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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 26/09/1997 (ANA)


  • Greek-Turkish relations still stalemated after New York contacts
  • Ankara claim that Cyprus can't join EU unless Turkey does rejected
  • Turkey to receive EU funds, but under certain conditions
  • Greece,Albania sign defence cooperation pacts
  • Pangalos sees prospects for cooperation with FYROM
  • Parliament President leaves for Australian tour today
  • Simitis sees Commissioner Fischler today
  • President Stephanopoulos condemns Ankara as 'int'l troublemaker'
  • AEK sold to Britain's ENIC
  • Rhodes twinned with Catalonia's Rozes
  • Greek-Australian cancer researcher in Athens
  • Rare Byzantine artifacts on display in Moscow
  • Greece to host EuroMed conference in October
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greek-Turkish relations still stalemated after New York contacts

Athens sees a convergence of views with Ankara as "difficult to impossible" following Tuesday's talks in New York, but is in favour of continuing talks, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday, commenting on meetings between Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem and with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The fact that Greek-Turkish relations were in difficulties after New York was Ankara's fault, Mr. Reppas said, adding that any potentially positive developments in future would depend on a change in Turkey's political stance. However, he said he did not rule out a change in Turkey's stance before the Balkan summit in Crete scheduled for early December.

Meanwhile, he stressed that Greece would not agree to refer all "outstanding" bilateral issues to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

"Turkey does not recognise (the court's) jurisdiction, nor has it expressed the will to do so," Mr. Reppas observed, adding that the government was in favour of holding bilateral meetings, such as at the upcoming NATO summit on Oct. 10, on confidence-building measures.

"There is a desire for rapprochement and dialogue, but not at any cost," Mr. Reppas said, adding that statements on Wednesday by Mr. Pangalos referred to the impossibility of communicating with someone who wanted a commitment to make compromises in advance.

Mr. Pangalos said on Wednesday it was impossible to talk to "robbers, murderers and rapists". "Mr. Pangalos was not talking about a specific country or politicians but about those who have placed themselves in a position of bad faith so that no communication is possible with them," the spokesman said.

"As for the specific words used by the foreign minister, the phrase 'the rape of Cyprus' has repeatedly been used," he added.

Meanwhile, with regard to Mr. Pangalos' references to a section of the "diplomatic and military establishment in Turkey that has come up with the idea of questioning Greece's borders in the Aegean", the spokesman said:

"The Greek government does not make distinctions between Turkish officials, but wants a reliable interlocutor to deal with issues raised by Greece and the European Union, so that Turkey can overcome its isolation and join the international community." H e referred to a past statement by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, who he said had admitted that Turkish officials had made conflicting statements.

Ankara claim that Cyprus can't join EU unless Turkey does rejected

The Luxembourg president of the EU Council of Ministers, Jacques Poos, yesterday dismissed Turkish claims that the 1960 agreements establishing Cypriot independence precluded the island republic from joining any international organisation where both Greece and Turkey are not members.

"The 1960 agreement provides for the non-union of Cyprus with another country, and it is clear that this provision was included in the agreement in order to stop the union of Cyprus with Greece, and respectively with Turkey.

"But the 1960 agreement does not prohibit Cypriot membership of an international organisation. The EU is an international organisation which respects the sovereignty of its member-states and we do not understand why Turkey, also a candidate for accession to the EU, which it desires fervently, wishes to stop Cyprus from entering the Union.

"This stand is truly incomprehensible to us and we made it clear during our recent visit to Ankara, which was very constructive and fruitful," Mr. Poos told UN correspondents in a press conference.

He reiterated that the EU desired the accession of the whole island, expressing the view that its poorest parts, which were in the Turkish- occupied north, would reap the greatest benefits.

"We shall try to explain to the Turkish Cypriot side in the next few years what these benefits are. I hope they understand that they are not going to lose out. On the contrary, their cultural heritage will remain intact, as in all EU member-states which retain their culture and their national sovereignty," Mr. Poos concluded.

Turkey to receive EU funds, but under certain conditions

The Europarliament yesterday set four terms for Turkey before approving Ecu35 million in funding.

