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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-07-21

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, 21/07/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens calls on int'l community for end to Cyprus' occupation
  • Greece, Albania agree to better tackle surging crime problem
  • Cultural, economic issues on agenda of first Greek-Turkish meeting
  • US official meets Greek leadership on anti-terrorism cooperation
  • Tsohatzopoulos meeting with his Austrian counterpart Fasslabend
  • Gov't on Deutsche Welle's Greek-language programme
  • Bourse slips as profit-taking succeeds record high sessions
  • Unofficial ceiling on petrol prices on the table
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens calls on int'l community for end to Cyprus' occupation

The Greek government stressed yesterday that the international community could no longer remain indifferent to the 25 years of division and occupation on the island of Cyprus.

"Dealing with this problem is now urgent," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on the quarter-century anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the island republic.

Turkish troops have occupied 37 per cent of the island since July 20, 1974 in defiance of repeated UN resolutions.

"The international community can no longer remain indifferent to the Cyprus problem. Twenty-five years of the occupation of Cyprus is a long time for the international community to remain unconcerned," Mr. Reppas said.

He said Turkey could not convince the international community it was "a modern state" when it continued to support the invasion, defend the occupation and torpedo any attempt at resolving the problem.

He said, however, that recent renewed international interest in the Cyprus problem was an encouraging sign.

"Greece will contribute with all the means at its disposal so that within the framework of international legality a solution may finally be reached to the Cyprus problem," he said.

In his message, Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed that the "forceful division of Cyprus is a black page in the history of European civilisation, which must be soon erased for the good of peace and security in SE Europe".

Mr. Papandreou said that first of all Turkey itself has an interest in contributing constructively to a solution to the Cyprus issue.

"The Cyprus issue is not solely its historic guilt, there is also the problem on whose solution the course of Turkey in Europe of the 21st century will depend. The recent crisis in Yugoslavia highlighted the deadlocks of nationalism. It is a message of history which the Turkish policy of intransigence and nationalism must not forget," he said.

Mr. Papandreou said that at the same time in Cyprus the international community is called on to "show in practice that it is following, without selective sensitivities, the implementation of the same principles of international law, just as in other int ernational problems".

"The present day is not only a day of denunciation. It is also a day of thinking for all Hellenism, for the actions and omissions of its recent past. The tragedy of Cyprus highlighted the deadlocks of our nationalism as well. Historic memory cannot be s elective," he said.

"Today, the international community is undertaking a new initiative. The political forces of Cyprus and in Greece must work for a solution to the political problem and the reunification of the island with realism and historic responsibility, where the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus will co-habit peacefully, regardless of ethnic origin and religion. It is the best armouring of Cypriot Hellenism against Turkish intransigence," Mr. Papandreou added.

In its message, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called on opposition parties to denounce "imperialist plans, both American and European Union, as well as the stance of the Greek government."

The KKE message stated that "developments over the Cyprus issue are part of the same chain, whose links are the situation in Kosovo and the drama experienced by the people of Yugoslavia...general plans against the peoples of the Balkans and the Mediterranean, the partitioning and 'NATOisation' being promoted for the Aegean and the continuing crime against the Kurdish people."

KKE reiterated that a just solution to the Cyprus issue can only be had on the basis of an independent, federal, non-aligned and demilitarised Cyprus.

In a similar message, the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) said the Cyprus problem is an issue of the invasion and occupation of part of an independent and sovereign state and must be handled as such by the international community and international or ganisations.

DHKKI added that a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue can only be had with the restoration of international legality, which necessitates the withdrawal of even the last Turkish soldier from the island.

The Political Spring party said that all Greeks have the duty to struggle together steadfastly for an end to the drama of Cyprus.

In a related event, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and the Cypriot ambassador to Greece, Christodoulos Pashiardis, released two white doves from the Acropolis as a message for peace and vindication for Cyprus' struggle.

The event was attended by representatives of Greek Cypriot organisations and unions.

Greece, Albania agree to better tackle surging crime problem

Athens and Tirana's public order ministers yesterday agreed to a series of measures to better coordinate joint action aimed at curbing criminal activity by illegal immigrants in Greece.

