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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-13

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, 13/07/1997 (ANA)

HEADLINES

  • Cyprus talks end with revised paper
  • PASOK hails Madrid agreement
  • Albanian drug trafficker transporting 225 kg of hashish arrested
  • Greece announced measures to protect borderline with Albania
  • Kranidiotis to tour Middle East
  • Pangalos attends Israeli-Palestinian meeting near Athens
  • SEB, gov't to organise Euro-Mediterranean Industrial Conference
  • Tourism study claims drachma devaluation would increase arrivals
  • Greece helps Cyprus expand its EU business presence
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Cyprus talks end with revised paper

    Four days of talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash ended yesterday afternoon and sources said a second round was likely next month in Switzerland.

    According to President Clerides the basic conclusion of the talks was the establishment of an open-ended negotiations procedure, an ANA despatch from New York said.

    "As far as I understand the basic result of the first round is the establishment of a second round of talks," President Clerides said.

    The meetings between Clerides and Denktash, at a rural resort called Troutbeck, 90 miles (145 km) north of New York city, were led by Secretary- General Kofi Annan's special adviser for Cyprus, former Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Diego Cordovez.

    President Clerides has confirmed that Diego Cordovez gave the Greek Cypriot side "a second revised paper" and pointed out the UN-sponsored direct talks were at "a very preliminary stage," a CNA despatch said.

    According to the despatch, Clerides told reporters on Saturday that "the two sides submitted observations on the paper we were given and today we were given a new revised paper."

    "We shall discuss this paper in Cyprus at a National Council meeting (top advisory body to the President on Cyprus), on July 24, and respond to it before the next round of talks, in August," he said, clarifying that the paper submitted was not yet a proposal.

    "This is a non-paper and will become a paper if and when there is agreement, " he said.

    Speaking to CyBC T.V. (Cyprus state-run television channel), Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said the meetings helped create a better atmosphere between the two sides.

    Denktash said the revised paper submitted by the United Nations was "well- balanced" and "strong."

    The next round is expected to be held from August 11 to 16 at a location near Geneva, but this is subject to confirmation by the two sides.

    PASOK hails Madrid agreement

    Ruling PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis welcomed today an agreement between NATO allies Greece and Turkey to improve relations, but said the possibility of creating a climate of safety in the Aegean depended on future action by Ankara.

    Speaking to reporters in Rhodes, Skandalides said "the possibility to restore a climate of safety in the Aegean will be put to the test by Ankara's policies."

    "The Madrid agreement is merely a declaration of principles," Skandalides added.

    The US-brokered agreement, signed on the sidelines of a NATO summit which was held last week in Madrid, committed Athens and Ankara to respect each other's sovereignty and solve disputes peacefully, but US officials said action was now needed to back the joint commitment.

    Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting Friday focused on the contents of the joint communique, Prime Minister Costas Simitis Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the Madrid accord simply marked "the beginning of a path which will be very long and difficult."

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the content of the joint communique met with unanimous approval from Cabinet members.

    Reppas said the Cabinet meeting also touched in an indirect way on opposition to the communique voiced by 22 PASOK deputies.

    The 22 deputies on Thursday reacted strongly to the communique, saying Greece was "gradually slipping into choices that result in recognition of Turkish claims, legalisation of Ankara's expansionistic status and an expiation of its policies."

    Reppas, who said the criticism did not reflect the truth, echoed the views which have been voiced in the Cabinet meeting, when he said that such actions could create difficulties for foreign policy.

    Asked to comment on Athens FIR violations by Turkish aircraft on Thursday, Reppas said this was an indication that the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations would not be without problems.

    Quizzed as to whether it was likely that an agreement to refer the dispute of the Aegean continental shelf to arbitration would be signed by the experts' committee, Reppas said there was an on-going process.

    "We are waiting for the Turkish experts to answer to the second Greek memo. Then, either it will be the end of the first round, or else an agreement will be reached for further discussion of procedural issues," he said.

