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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-25

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, 25/08/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece, Arab League confer on Mideast issues
  • Coastguard retrieves five dead
  • Ankara must improve relations with Athens
  • US senators begin northern Greece visit
  • Greek-Australian researcher receives award
  • Talks on economy, 1998 budget and foreign policy resume today
  • Concert against Turkish occupation held in Cyprus
  • US congressmen pledge support for end to Cyprus occupation
  • Romanian telecoms to float 30 per cent of shares
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece, Arab League confer on Mideast issues

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos had talks here today with Arab League Secretary General Abdel Meguid focusing on the Middle East and the development of Greece's relations with the Arab world.

After the talks, which lasted about one hour, Pangalos told reporters that in addition to Middle East issues, he had also discussed the "incorporation" of certain Arab countries such as Iraq and Libya in the international community and prospects for the development of Greece's relations with these countries.

Meguid said he had discussed the role of the European Union in the Middle East peace process. He welcomed the appointment by the EU of an envoy for the Middle East and rejected the measures taken by the Israeli government.

Meguid also expressed support for a peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem which ensured the territorial integrity of the island republic.

Pangalos said the confrontation of the Palestinian problem would depend on the behaviour of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian population.

While condemning terrorism, Pangalos said it was "also not right to carry out reprisals against non-combatants".

The EU, he added, had means at its disposal to exert pressure on Israel and "should use them".

Coastguard retrieves five dead

A coastguard patrol boat today found the bodies of five of the seven persons missing since Friday when their yacht sank in the Aegean.

A Greek air force helicopter had earlier spotted the 3-metre inflatable boat in which they had tried to reach safety, overturned, off the coast of the island of Psara.

According to initial reports, the bodies of the five were found floating in the sea not far from the inflatable.

The search is continuing for two men still missing since the 12-metre "Golden Finn" sank after catching fire. All eight passengers aboard the yacht were Greeks.

A 32-year-old woman from the yacht was rescued on Saturday after swimming to a rocky islet where she was later found and picked up by a fishing boat.

Ankara must improve relations with Athens

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou underlined today that Turkey's path to Europe dictated that Ankara improve its relations with Athens.

In an interview with the Athens daily "Ethnos" published Monday, Papandreou said recent statements by Turkish Deputy Premier Bulent Ecevit "harmed" the joint communique signed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel in Madrid.

Noting that adherence to the spirit and letter of the communique would benefit both countries, Papandreou said the party which went back on its word would be responsible for its actions in the eyes of the international community.

"Greece will not backpedal," Papandreou stressed.

Recent statements by Ecevit, he added, ran contrary not only to the letter from Turkish Premier Mesut Yilmaz to Simitis, seeking Greek support for Ankara's efforts for EU membership, but also to the stance adopted by Demirel in Madrid.

"Ecevit's provocative statements about Cyprus, if they indeed reflect official Turkish policy, make it meaningless to continue talks aimed at finding a solution of the Cyprus problem and dynamite efforts for its effective confrontation," Papandreou said.

Asked to comment on Ecevit's claims that Turkey could seize the Dodecanese islands, all of Cyprus and Thessaloniki, Papandreou said Greece was confronting the threats through diplomacy and defence preparations "so that the threats do not materialise".

Papandreou stated emphatically that "Turkey's course to Europe presupposes the fulfilment of certain conditions, such as (respect for) human rights, the settlement of the Cyprus problem and the resolution of the (Aegean) continental shelf issue through recourse to the International Court at the Hague".

US senators begin northern Greece visit

US Senator Michael Bilirakis expressed the conviction today that "the real Macedonia" is the area corresponding to northern Greece and not "the area to the north of the Greek border".

Bilirakis arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday at the head of a six-member delegation of US senators in order to be briefed on issues of current concern to Greece.

This morning, the senators met with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, who told reporters he had briefed the delegation on issues relating to northern Greece, particularly the role played by the region in Greece's cooperation with the neighbouring Balkan states.

Bilirakis explained that the delegation had come to Greece to be briefed on issues with which members of the US Congress were not very familiar.

"In the United States, we take important decisions which affect not only Americans but the entire world and many of these decisions are taken without the necessary knowledge. This is why we make such trips so that we can see with our own eyes and hear for ourselves the problems of Greece and particularly the region of Macedonia," Bilirakis said.

"To see that this region is the real Macedonia and not the region north of the border," he added.

The other senators in the delegation are Randy Cunningham, Ron Klink, John Laflace, Dan Schaefer and Michael Pappas. Klink and Laflace are Democrats while the other four are Republicans.

Bilirakis said members of Congress very often did not have the opportunity to focus their attention on this part of the world.

"They don't know its history, the facts, namely that in all wars Greece was on the side of the Americans, while Turkey was not," Bilirakis said, adding that "it's part of our job to see and to inform Congress".

Greek-Australian researcher receives award

The young Australian medical researcher of Greek descent who appears to have developed a vaccine for breast cancer was today presented with the Order of the Phoenix on behalf of President Kostis Stephanopoulos, according to an ANA despatch from Melbourne.

