Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-27
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 27/08/1997 (ANA)
- Athens calls on Rome to clarify position on Cyprus
- PM Simitis confers with econ minister on budget targets
- EU calls Denktash demand on Cyprus' accession talks 'unacceptable'
- Athens, Nicosia bitterly condemn Denktash war threats
- Dozens fall victim to gastroenteritis
- Two quakes shake Dodecanese islands
- Prediction of destructive earthquakes possible, scientists claim
- Rembetika chanteuse Bellou dies
- Cretans proudly display monster vegetables
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens calls on Rome to clarify position on Cyprus
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou today described as "provocative
and unacceptable" statements made by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini
who called for the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in European Union
At the same time, the Cyprus government called on Italy to retract Dini's
Speaking in Parliament, Papandreou said Dini's statements were "completely
contrary to EU decisions" and created "a major problem for Rome's relations
with the Community".
Papandreou stressed that the EU's positions on the Cyprus problem were
"crystal clear" and that Greece was awaiting clarifications and explanations
from Italy regarding Dini's statements "so that there will be no serious
problems in our bilateral relations".
Papandreou also dismissed as "ludicrous" statements by Turkish Cypriot
leader Rauf Denktash, who threatened war if Cyprus joined the EU.
"(Denktash's statements) illustrate the weakness of Turkey's strategy on
the Cyprus issue," he added.
"Turkey has adopted a position which is unacceptable to the international
community," he said, while expressing the hope that Ankara would realise
"the road which it has chosen leads to a dead end".
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that Prime Minister Costas
Simitis had called his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi to express his
displeasure over the Dini statements.
Athens has called for the retraction of the statements at the highest
diplomatic level, Reppas said, adding that there may be a statement from
the Italian premier within the day.
He indicated, however, that a statement from the Italian foreign ministry
earlier today had gone some way to appeasing Athens.
According to an AFP dispatch from Rome, the Italian foreign ministry said
Italy had not changed its position on the Cyprus problem and recognised
only the Republic of Cyprus, despite there being two "entities" on the
The statement added that Dini's comments had been misquoted and that he had
only referred to "two entities" and made no reference, as reported, to "two
republics, two governments and two entities".
Dini's statements, Reppas said, were far from reflecting the decisions
taken by the competent European Union bodies.
The spokesman reiterated that Greece regarded the Cyprus issue and the
Cyprus-EU accession talks as crucial issues for Greek foreign policy.
"Greek-Italian relations would go through a crisis if Italy followed a
policy that opposed the European Union policy on the issue," Reppas
In reply to press questions, the spokesman said that the Cyprus' accession
course was not in dispute and that the EU decisions on the issue would be
The Cypriot government has a standing position that Turkish Cypriots should
be represented at accession procedures as part of the Cypriot representation,
Reppas said, and said those continually bringing up the issue were
"breaking down unlocked doors".
Meanwhile, the Luxembourg EU presidency yesterday reiterated the European
Union's firm position on the Cyprus-EU accession talks.
PM Simitis confers with econ minister on budget targets
Prime Minister Costas Simitis had talks today with National Economy and
Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on the course of the economy, the
execution of the 1997 state budget and economic targets for 1998.
They also discussed the main themes of the speech on the economy which
Simitis is due to deliver at the Thessaloniki International Fair next
Also attending the three-and-a-half hour meeting was Simitis' economic
adviser, Tassos Yiannitsis.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Papantoniou said 1998 would be a
crucial year for the Greek economy with respect to the country's entry to
economic and monetary union (EMU).
Simitis' speech in Thessaloniki would be against this background,
Papantoniou said, adding that the speech would set out the targets and
outline the government's economic policy for 1998.
"We must all look in the direction of (economic) convergence in order to
attain the targets," Papantoniou told reporters.
He declined to be drawn on fiscal policy for 1998 saying:
"The general framework will be determined by the prime minister and I shall
announce the specific elements of economic policy when I table the
Papantoniou stressed that bringing inflation down and curtailing the public
deficit remained the primary targets of the government's economic
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
"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
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
"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
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.
Dozens fall victim to gastroenteritis
Dozens of people in Kastoria, northern Greece have been rushed to hospital
suffering from gastro-enteritis after the town's main water supply was
contaminated with sewage.
Doctors at the town's hospital said about 50 people had been admitted since
Kastoria Prefect George Kapachtzis told the ANA that the water had been
contaminated due to a fault in the main supply network which operates
parallel to the town's sewage network.
He said the fault had since been repaired and supply was now back to
Two quakes shake Dodecanese islands
Two strong earthquakes shook the Dodecanese islands early today but police
said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The first earthquake, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, was recorde at
06.50 local time, with an epicentre was 330 kilometres southeast of the
Greek capital in the sea south of the island of Kos.
Seismologists at Thessaloniki University said the second quake, again
measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, had been recorded, at 09.57 with the
Speaking to the ANA on the sidelines of the ongoing World Seismology
Conference in Thessaloniki, Professor of seismology Vassilis Papazachos
said the tremors were surface quakes.
"The fact that both quakes were of the same strength makes us somewhat
cautious. It would be better to wait and see how the phenomenon develops,"
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
Rembetika chanteuse Bellou dies
Sotiria Bellou, one of the last great singers of a distinctive style of
Greek song known as rebetika, died today in hospital after a long
Bellou, who suffered from cancer, would have been 76 on Friday.
With themes such as unrequited love, betrayal, the woes of living on the
fringe of society and narcotics, the lyrics of rebetika songs have been
likened to the blues.
Popular in Greece in the first half of this century, the distinctive style
slowly disappeared from the music scene as the last great composers and
The diminutive Bellou, who lost her voice a few years ago, sang the songs
of famous rebetika composers Vassilis Tsitsanis, Yiannis Papaioannou,
Manolis Chiotis and Apostolos Hadzichristos.
Cretans proudly display monster vegetables
Following recent cases of giant artichokes, egg-plants and cucumbers, the
fertile Cretan earth has yielded two enormous fresh beans, one 93
centimetres long and the other 90 centimetres.
The beans were grown by Antonis Koufoyiannankis, a retired merchant who has
a vegetable garden in the community of Platanos near Chania, western
"I couldn't believe my eyes when I found the beans," he said, explaining
that the normal size for a bean is 30 centimetres.
"I suppose the giant beans are freaks of nature," Koufoyiannakis said.
The giant bean discovery follows the proud presentation of a 3.3 kilo egg-
plant by a 53-year-old farmer in Heraklion, Crete last week.
Another Cretan farmer achieved fame two weeks ago when he appeared on
television with a metre-long "xylangouro" - a cross between a cucumber and
a marrow which normall grows up to about 50 centimetres.
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