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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-07-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 27/07/1999 (ANA)


  • PM Simitis visits Greek troops in Kosovo
  • Positive beginning to Greek-Turkish dialogue
  • Russian military personnel, equipment due Wednesday
  • One killed in freighter collision
  • Greek-Russian relations examined
  • Government puts final touches to immigration policy
  • Theodorakis to compose score for new movie
  • 2CV devotees gather in northern Greece
  • More accidents in Thessaloniki; fewer deaths
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


PM Simitis visits Greek troops in Kosovo

Prime Minister Costas Simitis arrived today in Kosovo to meet with Greek troops participating in the Kosovo peacekeeping force. Simitis, accompanied by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopulos and Press Minister Dimitris Reppas arrived in Urosevac aboard two Chinook helicopters which were escorted by two US Apache helicopters after entering the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), according to an ANA despatch from Kosovo. Commenting on Greece's role during the Kosovo crisis, Simitis said the result had been that the country was today part of efforts to resolve the problem rather than part of the problem itself. He said however that despite the peace now prevailing in the region "it would be a dangerous illusion to believe that the problem has been dealt with, that the situation has been normalised, that the page has turned conclusively". On Friday, the premier and defence minister will fly to Sarajevo to attend a meeting of mostly European leaders on Balkan reconstruction and stability.

Positive beginning to Greek-Turkish dialogue

The government said on Tuesday that the Greek-Turkish dialogue had begun in a positive climate on issues concerning trade, the environment and tourism. The dialogue got underway in Ankara on Monday between Greek and Turkish senior foreign ministry officials aimed at improving bilateral relations. A second round of talks will be held in Athens on July 29-30. Government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said the talks yesterday had been held in a positive climate but declined to make any other statement, commenting "it would not be expedient".

Russian military personnel, equipment due Wednesday

Four ships carrying the second despatch of Russian military personnel and vehicles for the Kosovo peace force are due in the port of Thessaloniki tomorrow. The 400 soldiers, containers and military vehicles are due early Wednesday afternoon, and scheduled to depart overland late the same night for FYROM and from there to Kosovo. The first despatch of 450 soldiers, 130 vehicles and some 100 tons of military supplies arrived in Thessaloniki on five Russian ships on July 14. Also on Wednesday, a ship from the United Arab Emirates is due in Thessaloniki port carrying military supplies for Kosovo. The 400 UAE soldiers are due to arrive in Thessaloniki by airplane, and from there will take up their vehicles and head overland to Kosovo.

One killed in freighter collision

One crew member was killed in a collision between two Greek freighters five miles southwest of the Turkish island of Tenedos in the Aegean Sea, Greek merchant marine sources said today. The two freighters -- 'PEL Ranger' and 'PEL Mariner', owned by Sarlis Maritime -- regularly ran the Piraeus-Black Sea route. The sources said the 'PEL Mariner' sank after the collision late Monday night, and its second engineer, 51-year-old Anastasios Georgantzis, was found dead in a life raft three hours later by a nearby Greek passenger ferry, the 'Aghios Raphail'. The PEL Mariner's oiler, Pakistani national Abdul Latif, was rescued by the Aghios Raphail from the same life raft. The remaining 10 crew members of the sunken freighter -- five Greeks and five foreigners -- were all safe and accounted for and taken aboard the PEL Ranger.

Greek-Russian relations examined

Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Tuesday met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko in Athens to discuss the course of Greek-Russian relations. Matvienko said she was particularly satisfied with the two countries' cooperation in the commercial and economic sectors and noted that there was a need for bilateral cooperation in the reconstruction of the Balkans. She said particular focus could be placed on rebuilding factories and restoring energy links. Russia appreciated Greece's stance during the Yugoslav war, she said, adding that the Russian government was concerned about the activity of the Kosovo Liberation Army against Serb civilians in Kosovo.

Government puts final touches to immigration policy

The government said on Tuesday that it was in the final phase of formulating an overall policy on immigration, following a round of talks between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and opposition party leaders on the issues of crime and illegal immigration. Government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said that after discussion of the issue during Wednesday's cabinet meeting, the relevant bill would be circulated to the opposition parties and the procedure would then commence for a parliamentary debate.

Theodorakis to compose score for new movie

World-renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis will write the score for acclaimed Greek-Australian director John Tatoulis' new movie, "Beware of Greeks bearing arms". The film, a Greek-Australian production targeting the international cinema market, begins shooting soon in Melbourne, and ANA dispatch from Melbourne said. The protagonist of the bilingual (Greek and English) film is popular Greek comedian Lakis Lazopoulos, whose sarcastic weekly review of life in Greece "Deka Mikri Mitsi" (Ten Little Mitsos') -- which he wrote and starred in -- still gets top ratings when reruns are shown on television.

2CV devotees gather in northern Greece

Hundreds of devotees of the classic Citroen 2CV model begin converging on the seaside suburb of Skotinas, Pierias, on Tuesday for the 13th World Meeting of the friends of this legendary vehicle. It is the first time in its 24 years of existence that the biennial meeting is being held in Greece. It will last through to August 1. About 680 2CVs have already arrived at Skotinas, although the local camping ground is preparing to host 1,500 vehicles and their drivers. Convoys of some 200 2CVs have been seen on the Igoumenitsa-Ioannina-Larissa national road all day, as international participants arrive via Italy. Participants have come from as far as Australia.

More accidents in Thessaloniki; fewer deaths

The total number of road accidents in the Thessaloniki prefecture increased in the first three months of this year compared to the previous five years, although the number of fatalities fell. According to figures released by the Thessaloniki Traffic Police, 3,857 road accidents were recorded between January 1 and March 31, 1999, compared to 3,808 in 1997, 3,643 in 1996, 2, 949 in 1995 and 2,583 in 1994. Twenty two people were killed and 531 injured in 1999, compared to 32 killed and 516 injured last year, and 36 killed and 534 injured in 1997.


Scattered cloud is forecast in many parts of the country on Monday with unsettled weather in western central and northern Greece, turning to showers or storms towards evening. Winds will be westerly, moderate to strong. Sunny weather in Athens, with scattered clound later in the day. Temperatures between 23C and 35C. Changeable weather in Thessaloniki, including rain or storms in the evening. Temperatures ranging from 21C to 31C.


Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          301.965
Pound sterling       479.533
Japanese yen (100)   260.866
French franc          49.169
German mark          164.906
Italian lira (100)    16.658
Irish Punt           409.527
Belgian franc          7.995
Finnish mark          54.246
Dutch guilder        146.358
Danish kr.            43.331
Austrian sch.         23.439
Spanish peseta         1.938
Swedish kr.           36.639
Norwegian kr.         38.761
Swiss franc          200.835
Port. Escudo           1.609
Can. dollar          199.531
Aus. dollar          195.870
Cyprus pound         558.893
Euro                 322.529
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