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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.forthnet.gr/ape>


NEWS IN ENGLISH

ATHENS, Greece, 04/11/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Foreign undersecretary's visit to Cyprus indicative of Greece's interest in Cyprus issue
  • Reppas sees movement on FYROM issue
  • Main opposition deputies gathering signatures to avoid party split
  • EU Commissioner Papoutsis satisfied with meetings in Skopje, Tirana
  • Cyprus House President in Athens for talks with Greek leadership
  • Greek priorities concerning review of Maastricht Treaty
  • FYROM president refers to Greek economic role in Balkans as favourable
  • Scientists: Overfishing, uncontrolled development, detrimental to Mediterranean

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Reppas stresses Greek interest in Cyprus

    The government said today that Foreign Undersecretary Christos Rozakis' visit to Nicosia was indicative of its ''particular interest'' in the Cyprus problem.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that Rozakis, who arrived in Cyprus yesterday at the head of a delegation, would have talks with the Cyprus government and opposition parties in order to gain a ''comprehensive view'' of the problem.

    The delegation will be discussing a common stance between Athens and Nicosia regarding latest developments on the Cyprus problem in view of a US initiative expected to be taken within the next few months.

    ''There is a new period before us in view of US elections and also because the time is approaching for the commencement of negotiations on Cyprus' accession to the European Union. There is also talk of initiatives being taken and besides, there is increased movement (on the Cyprus problem),'' Reppas said.

    ''For this reason,'' Reppas added, ''and in order that there be no surprises and in order for there to be better coordination, all these efforts are being made, including the foreign undersecretary's visit to Nicosia.''

    Rozakis described as ''fruitful'' his meeting today with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides during which he was briefed on Nicosia's positions on the Cyprus problem, according to an ANA despatch from the Cyprus capital.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Rozakis said that the purpose of the Greek delegation's contacts with the Cyprus government was ''to gather the material which is necessary in order to finalize positions in view of the new phase into which the Cyprus problem is entering''.

    Rozakis said the delegation would be having further contacts later today and tomorrow ''in order to gain a comprehensive picture and work out its views when it returns to Athens''.

    Reppas predicts speedier resolution of FYROM issue

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas today forecast a speeding up of procedures to resolve ''the major problem'' of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Reppas made the statement when asked by reporters if the resolution of the name issue was a prerequisite for a visit to FYROM by a Greek minister or for high-level talks between the two Balkan neighbours.

    The spokesman underlined also that Greece's relations with FYROM were governed by the 1995 interim agreement.

    ''On the Greek side, there is a desire for cooperation,'' Reppas added.

    Main opposition deputies gathering signatures to avoid party split

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputies George Sourlas and Vangelis Meimarakis have begun gathering signatures from ND deputies representing all factions within the party and aimed at diffusing disagreements as well as averting the possibility of split.

    The text is expected to be submitted to the three ND former prime ministers, Constantine Karamanlis, Constantine Mitsotakis and George Rallis as well as to party leader Miltiades Evert, George Souflias, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Constantine Tsaldaris and Yiannis Kefalogiannis, in order to pressure those leading ND members to meet and agree on the party's course towards an upcoming congress.

    The text notes that "the (party's) grass roots are anxious for what is happening in the party and there must be a meeting between leading members to find a joint plan, and ND to be led smoothly to the congress."

    EU Commissioner Papoutsis satisfied with meetings in Skopje, Tirana

    Greek European Commissioner Christos Papoutsis expressed satisfaction yesterday with the results of his Saturday visit to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and his contacts with the Albanian leadership in Tirana on Friday.

    In a meeting with FYROM President Kiro Gligorov on Saturday, Mr. Papoutsis explained the potential benefits of cooperation with neighbouring countries and the definitive role Greece could play in strengthening FYROM's relations with the European Union (EU ).

    The EU Commissioner for energy, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and tourism told a press conference on Saturday that he had emphasised the EU's encouragement of every effort at regional cooperation in the energy sector, which he said would cont ribute to the growth of harmonious relations with neighbouring countries. He noted his efforts to overcome reservations regarding the strategy of a regional approach to problem- solving, explaining that this was mandatory in the energy sector, due to the i ncreased demand for energy. Energy supplies, he commented, should be secured by avoiding political dependencies.

    Mr. Papoutsis proposed that the FYROM government cooperate with the EU to formulate a comprehensive study of the country's energy needs, to organise a conference on promoting energy cooperation with the EU and to participate in the EU's Task Force in se eking out joint investment ventures in the Balkans.

    He added that during his talks with FYROM government officials, he had observed the existence of political will to cooperate with Greece, as well as a commitment to resolve all problems through political dialogue and regional cooperation. He also noted that the European Commission had been observing the FYROM government's efforts towards broadening democracy, respect for human rights and a transition to a market economy.

    In talks with Albanian President Sali Berisha, Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi and cabinet ministers in Tirana on Friday, Mr. Papoutsis noted that closer cooperation with Albania in the energy sector would support economic growth and political stability i n the country. This, he said, would open the door to private investment and markets for that country's energy surplus.

    The commissioner agreed with Tirana's desire to extend the Greek natural gas pipeline to the border with Albania so that both countries could exploit Albania's storage potential. He also announced that a feasibility study on the project had been include d in the supplement to the inter- European energy networks. Mr. Papoutsis noted that an appropriate security framework would be a decisive factor in attracting foreign capital, and urged Albania to participate in EU programmes for developing small-and-medi um-sized businesses, as well as tourism.

    With regard to the possibility of full accession to the EU, the EU Commissioner replied that for the time being efforts should be concentrated on creating a framework to allow this eventual goal to be approached step by step.

