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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-02-08

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, 08/02/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece will participate in Kosovo mission if Rambouillet succeeds
  • President Stephanopoulos to represent Greece at Hussein's funeral
  • Karamanlis elected as EPP vice-president
  • Pangalos arrives in Sarajevo to begin 4-day tour of region
  • Gov't replies to latest press comments by Ocalan
  • Pangalos: National elections in Oct. 2000
  • Avramopoulos to officially visit Tirana today
  • Bulgarian PM Kostov calls for 2 ND Euro-MPs to visit Kozloduy
  • Greek first division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece will participate in Kosovo mission if Rambouillet succeeds

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos has stressed the importance of enhancing and promoting the European Union's "defence identity" in order to strengthen the European pylon's role in NATO.

Addressing a conference on European security on Saturday in Munich, he also said this orientation does not constitute a competitive manifestation towards the US.

Referring to Kosovo in statements to Greek reporters, he made it clear that if an agreement is reached at Rambouillet on the Contact Group's draft interim solution, Greece will certainly participate in the guarantee for its implementation with allied military forces.

"However, it must be clear that our mission and role must not be the shaping of an international protectorate or the dissolution of existing borders and the infringement of the sovereign rights of an independent country, such as Yugoslavia," he said.

On the question of the legitimate basis of the alliance's actions, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed support for observation of the rule that there should be a mandate by the UN Security Council, adding that exceptions "trap the future."

Referring to a possible strike against Serbian targets in the event of failure at Rambouillet, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that a decision by the Security Council is necessary.

"If there is no decision by the UN, we (Greece) will not participate and we have stated this," he stressed.

The new duties of "new NATO" must go together, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, with the assumption of new duties on the part of the Europeans. He said the content of the alliance's new strategy, to be decided at NATO's summit in Washington in April, primarily regards European security which includes, apart from western countries, the countries of eastern Europe and central Asia.

This context includes the promotion of regional security institutions, which Greece supports, not only for the Balkan region but for the Baltic or the Black Sea as well.

Replying to questions by Greek reporters, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed regret over the decision taken for no further wave of NATO enlargement to take place for the time being, apart from the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary, who will become members at the Washington summit.

"Greece insists on the view that priority must not have been given to central but to southeastern Europe where flashpoints are found," he said, adding that "the next step must certainly include Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia."

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the "yes" to NATO's new strategy which widens the alliance's character from "purely defensive" to "partially interventional" with the possibility of intervention "outside the limits of jurisdiction", if there is the question of preventing or averting flashpoints from flaring up, is linked to intervention at the Security Conference with the political framework raised and which is: the pursuit of peaceful solutions, respect for the principles of international legality and the inviolability of borders and the non-adoption of a practice of the inconsiderate use of military force as a policy means.

A point on which Mr. Tsohatzopoulos placed particular emphasis was the need to promote cooperation between Europeans in the sector of the defensive weapons industry.

"The European defence identity of the Europeans will remain an unfulfilled dream, probably for decades, if there is no progress in the sector of unifying the European defence industry," he said.

In Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' view, upgrading the West European Union (WEU) to a military arm of the EU and a European pylon of NATO constitutes for the EU the logical consequence of undertaking its responsibilities.

Speaking to Greek reporters, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos sided with the proposal made by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer for the post of "Mr. KEPPA" (the EU's representative in the common foreign policy and securit y policy sector enacted by the Amsterdam Treaty, to be concentrated in one person and the post of WEU Secretary- General.

President Stephanopoulos to represent Greece at Hussein's funeral

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will represent Greece at the funeral of long-time Jordanian monarch Hussein. Mr. Stephanopoulos leaves today for Amman. The funeral is also scheduled for today.

Yesterday, the Greek president expressed the "sincere condolences" of the Greek people towards King Hussein's family and the Jordanian people, adding that "King Hussein succeeded under adverse conditions to make his country a factor of stability in the region and to contribute to the promotion of the peace process."

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said King Hussein's death was the loss of a historic figure.

"Humanity mourns for the loss of a historic personality. King Hussein played an important role in the Middle East and achieved with his policy, during his long reign, to secure the viability of the state of Jordan in a particularly sensitive and unstable region," the Greek PM said in a written statement.

"He was a champion of a peaceful settlement of the Mideast problem and he became a protagonist in efforts for peace and stability in the Middle East. He ruled his country with prudence and was a leader of international stature...The Greek people stand by the Jordanian people in this difficult hour. In the name of the Greek people, the government and myself, I personally express towards the new King of Jordan Abdullah our deep condolences."

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos also lauded the late Jordanian monarch, while he expressed his hope that the new King Abdullah continues the peace initiatives of his father.

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said Hussein's death is "a major loss, especially at such a crucial point in the Mideast peace process."

Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) president Dimitris Tsovolas and Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras also lauded Hussein's role in the peace efforts for the Middle East.

According to an ANA dispatch from Nicosia, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides departs today for Amman to represent the island republic in Hussein's funeral.

King Hussein died early yesterday in Amman after a long bout with cancer.

Karamanlis elected as EPP vice-president

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis was elected vice- president of the European Peoples' Party (EPP) political grouping for the next two years, during EPP's 13th congress on Saturday in Brussels.

Mr. Karamanlis was elected with 177 votes out of a total of 251. Former Belgian PM Wilfried Martens was re-elected EPP President as expected. He has been EPP's president since May 1990. Six other political leaders were also elected as vice-presidents.

EPP's action programme for June's Euroelections was also ratified during the congress.

Pangalos arrives in Sarajevo to begin 4-day tour of region

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos arrived in Sarajevo late yesterday afternoon on the first stop in his four-day tour of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Yugoslavia.