    Discussion however at Friday's Cabinet meeting and statements by Mr. Simitis and government spokesman Reppas on the joint communique apparently failed to satisfy the opposition which, with latest statements, is requesting additional information and dialogue.

    The main opposition New Democracy party again requested through party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos, "briefing for the Greek people" by the government on the formalities and the conditions of the Greek-Turkish communique's issuance in Madrid.

    Albanian drug trafficker transporting 225 kg of hashish arrested

    An Albanian was arrested after crossing the border into Greece Friday in possession of a large quantity of hashish, four Kalashnikov rifles and a number of loading magazines and cartridges, Thessaloniki Security Police Chief Kostas Economou announced yesterday.

    Dashmir Ravia, 40, was arrested as he approached the village of Argyrohori, Ioannina, by detachments of Thessaloniki and Ioannina police who were waiting for him following a tip-off.

    Eight armed Albanians accompanying Ravia had turned back just after crossing the border. Ravia was transporting 225 kg. of hashish contained in nine large sacks, which he said had been packed by 45 "producers" in his home village of Lazarati to be sold in Greece, along with the rifles, for an estimated 45 to 50 million drachmas.

    Economou expressed grave concern for the increasing number of violent crimes committed by Albanians in border regions, including robberies and attacks on local residents as well as arms and drug smuggling.

    Greece announced measures to protect borderline with Albania

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos announced a series of measures yesterday designed to better protect the Greek-Albanian border from Albanian armed gangs and waves of illegal immigrants attempting to enter Greece.

    Petsalnikos announced the measures after a meeting in the borderline town of Kastoria, which was held at the initiative of Kastoria Prefect George Kapaftsis following an alarmingly high number of raids in the region by Albanian armed gangs in recent months.

    The Minister said measures included reinforced and heavy police patrols and the establishment of permanent military stations along the borderline.

    Echoing the views of Greek police, Petsalnikos said that the recent increase in the number of Albanians illegally entering Greece was due to a complete lack of border control by Albanian authorities.

    Petsalnikos also touched on the establishment of a Special Border Patrol Unit.

    A draft bill for the establishment of such a Unit is to be submitted in Parliament by the Public Order Ministry.

    Concluding, Petsalnikos expressed hope for a Greek-Albanian cooperation on the issue of illegal Albanians.

    Albanian armed gangs began to raid and terrorise Greek towns and villages along the borderline after the neighbouring country slid into chaos in April following the collapse of investment schemes in which the majority of the population lost their life savings.

    The crisis in the neighbouring country also led to increased numbers of Albanian people trying to cross over to Greece in hope of a better life.

    Kranidiotis to tour Middle East

    Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis will tour a series of Middle East capitals from July 15 to 20 "in the framework of Greece's desire to engage more actively in the Mideast peace process, both in the framework of EU initiatives as well as on a bil ateral basis," a foreign ministry announcement said on Friday.

    Kranidiotis will successively visit Cairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Damascus and Amman, for talks with government officials. His visits also aim at upgrading bilateral relations with these coun tries, the announcement added.

    Kranidiotis will also meet church officials and representatives of the ethnic Greek communities.

    Pangalos attends Israeli-Palestinian meeting near Athens

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Friday called on Israelis and Palestinians to continue efforts fo r understanding each other's views in the Middle East peace process.

    Pangalos was addressing the end of a three-day, non-binding meeting between Israeli and Palestinian personalities, which was held at the Athens seaside district of Vouliagmeni following a Greek foreign ministry initiative.

    He expressed regret, however, that the gathering did not produce a joint communique, calling on both delegations to continue their efforts before they leave.

    "A basic condition for any development, especially for a solution to complicated problems, is the continuous effort to understand the views of the other side," he said.

    The non-binding meeting between the two sides began in Vouliagmeni on Wednesday. It was the product of a recent tour of the Middle East by Mr. Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.

