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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-05

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 05/08/1997 (ANA)


  • Continental shelf "most substantial" Greek-Turkish difference
  • Main opposition terms Turkish premier's claims as `outrageous`
  • Veteran left-wing politican Giannaros dies
  • Government delegation to Albania
  • Athens '97 World Athletics Championships
  • IAAF's highest distinction awarded to President Stephanopoulos
  • Turkish Commerce Chamber delegation in Mytilene
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Continental shelf "most substantial" Greek-Turkish difference

The "most substantial" difference between Greece and Turkey is the Aegean continental shelf, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said, calling on Ankara either to take the Imia islet issue to the International Court at The Hague or abandon its claims.

In an exclusive interview to the US magazine "Newsweek" dated August 11, Premier Simitis refers mostly to Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.

Following is the full interview:

Do you see Greek-Turkish relations improving after the Madrid Communique, the nonaggression pact signed by the two countries at last month's NATO summit?

"In Madrid, Turkey and Greece made a declaration that no threats of war or use of force will be made and that differences will be settled peacefully. This is a tremendous step: we want to follow up on that. We must find a solution to the most substantial difference that we have with Turkey -- the continental shelf."

Why is delineating the extent of the continental shelf from Greece's coastline so crucial?

"In the continental shelf you can exploit minerals. Probably there is oil."

Are you thinking of reducing your arms buildup as a result of the communique?

"We will continue arms purchases because since 1985 Turkey has considerably increased its armament -- we are at a disadvantage."

Do you favor confidence-building measures between Greece and Turkey, such as a hot line between the two militaries?

"Yes, we are in favor of them. We have made two proposals not accepted by Turkey. First, no military exercises in the Aegean Sea during the summer months. The second is the monitoring of military flights over the Aegean by NATO."

Do you expect a breakthrough over the disputed Aegean Sea island of Imia/Kardak?

"I hope there is a breakthrough. I need a statement from the Turks that they will refer the matter to the International Court or to say they don't persist in their claims."

If the Imia dispute is solved, will Greece release its veto over European Union funds owed Turkey?

"If [Turkish Prime Minister] Mesut Yilmaz says clearly he refers the matter to the International Court, he will get the money."

Will you agree to a meeting of Turkish and Greek experts -- the so-called wise men?

"If an agreement is reached concerning specific procedures to be adhered to, then the 'wise men' will be able to meet."

Why did the Greek Cypriots escalate the arms race by purchasing missiles from Russia?

"On the Turkish side of Cyprus there are about 50,000 Turkish soldiers. And there is a threat that they will occupy the whole of the island. So after 23 years of Turkish occupation of part of Cyprus, I think the Greeks have the right to buy the arms necessary to counter such an invasion."

Does the success of your relations with Turkey depend on resolving the Cyprus issue?

"There are two different subjects: Greek-Turkey relations and the Cyprus question. The Greek-Turkey relations are a Greek- Turkish matter. The Cyprus problem is an international problem. It concerns a third state, and the problem is the foreign occupation of that state. Naturally, the solution of the Cyprus problem will create a better climate for Greek-Turkish relations. But they are not connected."

Will Greece veto the admission of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to the EU if Cyprus is not admitted?

"It's too early to say. I will use all possible means in the European Union [to support Cyprus]."

Do you think Turkey should be in the EU?

"Turkey cannot be a member of the EU with open problems in the Aegean and on Cyprus."

Do you have any impressions of Yilmaz? Surely you prefer him to [former prime minister] Necmettin Erbakan and his Islamist Refah party?

"I'm not so sure. Mr. Erbakan was not interested in the Aegean. The Islamists basically wanted Turkey to play a prime role in Asia among the Muslim countries there. So they were not so interested in the Aegean and Cyprus."

In an introduction to the interview headlined "A Tremendous Step -- What Greece's Simitis wants from Turkey", the magazine said that following 18 months in office, Mr. Simitis "has done away with the anti-American stance that prevailed under legendary former prime minister Andreas Papandreou. Today the professor of law is working with the United States to settle his country's most pressing problem -- relations with neighbor Turkey".

Main opposition terms Turkish premier's claims as `outrageous`

The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party yesterday described as "outrageous" statements by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz who claimed that international law could not be applied in the Aegean Sea.

"These statements illustrate once again that Turkey remains incurably provocative and intransigent," ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said.