Following a proposal by Greek Eurodeputy Katerina Daskalaki (New Democracy), the Europarliament's Foreign Affairs Committee froze a "special support" fund of Ecu3.5 billion and the "funding agreement" funds of Ecu35 million.

Following this approval, the parliament committee passed by a narrow margin (19 yes, 16 no) an amendment to this by Greek Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos (KKE) setting terms for releasing the funds to Turkey.

The terms are as follows: Respect for international law and human rights, recognition of the rights of the Kurds, contribution towards solving the Cyprus issue on the basis of United Nations resolutions and respect for the external borders of the Europe an Union and its member-states.

Greece,Albania sign defence cooperation pacts

Greece and Albania yesterday signed three protocols of cooperation in the defence sector, providing for assistance from the Greek military in reorganising Albania's armed forces, supplies from the Greek defence industry and the training of Albanian army troops. The protocols, which are a continuation of existing military agreements, were signed by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Albanian counterpart Sabit Brokaj, who is currently visiting Greece .

Mr. Brokaj said his country recognised the contribution of Greek troops towards the multinational effort to overcome the recent crisis in Albania.

The Greek minister referred to the historic bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, adding that he hoped the military cooperation would strengthen Albania's democratic course.

The details of the accords, to be discussed today by senior officers from both countries, provide for the legal status of Greek troops in Albania to reorganise specific units as well as to offer assistance in setting up the administration of security forces, the modernisation of airports and the construction of infrastructure projects for naval bases. At yesterday's meeting it was agreed to promote initiatives to secure peace and stability in the region, and to hold regular meetings on all levels so that agreements already signed would be carried out speedily.

Pangalos sees prospects for cooperation with FYROM

Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos met late on Wednesday in New York with his counterpart from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Blagoje Handzinski.

Mr. Pangalos said after the meeting that they had discussed bilateral relations and FYROM's participation in the Balkan summit to be held on Crete in early November.

There are many prospects for bilateral relations, he said, noting the dramatic increase in trade and investments between the two countries.

"We have serious prospects for developing our relations," he said.

Replying to press questions, Mr. Pangalos said US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's "disappointment" at the lack of progress in Greek- Turkish relations was due to Turkey's stance.

"In these contacts, the problem was the fact that Turkey insisted on its position and subsequently with this position, any progress is impossible," he said.

Parliament President leaves for Australian tour today

Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis leaves on an official seven-day visit to Australia today at the invitation of the Australian legislative assemblies.

This is the first official visit by a Greek parliament speaker to Australia. Mr. Kaklamanis will visit Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne for talks with federal and state leaders and representatives of the Greek- Australian community.

Australian Ambassador in Athens Dr. Robert Merrillees issued a statement emphasising the two countries' common interests, which now included staging the Olympic Games - Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004.

Simitis sees Commissioner Fischler today

Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to meet with European Commissioner for farm issues Franz Fischler today, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

Mr. Reppas added that the agriculture ministry's bill will be the first to be discussed with Parliament convenes on October 8.

He said that today's meeting of the Cabinet would examine the institutional framework of state procurements and public works projects, as well as public order ministry issues.

President Stephanopoulos condemns Ankara as 'int'l troublemaker'

President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday characterised Turkey as an "inter-national troublemaker", while he also criticised the international community for what he said was their tolerance, saying it encourages Ankara's behaviour.

During statements in Volos, Mr. Stephanopoulos also said the country's future development is connected with Greece's ability to overcome longstanding bilateral problems with Turkey.

The president was declared an honorary citizen of Volos.

AEK sold to Britain's ENIC

Controversial Athens-based Mihalis Trohanas announced yesterday that his SoE investment group has sold its 79 per cent stake in the AEK Athens professional soccer club to the English National Investment Co. (ENIC).

ENIC, partly owned by cigarette manufacturer Richmond, acquired AEK in a four-billion-drachma deal signed at dawn yesterday, which gave SoE 2.7 billion for its majority share package and another 1.3 billion drachmas for a complete payoff of the club's debts, taken over by ENIC under the sale contract.

