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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-29

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, 29/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece takes delivery of four new F-16 fighter jets
  • Stringent security measures for World Athletics Championships
  • Mirage jet crashes in sea, pilot missing
  • Greece's new Ambassador to Italy presents credentials
  • Greek envoy submits memorandum to US gov't on Turkish violations
  • Chief of Staff addresses 'Athena '97 Crisis Handling' seminar
  • Impressive `Athens 2004` Olympic Games candidacy presentation
  • Balkan university network set up to promote friendship
  • Olympics Windsurfing gold medallist in Aegean crossing tomorrow
  • Dollar ends at Dr 288.4, sets fifth straight record
  • Alexandroupolis meeting on creation of international trade centre
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece takes delivery of four new F-16 fighter jets

The first four F-16 fighter jets of a batch of 40 ordered by Greece in 1992 arrived at the 111 Fighter Wing at Nea Aghialos base yesterday, while the government will tomorrow take the final decision awarding the tender for the modernisation of 39 Hellenic Air Force Phantom F-4 jets.

The four F-16 Block 50 -- two twin-seater and two single-seater jets -- were flown to Greece by US pilots via Ramstein, Germany.

The new aircraft are equipped with improved radar systems, a more powerful engine and an enhanced weapons platform as compared to the F-16s already in service with the Hellenic Air Force.

Greek pilots had visited the US to receive training for the new aircraft and they will in turn train colleagues here.

The official entry into service of the new aircraft will be marked by a special ceremony in late September to be attended by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

The government said yesterday that the final decision awarding the tender for the modernisation of 39 Hellenic Air Force Phantom F-4 jets would be taken at tomorrow's meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA).

On the basis of the tender terms, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, one of which is that the aircraft must be ready by the end of the year 2000, it had been decided that the bid of the German company -- DASA -- was superior to that of the US firm which participated in the tender.

Stringent security measures for World Athletics Championships

Over 9,000 policemen will be on duty equipped with the very latest equipment when the IAAF World Athletics Championships open in Athens on Friday, Attica police chief Ioannis Georgakopoulos said yesterday.

The giant security operation got under way last Friday and was immediately apparent to Athenians unaccustomed to seeing so many policemen and cars patrolling the capital.

Mr. Georgakopoulos said the operation would peak on Friday and continue until the end of the championships on August 10.

Some 7,500 officers, supported by approximately 1,500 police cadets, will be on duty during the games, while increased security measures will be taken for the Marathon and long distance walking races.

Mr. Georgakopoulos said the police would be providing security from the moment teams arrive at Athens international airport and are escorted to their hotels.

Police officers will accompany the teams as they travel to and from the Athens Olympic Sports Complex each day, while security at the hotels will be tight.

In particular during the games, Mr. Georgakopoulos said, the police will carry out stringent checks of people entering the hotels at which athletes will be staying.

Meanwhile it was announced that International Olympics Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch will arrive in Athens on Thursday, eve of the start of the IAAF Championships, while nother prominent IOC member, Prince Albert of Monaco, is due on August 4.

Mirage jet crashes in sea, pilot missing

A Hellenic Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter plane crashed into the sea northeast of the island of Skyros yesterday morning as it was carrying out a training flight, and its pilot was missing, Airforce sources said.

Two helicopters and a C-130 plane joined nearby ships in a search operation for Lt. Ioakeim Pantelakis, an experienced pilot with 420 flight hours on Mirages.

Wreckage from the Mirage was spotted 25 nautical miles northeast of Skyros.

The jet-fighter took off with another Mirage from Tanagra airforce base on a routine training flight in interception and went crashing into the sea at 10:50, the sources said.

A committee of experts has been set up to investigate the causes of the accident.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that all Greeks were grieved by the tragic accident. He said that the tough training by the Greek Airforce to enable it to meet the responsibility it has to defend the country, also had its costs.

