|Thursday, 29 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-07-22
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 GREECE PROTESTS OVER LATEST TURKISH PROVOCATIONGreece's ambassador in Ankara has lodged a strong protest with the Turkish foreign ministry over the harassment by Turkish fighter jets of a passenger plane on a flight from Larnaca to Athens. The Greek transport minister, Tasos Mandelis, was on board the aircraft. The Turkish planes violated Greek air space over the Aegean in what has become a common practice and a manifestation of Ankara's aggressive attitude over the past few years.
The Greek foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, condemned the incident, saying it did not help towards defusing the tension between the two countries, particularly at a time when the Turkish government had expressed its willingness for an improvement in bilateral relations. He added, however, that he did not believe the incident would affect efforts to open a Greek-Turkish dialogue.
The government spokesman, Dimitris Repas, said the action was dangerous and unacceptable and sent out a negative message as far as the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations was concerned. The national defence minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, claimed that Ankara was trying to cover up for its inadequacies with a show of bravado, and that such actions showed Turkey to be a source of international unrest in the region.
The New Democracy party said the incident served to confirm Turkey's aggressive policy, while the Greek Communist party spoke of attempts to divide the Aegean, the Coalition described the act as one of deliberate provocation, and the Democratic Social Movement said all thoughts of Greek-Turkish dialogue should be abandoned. Talks between the two countries at the level of foreign ministry experts are due to begin in Ankara on Monday. Economic cooperation and cultural exchanges between the two countries will be discussed at the first meeting.
 CYPRIOT PRESIDENT REFUTES CONFEDERATION ON ISLANDThe Cypriot president, Glafkos Kliridis, has said a solution to the Cyprus problem involving the establishment of a confederation on the island will not be accepted. He was replying to provocative statements made by both Turkish officials and the Turkish-Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, who referred to the free, internationally- recognised Cypriot Republic and the island's occupied northern third as two equal states.
 GREEK AND BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTERS MEET IN ATHENSFollowing his meeting in Athens yesterday with his Greek counterpart, Kostas Simitis, the visiting Bulgarian prime minister, Ivan Kostov, described Greece as Bulgaria's most important political and economic partner in south-eastern Europe. Mr Simitis said that the meeting took place in a very friendly and cooperative climate, and underlined that Greece would support Bulgaria's admission to the EU and Nato. A tripartite meeting between Greece, Bulgaria and Russia will take place at the end of July to decide on the establishment of a company to take care of the operation of a Russian oil pipeline from the Bulgarian city of Burgas to the Greek border town of Alexandroupolis.
 DEFENCE MINISTER IN AUSTRIA FOR BALKAN TALKSThe national defence minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, met in Bregenz, Austria, yesterday with his Austrian counterpart, Werner Fasslabed, on the sidelines of today's summit of the European Socialist party, of which Mr Tsohatzopoulos is a vice-president. The two ministers confirmed their countries' common positions regarding economic and social development in the Balkans and said they were in favour of the adoption by the EU of a firm policy for the region's reconstruction.
 PRIME MINISTER TO DISCUSS CRIME PREVENTION WITH PARTY LEADERSThe Greek prime minister will begin a round of contacts with political party leaders tomorrow to discuss the mapping-out of a new policy on economic immigration and crime prevention. Mr Simitis will meet with the president of the Coalition of the Left, Nikos Konstantopoulos, tomorrow afternoon and later with the general secretary of the Greek Communist party, Aleka Papariga, while on Monday he is scheduled to see the president of the main opposition New Democracy party, Kostas Karamanlis, and the leader of the Democratic Social Movement, Dimitris Tsovolas.
 INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC ACADEMY SESSIONS OPEN IN ATHENSThe chairman of the Greek Olympic Committee and member of the International Olympic Committee, Lambis Nikolaou, opened the sessions of the International Olympic Academy on the Hill of Pnyx in central Athens last night. Sessions open this morning at Ancient Olympia and will last for a week.
The opening ceremony was attended by the IOC chairman, Juan Antonio Samaranch, the Greek culture minister, Elisavet Papazoi, the sports minister Andreas Fouras, the mayor of Athens, Dimitris Avramopoulos and other officials.
Earlier in the afternoon, Mr Samaranch spoke by telephone to the prime minister and the foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou. Their discussion focused on the replacement of the recently-resigned chairman of the organising committee for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Stratis Stratigis. The new chairman is expected to be appointed within the next few days.
 FUEL PRICE CHANGESThe price of petrol goes up by one-and-a-half drachmas a litre today. At the same time, there is expected to be a gradual drop in fuel prices of up to 12 drachmas a litre in areas where cases of profiteering have been observed. The move is part of an agreement reached this week between the development ministry, fuel companies and petrol-station owners.
 GREEK STUDENTS FROM YUGOSLAVIA DEMAND GOVERNMENT HELPProtesting repatriated Greek students from Yugoslav universities have stated their determination to continue with their action until the government agrees to allow them to transfer to Greek universities.
At a press conference yesterday they described the government's decision to settle only the issue of students studying at Pristina university as inhuman and unfair. They maintained that it was impossible to return to universities in Serbia because of the highly uncertain political situation there and the extensive environmental pollution caused by the Nato bombing campaign in the region. Approximately 1,500 repatriated students from Yugoslav universities are seeking entry to Greek tertiary education.
 SHARE PRICES FALL SLIGHTLY On the Athens Stock Exchange, the general share price index ended the day yesterday with a slight drop of 0.28%, closing at 4,471 points.