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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-05-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Weather Forecast: Mostly fair on Wednesday
  • [02] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday
  • [03] PM: EU, Cyprus solution, Greek-Turkish relations the priorities til
  • [04] Euro-Mediterranean partners meeting on Crete unite against terrorism
  • [05] Greece will not play Ankara's 'game of tension', DM Papantoniou says

  • [01] Weather Forecast: Mostly fair on Wednesday

    28/05/2003 09:26:57

    Cloudy with a chance for showers is forecast for Wednesday throughout the country. Winds variable, moderate to strong. In the north, temperatures will range from 14C to 24C; and in the rest of the country from 16C to 26C. Temperatures in Athens between 18C and 25C; and in Thessaloniki from 16C to 23C.

    [02] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday

    28/05/2003 09:26:31

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank

    U.S. dollar 1.199

    Pound sterling 0.729

    Danish kroner 7.483

    Swedish kroner 9.266

    Japanese yen 140.0

    Swiss franc 1.540

    Norwegian kroner 7.922

    Cyprus pound 0.591

    Canadian dollar 1.649

    Australian dollar 1.818

    [03] PM: EU, Cyprus solution, Greek-Turkish relations the priorities til elections

    27/05/2003 23:46:15

    The government's priorities until the next general elections are the formulation of the new European Union and Greece's position in the EU, resolving the Cyprus issue on the basis of the UN plan, reforming Greek-Turkish relations, and the negotiations for a social Europe, prime minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday, addressing a critical joint meeting of his ruling PASOK party's central committee and parliamentary group.

    Outlining the government's priorities until the elections as well as its platform for the next four-year term, Simitis said that the policy, in a nutshell, was ''Greece remains sovereign'', in tandem with the four crucial issues listed above.

    He described the four issues as being of ''national importance'', adding that their outcome would mark Greece's course for decades to come.

    Addressing the meeting on the course of the Greek economy, Simitis said that despite the difficult international environment, development was continuing in Greece at ''satisfactory'' rates, noting that after seven consecutive years of strong and constant upward development, ''we shall continue with even more ambitious goals''.

    The prime minister devoted a large part of his address to Greece's course in the European Union, the current Greek EU presidency, and Cyprus' EU accession.

    He said that despite the fact that the Greek EU presidency had coincided with the war in Iraq, Greece had proved that it could maintain the helm of the EU during a major crisis.

    On relations with Turkey, Simitis referred to the Imia islets issue, noting that although everyone at the time had believed that Greece would not be able to react and would be swept into a maelstrom of pressures and concessions, the exact opposite had occured.

    He also said that the rapprochement with Turkey in recent years had transposed the problem to European Union level, adding that Turkey's EU candidacy was now a lever for the normalisation of relations.

    [04] Euro-Mediterranean partners meeting on Crete unite against terrorism

    27/05/2003 23:40:29

    Participating foreign ministers in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership conference, which ended on Tuesday on the island of Crete, agreed to further strengthen cooperation among Mediterranean nations.

    Presenting the conference conclusions during a press briefing, Greeces Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who chaired the meeting, stressed the Euro-Mediterranean conference should acquire an even more specific and fundamental role, with the first step to this direction being its transformation into a ''Euro-Mediterranean Convention,'' meaning more meetings among its members.

    Referring to the Middle East issue, Papandreou said that there is still hope for peace in the region and that the European Union supported the Road Map proposed by the quartet (US, United Nations, Russia and EU), describing it a positive step towards a Mid East settlement.

    Among the meetings aims was to assess the progress achieved so far in Euro-Mediterranean cooperation, especially in the implementation of the Valencia energy plan and its future development, especially in view of EU enlargement.

    The ministers once again reiterated their willingness to carry on and intensify the fight against terrorism, compliance with international law, full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    [05] Greece will not play Ankara's 'game of tension', DM Papantoniou says

    27/05/2003 23:34:02

    Greece will not play Ankara's ''game of tension'', defence minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Tuesday as he arrived for a joint meeting of ruling PASOK's Central Committee and Parliamentary group.

    ''We will not play the game of tension that Ankara wishes to play. We shall be firm in our positions, but naturally with a high degree of preparedness and vigilance to confront any prospect,'' Papantoniou said when asked to comment on statements by the Turkish chief of staff that Turkish military aircraft would continue infringing the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR).

    Turkish armed forces chief of staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkiok said on Monday that Turkish jetfighters would continue to fly in the Athens FIR without submitting relevant flight plans, and disputed the 10-mile airspace (FIR) zone off the Greek coastline of the mainland and islands.

    Papantoniou said that Greece was facing increasing provocation and aggressiveness by Turkey in the Aegean, as was proved by the number of violations of Greek airspace and FIR infringements, but also by the fact that the violations and infringements were carried out ''in a very aggressive manner'' since the Turkish jetfighters were armed, and tens of encounters ensued with Greek airforce planes.

    The defence minister opined, however, that ''it is probably not the intention of the Turkish military establishment to spark off an incident in the Aegean''.

    ''I do not wish to think that, because that would naturally cancel out Turkey's European course,'' Papantoniou said, adding that if Turkey dared to do what is said, ''this would cancel its European course for many years''.

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