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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-14

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, 14/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Premier briefs president, PASOK Executive Bureau, on communique
  • Cyprus President: Direct talks at 'very preliminary stage'
  • Youth forum on human rights founded in Athens
  • Papoutsis calls for more Euro-Mediterranean cooperation
  • Measures for stricter controls on Greek-Albanian border announced
  • Greece's tourism model must change, EOT head says
  • Taping of phone conversations legal, High Court rules
  • Large drug haul on border, suspect arrested
  • Council of State annuls awarding of road project to Italian firm WEATHER FOREIGN EXCHANGE


NEWS IN DETAIL

Premier briefs president, PASOK Executive Bureau, on communique

Prime Minister Costas Simitis this morning briefed President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on last week's joint communique between Greece and Turkey.

Later in the day, in his capacity as president of the ruling PASOK, Mr. Simitis will chair a meeting of the party's Executive Bureau on the same issue. The Executive Bureau is also expected to discuss the entire spectrum of Greek-Turkish relations.

The joint communique was issued last Tuesday after talks between Mr. Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid. The communique calls for respect for the sovereignty of each country, international law and treaties as well as resolution of disputes through peaceful means.

Yesterday, PASOK Secretary Kostas Skandalidis welcomed the joint communique, adding however, that the possibility of creating a climate of security in the Aegean depended on Ankara's future actions.

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

"The Madrid communique is merely a declaration of principles," Mr. Skandalidis said, repeating statements made by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

Cyprus President: Direct talks at 'very preliminary stage'

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides has confirmed that UN mediator Diego Cordovez gave the government side "a second revised paper" and added that UN-sponsored direct talks are at "a very preliminary stage."

Speaking in New York on Saturday afternoon at the end of a first round of direct talks between himself and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and after briefing Cypriot party leaders, the president said "the two sides submitted observations on the paper we were given and today (Saturday) 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, stressing that the paper which was submitted yesterda y "is not yet a proposal."

"This is a non-paper and will become a paper if and when there is agreement, " President Clerides explained.

Asked if the UN Secretary-General's special advisor on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, set any conditions, the president replied he "did not set any conditions, we are trying to prepare a paper and each side has made its observations on the first draft and now there is a second draft on which we have to make our observations before meeting in August," scheduled for Aug. 11 to 16, near Geneva.

Asked to say the extent to which Mr. Cordovez took into account the suggestions of the Greek Cypriot side, President Clerides said "Cordovez made some amendments we have requested."

Invited to assess the outcome of this first round of talks, the president said "we are still at a very preliminary stage, we do not as yet have a joint statement because we have not reached agreement on a paper."

Youth forum on human rights founded in Athens

Youth organisations met in Athens over the past two days to found a forum to campaign for public awareness on human rights, racism and discrimination issues.

The newly founded Human Rights Forum was coordinated and is supported by Greece's General Secretariat of Youth, as part of a programme to promote non-govern-mental networks.

Meetings opened on Saturday and by yesterday, the groups had voted for a board, presented their action plan and allocated work, under the motto "all different, all equal".

The forum decided that in order to promote its goals, it will issue press releases and provide information to the public on specific examples of human rights violations, hold meetings, plan information campaigns on educational, cultural and social issue s as well as decide on an action plan aimed at state and non-state organisations.

The forum will also cooperate directly with non-governmental organisations overseas, especially in the European Union.

One of its aims is to use the experience gained by its members during the anti-racist campaign by the Council of Europe between 1994 and 1996, and that of the four networks established by the Youth Secretariat. The networks cover the issues of volunteer s for the environment, cultural organisations, European unification and youth municipal councils.

Participants included: SOS-Racism, Society of Social Support for Youth, Greek Homosexual Unity, Union of Solidarity for Ano Liosia Citizens, Youth Against Racism, Student Movement for the Unification of Europe, Immigrants' Forum, Organisations Against A IDS, party youth organisations for PASOK, New Democracy, the Coalition of Left and Progress and Political Spring, the Caravan of Solidarity, the Women's Lobby and the Research Centre for Minority Groups.

Papoutsis calls for more Euro-Mediterranean cooperation

The European Union wants to promote more cooperation between the northern and southern Mediterranean, envisioning a Euro-Mediterranean free-trade zone by 2010, EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis said in Jordan yesterday.