"We agreed on all the issues we discussed. There was a coincidence of views on solving problems," Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis told reporters after meeting with his Albanian counterpart, Spartak Potsi, in the northwestern Greek city of Ioa nnina.

He said Tirana and Athens would step up cooperation on both sides to stem illegal activity and immigration.

Mr. Chrysohoidis said Greek police checks on an estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants would continue to determine whether they had applied or possessed residency or work papers.

He said these operations were standard fare in all democratic countries of the world and that they would not turn into a means of persecuting legal immigrants.

"We support law-abiding immigrants and it is in our interests that they be in Greece. These police checks also protect them from criminal elements, which often use blackmail and force against them in their places of work or residence," he said.

The two ministries agreed to upgrade their cooperation by introducing direct "red" phone lines for immediate access and consultation as well as linking up on-line to facilitate the exchange of information.

Posted at each ministry will be a police liaison officer from the other country.

The Greek public order ministry also plans to establish an operation centre at the Gjirokaster police station which will provide surveillance capability for the wider Delvine and Sarande areas, both near the border with Greece.

Also provided for are regular weekly meetings between local authority representatives of regions neighbouring both sides of the border.

"The political message from my meeting with Mr. Potsi is that both governments are determined to stamp out organised and common crime at its roots," Mr. Chrysohoidis said.

Mr. Potsi thanked the Greek government for immediately responding to the Albanian government's requests for support and training of the local police force, while he said his government and ministry wanted to cooperate with Greece in curbing cross-border criminal activity.

"The Albanian government and the public order ministry are determined to do battle against crime. We are also determined, with the continuing cooperation with Greece, to jointly deal with the problem," he said.

He admitted that there were problems in the guarding of the border but that efforts were under way to fix the problems. He also admitted that Albania faced a major problem in combatting the cultivation and trafficking of narcotics but said police had ma de significant inroads over the past few weeks. "As of today, the cooperation between the two ministries and police forces will be consistent and I hope that soon we will have positive results," he said.

Cultural, economic issues on agenda of first Greek-Turkish meeting

Cooperation and exchanges in the cultural and economic sectors will be the topics on the agenda of the first meeting of Greek and Turkish officials in Ankara on Monday, the government said yesterday.

Foreign ministry ambassadors Skopelitis and Gerokostopoulos will represent Greece at the meeting, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

Mr. Reppas said the next cycle of meetings would be held in Athens and would focus on issues not touched on in the Ankara meetings, such as combatting crime, illegal immigration, terrorism and related issues.

Asked whether the government was prepared to take some action on the Kurdistan People's Party (PKK), as requested by the Turkish government, the spokesman said that Greece had not changed its position on the Kurdish issue.

US official meets Greek leadership on anti-terrorism cooperation

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis yesterday met with US State Department special coordinator on terrorism issues Michael Sheehan.

"Issues of terrorism have an internal aspect for every country, and of course, an international aspect...In the context of this international aspect, the Greek foreign ministry coordinates and supports bilateral and multilateral cooperation with all count ries, and of course, with the United States," Mr. Niotis said after the meeting.

He added that the talks were not designed to lead to a binding agreement.

US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns also attended the meeting.

"This is a dialogue within the context of Greek-American cooperation, which is continuing and we believe will be beneficial to both sides," he said.

According to diplomatic sources, Mr. Sheehan, who has been in Greece since last week and has already held contacts with the public order ministry, asked the Greek side for closer cooperation in the exchange of information, training of anti-terrorist forces and the transfer of know-how.

The same sources added that the issue of changes in the existing Greek legal framework, for which the United States has been pressing for some time, was also discussed, but the Greek side declined to adopt any specific stand, considering that the legal provisions in force are adequate.

"Our country's political will in dealing with the plague of terrorism is also secured through the adherence to constitutional provisions and the safeguarding of the individual freedoms of citizens," Mr. Niotis said.

