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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 96-11-15

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, 15/11/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece: Erbakan statements display Turkey's disinclination to solve Cyprus problem
  • Bruton holds talks with Greek leadership on first stop of EU capitals' tour
  • Multinational exercise begins today in southern Aegean
  • Papandreou, da Costa hold athens discussions on IGC
  • Greece not seeking revision of Maastricht criteria
  • Konitsa rattled by strong tremor
  • Thessaloniki Cultural Capital '97 festivities budget to reach 15 billion drachma
  • Athens' bid for 2004 Olympic Games to be unveiled at IOC executive committee
  • Supports to Greek steel industry approved until December 2000
  • 47 new projects in eastern Macedonia, Thrace included in Delors II

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Greece says Erbakan statements display Turkey`s disinclination to solve Cyprus problem

    Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan's statements claiming the existence of two separate states on Cyprus prove that Turkey has neither the intention nor good faith for a settlement of the problem, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday, on the eve of the 13th anniversary (Nov. 15, 1983) of the unilateral declaration of independence by the Turkish occupation regime in the island republic's north, recognised only by Turkey.

    "Such statements are indicative of an effort to consolidate faits accomplis and legitimise the pseudo-state of (Turkish Cypriot leader) Rauf Denktash," the spokesman said when asked to comment on Mr. Erbakan's remarks.

    "In Cyprus, there is on the one side legality and on the other the Turkish occupation forces," he added. Replying to other questions, Mr. 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," Mr. 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, Mr. 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 said.

    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 the issue."

    "If Turkey does not display good intentions, Greece will not recognise the right of any third party to undertake an initiative in matters pertaining to Greek-Turkish relations," Mr. Reppas said.

    Bruton holds talks with Greek leadership on first stop of EU capitals' tour

    Irish Prime Minister John Bruton, who currently holds the European Council rotating presidency, began a tour of the 15 EU member-states' capitals yesterday afternoon with two hours of talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the leadership of the Gree k foreign ministry.

    The Irish premier's tour is in preparation of the Dublin Summit on Dec. 13 and 14.

    After the talks, Mr. Simitis said discussions centred on the course of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), in view of the Irish presidency's submission of a draft plan for a new Maastricht Treaty. He reiterated Athens' position for maintenance of the principle of equality in all sectors and for participation of all EU countries in decision-making processes.

    Mr. Simitis also stressed the importance ascribed by Greece to the Common External and Security Policy, as well as to the inclusion in the Treaty of provisions referring to respect for the territorial integrity of member- states and the external borders of the European Union.

    Greece also ascribes great importance to the EU's social policy and economic cooperation, especially as regards employment, he added.

    Mr. Bruton expressed satisfaction with the meeting and stressed that a special effort would be made in Dublin towards an agreement on the final form of the single EU currency.

    He also said that IGC issues would not receive conclusive answers at the Dublin summit, but probably during the Dutch presidency, which begins in June.

    Multinational exercise begins today in southern Aegean

    The Hellenic Navy's regular multinational exercise codenamed "Niriis '96" will begin in the southern Aegean tomorrow and last until Nov. 26. The military exercise will focus on surface and submarine warfare, anti- aircraft exercises and technical support e xercises.

    Frigates, destroyers, submarines, minesweepers and support vessels will participate in the exercise on the part of Greece, as well as Hellenic Air Force planes, which are scheduled to carry out 90 sorties.

    On the part of the NATO alliance, surface vessels will participate from the United States, Spain, Italy and France as well as a US submarine. Naval cooperation aircraft are also participating from France, the US and Germany.

    German Air Force "Tornado" fighters will also take part, operating from the Elefsina and Souda airfields.

    The exercise is aimed at promoting cooperation between participating Greek and allied units and commands.

    Papandreou, da Costa hold Athens discussions on IGC

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Portuguese counterpart Francisco Seixas da Costa both noted that they held similar views on a number of issues during talks here yesterday concerning the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    Mr. Papandreou told reporters after the meeting that he and Mr. da Costa had the opportunity to discuss both Athens' and Lisbon's positions as well as a common strategy on "important issues" over which they are in agreement.

    "We agree on many matters -- Both sides believe that we cannot proceed towards a two- or three-speed Europe, and our common aim is to attain broad consent and secure the institutional aspects, as well as in practice, of a single European Union, which does not have a director, which does not have different speeds, but which moves within the framework of a single perspective," Mr. Papandreou said.

    Noting that "many countries" did not agree with the concept of a multi- speed Europe, Mr. Papandreou said he believed "...that we are in a strong negotiating position."

    Mr. Papandreou added that both he and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos were beginning "a systematic effort" with regard to IGC issues, "aimed at shaping a final negotiating tactic for the coming months which are crucial for the final outcome."

    Mr. da Costa underlined that the final result of the IGC must be acceptable to all 15 EU member-states.

    "We have a very positive approach about the IGC. We cannot say that we are overly enthusiastic regarding deep changes in the EU but something must be done concerning the Community's effectiveness and particularly with respect to preparations for EU enla rgement.

    "I believe that there is common ground for some progress to be made and I hope that we will find the final solution which will be acceptable for ratification by all 15 member-states," Mr. da Costa said.

