Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-29
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 29/08/1997 (ANA)
- New Italian foreign ministry statement on Dini-Cyprus affair
- Pangalos says: Dini affair considered closed
- Italian press: Dini's statements "thoughtless"
- Poos talks to touch on Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations
- Greek Defence Chief discusses weapon systems in Russi
- Constantopoulos, Albanian premier discuss bilateral relations
- US Congressmen briefed on Greek national issues
- Russian tourist found dead on Mt. Athos
- Whales sighted off Volos
- Chinese Tibetan ensemble to perform
- Cyprus looks to further business cooperation
- National Bank's profits increase
- Forty-one countries in this year's Thessaloniki Trade Fair
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
New Italian foreign ministry statement on Dini-Cyprus affair
The solution to the Cyprus problem must be based on United Nations
resolutions, the Italian foreign ministry reiterated yesterday in a second
statement issued to entertain comments made by Foreign Minister Dini on
The statement was apparently prompted by criticism in yesterday's Italian
press regarding Mr. Dini's statements and the subsequent fallout.
"Sources in the prime minister's office and the Italian foreign ministry
have observed with surprise certain interpretations by the press according
to which, in recent statements by Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini on Cyprus,
there was a 'rift' in terms of Italy's traditional stance, followed by a
'patch-up' by the prime minister in his contact with Greek Prime Minister
Costas Simitis," it said.
The ministry added: "These interpretations are unfounded, given the fact
that the Italian stance on the issue which was expressed by Minister Dini
and Prime Minister (Romano) Prodi remains exactly the same: the solution to
the problem of Cyprus must be based on the resolutions adopted by the
United Nations, in the frame of which efforts are being made to find a
solution that would take into account the aspirations of both communities
on the island".
Pangalos says: Dini affair considered closed
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday 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,"
Mr. Pangalos said.
On Tuesday, Mr. Dini was reported saying after talks with Turkish Foreign
Minister Ismail Cem in Rome that in Cyprus "there exist two governments and
two entities". Mr. Dini was also reported saying that the question was "to
see whether in negotiations with the EU, these two entities are recognised
His remarks provoked a sharp reaction from Athens, which termed the
statements "outrageous" and demanded clarifications.
On Wednesday, the Italian foreign ministry issued a statement saying Rome
recognised only the Republic of Cyprus.
Italian press: Dini's statements "thoughtless"
Front-page comments and reports in the Italian press yesterday alternately
described Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini's statements on the Cyprus
problem on Tuesday as "thoughtless," "unacceptable" and "provocative".
"La Repubblica" wrote: "Dini's thoughtless words about Cyprus caused an
uproar. Some speak of major Italian economic interests in Turkey and of a
purchase of helicopters by Turkey. It seems the Athens-Rome stand-off will
"Il Jornale" said: "Dini's gaffe created a Mediterranean storm, because he
either did not know, or he 'forgot' that Italy and the EU only recognise
the Greek-Cypriot Republic of Cyprus.
"Economy and business are one thing, but diplomacy is something different.
They are often entangled. But it is not easy to handle them in a clear
"Il Foglio" said: "According to some analysts, it is not a simple
diplomatic gaffe. Beyond the Italian-Turkish meeting, there is the Athens-
Rome stand-off for the (2004) Olympics."
Poos talks to touch on Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations
The Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations are expected to be the focus
of talks Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos will have with Prime
Minister Costas Simitis and his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos in
Mr. Poos, the current rotating president of the European Union, is visiting
Greece in the framework of a tour of European Union capitals. He is also
due in Ankara on Sunday.
Luxembourg presidency sources said yesterday that discusssions will focus
on the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations, as well as on preparation
of the Luxembourg summit at the end of November over the issue of
unemployment in the Union.
Greek Defence Chief discusses weapon systems in Russia
National Defence General Staff Chief, Gen. Athanassios Tzoganis said
yesterday that Russia could participate in the Greek armed forces programme
to acquire weapon systems whose possibilities will be equal to those of the
Russian-made S-300 missiles.
Gen. Tzoganis is visiting Russia this week, the first visit ever by a Greek
He has so far met with Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeev, his Russian
counterpart Gen. Kvashine, and members of the defence committee and the
Russian parliament (Duma) as well as Patriarch Alexei of Moscow and All
Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Gen. Tzoganis said that military
cooperation between the two countries would not turn against a third
country but contribute to the consolidation of stability in the wider
Referring to the purchase of Russian weapon systems by Greece, Gen.
Tzoganis said several factors would be taken into account, adding that
Athens was considering Russian technology as part of its broader interest
to acquire the best kind of weapons systems.
"In the next five years, the Greek armed forces will have included in their
programme the purchase of a weapon system whose possibilities will be equal
to those of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles," he said.
Greece, he added, will launch an international bid to acquire such a weapon
system and Russia could bid for its S-300 missiles.
Constantopoulos, Albanian premier discuss bilateral relations
Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano yesterday said Greece was "the steam-
engine of the Balkans," during talks with visiting Greek Coalition of the
Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos.
Talks were held between the two men in the framework of Mr. Constantopoulos's
visit to Tirana at the invitation of Albania's Socialist Party. During
talks, Mr. Nano expressed his gratitude to the Greek people for their
support of the Albanians.
Mr. Constantopoulos said that Greece and Albania would be strategic
partners in facing the challenges of the 21st century.
