Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-08
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 08/08/1997 (ANA)
- Clerides to enter talks with "open mind" despite provocations
- US, France displeased with Turkish partial integration agreement
- Cyprus cannot be held hostage by Turkey, EU reiterates
- Kranidiotis in talks with Libyan counterpart
- Vessel owner deposits 200 million drachma letter of guarantee
- Greek triple jump champion slightly injured in road accident
- Greece to host Optimist European sailing championship in 1999
- Neolithic finds in Serres
- Turkish town buys Greek salt from Lesvos
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Clerides to enter talks with "open mind" despite provocations
Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said despite the latest spate of Turkish
provocations, he would go to UN-sponsored talks in Switzerland "with an
open mind and desire to be constructive" with the aim of finding a solution
to the protracted Cyprus problem.
In an exclusive interview with the ANA in Nicosia, Clerides stressed that
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had for the last two years insisted
that he wanted to meet with him to discuss a Cyprus settlement, knowing
that the European Union would begin negotiations for the accession of the
island republic six months after the end of the inter-governmental
The second round of UN-sponsored talks between Clerides and Denktash begin
in Montreux, Switzerland on Monday. They are scheduled to continue until
Just five days before the talks were due to begin however, Turkey and the
Turkish-Cypriot illegal regime in the occupied north of the island signed
an agreement providing for their partial integration.
Both Nicosia and Athens have strongly attacked the accord. Clerides
described it as an attempt to provoke the Greek Cypriot side into not
attending the talks. Greece accused Turkey of undermining the peace talks,
thereby "revealing its true face".
"Mr. Denktash's reaction at the present time causes me some concern
however. I hope it does not indicate an effort to find pretexts for
concealing his and Turkey's lack of political will for a settlement of the
Cyprus problem," Clerides said.
Replying to questions on initiatives undertaken by Washington, Clerides
said the US, as the country which exercises the greatest influence on
Turkey, was expected to play "an extremely important role in persuading
Ankara to contribute to efforts to find a solution".
Clerides added that the UN Security Council, in particular its five
permanent members, as well as Russia, also had an important part to
"The same is true for the EU, since the Cyprus problem is already a
European one from the moment that Cyprus is a candidate for accession and
also given that EU member states such as Britain and Greece are directly
involved in the problem. In addition, Turkey has a customs union agreement
with the EU and is seeking to become a full member," Clerides told the
Asked whether the upcoming talks would affect Cyprus' efforts to secure EU
membership, Clerides replied:
"First of all, we Cypriots want a settlement of the Cyprus problem, the
reunification of our country and reconciliation among all Cypriots, if
possible before our accession to the EU. We are well aware that a
successful outcome to efforts for a solution would facilitate our European
course. However, the issue of Cyprus' accession to the EU is independent of
a settlement to the Cyprus problem."
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Athens today after talks with his
Libyan counterpart, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis issued a
strong warning to Turkey concerning the consequences of its recent
"Statements such as those recently made by Turkish Premier Mesut Yilmaz
(claiming that international law was not applicable in the Aegean) and the
signing of the co-operation agreement between Ankara and the Turkish-
Cypriot pseudo-state do not contribute to improving the climate between
Greece and Turkey and do not help to resolve problems," Kranidiotis
"The Greek government condemns these actions and warns Turkey that such
moves block its path to Europe," he added.
Describing the Turkish actions as "blackmail", Kranidiotis stressed that
the policy on Cyprus' accession to the EU would continue without deviation
"because this course will help resolve the Cyprus problem".
Kranidiotis said Greece had protested Turkey's recent actions at the United
Nations as well as to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council
and the EU, adding that it would raise the issue within the framework of
the Community in the next few days.
"Turkey's behaviour is not in keeping with the spirit of the Madrid joint
communique, the principles of which Greece will continue to respect. The
question is: Is Turkey willing to be bound by its own signature?,"
US, France displeased with Turkish partial integration agreement
The US State Department last night expressed its displeasure over the
partial integration agreement between Turkey and the illegal Turkish
New State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin termed the agreement as
"unuseful" adding that the US "would not want to see steps obstructing the
UN negotiating process or moving in the direction of the permanent
partition of the island."
He said the US is aware of the content of the agreement and expressed
"The US firmly supports the UN efforts for securing a settlement to the
Cyprus problem," Mr. Rubin said.
The agreement, signed Wednesday in the occupied northern part of Cyprus by
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and a Turkish Cypriot "official",
provides for an association council to work towards the partial economic
and defence integration of Turkey w ith the Turkish Cypriot regime in the
occupied northern part of the island.
Turkey has threatened it will unite the occupied north of Cyprus if the
island republic begins membership talks with the European Union. The EU
last month invited Cyprus to begin accession talks early next year along
with five central European nations.
The French government yesterday also deplored the signing of the illegal
"We believe that the association agreement counters the efforts underway
for the finding of a negotiated solution," a French foreign ministry
"France desires the reunification of Cyprus in the framework of a bi-zonal
and bi-communal federation, according to the UN Security Council resolutions,
" Yves Doutriaux, a ministry spokesman added.
Paris is asking the two sides to "contribute" to the success of the
forthcoming negotiations in Montreux, and stresses that the Cyprus problem
"must be resolved before the completion of membership negotiations" with
the island republic.
