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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-27

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 27/08/1997 (ANA)


  • Athens to verify 'outrageous' Dini statements on Cyprus
  • EU calls Denktash demand on Cyprus' accession talks 'unacceptable'
  • Athens, Nicosia bitterly condemn Denktash war threats
  • Karamanlis calls for reaction to Turkish threats
  • Prediction of destructive earthquakes possible, scientists claim
  • Cesme mayor condemns latest Ecevit statements against Greece
  • Teachers begin coordinating protests
  • Greek firm discusses joint projects in Serbia
  • Greek retail sales up 4 pct in May yr/yr
  • Greek stocks end flat in technical rally
  • Bread finds its way back to the Greek dinner table
  • Greek teams qualify for UEFA second round
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Athens to verify 'outrageous' Dini statements on Cyprus

Greece last night reacted sharply to a statement by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini that there are two governments In Cyprus.

The Greek foreign ministry described as "outrageous" the statement by the Italian foreign minister that "there is the Greek Cypriot government, as there is the Turkish Cypriot government in the north", which he reportedly made after talks with his Turkish counerpart Ismail Cem in Rome.

The foreign ministry statement expressed "surprise", adding that instructions had been issued to ascertain whether "the outrageous statement attributed to Mr. Dini, which has no relation to existing reality, UN resolutions, European Union decisions and the positions of all Italian governments to date, is true".

"If this is the case, it is obvious that a major issue arises in the relations between the two countries," the statement ended.

According to an ANA dispatch from Rome, Mr. Dini expressed the view that the "existence of two entities" on the island republic was relevant to forthcoming EU accession negotiations with Cyprus.

"The issue is to see whether in negotiations with the EU, these two entities are recognised as equal. But if - as the Turkish side fears - the Commission negotiates with only one of the two entities as a representative of the whole of Cyprus, then there will be no progress," he said.

The Commission's proposal for "a start to negotiations is a factor which complicates the situation. A way must be found for a solution of these difficulties in a way that is satisfactory for both entities, the Turkish and the Greek, with the agreement of the Greek and the Turkish governments, " he added.

Mr. Dini's statements come on the same day that the EU presidency condemned in a statement Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's conditions at recent UN-led inter-communal direct talks that the Union should freeze accession negotiations with the island republic for progress on a Cyprus solution.

EU calls Denktash demand on Cyprus' accession talks 'unacceptable'

The European Union yesterday strongly condemned Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's stance concerning Cyprus' EU accession to the Union, branding it "unacceptable".

"The position adopted by Mr. Denktash, who poses as a condition for the continuation of (UN-direct) talks the freezing of Cyprus' accession negotiations is unacceptable," an EU Presidency statement read.

The six-month EU rotating presidency currently held by Luxembourg has been notified of the Cordovez report to the United Nations Security Council concerning the direct talks at Glion-sur-Montreux, underlining its regret over the fact that direct talks did not result in more substantial results, calling on the leaders of the two communities to continue their talks, the statement said.

Regarding the "accession agreement signed between Turkey and the self- proclaimed Northern Cyprus", the statement noted that "it is not valid for the international community and could not cast doubt on the territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus."

The presidency statement stressed that the EU "shares the UN Secretary General's view that the decision to start negotiations for Cyprus' accession should constitute a positive factor in efforts to reach a political agreement beneficial for the island's two communities".

The presidency reaffirmed that these negotiations "will begin early next year under any circumstances".

It concluded by calling "on Turkey, especially, to show constructive behaviour", saying that this would contribute decisively to strengthening its relations with the European Union.

Athens, Nicosia bitterly condemn Denktash war threats

Greece and Cyprus yesterday slammed statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who threatened with war if Cyprus joined the European Union.

"Mr. Denktash's statements are indicative of his lack of willingness and his inabililty to contribute to the finding of a solution to the Cyprus problem," the Greek government spokesman said, while Nicosia warned that if Turkey declares war against Cyprus, this would also mean a declaration of war against Greece.

If Turkey declares war against Cyprus, this would also mean declaration of war against Greece, Cypriot government spokesman Manolis Christofides stressed yesterday, pointing out that such an action would constitute a casus belli.

Athens has often said that it would step in if Turkey advances in Cyprus, noting it would be a cause for war.

Mr. Christofides added that if Mr. Denktash's threats for war are directed towards the EU, "because he considers it responsible for his own intransigence, then this is a clearly quixotic attitude."

Asked whether Mr. Denktash's threats make the arrival of the Russian-made S- 300 anti-aircraft missiles in Cyprus all the more necessary, the spokesman repeated that the Russian missiles are defensive weapons.

He also reminded that President Glafcos Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of the island still stands.

Karamanlis calls for reaction to Turkish threats

The international community should stop turning a blind eye to Turkish threats against Cyprus, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis stressed here yesterday.

The Greek opposition leader was speaking after a meeting with Nicos Anastasiades, leader of the right-wing ruling Democratic Rally (DISY) party, at whose invitation Mr. Karamanlis and a four-member ND delegation is visiting Cyprus.

Pointing out that all Greeks consider Cyprus' defence a top priority and moral obligation, Mr. Karamanlis pledged assistance and support in order to achieve a settlement of the protracted Cyprus problem and to restore human rights on the island.

Commenting on recent threats of war and sabrerattling by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash if Cyprus joins the European Union, Mr. Karamanlis called on the international community to "stop turning a blind eye to Turkish threats and acknowledge the ag gressor and the party that violates international law."

Prediction of destructive earthquakes possible, scientists claim

Greek and foreign scientists attending the 29th World Congress on Seismology in Thessaloniki concluded that the only reliable method of prediction is to observe seismic indications over a three-year period in order to identify the stages leading to an earthquake.

