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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-03

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 03/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece, Bulgaria affirm need for stronger relations
  • Talks on Schengen agreement
  • Turkish aggression works against moratorium
  • German, Greek defence ministers meet
  • Volunteer research programme on dolphins
  • Tsohatzopoulos criticises Turkey's 'unilateral' decision
  • Athens protests Turkish claims of Greek support to Kurds
  • US strongly supports UN-sponsored direct Cyprus talks
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece, Bulgaria affirm need for stronger relations

Visiting Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov and Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis today expressed their countries' desire for further development of relations and cooperation in all sectors.

The two men had a "broad exchange of views" and ascertained that with the restoration of the spirit of confidence, the two countries had "achieved significant results in the area of bilateral cooperation".

They told a press conference after their meeting that the constantly increasing cooperation between the two countries was confirmed by the fact that their freindly relations were founded on "solid and lasting foundations" which were developing at "satisfactory rates" to the benefit of both countries.

Kaklamanis said Greece wold provide every assistance for materialisation of Bulgaria's efforts to be integrated into the European Union and NATO structures.

Stoyanov said Bulgaria would require the assistance of its friends to realise its target of participation in the EU and NATO.

Both sides agreed to advance bilateral agreements regulating common use of the Nestos River waters and the opening up of three new crossings on the Greek-Bulgarian borders.

Kaklamanis said Parliament would place priority on ratifying all the agreements to be signed between the two countries in both the economic and political sectors.

Regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, they agreed that the relevent procedures should be accelerated as should activity of the group of experts.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the Greek-Bulgarian talks were being held in a very good atmosphere.

''All bilateral issues have been raised during the meetings, including the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, the opening of three new border posts and the management of the Nestos River waters,'' Reppas said.

The spokesman described as an important development Bularia's stated intention to return a rare 18th century manuscript stolen from a Mt. Athos monastery in the 1980s.

The 1762 manuscript ''Slavo-Bulgarian History'', written by Paisios Hiliendarios at the Aghios Zografos monastery has been on display at the National Historical Museum in Sofia since September 1986.

Asked whether Greece would propose Bulgaria's accession to NATO in the first phase of the Alliance's enlargement, Reppas said that at the forthcoming NATO summit Athens would reiterate its support for the accession of Bulgaria and Romania.

Replying to other questions on the presence in Greece of illegal immigrants from Bulgaria, Reppas said Athens and Sofia would sign a bilateral agreement once a census had been completed of the foreigners living in Greece.

The census, which primarily concerns Albanian immigrants, both legal and illegal, which account for the vast majority of foreigners in Greece, is expected to get underway in September and be completed by the end of the year.

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou had talks today with Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister, Evgeni Bakarjiev, who is in Athens with the delegation headed by Stoyanov.

During the meeting, Papandreou stressed that southeast Europe should develop into a region of peace, economic cooperation and development and become part of the inter-European networks.

''The European Union should formulate an overall policy for southeast Europe, in order to promote economic and political cooperation,'' she said.

Bakarjiev agreed with Papandreou on the need to further develop relations between the two countries and the promotion of cooperation between the countries of southeast Europe.

In particular, the two officials discussed upgrading the link up of power and natural gas networks and further action aimed at advancing the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline.

It was agreed that a meeting of experts should be held in Sofia on July 17 and 18 to determine the specifications for the study to be carried out for the construction of the pipeline.

It is estimated that all procedural matters will have been completed in September so that invitations may be invited for undertaking the study, which will be 75 per cent financed by the Intereg II programme, private investors and the Greek side.

Bakarjiev accepted an invitation from Papandreou to visit Greece again soon in order to discuss all bilateral cooperation issues in depth.

Talks on Schengen agreement

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou had talks today with Dutch Ambassador in Athens Hendrik Wagenmakers on issues concerning the implementation of the Shengen agreement in Greece and other European Union member-states.

Another subject of discussion was the Greek and the Turkish committees of experts which have been set up to examine procedural approaches to problems between the two countries.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Papandreou said Wagenmakers had conveyed an invitation from the Dutch government for him to brief the Dutch Parliament on Greece's positions regarding the implementation of the Shengen pact.

On the issue of the committees of experts, Papandreou said the Netherlands was briefing Luxembourg which assumed the EU presidency on July 1.

The reports drawn up by the two committees of experts are being exchanged through the rotating EU presidency which, up until July 1, was held by the Netherlands.

Turkish aggression works against moratorium

For as long as Turkey follows an aggressive policy against Greece, there can clearly be no moratorium on military activity in the Aegean, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

Reppas made the statement when asked to comment on remarks by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos in the satirical weekly ''To Pontiki''.

Tsohatzopoulos reportedly stated that there could be no moratorium with Turkey.

