Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-12
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 12/09/1997 (ANA)
- Miller reiterates US interest in Cyprus issue
- Holbrooke: Cyprus and the EU
- State Department: Greek-Turkish meeting
- Annan rules out new round of talks
- Yilmas reiterates threat over Cyprus' EU prospects
- Visiting Albanian FM begins official contacts today
- Albanian Socialist Party Secretary
- Georgian President to visit Greece
- Armenian official discusses bilateral, regional issues
- Simitis briefed on 2004 Olympics
- Government plans for Olympics
- Greek stocks sink in overbought market
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Miller reiterates US interest in Cyprus issue
The United States has decided to work hard towards resolving the Cyprus
problem, according to an announcement yesterday evening in Athens by the US
State Department's special coordinator on the Cyprus issue, Thomas
He made the statement after a meeting with Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos
Mr. Miller, who is in Athens as part of his visit to Greece, Turkey and
Cyprus, said he will work in close cooperation with US presidential envoy
The US official noted that his country was still in the early stage of the
effort to find a solution to the problem, which he described as a complex
and serious, and one that has no relation with Bosnia.
Replying to a question as to why the US allowed a build-up of tension over
the purchase by Cyprus of the Russian-made S-300 missile systems,
escpecially since it was known that installation of the missiles was not to
take place in the near future, Mr. Miller said the US had expressed concern
over the issue from the beginning.
He added, however, that it was important that interested parties focus
their attention on the core of the Cyprus problem.
Speaking on the same issue, Mr Kranidiotis reiterated that the Cyprus
Republic has the self-evident right to defend its territory, and underlined
that Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides had long ago submitted a proposal
to demilitarise the island.
The foreign undersecretary said he told Mr. Miller of the need to exert
appropriate pressure on Turkey to comply with international legality
towards a solution of the protracted Cyprus problem, and expressed his
disappointment over the stance adopted by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf
Denktash at the recent direct Cyprus talks in Montreux.
Mr. Miller arrived from Ankara and is to continue on to Nicosia, the final
stop on his tour of the region.
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said after his meeting with
Mr. Miller that there had been "an exchange of useful opinions" on the
prospects for a resolution of the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said he hoped that the joint effort by Mr. Miller and
Mr. Holbrooke would be met positively by all sides, so that in the time it
takes Cyprus to accede to the European Union, a positive solution could be
"The Cyprus issue is one of high priority for President Clinton," Mr.
He clarified that he was not bringing any specific proposal for a
resolution to his tour of the region.
Holbrooke: Cyprus and the EU
Meanwhile, according to an ANA dispatch from New York, Mr. Holbrooke said
that the US was a strong believer in Cyprus joining the European Union.
He added, however, that the US position "is very clear".
"We think a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation should join the EU," Mr.
Holbrooke said after meeting with the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church
in Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos, who is currently visiting Washington.
Mr. Holbrooke noting that this is a subject he has discussed at length with
EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek.
"Turkey should also be a member although that is down the road at a future
date," he said.
The US position on Cyprus' accession to the EU would be discussed at length
with European officials when Mr. Miller visits Brussels next week.
Mr. Holbrooke said Mr. Miller's mission was of an "exploratory character"
and that he would be visiting himself "later in the year".
Asked whether the deployment of the S-300 missiles, purchased by the Cyprus
government, would create a danger, Mr. Holbrooke appeared to downplay the
The missiles, he said, "are a long way off. Let's cross that bridge when we
come to it".
State Department: Greek-Turkish meeting
A possible meeting between the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey in
November at the Balkan summit meeting on Crete is a very positive
development, the US said yesterday.
According to an ANA dispatch, such a development would "contribute to the
promotion of dialogue between the two sides and could contribute to
negotiated solutions, US State Department spokesman Jim Foley said.
"Each time the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey meet, the US is deeply
satisfied and encourages both sides," he added.