    Recent local elections in Albania had been an encouraging sign, he said, adding the hope that EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek would soon gain approval from the Council of Ministers to begin negotiations for a new upgraded cooperation agreement with A lbania.

    On his part, Mr. Berisha drew attention to the significant contribution Greece has made to improving relations between Albania and the EU. He particularly praised President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, saying his visit to Albania had opened up new horizons for bilateral relations.

    Cyprus House president in Athens for talks with Greek leadership

    Cypriot House of Representatives Pres ident Spyros Kyprianou arrived in Athens yesterday afternoon following an invitation by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    "It must be made clear that we are not willing to accept pressure whichIclosely approaches Turkish positions," Mr. Kyprianou said on arrival at Athens airport.

    The Cypriot leader expressed his concern over initiatives expected to be forwarded by the United States and Britain, saying that the results British envoy Sir David Hanney had from his contacts in Athens, Ankara and Nicosia revealed that Turkey has not changed its position and insists on a policy it has been exercising over the past 22 years.

    "We are concerned because when the European Parliament decided to exercise certain pressures on Turkey, both the US and European governments converted the Europarliament into an object of criticism, even while the US was in a pre-election period," Mr. Kyprianou said.

    "No-one can hope with any certainty that they will improve their positions after the elections. Therefore, we are worried, lest their initiative is not in the right direction and they exercise pressures on our side for further concessions."

    Mr. Kyprianou also spoke of Turkey's efforts to adopt a future solution to the Cyprus issue in the form of a rotating presidency.

    "We believe that our system must remain, even if it is not entirely fair. The president being Greek, and we accept the vice-president being Turkish," he said.

    His visit to Athens aims to further improve cooperation between the Greek and Cypriot Parliaments in matters of promoting Hellenism and better coordination for informing parliaments of third countries on the issue.

    Mr. Kyprianou is scheduled to meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and the leaders of all political parties.

    Greek priorities concerning review of Maastricht Treaty

    PASOK Eurodeputy and Greece's representative at the Intergovernmental Conference, Yiannos Kranidiotis, yesterday commented on Greece's priorities regarding review of the Maastricht Treaty.

    Greece considered the safeguarding of Europe's citizens' fundamental rights (economic, political and social) to be paramount, including the right to work.

    Secondly, Mr. Kranidiotis said, Greece believes joint foreign policy should be strengthened and that respect for territorial integrity and borders of member-states should be included in the new Treaty basic principles.

    Finally, an effort should be made to maintain the principle of equality between member-states.

    Mr. Kranidiotis said that a French-German proposal for "reinforced cooperation" would lead to the creation of a hard core of states with powers to take initiatives. Greece, he added, would have no objection to such cooperation in matters of defence, jus tice, police or internal matters, but was against any concentration of power with regard to the internal market, economy or trade.

    FYROM president refers to Greek economic role in Balkans as favourable

    Greece's leading role in economic cooperation in the Balkans was recognised as favourable by Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) President Kiro Gligorov, in an interview published in a Belgrade daily on Saturday.

    While Greece had the right, as the only Balkan country in the European Union (EU), to play such a role, Mr. Gligorov nevertheless expressed the view that Athens did not exploit its EU and NATO membership to the fullest with regard to peace initiatives a s well as economic and cultural cooperation in the Balkans. If Greece chose to do so, he noted, it would open the way for a different kind of relationship among nations in the region.

    Mr. Gligorov characterised a Sept. 13, 1995 interim agreement signed with Greece as being of historic importance, since Greece recognised the existence of FYROM and the international legality of the border between the two countries.

    Efforts should now be concentrated on developing cooperation in the economic, cultural, environmental and legal sectors, he added.

    Meanwhile, the FYROM president referred to efforts by certain neighbouring countries to influence domestic affairs. In particular, he mentioned a recent meeting in Serbia of FYROM Serbs, as well as the problem with Bulgaria, which regards the language spoken in the FYROM as a Bulgarian dialect.

    Scientists: Overfishing, uncontrolled development detrimental to Mediterranean

    A group of scientists appealed on Saturday from Kavalla for an end to uncontrolled commercial fishing, fish farming and tourism development in the Mediterranean.

    The appeal came from 26 representatives from Bulgaria, Romania, the Ukraine, Turkey, Armenia, Albania, Israel, Russia and Greece, as well as other countries.

    After a week of discussions on commercial fishing and environmental damage in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the scientists concluded that overfishing and uncontrolled development are the main problems of Mediterranean coastal areas.

    The scientists predicted that a host of technical measures, which have been forwarded within the EU's Common Fishing Policy, will cause intense problems in the northern Aegean region -characterised by a broad continental shelf close to the surface.

    They said that a pending reduction in fishing areas, coupled with anticipated fishing activity will have damaging effects on production.

    The experts further drew attention to uncontrolled fishing and pollution in the Black Sea, urging coordination of action and planning of a common administrative policy to deal with such problems.

    Black Sea Economic Cooperation alternate director Dan Barliba stressed the need for further cooperation with scientists from Black Sea countries as well as initiatives to explore the possibilities for common research programmes within the framework of E U and international organisations' activities.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    U.S. dlr 236.691 Can. dlr.176.794, Australian dlr. 186.759 Pound sterling 388.547, Irish punt 386.582, Cyprus pd 512.606, French franc 46.150, Swiss franc 185.802 Belgian franc 7.653, German mark 155.769 Finnish mark 52.042, Dutch guilder 138.954 Danish Kr. 40.583, Swedish Kr. 35.922, Norwegian Kr. 37.041, Austrian Sh. 22.151, Italian lira (100) 15.595 Yen (100) 208.072 Spanish Peseta 1.850, Portuguese Escudo 1.538.

    (M.P.)


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