"The Turkish premier is interpreting the Madrid joint communique in his own way and in effect disputing it," he added.

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel signed a joint communique on Greek-Turkish relations at the recent NATO summit in Madrid.

The ND spokesman noted that Mr.Yilmaz had made the statement at the very same time that Mr. Simitis was talking about compromise and trying to convince public opinion that the strategy of the neighbouring country had changed.

Veteran left-wing politican Giannaros dies

Veteran left-wing politician Grigoris Giannaros died at dawn today at the age of 63 after a lengthy illness. He will be buried tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at Athens' First Cemetery, the Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) announced today.

Giannaros, a former MP for Athens and member of the Synaspismos Central Committee, was born in April 1936 in Salmoni, Ileia prefecture. An economist, he studied economic sciences at the Athens Higher School of Economic and Commerce Sciences (ASOEE), with post-graduate studies at the Moscow Academy of Sciences.

Married to Sonia Tsitilou and the father of one son, Giannaros served as Alternate Industry Minister from November 1989 to February 1990 in the ecumenical government under Xenophon Zolotas.

He was first elected to Parliament in the June 1989 elections for the Athens B' district and re-elected in November 1989, while in the April 1990 electins he was elected MP for the Athens A' district.

In August 1989 Giannaros served as the Synaspismos representative on the Parliamentary fact-finding commission into alleged financial mishandling in the so-called "purchase of the century" -- the 1986 purchase of 40 Mirage- 2000 jetfighters from France and another 40 F-16 fighter planes from the U.S. -- and in September 1989 was elected in a secret ballot in Parliament as alternate prosecutor in the Special Court investigating the accountability of former ministers and PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou in the Koskotas banking scandal during the preceding PASOK government. Papandreou passed away last year.

Government delegation to Albania

A seven-member government delegation headed by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos leaves for Tirana today in an effort to place Greek-Albanian relations on a new footing following recent general elections in the neighbouring country.

Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, who is part of the delegation, told ANA yesterday the success of this visit would constitute a landmark in the history of Greek-Albanian relations.

It will be the first visit by a foreign minister to Tirana since the general elections in June and comes just five days after the international community agreed at a meeting in Rome to provide economic aid to Albania.

The one-day meeting was attended by delegations from 35 countries and international organisations and will be followed by a larger conference on Albania's future again in Italy sometime in the autumn.

Among the issues to be discussed between the government of Fatos Nano and the Greek delegation are the despatch of advisers and equipment for the re- organisation of the Albanian army, the guarding of the common border also on the Albanian side and the liberalisation of education through the granting of permits for the operation of private schools.

The Greek delegation is also expected to confirm Athens' intention to expedite a promised loan of 20 million dollars and its continued support within the European Union for the granting of Community economic assistance to Albania.

Lastly, the two sides will exchange the relevant diplomatic notes for the entry into force of the agreement signed providing for the seasonal employment of Albanians in Greece.

At the same time, there is expected to be a broad discussion about the issue of illegal immigrants in Greece.

In addition to Mr. Pangalos, participating in the Greek delegation will be Public Order Minister George Romeos, National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, National Economy Undersecretary Alexandros Baltas, Public Works Undersecretary Dimitris Verelis and Labour Undersecretary Christos Protopappas.

Speaking in Thessaloniki, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos described as "a good beginning" the delegation's visit to Albania today.

"It is perfectly natural that a Greek government delegation should visit and talk with our neighbours, for whom we have the best feelings and with whom we maintain relations of longstanding friendship and economic, social and cultural cooperation," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, replying to reporters questions.

Athens '97 World Athletics Championships

Australia, the Czech Republic and France got their first gold medals in yesterday's third day of the Athens '97 World Athletics Championships, while Germany added another one. Silver medals went to Jamaica, Romania, South Africa and Britain, while the Uni ted States managed two bronze medals, adding to its leading position in the overall ratings. The Ukraine and Lithuania won the remaining two bronzes.

Australian Cathy Freeman won the women's 400 metres gold medal with a time of 49.77 seconds. Sandie Richards of Jamaica took the silver (49.79) and American Jearl Miles-Clark the bronze (49.90).

Czech Sarka Kasparkova won the world women's triple jump gold medal (15.20 metres). Rodica Mateescu of Romania took the silver (15.16) and Ukrainian Yelena Govorova the bronze (14.67).

Greece's Olga Vasdeki came fourth, breaking the panhellenic record with her 14.62.

