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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-17

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, 17/08/1997 (ANA)

NEWS IN HEADLINES

  • Second round of UN-LED Cyprus talks ends in deadlock
  • Holiday weekend road toll
  • US says EU must leave door open for Turkish membership
  • Albanian Ministry comments on Grammos incident
  • Ecumenical Patriarch visits island of Chios
  • Britain's Princess Diana on private visit to Greece
  • Greek stocks rangebound in scant holiday trade
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Second round of UN-LED Cyprus talks ends in deadlock

    The second round of UN-sponsored Cyprus talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, held in Glion, Switzerland, ended in deadlock Friday.

    In an afternoon press conference, the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor for the Cyprus problem, Diego Cordovez, who chaired both rounds of talks between the leaders of the two Cypriot communities, said "discussions were useful even when we faced difficulties here in Glion."

    He added however, that the Secretary General "intends to continue his good offices' mission on Cyprus" and said he does not entirely share the view that "we are back to where we started."

    Earlier, President Clerides had told a press conference "at the end of this week we are exactly where we were, when we came here".

    Also speaking at a press conference earlier, Mr. Denktash said the five-day talks, which took place at the Righi Vaudois hotel in Glion-sur-Montreux, ended in deadlock.

    Mr. Denktash accused the European Union of having thrown a "bomb" into the peace process by deciding to open accession negotiations next year with the internationally-recognised government of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Nevertheless, he said the talks were "useful", because "we now know where the two sides are".

    The Turkish Cypriot leader said talks on Cyprus' bid for EU membership must be cancelled for UN mediation to continue, and threatened that the division of Cyprus would become permanent if negotiations with the EU went ahead.

    He let it be implied that Cyprus can only join the European Union if Turkey joins as well.

    In his statements President Clerides rejected Mr. Denktash's conditions and said "not only do I have no intention of delaying the process (of EU negotiations) but if there is any interference in the process I will not be negotiating."

    For his part, Mr. Cordovez said he would submit his conclusions on this round of talks to the Security Council next Wednesday. A first round of direct talks (the first between the two leaders since October 1994), was held between July 9 and 12 at the secluded Troutbeck rural retreat, north of New York.

    Before attending the Glion talks the two leaders had two meetings in Cyprus, at the residence of UN Resident Representative, Gustave Feissel, situated in the UN-controlled Nicosia airport area, and discussed humanitarian issues.

    Holiday weekend road toll

    Slightly fewer car accidents occured this holiday weekend, the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, compared to the same time last year. From Thursday afternoon until early Sunday afternoon, 231 accidents were recorded, in which 18 people were killed and 350 injured, 27 of which are listed as serious. Traffic police are out in force to facilitate the return of holiday-makers to urban centres, providing extra lanes for incoming traffic. It is estimated that over 150,000 vehicles left Athens for the weekend are due to return today.

    Thousands of pilgrims gathered on the Aegean island of Tinos, the centre of religious celebrations, where the government was represented by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos. The day also marked Armed Forces Day.

    US says EU must leave door open for Turkish membership

    The European Union must leave the door open for Turkish membership after the failure of the Clerides-Denktash talks in Glion-sur-Montreux, State Department spokesman James Rubin said Friday.

    Although the official stressed that the decision for the admission of new members belongs to the Union itself, he said that "maintaining the hope of accession -for Cyprus and Turkey- is an encouragement that would improve the chances for settling the C yprus problem".

    Mr. Rubin described the talks in Switzerland as "useful", and expressed the view that the Cyprus problem will not be solved easily given "the passions and the strong emotions it generates".

    The American official added that further talks of the same type should not be expected before presidential elections in Cyprus in February.

    Questioned on the role of President Bill Clinton's emissary, Richard Holbrooke, Mr. Rubin said that Mr. Holbrooke was having deliberations with European officials and would go to Cyprus in autumn.

    Albanian Ministry comments on Grammos incident

    The Albanian Foreign Ministry yesterday asked for closer cooperation with Greece in order to avoid incidents such as occurred last week when an Albanian was killed in a skirmish between a Greek army patrol and a group of armed Albanian shepherds on Greek territory (the Grammos mountains), the ANA's correspondent in Gjirokaster reports.

