Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-28
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 28/08/1997 (ANA)
- Dini affair over, FM Pangalos says
- US: Clerides gov't the only legal one on Cyprus
- FM Pangalos sticks to guns in face of Israeli protest
- Industrialists call for structural changes to economy
- Greece, Latvia discuss bilateral relations
- Fighter planes crash in mid-air
- Foundation of Hellenic Culture acquires new status
- Stock market remains unsettled
- Greek business development plan absorbs 176 bln in funds
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Dini affair over, FM Pangalos says
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said today Athens considered the issue
which had arisen due to statements by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto
Dini on the Cyprus problem to be "over" following reaffirmation by Italian
Premier Romano Prodi that a solution to the problem should be based on
United Nations resolutions.
"Following Italy's refutation, we can consider that the matter is over,"
On Tuesday, Dini was reported saying after talks with Turkish Foreign
Minister Ismail Cem in Rome that in Cyprus "there exist two governments and
Dini was also reported saying that the question was "to see whether in
negotiations with the EU, these two entities are recognised as equal".
His remarks provoked a sharp reaction from Athens, which termed the
statements "outrageous" and demanded clarifications.
Early yesterday, the Italian foreign ministry issued a statement saying
Rome recognised only the Republic of Cyprus.
According to a statement released later by the Italian premier's office in
Rome, Prodi had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Costas Simitis
during which both men "expressed their common concern about the Cyprus
problem, and on this matter the Italian premier underlined that the
solution to this problem should be based on resolutions adopted by the
Asked his view of the reasons which led Dini to make the statements,
Pangalos said the only thing he could assume was "his effort to make Mr.
Cem happy" during his visit to Rome.
Pangalos reiterated that Dini's statements were "most unfortunate" and
"moreover have no value whatsoever", since Greece was determined to do
everything possible to ensure adherence to the legal and political
commitments undertaken concerning the Cyprus problem.
"Prior to October 1998, the negotiations should have begun for Cyprus'
accession to the EU. Everthing else about enlargement is just political
intentions. The only legal commitment is this," he said.
Pangalos underlined that the Cyprus government had repeatedly expressed its
interest in the participation also of Turkish Cypriots in the accession
talks, adding that "the person who is not only not interested in Cyprus'
European perspective but who systematically torpedoes it is (Turkish
Cypriot leader) Rauf Denktash".
So if Mr. Dini wants to be of service to the Turkish Cypriots, Pangalos
went on, he should help them get rid of Mr. Denktash and the policy which
"And then I shall shout Avanti Colonelli!" he said.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also expressed satisfaction at the
clarifications provided by Italy concerning Dini's statements.
US: Clerides gov't the only legal one on Cyprus
The United States recognises only the government of Cyprus Republic
President Glafcos Clerides as the only legal government in Cyprus, US State
Department spokesman James Rubin said yesterday.
"The United States recognises the government of Nicosia as the legal
government of Cyprus. Despite this, we are keeping touch with both Greek
Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders," the spokesman said.
He declined comment on the process of Cyprus' accession to the European
Union (EU), saying that this was entirely an EU issue.
FM Pangalos sticks to guns in face of Israeli protest
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos today stuck to his guns in the face of
Israeli criticism of statements he made recently concerning the Israeli-
Palestinian peace process.
"It is only logical that the Israelis feel the need to support their
positions," Pangalos said, while reiterating that it was unacceptable to
identify the Palestinian people with terrorists.
This was no basis for the smooth continuation of the peace process, he said,
while stressing that Greece had been one of the first countries to openly
"However, the policy of taking reprisals against non-combatants for acts of
terrorism is unacceptable," Pangalos said.
Pangalos was responding to a strongly-worded statement from the Israeli
foreign ministry yesterday concerning remarks he had made after his meeting
with Arab League Secretary-General Abdel Meguid on Monday.
Referring to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, Pangalos had said that
he condemned terrorism but that that it was "also not right to carry out
reprisals against non-combatants".
The European Union, he added, had the means at its disposal to exert
pressure on Israel and "should use it".
Industrialists call for structural changes to economy
The Association of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE) today asked Prime
Minister Costas Simitis to speed up structural changes in the country's
economy and infrastructure, particularly in Macedonia and Thrace, saying
the current pace was slow compared to other countries of Europe.
The request was put by the association's presidium during a 90-minute
meeting with Simitis in Athens this morning. The meeting was attended also
by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos.
The presidium put forward specific proposals for the further development of
northern Greece and discussed in general the role which Greece is expected
to play in Europe's economic development.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, SBBE President Vassilis Takas said
the delegation had reiterated to Simitis what they had told European
Commission President Jacques Santer at the association's general meeting in
"That is, the need for a new Santer plan along the lines of the Marshall
Plan implemented after the Second World War, for the development of the
region, something which of course presupposes Greece's faster development
in the economy and infrastructure," Takas said.
The industrialists expressed disagreement with the changes the government
intends to make to the development law, saying that the "first fruits" of
the law now in force were just becoming apparent.
