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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-09

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, 09/08/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Cyprus President to participate in UN talks `with an open mind`
  • Athens `97 world athletics championships
  • Greek Foreign Undersecretary cautions Turkey over recent acts
  • White House criticises Turkish partial integration agreement
  • Yugoslav FM in Athens on Monday
  • Top athletes express support for Athens' 2004 Olympics bid
  • Greece calls for energy proposals in Dr 73 bln programme
  • OTE to launch mobile phone system in September
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Cyprus President to participate in UN talks `with an open mind`

Cypriot 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 Athens News Agency, Mr. 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 conference.

The second round of UN-sponsored talks between Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash begin in Montreux, Switzerland on Monday. They are scheduled to continue until August 16.

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 -- recognised only by Turkey -- signed an agreement providing for their partial integration. Both Nicosia and Athens have strongly attacked the accord, as have the European Union and the United States. Mr. 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," the Cypriot President said.

Replying to questions on initiatives undertaken by Washington, Mr. 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". Mr. Clerides added that the UN Security Council, "in particular its five permanent members and of course Russia" also had an important part to play.

"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," Mr. Clerides told the ANA.

Greece, Turkey and Britain were the three guarantor powers of Cyprus' independence under the 1960 treaty of establishment of the Cyprus Republic.

Mr. Clerides also said it was "premature" to consider procedures like the one used at Dayton (to solve the Bosnian crisis) or Camp David (to restore relations between Egypt and Israel), to solve the Cyprus problem. Asked whether the upcoming talks would affect Cyprus' efforts to secure EU membership, Mr. 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."

Athens `97 world athletics championships

The seventh day of the IAAF championships brought a new series of surprises, topped by Nezhna Bidouane, an athlete little known outside Morocco, who won the women's 400 metres hurdles by leaving Olympic champion Deon Hemmings and defending champion Kim Batten behind. Jamaica's Merlene Ottey, a veteran of world events, placed third in the women's 200 metres final, while Denmark's Wilson Kipketer, once a member of Kenya's team, sweetened last year's exclusion from the Atlanta games by winning a gold in the men's 800 metres, retaining his world title in the same event.

Trinidad's Ato Boldon sealed the first world title of his career yesterday when he destroyed a high-class men's 200 metres field.

Boldon, who was disappointed at finishing fifth in the 100 metres after complaining of muscle problems in his legs, came off the bend in front and stretched his lead over the last 100 metres to win by some five metres. The Olympic bronze medallist could afford the luxury of raising his arms up in triumph as he crossed the line in 20.04 seconds.

Namibia's former world champion Frankie Fredericks, who finished second at the last championships in 1995, took the silver again in 20.23 with Brazilian Claudinei Da Silva third in 20.26.

Wilson Kipketer of Denmark missed out on a world record but still easily retained his world 800 metres title with an assured victory in one minute 43.38 seconds. Norberto Tellez of Cuba took the silver in 1:44.00 with American Rich Kenah running a lifetime best of 1:44.25 to take the bronze. Norwegian Olympic champion Bebjoern Rodal was never in contention and finished fifth.

Kenyan-born Kipketer missed out on the Atlanta Olympics last year because of a wrangle betwen the Kenyan federation and his adopted Denmark.

Cuban Yoelvis Quesada upstaged the Olympic and world champions yesterday by winning the world men's triple jump title with a second round effort of 17.85 metres. The jump was the best performance in the world this year and also a Cuban national record for Quesada, who turned 24 on Monday. Britain's 1995 world champion Jonathan Edwards leaped 17.69 in the final round to secure the silver medal but it was not enough to retain his title. American Olympic champion Kenny Harrison never captured his best form and finished in ninth place. Aliecer Urrutia, also from Cuba, won the bronze medal with 17.64.

Greece's Christos Meletoglou ranked seventh, with a jump of 17.12, breaking a 16-year-old Greek record. The old record of 17.04 was made by Dimitris Michas during the Balkan Games of 1981 in Sarajevo.

