Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-12-24
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 24/12/1997 (ANA)
- US a reliable ally of Greece, says Burns
- Plane crash victims still unaccounted for
- More airspace violations by Turkish warplanes
- Tsohatzopoulos: Military always in state of readiness
- Iranian FM: US-Iran rapprochement depends on Washington
- Fulbright scholarship on European Union, EU-US affairs
- Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy set up
- Kostakis collection may find permanent home in Greece
- Stephanopoulos message to expatriate Greeks
- Italian's request for release rejected
- Posidonia '98 promises to be biggest and best
- Bank of Greece reports outflows, plans intervention
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
US a reliable ally of Greece, says Burns
New US Ambassador to Greece, Nicholas Burns, described as "excellent" his
first meeting Tuesday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
Mr. Burns, who presented his credentials to President Kostis Stephanopoulos
the same day, said President Bill Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore and
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had great respect for Mr. Simitis
"and the work he has done for Greece to join Economic and Monetary
The envoy added that his one hour of talks with Mr. Simitis had covered all
issues but declined to elaborate.
His mandate from President Clinton, he continued, is to work closely with
the Greek government in order to further strengthen Greek-US relations and
to ensure that the US is a reliable and good ally of Greece.
Plane crash victims still unaccounted for
A week after a Ukrainian Yakovlev-42 airliner went down in the mountains of
Pieria, northern Greece, the number of victims is still uncertain as
although the official passenger list included only 70 names, the remains of
72 people have been found.
The wreckage was found on Saturday morning after a three-day search
hampered by snow, fog and the rough terrain. There were no survivors.
Relatives have identified 65 bodies at Thessaloniki's Papageorgiou Hospital,
while search teams are still combing the wreckage for the bodies of two
children, three and seven years old, that are still unaccounted for.
Another team of experts was sent to the crash site today to complete the
search, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said in Thessaloniki
today. He added that the area would be sealed off by the army until all
bodies had been accounted for.
Meanwhile the aircraft's flight data recorders have been sent to Germany to
More airspace violations by Turkish warplanes
Six formations of Turkish warplanes infringed on Athens Flight Information
Region (FIR) regulations as well as violating Greek national airspace
during five instances, defence ministry sources said Tuesday.
The infringements took place near Lesvos and Samothrace. Eight Turkish F-
16s and F-4s were all intercepted by Hellenic Air Force fighters.
Tsohatzopoulos: Military always in state of readiness
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said Tuesday that Greece's
armed forces were always in a state of readiness to respond to any
He made the statement when asked by reporters if there was a likelihood of
a serious incident between Greece and Turkey during the coming year.
"No one can answer that question with certainty. Greece is in favour of an
improvement in Turkey's relations with the European Union and we have
repeatedly stressed that we are willing to contribute to this, on condition
that Turkey accepts the same principles and obligations as all EU member-
states," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.
Asked whether the military operation to find the wreck of a Ukrainian
aircraft that crashed in the mountains of Pieria last week could be
characterised as an exercise in readiness, he replied that the search
illustrated the capability and preparedness of the armed forces to respond
immediately and effectively to emergencies.
Iranian FM: US-Iran rapprochement depends on Washington
Improvement in relations between Iran and the United States depends on
Washington, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi said during a
speech at the Pantion University's Institute of International Relations
Tuesday evening. The Iranian foreign minister was speaking on the topic of
his country's foreign policy priorities.
Mr. Kharrazi stressed that a military agreement between Turkey and Israel
has strengthened Israel's expansionist designs, reminding at the same time
that the agreement was condemned at a recent conference of Islamic nations.
He said Iran possessed the m ost direct route for the new pipelines
carrying oil from the Caspian region, since Iran enjoyed as high degree of
stability, as he said.
Asked about the possibility of such a pipeline running through Greece, the
Iranian minister replied that it was "an interesting idea" and that it had
been touched upon during his talks in Athens.
The Iranian official said Greece was a significant nation, playing an
equally important role in the European Union, southern Europe and the
Mediterranean. He added that Athens had contributed to resolving a crisis
between Iran and the EU and had showed a good understanding of the Iranian
reality, compared to other EU member-states.
Fulbright scholarship on European Union, EU-US affairs
The Fulbright Foundation in Athens in cooperation with the Fulbright
Programme in Belgium has unveiled a programme for research or lecturing on
European Union affairs and US-European Union relations.
The programme will take place at a selected US university.
Interested candidates must be European Union citizens, actively involved in
European Union affairs at a professional or academic level, have excellent
levels of achievement and be available at the Fulbright Foundation at 6,
Vas. Sofias Ave. in Athens or at 4, Eleftheriou Venizelou St. in Thessaloniki
between 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy set up
The main opposition New Democracy party announced on Tuesday the creation
of the non-profit Constantine Karamanlis Institute for Democracy.
The institute's president will be Ioannis Varvitsiotis, while its goals
will be promotion of democracy as well as the study, analysis and
presentation of proposals on a wide scope of educational, political and
Kostakis collection may find permanent home in Greece
Hopes were raised yesterday that the Greek state might in the near future
acquire the fabulous "Kostakis Collection" of Russian avant-garde works of
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos announced Tuesday that a final
agreement had been reached between the state and the Kostakis family,
providing for the purchase by the state of the main part of the collection
belonging to the grand-daughter of the famous collector, Aliki Kostaki,
which is being kept in a Cologne bank.
Art lover George Kostakis, a Muscovite of Greek descent, built up his
collection between 1930 and 1960 by exchanging works by western artists for
paintings dating from the period 1910-1930 by then unknown Russian avant-
In 1977, he donated about 150 works to the Tretiakov Art Gallery in Moscow,
while the approximately 600 works he retained have been kept in Cologne.