Reppas reiterated the Greek proposal for a three-month moratorium on Greek and Turkish military activity in the Aegean during the summer months.

The spokesman said the proposal was in line with international law and ''common sense''.

''If the Greek proposals are not accepted,'' he added, ''there can be no progress''.

German, Greek defence ministers meet

The defence ministers of Greece and Germany, Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Volker Ruehe, will have two hours of talks this evening in Ioannina on issues related to defence, security and bilateral cooperation.

Ruehe began a three-day visit to Ioannina yesterday at the invitation of Tsohatzopoulos for talks within the framework of regular contacts between the two countries.

This morning, the two ministers visited the nearby picturesque mountainous region of Zagorochoria, where they trekked through the spectacular Vikos Gorge together for six hours.

Neither minister wished to make statements today but they are expected to speak to reporters on concluding their talks at about 10 pm local time.

Volunteer research programme on dolphins

A volunteer research programme for the study and protection of dolphins in the Ionian Sea will run from July 26 to the end of September, organised for the second consecutive year by the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of Dophins and Whales.

This year's research programme on "Observation and Recording of Cetaceans (marine mammals)", mainly focussing on the rare "delphinus delphis" dolphin, encompasses research voyages for 11-member groups of volunteers from July 26 to August 6, August 19-30, August 31-September 11, and September 12-23, according to oceanographer Aimilia Drouga, coordinator of the programme.

The Society, a non-profit organisation, has chartered a 14-metre wooden sailboat with engine with a capacity for 12 people, which has been equipped for observation and recoding of the dolphins. The cost per person for a 12- day voyage is 80,000 drachma, covering docking fees, fuel, boat and passenger insurance and board.

The island of Lefkada will be the centre of the marine research, while the sailboat will dock each night at a different port in the Ionian.

Ms. Drouga told the ANA that most species of dolphins live in the Ionian Sea, and after the training voyages conclusions will be released on the life and behaviour of the dolphiins.

People interested in the programme should contact the Society at 201 Thessalias Street, 13231 Petroupolis, Athens.

Tsohatzopoulos criticises Turkey's 'unilateral' decision

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos criticised what he called a "unilateral" decision by Turkey this week to reduce military exercises in the Aegean between July 1 and Aug. 15.

Speaking at Ioannina airport, where he welcomed German Defence Minister Volker Ruehe yesterday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "based on the (1988) Papoulias-Yilmaz agreement, we should normally stop all military exercises for two months in the summer. Turkey's proposal on the one hand comes with a reduced unilateral commitment on exercises - I don't understand why - while Greece proposes that the moratorium on military exercises be extended from two to three months."

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also accused Turkey of "trying, by using unilateral commitments, to request the control of Greek flights over the Aegean.

"This, of course, we can never accept, and furthermore, it's not allowable institutionally and internationally, but (can only be accepted) only for its own FIR, as Greece is responsible for its own FIR," he added.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, however, that there was "a realistic base on which to continue discussions so we can find measures that will reduce the tension inherent today in violations and infringements (of air space)."

Athens protests Turkish claims of Greek support to Kurds

The Greek embassy in Ankara yesterday strongly protested to the Turkish foreign ministry over several claims appearing in the Turkish press that Greece was providing support to the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Ambassador Dimitrios Nezeritis told Turkey's Assistant Foreign Undersecretary Inal Batu that the claims were "unprecedented, dangerous and irresponsible."

"We consider it unacceptable that the Turkish authorities have not deemed it expedient to bring to our attention the information which they claim to have," Mr. Nezeritis protested, referring to what had been said by Turkish army Col. Husnu Dag in Diyarb akir last week.

The staff officer claimed that Greek officers are training the PKK in northern Iraq and that "a Greek officer was killed during operations."

US strongly supports UN-sponsored direct Cyprus talks

The United States strongly supports efforts of the United Nations for progress on the Cyprus issue, US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said yesterday.

Commenting on the upcoming New York-area meeting between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, Mr. Burns said that new US presidential envoy on the Cyprus issue Richard Holbrooke would not be attending the July 9-13 talks, although State Department official Carey Cavanaugh would be present.

WEATHER

Fine weather will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds will be northwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens will be sunny and windy with temperatures between 23-34C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 21-33C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 272.869 Pound sterling 453.046 Cyprus pd 530.026 French franc 46.406 Swiss franc 186.461 German mark 156.379 Italian lira (100) 16.066 Yen (100) 238.993 Canadian dlr. 197.706 Australian dlr. 205.741 Irish Punt 412.970 Belgian franc 7.580 Finnish mark 52.477 Dutch guilder 138.979 Danish kr. 41.089 Swedish kr. 35.232 Norwegian kr. 37.335 Austrian sch. 22.215 Spanish peseta 1.851 Port. Escudo 1.550

(M.P.)


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