    According to the report, Greece's Ambassador in Tirana Constantine Kolias was called to the Ministry to discuss the issue. A Foreign Ministry statement stresses that Albania is determined to maintain relations of cooperation and understanding with the Greek government. It asks the Greek authorities to "make a distinction between criminals and poor, honest citizens, so that the latter will not become victims of an out-of-date mentality".

    The statement also asks Greece to establish regular meetings of the joint committee on the border region as soon as possible, in order to avert further incidents.

    Ecumenical Patriarch visits island of Chios

    Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Vartholomeos I arrived on the island of Chios yesterday and was given a rousing welcome by the local inhabitants by government officials and the Chios authorities and church prelates.

    The Patriarch, who is the guest of the island's Gum Mastic Growers' Association, was greeted on arrival by Ministers of the Aegean Ms. Elisabet Papazoi, of Merchant Marine Stavros Soumakis, members of Greek political parties and a large crowd.

    On arrival at the airport, the Patriarch inspected a military contingent and was later given the gold medal and the keys of the city of Chios by the island's mayor.

    Later he officiated at a te deum in the cathedral of Saints Minas, Victor and Vikentius.

    The Patriarch will spend three days in Chios and during a ceremony he will be proclaimed honourary president of the Mastic Growers' Association.

    Meanwhile it was announced that the spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians, will visit the United States for one month, starting in October.

    According to a visit schedule obtained by the ANA, the Patriarch will begin the tour, his first of the US, on October 19 and return to his See on November 17.

    During his visit, the Patriarch will meet with Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish and Moslem leaders, and hold talks with US President Bill Clinton, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

    Britain's Princess Diana on private visit to Greece

    Britain's Princess Diana arrived in Athens yesterday for a private visit, informed sources said.

    Princess Diana arrived at Athens International Airport at 17:45 on a private Gulfstream jet, but the purpose of her visit was not immediately known.

    Greek stocks rangebound in scant holiday trade

    Greek equities moved in a narrow range in the last trading session of a short week on the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, with investors more interested in a three-day holiday which started yesterday.

    The general index closed 0.21 percent higher at 1,645.81 points, showing a 0.39 percent gain on the week. Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 0.17 percent, Leasing eased 0.22 percent, Insurance rose 1.19 percent, Investment increased 0.36 percent, Ind ustrials rose 0.93 percent, Holding was 0.46 percent higher and Miscellaneous fell 0.47 percent.

    The parallel market for smaller companies ended 0.98 percent higher.

    Trading remained thin and turnover was 8.3 billion drachmas. On a weekly basis, average turnover was 9.6 billion down from 10.9 billion drachmas the previous week. Broadly, advancing issues led declining ones by 107 to 93 with another 35 issues unchan ged.

    Meanwhile, a Solomon Brothers report released yesterday says that the Greek bourse is likely to regain its ranking among the top ten emerging markets despite a summer lull. The Athens market has held its ground among emerging markets with a 40 percent yield in dollar terms, the international investment house said.

    It said the bourse's current P/E ratio of 12 was high. Low turnover expected in August was likely to rise in coming months, accompanied by a correction in prices.

    Weather

    Mostly fine over most of the country today and tomorrow with scattered afternoon showers and the occasional downpour in northern and central high country. Winds will be light to moderate northerlies, turning stronger over parts of the Aegean. Temperatures in Athens Monday will range from 20-33C and in Thessaloniki from 19-32C.

    Foreign Exchange

    Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 288.103 Pound sterling 455.529 Cyprus pd 531.999 French franc 46.478 Swiss franc 189.724 German mark 156.679 Italian lira (100) 16.015 Yen (100) 246.867 Canadian dlr. 206.299 Australian dlr. 213.592 Irish Punt 416.048 Belgian franc 7.588 Finnish mark 52.289 Dutch guilder 139.091 Danish kr. 41.146 Swedish kr. 35.892 Norwegian kr. 37.756 Austrian sch. 22.274 Spanish peseta 1.853 Port. Escudo 1.544

    (Y.B.)


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