Greece's new Ambassador to Italy presents credentials

Greece's new Ambassador to Italy Alexandros Sandis was received by Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro at the Quirinale Presidential Mansion yesterday and presented his credentials to him.

Private talks held after the relevant ceremony focused on references to close and traditional ties between the two countries, while Mr. Sandis also took the opportunity to brief President Scalfaro on recent developments in Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.

Greek envoy submits memorandum to US gov't on Turkish violations

Greece's Ambassador in Washington has submitted a memorandum to the US government setting out in detail the latest spate of violations by Turkish warplanes of Greek airspace over the Aegean, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

Confirming press reports of the memorandum, Mr. Reppas said it clearly stated Greece's position that "such phenomena not only fail to help but upset the climate which is being aspired to following the Madrid communique".

He was referring to the joint communique signed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel early this month on the sidelines of the recent NATO summit in Madrid, defining the principles which should govern Greek-Turkish rela tions.

"These phenomena (violations) may be sporadic but they must stop," Mr. Reppas said, clarifying that similar memorandums had not been submitted to other countries.

Chief of Staff addresses 'Athena '97 Crisis Handling' seminar

Greece's military chief said yesterday that respect for internat- ional law, treaties and human rights should serve as an important means of communication and cooperation between countries.

"Dedication to the principles of consistency and respect for international laws, agreements and treaties, respect for human rights and the preservation and promotion of democratic ideals and values constitute the main means of communication and cooperat ion between countries, and through this cooperation we shall be able to help other countries either avoid a possible crisis or, if they have already become embroiled, to revert to a situation of peace," General (Air Force) Athanasios Tzoganis said in an address to the seminar "Athena '97 Crisis Handling", organised by the national defence general staff within the framework of the Joint Action for Peace initiative.

Mr. Tzoganis noted that much progress had been made regarding the provision of assistance to "hot spots" following the decisions of the competent international organisations, citing in particular the cases of Bosnia and more recently, Albania.

While remarking that crises and disputes had not been reduced world-wide "either in number or in cruelty", Mr. Tzoganis said this should "encourage us to join forces in order to de-escalate tension, resolve crises and even put an end to wars".

The Athena '97 seminar is the first of its kind to be held in a NATO member state. Taking part are politicians and military officials from Greece, Britain, Austria, Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary, Holland, Poland, Romania, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Georgia and the United States.

Impressive `Athens 2004` Olympic Games candidacy presentation

Presentation of the "Athens 2004" Olympic Games candidacy was impressive in Winnipeg where the 34th Panamerican Sports Session (PASO) was held on the occasion of the Panamerican Games to be held in this city in 1999.

Representations from all five candidate cities for the 2004 Olympics (Athens, Rome, Stockholm, Buenos Aires and Cape Town) arrived in the Canadian city to present their candidacies during their last joint appearance before September 5, when the members of the International Olympics Committee will gather in Lausanne to select the city which will host the 2004 Olympiad.

A message by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch was read during the session and the presentations of the candidacies was made in the presence of the Panamerican Games Executive Committee, chaired by Mario Vasquez Rania from Mexico, while representativ es from all the countries of Latin, Central and North America, as well as 10 IOC members, were also present.

The Greek representation was headed by "Athens 2004" candidacy committee President Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki who presented plenty of audiovisual material concerning the Greek capital's candidacy and drew favourable comments from those present.

At the end of the presentation, sports officials from countries on the American continent congratulated Ms Angelopoulou and spoke positively of "the degree of Athens' readiness, both with regard to sports installations and major infrastructure works."

Balkan university network set up to promote friendship

Twenty universities of the Balkans have set up the 'Haemos' University Network to promote cooperation and friendship between countries facing radical socioeconomic changes, the University of Thrace announced yesterday.

Founding members include universities from Albania, Serbia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, the Ukraine and Russia.

Greek universities participating in the network besides the one in Thrace include the universities of Ioannina, Thessaloniki, and Macedonia.

