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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-23

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, 23/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek F-16 missing
  • US airforce plane catches fire in Greece
  • NATO exercise begins
  • Greece hopes for clarity from Pangalos-Cem meeting
  • Athens views Turkey's European orientation positively
  • Greece signs CoE agreement on minorities
  • Various opinion polls released by Athens media
  • Exhibition of works with Alexander the Great theme opens
  • Five early El Grecos on display at Athens Concert Hall
  • Greece contributes marbles for EU monument in Austria
  • Five new routes in next year's 'Acropolis Rally'
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek F-16 missing

A Greek Air Force F-16 fighter plane disappeared from air force radar screens at around 3.30 today.

The plane was on a training flight with another three F-16s west of the Aegean island of Ayios Efstratios, southwest of Limnos, when communication was lost.

Air Force helicopters and naval boats are conducting a search of the area.

US airforce plane catches fire in Greece

A U.S. airforce P-3 aircraft caught fire as it landed at Souda airbase in Crete early today, but causing no injuries, the Greek Airforce General Staff announced.

The announcement said that the U.S. naval cooperation aircraft cracked the left side of its belly and caught fire as it landed at 2:30 a.m. at the end of the Souda airbase tarmac.

It said Greek and American firefighting units extinguished the fire.

Military sources said the four-engine American aircraft skidded off the landing runway at Souda and caught fire after its left wheel broke.

Its two left engines and left wing were also damaged, but there were no injuries among its six-member crew, the sources said.

The airplane was taking part in a NATO southeastern wing exercise code- named "Dynamic Mix".

NATO exercise begins

A NATO multinational exercise, "Dynamic Mix' 97", is taking place with Greece's participation after a long absence, while Turkey has announced that it would not participate in it.

The exercise, coordinated by NATO's southern flank headquarters, was launched today and will continue until October 13.

Three regional exercises will take place in Greece's home territory, in Macedonia, Thessaly and the western Peloponnese.

"The exercise covers the entire national space and meets our demands in this current phase," the Chief of the Exercises Coordination Office at the Greek Armed Forces General Staff said.

Dynamic Mix is held with the participation of Belgium, Britain, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Norway and the United States.

Greece hopes for clarity from Pangalos-Cem meeting

Greece expects today's meeting in New York between Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem to show "clearly" that Turkey is willing to act in the spirit of the Madrid communique, the government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

Speaking to reporters, Reppas said there was still no news on whether a tripartite meeting with the participation of the Greek, Turkish and US foreign ministers would be held during the UN General Assembly.

"It's not something that can be ruled out," Reppas said, adding however that there had been nothing official.

Pangalos is to meet Cem and his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia today on the sidelines of the General Assembly meeting in New York which began on Monday. Pangalos and Cem will meet separately with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Wednesday.

According to reports, Pangalos welcomed US President Bill Clinton's reference at the UN on Monday to the need for a resolution of differences between Greece and Turkey and of the Cyprus problem, saying it was significant that the US leader considered the two matters major issues in need of resolution.

In a related development, Reppas said the use of the word 'supremacy' by the Turkish defence minister in relation to the deployment of S-300 missiles on Cyprus was "arrogance."

Turkish Defence Minister Ismet Sezgin was reported as saying that the deployment of the missiles would overturn "Turkish supremacy".

"(The word) should not be used," Reppas said. "There is no need of 'supremacy'."

Athens views Turkey's European orientation positively

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that Greece is in favour of Turkey's European orientation because it considers that this would be in line with Greek national interests, on the condition that the neighbouring country respects the Madrid Communique.

He spoke at an international two-day conference organised by the Federation of European Journalists on the "Role of the Mediterranean in European Unification".

Athens and Ankara signed a joint communique over the summer in Madrid establishing a set of principles governing bilateral relations.

Regarding Nicosia's decision to purchase Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, the Greek alternate foreign minister said it was a response to the continuing military build-up in the Turkish-occupied part of the island republic.

"If Turkey moved towards demilitarisation, then Cyprus could withdraw its S- 300 missiles," he said. Mr. Papandreou stressed that Cyprus was already on the road to becoming an EU member, and that the development would work positively on efforts to find a resolution to the Cypriot problem.

Greece signs CoE agreement on minorities

Greece yesterday signed the Council of Europe agreement for the Protection of National Minorities.

The agreement was signed in Strasbourg by the general secretary for community affairs of the Greek foreign ministry, Stelios Perrakis, in the presence of the organisation's Secretary General Daniel Tarschys.

