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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-04-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 28/04/1998 (ANA)


  • Christodoulos new Archbishop of Greece
  • Italian defence minister to visit
  • Athens rejects new Turkish claims
  • Greece concerned over Kosovo
  • Greece blocks EU funds to Turkey
  • Turkish FM not to attend WEU meeting
  • Athens dismisses latest Turkish provocations
  • Athens protests latest Turkish moves
  • High-level gov't meeting focuses on tourism
  • New Greek Army rapid deployment force formed
  • OECD assured that Greece will meet Maastricht criteria
  • OA pilots call off strike
  • Bulgarian natural gas supplies to Greece jump
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Christodoulos new Archbishop of Greece

Metropolitan Christodoulos of Dimitrias was today elected Archbishop of Athens and All Greece in a third round of voting by the Holy Synod. In the first two rounds of voting none of the ten candidates gained the necessary 39 votes to be elected. A simple majority was required in the third round in which Christodoulos got 49 votes. Christodoulos was elected by the country's 77 Metropolitans to succeed Archbishop Serapheim who died earlier this month.

Italian defence minister to visit

Italy's Defence Minister Beniamino Andreatta will pay an official one-day visit to Greece tomorrow. The visit follows a series of contacts between the chiefs of the general staff of the two countries over the past two years and returns a visit by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to Rome last year.

Athens rejects new Turkish claims

Greece said today that it rejected Turkey's totally unfounded claims which ran contrary to international treaties regulating the status quo in the Aegean. Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis made the statement in reply to press questions on Turkey's disputing of the Greek sovereignty of four Greek islands in the eastern Aegean. About one month ago, Turkish authorities notified Athens that they were questioning Greece's sovereignty of Fournoi, Agathonisi, Farmakonisi and Pserimos.

Greece concerned over Kosovo

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou today expressed Greece's strong concern over the escalation of tension in the Kosovo region in Yugoslavia, during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. Papandreou said Greece advocated an unconditional commencement of dialogue between the Belgrade government and the Kosovo leaders, and totally supported respect of human rights in the region. He also stressed the particular economic and political significance of the developments in Kosovo for Greece as well as other Balkan countries neighbouring Yugoslavia.

Greece blocks EU funds to Turkey

Greece cannot consent to the adoption of economic support for Turkey with European Union funds in light of escalating Turkish provocativeness and Ankara's refusal to resolve differences with Athens through legal channels, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said here yesterday. "The escalation of Turkish provocativeness combined with the refusal of the Ankara government to resolve its differences with Greece through the legal course, namely, through resorting to the International Court at The Hague, leave no ground for Greece to consent to the adoption of economic support for Turkey by EU funds," he told a press conference.

Turkish FM not to attend WEU meeting

Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said in Paris meanwhile that Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem had confirmed he would not be going to Rhodes in two weeks to meet with his Greek counterpart, Theodoros Pangalos, on the sidelines of a WEU ministerial session. Pangalos said he had informed his EU colleagues of Cem's refusal, citing this too as an example of Turkish provocativeness and lack of desire for dialogue with Greece.

Athens dismisses latest Turkish provocations

Government spokesman Dimtris Reppas dismissed the latest Turkish provocation as a continuation of Turkey's policy aimed at trying to create an issue of supposed "grey areas" in the Aegean. Replying to questions on the government's handling of the issue, Reppas replied that it had been effective, since the matter had been raised at the highest level, namely the EU Council of Ministers, and in the most official manner, that is, in the form of a memorandum.

Athens protests latest Turkish moves

In addition to the memorandum submitted to the EU, Reppas said, the government summoned a representative of the Turkish embassy in Athens and handed him a strongly worded demarche. The following day, it called a meeting of EU ambassadors and strongly protested the Turkish provocation. After the Orthodox Easter holiday, Reppas continued, the government also briefed the ambassadors of the United States and Russia. In the memorandum, Greece stresses that the latest Turkish provocation provides additional proof of Ankara's expansionist policy with respect to Greece, while at the same time highlighting the total disregard shown by the political and military leadership in Ankara for international law and international treaties.

High-level gov't meeting focuses on tourism

An interministerial coordinating council yesterday decided on several measures for the upcoming tourist season in light of an expected increase in tourist arrivals for 1998. Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, who chaired the meeting, noted that directly or indirectly several agencies and ministries are involved in overseeing tourism activities, therefore, coordination is all important. In addition, musuems will remain open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, while a single admission policy will be expanded to all archaeological sites and a pilot programme of season tickets will be implemented.

New Greek Army rapid deployment force formed

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday announced that a new rapid deployment force has been created within the Greek armed forces, the Second Army Corps, and is ready to deploy and operate as a unit in any part of Greece. He made the announcement during a visit to the base of the Second Army Corps in Veria and added that the force has been operational since April 1, while the decision for its creation was taken by the government 14 months ago within a framework of military restructuring.

OECD assured that Greece will meet Maastricht criteria

Addressing the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) annual ministerial session in Paris yesterday on the issue of economic policy and structural adjustments, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou assured that "at the end of 1999, Greece will fulfill all the criteria set out in the Maastricht Treaty, and will secure its entry to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as at January 1, 2001."

OA pilots call off strike

Olympic Airways flights are expected to return to normal today after the state-run airline's pilots' association called off its planned industrial action, following talks with OA's board yesterday. A spokesman for the association said OA President Theodoros Tsakiridis reassured pilots that the loss-making carrier was not planning to cut back schedules.

Bulgarian natural gas supplies to Greece jump

Natural gas supplies to Greece from Bulgaria totalled 160 million cubic metres in 1997, up from only one million the previous year, Iuliana Demetrova, a spokeswoman of Bulgargas, Bulgaria's state-owned transport network, said yesterday. Meanwhile, Rem Vyahirev, chairman of Russia's Gazprom, said he expected Greece's natural gas consumption to total three billion cubic metres in the next few years. Mr. Vyahirev told the Athens News Agency yesterday that Greek authorities had expressed interest in increasing Russian natural gas supplies to support operation of thermoelectric power stations in Greece.


Fair weather will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Rain in the west and east late at night. Winds variable, light to strong. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 10-24C. Scattered cloud in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 8-22C.


Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 312.916 British pound 522.486 Japanese yen(100) 236.493 French franc 52.060 German mark 174.294 Italian lira (100) 17.648 Irish Punt 439.853 Belgian franc 8.449 Finnish mark 57.538 Dutch guilder 154.980 Danish kr. 45.717 Austrian sch. 24.796 Spanish peseta 2.056 Swedish kr. 40.541 Norwegian kr. 41.914 Swiss franc 209.649 Port. Escudo 1.700 Aus. dollar 202.606 Can. dollar 218.022 Cyprus pound 592.740


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