Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-01
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 01/08/1997 (ANA)
- Athens `97 Athletics Championships open today, record participation
- IAAF halves anabolics penalty
- Talks on creation of three new Greek-Bulgarian border checkpoints
- UN resolutions must be considered in seeking a Cyprus solution
- Tsohatzopoulos underlines Greece's stabilising role in the region
- Albanian police receive final shipment of Greek aid
- Premier Simitis meets IOC and IAAF officials
- OTE technical support for IAAF Championships
- Alexandria patriarch hails IAAF World Championships
- Kaklamanakis completes the first-ever windsurf run of the Aegean
- Search reveals more illegal immigrants on ship
- Important findings in Konitsa excavations
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens `97 Athletics Championships open today, record participation
The 6th World Athletics Championships open in Athens at 20h30 today with a
spectacular ceremony at the Panathenian Stadium.
A record 200 countries are participating in the event which will end on
International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) president Primo Nebiolo
yesterday expressed confidence that the Athens '97 championships would be a
"To me, Greece is the spiritual home of athletics. I believe the staging of
the championships will be a success," he told a press conference.
He underlined the fact that a record 200 countries will be taking part in
the championships which, he noted, would be watched by 3.3 billion
television viewers in 212 countries.
He added that demand for tickets was higher than expected, observing that
tickets had already been sold out for August 3, when the finals of the
men's and women's 100 metres sprint will be held.
Mr.Nebiolo said that tonight's opening ceremony "with the participation of
the great artists Vangelis and Montserrat Caballe" would be "a truly
He also noted that Vangelis had composed a new Anthem for the IAAF which
will be heard for the first time today at the Panathenian Stadium.
IAAF halves anabolics penalty
The International AMateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) yesterday halved its
penalty for first-time anabolics offenders to two-year maximum suspension
from athletics events from the present four-year maximum.
Delegates at the annual two-day IAAF congress in Athens, which opened on
Wednesday, voted 112-56 with three abstentions in favour of a proposal by
several European countries, spearheaded by Germany, to reduce the
The four-year maximum suspension for athletes caught using steroid
anabolics for a first time, introduced by the IAAF in 1991, has caused
problems with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which was pressing
for reduction of the ban, and also with civil courts in many countries, to
which athletes took recourse.
A second offense carries a lifetime ban. The IAAF spent 1.7 million dollars
on combatting doping last year.
The IAAF president endorsed a reduction of the ban in statements to the
Congress on Wednesday.
The congress voted against a similar proposal two years ago in Goteborg,
fearing a reduction would be construed as a softening of the Federation's
stance against doping.
In his press conference, Mr. Nebiolo clarified that athletes caught using
stimulants, instead of the present three-month suspension from athletics
events, would now by given a "public warning".
In the event of a second and third offence however, they will be liable to
a two-year and lifetime ban respectively, he said.
The IAAF chief stressed that if a national athletics federation wished to
impose harsher penalties on athletes caught using prohibited substances,
"we at the IAAF will accept them".
Talks on creation of three new Greek-Bulgarian border checkpoints
The creation of three new border checkpoints on the Greek-Bulgarian border
was discussed during a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Yevgeni
Bakarziev and the Greek Ambassador to Sofia Panayiotis Karakasis, according
to an announcement by the Bulgarian government's press service.
A meeting between experts from the two countries will follow to determine
the locations where the border crossings will be established.
According to the existing Greek-Bulgarian agreement, the three border
checkpoints will link the cities of Drama-Goce Delchev, Xanthi-Rudozem and
Komotini-Kerzali, while their construction must be completed by the end of
1998. The government announcement further said that the two countries will
cooperate on all infrastructure works included in the American "Sifter"
plan for southeastern Europe.
UN resolutions must be considered in seeking a Cyprus solution
Greece said yesterday that the solution being sought to the Cyprus problem
should be one which takes into consideration United Nations resolutions and
the texts of agreements reached in the past, and one which "makes use of
experience". Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement when
asked to comment on statements by NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.
