Two arrested for transporting illegal immigrants
NEWS IN DETAIL
Reppas: Erbakan's comment shows Turkey not inclined to solve Cyprus problem
Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan's statements claiming the
existence of two separate states in Cyprus prove that Turkey has neither
the intention nor the good faith for a settlement of the problem,
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.
''Such statements are indicative of an effort to consolidate faits
accomplis and legitimize the pseudo-state of (Turkish Cypriot leader) Rauf
Denktash,'' the spokesman said when asked to comment on Erbakan's
''In Cyprus, there is on the one side legality and on the other the Turkish
occupation forces,'' he added.
Replying to other questions, Reppas indicated that the government was not
considering the possibility of consenting to a temporary halt to flights by
military planes over Cyprus.
''In order for there to be any development, Turkey must make efforts to de-
escalate the tension. But the neighbouring country is doing exactly the
opposite,'' Reppas said, adding that with respect to the Greece-Cyprus
joint defence doctrine, Athens was not willing to make any concessions.
Asked to comment on the US State Department's southern European representative
Carey Cavanaugh's visit to Athens earlier this week, Reppas noted that the
Greek government did not view the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish
relations as a single package.
''From Cavanaugh's talks here in Athens, it emerged that Washington is
expected to put forward specific proposals early next year,'' the spokesman
Greece, he continued, remained firm in its position both on the Cyprus
problem and Greek-Turkish relations, namely that ''we expect Turkey to
display good intentions and either stop disputing Greek sovereignty of the
Imia islet or to have recourse to the International Court at the Hague on
''If Turkey does not display good intentions, Greece will not recognize the
right of any third party to undertake an initiative on matters pertaining
to Greek-Turkish relations,'' Reppas said.
Group claims Polytechnic bomb
An organisation calling itself the ''Militant Guerrilla Formation'' has
claimed responsibility for planting the bomb that went off in the Athens
Polytechnic University Wednesday afternoon.
The group took responsiblity for the blast in a brief proclamation to the
Athens daily ''Eleftherotypia'' sent late last night and appearing in
today's issue of the newspaper.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas later told reporters that the bomb
attack has created a ''distorted picture'' of events organised to mark
Sunday's anniversary of the 1973 student uprising against the military
junta then ruling Greece.
He added that it had created ''fear and confusion'' among citizens with
respect to their participation in the events.
Replying to questions, the spokesman said that there was no question of the
legal framework governing university asylum being changed.
The Polytechnic building in downtown Athens has frequently been used as a
refuge by self-styled anarchists who engage in street battles with the
police before and during the annual anniversary events.
Under present legislation, police are unable to enter university premises
without the consent of the given institution's board of administration.
On this year's events, Reppas said the government wanted them to be
peaceful and reflecting ''the real meaning'' of the student uprising.
Meanwhile, speaking in Parliament today, Public Order Minister George
Romeos said that responsibility for the anniversary events lay with the
Polytechnic board of administration and the National Students' Union.
He added that the police had taken all the necessary measures to prevent
incidents around the Polytechnic this year.
Reppas: Greece does not intend to revise Maastricht criteria
The government does not intend to seek a revision of the criteria laid down
in the Maastricht Treaty for economic convergence among the EU member
states due to the 16 billion dollar defence programme announced on
Wednesday by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, government spokesman Dimitris
Reppas said today.
''The government is responding to the particularities entailed by the
existence of a threat to the security and integrity of the country and the
need to face it by upgrading the deterrent capability of the armed forces,
and wishes, in this light, its partners to appreciate the country's efforts
to attain the convergence targets,'' Reppas said in reply to reporters'
Simitis said after a meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Policy
and Defence (KYSEA) yesterday that Greece would spend almost two trillion
drachmas on defence up to the year 2000 and a further two trillion by
The premier said that the Greek people would have to make sacrifices but
ruled out the possibility of Greece failing to meet the economic convergence
targets set in the Maastricht Treaty as a result of the massive defence
Simitis underlined that Greece was facing the ''major challenge'' of
securing its equal participation in the EU but at the same time was facing
a threat and provocativeness from Turkey.
Quake rattles Konitsa
A strong earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale shook the area of
Konitsa, northern Greece at dawn today, causing minor structural damage to
buildings but no injuries.
The quake was recorded at 05.03 local time by the National Observatory in
Athens and the Geophysics Laboratory of Thessaloniki University, which
pinpointed the epicentre at 215 kilometres south-southwest of Thessaloniki
near Konitsa in the prefecture of Ioannina.
The tremor, which generated some alarm among the inhabitants of the region,
caused cracks in the walls of houses in the village of Kleidonia and a
partition wall collapsed in the primary school in the village of Vassilikos
forcing it to close temporarily.
According to seismologist Vassilis Papazachos of the Geophysics Laboratory
of Thessaloniki University, today's tremor was just one of several in the
aftermath of seismic activity which began in the region with a quake
measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale on July 26.
Since then, quakes measuring 5.6 and 4.8 were recorded in the same area on
August 6 and August 20 respectively.