Frenchman Stephane Diagana won the world men's 400 metres hurdles gold medal (47.70). Llewellyn Herbert of South Africa took the silver (47.86) and American Bryan Bronson the bronze (47.88).

Germany's Sabine Braun recaptured the world heptathlon title after leading the competition from start to finish, totalling 6,739 points. Denise Lewis of Britain took the silver (6,654) and Lithuanian Remigia Nazaroviene the bronze (6,566).

Double Olympic champion Michael Johnson, who was given a wild card to compete in Athens '97, secured a place in the final of the 400 metres yesterday after almost crashing out in an earlier qualifying round because of a badly-judged finish. The American defending champion, set a fast pace in the first 300 metres before relaxing in the home straight to win his semifinal in 44.37 seconds and move comfortably into todayYs final. Compatriot Jerome Young finished second, Uganda's Olympic bronze medallist Davis Kamoga third and Britain's Iwan Thomas fourth, taking the other places in the final from the second heat. Johnson was almost eliminated in the second round on Sunday after he misjudged the final metres of a heat and failed to qualify directly for the next round as one of the top three finishers. He eventually scraped through as one of the four fastest losers.

Greek champion Lambros Papakostas secured a place in the high jump finals yesterday, clearing the 2.28 metres qualifying mark in his second attempt. American Charles Austin, an Olympic champion, was eliminated after failing to clear 2.28 metres. Austin, who won the Olympic title last year with 2.39 metres, needed treatment to an injury during the qualifying round and could manage no better than 2.26 metres.

The Medals table after the third day of competition at the World Athletics Championships yesterday: United States: 2 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze; Germany: 2 gold, 1 bronze; Ukraine: 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze; Australia: 1 gold; Czech Republic: 1 gold; France: 1 gold; Mexico: 1 gold; Russia: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Canada: 1 silver; Britain: 1 silver; Jamaica: 1 silver; Romania: 1 silver; South Africa: 1 silver; Bahamas: 1 bronze; Belarus: 1 bronze; Lithuania: 1 bronze.

IAAF's highest distinction awarded to President Stephanopoulos

The President of the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) Dr. Primo Nebiolo last night awarded President Costis Stephanopoulos with the highest IAAF distinction of the Gold Medal of Honour.

President Stephanopoulos then presented Dr. Nebiolo with the medal of the Commander of the Order of Hounor at a special ceremony held at the presidential mansion.

Mr. Stephanopoulos hosted a reception in honour of the organisers of the World Athletics Championships and the members of the IAAF and IOC currently in Athens.

IOC member Prince Albert of Monaco is visiting Athens to be briefed on the Athens bid for the 2004 Olympic Games and tour the sports facilities. Five other visiting members of the IOC -- Richard Gosper (Australia), Austin Seely (Barbados), Peter Talberg (Finland), Patrick Hickey (Ireland) and Anthony Vrdoliac (Croatia) aalso visited sports facilities and were briefed on the Greek portfolio.

Turkish Commerce Chamber delegation in Mytilene

A delegation from the Chamber of Commerce of the Turkish town of Pergamum will visit Mytilene on Thursday within the framework of an initiative of Lesvos Prefecture to improve relations between the island and the opposite Turkish coast.

The visit follows a highly successful concert given by the Greek Radio and Television (ERT 3) orchestra in Pergamum as part of the same initiative.

Hospitality to the Turkish visitors will be extended for two days by the company "Hellenic Salt Works" and Lesbos Prefecture.

During their stay, they will be shown round the "Hellenic Salt Works" installations and have meetings with their chamber counterparts as well as with business people on the island.


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 the southern Aegean. Athens can expect almost fine weather with temperatures ranging between 22 and 34 degrees centigrade. Similar conditions for Thessaloniki with temperatures 19-31 degrees.


Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 290.566 Pound sterling 473.396 Cyprus pd 530.404 French franc 45.900 Swiss franc 189.669 German mark 154.727 Italian lira (100) 15.914 Yen (100) 245.242 Canadian dlr. 210.826 Australian dlr. 214.824 Irish Punt 420.255 Belgian franc 7.530 Finnish mark 52.161 Dutch guilder 138.065 Danish kr. 40.823 Swedish kr. 36.059 Norwegian kr. 37.569 Austrian sch. 22.121 Spanish peseta 1.845 Port. Escudo 1.540


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