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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-18

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, 18/08/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek Foreign Undersecretary warns Turkey against blackmail
  • Holbrooke will not visit Nicosia, Athens and Ankara in autumn
  • British emissary rejects Denktash's threat
  • Eleven injured in ferry accident
  • Princess Diana eludes reporters
  • Mornos dam protesters demand percentage from exploitation
  • Albania's parliament president due in September
  • Eight companies show interest in Elefsis Bauxite
  • DIS applies for ASE listing
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek Foreign Undersecretary warns Turkey against blackmail

Foreign Undersecretary Yannos Kranidiotis warned Ankara today against continuing its "policy of blackmail" on the Cyprus issue, a policy which he said, along with its refusal to cooperate on that issue, would harm Turkey's hopes of joining Europe.

In an interview in the Athens daily "Ta Nea", the Undersecretary contended that the breakdown of direct talks in Switzerland last week between Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was due not only to Denktash's stance but to the Turkish government.

"It's very unfortunate," he said, "that Denktash has found a sympathiser in the Turkish goverment in the person of Bulent Ecevit. These two supporters of pan-Turkish nationalism are not interested in seeking a just solution to the Cyprus issue, but in fully incorporating occupied Cypriot territory into Turkey."

At the UN-sponsored talks near Montreux last week, the Turkish side's goal had been to stall the process of Cyprus' accession to the European Union as well as the installation of Russian S-300 missiles in Cyprus, according to Kranidiotis.

He stressed that the Cypriot government had come to the negotiating table in a "constructive mood".

"I believe that both Cyprus and Greece, with their consistent stance, have already made the right impression. The international community knows which side has right on its side and which is acting unjustly. Therefore it is up to (the international community) to attribute the blame for the deadlock to the Turkish side and not to equate the victimizer with the victim," emphasised the Undersecretary.

Meanwhile, the Undersecretary said the text presented at the talks by UN mediator Diego Cordovez contained several weak points, although it nevertheless "confirmed the need for the unified and indivisible sovereignty of the Cypriot Federation".

"This I believe is a positive and significant development in favour of our positions and our policy," he added.

With regard to the role of US presidential envoy on the Cyprus issue Richard Holbrooke, the Undersecretary noted:

"Mr. Holbrooke's role should be supplementary to that of the United Nations. We expect Mr. Holbrooke to exercise his influence on the Turkish side so that it cooperates in the international effort to solve the Cyprus issue based on international principles."

Kranditiotis believes that the crucial period for the Cyprus issue will be 1998, following the presidential elections in Cyprus and the beginning of negotiations for the island republic's accession to the European Union.

Holbrooke will not visit Nicosia, Athens and Ankara in autumn

American presidential emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, will not pay a visit to Cyprus this autumn, even though he believes the UN-led negotiations between the two sides managed to break the ice. According to a report yesterday in the Greek "Sunday Kathimerini" and Cypriot "Fileleftheros" newspapers, Mr. Holbrooke said he will not visit Athens, Ankara and Nicosia in September, as he was initially planning to do.

In a telephone conversation with "Kathimerini", Mr. Holbrooke said the new American Cyprus coordinator, Thomas Miller, will visit the region next month.

He noted that conditions for his efforts to break the deadlock in the 23- year-long Cyprus problem are not yet ripe.

Commenting on the deadlock in the five-day talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which ended on Friday in Switzerland, the American emissary did not seem disappointed.

He said the UN Secretary General's special advisor on the Cyprus problem, Diego Cordovez, who carried out the talks, managed to break the ice and bring the two leaders in direct contact even if none of the problems were solved. Mr. Holbrooke, who brokered the Bosnian agreement, pointed out that President Clerides and Mr. Denktash are very difficult negotiators as they both fervently support their interests.

Joking with the "Kathimerini" correspondent, the American envoy said that, compared to Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash, he looks like a child lost in the forest.

He said one of the most difficult problems in solving the Cyprus question is the connection between Cyprus' European Union (EU) accession with an overall settlement, but refrained from elaborating on his views.

The Turkish side has stepped up its intransigence over Cyprus' EU bid after last month's reconfirmation, in a Union report named "Agenda 2000", that accession talks with Cyprus will begin next year, as scheduled.