AEK is the first Greek soccer club to be sold to foreign concerns.

Rhodes twinned with Catalonia's Rozes

The town of Rhodes and the Spanish town of Rozes in Catalonia were twinned during a ceremony on the eastern Aegean island yesterday.

"We are returning home after 3,000 years to find our brothers," the mayor of the Spanish municipality, Carles Paramo, said in his address at the ceremony.

Rozes was founded by colonists from Rhodes in the 8th century BC.

Events will last for three days and include concerts featuring groups from the towns as well as lectures by Greek and Spanish archeologists.

Greek-Australian cancer researcher in Athens

Greek-Australian cancer researcher Dr.Vasso Apostolopoulos, who has been acclaimed for her work in contributing to the development of a cancer vaccine, told a press conference yesterday in Athens, where trials of the vaccine are about to begin, of the positive results achieved so far in Australia.

Ms. Apostolopoulos is currently visiting Greece to set up the trials, in conjunction with Melbourne University Professor Ian Mackenzie and Associate Professor Stamatis Vasilaros of the breast cancer clinic at the "Prolipsis" Centre in Athens.

Greece is the first country after Australia to participate in the programme, beginning next month and scheduled to last five years. Around 100 Greek women suffering from breast cancer will participate.

Ms. Apostolopoulos said that 60 women had already been given the vaccine in Australia, and another 40 were scheduled to receive it, noting that none of the women already vaccinated had presented any side effects, while their immune systems appeared to have been activated and were reacting against the cancer cells.

Ms. Apostolopoulos met yesterday morning with Health Minister Costas Geitonas, and yesterday afternoon was received by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos who bestowed upon her the honour of Commander of the Order of the Phoenix.

Rare Byzantine artifacts on display in Moscow

Rare objects and art work showing medieval Russia's cultural exchanges with the 1,000-year Byzantine Empire will go on display at the Church of Annunciation in the Kremlin.

The exhibition is part of Moscow's celebrations for its 850th anniversary. Artifacts are dated between the 11th and 17th centuries, and reflect the gifts brought into the Principality of Moscovy in exchange for protection of churches, monasteries and cities. They include pieces dated from Constantinople, Mount Sinai, Patmos and Mount Athos.

The exhibition was an initiative by the Greek embassy in Moscow and the culture ministry.

Greece to host EuroMed conference in October

Greece will host a conference on industry in Europe and the Mediterranean on October 6-7 to debate foreign investment, trade, tourism, energy and infrastructure, government and industry officials told a news conference yesterday.

The organisers of the conference, which is being held under the aegis of Prime Minister Costas Simitis, are the Federation of Greek Industries, the development ministry, the European Union's Commission, and UNICE, a European UNICE employment organisatio n.

"Greece's location, proximity to south Mediterranean countries, traditional cultural and trade ties, and the potential of many Greek firms to invest mean the country can act as a catalyst in regional development as part of EU policy," Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said.

In 1990 the EU upgraded its presence in Mediterranean countries by launching what it called the New Mediterranean Policy, which involved funding, bilateral cooperation protocols and tariff concessions in order to aid the trade balance with EU member states.

The countries that agreed to the policy, which represent about 300 million residents, were Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Syria, Turkey and Tunisia.

EU summits after 1990 endorsed the policy and set up the Med programmes that aim to boost cooperation.


Cloudy weather is forecast throughout Greece today with scattered showers in the east and south. Winds northerly, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Temperatures in Athens will range between 15-22C, while in Thessaloniki from 12-19C.


Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 278.147 Pound sterling 449.872 Cyprus pd 531.355 French franc 46.610 Swiss franc 190.161 German mark 156.627 Italian lira (100) 16.047 Yen (100) 230.075 Canadian dlr. 200.424 Australian dlr. 201.624 Irish Punt 408.605 Belgian franc 7.589 Finnish mark 52.548 Dutch guilder 139.083 Danish kr. 41.138 Swedish kr. 36.821 Norwegian kr. 38.815 Austrian sch. 22.251 Spanish peseta 1.857 Port. Escudo 1.540


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