    In a related development, Mr. Papandreou will visit Bonn and The Hague today as part of a series of contacts with his counterparts in other member- states for promotion of secondary issues related to the Intergovernmental Conference(IGC).

    Mr. Papandreou will have talks with his German counterpart in Bonn before visiting The Hague for a meeting with his Dutch counterpart. He is due to return to Athens in the evening.

    A revised Maastrict Treaty is due to be submitted at the Dublin Summit for European Union heads of government.

    Greece not seeking revision of Maastricht criteria, Reppas says

    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 defence programme announced on Wednesday by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, gove rnment spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday. "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 a rmed forces, and wishes, in this light, its partners to appreciate the country's efforts to attain the convergence targets," Mr. Reppas said in reply to reporters' questions. Mr. Simitis said after a meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Policy and Defence (KYSEA) Wednesday that Greece would spend almost two trillion drachmas on defence up to the year 2000 and a further two trillion by 2007.

    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 programme.

    Mr. 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.

    Konitsa rattled by strong tremor

    A strong earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale shook the area of Konitsa, northern Greece at dawn yesterday, causing minor structural damage to buildings but no injuries. The quake was recorded at 05.03 local time by the National Observatory i n 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 inhabitan ts 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 Papazahos of the Geophysics Laboratory of Thessaloniki University, yesterday'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 sca le 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.

    Prof. Papazahos advised local inhabitants to remain calm, saying the quake was within the normal course of events given the pattern of seismic activity in the region.

    Thessaloniki Cultural Capital '97 festivities budget to reach 15 billion drachmas

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday on the sidelines of the 37th Annual Thessaloniki Film Festival yesterday, art director Panos Theodoridis said the final budget for artistic events included in Thessaloniki Cultural Capital 1997 festivities will amount to 15 billion drachmas.

    For cinema programmes in particular, the organisation will provide 800 million drachmas.

    The amount concerns a silent film festival in Thessaloniki next year, a European documentary festival in December 1997, as well as funding of a film on Thessaloniki, whose scenario is already being prepared. Another programme is for joint funding of vid eos and two television series based on novels featuring Thessaloniki.

    Athens' bid for 2004 Olympic Games to be unveiled at IOC executive committee

    The president of the committee created to campaign for Athens' bid for the 2004 Olympic Games, Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, said during an interview with the "Televiza" television channel in Mexico that "Athens is not returning to the past, it looks to the present and future."

    Ms Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said the Greek capital's efforts and ambitions to organise the 2004 Games are based on realistic evidence.

    "Greece and its capital are changing form every day with the creation of new projects. By 2001 we will have a new modern airport and a modern metro. The greatest part of the facilities are already ready and 96 per cent of the Greek people support the ca ndidacy. Political parties have unanimously expressed their support," she said.

    Ms Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, accompanied by the Greek permanent members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Nikos Filaretos and Lambis Nikolaou, and double Olympic gold medallist Pyrros Dimas, visited IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and dis cussed Athens' bid for the games.

    Meanwhile, the 11 candidate cities are to present their bid files to the IOC's executive committee today. Athens is fifth in line, after Stockholm, San Juan, Cape Town and Istanbul, and will be followed by Buenos Aires, St. Petersburg, Rome, Rio de Jane iro, Lille and Seville.

    Supports to Greek steel industry approved until December 2000

    Greece will be able to offer ECU50 million in financial support to the country's five largest steel concerns until December 2000, according to a decision adopted by the European Union's industry ministers council yesterday.

    Discussion took place within the framework of setting regulations for financial supports on the basis of Article 95 of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSE).

    Development Undersecretary Anna Diamantopoulou, who set out Athens' views, centred her arguments on the fact that heavy industry in Greece is minimal, and that one of the operating concerns has been adversely affected by the unified market, on one hand , and central European countries and Turkey, on the other, which subsidise their steel industries and have influenced the price of scrap.

    She initially asked for approval of Ecu70 million in Greek state financial assistance.

    47 new projects in eastern Macedonia, Thrace included in Delors II

    Athens 15/11/1996 (ANA)

    Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Regional secretary general Athanasios Lagos has addressed a circular to prefects and agencies in the region announcing the final inclusion of 47 new projects in the second Community Support Framework's regional programme, whic h is budgeted at 5.42 billion drachmas.

    Projects have the possibility of immediate implementation in the five prefectures of eastern Macedonia and Thrace and concern the improvement of regional and municipal road networks, maintenance of archaeological sites, promotion of tourism, water suppl y and drainage works, among others.

    WEATHER

    Sunny throughout the country, with temperatures in Athens ranging from 11- 22 C and in Thessaloniki 9-17 C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    U.S. dlr 235.640 Can. dlr.176.636, Australian dlr. 186.610 Pound sterling 392.634, Irish punt 393.030, Cyprus pd 514.848, French franc 46.313, Swiss franc 185.578 Belgian franc 7.597, German mark 156.552 Finnish mark 51.981, Dutch guilder 139.574 Danish Kr. 40.785, Swedish Kr. 35.637, Norwegian Kr. 37.315, Austrian Sh. 22.247, Italian lira (100) 15.543 Yen (100) 210.969 Spanish Peseta 1.860, Portuguese Escudo 1.549.

    (L.G.)


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