The collection includes works by Malevic, founder of the 'Supremacist'
school, Tatlin, the founder of 'Constructivism', Popova, Rozanova, and
Kostakis had himself expressed the wish that the 600 works now in Cologne
be brought to and remain in Greece.
Mr. Venizelos hinted that the collection might be housed at the Museum of
Modern Art in Thessaloniki.
Mr. Venizelos declined to make any statement when asked about the purchase
price, but according to press sources, Aliki Kostaki had in the past asked
the Greek state for 6.5 billion drachmas.
Stephanopoulos message to expatriate Greeks
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday addressed a
Christmas message to expatriate Greeks on Tuesday
"All of you Greeks who live and prosper in various places of the world with
your ever lively national conscience, function as the 'other' Greece, a
dynamic and creative Greece that actively supports the efforts being made
by metropolitan Greece to successfully deal with its foreign policy
problems," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.
The president also spoke about the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE),
saying that the organisation was a great help in promoting issues which
relate to the further progress of Greek expatriate communities.
Unity among the people and their organisations in all corners of the world,
said Mr. Stephanopoulos, was of vital importance to them.
"We need knowledge, prudence, merit and braveness in order to be able to
sail again in the open seas, go through rough seas and obstacles and to
defend Hellenism and Orthodoxy internationally," the president of the World
Council of Hellenes Abroad (SEA) Andrew Athens said in a message addressed
to expatriate Greeks on the occasion of Christmas and the New Year.
Mr. Athens added that a few days after the SAE conference in Thessaloniki,
it was now evident that the SAE was the realisation of a major dream and a
unique endeavour to achieve Hellenism's universal unity.
The SAE president compared the SAE to a boat which was directing expatriate
Greeks into the new millenium, with responsibility for its navigation lying
with all Greeks. He further said that 1997 had been a very constructive
year, with SAE's work being tested and acclaimed, while there was still a
long way ahead.
Italian's request for release rejected
An Athens appeals court on Tuesday rejected a request by Italian national
Enrico Bianco to be released from jail pending an extradition request from
The court decided that Mr. Bianco is wanted for criminal acts and not
political, as he claimed, the court stated.
Posidonia '98 promises to be biggest and best
"Expansion" is the theme of the Posidonia '98 international shipping
exhibition, which is slated for June 1-5 in Piraeus next year, and with six
months still to go to the opening, architects have been called in with a
view to creating more exhibition spac e to accommodate exhibitors.
More exhibition area than ever will be required for stands, as reservations
are running at record levels despite some clouds gathering on shipping's
horizon. "The national stands especially require additional space,"says
Nana Michael, managing director of Posidonia Exhibitions SA. "Confirmations
so far point to the largest Posidonia ever with regard to the occupied
The US is leading the way as its maritime industry mounts its largest
presentation ever abroad. At least 50 percent more space will be required
than at Posidonia '96 -- when the increase had been 20 percent -- to house
the very diverse range of companie s which want to show this time," she
Other expanded national stands include the Dutch who have taken 45 per cent
more space than before, Malta 30 percent more, and France is 20 percent up
after a 15 percent increase in 1996.
In addition, all these countries have a bigger presence in the exhibition
outside the national pavilions. Croatia, a new country, is also a new
The leading British participation at Posidonia '98 is also expected to be
the larger than two years back. The Baltic Exchange will be exhibiting
again, and this time it is planning to do so with a number of other London-
based organisations. Japan has al so indicated its maritime sector plans a
repeat major presence.
Greece and Posidonia's leading place in the international shipping
community is underlined by the fact that the European Union will mount a
stand. Through the European Commission space has been taken to present
projects of the Telematics Application Programme of the European Commission's
Directorate General XIII.
"In addition to the European Commission, we have been encouraged by the
inflow of other first-time exhibitors," says Ms. Michael. "Not only is the
interest coming from international exhibitors, but also from Greece,
particularly from supply and service companies."
The record for the number of countries represented within the exhbition --
64 at Posidonia '96 -- is also expected to be exceeded at the 1998 event,
the 16th of these biennial international shipping exhibitions, which will
be held in the Piraeus Port Authority's Akti Miaouli waterfront Exhibition
Bank of Greece reports outflows, plans intervention
The Bank of Greece on Tuesday reported outflows of 110 million Ecus and 140
million DMark at the drachma's fixing in the domestic foreign exchange
market following a pattern seen on Monday.
According to central bank's sources the outflow did not relate to lack of
confidence in the Greek drachma but a decision by foreign institutional
investors not to roll-over their positions in state securities ahead of the
end of the year.
Meanwhile, one-month interbank rates fluctuated around 17-18 percent,
sharply higher from the overnight rate of 11 percent.
The Bank of Greece is expected to intervene in the market on Wednesday by
adding liquidity to stabilise interest rates.
Partly cloudy weather will prevail throughout Greece Wednesday with the
possibility of light rain in the islands of the eastern Aegean where
temperatures will go up to 19C. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Athens
will be mostly sunny with few clouds and temperatures from 7-16C. Partly
cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-11C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 277.909
Pound sterling 463.462 Cyprus pd 530.938
French franc 46.747 Swiss franc 193.638
German mark 156.438 Italian lira (100) 15.951
Yen (100) 214.798 Canadian dlr. 192.250
Australian dlr. 183.188 Irish Punt 399.875
Belgian franc 7.583 Finnish mark 51.743
Dutch guilder 138.860 Danish kr. 41.108
Swedish kr. 35.787 Norwegian kr. 38.162
Austrian sch. 22.241 Spanish peseta 1.851
Port. Escudo 1.534