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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 29/09/1997 (ANA)


  • Patriarch Vartholomeos begins official visit to Greece
  • Patriarch on Environmental Symposium
  • Pangalos reiterates call for peaceful solution to Cyprus issue
  • Reppas: Greece desires friendship with Turkey
  • Clerides due in Athens next month
  • Greece rejects allegations of terrorism in "Observer" report
  • Government spokesman says allegations are fictitious
  • Greek army chief in Italy
  • Greek trade group expands contacts abroad
  • Greece backs economic zone for Mediterranean
  • Weekend Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Patriarch Vartholomeos begins official visit to Greece

The Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos I of Constantinople arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday on an official visit at the invitation of 'Thessaloniki Cultural Capital of Europe'.

He was greeted by President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, members of the government and opposition leaders, religious leaders from Greece and abroad and thousands of residents.

The Patriarch arrived in the northern Greek port city after attending a weeklong international symposium on religion and the environment held on board a ship in the Black Sea.

Earlier arrivals were Patriarchs Maximos of Bulgaria, Theoktistos of Romania, Pavle of Serbia, Elias of Georgia and Archbishop of Albania Anastasios who also welcomed Vartholomeos.

Greeting the Patriarch, who was received with honours accorded to heads of state, President Stephanopoulos expressed Greece's love and respect for his person.

The President also praised the Patriarch's contribution to efforts for peace and friendship among nations in Europe and worldwide.

Vartholomeos later attended Mass at Aghios Dimitrios cathedral.

The Patriarch is to visit the northern prefecture of Xanthi before leaving on Tuesday.

In a brief message to the Greek people, the leader of the Orthodox Church spoke of the need for peace.

He urged all nations in the region to pursue progress and prosperity, stressing that war failed to resolve problems.

During a luncheon hosted by Mr. Stephanopoulos, the Patriarch underlined the need for unity in the Orthodox Church and welcomed political stability in Greece.

Among guests at the luncheon were Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Macedonia and Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos.

The Patriarch met last night at Thessaloniki's Government Building with the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party Costas Karamanlis.

Patriarch on Environmental Symposium

Speaking at the closing session of the enviromental symposium, Partiarch Vartholomeos said he was satisfied at the outcome of the meeting.

He said it was necessary to ensure the right conditions for natural ecosystems, and also encourage human behaviour that would improve the quality of life.

Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamos presented the symposium's conclusions which outlined the principle that close cooperation between religion and science was needed in order to deal with environmental problems.

Pangalos reiterates call for peaceful solution to Cyprus issue

Foreign Minister Theodors Pangalos repeated his unwavering support for peaceful and viable solution to the Cyprus issue, stressing that the real political question regarding Cyprus was whether Turkey even wanted a solution.

"We are ready for a solution. (But) the Turkish leadership has to decide if they want a solution at all," he told CNN in an interview.

Asked to comment on a statement by US mediator Richard Holbrooke that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash may be talking, but not about substance, Mr. Pangalos said:

"In the round of talks that is now underway, President Clerides wants to discuss substantial issues such as demilitarisation of the island, a proposal solving the problem of security for both communities," he said.

The two men have started last Friday face-to-face talks on security issues.

"Denktash, however, greatly depending on the presence of 35,000 heavy-armed Turkish troops on the island, wants to discuss issues such as disengagement and ways to avoid incidents.

"These may be useful issues but cannot lead to a feeling of security for both communities which will help establish a lasting functional solution," Mr.Pangalos said.

The minister said he fully supported efforts made by President Clerides and the United Nations Secretary General to seek a lasting solution for Cyprus.

He also emphasised support for US initiatives linked to a meeting with Mr. Holbrooke in which the two men had agreed on initiatives for the Cyprus problem.

Citing Turkey's invasion of a sovereign country and occupation of one third of the island, Mr. Pangalos said there were people in Ankara who believed they could get away with it for ever.

"This is not a reasonable approach to reality," the Greek minister said, calling on the international community and the United States "to make this clear to the Turkish leadership."

Reppas: Greece desires friendship with Turkey

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Saturday that Greece, desiring friendship with Turkey, has made great contributions in that direction.

"I believe Ankara should do the same," he said in Chania, Crete. The spokesman was asked to comment on talks between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers in New York.

"We always desire friendship with Turkey. But we want this friendship to be based on equality and governed by rules making it fruitful for both parties, " he told reporters.

"These rules," he added, "are none other than the International Law and international treaties."

"Greece has contributed to this effort and I believe that the other party should do the same," he added.

Clerides due in Athens next month

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will visit Athens on October 13 for talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, on his way back from New York where he will address the UN General Assembly.

Greece rejects allegations of terrorism in "Observer" report

Greece categorically rejected allegations published yesterday in the "Observer", a British Sunday newspaper, that guerrillas of Kurdistan's Workers' Party (PKK) were trained in centres located in Greece. Asked to comment on the report, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou told reporters in Thessaloniki:

"It would be useful if anyone possessing specific information and specific accusations contacted official state bodies so that an investigation can be conducted.