Citing an example, Giorgos Houliaras, of the National Observatory in Athens, said that an area where a large earthquake is about to strike exhibits certain recognisable signs.

In Thessaloniki, Kozani, Egion and other areas, he said, showed that a "seismic calm" precedes accelerated seismic activity that leads to a strong earthquake. This activity lasts between 2.5-3 years and culminates in a destructive tremor, he said.

This model was supported by other scientists from Russia, Germany and elsewhere.

Cesme mayor condemns latest Ecevit statements against Greece

The mayor of the Turkish coastal town of Cesme yesterday criticised Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit for his statements against Greece, which were recently published in the Istanbul daily 'Hurriyet.

"Ecevit's statements undermine the good climate between the two countries. Whoever wants tension between Greece and Turkey effectively acts as an employee of multinational arms selling companies and of the Americans," he said at the opening of events on "Greek-Turkish Friendship Through Art" held on the eastern Aegean island of Chios on Sunday.

Mr. Ecevit claimed that Turkey would have been larger today had it fully availed itself of opportunities to conquer Greek territories this century, and also accused the European Union of trying to isolate Turkey.

Teachers begin coordinating protests

Teachers from primary and secondary schools met yesterday to discuss coordinated protests against planned changes to the education system, due to be implemented with the new school year.

The leader of the teachers' union OLME Nikos Toulias said a rally would be held tomorrow and be followed by meetings at a local and regional level.

The meeting was held as discussion on the education ministry's new bill got under way in Parliament at the committee level. The bill includes changes such as different evaluation procedures for teachers as well as changes to curriculum for junior high s chools and to testing.

Greek firm discusses joint projects in Serbia

The business consultanting firm Eurodinamics yesterday discussed the possibility of participating in infrastructure projects in Serbia, especially road and railroad constructions.

Representatives of the company met with Serbian government officials to discuss their interest in participating in the construction of the new railroad station in Belgrade and the shopping centre "Europolis", which is planned along the shores of the Sava River in Belgrade.

Eurodinamics representatives made specific offers to the Serbian side on both projects, which they said were very cost efficient.

They also said that the Greek government had also expressed an interest in Greek companies' participation in Serbian development projects.

The talks between the two sides were also attended by vice-president of Parson Transportation, a US company dealing with infrastructural projects.

Greek retail sales up 4 pct in May yr/yr

Retail sales volume increased by two percent during the first five months of 1997 compared with the corresponding period last year, Greece's National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday.

In its report on retail sales, the service said that the volume of sales rose by four percent in May from the same month last year.

Greek stocks end flat in technical rally

Greek equities showed signs of recovery to end flat after a two-day sharp decline that drove down the Athens Stock Exchange 3.35 percent.

Traders described the reversal of the trend as a technical rebound.

The general index closed up 0.6 percent at 1,565.96 points with most sector indices scoring gains.

Banks fell 0.07 percent, Leasing eased 0.83 percent, Insurance rose 0.38 percent, Investment declined 0.39 percent, Industrials were 0.55 percent higher, Construction increased 0.49 percent, Holding was 1.35 percent up and Miscellaneous rose 0.39 percen t.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.07 percent higher.

Trading improved slightly and turnover was 9.7 billion drachmas.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 104 to 89 with another 34 issues unchanged.

Altec, Pavlides, Intertype scored the biggest percentage gains, while Bank of Athens, Benroubi and Remek suffered the heaviest losses of the day.

National Bank of Greece ended at 35,800 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,100, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,925, Delta Dairy at 4,000, Titan Cement at 14,600, Intracom at 12,550 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organsation at 6, 300.

In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar fell sharply against the drachma following a correction in international markets.

Bread finds its way back to the Greek dinner table

Greek bread consumption improved in 1996 remaining in a recovery trend that started at the beginning of the decade after a recession in the 1980s, Thessaloniki Bakery Union said.

The chairman of the union, Michalis Tziallas, said during a press conference yesterday that bread was a vital foodstuff in Greece whether it was made by small neighbourhood bakeries or big manufacturers and supermarket chains.

Average per capita bread consumption in Greece was 64 kilograms in 1996, up from 58 kg in 1982 and slightly lower than 68 kg in 1980, but a long way down on an average of 210 kg in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Greek bread consumption in volume was 602,000 tonnes in 1996, up from 560, 000 tonnes in 1995. However, the average Greek consumer was showing a preference for new types of bread in quality and taste, Mr.Tziallas said.

As a result, brown bread consumption doubled between 1992 and 1996 from eight to 16 percent, while consumption of traditional village bread rose from 50 to 60 percent.

The Thessaloniki Bakery Union will hold a three-day bread festival on September 12-14 in the northern Greek capital.

Greek teams qualify for UEFA second round

PAOK of Thessaloniki and OFI of Irakleio yesterday qualified for the next round of 64 teams. PAOK beat Slovakia's Spartak Trnava away 1-0 (6-3 on aggregate), and OFI downed Iceland's Reykjavik 3-1 at home (3-1 on aggregate). ANA


Fine weather is forecast for most parts of the country today except for central and northern Greece where it will be partly cloudy. Winds westerly, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 18-33C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 16-30C.


Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 281.024 Pound sterling 455.427 Cyprus pd 530.819 French franc 46.483 Swiss franc 189.621 German mark 156.538 Italian lira (100) 16.042 Yen (100) 238.189 Canadian dlr. 201.803 Australian dlr. 209.902 Irish Punt 417.731 Belgian franc 7.583 Finnish mark 52.368 Dutch guilder 138.979 Danish kr. 41.108 Swedish kr. 35.730 Norwegian kr. 37.537 Austrian sch. 22.261 Spanish peseta 1.853 Port. Escudo 1.545


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