Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-18
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 18/07/1997 (ANA)
- Klaus continues talks in Athens
- Simitis chairs a Cabinet meeting
- Reppas comments on international sports agreement
- EU position on Cyprus' accession welcome
- Greek contingent in multinational force to return from Albania
- Greek-Argentine agreement on nuclear energy signed
- Czech Prime Minister on unofficial visit
- US State Dept. on Ecevit visit to occupied Cyprus
- Athens condemns latest airspace violations by Turkey
- SAE gets permanent offices in Thessaloniki
- Europarliament draft resolution on Greek forest fires
- FOREIGN EXCHANGE
NEWS IN DETAIL
Klaus continues talks in Athens
Czech Premier Vaclav Klaus continued his unofficial visit to Greece today
participating in an international political and economic seminar on
The seminar, organised by the Group for International Study and Evaluation
A.G. (GISE) and Alpha Credit Bank, will focus on issues pertaining to
foreign policy, security and international economic relations.
On the first day of his visit yesterday, Klaus had talks with Prime
Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.
During the talks, both sides underlined the lack of any serious problems in
bilateral relations and the good prospects for their further development.
The two sides also agreed on an exchange of official delegations led by the
premiers of the two countries by the end of the year or early 1998.
Particular attention was given to economic and trade cooperation, where
there are excellent prospects for development.
Reiterating Greece's support for the Czech Republic's bid to join the
European Union and NATO, Simitis underlined the importance which Athens
attaches to Balkan states becoming members of these organisations for peace
and stability in the Balkans.
Simitis also briefed his Czech counterpart on Greece's foreign policy
priorities in the Balkans and the need for a just and lasting settlement of
the Cyprus problem.
Klaus briefed Simitis on the latest developments in his country, including
the catastrophic flooding which has devastated one third of the Czech
Republic, resulting in dozens of deaths and enormous material damage.
Simitis chairs a Cabinet meeting
Prime Minister Costas Simitis today chaired a Cabinet meeting which focused
on formulating policy for guiding Greece into the "information society."
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the premier had submitted a four-
point political framework for making full use of informatics and resolving
any problems which might arise.
The framework provides for the creation of a suitable material and
technical infrastructure to facilitate access by as many Greeks as possible
to the Internet information superhighway, a role to be largely undertaken
by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).
At the same time, the framework envisages the modernising of public
administration with the aid of new technology, particularly through the
implementation of the ''Cleisthenes'' programme for the computerisation of
The third aspect concerns the completion and speeding up of the implementation
of the statutory framework for protecting citizens' rights. According to
Reppas, this has already begun following the recent passing of the bill on
securing the confidentiality of information of a personal nature.
Lastly, the framework submitted by Simitis foresees the creation of a
''critical mass'' of users of the new technology, to be achieved through
educational, initial and ongoing training programmes.
The purpose of this, Simitis told the Cabinet, is ''to avoid the creation
of new forms of discrimination and social inequality with respect to those
familiar with the new technology and the unqualified''.
Within the same framework, the Cabinet unanimously decided to speed up the
modernisation of OTE and make it compulsory for each ministry to submit an
action plan by September 10 concerning the modernisation of their
The plans submitted will have to be implemented by November at the latest,
Reppas comments on international sports agreements
Greece will honour the agreements it has signed with international sports
organisations, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday,
responding to press reports claiming an 8 billion drachma shortfall in the
budget for the World Athletics Championships to be held in Athens next
At the present time, Reppas said, just days before the staging of the
championships, ''we must all help to ensure the best possible promotion of
"We shall deal with any problems which may exist afterwards," he added,
noting that all the political parties were participating in the Athens '97
EU position on Cyprus' accession welcomed
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday hailed the European
Union's position that negotiations on Cyprus' accession to the Community
should begin, as originally agreed, six months after the signing of the
At the same time, he welcomed statements by European Commission President
Jacques Santer and Commissioner Hans van den Broek, according to which
Cyprus cannot be held "hostage" as a result of Turkey's stance.
In particular, Mr. van den Broek told the European Parliament Wednesday
that the Commission cannot hold Cyprus hostage due to lack of cooperation
by the Turkish side regarding a settlement of the protracted Cyprus
Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Papandreou said also that Greece was in
favour of accession negotiations beginning simultaneously for all eleven
prospective member states.
The Commission has recommended that membership negotiations for an expanded
EU should begin with Cyprus, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia
and Slovenia next year.
As far as the EU's relationship with Turkey is concerned, Mr. Papandreou
said, this will be examined in detail during the discussion of the
Commission's "Agenda 2000" report on enlargement, noting that a special
report had been drawn up on the further development of the Community's
relations with Turkey.
Within the framework of this discussion, Mr. Papandreou continued, it will
be examined whether Turkey will have a "special" relationship with the EU,
or whether this relationship will constitute an advanced form of Customs
Union ("Customs Union plus," as it is referred to in Community lingo). The
Commission's report on EU-Turkish relations contains references to the need
for a relationship of good-neighbourliness (on the part of Turkey) with
Greece, as well as for a settlement of the Cyprus problem and respect by
Ankara for human rights and democratic institutions.
