Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-04
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 04/08/1997 (ANA)
- Greek troops return from Albania
- Greek ministerial delegation to Tirana
- US dominates in track and field at World Championships in Athens
- Delivery of modern weapons system
- Greece second safest country in Europe for tourists
- Athens mayor meets counterparts of 2004 Olympics candidate cities
- Premier begins summer vacations, takes file on problems with him
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greek troops return from Albania
The largest part of the Greek contigent which participated in the
multinational peace force in Albania returned home yesterday, while a seven-
member Greek government delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos leaves tomorrow for an official visit to Tirana.
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday morning welcomed,
during a special ceremony in the port of Thessaloniki, 278 officers and non-
commissioned officers of the Greek army ELDAL (Greek Force for Albania)
unit who arrived at 9.30 am, aboard Navy transport ships "Samos" and
About seventy troops are still in Albania and are expected to return home
by August 10. The first company of the Greek force arrived in the
neighbouring country in mid-April. The multinational force's task was to
help restore normality in Albania and as sist towards the holding of
democratic elections. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos conveyed the government's
congratulations for successfully carrying out their mission, stressing that
"the fact that you have all returned, is the greatest joy for us".
In reference to the mission, the defence minister said that "the presence
and initiatives of the Greek force made possible the holding of free and
democratic elections in Albania, justifying the (soldiers') choice for
taking part in the mission and the G reek people's support for it and thus
opening the way for Greek armed forces to assume a role of 'ambassador of
peace' in countries faced with long crises, instability and anomaly, and
confirming Greece's role as a factor of peace, stability and cooperati on
in the Balkans".
The minister made reference to the human dimension of the mission, saying
that the men of ELDAL offered more than just protection with "the unique
and spontaneous connection" they made with the Albanian people, through the
solidarity developed between Gr eek soldiers, Albanian citizens and the
Greek ministerial delegation to Tirana
The Greek positions concerning all outstanding issues between Greece and
Albania are expected to be the focus of a series of meetings with the new
government in Tirana, during an official visit to Albania by a seven-member
Greek government delegation, starting tomorrow, headed by Foreign Minister
The foreign minister will be accompanied by Public Order Minister George
Romeos, as well as undersecretaries of foreign affairs Yiannos Kranidiotis,
defence Dimitris Apostolakis, national economy Alexandros Baltas, public
works Christos Verelis and labo ur Christos Protopappas. The top issue in
the agenda of discussions is believed to be the issue of illegal Albanian
immigrants in Greece, who are currently estimated at 200 to 300 thousand.
The discussion of the issue seems to be timely, as an interstate agreement
on seasonal work by Albanians in Greece is expected to be put into effect.
It is also expected that GreeceYs Labour Ministry will soon announce
regulations, contained in Presidential Decrees, regarding the granting of
six- to nine-month visas to foreigners.
Another issue to be examined during the Greek delegation's meetings with
Albania's new government is the need to reorganise the country's police, as
well as the need for cooperation between the two countries' police forces
in order to effectively deal with crimes committed in Greece by Albanians,
both in the inland and in border regions. The Greek delegation will ask
Albanian officials to provide them with a list of escapees from Albanian
prisons in the past months.
As far as the issue of education is concerned, which mainly affects the
Greek minority living in the neighbouring country, Greece will put forward
a demand relating to the establishment of private Greek schools, which in
turn requires an overall moderni sation of the Albanian educational
Finally, the Greek delegation will discuss the terms under which Greece
will go ahead with the granting of a loan to Albania reaching $ 20
Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo said yesterday that he considers his
Greek counterpart's visit to Tirana as the expresssion of the will and
desire of the Greek government to support Albania and its people.
He said that the visit is within the "spirit" of the new government's
policy statement voted by the Albanian Parliament last week, which refers
to relations with neihbouring countries as a conrnerstone of Albanian
foreign policy. "We evaluate these rela tions based on a variety of factors,
not just geographical and historical".
US dominates in track and field at World Championships in Athens
The United States dominated in yesterday's track and field events,
collecting two gold medals during the second day of the Athens '97 World
Athletics Championships. American Maurice Greene last night upset
favourites Ato Bolton and defending champion Donovan Bailey to win the
menYs 100 metres gold medal in 9.86 seconds.
Donovan Bailey of Canada took the silver in 9.91 seconds and American Tim
Montgomery the bronze with 9.94.
American Marion Jones won the womenYs 100 metres gold medal in 10.83
seconds. Zhanna Pintussevich of the Ukraine took the silver in 10.85 and
Bahamian Sevatheda Fynes took the bronze medal in 11.03 seconds.
German Heinz Weis won the hammer gold medal with 81.78 metres yesterday.
Before his final attempt, Weis was second to Ukainian Andrei Skvaruk.
Skvaruk had been seemingly out of medal contention but in his final thow
took the lead with 81.46 metres, winning the silver medal.
Russian Vasiliy Sidorenko took the bronze with 80.76 metres.
In the shot put finals, on Saturday, Ukrainian veteran Aleksandr Bagach won
his first world title with 21.47 metres, after a close battle with
defending champion Jonh Godina.
American Godina took the silver with 21.44 metres and Oliver-Sven Buder of
Germany won bronze with 21.24 metres.
