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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-21

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, 21/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Clerides cites need for quick Cyprus solution, `common future`
  • Turkey calls for Cyprus' annexation on black anniversary
  • Greece proposes regional security body covering Balkans, Caucasus
  • Premier says `98 municipal elections significant for PASOK
  • Athens still adamant on FYROM issue
  • Athens` Olympic bid aired on CNN
  • SAE headquarters inaugurated in Thessaloniki
  • WEATHER
  • FOREIGN EXCHANGE

NEWS IN DETAIL

Clerides cites need for quick Cyprus solution, `common future`

President of the Cyprus Republic Glafcos Clerides reiterated the Nicosia government's desire for a solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem "the soonest possible" and stressed the need for Greek and Turkish Cypriots to envisage a common future.

In a message to the people of Cyprus on the occasion of a July 15, 1974 coup against the Cypriot government staged by the military junta then ruling Greece and the bloody Turkish invasion of the island republic that followed five days later, President Clerides described these "tragic events" as "the darkest periods of Cyprus' history".

Noting the consequences, such as the number of people killed, the missing, the refugees and the violation of fundamental human rights, he stressed that at the same time "the illegal colonisation and adverse conditions created" in the Turkish-occupied north forced "many of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots in the occupied area to emigrate".

"They are quickly disappearing as a community," he pointed out.

Mr. Clerides stressed that one of the conclusions of these tragic events is that "we must all respect fully our democratic institutions and engage in continuous dialogue and in a spirit of mutual understanding reach consensus."

He added that a second conclusion concerns the relations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, calling on all to recall "not only the bitter experiences of the past but also the happy experiences of harmonious co-existence".

President Clerides stressed that the two communities "must envisage and plan a common future" and noted that "as we enter the 21st century we must abandon the mentality and practices which have brought about so many ills to Cyprus".

He said a fair solution must be found that "will heal the wounds of the past" and establish "a climate of confidence, mutual understanding and cooperation."

Noting that the Greek Cypriot side has shown "goodwill and made painful concessions" in these 23 years, he also added that the government showed a positive attitude during the UN-led direct negotiations between himself and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash held in the United States July 9-12. Stressing that it will show the same attitude in the second round of negotiations, scheduled to be held in Switzerland Aug. 11-16, President Clerides said "our fervent desire is to achieve a solution to the Cyprus problem the soonest possible.

"We all hope that the process that has already started may be the starting point of an unprecedented effort to find a solution," he added.

Mr. Clerides said government policy has increased international involvement on the Cyprus issue, while its European Union course as well as a joint defence pact agreed with Greece in 1993 have "increased hopes for finding a solution".

Noting that the efforts for a solution "will be very difficult and complex", he stressed that "our future on the land of our ancestors depends on the outcome of this course".

Assuring he will devote all his energy "to ensure that this course may have the desirable conclusion to the benefit of the two communities," President Clerides stressed he will not accept a solution "that will not safeguard the future of Greek Cypriots, whatever the price we may have to pay for our stand".

He also referred to an agreement reached during negotiations in New York to meet with Mr. Denktash in Nicosia, before the second round of talks, in order to discuss the issue of the persons missing since the Turkish invasion as well as living conditions of about 500 Greek Cypriots who have remained in their homes in the occupied areas.

"I am sure that with the solidarity of the people and Greeks everywhere, with the close cooperation and assistance of the Greek government, the political parties of Greece and the Greek people as well as the solidarity and active support of other states and political figures, our struggle will be successful," he concluded.

Turkey calls for Cyprus' annexation on black anniversary

Turkey marked the 23rd anniversary of its 1974 invasion of the island republic with a call for the integration of the occupied north of Cyprus and with mass vilations of the island republic's airspace.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who as prime minister ordered the 1974 invasion, said annexation of the self-proclaimed 'Turkish republic of northern Cyprus' (TRNC) -- which is recognised only by Ankara -- was inevitable after the European Union last week gave the go-ahead for accession negotiations with the Cyprus Republic while excluding Turkey.

Ecevit said the 'TRNC' would "live forever as an independent state, but its foreign policy and defence will be handled by Turkey".

A joint declaration issued by Turkey and the pseudo-state outlined a proposed series of steps toward integration, including efforts on defence, foreign and economic policies.

Turkey maintains more than 30,000 troops in the occupied north. The Turkish invasion in 1974, code-named "Attila", caused widespread death and destruction and turned 200,000 Cypriots into refugees in their own land, while 1,619 persons, among them five U.S. citizens, went missing during the invasion and occupation.

Greece proposes regional security body covering Balkans, Caucasus

Upon completing a four-day tour of the Caucasus with the visit to Baku on Friday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told the ANA that he had set out to his counterparts ideas and proposals for establishing a regional security organisation covering the Balkans and the Caucasus.

In Baku, the Greek defence minister met with Azerbaijan's President Haidar Aliyev and the country's top political and military leaders.

He reported that the response was positive, and that there would soon be clear and specific agreements for the promotion of such proposals. It had been agreed, he added, that units of the Hellenic armed forces would also participate in exercises in the Black Sea and the Caspian.

Asked to comment on Turkish criticism over Athens' initiatives in the region, particularly a defence cooperation agreement with Armenia, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed that "Greece has been and will be a force of peace, security, cooperation and stability, both in the Balkans and the Caucasus, and nobody will stop us from implementing this".

