Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-07
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 07/07/1997 (ANA)
- Forest fire reaches outskirts of Thessaloniki
- Premier leaves for important NATO summit in Madrid
- US seeks to impose its views for smaller NATO enlargement
- Simitis pledges support for Albania's Socialists
- Solana does not see armed conflict between Greece and Turkey
- Solar refrigerator inaugurated in Crete
- Wanted German suspect arrested in Halkidiki
- IOC delegate from Peru satisfied with Olympiad facilities
- Greek equities jump on blue chip buying spree
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Forest fire reaches outskirts of Thessaloniki
Forest and brush fires were raging yesterday on more than fronts throughout
Greece, the worst being in the famous Seikh Sou forest around Thessaloniki
which broke out Sunday afternoon. Two villas were destroyed in the outer
suburb of Panorama after the blaze, which had been brought partly under
control, rekindled yesterday morning.
Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas told state radio in Thessaloniki
yesterday the Seikh Sou fire was the work of arsonists. He rejected
complaints that the state had been slow in acting to extinguish the fire,
noting that confrontation of the Seikh Sou fire, which had originated on
several fronts, was a matter of planning by the appropriate coordinating
He said the situation was made more difficult by the fact that there were
no fire-fighting aircraft permanently stationed in Thessaloniki.
Later yesterday, acting government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis attributed
the extent of the blaze to the high temperatures, winds that reached seven
on the Beaufort scale and the fact that fires wree being fought in 13
prefectures throughout the country.
The spokesman also denied there had been delays in responding other than
the fact that the country's fire-fighting aircraft had been deployed over
The fire, which has destroyed more than half the Seikh Sou forest, had been
brought under control yesterday morning after all-night operations, but
winds rekindled an area near Panorma, whose residents had spent the night
on the streets.
Other fires were being battled yesterday in Kozani and Grevena, near
Megalopoli in the Peloponnese, near Thebes, in Fokida prefecture, northern
Euboea, Atalanti, Ioannina, Konitsa, Domokos, Farsala, Samos Almyros,
Argolida and near Mt. Pelion.
Premier leaves for important NATO summit in Madrid
Prime Minister Costas Simitis leaves for Madrid today to attend the
Tuesday's NATO summit, accompanied by Press Minister Dimitris Reppas and
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.
The main issues on the agenda will be the alliance's enlargement and new
structure, but according to consultations held to date, it does not appear
possible that decisions will be taken on the new structure.
Ankara will be represented in Madrid by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel
and new Foreign Minister Ismail Jem. There is no scheduled meeting between
Mr. Simitis and Mr. Demirel. Diplomatic sources said that if there is a
meeting, it will have a social nature.
According to an ANA dispatch from Brussels, the leaders of NATO member-
states will make a last-ditch effort to find certain compromise solutions
to their differences, although being divided over NATO's future form,
methods of operation and military targets.
The idea of France returning to NATO's military structure is accompanied by
a second concerning the deep restructuring of NATO's functions. In short,
this means that European Union countries which are proceeding in an
irregular fashion but speedily towards their Economic and Monetary Union
(EMU) need an "internal" coordination of their defence and security.
However, the proposal for the creation of a European security pylon in NATO
does not meet with the understanding by the United States. The US views
with distrust France's claim that the Europeans must be able to decide and
execute action of a military nature by themselves in the framework of the
West European Union (WEU), but using NATO's logistics structure in such
US seeks to impose its views for smaller NATO enlargement
On the question of NATO's enlargement, the United States has sought to
impose its view of the new European security order decreeing that only
three former Warsaw Pact states - Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary -
may join NATO in the first wave.
Many European allies, among them France, Italy and Greece, want Romania and
Slovenia be added to that list, arguing that they qualify both as
democratic market economies and as states in need of security on the edge
of Black Sea and Balkan danger zones.
US President Bill Clinton, who spent the weekend relaxing with King Juan
Carlos on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca, made it clear before
leaving Washington he would not allow more than three entrants now.
NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said on Saturday there was no
consensus yet on the number of states to be admitted, nor on any assurance
to be given to those who do not join in the first wave, probably in
To avoid being seen as giving his blessing to the enlargement, Russian
President Boris Yeltsin decided not to go to Madrid, where 28 east European
nations will join the 16 NATO leaders for the first meeting of a new Euro-
Atlantic Partnership Council on Wednesday.
Simitis pledges support for Albania's Socialists
Athens today pledged to support Albania's Socialists, officially declared
winners of the country's general elections, and said it would be willing to
offer assistance to restore Europe's poorest country, acting government
spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said today.
"The premier told (Albania's Socialist chairman Fatos) Nano that Greece
would be on the side of the neighbouring country and offered to provide
assistance to restore Albania," Athanasakis said.
He said the two men held a telephone conversation during which Socialist
party chairman Nano, whose party won a landslide victory in the elections,
informed Simitis that his party had won a two-thirds majority in parliament
over President Sali Berisha's right-wing Democratic Party.
