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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 11/03/1999 (ANA)


  • 18 face charges over illegal Ocalan entry
  • FM confers with Holbrooke in Belgrade
  • Defence minister plays down talk of tension
  • NATO leak charges are 'brazen lies' - minister
  • Visiting Finn run down by car in Thessaloniki
  • Athens bourse edges towards record high
  • Tipper Gore in Thessaloniki
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


18 face charges over illegal Ocalan entry

A report released on Thursday by three public prosecutors who investigated how Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan entered and stayed for a short time in Greece attributes responsibility to 18 persons. The head of the Athens public prosecutor's office released a statement saying the persons in question faced charges involving ten offences, including the felony of complicity in "harming the country's international peaceful relations". The findings of the three-member investigative committee has been sent to Parliament to establish whether responsibility can be attributed to any ministers. Ocalan entered Greece in late January and stayed for a few days before being flown to Kenya, where he remained at the Greek ambassador's residence in Nairobi before being captured and taken to Turkey where he now faces trial.

FM confers with Holbrooke in Belgrade

Foreign Minister George Papandreou, on a whistle-stop tour of Balkan cities, met on Thursday with U.S. Balkan envoy Richard Holbrooke and U.S. envoy to Skopje Christopher Hill at the U.S. embassy in Belgrade. Papandreou said the conversation had been useful and had gone into depth on the positions prevailing. He refused to comment on the substance of Holbrooke's talks with Milosevic on Wednesday, saying the aim of his visit to Belgrade was talks with the Yugoslav leadership. Holbrooke failed to persuade Milosevic to back a Western peace deal. "We all have concerns about the developments in Kosovo in common and Greece to the extent it can will attempt to give its contribution for a peaceful resolution of the problem," Papandreou said. On Friday, he is scheduled to have meetings with Milosevic, Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Vuk Draskovic.

Defence minister plays down talk of tension

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos today brushed off rumors of tension with Turkey in the Aegean. "I was surprised to see that certain (sides) wish to insist that there is tension. Conditions are perfectly normal in the Aegean and throughout the country," Tsohatzopoulos told reporters after opening a conference of the Federation of Employees of the General Defence General Staff (POE-GEETHA). He said that a shadow had been cast recently over Greek-Turkish relations due to the Ocalan affair, but stressed that Turkey and everyone else interested in the situation in the Aegean must realise that "the margins of acceptable and normal rivalry have been exhausted". Replying to questions, the defence minister said no one had the right to dispute Greece's significant successes in the effort to combat terrorism, adding that "we shall not allow anyone to identify the Greek peoples' solidarity, founded on the European values, with terrorism".

NATO leak charges are 'brazen lies' - minister

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos today flatly denied a report in an American newspaper that the US was allegedly concerned of a prospective leak of classified NATO information to Russia from Greece, calling the allegations "brazen lies". His denial came in the wake of a statement by US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns in New York on Tuesday that the allegations "have proved groundless, baseless and untrue" after an in-depth investigation. Replying to a question in parliament tabled by a main opposition New Democracy party MP, Tsohatzopoulos expressed regret that the ND deputy had adopted such "brazen lies and imaginary scenarios", adding that he had met once with Burns on the "supposed leaks". He also denied that he had discussed the issue with a US Pentagon official.

Visiting Finn run down by car in Thessaloniki

A musician from Finland was fatally injured in a traffic accident at dawn today in the northern Greek capital of Thessaloniki, police said. They said 42-year-old Kosti Antero Vihersaari, who was on a tour with the Finnish band CMX, was hit by a car as he was crossing a street in downtown Thessaloniki.

Athens bourse edges towards record high

Equity prices moved to another record close for the second consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, but at a more slower pace as several investors started taking profits. The general index, which ended 7.3 percent higher in the last four sessions, ended 0.11 percent up to 3, 471.98 points, off the day's highs of 3,500. Turnover was 147.058 billion drachmas and volume 33,133,663 shares. Buying activity focused on smaller capitalisation stocks. The parallel market index for small cap companies was unchanged while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 0.03 percent up to 2,133.46.

Tipper Gore in Thessaloniki

Tipper Gore, the wife of the U.S. vice-president, will be the keynote speaker on Tuesday at a function being held by Thessaloniki's Anatolia College alumni association. Gore, who is active in issues relating to the family, women and children, will speak on how to develop the institution of volunteerism.


Sunny spring-like weather with higher temperatures will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds variable, light to moderate. Sunshine in Athens with temperatures between 5-20C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6- 18C.


Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          290.755
Pound sterling       472.013
Japanese yen (100)   241.770
French franc          48.613
German mark          163.040
Italian lira (100)    16.469
Irish Punt           404.892
Belgian franc          7.905
Luxembourg franc       7.905
Finnish mark          53.631
Dutch guilder        144.701
Danish kr.            42.898
Austrian sch.         23.174
Spanish peseta         1.917
Swedish kr.           35.813
Norwegian kr.         37.325
Swiss franc          199.243
Port. Escudo           1.590
Aus. dollar          185.271
Can. dollar          191.972
Cyprus pound         549.449
Euro                 318.878
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