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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 09/09/1997 (ANA)


  • Simitis likely to visit Albania soon
  • Greece warns Turkey over Bosporus Straits
  • Government spokesman comments on Cem's statements
  • Minister receives OSCE commissioner Van der Stoel
  • Games focus turns to organisational framework
  • Government considering 2004 committee's composition
  • Greek bourse celebrates Olympic Games award to Athens
  • Olympics to give Greek economy shot of adrenalin
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Simitis likely to visit Albania soon

Prime Minister Costas Simitis may officially visit Albania within the year, according to a statement by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday and following a meeting with visiting Albanian Parliament Speaker Skender Gjinushi.

"I hope that Mr. Simitis will visit Albania in the autumn," Mr. Pangalos said.

Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo is to visit Athens within the next few days, while President Rexhep Mejdani is also expected in Greece soon.

Mr. Pangalos said his talks with Mr. Gjinushi, who is on a three-day visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Apostolos Kaklamanis, centred on the reconstruction of the political system in the neighbouring country and the economic situation there, as well as bilateral relations.

Mr. Gjinushi later met with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Mr. Kaklamanis.

Mr. Kaklamanis said the two discussed efforts for reconstruction, restoration of law and order, and the reform and modernisation of the state's infrastructure as well as Tirana's new constitution and the situation of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania.

On his part, Mr. Kaklamanis stressed Athens' interest in individual and human rights for the ethnic Greek minority in the neighbouring country.

Also on the agenda of talks was the presence in Greece of hundreds of thousands of Albanian illegal immigrants. The two men agreed on the need for the establishment of a standing legal framework which would enable the presence of the Albanian nationals to be a factor of good cooperation and relations between the two countries.

Mr. Kaklamanis also affirmed that Greece's Parliament was willing to assist the new Albanian Parliament with technical support. Mr. Gjinushi said Greece had proven itself by standing by Albania during its recent turmoil and had shown its inte rest by its immediate support of the new Albanian government.

He pledged that cooperation between the two parliaments would continue - both within the framework of Balkan and Black Sea organisations - so as to make Greek-Albanian relations an example for the rest of the region.

In addition, Mr. Gjinushi, who is accompanied by representatives of several Albanian parties, also met with Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas.

The latter said that respect of the rights of ethnic Greeks in Albania was a prerequisite for improving Greek-Albanian relations.

Greece warns Turkey over Bosporus Straits

Athens will raise the issue of demilitarising the Bosporus Straits if Turkey persists in its threat to take Greece to the International Court of Justice at The Hague over the demilitarisation of the eastern Aegean islands, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos warned yesterday.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was responding to statements on Sunday by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who rejected a European Union proposal to take its differences with Greece to The Hague over Ankara dispute of Greek sovereignty over the islet of Imia.

Mr. Cem said instead, that Turkey would raise the issue of demilitarising the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean.

Speaking at the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said: "It would be best for Ankara not to touch the issue of demilitarisation, because it would be very easy (for us) to bring the issue of demilitarising the (Bosporus) Straits t o the negotiating table, and the Turks know very well how very interested foreign powers are on this issue, following illicit actions and the checks conducted by Turkish authorities on foreign vessels passing through the Bosporus".

Referring to peace and security in the greater area, the defence minister criticised Turkey for what he said was the undermining of regional security institutions promoted by the international community.

Government spokesman comments on Cem's statements

Commenting on Mr. Cem's statememts, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Turkey would find itself facing problems in becoming a part of international law and order.

"The problem is not Greek-Turkish but a more general fact that Turkey does not recognise the general jurisdiction of the Court at the Hague, which has been recognised by the whole of the civilised world," he said.

Also, referring to statements from Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Inal Batu yesterday, who criticised Prime Minister Costas Simitis' response that a Turkish attack on Cyprus would be cause for war, Mr. Reppas said the premier had outlined a clear position, reiterating the positions of Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides.

Mr. Batu had called Mr. Simitis' statements "irresponsible".