With final results still to come after Sunday's runoff vote in 34 districts,
Albania's Socialist Party prepares to form a new government expected to put
an end to the chaos and bloodshed sweeping the country in the past four
Nano said he will become prime minister, replacing fellow Socialist Bashkim
Fino, who was appointed interim prime minister in March this year when the
government resigned and an early election called to put an end to the
mayhem that followed the collapse of investment schemes in which the
majority of the population lost their life savings.
According to Athanasakis the Greek contingent, as part of the peacekeeping
multinational force to Albania, is set to begin its gradual withdrawal from
the country on 18 July.
He said Greek troops may prolong their presence in Albania if the new
Albanian government raised the issue and came forward with specific
Solana does not see armed conflict between Greece and Turkey
NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said he does not believe a war will
break out between Greece and Turkey.
In an interview with the Sunday newspaper "To Vima", Mr. Solana said Greece
and Turkey are two faithful members of the alliance. Replying to a question
on a possible armed conflict between the nations, he said "to tell the
truth, I do not foresee a conf rontation between these two countries."
Replying to another question on whether he ruled out the possibility of an
incident, he said that "there might be tensions between the two countries,
but I do not see a confrontation."
Solar refrigerator inaugurated in Crete
A Renewable Energy Sources Centre and a solar refrigerator were inaugurated
in the Vatali Prasse region near Hania, Crete last night, which will be
used by communities in the region for the needs of refrigerating and
preserving farm and stockbreeding prod ucts.
The ceremony was attended by Agriculture Undersecretary Vassilis Geranidis,
the North Rhine Research Minister Mr. Brun, the Palestinian Higher
Education Minister Mr. Abrawi, the Palestinian Minister to the Presidency
Abu-Ada and the Jordanian Commerce Minister Mr. Malki.
Wanted German suspect arrested in Halkidiki
A German national wanted by Interpol for fraud and embezzlement in his
country involving millions of deutschmarks was arrested on Friday in
Polygyros, Halkidiki, police sources said here Saturday.
George-Ralf Planck (phonetic spelling), 50, had been staying in a rented
apartment near Vourvourou.
During his stay in Greece, Planck is alleged to have used forged documents,
including a false Belgian passport and a driver's licence in the name of
Police stopped him on Friday afternoon on the Nea Moudania-Sithonia highway
and after checking his fingerprints, ascertained that it was Planck.
The suspect was due to appear before a public prosecutor in Polygyros,
charged with using forged documents, while the procedures have already
begun for his extradition.
IOC delegate from Peru satisfied with Olympiad facilities
Peru's International Olympics Committee (IOC) delegate, Ivan Dibos,
yesterday said he was satisfied with a presentation of Athens' candidacy to
host the Olympic Games in 2004.
The presentation was made for him by candidacy committee president Yianna
Mr. Dibos was given a guided tour of sports installations at Peace and
Friendship Stadium and the Athens Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
Immediately after a ceremony at the "Park for IOC members" on Friday where
he planted an olive tree bearing his name, Mr. Dibos said: "I have planted
many trees as mayor of Lima, but what I feel today I have never felt
before." Two more IOC members arrived in Athens on Saturday. They are
Vitaly Smirnov from Russia and Nat Intrapana from Thailand.
Greek equities jump on blue chip buying spree
Strong buying interest in banking and industrial shares pushed the Athens
Stock Exchange sharply higher in the first trading session of the week to
finish up 2.21 percent.
The general index jumped to 1,547.64 points with all sector indices scoring
big gains. Trading was scant and turnover was 8.8 billion drachmas.
Banks rose 2.48 percent, Leasing was 0.23 percent up, Insurance increased
1.60 percent, Investment ended 1.58 percent higher, Industrials rose 2.48
percent, Construction increased 1.62 percent, Holding rose 2.57 percent and
Miscellaneous was 1.60 percent up.
The Parallel Market index closed 1.56 percent higher.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 138 to 67 with another 25 issues
Benroubi, Bank of Central Greece, Ergobank and Pireaus Investment scored
the biggest percentage gains, while SATO, Xylemporia and Keranis suffered
the heaviest losses of the day.
National Bank of Greece ended at 34,400 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,110, Alpha
Credit Bank at 18,800, Titan Cement at 14,700, Intracom at 12,490 and
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,515 drachmas.
Sunny weather with local cloud and some scattered showers in central and
northern areas later in the day, with possible downpours in the north.
Athens will be sunny with a drop in temperatures, taking them down to 23-
35C. Thessaloniki will be sunny to partly cloudy with a possible thunderstorm
at night in the mountainous regions with temperatures between 20-32C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 273.296
Pound sterling 460.883 Cyprus pd 530.383
French franc 46.344 Swiss franc 186.436
German mark 156.166 Italian lira (100) 16.040
Yen (100) 241.125 Canadian dlr. 197.805
Australian dlr. 203.955 Irish Punt 416.243
Belgian franc 7.568 Finnish mark 52.493
Dutch guilder 138.746 Danish kr. 41.017
Swedish kr. 35.442 Norwegian kr. 37.508
Austrian sch. 22.181 Spanish peseta 1.850
Port. Escudo 1.548