Mr. Papoutsis, a Greek commissioner responsible for energy, small- and medium-sized enterprises and tourism, concluded an official two-day visit to the Mideast country, which included attending the Medpartenariat Jordan.

In his opening speech, the Commissioner said the EU "aims at promoting a more balanced economic development between the north and south in the Mediterranean area, and at creating a Euro-Mediterranean free-trade zone by 2010."

Conditions for investments and economic development are better today than they used to be for a long time, Mr. Papoutsis said, expressing the belief that this meeting would result in a large number of Euro-Mediterranean cooperations.

The congress included 150 companies from Jordan and another 400 from EU members and other European countries.

Measures for stricter controls on Greek-Albanian border announced

The government unveiled a series of measures on Saturday designed to better protect the Greek-Albanian border from armed gangs and illegal immigrants attempting to enter Greece from the neighbouring country.

Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos unveiled the measures after a meeting in the border city of Kastoria, held at the initiative of Kastoria Prefect Georgios Kapaftsis. The meeting follows an alarmingly high number of raids in the region b y Albanian armed gangs over recent months.

The minister said measures included reinforced police patrols and the establishment of permanent observation posts on the frontier.

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

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

A draft bill for the establishment of such a force is to be submitted in Parliament by the public order ministry.

Albanian armed gangs began to raid and terrorise Greek border towns and villages after the neighbouring country slid into chaos over the past few months following the collapse of five pyramid investment schemes.

Greece's tourism model must change, EOT head says

The "Greek light, sun and sea" model of tourism is no longer adequate for foreign tourists, Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) General Secretary Nikos Skoulas said yesterday.

While inaugurating a new waterpark in Hania, Mr. Skoulas said that mass holiday tourists now preferred activities and theme parks.

In northern Greece, tourist arrivals remain at the same levels as last year, while accomodations show an occupancy rate around 50-65 per cent.

Tourism sector businessmen said that they expected an increase in arrivals in the second half of July, up to September.

Thassos hoteliers president Alexis Doukas said that this year's accomodations were booked mostly by Yugoslav, Czech, Polish and Russian tourists. Arrivals of Germans and British tourists fell by 20 and 5 per cent, respectively, compared to last year's figures, he said.

Taping of phone conversations legal, High Court rules

Taping telephone conversations without approval and the knowledge of the party on the other end is not illegal, the Supreme Court decided yesterday.

The High Court said taping could be allowed when it concerned the safeguarding of lawful or other justified and significant public interests, such as revealing the perpetrators of a crime.

The court ruled that in such cases it was legal to use a recorded conversation as proof, without this offending the accused person's right to be defended in court, or annuling a case.

The ruling backed an Athens appeals court decision to use taped conversations between relatives of suspects that were accused and later convicted in a double murder and rape case.

Large drug haul on border, suspect arrested

An Albanian national was arrested after crossing the border into Greece on Friday in possession of a large quantity of hashish, four Kalashnikov assault rifles and a large number of rounds, police announced on Saturday. Dashmir Ravia, 40, was arr ested as he approached the village of Argyrohori, Ioannina, by police detachments from Thessaloniki and Ioannina.

Eight armed Albanians accompanying Ravia had turned back just after crossing the border. According to reports, the suspect was transporting 225 kilograms of hashish in nine large sacks, which he said had been packed in his home village of Lazarati for s ale in Greece along with the rifles.

Council of State annuls awarding of road project to Italian firm

The Council of State rescinded on Saturday a government decision to award a 5.5-billion-drachma stretch of the on-going Grevena-Kozani highway project to the Italian firm Todini Costruzioni Generali SpA.

The decision follows an appeal by the Greece-based ALTE construction company, which argued that the Italian company did not provide a certificate verifying an unblemished criminal record, as the bid process required.

The court also judged that the public works ministry broke the law when it accepted the Italian company's application in the tender process.

The Grevena-Kozani stretch is part of the Egnatia Highway project, which will span the breadth of northern Greece from the Ionian port of Igoumenitsa to the Greek-Turkish border when completed.

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast in most parts of the country with sporadic cloud in the afternoon. Northerly winds will be moderate. Athens will be mostly fair, with temperatures ranging from 22-32C, while in Thessaloniki local clouds are expected in the afternoon, with temperatures from 21-30C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - 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

(L.G.)


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