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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 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

  • PM Simitis sends condolences on death of Hussein
  • Athens talks to wind up S-300 missiles issue
  • Government confident farmers will not protest
  • Olympic Airways managing director resigns
  • Greece, U.S. to sign sports cooperation protocol
  • Slovenian deputy foreign minister to visit
  • Greek army receives first dispatch of Leopard tanks
  • U.S. official in Athens for high-level defence talks
  • U.S. congressmen to visit Athens
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

PM Simitis sends condolences on death of Hussein

Prime Minister Costas Simitis sent a message of condolences to his Jordanian counterpart, Fayez al-Tarawnah, on the death of King Hussein of Jordan on Sunday. "It is with great regret I was informed of the death of King Hussein, an exceptional leader and a mainstay for peace and stability in the Middle East. I extend to Your Excellency, on behalf of the Greek government and myself, our sincerest condolences and deepest sympathies," the telegram read. President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos is in Amman to represent Greece at the state funeral for the king.

Athens talks to wind up S-300 missiles issue

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Cypriot counterpart Yiannakis Chrysostomis are expected during talks in Athens on Monday to sign a memorandum which will bring Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles one step closer to deployment on Crete. Nicosia had ordered the missiles for deploment on Cyprus but cancelled the procurement amidst fears that it might jeopardise ongoing European Union accession negotiations. Today's talks are focusing on the technical details of such a move and next Monday a Cypriot government delegation and representative of the Greek National Defence Ministry will travel to Moscow to sign an agreement with the Russian side. Tsohatzopoulos said after a first round of talks with Chrysostomis today that the Greek government's decision would be implemented "immediately" but declined to specify any time framework for the deployment of the missiles on Crete.

Government confident farmers will not protest

The government said on Monday that threatened farmers' protests and road blocks this week appeared to have got off to a lukewarm start. "The farmers' coordinating committee has not received the response it expected," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. "At this time, the number of tractors (involved in protests) is smaller than the number this morning and clearly smaller than in other years." Farmers demanding lower debt repayment rates and satisfaction of other issues have warned of a repeat of protest action in 1997, when the country's road and rail network was paralysed by tractor blockades. They were due on Monday to rally outside major towns and on national highways.

Olympic Airways managing director resigns

The managing director of national carrier Olympic Airways (OA), Theodoros Tsakiridis, on Monday handed his resignation to Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou. In his letter of resignation, Tsakiridis said he was vacating the post in order to facilitate efforts by Mandelis to find a new manager for the ailing airline. The national economy ministry on January 31 announced an international tender for an airline operator to take over the management of OA. Despite his resignation, Tsakiridis is expected to remain in his post until Friday when the deadline ends for the expression of interest. According to sources, British Airways, Lufthansa and a US operator have already expressed interest in taking over management.

Greece, U.S. to sign sports cooperation protocol

Greece's Undersecretary for Sports Andreas Fouras and U.S. envoy to Greece Nicholas Burns will sign a protocol on bilateral sports cooperation on Tuesday. The protocol will be signed during a special ceremony to be held at the Greek Olympic Games Committee building.

Slovenian deputy foreign minister to visit

Slovenia's deputy foreign minister, Franco Yuri, is expected to visit Greece on February 16, following talks with his Greek counterpart Yiannis Kranidiotis in Ljubljana last week. Yuri will reportedly pass on a message from his prime minister to the leadership of the Greek foreign and national defence ministries, relating to the NATO summit to be held in Washington in April. Greece has fully supported Slovenia in its efforts to join both the European Union and NATO, a position that was reiterated by Kranidiotis in his talks last week.

Greek army receives first dispatch of Leopard tanks

The Greek armed forces on Monday officially took delivery of the first 25 of 170 second-hand Leopard 1A5 tanks from Germany within the framework of the army's ongoing armaments programme. The delivery ceremony at the Prokopidis army camp just outside Thessaloniki was attended by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and top military officials headed by the Chief of the Army General Staff, Lieutenant-General Manoussos Paragioudakis. Tsohatzopoulos said the Leopard tanks were among the most modern in the Greek army, which first took delivery of 77 of this type in 1993 as offset benefits within the framework of a contract for the purchase of four German-built frigates.

U.S. official in Athens for high-level defence talks

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Frank Kramer will visit Athens from February 10-11 for high-level consultations with Greek officials, a U.S. Embassy press release said. The talks will focus on defence issues of mutual interest.

U.S. congressmen to visit Athens

A 12-member delegation of U.S. Congressmen will visit Greece February 18 to meet with Greek government officials on political and economic affairs and defence and seucrity issues. The delegation, led by Nebraska Republican Douglas Bereuter, is on a six-day tour of the region and, apart from Greece, will also visit Belgium, France, Cyprus and Turkey. The Athens talks are expected to focus on the security situation in the eastern Mediterranean, relations between Greece and Turkey and prospects for a resolution of the Cyprus issue.

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

(M.P.)


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