US Congressmen briefed on Greek national issues
Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday briefed a six-member US
Congressional delegation on Greek-Turkish relations, especially what he
called Ankara's continued provocations against Athens after the signing of
the Madrid communique for the normalisation of relations between the two
Mr. Kaklamanis also referred to what he called Turkish intransigence
leading to a deadlock at recent UN-led direct talks in Switzerland between
Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash
as well as provocative statements by Turkish politicians regarding EU-
Cyprus accession talks.
In addition, he noted Washington's responsibility to help preserve peace in
the fragile region of eastern Mediterranean.
Mr. Kaklamanis praised the efforts by Greek-Americans to promote Greece's
national rights as well as the "constructive stance," held by many members
of the US Congress to promote these rights based on respect of human rights
and the principles of International Law.
The US Congressmen also met with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos
for talks on issues related to security, stability and cooperation in the
Balkans and Caucasus.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told reporters after the meeting that he had briefed the
delegation on continuous Turkish infringements of FIR and violations of
Greek airspace in the Aegean, which he described as "phenomena which come
as a surprise to someone unfamiliar with the situation...We came to learn
and we learned," the head of the delegation, Florida Republican Michael
Bilirakis, said, describing the talks with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos as "open and
Russian tourist found dead on Mt. Athos
A Russian tourist was found dead in the autonomous monastic community of
Mount Athos early today and police say the man was probably murdered.
The body of Vladimir Kirikine, 37, was found at 1.30 a.m. outside his
lodgings, near the monastery of Vatopediou on the peninsula.
Kirikine was visiting the area with a group of his compatriots, who are
being questioned by police.
The police said the body had received wounds to the stomach but that it
would be moved to Thessaloniki for an autopsy to determine the exact cause
Whales sighted off Volos
Port authorities in Volos are looking for the 15-metre whale and her calf
sighted off the coast of Volos earlier today to guide them out of the
region and into open seas.
Reports said the whales had probably lost their bearings and entered the
Mediterranean by accident.
Chinese Tibetan ensemble to perform
The 30-strong Chinese Tibetan Song and Dance Ensemble kicks off its first-
ever Greek tour with a concert tomorrow night in Piraeus.
The ensemble is famous for its performances of Tibetan songs, dances,
operas and comic dialogues. Tseden Dolma, a very popular Tibetan singer in
China, will also perform.
The performance will include traditional dances as well as some modern
The ensemble has toured more than 20 countries and regions in Europe, North
America and Asia and has taken part in many foreign art festivals,
contributing to the development and popularisation of Tibetan culture and
Cyprus looks to further business cooperation
Cypriot investment in Greece totalled 18 billion drachmas in the period
1991-1996, while Greek investment on the island republic were 7.6 billion
drachmas, Cypriot National Economy Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou
In an exclusive interview with the Athens News Agency, Mr. Christodoulou
stressed that the Greek and Cypriot governments have put forward measures
to facilitate listing of public enterprises on both countries' stock
Government and stock market authorities were striving to retain a mutual
high degree of confidence in the institutions and in companies entering the
Mr. Christodoulou said that the government will steadfastly pursue the
convergence policy and that Cyprus was among five best-performing European
Union member-states in meeting the Maastricht criteria.
National Bank's profits increase
The National Bank of Greece yesterday announced a 109.4 per cent increase
in pre-tax profits which reached 40.2 billion drachmas between January-July
1997 as against 19.2 billion drachmas in the corresponding period last
National Bank also reported a decrease in general expenses from 13 per cent
over the seven-month period in 1996 to 6.6 per cent in the same period this
Forty-one countries in this year's Thessaloniki Trade Fair
HELEXPO President Antonis Kourtis said yesterday that 41 countries are
participating or represented at this year's Thessaloniki International
Trade Fair, which Prime Minister Costas Simitis will open on Friday, Sept.
He specified that there are 14 state pavilions, exhibitors participating
directly come from 11 countries, while those represented through Greek
companies come from another 30 countries and from every continent.
Mr. Kourtis said this year's programme includes cultural events, part of
the broader framework of the Thessaloniki Cultural Capital schedule, such
as the Gala des Etoiles, to take place on Sept. 10 and 11 with the
participation of 31 prominent dancers from all over the world as well as
the 36th Greek Song Festival.
Among others, the new HELEXPO board, Mr. Kourtis said, intends to organise
Greek product exhibitions in eastern Europe, including Kiev, Belgrade, St.
Petersburg and Moscow.
Fine weather is forecast for most parts of the country today except for
central and northern Greece where it will be cloudy with possible rain in
the mountainous regions of Macedonia. Winds variable, light to strong.
Athens will be sunny and temperatures will rise from 19-34C. Same in
Thessaloniki with temperatures from 17-31C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.206
Pound sterling 454.931 Cyprus pd 528.438
French franc 46.287 Swiss franc 188.763
German mark 155.843 Italian lira (100) 15.951
Yen (100) 237.554 Canadian dlr. 202.507
Australian dlr. 208.419 Irish Punt 415.331
Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 51.971
Dutch guilder 138.364 Danish kr. 40.920
Swedish kr. 35.809 Norwegian kr. 37.676
Austrian sch. 22.158 Spanish peseta 1.846
Port. Escudo 1.537