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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-03

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, 03/03/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece trying for good climate with Ankara
  • FM Papandreou meets with former PM Mitsotakis
  • Mitsotakis issues statement on situation
  • Government welcomes call for calm, unity
  • Greek-American leader offers support
  • Strong quake rattles Samos
  • Batch of pure heroin thought to cause 4 deaths
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece trying for good climate with Ankara

Greece said on Wednesday that it was trying to create a good climate in bilateral relations with Turkey, while Ankara was attempting to create tension. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement when asked by reporters about the state of relations between Greece and Turkey in the wake of the Ocalan affair. Reppas accused Turkish officials of making statements which further exacerbated the climate of bilateral relations. The spokesman dismissed a statement by Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Korkmaz Haktan, who claimed that the deadly "November 17" terrorist group was a Greek political party, as being "completely ridiculous and absurd". "We have always fought against terrorism, constantly and relentlessly," Reppas said.

FM Papandreou meets with former PM Mitsotakis

Foreign Minister George Papandreou met with former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis on Wednesday, continuing a series of briefings of political figures on Greek-Turkish relations and developments in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Calling Papandreou's briefings of political party leaders useful, Mitsotakis said better informed pparties meant a better informed public and that these contacts would help in settling the atmosphere and creating unity and consensus on issues of national importance. Mitsotakis said that Greek-Turkish relations appeared to be at a low point and that self-restraint and consensus was called for to respond to the "jitteriness and exaggeration coming from the other side of the Aegean."

Mitsotakis issues statement on situation

Earlier, Mitsotakis, the honorary president of the main opposition party had issued a statement that he was concerned about developments. Mitsotakis said the capture of Kurd rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan after Greece had sheltered him in its embassy in Nairobi for 12 days had left the country "deeply wounded. "Our relations with neighbouring Turkey are at the most sensitive and dangerous point of the past decades," Mitsotakis said, adding that he hoped the U.S. realised it also had some responsibility for the present situation. He told the opposition that it was necessary to put an end to "exaggerations and easy counter-charges" and assess which party or personal ambitions were to the benefit, or harm, of the country.

Government welcomes call for calm, unity

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas greeted Mitsotakis's statements as a "level-headed response to the situation". He added that a number of members of opposition New Democracy had set out similar views in the past. He criticised ND however for continuing to condemn the government and unquestioningly adoptng various claims in the service of its reasoning that the government must fall, and without taking into consideration the interests of the country.

Greek-American leader offers support

World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) president Andrew Athens said on Wednesday that the Greek community of the United States and other parts of the world would fully support the efforts of the Greek government to counteract Turkish propaganda over the Ocalan affair. Speaking in Thessaloniki, Athens and his associates said Greeks overseas would work with the Greek government and on returning to the USA next week, Athens would have meetings with high-ranking US officials, possibly including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Athens met this morning with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Yiannis Magriotis for talks on the SAE and assistance for ethnic Greeks in the countries of the former Soviet Union. On Monday, Athens was received by Prime Minister Costas Simitis for talks on issues concerning Greeks overseas.

Strong quake rattles Samos

A strong earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale jolted the eastern Aegean island of Samos early Wednesday, and police said they had no reports of damages. The Athens and Thessaloniki observatories said the quake was registered at 6:20 a.m. at a distance of 300 kilometres east-southeast of Athens, with its centre in the sea region south of Samos.

Batch of pure heroin thought to cause 4 deaths

Drug squad officers in Athens expressed fears on Wednesday that a batch of pure heroin has been placed on the market, after four addicts were found dead over the past 24 hours. The four victims, all men, were between 20 and 41 years old. One was found dead at a hotel in Omonia Square, another in Peristeri, a third in Perissos and the fourth at his home in Paleo Faliro.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather with scattered clouds will prevail throughout Greece today. Local fog in the morning in mainland Greece. Winds variable, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 6-19C. Same in Thessaloniki with few clouds and temperatures from 2-18C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          293.850
Pound sterling       472.371
Japanese yen (100)   243.744
French franc          48.711
German mark          163.369
Italian lira (100)    16.502
Irish Punt           405.711
Belgian franc          7.921
Luxembourg franc       7.921
Finnish mark          53.740
Dutch guilder        144.994
Danish kr.            42.987
Austrian sch.         23.221
Spanish peseta         1.921
Swedish kr.           35.529
Norwegian kr.         36.910
Swiss franc          200.677
Port. Escudo           1.594
Aus. dollar          182.761
Can. dollar          192.309
Cyprus pound         549.568
Euro                 319.523
(M.P.)
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