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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-22

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, 22/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek bourse ranks top in Europe
  • Greece gets 8 new F-16 fighter planes
  • Expert committees will probably not meet
  • Premier again warns Ankara on threats against Cyprus
  • Greece lodges demarche with Ankara
  • Tourists drown off Crete
  • American library divided into two sections
  • Int'l conference on protection of Black Sea moves on to Batumi
  • Turkish extremists attack conference delegates
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek bourse ranks top in Europe

The Athens Stock Exchange ranked first among European stock markets on returns in January-August, the European Stock Market Association said.

The Greek bourse showed a 62.6 percent increase from the start of the year until the end of August, to show a 60.5 percent rise against August 1996.

The Amsterdam and Helsinki stock markets followed in second and third place with total returns of 35.6 and 33.4 percent respectively.

The association noted that all European stock markets showed gains in the first eight months of the year with the lowest score coming from Vienna and Luxembourg at around 14 percent.

The Greek market, however, remained at the bottom of the European league on value with a total capitalisation of 30.6 billion Ecus. Only the Portuguese market was smaller with a capitalisation of 29.4 billion Ecus.

Greece gets 8 new F-16 fighter planes

Greece today took delivery of eight new F-16 fighter planes, the first instalment of a total of 40 new planes to be delivered to the Greek Air Force by the end of 1998.

At an official ceremony, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the new planes would "significantly upgrade the Air Force's fighting capability."

He added that the strengthening of the Greek air force also bolstered the joint defence doctrine between Greece and Cyprus, forged as a response to the "continual threat from the East".

Responding to questions, Tsohatzopoulos said a prerequisite for improved relations between Athens and Ankara was Turkey's adherence to international treaties and agreements and its contribution to a resolution of the Cyprus problem.

Main opposition deputy president Ioannis Varvitsiotis told reporters that the new planes would bolster the country's deterrent capability, adding that he would like to see the pace of the country's armaments programme stepped up.

Outgoing US ambassador Thomas Niles told reporters that the US would continue its efforts to normalise Greek-Turkish relations and the meeting between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers in New York this week was part of those efforts.

Expert committees will probably not meet

A planned meeting of Greek and Turkish expert committees has been put on hold "because at the moment we do not have the best conditions", government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

Reppas said that the Greek committee was sending its response to a report by its Turkish counterpart body to the Luxembourg European Union presidency today.

The two committees were established on an EU initiative earlier in the year and are charged with examining Greek-Turkish relations, under the mediation of the European Union presidency.

Premier again warns Ankara on threats against Cyprus

Prime Minister Costas Simitis has sent a new warning to Turkey, saying Athens would back Cyprus in the event of any aggressive action by Ankara against the island republic.

Addressing a second-day meeting of the ruling PASOK party central committee on Saturday, Mr. Simitis, who is also the president of the ruling party, said "Greece will come to Cyprus' aid in the event of any aggressive action by Ankara".

Later in the evening, the central committee ended its session by giving its stamp of approval with an overwhelming majority to the party's executive programme on foreign policy issues.

Mr. Simitis stressed that Greek-Turkish relations "cannot be normalised without a just solution to the Cyprus problem", adding that Cyprus' European Union accession course was a top priority for Greece.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos spoke on security and defence policy, which he said must supplement foreign policy.

He said it would be wrong to limit discussion to the Madrid communique, which "does not solve any issues, but was simply an initiative for a peaceful approach to some matters and a correct move on the part of Greece".

He noted that Turkey had made the same moves at a time of domestic crisis, when the then new government was facing serious problems.

Turning to the security issues in the region, he attributed them to "the aggressive policy of Turkey, which is attempting to alter the status quo", and which "today has placed the threat of use of violence on the table".

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos defended the government's foreign policy, adding that for the first time it had the consensus of the overwhelming majority of the Greek people.

Mr. Pangalos said the Madrid communique had changed the political climate, explaining that a country's territorial size was not the issue - underlining that Greece would not concede an inch of its territory.

He said Turkey's leadership had hastened to dispute the Madrid communique in action, but added the communique had not gone "bankrupt", but remained a success of Greek foreign policy and should be defended internationally, particularly against those in Turkey who wished to undermine and nullify it.

Regarding FYROM, he said the interim agreement had been a "bold and decisive step", although he criticised the manner in which it had been announced at the time.

Today, he said, a step forward must be taken, adding that Greece could not accept a name that would create confusion. He noted, however, that PASOK should, since 1993, have stated that it would seek a name acceptable to both countries.