The award was presented to Dr. Vasso Apostolopoulou, 27 by Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis who is currently visiting Australia.

Talks on economy, 1998 budget and foreign policy resume today

Greece's economic leadership began a week-long round of meetings to examine the 1997 budget's performance, draft the 1998 budget, and take measures to bring state finances under control.

During the first of the meetings, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou discussed implementation of this year's budget with Finance Undersecretaries George Drys and Nikos Christodoulakis.

The three men also discussed measures to be taken on curbing spending by state enterprises in an effort to achieve restructuring and modernisation.

The new measures are expected to be finalised by next week.

This week's remaining meetings will assess state revenues and prepare the main points of Prime Minister Costas Simitis' fiscal and incomes policy speech at the inauguration of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair on September 5.

Concert against Turkish occupation held in Cyprus

A concert opened at the Paralimni stadium yesterday to commemorate the deaths of two anti-occupation demontrators, who were killed by a Turkish mob and occupation forces last year during protests against the Turkish occupation of one-third of the island republic.

The event was attended by Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos, House Speaker Spyros Kyprianou, party leaders, ministers and members of parliament.

The Greek government was represented by Greek ambassador in Nicosia Kyriakos Rodoussakis. Also attending were main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, the president of the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) Dimitris Tsovolas and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Before the concert began, Paralimni Mayor Nikos Vlittis received a flame lit at the Acropolis of Athens and transported by reserve commado officers by speedboats. Upon receiving the flame, Mr. Vlittis said this flame would be placed on the tombs of thos e who had died, to remind eveyrone of the duty towards the occupied part of their country.

The concert included noted Greek singers Giorgos Dalaras and Alkinoos Ioannidis, Cypriot composer Marios Tokas and others.

US Congressmen pledge support for end to Cyprus occupation

Four US Congressmen, in Cyprus to attend the World Congress of Overseas Cypriots, called for an end to the illegal Turkish occupation of the island republic and said the US administration should make a constructive contribution towards this goal.

Speaking on arrival at Larnaca airport, Robert Menendez described the timing of their visit as "crucial and promising for Cyprus" and added "we seek to get first hand knowledge and facts from policy makers in Cyprus and do whatever we can to help in a cons tructive way to resolve this circumstance here".

"We believe the US Congress has a major foreign policy role to play and we are very concerned about the continuing occupation in the north", he added.

Mr. Menendez expressed the hope that, as the European Union considers the accession of Cyprus next year, "this would be a critical moment for a just and lasting solution".

Congressman Maurice Hinchey described the Turkish occupation as "inappropriate and illegal", and said "the people of Cyprus need to be given the opportunity to determine their own future as soon as posible".

"The US administration has a constructive role to play to resolve the situation as it has good relations with all parties involved," he added.

Robert Andrews said "we are here to call attention to the ongoing abrogation of human rights by the occupiers in the north, here we have a clear-cut unmistakable case of human rights violation".

He also said he believed "it is imperative for the US government to bring to an end this occupation".

Congressman Alcee Hastings pledged to "try as best as we can to try and assist in peace and stability in this region".

Asked to assess the involvement of US presidential emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke in efforts to bring a settlement, Mr. Menendez said the Congressmen commended Mr. Holbrooke's appointment in a letter to US President Bill Clinton and outlined thei r views on how best to try and seek a resolution of the Cyrpus question.

"In the letter we said we hope to see emerge from negotiations a federated state that derives its power from the federated constitution, that guarantees all its citizens free passage throughout the country, one country, one nation, one people, a country that guarantees basic human rights and property rights", he said.

Romanian telecoms to float 30 per cent of shares

The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) is considering a possible participation in the partial privatisation of Rom Telecom, the Romania state-owned telecommunications organisation.

Rom Telecom will float 30 per cent of its shares in the European market in the near future, to a total expected to reach US$ four billion.

Ten of the top investment banks in the world are interested in managing the flotation for Rom Telecom. These include Credit Suisse, First Boston, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Lazards, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, ABN-AMRO Bank jointly with NM Rothschild, and Lehman Brothers in association with SBC Warburg.

WEATHER

Mostly fine weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today with some cloudiness in Macedonia, Thrace and the northern Aegean with scattered showers or storms in the afternoon. Winds variable, light to strong, turning to gale force in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be partly cloudy with possible showers in the afternoon with temperatures between 19-30C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 18-27C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.099 Pound sterling 453.780 Cyprus pd 530.026 French franc 46.283 Swiss franc 188.381 German mark 155.833 Italian lira (100) 15.979 Yen (100) 242.604 Canadian dlr. 203.162 Australian dlr. 212.080 Irish Punt 415.648 Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 52.209 Dutch guilder 138.419 Danish kr. 40.916 Swedish kr. 35.752 Norwegian kr. 37.383 Austrian sch. 22.142 Spanish peseta 1.848 Port. Escudo 1.538

(M.P.)


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