"I do not know how genuine the report is, or what its purpose is."

The allegations, as reported by the Observer, were made by Seydo Hazar, 31, described as a "fugitive terrorist", who claimed that his PKK cell operated from Greece and had links with other terrorist groups including Palestinian Hamas, the Sri Lankan Tam il Tigers and German neo-Nazis.

According to the "Observer", Hazar, a Kurdish-born German resident, was now on the run from the PKK and speaking from Greece.

He told the newspaper that PKK guerrillas were planning bomb attacks in London and on European tourists in Turkey.

He also claimed that the terrorists had developed chemical bombs to attack civilians.

The man that the "Observer" described as "one of the world's most dangerous bombers", offered to trade his information for sanctuary and a new life.

According to the report, his allegations were taken seriously by Western intelligence agencies.

Government spokesman says allegations are fictitious

Acting government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou said the Greek government strongly rejected the allegations contained in the "Observer" report as untrue and ficticious.

"In what seems more than a mere coincidence, Hazar's allegations are already published in a book titled 'The Terrorism Dossier & Greece' (Inaf, 1996) by Turkish author Cem Basar. The book was published in the self- styled state in northern Turkish occ upied Cyprus," Mr. Nikolaou said in a written statement.

"There are even some phrases in the Observer report which are identical to those in the book," he said.

The Greek government had investigated in depth similar allegations that had been made in the past.

The areas in which Hazar claimed training centres operated such as a farm in Triada and the Pefkakia Hotel area had been searched thoroughly, but no evidence of such activities was ever found.

"Hazar's case recalls the well known instance of another Kurd, Altuin Giyasettin, who had publicly confessed on May 27, 1994, in Istanbul, that he had become a Turkish agent and had been used in order to make similar accusations," Mr. Nikolaou said.

The spokesman said Greece, which was a stabilising factor in the region, had openly condemned terrorism and was cooperating internationally in the fight against the phenomenon.

"Greece is an open, democratic society, and anyone wishing to investigate the validity of such 'accusations', are welcome to do so by coming to Greece and conducting a search for themselves," Mr. Nikolaou said.

Greek army chief in Italy

Greek Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Manousos Paragioudakis today starts an official visit to Italy at the invitation of his counterpart, Lt.Gen. Francesco Cervoni.

During his visit, which ends on October 2, Gen. Paragioudakis will visit army formations and training centres.

He will also have talks with Mr. Cervoni on issues of bilateral military interest.

Greek trade group expands contacts abroad

The Greek External Trade Organisation (OPE) concluded key agreements with business groups in countries of the Mediterranean, Bal-kans and Black Sea on the sidelines an international conference on development in the region held in the northern town of Kozani.

Among agreements announced yesterday by OPE president Yiannis Tzen at the close of the conference were the following:

An agreement with the Egyptian delegation for cooperation in trade points

- Participation by OPE in meetings between TELECOM, a Greek company in Azerbaijan, with the Azeri telecommunications undersecretary on providing technical support to the firm

- The extension of schemes in Albania in which OPE is already taking part including textiles and shoemaking. OPE will hold a Greek products week in Albania early next year

A visit by a delegation of Armenian businessmen to Greece in November

An agreement for cooperation with the Kishnau chamber of trade in Moldova to promote initiatives in external trade and investment

- Agreements with Jordan's chamber of trade for 10-day two-way exchange visits by experts, and cooperation on organising information systems, particularly for trade points

An agreement with the Palestinian delegation for OPE officials to train business executives in Ramallah and Athens

An agreement with OPE's Turkish equivalent to set a date for signature of a cooperation accord

- An agreement with the Ukrainian delegation to hold a one-day conference at which the Greek side will submit proposals on undertaking public works in collaboration with Greek engineering contractors active in Ukraine.

Greece backs economic zone for Mediterranean

Speaking at the conference's closing session, Development Minister Vaso Papandreou said cooperation among emerging economies in the Mediterranean, Balkans and Black Sea region would act as a base for peace and prosperity.

Greece, owing to its geographical position and history, had a special role to play in setting up an economic zone in the region, Papandreou said.

According to delegates, the conference succeeded in its two basic targets: the creation of joint ventures and an information exchange network among participating countries.

Weekend Greek First Division soccer results

PAOK - Kalamata 4 - 0 OFI - Olympiakos 2 - 3 Athinaikos - Heraklis 0 - 0 Ionikos - Ethnikos 1 - 0 Panathinaikos - Veria 2 - 0 AEK - Kavala 1 - 0 Xanthi - Proodeftiki 4 - 0 Panionios - Apollon 1 - 3 Pyrgos - Panahaiki play today Standings: Panathinaikos, Ionikos 12 points, AEK, Heraklis 10, Olympiakos 9, Xanthi 8, Apollon 6, PAOK 5, Panionios, Proodeftiki, OFI 4


Fair weather will prevail over most of the country today, with light to moderate northerly winds. Fine weather in Athens with temperatures between 15-26C. Light cloud in Thessaloniki in the afternoon with temperatures from 12-24C.


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


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