He also said his visit to the region confirmed that both the Balkans and the Caucasus belonged to the same geopolitical region.

The defence minister also expressed support for the initiatives of the so- called "Minsk group" of countries for the finding of "a just and peaceful solution" to the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh, which would guarantee "Azerbaijan's sovereign rights", and formulate "terms of collective security, cooperation and stability in the region."

Discussion with the Azeri leaders included bilateral political and economic issues.

It should also be noted that the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) has submitted proposals for the carrying out of projects in the country.

Premier says `98 municipal elections significant for PASOK

Speaking at the end of his ruling PASOK party's two-day central committee meeting in Nafplion on Saturday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said next year's municipal elections have an increased significance for the party.

He emphasised municipal elections' significance by saying their success will be a measure of the government policy's appeal and a criterion of the electorate's support and citizens' confidence, thus enabling PASOK to re- earn a mandate for continuation o f its four-year term.

Mr. Simitis said this is essential because time is necessary for results to appear on many projects the government has started.

Referring to the "Ioannis Kapodistrias" programme concerning local community mergers, Mr. Simitis said an almost universal coincidence of views resulted, adding that what is required from now on is for this policy to be disseminated to citizens.

Mr. Simitis called on all PASOK cadres to be present at the time of crisis, stressing that it is up to the government to turn the plan into practice, while he expressed certainty that this will happen.

He further said that the regional administration of each country is not standardised (referring to the examples of Italy and Britain), noting that efforts aimed at decentralisation started in 1981 and that what is necessary is for the new formation to operate effectively and democratically.

PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said the party will undertake initiatives at a central and regional level, opening a dialogue with other parties and stressing that worthy cadres must be selected as local election candidates.

Athens still adamant on FYROM issue

Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said yesterday that Greece was still seeking satisfaction of its well-known and permanent positions in UN-sponsored negotiations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter's name.

"The international community must understand that we do not accept doubts or confusion regarding our identity," he said in his opening address to the World Conference of Pan-Macedonian Associations in Thessaloniki.

The minister defended the now defunct embargo imposed by Greece on FYROM.

"The decision was neither easy nor painless, but it was necessary, and led to the abandonment (on FYROM's part) of irredentist claims, to a change of symbols and the signing of the New York interim accord, which in turn, led to a speedy and substantive improvement of relations between the two countries," he said.

Mr. Petsalnikos announced that this year's 'Alexander The Great' awards, established by his ministry for philhellene politicians, would go to the chairman of the US House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee, Ben Gilman, former Australian PM Paul Keating and British MP Eddie O'Hara.

The 'Aristotelis' awards for scientists and researchers would go to Canadian professor Ted McWinney, Australian archaeologist Norman George Aston and his Austrian colleague Hans Swabl.

Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, who also spoke at the opening of the conference, said "there is no room for political party games and personal strategies" in the handling of national issues, and that Greece's wish to live i n peace, friendship and cooperation with its neighbours "cannot lead to easy solutions and compromises, or make us accept any pressures that are exercised on us".

Athens` Olympic bid aired on CNN

The president of the Athens 2004 Olympic candidacy committee, Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, told CNN on Friday that the Greek capital holds the prospect of a "virtually new city" as regards public transport, telecoms, the environment, accommodations and sports installations.

"Most sports installations are already in place, and we have the financial guarantees for completing all additional necessary projects well before 2004," she added.

Replying to a remark that Athens faces difficult traffic problems, Ms Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said that any existing difficulties will be effectively met with large projects already underway, such as the underground metro, which she claimed will be ready in 1999, the city's new airport at Spata (scheduled for completion by 2000) and a number of circular roads. These projects, she said, will drastically change the situation regarding public transport in Athens.

Turning to the economic impact of the Olympics, she said: "we expect 130, 000 new jobs to be created. The overall benefit will be huge..."

Regarding security, she said, "Greece is a safe country, as INTERPOL and other independent analyses show. We have one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, and moreover, what is very important is that no incident has taken place during any sports, political, or other event that Greece has organised".

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to select the host city of the Games of 2004 in September.

SAE headquarters inaugurated in Thessaloniki

The World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) has its own headquarters in Thessaloniki after SAE's offices were inaugurated in the country's second largest city by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and SAE's President Andrew Athens last night in the presence of authorities, deputies and expatriate officials.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Papandreou said yesterday was "a moving moment for every Greek immigrant, who ascertains today that his home is being inaugurated."

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast over most of the country, with local cloud expected in central mainland and northern Greece in the afternoon and evening. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures ranging from 22 to 36 C, and Thessaloniki should see some light cloud in the evening, with temperatures 20-33 C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.347 Pound sterling 468.224 Cyprus pd 532.565 French franc 46.180 Swiss franc 189.026 German mark 155.893 Italian lira (100) 16.030 Yen (100) 242.504 Canadian dlr. 203.459 Australian dlr. 206.782 Irish Punt 418.307 Belgian franc 7.551 Finnish mark 52.878 Dutch guilder 138.518 Danish kr. 41.001 Swedish kr. 35.986 Norwegian kr. 37.847 Austrian sch. 22.162 Spanish peseta 1.854 Port. Escudo 1.547

(L.G.)


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