Referring to Mr. Miller's visit to the region, Mr. Foley said the US State
Department official had called on Turkish officials he had met with to
"lower the tones" because it did not aid in creating a constructive
Mr. Foley pointed out that the issue of "rising tone of rhetoric in the
region which the US think is very counter-productive" was brought up in
"As he will do in his visits also to Athens and Nicosia, he urged a general
toning down of the rhetoric and expressed the US government's support for
continued efforts to achieve peaceful solutions", Mr. Foley said.
Annan rules out new round of talks
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday ruled out new rounds
of talks on Cyprus taking place this year under UN auspices, due to the
holding of presidential elections on the island republic in February.
"I do not think that we can anticipate new talks this year due to the
elections which have been scheduled in Cyprus," Mr. Annan told a press
conference in New York.
"I believe it will be more realistic and rational for them to take place
after the elections because I think that these elections are already
casting a shadow on the talks," he added.
Mr. Annan expressed his regret over the failure of talks held in Switzerland
last month. However, after disclosing that Cyprus President Glafcos
Clerides had proposed a return to the negotiating table, he said that "he
had hoped that the Turkish side would be ready to make the same gesture."
Yilmaz reiterates threat over Cyprus' EU prospects
Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz has warned that Cyprus' division would
become permanent if the process of the island's accession to the European
Union (EU) continues, according to an ANA dispatch from Istanbul.
"If the Greek side, hiding behind the EU and inviting Russia to Cyprus,
forces us towards a solution in accordance with its own views, the present
situation in Cyprus will become permanent," Mr. Yilmaz said.
He said that Turkey seeks Greek friendship, adding that if Greek-Turkish
relations improve, armament expenditures will be reduced.
Mr. Yilmaz was quoted by the Turkish Anadolu news agency as saying that the
Cyprus issue could be solved if Greece abandons what he claimed were
"demands on the Aegean".
Meanwhile, an ANA dispatch from Brussels quoted German Eurodeputy Werner
Konrad (a Christian Democrat) as saying that "parallel negotiations" should
be held between "two legally recognised Cypriot governments".
In statements he made in Stockholm, Mr. Konrad claimed that "the EU ought
to know that the accession of Cyprus to its group, without a previous
political settlement on its political problem, practically means the
division of the island". It would be "more honest", he said, "if the
northern section's status is cleared up before accession talks begin" for
the island, to allow Turkish Cypriots to decide for their future freely and
independently, not "as representatives of Turkey".
Visiting Albanian FM begins official contacts today
Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo arrived in Greece yesterday for a
three-day official visit.
He is scheduled to meet with the president of the republic, the premier,
the foreign ministry's leadership and political party leaders.
Yesterday, he was received by the leader of the Democratic Social Movement
(DHKKI), Dimitris Tsovolas.
"Relations between our two countries need to be closer and more sincere for
the good of the peoples of Greece and Albania," Mr. Tsovolas said after the
meeting at Parliament.
Mr. Milo said Greece's policy towards Albania had "proven itself to be a
policy of safe support for Albania, a fact that is further indicated by the
relations developing between the two peoples which will tolerate the
passing of time and create a new im age, not only for our two countries but
for the Balkans."
Albanian Socialist Party Secretary
Ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said yesterday Greece's presence
in Albania helped considerably during that country's recent political
He spoke after holding talks here with Albanian Socialist Party Secretary
According to Mr. Skandalidis, Mr. Maiko praised the success of the recent
visit paid by a government delegation to Albania.
Mr. Maiko, who is responding to a previous visit paid by Mr. Skandalidis to
Albania, said the preconditions exist at present for the realisation of
what the two peoples want. He also stressed the hospitality offered to
Albanians workers living in Greece.
Georgian President to visit Greece
Greece and Georgia will sign a friendship and cooperation agreement on
Monday when Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze begins an official three-
day visit to Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Kostis
Mr. Shevardnadze will meet privately with Mr. Stephanopoulos on Monday
morning, and later with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
He is also expected to meet with President of Parliament Apostolos
Kaklamanis and the leaders of political parties, as well as Development
Minister Vasso Papandreou and Greek business figures interested in
investing in his country.
