Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-09
NEWS IN ENGLISH
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
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
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
"I hope that Mr. Simitis will visit Albania in the autumn," Mr. Pangalos
Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo is to visit Athens within the next
few days, while President Rexhep Mejdani is also expected in Greece
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 6.9 percent
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,
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
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
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-
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