They acknowledged however that the development law in its present form had
so far not attracted the major investments from abroad which the country
Asked to comment on developments in the economy, Takas replied:
"Some positive steps have been taken but more definetly need to be
Takas said the SBBE felt there was a need for a change in the "mix" of
economic policy "which should lean more towards fiscal policy and the
reigning in of public sector spending".
Replying to other questions, Takas said the investment climate in the
Balkan had changed, but not significantly.
"The steps being taken in this region are very timid. The political,
economic and social climate must first be stabilised before we can talk
about investments," he added.
Reiterating a statement made in the past by Simitis, Petsalnikos said
"Northern Greece, both Macedonia and Thrace, are the steam-engine for the
development of the entire country".
Greece, Latvia discuss bilateral relations
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos had talks today with his Latvian
counterpart Valdis Birkavs on European Union enlargement and the development
of bilateral relations between Athens and Riga.
After the talks, Pangalos said Greece had never recognised the forced
annexation of the three Baltic states by the then Soviet Union.
He said Athens supported the simultaneous commencement of negotiations of
all candidate countries for accession to the Europe Union, Latvia being
Latvia, he added, is a country which will play an important role in
Commenting on EU enlargement in general, Pangalos said it could not take
place simply by redistributing existing resources, stressing that it was
necessary to increase the resources.
He said there was also a need for provisions in general which would ensure
transparency and democratic procedures in common European institutions.
Birkavs thanked Pangalos for Greece's support for the simultaneous
commencement of EU accession talks and expressed the hope that this
position would be adopted at the next EU meeting on the issue in Luxembourg.
The Latvian foreign minister emphasised the importance of further
developing bilateral relations, particularly in the economic sector.
Although bilateral economic relations were not at a very high level,
Birkavs said, they were nevertheless improving year by year.
Fighter planes crash in mid-air
Two Greek Air Force A-7 fighter planes went down in the sea late last night
near Kalamata after colliding in mid-air during a training flight,
according to an Air Force General Staff announcement.
The two pilots ejected safely and half an hour later broadcast an emergency
radio message, which was picked up by C-130 aircraft. They were later
rescued from the sea by navy craft in the area.
Foundation of Hellenic Culture acquires new status
Parliament passed a bill yesterday granting the Foundation of Hellenic
Culture a status comparable to the British Council and the Goethe
The bill was supported by all wings in Parliament, where Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou said the foundation would "become the main
agency of the Greek state for realising Greece's cultural policy overseas
while also promoting the Greek lan guage".
The foundation was founded by 38 well-known Greeks in 1992 under the aegis
of the president of the republic and the supervision of the foreign
Stock market remains unsettled
Greek equities ended with minor changes after nervous trading on the Athens
Traders said the market remains volatile, reflecting investors' worries
over the course of inflation and the government's final decisions on
drafting next year's budget as well as the International Olympic Committee's
decision on whether Athens will host the 2004 Olympic Games.
The general index closed 0.16 percent higher at 1,544,39 points. Sector
indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.18 percent, Leasing increased 0.21 percent,
Insurance ended 0.64 percent up, Investment rose 0.06 percent, Industrials
fell 0.11 percent, Construction increased 0.33 percent, Holding fell 0.08
percent and Miscellaneous rose 1.10 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.20 percent
Trading improved markedly due to the transaction of large blocks of shares
in Mortgage Bank and ETEBA. Turnover was 20.3 billion drachmas.
In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar rose by 0.46 percent
against the drachma while the DMark fell by 0.27 percent.
Greek business development plan absorbs 176 bln in funds
The Industry Business Programme, a project sponsored by the Greek
government, has absorbed 176 billion drachmas from the start of the year
until August 20, marking a 20.5 percent absorption rate against nine
percent at the end of 1996.
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday told a news conference that
in the three years from the start of the programme, 576 business projects
and special investments totalling 488 billion drachmas had been promoted.
Ms. Papandreou said that the ministry had devised a new initiative on a
business network called clusters that would encourage cooperation
particularly among small and medium-sized enterprises.
The project, budgeted at 11.7 billion drachmas, will cover 19 networks
including 215 Greek businesses from the country's more dynamic sectors of
industry - foodstuffs, furniture, clothing, advanced technology, informatics
The ministry is also sponsoring worker safety projects totalling 2.46
billion drachmas in 12 major industrial firms.
Almost fine weather is forecast for most parts of the country today except
for mainland and western Greece where scattered showers are expected in the
afternoon. Winds westerly, light to moderate. Athens will be partly cloudy
with temperatures between 19-33C. Same in Thessaloniki with possible
showers in the afternoon and temperatures from 17-30C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 281.907
Pound sterling 453.364 Cyprus pd 528.835
French franc 46.396 Swiss franc 189.045
German mark 156.270 Italian lira (100) 16.002
Yen (100) 236.394 Canadian dlr. 201.872
Australian dlr. 210.616 Irish Punt 417.196
Belgian franc 7.570 Finnish mark 52.136
Dutch guilder 138.746 Danish kr. 41.039
Swedish kr. 35.875 Norwegian kr. 37.756
Austrian sch. 22.214 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.541