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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 18/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek-Turkish relations up for discussion in NY, FM says
  • New NATO measures to defuse Aegean tension under consideration
  • Gov't calls Liani documents 'fake'
  • Greek club AEK sold to British firm
  • Most of Greek north-south highway ready for use by 2000
  • Greece to amend award of shipping licences
  • State signs ammunition deal with Pyrkal
  • Greek OSCE observers leave for Serbia
  • Sinai treasures exhibition inaugurated in Athens
  • EU absorption rate must improve in tourism, V. Papandreou says
  • 'Economist' to host Athens conference on quality
  • Olympiakos beats Portugal's Porto
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek-Turkish relations up for discussion in NY, FM says

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said today that Greece will bring up the gamut of issues affecting relations between Athens and Ankara at his meeting next week in New York with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem.

Speaking to reporters, Pangalos said that there had been no proposal for US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to sit in on the meeting and that the meeting with Cem had been agreed to nearly a month earlier, on Cem's request.

"I will be having bilateral meetings with many of my counterparts on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, including one with US Secretary Madeleine Albright," Pangalos said.

"If there is a proposal (for a tripartite meeting), we will see if it can be useful," Pangalos added.

Pangalos said Greece would bring up all the bilateral issues to the table at his meeting with Cem, stressing that "the issue is not only whether we stick to the 'spirit' of the Madrid (communique on relations between the two countries) but also to the letter."

"The joint communique says there should be no threat of war between the two countries and that Greece and Turkey commit themselves to respecting international law and prevailing treaties," Pangalos said.

The outstanding issue, he said, was the way in which these commitments could be implemented, adding that since there appeared to be disagreement on how, then "some legitimate and internationally-recognised intervention" must be entrusted with the implementation.

"This could be the International Court of Justice at The Hague," Pangalos said.

Referring to Turkey's hesitation to take the issue of the Aegean islet of Imia - to which it laid claim early last year - to the Hague, Pangalos said:

"When the Greek government indicates to Turkey that it should seek recourse to the Hague it is helping it, giving it a way out of the problem. It's not what we want: the best for us would be for Turkey to say 'we were wrong' and to end the issue."

"Turkey is accountable to the international community because it has not accepted the Law of the Sea (treaty) and the jurisdiction of the International Court of the Hague," Pangalos continued.

The lack of action on Turkey's part on the issue of Imia was linked to the issue of EU financing for the neighbouring country, Pangalos reiterated.

"When the prerequisites have been met, in other words, a Turkish statement regarding intent to seek recourse at the Hague over this issue, then there will be a lifting of (restrictions) of the financing protocol."

"This will open the way for us to proceed to the essence of the problems and the essence is the start of negotiations on the agreement to refer the dispute over the (Aegean) continental shelf to arbitrators," he added.

He clarified that as long as the Imia issue remained pending, it was "premature" to discuss formally upgrading Turkey's relations with the European Union.

The Greek foreign minister said a Greek committee of experts appointed to examine ways to better bilateral relations would be sending a memorandum within the week but that a face-to-face meeting with the respective Turkish committee was still up for discussion.

"The Greek position is that (the meeting) should occur if and when it is clear what is to be discussed. We propose specific issues of a procedural and legal nature which the experts should discuss. We do not however accept a general discussion on Greek-Turkish issues, as it appears the Turks do. That is what I will do with Mr. Cem," Pangalos said

New NATO measures to defuse Aegean tension under consideration

Pangalos revealed that NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana had submitted a new package of measures designed to reduce tension in the Aegean which the Greek government was presently studying.

"We will respond by the end of the month," Pangalos said, without giving further details.

"Greece," he said, "wants to transform the Aegean into a sea of peace and does not desire the escalation of tension.

"However, it is not prepared to legitimise arbitrary Turkish views and claims on the region," he said.

If we can deal with the problems in the Aegean and there is a cliamte of confidence between the two countries, Pangalos said, "that is when we can begin examining the reduction of tension in regard to the armaments of the two countries."

Greece's foreign policy goals remained the same: Greece's equal participation in the European Union; and playing a leading role in the pursuit of peace and progress in the Balkans.

Gov't calls Liani documents 'fake'

The government today said documents referred to in a forthcoming book by the widow of the late former prime minister Andreas Papandreou were "obviously fake".

"The falseness of these 'documents' was obvious from the first moment they appeared in public," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

He was referring to documents cited in press excerpts of a forthcoming book by Dimitra Liani-Papandreou about her life with the late founder of ruling party PASOK.

The existence of a piece of paper in some archive does not mean it is a genuine document, Reppas added.

"This government is not going to concern itself with fake papers or with gossiping about marginal issues," he said.

He also denied outright claims that the government was involved in any efforts to prevent the publication of the papers.

Greek club AEK sold to British firm

AEK of Athens, one of the Greece's best first division football clubs, was sold to British multinational Richmond after months of negotiations.

The agreement was signed early this morning after a marathon 16-hour meeting, Michalis Trohanas, president of SOE International, which is the major shareholder, told reporters.

"We achieved an exceptional agreement," said Trohanas, adding that the two sides had decided to keep the terms confidential.