"Politicians must not say the word war so easily," he said, speaking to a private television station.

Mr. Batu, who is responsible for the department on Cyprus and Greece at the Turkish foreign ministry, also accused Athens of "creating the crisis with the Russian missiles on Cyprus."

"It is Greece that created the missiles crisis by encouraging the Greek Cypriots to purchase the Russian S-300 missiles," Mr. Batu added.

"Turkey will not allow these missiles to become an object of transaction for the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations," he said.

In reply, Mr Reppas said: "We desire the full demilitarisation of the island and in consequence we ask who is irresponsible and who is responsible. The one who wants demilitarisation or the opposite? Irresponsible officials do not exist on the Greek side."

"The spirit of the Madrid communique (signed earlier this summer between Greece and Turkey in an effort to normalise relations between the two NATO allies) is alive but seeking a response from the Turkish side," Mr. Reppas said.

The extreme and provocative statements by Turkish officials such as Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit illustrate that the political leadership in Ankara does not coincide with what was signed by the President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel in Madrid," he added.

Avoiding casus belli concerns both countries, Mr. Reppas said, but in truth it was Turkey that had to change and adjust its foreign policy since Turkish officials spoke of bombings or attacks on Cyprus, statements which actually constitute acts of aggre ssion.

Mr. Reppas said expert committees from both countries could still meet but that a scheduled meeting did not take place due to the negative climate created by the statements of Turkish officials such as Mr. Ecevit, "resulting in the two sides being unabl e to speak in good faith."

Minister receives OSCE commissioner van der Stoel

Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) High Commissioner for Human Rights and Minorities, Max van der Stoel, expressed interest in the plight of ethnic Greeks in Istanbul and on the northeastern Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos, du ring a meeting yesterday with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou. Mr. Papandreou said after the Athens meeting that they had discussed measures being taken to benefit the Moslem minority in Thrace, including a review of the Constitution's Article 19 concerning citizenship.

The minister also stated Greece's willingness to participate in peace efforts in Kosovo and to contribute towards any related intiative.

"We had the opportunity to review all the problems facing minorities in the Balkans. We began with Kosovo, and also discussed problems faced by ethnic Greek minorities, such as in Albania," Mr. Papandreou said after his meeting with Mr. van der Stoel.

With regard to a review of the Greek nationality code, he added: "This is something we have been discussing at the foreign ministry and when we are ready we will make an announcement."

The visiting OSCE commissioner also expressed interest in the problems faced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, the Byzantine cathedral of Aghia Sophia and "a series of other issues which we consider are of the utmost importance for our country ," Mr. Papandreou said.

Mr. van der Stoel also meet later with Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis for discussions on human rights, minorities as well as development and economic cooperation in the Balkans.

Mr. Kranidiotis also referred to Greek foreign policy issues and briefed Mr. van der Stoel on the Balkan summit scheduled for Crete on Nov. 3- 4.

Games focus turns to organisational framework

The committee that will handle the organising of the Olympic Games of 2004 will be ready within two months at most, and following approval by the prime minister, Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras said yesterday.

Sources said late yesterday that Prime Minister Costas Simitis has received a proposal for the establishment of an Olympic Games undersecretariat, which will have the general responsibility for the 2004 event.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Mr. Fouras described what had to be done in the near future for the Games, and expressed appreciation for all those who had helped promote the success of Athens' bid.

Mr. Fouras said an agency to handle the organisation of the Games, which Athens won on Saturday by decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), would be set up following meetings with Mr. Simitis.

The "institutional framework, and all bodies will be set up within one or two months," Mr. Fouras said, adding that "there will be a legal framework to provide the ability of minute supervision of the Games, guaranteeing transparency."

The other factor that helped the bid was "unity from all sides. I personally will castigate anybody who tries to break up this unity in the future," he said.

