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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-27

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, 27/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Pangalos comments on talks with Cem
  • Greek, Turkish businessmen to meet in Izmir
  • Pangalos-Annan meeting focuses on Cyprus
  • Vartholomeos, Russia's Alexiy confirm intent to cooperate closely
  • EU's Fischler hears Athen's position vis-a-vis EU enlargement
  • Cabinet discusses framework for state procurements, public works
  • Rock fans rush to Thessaloniki for U2 concert
  • Alliance of European News Agencies held in Geneva
  • Ecumenical Patriarch in Thessaloniki tomorrow
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Pangalos comments on talks with Cem

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said in New York last night that while Greece was trying to achieve detente with Turkey, the latter was afraid of stating all its claims since these were "clearly in contravention of international law and international practice, and only serve to isolate Turkey and bring it into conflict with the civilised world".

Speaking at a press conference following the conclusion of his contacts on the fringes of the 52nd United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Pangalos said Greece had exhausted all possibilities for a conciliatory approach.

"Of course, we don't want there to be tension in our relations, but at some point we have to deal with the essence of the problem," he said, adding that otherwise bilateral relations were poisoned and the resolution of other problems made more difficult.

"We have opened up a way out of this difficult situation. We want solutions and we want them now. That is why we have proposed, for a start, to deal with the problem created by (Turkey's) claims and military moves around Imia. This is a specific questioning of our territorial integrity, while at various levels of the Turkish leadership there has been an attempt to cloud the situation in the Aegean," he said, going on to refer to existing international accords (in 1923, 1932 and 1947) determining the status quo in the Aegean.

He noted that Greece had accepted the referral of the problem of the continental shelf, which arose after the signing of these treaties, to the International Court in the Hague, while it had also proposed that Turkey refer the Imia issue to the same body.

He said that Turkey, "instead of making use of this way out, only raises new issues, generalises and confuses various claims" at the same time demanding that Greece discuss every Turkish claim or demand.

"That will never happen, as long as there are territorial claims," emphasised the foreign minister.

Meanwhile, in view of a Balkan summit in Crete in November, to be attended by both the Turkish and Greek prime ministers, Mesut Yilmaz and Costas Simitis, Pangalos said:

"I hope that the meeting between Simitis and Yilmaz, if it takes place, will be less disappointing than my meeting with (Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail) Cem, who simply repeated the Turkish Foreign Ministry's same old tricks."

Turning to the Cyprus issue, the minister said Turkey was being called upon to face its first real challenge with regard to the issue.

"Turkey cannot enter the European Union while the Cyprus issue remains unresolved. Cyprus will join the EU, whether or not the Turkish occupation forces leave," he said, adding that a Turkish threat to annex occupied northern Cyprus was "ridiculous", since that situation had already existed since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island and brought in settlers from the mainland.

"Turkey cannot join the EU nor can it have a closer association with the EU as long as the Cyprus issue drags on. Cyprus will join, whether or not the issue is resolved, while Turkey will stay locked out... By ignoring the Cyprus issue and its relations with Greece, Turkey is only burying its head in the sand," he concluded.

Greek, Turkish businessmen to meet in Izmir

The first meeting of Greek and Turkish businesspeople active in the eastern Aegean will be held in Izmir next month at the initiative of the Greek Islands Development Group and the Union of Young Turkish Aegean businessmen. Meanwhile, an event for Greek-T urkish friendship is being held on Saturday on the island of Hios, at the initiative of the local prefecture and municipality, featuring local dances and with participation of about 100 children from the Asia Minor town of Cesme.

Pangalos-Annan meeting focuses on Cyprus

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan yesterday discussed developments on the Cyprus problem, according to an ANA dispatch from New York.

Mr. Annan's special representative on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, was also present at the meeting.

Mr. Pangalos told reporters that he did not want to comment on a text by Turkey's UN permanent representative on Cyprus on the issue of S-300 missiles being purchased by Nicosia.

The text, calling on UN chief to intervene in order to prevent the purchase of the missiles, was circulated at the UN on Thursday.

"There is nothing new (in the report). It was circulated at the UN, along with thousands other reports, circulated by various countries. I don't think it is worth comments from me," he said.

Vartholomeos, Russia's Alexiy confirm intent to cooperate closely

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos met with Patriarch Alexiy of Moscow and All Russia in Odessa recently and confirmed their intent to help the two Orthodox churches cooperate more closely, according to an ANA dispatch from Moscow.

In a joint announcement quoted by Russian news agency ITAR-TASS, they said "secessions and divisions in the church end up bringing great losses, and we must do anything possible to heal these wounds on the body of the church the soonest possible".

Vartholomeos met with Alexiy on the occasion of a Black Sea environmental symposium entitled "Religion, Science and the Environment", that was chaired by the former.

The meeting was significant in light of recent misunderstandings between the two churches, which had led to a cancellation by Vartholomeos of an official visit to Austria where both Orthodox leaders would also have met with Pope John Paul II.

EU's Fischler hears Athens' position vis-a-vis EU enlargement

Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas stressed to visiting EU Commissioner Franz Fischler yesterday that Greece would show a "constructive attitude" towards EU enlargement if the Commission showed understanding regarding vital Greek interests in the pr oposed Agenda 2000 reforms.