British emissary rejects Denktash's threat

Britain's special emissary for the Cyprus issue Sir David Hannay has rejected Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's threat that he will not participate in further talks if the EU initiates membership negotiations with Cyprus.

"The Turkish side can say what it likes, but has no right to tell the European Union, of which it is not a member, what to do," he said.

The British official also categorically confirmed that the EU decision to begin negotiations with Cyprus will stand.

Eleven injured in ferry accident

Eleven persons -- nine passengers and two crew members -- all Greeks, were injured this morning when the "Apostolos P." ferry rammed into the cement dock at Souvala port on the island of Aegina south of Athens, the Merchant Marine Ministry said.

Five of the injured passengers, according to Piraeus harbour authorities, were women, two of whom were taken to Tzaneio hospital in Piraeus with head injuries, while the others were taken to local health centres.

A Ministry spokesman said the incident occurred when the capitain of the ferry, which set sail this morning from Aegina headed for Piraeus, tried to tie up the ship at Souvala's cement dock. The ship rammed into the dock with its stern.

Princess Diana eludes reporters

Britain's Princess Diana has sent photographers and reporters scurrying for her whereabouts around the Aegean.

Unconfirmed reports yesterday said that the princess, who arrived on a private jet in Athens on Friday, was sighted on a yacht off the island of Kythira, south of the Peloponnese.

Other reports said she and her latest Egyptian companion, Dodi Al Fayed, are being entertained on a yacht belonging to Greek shipowner Panagiotis Laimos. Mr. Laimos, however, denied any knowledge of the princess's whereabouts.

Mornos dam protesters demand percentage from exploitation

About 3,000 people staged a demonstration at the Mornos dam in the prefecture of Fokida yesterday morning, demanding a percentage of profits from the Athens-Piraeus Water and Sewerage Company (EYDAP) in compensation for losses sustained by residents of vi llages around the dam.

They are demanding that 6 per cent of the company's profits from Mornos River water be allocated to the prefecture's coffers. The Mornos dam supplies water to the greater Athens area.

Fokida's prefect, Mr. Karahalios, said that villages around the dam had been all but deserted.

"We are asking for nothing more than what is given to the residents of Megalopolis and Ptolemaida, who receive 6 per cent of the lignite production profits from the local DEH (Public Power Corporation) power plants," he said.

Albania's parliament president due in September

Greece and Italy are Albania's gateways to Europe, Albanian Parliament President Skender Ginousi said yesterday while on a tour of the south of the country, which has a large ethnic Greek population.

"It is no coincidence that my first visit abroad will be to Athens (September 7-9)," he said.

Referring to the situation in his country after the recent elections, Mr. Ginousi said, "there are reasons for optimism, but we must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the Berisha regime".

Eight companies show interest in Elefsis Bauxite

Eight companies, two of which are listed in the Athens Stock Exchange, and one of which belongs to the Vardinoyiannis Group, are reported to be showing interest in the acquisition of 'Elefsina Bauxite' (EB), which is administered by the government's Enter prise Restructuring Organisation (OAE).

Reliable business circles estimate EB's market value between 500 million and 1 billion drachmas.

OAE is hoping to write off EB's debts, amounting to about 2.1 billion drachmas, to facilitate the sale. However, the National Bank of Greece, EB's main creditor, is opposing such a move, arguing for a liquidation.

Among the interested companies are 'Argyromettalevmaton and Varytinis', 'Aluminium de Grece', 'Varmin SA', and 'Zaporozhye Aluminum Combinat of Ukraine'.

DIS applies for ASE listing

Date Information Systems (DIS) is the seventh company of the sector which has applied for listing in the Athens Stock Exchange.

DIS will issue 360,000 shares, hoping to raise 500 million drachmas.

The company, which is one of IBM's main trading partners, is aiming to expand into new markets and introduce new software products.

Turnover is projected to reach 1.2 billion drachmas, while pre-tax profits last year were 445 million.

WEATHER

Mostly fine weather is forecast for most of Greece except Eastern Macedonia and Thrace where cloudiness and rain are expected with possible local thunderstorms. Light to moderate northerly winds will intensify in parts of the Aegean Sea. Athens will be partly cloudy with possible showers and temperatures ranging between 20-33C. Similar weather for Thessaoliniki with temperatures 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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