Mr. Pangalos was due to visit the Greek force in Bosnia's (ELDYB) army base at Visoko last night. He will be meeting the FM of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation Jadranko Prlic this morning and at 10:30 the member of the Bosnia-Herzegovina presidency, A. Delavic.

Later, he will meet former Bosnian president and current member of the collective presidency Alia Izetbegovic before departing for Banja Luka.

During his stay in Sarajevo, Mr. Pangalos is expected to discuss the issue of signing a bilateral economic cooperation agreement, such as an agreement on avoiding double taxation and an agreement on the protection of investments between Greece and the Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation.

Gov't replies to latest press comments by Ocalan

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated yesterday that Athens' position on the Kurdish issue is steadfast and clear.

He was referring to a report in the Sunday newspaper "To Vima", including a statement by Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan calling on Greece to mediate for a solution to the Kurdish issue.

"We have stated our positions in detail and with clarity. The truth and national interest were the exclusive criteria for whatever choice of ours so far. This will also continue in the future. Greece is a country which has played a leading part in the case of the recognition of the human rights of the struggling Kurds by the international community. It is entitled, therefore, to have such a position - A position of responsibility, a position of truth which helps the Kurds without flattering all those who are unable to see faraway.

"Whichever different involvement in this case by Greece harms the struggle of the Kurds and restricts it as an issue of friction in Greek-Turkish relations, a thing which is also against the struggle of the Kurdish people. We will continue to observe the position which we have observed until now because we believe that it corresponds to our country's interests and favours the development of the Kurds' effort for the recognition of their rights," he said.

Fugitive Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan lashed out yesterday at European countries, which he said were afraid of accepting him and had turned their backs on what he called the "genocide" of his people.

Mr. Ocalan, sought by Turkey for leading a separatist campaign in which 29, 000 people have died, has been on the run since he left Rome on Jan. 16 after failing to gain political asylum. His present whereabouts are unknown. Rome's refusal to extradite h im to Ankara shook Turkish-Italian relations.

According to the Athens weekly paper, Mr. Ocalan also called for an international peace conference for the Kurdish issue, suggesting one along the lines of the current Rambouillet meeting called to force a peace settlement in the southern Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

Pangalos: National elections in Oct. 2000

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos emphasised Saturday from Corfu , where he attended a PASOK event, that national elections will take place in October 2000.

He said that the only thing that can change this will be developments in the process of electing a president of the republic. He expressed satisfaction over recent statements by Prime Minister Costas Simitis regarding President Kostis Stephanopoulos, sa ying that in his view the incumbent president of the republic is impeccable in fulfilling his duties.

Mr. Pangalos used tough language in criticising main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and farmers in Thessaly who are gearing for mobilisations, while speaking at a banquet of ruling PASOK's prefectural committee in Corfu on Saturday night.

Avramopoulos to officially visit Tirana today

Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos is due to begin a brief official visit to Tirana today.

During his short stay, Mr. Avramopoulos will meet with Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, Prime Minister Pandeli Majko, Deputy Prime Minister Ilir Meta and FM Paskal Milo.

A meeting with Tirana's mayor is also planned in order to examine the possible undertaking of an initiative by Balkan mayors for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo issue.

The Athens mayor will also be received by Orthodox Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios.

Bulgarian PM Kostov calls for 2 ND Euro-MPs to visit Kozloduy

Bulgarian PM Ivan Kostov said on Saturday in Sofia that he will invite two New Democracy Euro-MPs who recently tabled a draft resolution in the Europarliament calling for the closure of Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear plant to visit the faci lity.

Mr. Kostov made the statement to state-run Bulgarian television, saying he will address the invitation to main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis.

The resolution was ratified.

"We want them to see with their eyes and be convinced how strong and safe the station's security system is," Mr. Kostov said in Brussels, where he attended a European Peoples' Party congress.

The European Commission insists that Bulgaria close down its four antiquated nuclear reactors at Kozloduy based on a timetable anticipated by Sofia's agreement with the European Restructuring and Development Bank (ERDB), Mr. Kostov announced, after meeting with EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek.

According to the agreement concluded six years ago, a coalition government headed at the time by PM Luben Berov had undertaken the commitment to gradually close down the four reactors over the 1998-1999 period.

Greek first division soccer results

Results of Greek first division soccer matches (Round 18) played over the weekend: Ethnikos Asteras-Aris 0-1 Xanthi-Panelefsiniakos 0-0 Proodeftiki-Kavala 1-0 Ethnikos-OFI 1-3 Panileiakos-Panathinaikos 1-2 PAOK Ionikos 0-0 Iraklis-Veria 2-0 Monday's matches: Olympiakos-Apollon AEK-Panionios

Standings, points after 18 rounds: Panathinaikos, Olympiakos (17 matches) 40, AEK (17 matches), PAOK 36, Xanthi 32.

WEATHER

Clouds and rain are forecast Monday for western Greece, turning to local storms later in the day and gradually spreading throughout the rest of the country, with snow in the central and northern mountainous regions. Athens will be overcast, turning possibly to rain at night and temperatures ranging from 4-15 C. The same for Thessaoniki, with possibility of rain in the afternoon and temperatures from -1 to 10 C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 282.343 Pound sterling 463.581 Japanese yen (100) 250.202 French franc 48.712 German mark 163.374 Italian lira (100) 16.503 Irish Punt 405.723 Belgian franc 7.921 Finnish mark 53.742 Dutch guilder 144.998 Danish kr. 42.967 Austrian sch. 23.222 Spanish peseta 1.921 Swedish kr. 35.984 Norwegian kr. 36.704 Swiss franc 199.779 Port. Escudo 1.594 Aus. dollar 183.465 Can. dollar 189.968 Cyprus pound 550.560

(L.G.)


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