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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-13

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, 13/06/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece votes for European Parliament
  • PM confident of ruling party victory
  • Karamanlis: Elections a poll on govt's performance
  • 33 parties standing for Euroelections
  • Greek Kosovo force ready to go mid-week
  • Quake shakes Aegean island of Santorini
  • Cypriot defence minister due in Athens
  • FM: Compliance by all Kosovo parties necessary
  • Greece cautions Turkish foreign minister
  • Athens backs unconditional aid for Yugoslavia
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece votes for European Parliament

Greeks joined their European Union counterparts on Sunday in voting for new representatives to the 626-member European Parliament. Polling booths will close at 7 p.m. and counting is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. local time, the same time as other European Union countries. Final results of the poll are expected to be known at around 11 p.m. local time, when 10 percent of the vote will have been counted. Exit poll results will be available at around 7 p.m. A total of 8,912,901 Greeks are eligible to vote at 18,525 polling stations around the country in these European Parliament elections: 4,559,216 are women and 4,353,685 are men.

PM confident of ruling party victory

After voting on Sunday morning, Prime Minister Costas Simitis told reporters that Greeks today would decide on the relationship they wanted with Europe. "We are within a hair's breadth of our goal, equal participation in the European Union. We believe we must proceed dynamically. PASOK is the guarantee of this. I am confident we will succeed," he said. On Saturday, Simitis said the Euroelections were "the most crucial for Greece ever," providing voters with the option of backing political forces able to guarantee the country's dynamic future in Europe, with peace, stability and growth.

Karamanlis: Elections a poll on govt's performance

In an exclusive statement to ANA, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said the poll would amount to a referendum on the government's overall record, in which the electorate would signal its desire for an end to a malignant political past and a fresh start. "Greeks are overcoming the old divisive pseudo-dilemmas and are focusing on the political substance of this election which will determine their future. These Euroelections are a referendum on the present state of politics, on the present conditions which are daily bogging down the country," he said.

33 parties standing for Euroelections

Thirty-three political parties are vying for seats in the European Parliament. Forty-one parties submitted applications to field candidates for the 1999 European Parliament elections; eight did not complete the entire procedure for a variety of reasons. Parties must garner at least 3.0 percent of valid votes cast to be eligible for a seat in the assembly.

Greek Kosovo force ready to go mid-week

Greek troops destined to join the peacekeeping force for Kosovo are expected to leave on their mission by Wednesday at the latest, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told the ANA on Saturday. Tsohatzopoulos said the Greek force would be deployed in southern Kosovo, between German and U.S. forces. The defence minister visited the 501 motorised infantry battalion in Giannitsa, northern Greece, which will be the first part of the Greek brigade to go to Kosovo, on Friday. 501 is made up of 450 volunteer commissioned officers and professional soldiers and 50 reservists. Batallion 501 includes M113 armored personnel carriers, and VPL battle support vehicles. Many of its members have served in the Greek contingents of the peace forces in Bosnia and Albania. It will be followed by an engineering and a medical corps battalion.

Quake shakes Aegean island of Santorini

Seismologists in Athens said a quake felt on the popular Aegean island of Santorini late on Saturday had measured 4.5 on the Richter scale. There were no reports of damage or injuries from the quake, which hit the island at 8.21 p.m. The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake's epicentre was located 220kms southeast of Athens, in the sea region north of Santorini.

Cypriot defence minister due in Athens

Cypriot Defence Minister Yannakis Chrysostomis will be in Athens for talks with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos on June 21, according to an ANA dispatch from Nicosia. In statements to reporters on leaving for Paris, Chrysostomis said his Athens talks would be a continuation of previous discussions with Tsohatzopoulos.

FM: Compliance by all Kosovo parties necessary

Foreign Minister George Papandreou held talks yesterday with Yugoslavia's political leadership in the first ever visit by a foreign minister in Belgrade since the end of the bombings on Thursday. Mr. Papandreou told journalists following his meeting with President Slobodan Milosevic that he underlined to his interlocutors the need for total compliance by all parties to the peace proposals because the deployment of the interantional security forc e would provide peace and stability to all, Serbs and Albanians living in Kosovo. Mr. Papandreou, who was the last foreign minister of a NATO and European Union country to visit Yugoslavia on March 11, before NATO began its bombing campaign, stressed the necessity for Yugoslavia to enter the European family, adding that if it (Yugosl avia) moved in the right direction and met certain criteria such as democratic changes and reforms, it would be supported by all European countries as its place is in Europe.

Greece cautions Turkish foreign minister

Greece yesterday cautioned Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem to be "more careful" following recent provocative statements alleging ties between Athens and the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK). Mr. Cem sent a letter to his Greek counterpart George Papandreou a few weeks ago asking Athens to cooperate against the PKK and in statements earlier this week said Greece should break off alleged ties with the separatist guerrilla organisation. He also reiterated Turkish allegations that Greece had been training PKK rebels, which Athens has consistently and strongly denied. Advising Mr. Cem to be "more careful", government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said Mr. Papandreou would reply to Mr. Cem's letter in the next few days.

Athens backs unconditional aid for Yugoslavia

Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis told BBC Television yesterday that Greece favoured unconditional reconstruction aid for Yugoslavia. Mr. Christodoulakis was countering a worldwide view that Yugoslavia should receive no aid if its president, Slobodan Milosevic, remained in power. "This is unjust .. It is not right for the Serb people to suffer just because their leader is not pleasing to the people or to other states," Mr. Christodoulakis told BBC World TV News. The Greek government and domestic companies intended to take an active part in the reconstruction of infrastructure in Serbia and Kosovo, which were badly damaged by NATO's bombings, Mr. Christodoulakis said.

Weather

Fair weather initially on Sunday, but scattered showers and storms are expected later in central and northern areas. Winds north-northwesterly, light to moderate, becoming strong over southern seas. The temperature will top 34 degrees Celcius.

@ Foreign Exchange

Bank of Greece closing rates of: June 11,1999

Banknotes Buying Selling

  • --------- ------ ------- US Dollar 306.647 313.757 Can.Dollar 210.006 214.875 Australian Dlr 203.558 208.278 Pound Sterling 492.330 503.744 Irish Punt 408.280 417.747 Pound Cyprus 556.750 569.659 Pound Malta 721.320 751.375 Turkish pound (100) 0.067 0.070 French franc 49.020 50.156 Swiss franc 201.178 205.842 Belgian franc 7.971 8.156 German Mark 164.404 168.216 Finnish Mark 54.080 55.334 Dutch Guilder 145.911 149.294 Danish Kr. 43.277 44.280 Swedish Kr. 36.133 36.970 Norwegian Kr. 39.228 40.137 Austrian Sh. 23.368 23.909 Italian lira (100) 16.606 16.991 Yen (100) 258.525 264.519 Spanish Peseta 1.932 1.977 Port. Escudo 1.604 1.641

    (M.P.)


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