus pound 550.441

(S.S.)


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