Mexican Daniel Garcia won the menYs 20 kms walk gold medal on Saturday,
while Russian Mikhail Shchennikov took the silver and Mikhail Khmelnitsky
of Belarus the bronze. Medals table after yesterday's second day of
competition: United States: 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze; Ukraine: 1 gold, 2
silver; Germany: 1 gold, 1 bronze; Mexico: 1 gold; Russia: 1 silver, 1
bronze; Canada: 1 silver; Belarus: 1 bronze; Bahamas: 1 bronze.
Russia's double Olympic champion Svetlana Masterkova left the world
championships area on a stretcher yesterday after pulling up with a leg
injury in the womenYs 1,500 metres semifinals.
Masterkova, who dominated the 800 and 1,500 metres at last yearYs Atlanta
Olympics, pulled up in the last 100 metres of the heat and hobbled over the
line in last place.
The Russian, who looked far from her best in the first round on Saturday,
was carried away on a stretcher.
Greece's sprinters Angelos Pavlakakis and Katerina Thanou made a brave
effort but failed to reach the finals of the 100 m. race.
Pavlakakis came sixth in the semi-finals, clocking 10.29 seconds. Thanou,
who also failed to be among the fist four places which would have given her
the ticket for the finals, timed 11.34 seconds.
Greece's athletes did not perform well in the morning events, except for
javelin thrower Kostas Gatzioudis, who in his first attempt threw the
javelin 83 metres and 32 centimetres and qualified for today's final.
In the long jump, Kostas Koukodimos and Dimitris Hatzopoulos did not meet
the required standard set for entry into the finals.
Costas Mamoulides failed to go beyond the preliminary stage of the 400
Delivery of modern weapons system
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday attended a ceremony
in the port of Thessaloniki, to mark the delivery of a modern weapons
Addressing military and civil officials at the delivery of nine US-made
MLRS missile launchers, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that reinforcing Greece's
defence capability ensures that no-one will dare dispute the nation's
The defence minister stressed that with the modern weaponry its military is
acquiring, Greece is sending out the message that it is a force of security
and stability in the region. Yesterday's delivery concludes the formation
of the MLRS Multiple Lau nchers Battalion, originally established in 1995
after the delivery of the first nine launchers. The procurement contract
with the US was signed in 1995 and their total cost rises to 27 billion
drachmas. Army Chief of Staff Manousos Paragioudakis said t hat the MLRS is
considered one of the most advanced weapon systems in the world and is
widely used in NATO defence forces.
The mobile launchers are based on all-terrain vehicles and feature fully
automated launching procedures. Their capability to launch 12 missiles
simultaneously, is equivalent to the fire power of 90, 155 mm artillery
guns. Their range at the moment is 32 kilometres but it will increase to
165 and later to 300 with ammunition upgrades.
Greece second safest country in Europe for tourists
Greece is the second safest country in Europe for tourists, according to
research carried out by the French insurers' Centre of Documentation and
Portugal was the first country among European states, with two reports for
theft per 1,000 residents. Greece has an average of four thefts per 1,000
residents, while Spain and France ranked third and fourth with six and
eight thefts respectively.
Apart from Italy which is not contained in the report by the French centre,
Belgium and Sweden have an average of 16 thefts reported per 1,000
residents, while Germany has 18, Finland 19, Denmark 20, Britain 27, and
finally, Holland 37.
Athens mayor meets counterparts of 2004 Olympics candidate cities
Mayor of Athens Dimitris Aramopoulos yesterday met at his office his
counterparts of Rome, Stockholm and Cape Town, which are candidate cities --
along with Athens and Buenos Aires -- for the 2004 Olympic Games.
During the meeting, which was also attended by the president of the
International Olympic Committee (IOC), Juan Antonio Samaranch, the four
mayors exchanged views on the progress of the bidding process for the 2004
Mr. Avramopoulos had another meeting on Saturday with Mr. Samaranch, after
which the IOC president told reporters that the opening ceremony of the
"6th IAAF World Athletics Championships" in Athens, was one of the best he
had ever attended.
The IOC president also referred to recent changes in the city of Athens,
saying "I can now see a different city. I believe it will become even
better in future. The Athens Metro, the Spata airport and other major
projects currently underway will turn A thens into an ancient - modern
Premier begins summer vacations, takes file on problems with him
Prime Minister Costas Simitis left Athens yesterday for his summer vacation
on the Cyclades island of Siphnos, but took with him the "files" containing
the countries serious problems in the areas of domestic and foreign policy.
In the past few days, the prime minister has had successive deliberations
with government ministers and his aides, in order to have a fuller picture
of the country's course and future prospects.
Among the issues Mr. Simitis will consider during his vacation are also
those relating to likely changes in the government -- although such changes
have been denied -- as well as the function of the PASOK party.
Today the weather is expected to be fine throughout the country, with some
cloud developing in the north, later in the day. Mild northerly winds are
forecast, strong in parts of the Aegean. Athens can expect almost fine
weather with temperatures ranging between 22 and 33 degrees centigrade.
Similar conditions for Thessaloniki with temperatures 19-29C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.577
Pound sterling 468.819 Cyprus pd 528.339
French franc 45.900 Swiss franc 188.678
German mark 154.727 Italian lira (100) 15.862
Yen (100) 240.362 Canadian dlr. 207.130
Australian dlr. 212.119 Irish Punt 414.358
Belgian franc 7.495 Finnish mark 51.830
Dutch guilder 137.362 Danish kr. 40.614
Swedish kr. 35.722 Norwegian kr. 37.319
Austrian sch. 21.991 Spanish peseta 1.833
Port. Escudo 1.531