He said formal announcements would be made by AEK's new owners "when they have fully prepared to take over the club's administration".

AEK, which was founded in 1924 by Greeks from Istanbul and has a share capital of one billion dr., has won 11 Greek championships and 10 cups, including two doubles and two super-cups.

Most of Greek north-south highway ready for use by 2000

More than 500 kilometres of a road network linking Patras, Athens and Thessaloniki to the northern Greek border post of Evzones will be open to traffic by the year 2000, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said yesterday.

Mr. Laliotis expressed satisfaction over progress in the project, which is included in the trans-European networks (TENs).

He said the government had secured more than 300 billion drachmas in funds for the project. The European Union would provide 180 billion through the second community support framework and the rest would be covered by the state.

The total length of the road network is estimated at 730 kilometres taking into account a 40 km short cut that will span Maliakos bay. The link is expected to be a co-financed tunnel, rather than a bridge, budgeted at 150 billion drachmas, with operation by the contractor.

Mr. Laliotis underlined the road project had been drawn up according to the latest standards with special concern for conserving the environment and archaeological sites.

Greece to amend award of shipping licences

Greek Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis said yesterday that he intended to change the status of shipping licences to ply passenger routes ahead of the abolition of cabotage in the year 2004.

Mr. Soumakis was commenting on a recent proposal by shipowner Gerasimos Strintzis asking for the removal of cabotage restrictions for certain domestic lines.

The ministry had formed a special committee to examine the issue along with shipowners. Its task would be to harmonise the procedure of granting shipping lines licences, Mr. Soumakis said.

He stressed that the same policy would be applied to foreign ships after the year 2004 as provided by a European Union directive on shipping transport.

State signs ammunition deal with Pyrkal

Greece's national defence ministry has signed a 2.2 billion drachma contract with state-run PYRKAL yesterday for the supply of ammunition to the air force.

Ioannis Sbokos, chief executive of the department of arms procurement in the defence ministry, said that the agreement implemented a policy designed by the ministry to support domestic arms manufacturers.

PYRKAL is expected to sign new deals worth 3.3 billion drachmas along with three-year contracts worth more than 20 billion for the supply of new co- produced ammunition within the year.

Greek OSCE observers leave for Serbia

A four-member Parliamentary delegation leaves today for Belgrade to observe the September 21 elections in Serbia, at the invitation of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The delegation comprises Parliament's second and fifth vice-presidents Panagiotis Sgouridis and Dimitris Kostopoulos, and MPs Dimitris Tsetines and George Tzitzikostas.

Sinai treasures exhibition inaugurated in Athens

President Kostis Stephanopoulos last night inaugurated an exhibition of treasures from the Holy Monastery of Agia Aikaterini in the Sinai Peninsula at the Benaki Museum in Athens.

Also present at the inauguration was Prime Minister Costas Simitis and opposition New Democacy leader Costas Karamanlis, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and many others.

An address was delivered by Benaki Museum director Angelos Delivorias and Archibishop of Sinai Damianos.

The exhibition will open to the public tomorrow.

EU absorption rate must improve in tourism, V. Papandreou says

If absorption rates for European Union (EU) funds in investments for the "Tourism-Culture" programme are not accelerated by the end of the year, the government will redistribute the funds to other sectors with greater potential, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday.

Ms Papandreou said that the agencies responsible for tourism projects funded by the second Community Support Framework would have to accelerate procedures in order to avoid losing funds.

The secretary general for the National Tourism Organisation (EOT) Nikos Skoulas said at the meeting that both public and private sector agencies had to become more active and not lose funds to other development projects.

'Economist' to host Athens conference on quality

An international conference entitled "Quality: The Key to Success - Experience and Examples from Europe and the USA" is being organised by the "Economist" conference department in Athens on Oct. 1.

Included on the agenda will be a discussion of new practices being used in two-thirds of firms in the US and Europe in all sectors of activities.

Participants include 22 Greek and foreign speakers such as Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Undersecretary Stavros Benos, the adviser to the Greek Standardisation Organisation (ELOT) P. Theofilopoulos and the general secretary of the European Foundation for Quality Ceert de Raad.

Olympiakos beats Portugal's Porto

Olympiakos of Greece beat Porto of Portugal 1-0 (halftime 1-0) in a Group D European Champions' League match on last night attended by a crowd of 75, 000. Half-time was 1-0. The sole scorer was Stelios Yannakopoulos.

WEATHER

Partly cloudy weather with spells of sunshine will prevail throughout the country today with scattered showers in the Ionian Sea, mainland Greece and the northern Aegean Sea. Winds, northerly, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Possibility of drizzle in Athens with temperatures between 15-25C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 14- 22C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 277.532 Pound sterling 444.436 Cyprus pd 528.617 French franc 46.658 Swiss franc 190.479 German mark 156.726 Italian lira (100) 16.068 Yen (100) 230.501 Canadian dlr. 200.205 Australian dlr. 199.536 Irish Punt 415.846 Belgian franc 7.597 Finnish mark 52.294 Dutch guilder 139.212 Danish kr. 41.172 Swedish kr. 36.323 Norwegian kr. 38.182 Austrian sch. 22.257 Spanish peseta 1.858 Port. Escudo 1.543

(M.P.)


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