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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-22

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, 22/11/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Pangalos totally rejects idea of package deal for Aegean, Cyprus
  • Simitis, d'Alema talks focus on E.U. issues, challenges facing Europe
  • Turkey warplanes again violate Athens FIR
  • Athens appalled by reports of torture of children in Turkey
  • Orthodox Archbishop of America calls for unity among all Greeks to face national issues
  • Bulgarian official says disagreements over Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline resolved
  • Electronics transactions system for bourse approved

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday categorically ruled out the possibility of Greece accepting to enter into a dialogue with Turkey on issues pertaining to the Aegean together with the Cyprus problem as a "package".

    Mr. Pangalos said Athens also ruled out any simultaneous recourse to the International Court of Justice at the Hague over the issue of the Imia islets and the Aegean continental shelf.

    Greece and Turkey came to the brink of war in late January after Ankara openly disputed Greek sovereignty of the uninhabited Aegean islets of Imia.

    Mr. Pangalos was speaking at a press conference exclusively on the issue of Greek-Turkish relations, in order, as he put it, "to clear up any confusion about Greece's foreign policy".

    The Greek government, he said, remains unswerving in its position that it is not possible to discuss the Cyprus problem and the issues pertaining to the Aegean simultaneously and together "as a single set of negotiations".

    Greece expected to veto EU-Turkey Association Council

    Mr. Pangalos, who later hosted a working lunch for the ambassadors of the European Union member-states in Athens, also spoke about EU-Turkish relations, in effect announcing a Greek veto at the next General Affairs Council on Nov. 25. Greece, he said, had already made numerous concessions and gestures of good will towards Turkey but was not willing to consent to the convening of the EU-Turkey Association Council, which has been persistently requested by many EU member-states, nor to a lunch invitation to the Turkish premier from Irish premier John Bruton on the sidelines of the forthcoming EU summit meeting in Dublin.

    Opposition

    Main opposition party New Democracy spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos said he believes Greece's foreign policy is plagued by "confusion and uncoordination, " in comments concerning Mr. Pangalos' press conference

    The ND spokesman described the government as being dangerous for the country, and called on Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Mr. Pangalos to clarify what the national foreign policy is, particularly regarding Greek- Turkish relations. "They must realise that there will be no more withdrawals and backing down in our national issues," he said.

    On its part, the Political Spring party issued an announcement saying that Mr. Pangalos' statements, with which he condemned the idea of "package discussions" with Turkey on the Aegean and Cyprus "are moving in the right direction."


    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and leader of the Italian Party of the Democratic Left, Massimo d'Alema, yesterday discussed ways of increasing cooperation and initiatives on the part of European socialist parties to face social problems and challenges in Europe.

    "At the beginning of my discussion with comrade d'Alema, I said I sensed that European countries are all in a 'bus' heading in a direction which is not clear, and is driven in a way that has not been agreed upon by those participating...

    "European socialist parties should undertake initiatives so that it becomes most clear that we are heading in a direction of fighting umemployment, of social justice and other arrengements which will make Europe more endeared and acceptable to European peoples...,Mr. Simitis said.

    The two men also discussed a wide array of other issues, particularly concerning the European Union.

    "We also referred to the issue of the European Union`s external policy, the need for the EU to have its own views and play a role, that European unification, which we consider necessary, implies as a condition the gradual delineation of a European iden tity through a joint handling of external policy problems...

    On his part, Mr. d'Alema said the two countries "are committed at a government level to seek ways of approaching the targets of fiscal and economic rationalisation set by the Treaty of Maastricht."

    "This target of European convergence, which we see as a necessary prospect, must, in my opinion, be accompanied by a turning of European policy in the direction of balancing employment between the geographically stronger and weaker countries, of social rights, harmonising tax policies and recreating a popular consensus," he added.

    The leader of the largest party in the Italian government coalition then expressed his full support for Greece's stand that differences with Turkey in the Aegean must be settled on the basis of international law and treaties.

    "I expressed our understanding and solidarity with the need for a stronger European ommitment, so that we may arrive at a peaceful settlement of tensions in the Aegean...

    "And most certainly, the Greek stand calling for settlement of these problems in the light of international law and not through unilateral initiatives and unjustifiable tensions is correct," he said.


    Nine Turkish F-16 and F-4 "Phantom" jetfighter formations yesterday violated air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) on 12 occasions and Greek national airspace 19 times in the central Aegean.

    In all cases, the Turkish fighters were intercepted by Hellenic Air Force planes and escorted out of Greek national airspace, sources said.


    Amnesty International's report revealing the existence of the systematic torture of children in Turkey provokes feeling of outrage, acting government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said.

    "Turkey's problems with human rights are well-known and are one of the problems in its relations with the international community," Mr. Athanassakis said.

    Amnesty's report said children as young as 12 had been "subjected to appalling cruelty in police custody", including beatings and electric shock.


    Orthodox Archbishop of America Spyridon yesterday stressed the need for unity among all Greeks for the effective handling of all national problems, following a meeting with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, who arrived in New York from Canada on Wednesday.