Papazachos advised local inhabitants to remain calm, saying the quake was
within the normal course of events given the pattern of seismic activity in
Hashish found on boat
Customs officers in Chania today discovered a further 240 kilos of hashish
hidden in a special compartment of a yacht which has remained moored in the
Cretan port since early 1994 when it was confiscated after yielding over 6
tonnes of the narcotic.
Today's find came during an exercise being conducted by Chania customs
officers aboard the yacht -- the ''Gypsy Falcon'' -- which had been
confiscated on 3 January 1994.
Then, the yacht developed a mechanical problem a few miles from Chania and
had to be towed to the port for repairs. During a routine search of the
vessel, customs officers discovered an initial quantity of 440 kilos of
A subsequent search revealed a further 6 tonnes.
Two Croats aboard the yacht at the time, which was on its way from Yemen to
Slovenia, were sentenced to life imprisonment but have lodged an appeal
which was due to be heard on Crete at the end of November.
Massive armaments programme unveiled
Greece will spend almost two trillion drachmas on defence up to the year
2000 and a further two trillion by 2007, Prime Minister Costas Simitis
announced yesterday immediately after a meeting of the Government Council
for Foreign Policy and Defence (KYSEA ).
Mr. Simitis and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the
Greek armed forces would purchase an AWACS early-warning aircraft, 60 new
warplanes, training aircraft, transport helicopters and aircraft as well as
modernise its F-4 "Phantom" fighters. In addition, new tanks will be
purchased, while those already in service will be modernised.
The four-trillion drachmas (approximately US$16 billion) armaments
programme will also involve the purchase of modern munitions and the
acquisition of new anti-aircraft systems and warships, including submarines
and nine surface vessels - three torpedo boats, two corvettes and four
Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Simitis said that the Greek people
would have to make sacrifices and stressed that "there must be no
However, he ruled out the possibility of Greece missing the economic
convergence targets set in the Maastricht Treaty as a result of the massive
Noting that the necessary funds for the programme would be raised through
foreign borrowing, Mr. Simitis said that a large part of armaments would be
supplied by the Greek defence industry.
He underlined that the country's armed forces had to be bolstered in order
to face "the threats..." and that emphasis would be placed on upgrading the
military qualitatively in order to counterbalance the "opponent's"
Foreign Minister says gov't will not call for suspension of military exercises in Aegean
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told Parliament yesterday evening
that the foreign ministry does not intend to call for a suspension of
military exercises in the Aegean for the remaining months, other than in
the so-called tourism period extending fro m June to September.
Replying to a question by main opposition New Democracy party deputy Costas
Karamanlis on the government's intentions concerning an extension of a
moratorium on military exercises in the Aegean, Mr. Pangalos said the
proposal existing is for it to be ex tended throughout the entire tourism
period, namely in June through September, as well and not only in July and
August as was the case this year.
WEU political committee assembly approves report guaranteeing member-states' borders
A report unanimously ratified at a meeting of the West European Union's
(WEU) political committee assembly in Paris yesterday confirms the
guaranteeing of borders of WEU member-states, while calling for a speedy
and just solu tion to the Cyprus issue.
The report, focusing on the WEU's future role, was proposed by main
opposition New Democracy party deputy Mihalis Liapis and strongly supported
by PASOK deputy Iosif Miheloyiannis. The meeting was also attended by the
assembly secretariat member Frangis kos Verros.
Article 8 of the report "calls on the Council to impose implementation of
the principle of territorial integrity and the inviolability of the borders
of WEU member-states."
The report terms the status quo prevailing on Cyprus unacceptable and calls
for a speedy and just solution to the Cyprus issue. It further reiterates
as being certain that a start to Cyprus' accession negotiations to the
European Union will take place s ix months after the end of the Intergovernmental
Two sentenced for transporting illegal immigrants
Two men were given stiff prison sentences by a Xanthi court today after
being found guilty of using the hearse of the Xanthi mufti's office to
transport illegal immigrants.
Jevar Jemali, 50 and Reya Yiasar, 32, both residents of Xanthi, northern
Greece, were each sentenced to 4.5 years in prison and immediately taken to
The two had borrowed the hearse on the pretext that they wanted it for the
funeral of a relative. They were arrested on the Komotini-Xanthi road when
police found four illegal immigrants from Iraq in the vehicle after it had
been stopped at a roadblock.
The illegal immigrants are to be deported and the hearse was returned to
the mufti's office.
Sunny throughout the country, with temperatures in Athens ranging from 11-
22 C and in Thessaloniki 9-18 C.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 236.126 Can. dlr.179.913, Australian dlr. 185.950 Pound sterling
389.777, Irish punt 390.650, Cyprus pd 513.757, French franc 46.354, Swiss
franc 186.025 Belgian franc 7.604, German mark 156.662 Finnish mark 52.011,
Dutch guilder 139.703 Danish Kr. 40.807, Swedish Kr. 35.504, Norwegian Kr.
37.319, Austrian Sh. 22.272, Italian lira (100) 15.562 Yen (100) 211.782
Spanish Peseta 1.861, Portuguese Escudo 1.549.