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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-16

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, 16/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • FM: Truce to give peace a chance
  • PM urges Turkey to cooperate
  • Two police injured in shoot-out
  • Air facility report denied
  • Turks get "spring shower"
  • Tripartite meeting ends
  • Kranidiotis in Cyprus
  • Terrorists' car found
  • Prodi in Athens on Monday
  • Archbishop on NATO
  • Greek FM envoy departs for China
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

FM: Truce to give peace a chance

Foreign Minister George Papandreou will propose a temporary ceasefire to give diplomacy time to work towards a final settlement of the Yugoslav confict in his meeting in Paris on Monday with French counterpart Hubert Vedrine. Papandreou, in an interview in Sunday's Eleftherotypia, said he would make the same recommendation to Washington and Moscow. Belgrade would have to give a clear response during the truce, Papandreou said, and the period would also give the UN Security Council time to issue a resolution and for work to begin on the agreement drafted by the G8 two weeks ago.

PM urges Turkey to cooperate

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Saturday that the principles of good relations between neighbours and cooperation could only be to the benefit of the peoples in the region and particularly the Greeks and Turks. "If Turkey brings its policy into line with international law, if it proceeds with democratisation, if it respects and applies European institutions, then Turkey will find Greece willing to help in its European vocation," Simitis told a party rally in the northern Greek town of Komotini. But he warned Ankara that "any opportunistic attempt at tension will fail" and that "sovereign rights from Thrace and the Aegean to Cyprus" are not up for negotiation.

Two police injured in shoot-out

Five people - including two policemen - were injured early on Sunday when police exchanged fire with a group of people suspected of involvement in protection rackets. Police officers from the extortion squad have been working in the seaside suburb of Alimos for the past month to uncover rival gangs extorting protection money from local shopowners. Police said the incident occured at around 2.40 a.m. at Independence Square when three men opened fire on the two officers when they identified themselves. The two officers had called for back-up earlier when they noticed the three acting suspiciously.

Air facility report denied

The government on Saturday categorically denied a newspaper report claiming that Athens had given permission for an air corridor to be used by NATO warplanes for missions over Yugoslavia. "No facilities of any kind have been given to any NATO warplane, let alone an air corridor in Greek airspace," Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said. "To Vima" claimed Greece on Friday gave approval for corridor "Green-8" to be used by NATO aircraft for missions over Yugoslavia. The report was also denied by government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, who said the claims in the article "bore no relation to reality".

Turks get "spring shower"

Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Saturday that Turkish officials had earned themselves "a spring shower" by helping to publicise a marriage on the uninhabited rocky islet of Platia. Athens on Friday dismissed Turkey's strong reaction to reports of plans by a Greek man and his Italian fiancee to marry and settle on the islet of Platia in the eastern Aegean, saying a wedding should not constitute grounds for political discussion. The Turkish foreign ministry had charged that Greece was aiming to change "the status of geographical formations" in the Aegean.

Tripartite meeting ends

The fifth successive meeting of the foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania ended in Sofia on Saturday with the issuing of a joint communique in support of well-intentioned dialogue, peace and cooperation in the Balkans. "What we have shown here, is that even in the midst of a crisis, we can work together," Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou told a news conference in the Bulgarian capital. During the two-day meeting, the three ministers exchanged views on a wide range of issues of common interest related to security and stability in SE Europe.

Kranidiotis in Cyprus

Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis indicated on Saturday that the case of former East Germany could serve as a precedent for the Cyprus problem. Addressing a business conference in Nicosia, Kranidiotis said if the Cyprus problem was not resolved, the island republic could still join the European Union and when the political problem was eventually settled, the (Turkish) occupied northern part of the island could automatically accede to the Community. Kranidiotis stressed that all would benefit from Cyprus' accession to the EU, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike.

Terrorists' car found

Police on Saturday found the car used by terrorists nine days ago to launch rocket attacks against three foreign banks in Piraeus. The car was found double-parked next to another vehicle near the Tzaneio hospital in one of the busiest parts of the port city. On the roof-rack were three improvised rocket launchers covered with corrugated paper. Police said the car had been stolen on May 4, two days before the rocket attack against branches of the Chase Manhattan Bank, the Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) and Midland Bank on the port's seafront avenue. No one was injured in the attacks.

Prodi in Athens on Monday

New European Commission president Romano Prodi is expected in Athens on Monday to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and opposition party leaders. Government sources said Prodi and Simitis would discuss selection criteria for new commissioners. No final decision however is expected on who will be Greece's new commissioner. The sources said that the new commissioner would be named after European Parliament elections in mid- June.

Archbishop on NATO

Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece on Friday launched a stinging attack on NATO, using the example of Cyprus to accuse the Alliance of double standards and hypocrisy. "This relentless supposed implementation of international law, is unfortunately quite selective. In one case they show sensitivity while in another, insensitivity - at the expense of human values," he said. Citing the example of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and subsequent occupation of one-third of the island republic's territory.

Greek FM envoy departs for China

A special emissary of Foreign Minister George Papandreou left for Beijing on Friday to deliver a message from Papandreou to his Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan. The emissary, Sotiris Mousouris, will meet with senior Chinese government and foreign ministry officials on the need to strengthens diplomatic efforts for a political settlement in Kosovo.

WEATHER

Fair in most parts of Greece on Sunday but becoming gradually cloudy over the mainland in the early evening with rain and local storms in the northern Ionian, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. Some local fog early in the morning. Winds westerly, light to moderate. Athens fair, with temperatures ranging from 17-34C. Generally fair in Thessaloniki but possibility of showers in the evening, temperatures from 15-28C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          303.294
Pound sterling       490.822
Japanese yen (100)   249.686
French franc          49.208
German mark          165.038
Italian lira (100)    16.671
Irish Punt           409.855
Belgian franc          8.002
Luxembourg franc       8.002
Finnish mark          54.289
Dutch guilder        146.475
Danish kr.            43.440
Austrian sch.         23.458
Spanish peseta         1.940
Swedish kr.           36.055
Norwegian kr.         39.323
Swiss franc          201.674
Port. Escudo           1.610
Can. dollar          207.526
Aus. dollar          202.348
Cyprus pound         559.190
Euro                 322.787
(M.P.)
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