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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-03-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 16/03/1999 (ANA)


  • Greece hopes for quick end to Commission crisis
  • Athens: Turkish statements increase tension
  • Latvian President in Greece for official visit
  • Elusive November 17 group makes statement
  • Communist Party criticises U.S. policy
  • Jogger shot in Thessaloniki forest
  • Irate businessman attacks tax police
  • Cyprus on track for EU - Vassiliou
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greece hopes for quick end to Commission crisis

The resignation of the entire European Commission was inevitable and an act of political responsibility, Greece said on Tuesday. "The Greek government supports transparency and wants to strengthen the role of the European Commission and ensure its operation," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. Referring specifically to Greece's commissioner, Christos Papoutsis, Reppas said he enjoyed the confidence of the government and said the fact there were no claims against him in the independent report was a positive factor. Reppas said that he hoped the crisis would be overcome quickly and that the problem be rectified soon. "Greece is in touch with the other countries regarding the replacement of those who have resigned and I hope that the member-countries (of the EU) would decide on a joint position on this," Reppas said.

Athens: Turkish statements increase tension

The Greek government on Tuesday attributed statements by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel again claiming the existence of so-called "grey areas" in the Aegean to attempts to maintain the climate of tension in Greek-Turkish relations. "These statements have nothing to do with the climate befitting good neighbours which must exist and merely serve to confirm Turkish designs," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. While noting that the Turkish threats remained in the form of verbal attacks, Reppas warned that if Ankara progressed to taking military action, "the tension will prove to be unfavourable for Turkey". Asked by reporters if there had been any recent dangerous development in the Aegean, Reppas replied that there had been a number of infringements by Turkish warplanes which, however, did not constitute a "dangerous development".

Latvian President in Greece for official visit

Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis is due to arrive in Athens on Tuesday night for a three-day official visit at the invitation of President Kostis Stephanopoulos. Ulmanis will have separate meetings tomorrow with Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and opposition party leaders. During his stay, Ulmanis will speak at an event organised in his honour by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Ulmanis will travel to Thessaloniki on Friday morning and depart for the all-male monastic community of Mt. Athos by helicopter. Later on Friday, he will meet with Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, while Macedonia-Thrace Minister Yiannis Magriotis will host a dinner in his honour later in the evening.

Elusive November 17 group makes statement

The elusive "November 17" terrorist organisation reared its head today after a nine-month silence to accuse the government of prime minister Costas Simitis of betraying Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, who was now being held in a Turkish prison. In an 8-page proclamation sent to the Athens afternoon daily Eleftherotypia, urban guerrilla group also accused the European Union of a maintaining a policy on the Kurdish issue that was "in full contravention" of Article 35 of the Human Rights Proclamation of the French Revolution. The group blamed Simitis of being chiefly responsible for Ocalan's betrayal, but it also laid responsibility on "certain (Kurdish Workers' Party) PKK officials in Greece" and urged the Kurdish organisation to "take steps so as not to suffer more blows". It ridiculed American and Greek efforts to uncover the organisation. Referring exclusively to the US, the proclamation said that in recent years 1,500 serious anti-American actions had taken place in the world while only 5-6 had been solved.

Communist Party criticises U.S. policy

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Tuesday strongly condemned US policy in the Balkans on the occasion of a visit by Tipper Gore, the wife of US Vice-President Al Gore who arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday. "At a time when US missiles are causing carnage among the peoples of Europe and continuing to murder Iraqi civilians, when a gigantic death machine is being prepared through Thessaloniki and Litochoro, Mrs. Gore - the human face of US imperialism - is today in our city lecturing us on the concept of volunteerism as a factor in development and society," a statement released by the Thessaloniki office of the KKE said. The reference in the statement to Thessaloniki and Litochoro reflects the KKE's opposition to the movement of NATO troops and equipment through northern Greece on their way to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) where they will be ready to support any peace agreement which may be reached in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

Jogger shot in Thessaloniki forest

A Thessaloniki man was shot and seriously injured while jogging through the city's Seih-Shou forest on Monday afternoon. Dimitris Angelis, 37, is presently hospitalised with bullet wounds to the stomach in the intensive care unit of the AHEPA Hospital. Police have been unable to question him about the incident. According to initial reports, Angelis was ambushed as he was jogging near the Filippeion Hotel. Police believe about three people were involved in the attack but do not yet know whether Angelis was a deliberate target or 'just ran into trouble'. The bleeding Angelis managed to reach his vehicle and drive to a telephone where he called for an ambulance.

Irate businessman attacks tax police

A Greek businessman was arrested for attacking members of the finance ministry's crack economic crimes squad SDOE when they turned up at his factory for a surprise check of the firm's books. Theodoros Houliara "not only did not assist us in our checks as he is obliged to under provisions foreseen in the law, but physically assaulted members of the team and proceeded to remove documents," a statement from SDOE said. Houliara, who runs a scrap metal business in Thessaloniki, also attempted to conceal and dispose of documents which would reveal the firm's tax situation, SDOE added. The man is expected to be charged with resisting arrest, unlawful detention, unathorised removal of documents and physical assault.

Cyprus on track for EU - Vassiliou

The head of Cyprus' negotiating team for accession with the European Union said on Tuesday that talks were on the right track and the atmosphere in Brussels was "businesslike". "To date we have seen good progress... Of course, we always want things to be better but objectively I would say that we are on the right road," chief negotiator George Vassiliou told the ANA. "The climate is positive. Businesslike, clearly positive," he said. Vassiliou, a former president of Cyprus, was in Athens late last week at the invitation of the Greek foreign ministry to speak on the course of Cyprus' accession to the European Union.


Local cloud and scattered showers in the Aegean and Thrace will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds variable, light to moderate. Partly cloudy in Athens and possible rain in the evening and temperatures betweeen 7-16C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 4-12C.


Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          290.964
Pound sterling       472.688
Japanese yen (100)   247.266
French franc          48.605
German mark          163.014
Italian lira (100)    16.466
Irish Punt           404.829
Belgian franc          7.904
Luxembourg franc       7.904
Finnish mark          53.624
Dutch guilder        144.678
Danish kr.            42.892
Austrian sch.         23.170
Spanish peseta         1.917
Swedish kr.           35.871
Norwegian kr.         37.398
Swiss franc          199.179
Port. Escudo           1.590
Aus. dollar          183.981
Can. dollar          190.563
Cyprus pound         550.937
Euro                 318.829
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