Agenda 2000 includes issues such as reduced prices, reduced supports, and a lower level of protection - tariffs, taxes etc.

Mr. Fischler also met with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, main opposition New Democracy party shadow agriculture minister Savvas Tsitouridis and representatives of farmers, traders and industrialists at the beginning of his briefing tour of all 15 EU ca pitals.

In all contacts, the Commissioner met with the uniform attitude that Greek farmers could not pay the cost of enlargement, and that all products should be treated as a package and on an equal basis for north and south.

Cabinet discusses framework for state procurements, public works

The Cabinet yesterday discussed the final form of an insititutional framework for state procurements and public works.

A statement later said the government aimed to secure the greatest possible degree of transparency and would never object to subjecting any case causing controversy to auditing.

The new framework establishes full judicial protection in cases of contraversion of rules in bidding procedures, compulsory auditing by the State Audit Council for procurements worth more than 500 million and for public projects worth more than one bill ion drachmas.

It also provides for harmonisation of national legislation with the EU and extends its provision to certain types of procurements for the armed forces.

The framework will be drafted within a month.

Rock fans rush to Thessaloniki for U2 concert

Thessaloniki's centre was jammed with traffic yesterday as thousands of people converged on the city's port for last night's scheduled concert by the Irish rock group U2.

Dozens of coaches had ferried in fans from all over the country and from northern border points, where ticket-holders crossed into Greece on foot after a customs officials' strike closed the borders to road traffic.

Around 400 people have come from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), 500 from Turkey and another 150 from Belgrade. The customs strike also delayed the arrival of trucks containing stage sets and equipment.

The members of U2 were expected to take the stage at around 10 p.m., flying in about an hour earlier from Crete where they have been vacationing.

The group's fee for last night's performance, reportedly 650 million drachmas, is being provided by the Cultural Capital of Europe Organisation, the culture ministry, the General Secretariat for Youth and business sponsors, apart from ticket sales.

Immediately after the concert, the stage set and equipment will be loaded onto a ship for Tel Aviv, Israel, where U2 will hold their next performance.

Group members are expected to continue their mini holiday on Crete.

Alliance of European News Agencies held in Geneva

Newspapers, in their traditional but also their electronic form, as well as reliable, analy tical and in-depth journalism will continue providing the basic source of information for citizens in the cyber era, participants at the 40th general assembly of the Alliance of European News Agencies were told yesterday.

According to an ANA despatch from Geneva, the assembly was attended by the general directors of 26 of the 30 European news agencies.

The general director of the World Press Organisation (WAN - formerly FIEJ), Timothy Bolding, referred to the increase in the sales of certain newspapers noted in the last two years, underlined the return of the young to traditional values, and stressed that "the newspaper of the future will be that which will respond to the citizens' more specialised needs and will be offered to him in all possible forms".

Reuters editor-in-chief Mark Wood referred to the huge prospects held by digital technology and to the need for news agencies to utilise all possible forms of communication. Bloomberg's founder, Michael Bloomberg, stressed the role of news agencies in t he efforts of all media in restricting their costs, referred to the prospect of 'personal television' (TV per se), and described as positive the fact that the newspapers already use the advantages of radio and television in their competition with them.

The general assembly was also briefed on the draft resolution for strengthening the press, submitted to the Culture and Media Committee of the Europarliament by Greek Euro-MP Katerina Daskalaki. The general secretary of the alliance expressed satisfacti on with the fact that Ms Daskalaki accepted the amendments proposed by the alliance, and stressed that "such initiatives are worth the appreciation of all in the mediaI"

Finally, the General Assembly unanimously elected ANA general director Andreas Christodoulides to the post of vice-president of the Alliance of European News Agencies.

Ecumenical Patriarch in Thessaloniki tomorrow

Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, due on an official visit to Thessaloniki, is scheduled to meet here tomorrow with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos. The Patriarch will be accorded head-of-state honours during his arrival at the central Aristotelous Square at 10:00 a.m. His visit will end on Oct. 2. At a press conference in Romania signalling the end of a recent symposium focusing on the Black Sea region's environment, which the Patriarch chaired, Vartholomeos said the Ecumenical Patriarch ate's concern over the environment had begun during his predecessor's reign. He said that ecological seminars were sponsored by the Patriarchate every summer, while a congress would take place on the small island of Halki.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather will prevail throughout Greece today with the possibility of light rain in the east and south. Winds northerly, light to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Temperatures in Athens will range between 14-22C, while in Thessaloniki from 10-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 275.508 Pound sterling 443.126 Cyprus pd 529.629 French franc 46.783 Swiss franc 190.231 German mark 157.133 Italian lira (100) 16.077 Yen (100) 228.319 Canadian dlr. 198.975 Australian dlr. 199.566 Irish Punt 403.704 Belgian franc 7.614 Finnish mark 52.556 Dutch guilder 139.535 Danish kr. 41.269 Swedish kr. 36.764 Norwegian kr. 38.916 Austrian sch. 22.330 Spanish peseta 1.861 Port. Escudo 1.544

(M.S.)


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