    The meeting brought together academics, official representatives and other personalities from Israel and the Palestinian Self-Rule Areas.

    The inability to issue a joint communique was due, in part, to the Israeli side's desire for a simple reference supporting the continuation of the peace process, since the meeting was unofficial.

    On the other hand, the Palestinian side wanted to include specific references detailing what they view as causes leading to the impasse in the peace process, as well as the need to include a reference calling for an end to the building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    SEB, gov't to organise Euro-Mediterranean Industrial Conference

    The Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) has undertaken to organise the third Euro-Mediterranean Industrial Conference in cooperation with the development ministry and with support from the Union of Employers and Industrial Federations of Europe (UNICE).

    The Euro-Mediterranean Conference, due to be held in Athens on Oct. 6-7, is aimed at shaping positions on issues concerning Mediterranean industry, such as foreign investments and trade, modernisation of small- and medium- size enterprises, energy as well as the environment, infrastructures, education and training.

    Tourism study claims drachma develuation would increase arrivals

    The drachma should be partly devalued against the currencies of Italy, Portugal and Spain, if the downward trend in tourist arrivals to Greece is to be reversed, according to the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP).

    In a report on foreign exchange policy and its repercussions on tourism, which was released Friday, ITEP attributed the drop in tourist arrivals to what it called the overvaluation of the drachma against the currencies of Greece's EU rivals in the se ctor.

    ITEP claimed that a possible devaluation of the drachma by 10 per cent would increase arrivals by 10.33 per cent.

    According to ITEP, reduced arrivals during the 1992-1995 period resulted in a loss of income for the nation calculated at US$2.5 billion dollars, as well as a loss in jobs.

    Greece helps Cyprus expand its EU business presence

    Greece can help Cyprus to expand its business presence in the European Union until the island, which already has customs union with the 15-nation bloc, gains full membership.

    "Greece is a key base to develop activities by Cypriot firms in the broader European economic area. Its presence and experience in EU countries can aid Cypriot business decisively," Greece's economic and commercial attache in Nicosia Chrysanthi Passadi, said.

    Athens has worked hard on a political and diplomatic level to promote Cyprus' entry into the EU, and talks with Brussels on full membership are due to begin by early next year.

    "Greece's assistance can help Cypriot firms to secure easier access for their products and services in Community markets, maximise the benefits, and better utilise the advantages," Ms. Passadi told the Athens News Agency in an interview.

    Greece ranks fourth among countries exporting to Cyprus, accounting for 7.21 percent of the value of the island republic's imports in 1996 against 7.18 percent in 1995 and 6.81 percent in 1994.

    Trade between the two countries has marked a rising trend in recent years, totalling 171.6 million Cyprus pounds in 1996 from 153.4 million in 1995, and 136.9 million in 1994, Ms. Passadi said.

    Cypriot exports to Greece, the island's fourth largest foreign market, were 37.6 million Cyprus pounds in 1996 from 33.4 million a year earlier.

    WEATHER

    Fair weather is forecast in most parts of the day today with rain expected in northern Greece in the afternoon. Northerly winds will be moderate to strong. Temperatures in Athens will reach 32C, while in Thessaloniki will reach 30C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Friday's closing rates in drachmas - buying

    US dlr. 273.901

    Pound sterling 464.931

    Cyprus pd 529.093

    French franc 46.138

    Swiss franc 188.386

    German mark 155.898

    Italian lira (100) 15.985

    Yen (100) 240.639

    Canadian dlr. 199.392

    Australian dlr. 204.253

    Irish Punt 419.219

    Belgian franc 7.549

    Finnish mark 52.457

    Dutch guilder 138.463

    Danish kr. 40.918

    Swedish kr. 35.460

    Norwegian kr. 37.148

    Austrian sch. 22.158

    Spanish peseta 1.847

    Port. Escudo 1.546

    (M.S.)


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