Mr. Shevardnadze will also receive the Onassis Foundation's prize for
International Understanding and Social Achievement during his visit to
Athens and will also fly to Thessaloniki, before travelling to the
autonomous monastic community of Mount Athos.
Mr. Shevardnadze's visit is an indication of the increasing closeness of
Greek-Georgian relations - Athens and Tbilisi signed a defence cooperation
protocol in July, during Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos' visit to the
Georgian capital, while Mr. Shevardnadze recently announced that the Greek
language would be officially taught in Georgian public schools. Some 60,000
Black Sea area ethnic Greeks are estimated to reside in Georgia.
On the trade and economic level, the Greek telecoms utility OTE clinched in
May a US$14 million contract for the construction of a fibre optics cable
network in Georgia, while the largest private Greek telecoms firm Intracom
recently announced it had wo n the contract to introduce a card telephone
system in the country.
Armenian official discusses bilateral, regional issues
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis held talks yesterday with
Armenian First Foreign Undersecretary Vartan Oskanian on issues concerning
bilateral relations between the two countries, both at political and
According to a relevant announcement, progress in the framework of Black
Sea cooperation was discussed, prospects for tripartite cooperation between
Iran, Armenia and Greece, issues concerning Armenia's relations with the
European Union, as well as deve lopments in the Caucasus region, with
emphasis on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Mr. Kranidiotis briefed Mr. Oskanian on Greek foreign policy issues, the
Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations and developments in the Balkans.
Simitis briefed on 2004 Olympics
Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras
yesterday to discuss Athens' successful bid to host the Olympic Games of
Coming out of the meeting, Mr. Fouras declined to give any details, except
to convey Mr. Simitis' pleasure that the Athens bid had met with success.
According to reports, Mr. Simitis asked the sports undersecretary during
their meeting to begin contacts with possible candidates for the Olympics
organising committee. Mr. Fouras later met with a representative of the
national economy ministry and the prime minister's legal counsel.
Government plans for Olympics
The agreement that will be signed between the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) and Athens will include an element of choice by the
government, spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.
Responding to questions following the publication yesterday of the Olympic
founding charter and its terms, Mr. Reppas said that the text was a
framework within which one could make adjustments to specific points,
providing the opportunity to better serve Greek interests.
The text of the agreement may possibly be introduced to Parliament for
discussion and voting, after passing through parliamentary committees.
He said that the government had made no decision yet on any issue related
to the organisational committee for the 2004 Games.
Greek stocks sink in overbought market
Greek equities remained under strong pressure for the second consecutive
session on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday to lose further ground.
The market was overbought after a sharp advance in prices during the first
two sessions of the week and investors needed a breather, traders
The general index closed 1.73 percent lower at 1,641.04 points, with most
sector indices losing ground. Banks fell 2.17 percent, Construction dropped
2.58 percent, Leasing eased 1.68 percent, Insurance ended 0.56 percent off,
Investment ended 1.49 perce nt down, Industrials fell 1.73 percent,
Miscellaneous eased 0.58 percent but Holding bucked the trend to end 0.15
The parallel market index for small cap companies dropped 2.10 percent.
Trading remained heavy and turnover was 20.2 billion drachmas. Broadly,
decliners led advancers by 184 to 42 with another 15 issues unchanged.
Mostly fine weather will prevail throughout Greece today except in the
eastern regions of the country where there will be local clouds. Winds will
be northerly, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea.
Temperatures in Athens will range between 19-29C, while in Thessaloniki
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 280.250
Pound sterling 445.706 Cyprus pd 528.141
French franc 46.463 Swiss franc 189.670
German mark 156.200 Italian lira (100) 16.004
Yen (100) 235.650 Canadian dlr. 201.932
Australian dlr. 202.428 Irish Punt 421.283
Belgian franc 7.566 Finnish mark 52.175
Dutch guilder 138.687 Danish kr. 41.027
Swedish kr. 35.900 Norwegian kr. 37.871
Austrian sch. 22.201 Spanish peseta 1.852
Port. Escudo 1.540