Tsohatzopoulos meeting with his Austrian counterpart Fasslabend

Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Austrian counterpart Werner Fasslabend yesterday began a two-day meeting in Vienna, focusing on conditions in Kosovo, developments in the Balkans and European security policy.

The two ministers are expected to also discuss Greek-Austrian cooperation in peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and the presence of Austrian troops in the peacekeeping force on Cyprus.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos will remain in Austria until Thursday to participate in the European Socialist Party (ESP) summit on the Balkans, as he holds the post of ESP vice-president.

The summit will focus on issues of security, economic and social development, democracy and human rights in the Balkans.

FM George Papandreou and Alternate FM Yiannos Kranidiotis will represent ruling PASOK at the summit.

Gov't on Deutsche Welle's Greek-language programme

Press Minister and government spokesman Dimitris Reppas has addressed a letter to his German counterpart Naumann over a proposal to abolish "Deutsche Welle's" Greek-language programme.

In his letter, Mr. Reppas stresses the Greek government's interest in the continuation of the station's Greek programme, adding that apart from memories brought to mind during its tenure throughout the seven-year military dictatorship in Greece (1967-74 ), it is of interest to a considerable sector of the Greek public.

Bourse slips as profit-taking succeeds record high sessions

Equities registered a "corrective decrease" yesterday, following the strong upward trend over the past three sessions and during which two new records were achieved and profits jumped to around the 6.8 per cent region.

Liquidations in the banking sector dragged the market below 4,500 points.

The general index ended 0.98 percent lower at 4,483.90 points from 4,528.38 points in the previous session.

The session kicked off with the index reaching 4,554.92 points, the highest intra-session level of all time, followed by liquidations, primarily among banks stocks, which led the index to 4,466.43 points (-1.09 percent) shortly before closing time.

The greatest losses in the banking sector was recorded by General Bank with 6.1 percent, while the Alpha Credit Bank decreased by 4.8 percent.

The price of 34 shares closed at the 8 percent high.

Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-3.12 pct), Leasing (-1.63 pct), Insurance (+1.46 pct), Investment (+2.39 pct), Construction (-2.01 pct), Industrials (+1.22 pct), Miscellaneous (+1.29 pct) and Holding (+5.00 pct).

The parallel market for smaller capitalisation ended 0.16 percent higher.

Of 297 shares traded advances outpaced declines at 157 to 135 with five issues unchanged.

National Bank of Greece ended at 22,650 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 21, 620, Bank of Piraeus at 9,060, Ergobank at 40,105, Titan Cement (common) at 30,780, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,840 and Intracom (common) at 21,870.

Unofficial ceiling on petrol prices on the table

The issue of fuel price hikes is expected to be approached through a "gentlemen's agreement" between the government, petrol suppliers and gas station owners.

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday said that the agreement, which will apply to the maximun profit margins in both wholesale and retail sales, will be valid until Aug. 17 and will include the regions of Evrytania, Imathia, Preveza, Fokida, Thesprotia, Corfu, Cephalonia, Lefkada, the Dodecanese islands, Lesvos, Samos and Hios.

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast across the country on Wednesday with local clouds in the north. Winds will be northwesterlies mild to moderate in the west, moderate to strong in the east. Temperatures will range from 19-35C in the north 22-33 in the mainland and Ionian and 24-31 in the Aegean. Athens will be fair, winds northerly moderate to strong, 23-34C. Thessaloniki will have fair weather with scattered cloud in the afternoon hours, northerly winds mild to moderate and temperatures of 21-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          310.228
Pound sterling       488.104
Japanese yen (100)   262.672
French franc          49.074
German mark          164.587
Italian lira (100)    16.625
Irish Punt           408.734
Belgian franc          7.980
Finnish mark          54.140
Dutch guilder        146.074
Danish kr.            43.277
Austrian sch.         23.393
Spanish peseta         1.934
Swedish kr.           36.952
Norwegian kr.         39.551
Swiss franc          200.726
Port. Escudo           1.606
Can. dollar          207.626
Aus. dollar          202.031
Cyprus pound         557.861
Euro                 323.526
(L.G.)
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