Membership to the network is open to universities from Europe in general as associate members. The network also hopes to contribute to the work of the Association of European Universities.

Olympics Windsurfing gold medallist in Aegean crossing tomorrow

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou will inaugurate the crossing of the Aegean Sea by Greek Atlanta Olympics Windsurfing gold medallist Nikos Kaklamanakis under the Temple of Zeus at Sounion at 11.30 tomorrow morning.

Following close cooperation with the National Meteorological Service (EMY), Kaklamanakis decided to start his effort tomorrow since the northerly winds he hoped for are already blowing in the Aegean Sea.

The "Aegean Challenge '97" itinerary anticipates the coverage of 120 nautical miles from Sounion to Amoudi beach on the island of Santorini on the first day. Kaklamanakis and the group following him, three mechanised security boats and a Greek Navy ship, will stay in Santorini tomorrow night as guests of the local authorities before setting out for Iraklion, Crete, on Thursday morning. The termination will take place on the same day on Karteros beach.

Ms Papandreou will welcome Kaklamanakis in Crete

The whole effort has received widespread international coverage, while the effort will receive close coverage by all Greek TV crews as well as by many foreign correspondents who are already arriving for the event.

Dollar ends at Dr 288.4, sets fifth straight record

The US dollar yesterday maintained its unbridled ascent on Greece's domestic foreign exchange market in line with its jump on world markets, setting an all- time high for the fifth straight day.

The US currency finished at 288.40 drachmas at the central bank's daily fix from 286.60 on Friday, up 0.63 percent. Commercial banks will be selling the greenback at 292.726 drachmas today.

The dollar has gained 2.27 percent, or 6.4 drachmas on the drachma since last Tuesday when it began its frenzied rise, and 16.5 percent from the beginning of 1997.

Alexandroupolis meeting on creation of international trade centre

A meeting was held in the municipality of Alexandroupolis on the creation of an International Trade Centre at the initiative of National Economy Secretary-General Apostolos Fotiadis.

Among others, the meeting was attended by the President of the Greek Overseas Trade Organisation Yiannis Tzen, the Prefect of Evros Mr. Dolios, the founder of the IMC of Cyprus (International Wholesale Trade Centre) Mr. Kaisis, as well as by businessmen from Cyprus and the region.

Mr. Fotiadis made an analytical presentation of infrastructure works being carried out in the region and stressed that the government's interest is turned towards Thrace. Greek Overseas Trade Organisation President Mr. Tzen said an international trade c entre, similar to that of Cyprus, can also be created in Alexandroupolis, adding that activities can be developed there in all the forms and parameters of international economic and trade relations which focus, among others, on investments, joint enterpri ses, services and tourism.

Mr. Kaisis made an analytical briefing on the way the IMC operated in Cyprus, saying that he is ready to cooperate with all bodies to achieve the target set. The total cost of the investment is estimated at 100 million dollars.

WEATHER

Sporadic showers over Macedonia and Thrace in the afternoon are expected today. The rest of the country will have fair weather initially, but it may rain locally over mainland regions later. Winds will be northerly northeasterly, mostly moderate, but becoming very strong locally in the Aegean in the afternoon. Athens will be mostly sunny with local clouding in the afternoon and temperatures ranging from 22-33 C, while Thessaloniki will be partly cloudy with chances of afternoon showers and temperatures of 20-31 C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 286.093 Pound sterling 474.549 Cyprus pd 530.700 French franc 45.971 Swiss franc 188.163 German mark 154.896 Italian lira (100) 15.943 Yen (100) 243.992 Canadian dlr. 205.939 Australian dlr. 210.165 Irish Punt 418.406 Belgian franc 7.504 Finnish mark 52.298 Dutch guilder 137.605 Danish kr. 40.712 Swedish kr. 36.109 Norwegian kr. 37.519 Austrian sch. 22.010 Spanish peseta 1.839 Port. Escudo 1.537

(L.G.)


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