Speaking Tuesday in New York, Mr. Solana did not rule out the possibility
of NATO taking a more active role to safeguard Cyprus' security in the
future, and expressed the hope that the Cyprus problem would be resolved
Mr. Reppas noted that for the first time the conditions appeared to exist
and efforts being made for a solution, while stressing that it was still
"early days" and "Greece continues to be reserved".
The spokesman strongly criticised Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for
threatening not to attend the second round of UN-sponsored negotiations in
August unless the European Union suspends its decision to start accession
talks with Cyprus.
"Mr. Denktash is compromising himself and Turkey. It appears that he lacks
the will to contribute to a settlement," Mr. Reppas said. The spokesman
added that Mr. Denktash's statements were tantamount to blackmailing the EU
"because when the decisions were taken about the accession procedure for
Cyprus, the situation on the island was known".
"The decisions of the EU are not subject to any revocation or dilution due
to the statements of Mr. Denktash, whose only task is to contribute to a
solution of the Cyprus problem," Mr. Reppas said.
Tsohatzopoulos underlines Greece's stabilising role in the region
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday underlined the
stabilising role played by Greece in the Balkans, the eastern Mediterranean
and the Black Sea region, contrasting it with Turkey which, he said,
because of its expansionist policy was a destabilising factor in the
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was commenting on the decisions taken at Wednesday's
Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) concerning
defence policy and the new structure of the armed forces.
"Greece is in favour of peace and cooperation with the countries of the
region and adheres to international treaties and agreements (which ensure)
the inviolability of and precisely determine its borders," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos charged that Turkey was aspiring to secure the free
movement of its warplanes and ships in international space in the
"For this reason, Ankara put forward a proposal according to which it would
not be obliged to submit flight plans for its aircraft, as it is legally
obliged by international conventions, but for recognition to be accomplished
by means of the Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system," he said,
stressing that Greece had rejected the proposal.
Albanian police receive final shipment of Greek aid
The Albanian police has received the second and final shipment of useful
material sent in by the Greek government to assist in its re-organisation.
Material sent to the neighbouring country includes police cars and
motorbikes, bullet-proof vests, clothing and office equipment.
The equipment was transported to the port of Durres aboard the Hellenic
Navy tank-landing ship "Samos". It will be used by the Tirana and Vlore
police for the re-organisation of the Interior Ministry, the restoration of
public order and a return to norm al life.
During the delivery ceremony, Albanian government officials thanked the
Greek government for its contribution. They said it was the first step in
the difficult task of restoring order in the country.
Premier Simitis meets IOC and IAAF officials
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday had an acquaintance meeting with
the members of the International Olympic Committe (IOC) and the Executive
Committee of the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) who are
currently in Greece in view of today's official opening of the 6th IAAF
World Athletics Championships.
Present at the meeting were IOC chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch, IAAF
chairman Primo Nebiolo, government ministers, the mayor of Athens Dimitris
Avramopoulos and the chairman of Athens' bidding committee for the 2004
Olympics Gianna Aggelopoulou-Daskalaki.
Earlier, Mr. Simitis had a similar meeting with the chairman of the
Publishers Association of Mexico and former UPI news agency head Mario
Vaskes Rania, who is also an IOC member.
OTE technical support for IAAF Championships
The administration and staff of the Greek Telecommunications Organisation
(OTE) believe the 6th IAAF World Athletics Championships will be successful,
or at least as far as technical support is concerned.
OTE has actively contributed to national efforts towards this direction by
having worked hard during the past few months to install all necessary
additional lines required for communication at the Athens Olympic Sports
Complex (OAKA). The extra services installed by OTE personnel include a
modern digital network of 2,500 lines at OAKA, 500 local and international
voice and data circuits, 60 TV optic fibre circuits, 120 ISDN lines and a
number of cordless communication centres. Of course, some OTE staff will
work around the clock during the top athletics meeting.
Alexandria patriarch hails IAAF World Championships
On the occasion of the 6th IAAF World Championships in Athens, the Pope and
Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros addressed a message hailing
the start "of this event of historical significance with feelings of
happiness and national pride."
"Sport and the stadium in general is the most ideal way of rapprochement
among peoples and for the downfall of the walls of racism and chauvinism,"
the message said.