The "Agenda 2000" is expected to be given the final seal of approval at the
EU summit in December.
Greek contingent in multinational force to return from Albania
Withdrawal of the Greek contingent in the 8-nation protection force in
Albania will begin Monday, July 21, following completion of the force's
mission, it was announced yesterday. The gradual pullout of Greek troops
will be completed on August 8. The multinational force, comprising troops
from Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Romania, Austria, France and Denmark,
was deployed in mid-April to protect humanitarian aid arriving in the
strife-torn Balkan country and assist OSCE observers monitoring general
elections last month.
Greek-Argentine agreement on nuclear energy signed
Greece and Argentina yesterday signed a bilateral agreement providing for
cooperation in the peaceful applications of nuclear energy.
The agreement was signed for Greece by the president of the Greek Atomic
Energy Commission, Prof. Anastasios Katsanos, and on behalf of Argentina by
Buenos Aires' ambassador to Athens Francisco Jorge Bullrich. The agreement
aims at promoting cooperation in developing basic research, applied
research, technology and know-how in the peaceful application of nuclear
energy. Argentina has a highly developed nuclear programme covering nuclear
fuel and the construction and supply of nuclear reactors. Prof. Katsanos
clarified, however, that Greece had not changed its policy opposing the
establishment in the country of nuclear reactors for power generation.
Czech Prime Minister on unofficial visit
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus arrived here yesterday on
an unofficial visit and had talks with Greek counterpart Costas Simitis
before lunching with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos. Although no
statements were made after the meetings, informed sources said discussion
focused on issues related to the commencement of the procedure for NATO and
European Union enlargement.
US State Dept. on Ecevit visit to occupied Cyprus
US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns yesterday appealed to Turkish
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to use his forthcoming visit to the
Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus for promotion of a positive atmosphere
that emerged from the signing of the Simitis - Demirel communique and the
Clerides-Denktash talks last week.
"The situation in Cyprus this summer is calm, in contrast to last year.
There are positive signs emerging from last week`s talks in Troutbeck,
where (Cyprus) President Clerides and (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Mr.
Denktash spent some time together. We consider that trends in Cyprus are
positive, and very much hope that Mr. Ecevit will use this visit to
strengthen this constructive and positive trend," he stated.
Although he avoided criticising Mr. Ecevit for the visit to the occupied
areas, Mr. Burns said in reply: "I didn't say we agree with the visit".
Commenting on Mr. Ecevit`s recent threat that Turkey would annex Turkish-
occupied northern Cyprus if accession negotiations started with the EU, Mr.
Burns implied that he does not agree with this position, stressing that
"this is perhaps the reason why we are asking him to be positive and
Referring to the joint communique signed in Madrid between Greek Prime
Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, Mr. Burns
said: "We hope that in the Madrid spirit Greece and Turkey will proceed to
some practical steps to improvet heir relations with each other. The US
expects from Greece and Turkey to respect each other's territorial
integrity and sovereignty."
Athens condemns latest airspace violations by Turkey
Incidents such as the latest Turkish violations of Greek airspace over the
Aegean are contrary to the spirit emanating from the joint communique of
Madrid, government spoke-sman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.
The violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes since the issuing of
the communique "compromise" Ankara, Mr. Reppas said. Greece and Turkey
issued a joint communique on bilateral relations on the sidelines of the
NATO summit in Madrid, following talks between Prime Minister Costas
Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel.
The spokesman called on all forces in Turkey which support the spirit of
the Madrid communique "to work in order for this spirit to become an
integral part of Greek-Turkish relations, so that it cannot be undermined
SAE gets permanent offices in Thessaloniki
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou will inaugurate the permanent
headquarters of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) on Sunday
evening in Thessaloniki.
The ceremony will be attended by SAE president Andrew Athens, Macedonia-
Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and Secretary General for overseas
Greeks Stavros Lambrinidis.
The new offices are at the building of the Macedonia-Thrace Bank.
Europarliament draft resolution on Greek forest fires
The European Parliament yesterday adopted a draft resolution on the recent
fires in Greek forests, which burned tens of thousands of stremma of forest
and farm land, proposed jointly by Greece's Eurodeputies.
The draft resolution calls on the European Commission to provide economic
relief to residents who lost property in the recent fires, as well as to
help with reforestation and fire-protection measures.
Sporadic showers are likely in northwestern regions in the afternoon. Winds
will be southwesterly, up to moderate in the west, and northerly, of the
same intensity, in the east. Athens will be sunny with temperatures ranging
from 22-33 C, Thessaloniki will have light clouding, increasing in the
afternoon, with temperatures of 18-30 C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.883
Pound sterling 466.419 Cyprus pd 530.720
French franc 46.142 Swiss franc 188.812
German mark 155. 838 Italian lira (100) 16.041
Yen (100) 240.957 Canadian dlr. 203.519
Australian dlr. 205.696 Irish Punt 420.013
Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 52.762
Dutch guilder 138.439 Danish kr. 40.908
Swedish kr. 35.946 Norwegian kr. 37.636
Austrian sch. 22.132 Spanish peseta 1.852
Port. Escudo 1.545