According to Mr. Fouras, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch had told him during his visit for the opening of the World Athletics Championships last month in Athens that "I am anxious about whether I shall be able to come to Greece again if you do not win the Olympic Games. Your greatest asset is the success of the opening ceremony for the championships".

Mr. Samaranch was re-elected to the presidency of the IOC during its weekend meeting on the bid for the 2004 Games.

Government considering 2004 committee's composition

The government will soon take its decision on the operation and appointments to the organising committee for the Games, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

Mr. Reppas said the decisions would take into account the positive work of the Athens 2004 bid committee.

The organising committee, he added, would take the form of a societe anonyme (S.A.) and would place emphasis on transparent procedures.

Projects not directly connected to the Olympics, he added, would continue on the basis of the prevailing "effective, positive and satisfactory" legal framework. On his part, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday said the "Santer package" of European Union-related aid should not be linked to the 2004 Olympic Games.

Replying to a press question on whether the European Union will be more favourable towards supporting Greece in order to secure the success of the 2004 Olympics, Mr. Papandreou said:

"The projects which we have scheduled are necessary for our country, whether or not we were awarded the Olympic Games. And this was one of the arguments which we had repeatedly used for the members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Therefore , I would not link the Santer package to the Games. "I would not link it directly. Indirectly, of course, it has a relationship because the (Athens) metro, the (Spata) airport and the Stavros-Elefsina-Spata motorway are projects which are essential for t he Olympics. The EU, one way or another, has accepted to fund them. And they are not related to the Olympic Games."

Greek bourse celebrates Olympic Games award to Athens

Greek equities scored the biggest rise in history on the Athens Stock Exchange reflecting the market's euphoria on the first trading session after Friday's vote to award Athens the staging of the 2004 Olympic Games.

Traders said the market was jubilant with analysts, economists and politicians all agreeing that the Olympic Games would have a positive impact on the Greek economy in the long term.

Buying orders were massive pushing almost 80 percent of the market's issues up to hit the daily upper eight percent ceiling and the general index to its highest close since June.

The index ended at 1,663.69 points, up 122.69 points or 7.96 percent.

All sector indices ended sharply higher. Banks, Leasing, Investment, Industrials and Construction were 8 percent up, Insurance and Holding followed with a rise of 7.9 percent and Miscellaneous ended 7 percent higher.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 6.9 percent up.

Trading was heavy and turnover was 19.2 billion drachmas.

Olympics to give Greek economy shot of adrenalin

The Olympic Games will have multiple benefits for the Greek economy due to an anticipated large inflow of capital to vital sectors, a trend likely to speed up the advance of many companies listed on the Greek stock market, analysts said.

Economists expect the turnover of Greek industrial groups to reach 550 million dollars in the period 2000-2004 and cite the speed up of major infrastructure projects as the main impact of the award to Athens of the 2004 Olympics.

The construction sector will see 800 billion drachmas of new projects, according to earlier estimates.

Also, information technology projects associated with the Olympic Games are expected to exceed 50 billion drachmas, with the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation due to play a leading role in the sector. The partly privatised state telecom has alrea dy announced a 1.2 trillion drachma development programme.

Meanwhile, market analysts expressed their satisfaction at the market's reaction to the news Athens will host the Olympic Games, predicting a steady upward trend in the long-term with minor corrections.


Mostly fine weather will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds will be northerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the southeast Aegean. Temperatures in Athens will range between 17-32C, in Thessaloniki from 15- 29C.


Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 280.895 Pound sterling 444.555 Cyprus pd 529.887 French franc 46.364 Swiss franc 190.037 German mark 155.952 Italian lira (100) 15.990 Yen (100) 232.197 Canadian dlr. 203.539 Australian dlr. 205.642 Irish Punt 421.362 Belgian franc 7.553 Finnish mark 52.060 Dutch guilder 138.453 Danish kr. 40.958 Swedish kr. 36.246 Norwegian kr. 37.928 Austrian sch. 22.159 Spanish peseta 1.848 Port. Escudo 1.535


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