Morocco's Nezha Bidouane pulled off one of the biggest shocks of the world championships yesterday with a dramatic late run to win the women's 400 metres hurdles final. After hitting the home stretch several strides away from Olympic champion Deon Hemmings of Jamaica and defending champion Kim Batten of the U.S., the Moroccan produced a remarkable last 100 metres and pipped Hemmings on the line with a late burst after the final hurdle. Bidouane, who has never done anything of significance at a major championship before, finished in 52.97 seconds with Hemmings second in 53.09. World record holder Batten hung on for third in 53.52.

Zhanna Pintussevich ended Merlene Ottey's four-year's reign as world 200 metres champion yesterday then expressed astonishment that she had grabbed the gold from the Jamaican's grasp.

"With 20 metres to go I started to realise I could win, and then thought, 'oh no, this is not possible'," said the 25-year-old Ukrainian who also won silver in the 100.

What happened was that Ottey probably ran out of gas in the last few strides after leading for most of the race and faded to third behind Susanthika Jayasinghe who won Sri Lanka's first ever medal in a major athletic championship.

Despite that, Ottey won her 34th medal in a major championship and added to her own record of 13 world championships medals. She has won at least one medal at every world champinship since they began in 1983.

Ottey was first away and led the race around the bend, but gradually began to tie up.

Pintussevich caught her with 10 metres to run and Jayasinghe came through in the last few metres to steal second place. Pintussevich clocked 22.32, Jayasinghe 22.39 and Ottey 22.40.

Greece's Nike Bakoyianni was eliminated during the heats yesterday for the women's high jump final scheduled for tomorrow.

Bakoyianni had given an impressive performance during the Atlanta Olympic Games last year, finishing in second place and giving Greece its first Olympic medal in the high jump, placing second after Bulgaria's gold medallist Stefka Konstantinova, who did not participate this year because of an injury.

World championships races of people on wheelchairs also took place as part of the events at the Olympic Stadium, in the women's 800 metres and in the men's 1,500 metres.

In the women's 800 metres wheelchair, the gold went to Australia's Louise Sauvage, with a time of 1 minute 52.11 seconds, the silver to Canada's Chantal Peticlerc with 1:52.49 and the bronze to Britain's Tanni Grey, with 1:56.46. Of the eight entries, Greece's Irene Kourouvani completed the race at 3:07.83, placing eighth.

The men, in the 1,500 metres wheelchair, also included eight entrants, of whom Mexico's Saul Mendoza won the gold with 3 minutes 06.30 seconds, Switzerland's Heinz Frei the silver with 3:06.42, and his compatriot Franz Nietlispach won the bronze with 3: 06.43. Greece's entry, Tasos Vardaxoglou, did not finish the race.

Medals table after the seventh day of competition at the World Athletics Championships on Friday: United States: 5 gold, 2 silver, 7 bronze Germany: 3 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze Cuba: 3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze Kenya: 2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze Morocco: 2 gold, 1 bronze Czech Republic: 2 gold Ukraine: 1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze Poland: 1 gold, 1 silver Portugal: 1 gold, 1 silver South Africa: 1 gold, 1 silver Australia: 1 gold, 1 bronze Mexico: 1 gold, 1 bronze Denmark: 1 gold Ethiopia: 1 gold France: 1 gold Italy: 1 gold New Zealand: 1 gold Trinidad: 1 gold Britain: 4 silver Russia: 2 silver, 3 bronze Jamaica: 2 silver, 1 bronze Spain: 2 silver, 1 bronze Belarus: 1 silver,2 bronze Canada: 1 silver Finland: 1 silver Namibia: 1 silver Romania: 1 silver Sri Lanka: 1 silver Uganda: 1 silver Bahamas: 1 bronze Brazil: 1 bronze Greece: 1 bronze Japan: 1 bronze Lithuania: 1 bronze Slovakia: 1 bronze Switzerland: 1 bronze

Greek Foreign Undersecretary cautions Turkey over recent acts

Speaking to reporters in Athens yesterday, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis issued a strong warning to Turkey concerning the consequences of its recent acts.