The agreement sets out the principles which must be observed by member- states, such as the fight against discrimination, promotion of full equality, promoting the conditions for maintaining and developing the culture and identity of national minorities,granting of the right of assembly, freedom of expression and thought, conscience and religion, as well as the confirmation of the right for free access to and use of the media.

Various opinion polls released by Athens media

Recent public opinion polls do not show any significant changes the electoral strength of parties, while Prime Minister Costas Simitis is mostly ahead in preferences as the most appropriate politician for the post.

A V.PRC poll conducted on behalf of the Athens daily "TA NEA" newspaper, shows 41.4 per cent of respondents preferring Mr. Simitis for the post, as compared with 25.6 per cent for main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis.

In intention to vote, PASOK leads with 30.9 per cent, compared to 28 per cent for ND.

Another poll, conducted by Kappa Reserach on behalf of the "Exousia" daily, places the two major parties neck-to-neck in electoral strength, while a third one, conducted by Alco, on behalf of "Antenna TV" station, places ND ahead with 30.6 per cent, co mpared with 27.6 per cent for PASOK.

A fourth, a nationwide poll, conducted by MRB on behalf of the "Mega TV" channel between Sept. 10-17, on a 1,600 strong sample, shows ND leading with 27.7 per cent, compared to 27 per cent for PASOK.

The polls give the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) between 4.5 and 5.6 per cent, the Coalition of the Left between 4.7 and 6.3 per cent, the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) between 3.7 and 4.1 per cent, and Political Spring between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent.

Exhibition of works with Alexander the Great theme opens

An exhibition of various works inspired by the life and legend of Alexander the Great opened yesterday in Thessaloniki's newly built Telloglio Institute and will be open to the public until Jan. 11.

The exhibition includes more than 140 art works dating back to the Middle Ages through to the 20th century, taken from museums and private collections in Europe and the United States.

The exhibition is being organised by the Thessaloniki Cultural Capital '97 organisation and was founded with 200 million drachmas.

The works include paintings, tapestry, echings, drawings etc.

Five early El Grecos on display at Athens Concert Hall

An exhibition including five early paintings by Domenico Theotocopoulos, better known as El Greco (1541-1614), opened at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) yesterday.

The paintings were drawn by El Greco before he left Crete for Venice and Spain, and will be shown along with a private collection of paintings by Greek artists until Nov. 7.

Three of the El Greco paintings are on loan from the Benaki Museum, one from a cathedral in Ermoupolis, Syros and one from the Historical Museum of Irakleio, Crete.

Greece contributes marbles for EU monument in Austria

Greece has contributed marble from Mount Penteli for a European Union (EU) monument set up in an Austrian community by all union member-states.

The monument commemorates the EU's 40th anniversary. Greece's contribution was meant as a symbol of the Parthenon, as one of the greatest monuments of western civilisation.

The initiative for the marble was taken up by Greece's embassy in Austria once the call was announced for contributions.

At the unveiling ceremony on the weekend, a message was read by Austrian President Thomas Klestil. The event was attended by the Austrian Interior Minister Karl Schloegl, as well as the ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions from EU countries.

Five new routes in next year's 'Acropolis Rally'

Next year's "Acropolis Rally" will include five new special routes and use Delphi as focal point for ending the first special stage of the race and beginning for the next two.

The final dates are expected to be confirmed next week, but likely dates are June 5 to 9 or June 12 to 16. The race, as always, will set off from the foot of the Acropolis and end at a yet to be determined spot in Athens after having covered a total of 1,186.7 km.

The cost of the race is close to 150 million drachmas, as last year, and is expected to be covered by sponsors.

WEATHER

Fair weather with some local cloudiness and showers and dropping temperatures is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds northerly, light to moderate turning strong in the North. Athens and Thessaloniki will have almost fair weather, with moderate winds and temperatures between 16-26C and 16-21C respectively.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 280.369 Pound sterling 450.487 Cyprus pd 529.530 French franc 46.618 Swiss franc 190.811 German mark 156.543 Italian lira (100) 16.047 Yen (100) 228.785 Canadian dlr. 201.932 Australian dlr. 201.867 Irish Punt 412.275 Belgian franc 7.586 Finnish mark 52.576 Dutch guilder 139.039 Danish kr. 41.126 Swedish kr. 36.601 Norwegian kr. 38.480 Austrian sch. 22.243 Spanish peseta 1.857 Port. Escudo 1.540

(M.P.)


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