Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-03
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 03/07/1997 (ANA)
- 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
- 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
Kaklamanis said Greece wold provide every assistance for materialisation of
Bulgaria's efforts to be integrated into the European Union and NATO
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
Kaklamanis said Parliament would place priority on ratifying all the
agreements to be signed between the two countries in both the economic and
Regarding the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, they agreed that the
relevent procedures should be accelerated as should activity of the group
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Tsohatzopoulos reportedly stated that there could be no moratorium with
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
''If the Greek proposals are not accepted,'' he added, ''there can be no
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
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
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
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.
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.
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