"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 association 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," Mr. Kranidiotis said.

"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", Mr.Kranidiotis stressed that the policy on Cyprus' accession to the EU would continue without deviation "because this course will help resolve the Cyprus problem".

Mr. 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 nex t 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?," Mr. Kranidiotis said.

White House criticises Turkish partial integration agreement

The White House last night criticised the partial integration agreement between Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot illegal regime in the occupied north of the island, saying that this could "weaken the negotiating process," undertaken by the UN to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

"We do not think that this is a useful measure," White House spokesman Michael McCurry said, adding "because we do not want to see measures weakening the UN negotiating process."

Yugoslav FM in Athens on Monday

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic will pay a working visit to Athens on August 11 to 13. Mr. Milutinovic's visit comes out after an invitation by his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos.

Top athletes express support for Athens' 2004 Olympics bid

Three Olympic gold medalists -- Briton Roger Kingdom and Americans Evans and Freeman -- on Saturday yesterday expressed support for Athens' candidacy for the Olympic Games of 2004, after being briefed on the file.

Members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who are in Athens, have also been receiving briefings on the file of the candidacy.

Silver medallist in the women's triple jump Rodica Mateescu also told ANA yesterday that she was impressed with Greece, its sports fans and the way they supported each athlete.

"Every time the fans shouted for any athlete, I would get goose bumps," the Romanian athlete said in an interview.

"If I had the right to vote in September at the International Olympic Committee (for the host of the 2004 games), I would definitely vote for Greece," she said, adding that "Greece is the most beautiful country I have ever visited, while it's also the place the Olympic Games were born."

Mateescu told ANA that the organisation of the championships was excellent, explaining she was especially impressed by the fact that all buses transporting athletes to and from the Olympic Stadium are escorted by police cars and motorcycles.

"This makes me feel that others respect me. It's a wonderful feeling, one I have not come across ever before in any country in the world," she said.

Greece calls for energy proposals in Dr 73 bln programme

Greece yesterday invited proposals for projects in renewable energy and energy conservation as part of a major investment programme budgeted at 73 billion drachmas.

The call for proposals by the development ministry allocates 50 billion drachmas for energy saving project and 23 billion for renewable energy including wind power, small hydroelectric works, solar and photovoltaic systems.

Eligible to apply are private firms acting singly and not in consortiums. The deadline for proposals is October 15, and the completion date for projects December 31, 1999.

OTE to launch mobile phone system in September

OTE, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, will present its first mobile phone network at the International Fair of Thessaloniki on September 5 and 6.

OTE will do a trial run of the new mobile phones by giving a selected number to subscribers in the greater Thessaloniki area, from Michaniona to Kalochori.

The company also expects to give a trial run of its mobile phone network in Athens, and to cover 60 per cent of Greece by the end of the year.

The network is being developed jointly with Norway's Telenor.

WEATHER

Fair weather expected over most of the country, with local cloud over northern and central regions in the afternoon and possible sporadic showers or storms over high ground. Winds will be northerly, moderate to strong, becoming very strong in the southern Aegean. Athens and Thessaloniki will be fair with northerly winds and some cloud in the afternoon.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 291.672 Pound sterling 457.085 Cyprus pd 531.501 French franc 46.273 Swiss franc 190.671 German mark 156.060 Italian lira (100) 15.991 Yen (100) 247.505 Canadian dlr. 210.068 Australian dlr. 213.318 Irish Punt 415.749 Belgian franc 7.557 Finnish mark 52.153 Dutch guilder 138.508 Danish kr. 40.947 Swedish kr. 36.269 Norwegian kr. 37.970 Austrian sch. 22.203 Spanish peseta 1.850 Port. Escudo 1.544

(L.G.)


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