Greece lodges demarche with Ankara

Foreign Minister Pangalos said in a newspaper interview yesterday that he had instructed Greece's ambassador in Ankara to lodge a demarche "at the highest level" over Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's comments on Friday regarding the deployment of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on Cyprus.

Mr. Yilmaz said on Friday that his government had asked the Turkish military to take all appropriate measures to "deal with the issues created by the deployment of the S-300 missiles on Cyprus".

His comments also drew the displeasure of the US State Department, which issued a statement saying it was "firmly opposed to threats to address the missile question militarily."

Tourists drown off Crete

Two foreign tourists drowned yesterday while they were swimming off the coast of Crete, near Iraklion.

Police identified the two as German national Rolf Fastie, 74, and Swiss national Hans Schmid, 55.

They said Schmid went to the help of Fastie when the older man found himself drifting further out but that Schmid also found himself in trouble.

The bodies of the two men have been taken to the Venizeleio Hospital for autopsy.

American library divided into two sections

The US Information Service (USIS) HAS announced that the 52-year-old American Library has been divided into two sections, to better meet the needs of the Athens public.

The first section, the USIS-supported Information Resource Center (IRC), provides information on topics having to do with the US through the use of modern technology. The IRC staff has access to a large volume of information, much of it in electronic for mat, which will meet the needs of serious research. The second section of the library, the circulating collection, has been donated to and will function under the auspices of the Hellenic American Union.

HAU will notify the public when they are completed and the library reopen its doors.

Int'l conference on protection of Black Sea moves on to Batumi

An international religious and ecological conference on the protection of the Black Sea was continued in the Georgian port of Batumi yesterday.

The conference, organised under the auspices of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and European Commission President Jacques Santer, started in the Turkish city of Trabzon on Saturday and after Batumi will visit six more ports in the Black Sea before end ing up in Thessaloniki, the Cultural Capital of Europe 1997.

The Patriarch of Georgia Ilias boarded the vessel "Eleftherios Venizelos", on which the conference is taking place, and was received by Vartholomeos.

Both Patriarchs later officiated at a church service in Batumi. Georgian Parliament President Zourab Zhvania, the president of the ministerial council for the autonomous government of Abhazhia, Georgi Ilatse, and members of the Georgian church's Synod greeted the Ecumenical Patriarch.

Turkish extremists attack conference delegates

The international conference drew hostility from several Turkish nationalist organisations in Trabzon on Saturday, members of which stoned buses carrying delegates from the city's airport to the anchored ship.

About 50 people shouted slogans against Patriarch Vartholomeos and clerics participating in the conference, accusing them of "coming to Trabzon to make it Greek" and shouting "the Black Sea is Turkish."

The organising committee of the conference was forced to cancel a scheduled visit to the renown Panagia Soumela Monastery after local authorities refused to guarantee the safety of delegates. Most of them visited the monastery with their own means without any incident taking place.

The conference attended by 400 delegates, received a warm message from Turkish President Suleyman Demirel.

The ultra-nationalist and Islamist newspaper "Turkiye" termed the conference a "Dirty Game in the Black Sea", while the Islamist newspaper "Milli Gazete" headlined its report on the conference with "What audacity!"

Greek First Division soccer results

Panahaiki-Panathinaikos 0-1 Ethnikos - Heraklis 0 - 1 Veria - Ionikos 0 - 1 Proodeftiki - OFI 2 - 2 Kavala - Athinaikos 1 - 0 Apollon - Pyrgos 2 - 0 Kalamata - Panionios 0 - 0 PAOK - Xanthi 1 - 1 Olympiakos-AEK play tonight Standings: Ionikos, Panathinaikos, Heraklis 9 points, Olympiakos 6 Xanthi 5 AEK 4 Proodeftiki 4 OFI 4 Panionios 4 Ethnikos 3 Pyrgos, Veria, Apollon, Kavala 3 PAOK, Kalamata 2, Panahaiki, Athinaikos 0.

WEATHER

Fair weather with some local cloudiness and a small drop in temperatures is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds northerly, light to moderate turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be partly cloudy with long spells of sunshine and temperatures from 17-26C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15-21C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.179 Pound sterling 448.483 Cyprus pd 530.105 French franc 46.608 Swiss franc 190.117 German mark 156.548 Italian lira (100) 16.049 Yen (100) 229.281 Canadian dlr. 200.642 Australian dlr. 200.577 Irish Punt 414.220 Belgian franc 7.586 Finnish mark 52.582 Dutch guilder 139.029 Danish kr. 41.124 Swedish kr. 36.605 Norwegian kr. 38.521 Austrian sch. 22.246 Spanish peseta 1.857 Port. Escudo 1.542

(M.P.)


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