Cyprus cannot be held hostage by Turkey, EU reiterates
The European Union yesterday said accession talks with the Cyprus Republic
would start in 1998 reiterating that Cyprus could not be held hostage by
"Membership negotiations with Cyprus will begin within 1998, together with
the five countries of central and eastern Europe," a European Commission
spokesman told the ANA when asked to comment on the partial integration
The EU Commission spokesman clarified that the presidency of the Council of
Ministers and the Commission had no knowledge of the text of the illegal
agreement, and stressed that "the continuation of intercommunal talks and
the finding of a just and viab le solution to the Cyprus problem is of the
utmost priority for the European Commission". Concluding, the spokesman
provided a reminder of External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek's
recent statement that "Cyprus cannot be held hostage by Turkey" a nd that
negotiations will begin as scheduled.
Kranidiotis in talks with Libyan counterpart
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis had talks today with his
visiting Libyan counterpart Abdelaati el Obeidi focusing on preparations
for the forthcoming meeting of the joint committee for bilateral co-
After the talks, Kranidiotis announced that a committee would visit Libya
in September to examine the issue of outstanding debts to Greek companies,
mainly in the construction sector, while a Libyan committee would come to
Greece to explore possibilities for closer co-operation in the economic,
transport and trade sectors.
The Libyan minister said he had briefed Kranidiotis on the difficulties
faced by his country resulting from the sanctions imposed by the UN
Security Council following the Lockerbie incident.
A total of 270 people died in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over
the Scottish village of Lockerbie. A lengthy international investigation
concluded that Libya was responsible for the attack.
He also reiterated Libya's support for "the independence of Cyprus, the
freedom of its territory and the special role it can play in the region".
Vessel owner deposits 200 million drachma letter of guarantee
The company which owns the "Sea Symphony", the passenger ship which earlier
this week struck a submersible bridge in the Corinth Canal, today deposited
a letter of guarantee for 200 million drachmas in order to be allowed to
continue its voyage.
The Maltese-flagged ship hit one side of the bridge on Wednesday, causing
structural damage which has closed a popular short-cut with drivers heading
for the nearby casino at Loutraki or Athens from the northern Peloponese.
There were no injuries among the crew and mainly Turkish passengers of the
vessel, which had set out from Turkey with destination Italy.
The Corinth Canal management company said the company which owns the vessel,
which is now docked in Corinth port, would have to deposit the letter of
guarantee before being allowed to sail. In addition, it will also have to
produce a certificate of seaworthiness issued by the ship's registry to
which the vessel belongs.
The company today deposited the letter of guarantee with a competent
On the initiative of the company, the ship's 109 passengers have already
been transported to Patras in order to continue their voyage to Italy.
Greek triple jump champion slightly injured in road accident
Greece's women's triple jump chamion, Olga Vasdeki, placed fourth in the
final of the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Athens, was slightly
injured today in a road accident.
Vasdeki was leaving the Athens Olympic Stadium on a motorcycle driven by
her trainer and fiance, Panagiotis Markianidis. For reasons yet unknown the
motorcyle overturned slightly injuring Vasdeki.
The athlete was taken to the Stadium clinic for first aid treatment.
Greece to host Optimist European sailing championship in 1999
Greece will host the Optimist European sailing championship in 1999,
putting Greece on the map as a centre for international sailing events. In
a vote to decide on the host for 1999, Greece got 16 "yes" votes and 4 "no"
Neolithic finds in Serres
Excavations by archaeologists working in the ruins of a neolithic
settlement near Promachonas, Serres in northern Greece have revealed parts
of walls with wooden frames, ovens, pottery and benches dating back to 5000
The excavations are being conducted jointly by Greek and Bulgarian
archaeologists, since the settlement spans the border between the two
According to the director of the Kavala Department of Classical and
Prehistoric Antiquities, the find is particularly significant since it
reveals a great deal about the cultural relations which developed between
the Aegean and the Balkan region.
Turkish town buys Greek salt from Lesvos
Businessmen in Pergamum, Turkey will buy 2,000 tons of salt from the
Hellenic Saltworks SA at Polychnitos, on the island of Lesvos, the
company's general manager, Dionyssis Xenos, said yesterday.
Mr. Xenos welcomed the businessmen on the island and said the only pending
issue was the cost of transporting the salt to Dikeli, five miles from
Lesvos, before the agreement was signed.
He said it was expected to be done by the end of August.
Late yesterday delegations from the chambers of trade from Dikeli and
Lesvos met and discussed possibilities of further trade. They will also
finalise their business exchanges during the reciprocated visit of Lesvos
chamber representatives to Dikeli in September.
The Turkish side also expressed interest in know-how for mild sources of
energy, and looked into Greek proposals for oil, containers to freeze fish,
and insulating materials among others.
Fair weather is expected over most of the country, except central and
northern regions which are likely to experience rain and storms. Athens
will be sunny, with northerly winds and clouds in the afternoon, and
temperatures from 23 to 35 C, while Thessaloniki will be mostly cloudy and
possible showers in the afternoon and temperatures of 21-32C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 292.968
Pound sterling 469.009 Cyprus pd 531.939
French franc 46.167 Swiss franc 191.235
German mark 155.736 Italian lira (100) 15.924
Yen (100) 246.787 Canadian dlr. 210.746
Australian dlr. 215.267 Irish Punt 420.275
Belgian franc 7.540 Finnish mark 52.243
Dutch guilder 138.244 Danish kr. 40.869
Swedish kr. 36.209 Norwegian kr. 37.884
Austrian sch. 22.133 Spanish peseta 1.844
Port. Escudo 1.538