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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-12-14
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA-5 THE VOICE OF GREECE
14/12/2000 12:24:28 μμ
 Kidnapped UN observers - free, safe and wellThe two United Nations observers - Greek captain, Efstathios Kokkinidis, and Polish colonel, Blehats Zbignew - who had been kidnapped by Abhazi guerillas in Georgia, were finally released yesterday afternoon, following tough negotiations.
According to information they are safe and well in a Russian outpost at Kodori valley and are expected to be transferred to Tbilizi today.
 ''17 November'' proclamationOn Tuesday, the organization ''17 November'' sent a proclamation to ''Eleftherotypia'' daily, explaining the reasons for the recent assassination of the British military attache, Steven Saunders, revealing that it used a G-3 gun, stolen from the Vyronas Police Station in 1988.
The organization also claimed that Saunders was its most important target in its 25 years-long action, adding that the operation was quite difficult and risky.
Referring to the 17 November proclamation, government spokesman, Dimitris Reppas, described terrorism as a social scourge and stated that the institutional framework concerning terrorist actions and ways to deal with them would be ready in the first few months of 2001. Mr Reppas also stated that the government does not intend to hold a dialogue with the terrorists, adding that there is no moral standards, logic or just causes in the activities of such an organisation.
Commenting on the organization's proclamation, the British Foreign secretary Robin Cook said Saunders did not play any role in NATO's action in Kosovo.
 Debate on armament programsNational defence minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, briefed the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee on the armaments programs yesterday.
Referring to the purchase of the Euro fighter jets, the defence minister said that negotiations continue so as to serve Greece's interests in the best possible way, while he reiterated the plans for the creation of a professional army.
During the relative debate the former defence minister, Theodoros Pangalos, launched a strong attack against foreign minister, Papandreou, on the policy he is following in Greek- Turkish matters.
 Hellinikon airport will become a parkPrime minister, Kostas Simitis, yesterday chaired a cabinet meeting and it was decided that the area where Hellinikon airport is located will become a park, as soon as the new international airport in Spata opens.
According to information, part of the old airport might host installations meant for the Olympic Games and in particular, equestrian sports.
It was also decided at the meeting to give a small time delay to the Air Force for the relocation of its installations elsewhere, at the request of national defence minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who stressed that time, money and space were necessary for the air force's relocation to an area in Marathon or in another area.
Meanwhile, the four mayors of the municipalities of Argyroupoli, Glyfada, Hellinikon and Alimos agree with the relative decision, warning however that they will try by all means to stop the area from becoming a housing block or to be used as an airport for military flights.
 Bill on illegal immigrationA bill entitled '' Entry and Stay of foreigners in the Greek State'' is - according to interior minister, Vaso Papandreou - offering a second change to illegal immigrants to obtain permanent residence permits.
During the second day of the relative debate on the bill, Mrs Papandreou said all the illegal immigrants who can prove that they were living in Greece until mid-November and for the last two years, will be able to acquire a temporary six-month residence permit and if in between this time they find a job, they will be entitled to stay permanently, otherwise they will have to leave the country.
 Meeting of fishery ministersAgriculture minister, George Anomeritis, is in Brussels since yesterday, accompanied by the general director of the ministry's fishery department, Apostolos Tsiokas, to take part in the sessions of the EU Fishery Ministers Council that will be held in the Belgian capital today and tomorrow.
 Illicit trade of ancient marblesFive people were arrested today, at the 22nd km of the national highway Serres - Drama, on charges of attempting to sell 3 marble steeles against 20 million drachmas and will be led to the prosecutor of Serres.
The marble steeles were delivered to the Byzantine Museum in Thessaloniki.
 Ceremony to honour Greek poet George SeferisThe Greek ambassador in London, Alexandros Sandis, yesterday unveiled a commemorative plate in honour of the Greek famous poet George Seferis at the residence where the poet lived as Greece's ambassador to London from 1957 to 1962.
The ceremony closed a series of events on the subject of ''Greece in Britain'', marking the 100th anniversary since of George Seferis' birth.
 Athens bourseOn the Athens bourse, the general share price index noted losses of up to 3.14% yesterday, closing at 3,498.69 points.
 Euro interest rates in GreeceAs of next week, Greece will have euro interest rates, as the Monetary Policy Council is expected to complete the adjustment of Greek interest rates to follow the European ones through a reduction of 1%.