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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 21/05/1999 (ANA)


  • Time is right for talks on Kosovo
  • Greece denies airspace to Turkish NATO jets
  • Greek willing to aid Kosovo refugees
  • Estonian president to visit
  • Journalist, author Germanos dies
  • Police break up prostitution ring
  • Air force lieutenant arrested
  • New trolley buses hit Athens streets
  • Greek equities end week on new record
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Time is right for talks on Kosovo

Greece said on Friday that "many in Europe" were opposed to the use of NATO ground forces in Yugoslavia and desired an end to the conflict and commencement of negotiations on the basis of the G8 peace proposals. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the time was right for the holding of negotiations which could lead to a political settlement of the Kosovo crisis. "It is perhaps the last opportunity not only for Yugoslavia but also for the international community to intensify efforts for the attainment of a political solution," Reppas said.

Greece denies airspace to Turkish NATO jets

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also commented on Greece's refusal to allow the use of Greek airspace by Turkish military aircraft flying to Germany to join NATO air forces participating in the Yugoslav conflict. He said it was the first time such a request had been made and underlined Greece's categorical opposition to Greek airspace being used "for these types of operations". According to reports, the Turkish government submitted the request to the Greek foreign ministry at noon yesterday, seeking permission for two or three aircraft to pass through Greek airspace. Athens rejected the request later in the day on the grounds that Greece was not taking part in NATO military operations nor providing facilities to those countries which were participating.

Greek willing to aid Kosovo refugees

Greece reiterated on Friday that it would not be providing Kosovo Albanian refugees with shelter on its territory but was willing and able to assist them in going temporarily to other countries. "We have said that the issue (of providing refuge to the Kosovo Albanians) must be dealt with collectively by the European Union and no such decision has been taken," Deputy Interior Minister George Floridis told reporters in Thessaloniki. The Greek position is that refugees should be housed as close as possible to their homes so that they will be able to return as soon as possible, he said. Floridis said Thursday's operation in which about 375 Kosovo refugees had transited through Thessaloniki from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had been a success and that all the services involved had worked smoothly.

Estonian president to visit

The president of Estonia Lennart Meri arrives in Athens on Sunday for a four-day official visit following an invitation from his Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos, it was officially announced today. While here he will also hold talks with top government leaders on bilateral and international issues.

Journalist, author Germanos dies

Popular Greek journalist and author Freddy Germanos died today in hospital at the age of 65, after being hospitalised with cancer. Germanos, who started writing at the age of 18 and published his first book 12 years later, begain his career with the Athens dayly Vradyni. He later worked for another daily, Messimvrini. Germanos' 22 books, all of which were commercial successes, included "My Cherished Sophia" on the life of Sophia Mineiko, mother of the late PASOK founder and premier Andreas Papandreou, and another on the life of legendary Greek actress Elli Lambeti. He also hosted a popular television talk show on a state-run television channel.

Police break up prostitution ring

Four persons were arrested on charges of running a prostitution ring that exploited women chiefly from Ukraine. Police said they arrested Natalia Petrou, believed to be the ringleader, Maria Brela, Lena Maxinova and Nikos Balis. They said Petrou was running an office in the upper-class Kolonaki residential district through which appointments for the women were arranged with clients, for 20,000 dr. per encounter. They said Brela had been hired as a telephone operator, while Balis was employed to drive the women to their appointments. Balis was arrested with Maxinova as he was taking her to an appointment, while the other two were arrested in the office. Police said the ring has been operating since the summer of 1998.

Air force lieutenant arrested

Police on Friday arrested a Greek air force officer on charges of transporting illegal immigrants. Flight Lieutenant Socrates Vassis, 47, was found with four Albanian illegal immigrants in his car when he was stopped on the Igoumenitsa-Preveza national road. He had picked them up from Asproklisi, in Thesprotia, and was taking them to Preveza for a fee of 35, 000 drachmas each. Vassis and the four illegal immigrants will be brought before the public prosecutor in Igoumenitsa.

New trolley buses hit Athens streets

Two new designer trolley buses hit the streets of Athens on Friday, the first of 192 high technology trolleys bought to phase out the existing fleet. The trolleys have been designed by fashion designer Yiannis Tseklanis and were manufactured entirely in Greece. Trolley organisation ILPAP is expected to take delivery of 192 new trolleys in the course of the year. The new trolleys, costing a total of 26 billion drachmas, are expected to gradually phase out the fleet of Russian-made trolley buses, which have seen more than 20 years of service.

Greek equities end week on new record

Equity prices ended the week on Friday at new records with the general index surpassing the 4,200 level for the first time ever. The index ended 0.99 percent higher at 4,206.75 points after two unsuccessful attempts to break the barrier in the previous two sessions, reflecting strong buying in banks and smaller capitalisation stocks. Turnover was 234.455 billion drachmas with 43,709,299 shares changing hands. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 3.20 percent higher while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips rose 1.19 percent to 2,522.19 points.


Partly cloudy weather is forecast throughout the country today with the possibility of showers in central and northern Greece. Winds variable, light to moderate. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 17- 27C. Possibility of intermittent rain in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 16-22C.


Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          302.669
Pound sterling       488.302
Japanese yen (100)   244.082
French franc          49.127
German mark          164.764
Italian lira (100)    16.643
Irish Punt           409.174
Belgian franc          7.988
Luxembourg franc       7.988
Finnish mark          54.199
Dutch guilder        146.232
Danish kr.            43.398
Austrian sch.         23.419
Spanish peseta         1.936
Swedish kr.           35.821
Norwegian kr.         39.027
Swiss franc          201.262
Port. Escudo           1.607
Can. dollar          206.336
Aus. dollar          200.389
Cyprus pound         556.155
Euro                 322.251
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