"Our Church has been experiencing the significance of athletics since the
day it was established. The teaching of the Gospel is a continuous
exhortation for noble contest and obtaining spiritual targets," it
The message concluded that through athletics and sports of all kinds the
character of man is revealed and relations between peoples, races and
countries are forged.
Kaklamanakis completes the first-ever windsurf run of the Aegean
Olympic gold medallist Nikos Kaklamanis arrived at Iraklion early yesterday
evening on his windsurf board, having completed the last leg of a trip that
began at Sounion on Wednesday.
He was welcomed by nearly 3,000 people, some of whom waded enthusiastically
into the sea to greet him, local officials, and Development Minister Vasso
Papandreou, who had also seen him off on Wednesday.
Mr. Kaklamanakis set off from Sounion mid-day Wednesday on a run to Crete
to publicise Athens' bid for the 2004 Olympic Games.
On the first day, he covered 120 nautical miles to the island of Santorini,
where he stayed overnight, in little under nine hours.
Yesterday he set off from Ammoudi beach and reached Karteros beach, near
Iraklion, at 19:20, ha-ving covered 80 nautical miles in 6 hours and 40
In statements following the completion of the trip, the first time such an
attempt has been made on a windsurf board, Mr. Kaklamanakis said, "I'm very
touched. I did it for the sake of Greece, not for myself. I'm especially
touched by the enthusiasm people showed here at Iraklio on welcoming
Mrs. Papandreou expressed Greece's pride in his accomplishment, and said
that "his achievement is very important because it highlights the Aegean
and the ancient Greek spirit, important elements in terms of our bid for
the 2004 Olympics".
She added, "We are grateful to Nikos Kaklamanakis for his great achievement,
his daring, his courage and his love for Greece".
Search reveals more illegal immigrants on ship
Port authorities which towed a Ukrainian-flagged ship found adrift off
Euboea, yesterday discovered in their final count a tota l of 314 illegal
immigrants of various nationalities, mostly Iraqis and Pakistanis,
including 40 children.
The ship "Sochol" was towed to Palea Fokea, Attica, late yesterday.
The authorities had originally counted close to 180 people, but further
search into the ship's hold revealed more people.
Children and their mothers were sent to hospitals and the rest lodged at
immigrant police stations, until they are all repatriated. The children,
ranging in ages from four months to 12 years, were found to be in a state
Fishermen at Palea Fokea, the merchant marine ministry and the city of
Athens have sent supplies, mainly food and milk, to the immigrants.
Two Turkish nationals found on the ship among the immigrants are being
questioned by the port authorities on suspicion of being crew members who
did not manage to escape with the captain of the ship.
The ship had left Izmir and was heading for Italy when it suffered engine
Important findings in Konitsa excavations
A group of Greek archaeologists conducting excavations in the Voidomatis
river bed in Konitsa has made important findings proving that the clifftops
near the Vikos gorge had been populated about 15,000 years ago. The
inhabitants were mainly occupied with hunting small wild goats and red deer,
primarily in the hot months of the year. Sea shells were also discovered
which shows that they descended to the beaches in winter and that they used
the shells for jewellery. Past excavations made in the area by British
archaeologists had also led to important findings concerning the paleolithic
era. The excavations will continue throughout August.
Light cloud is forecast for the whole of the country today, and sporadic
showers over high-ground mainland regions are expected in the afternoon.
Winds will be northerly, mostly moderate, becoming very strong locally in
the Aegean, but abating later. Athens will be cloudy, with temperatures 22-
33 C, while rain is possible in Thessaloniki, particularly at night, with
temperatures 20-32 C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.168
Pound sterling 464.931 Cyprus pd 528.339
French franc 45.963 Swiss franc 187.443
German mark 154.960 Italian lira (100) 15.881
Yen (100) 240.213 Canadian dlr. 205.840
Australian dlr. 211.127 Irish Punt 414.160
Belgian franc 7.504 Finnish mark 51.993
Dutch guilder 137.576 Danish kr. 40.690
Swedish kr. 35.668 Norwegian kr. 37.353
Austrian sch. 22.037 Spanish peseta 1.836
Port. Escudo 1.534