    Regarding national issues, the Archbishop stressed that "all round efforts were being made for their promotion," adding that "in the United States, there is a need for coordinating efforts and systematic cultivation of the campaign in favour of these issues among the representatives of the American government".

    Replying to questions, Spyridon said there was no need for concern, while regarding the course of the dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) he said the result would be proportionate to the preparatory work done.

    He said that in his personal opinion the ground for contacts of the Greek- American community with the White House should be cultivated even more, and that there had already been contacts by the Archdiocese with representatives of the Clinton administration.

    The Archbishop expressed satisfaction over his meeting with Mr. Petsalnikos, during which, as he said, they discussed issues concerning the Greek- American community, particularly that of the Greek language and education in US.

    Mr. Petsalnikos invited the Archbishop to Thessaloniki on the occasion of an exhibition of the holy relics from Mount Athos within the framework of events for the city's assumption of the title of Cultural Capital of Europe 1997.

    Gov't opts for installation of electronic security systems in nation's prisons

    Electronic security systems are expected to be installed throughout the country's prisons, at an estimated cost of 1.5 billion drachmas.

    The justice ministry has announced an international tender for the project. Roughly 30 companies submitted proposals following an "interest invitation" by the ministry.

    The prisons are to be equipped with magnetic gates and portable metal detectors, as well as devices for detecting drugs.

    Closed-circuit television will be installed in all common-use areas in the prisons, with the ability for footage to be viewed in the justice ministry.

    Wireless and cabled communication systems for the staff will also be installed, as will electronic perimeters, with radars on the external wall which will activate alarms in case of an escape attempt.

    Venizelos meets with Mexican foreign undersecretary

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos met yesterday with Mexico's Foreign Undersecretary Javier Trevino.

    The two discussed issues of bilateral cooperation, the organisation of cultural events in Greece and Mexico, renewal of an educational agreement between the two countries due to be signed in Athens in June 1997 as well as Mexico's cooperation with the European Union.

    No question of decriminalising hashish, Yiannopoulos says

    Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos told Parliament yesterday that he was opposed to the decriminalisation of drug use, saying he had no intention of putting hashish on sale in kiosks and in schools.

    Speaking during discussion of a question tabled by Coalition of the Left and Progress deputy Maria Damanaki, Mr. Yiannopoulos said "we cannot be lenient towards the scourge of narcotics".

    Ms Damanaki said that decriminalisation would help combat the spread of narcotics, to which Mr. Yiannopoulos replied that the measures to be taken by the government will be harsher for dealers and not for users. "Newspaper reports to the contrary are the result of vile distortion by certain journalists," Mr. Yiannopoulos added.

    The minister said special correctional institutions would be set up for drug users in order to segregate them from imprisoned dealers.

    A tender would soon be announced for the creation of the first such institution, he added.


    "Disagreements have been overcome...and we are proceeding to implementation of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project," said Nikolai Grigorov, Bulgaria's deputy minister for regional development and public works.

    The Bulgarian official made the statements yesterday during the sidelines of a Greek-Bulgarian meeting in Komotini.

    He added that experts from Greece, Bulgaria and Russia would meet again before the end of the year in order to discuss details of the final plans. In addition, he said the Sofia government will soon present proposals for establishment of a joint venture company to undertake the project.

    Princess Marina Memorial Fund donation to the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas Gallery Library

    The Anglo-Hellenic League has donated a collection of books to the library which has been set up by the Benaki Museum to commemorate renowned Greek painter Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas.

    The presentation was made by British Ambassador in Athens Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith on Thursday.

    The collection, which contains books on the painters Turner, Picasso and Cezanne, were purchased from a fund set up in 1970 to commemorate the life of Princess Marina, who was for 25 years the President and Chief Patron of the League until her death in 1968.

    Princess Marina was a lover of the arts and a constant friend of Greece.

    The Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas Gallery library comprises some 7,000 volumes. Most of these books were in the considerable collection formed by the painter himself, who died in 1994, and they form the backbone of what is becoming a Fine Arts Library seco nd to none in Greece.


    The Athens Stock Exchange's (ASE) board of governors yesterday approved the purchase of a two-billion drachma integrated electronic transactions system.

    The board also approved a contract with a consortium of three auditing firms, Ernst & Young, Delloitte & Touche, and Peat Marwick Kyriakou, which have undertaken the task of auditing all stock brokerage firms that are members of ASE.

    Additionally, it assigned Ernst & Young with the task of recommending specific improvements in the supervisory control of ASE transactions.

    WEATHER

    Sunny to partly cloudy with moderate northern winds in most parts of the country. Temperatures will range from 14-19C in Athens and from 11-16C in Thessaloniki.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    U.S. dlr 234.568 Can. dlr.175.326, Australian dlr. 190.196 Pound sterling 394.955, Irish punt 395.907, Cyprus pd 514.669, French franc 46.261, Swiss franc 185.479 Belgian franc 7.596, German mark 156.562 Finnish mark 51.911, Dutch guilder 139.550 Danish Kr. 40.755, Swedish Kr. 35.518, Norwegian Kr. 37.111, Austrian Sh. 22.250, Italian lira (100) 15.678 Yen (100) 210.145 Spanish Peseta 1.865, Portuguese Escudo 1.550.

    (C.E.)


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