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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-03-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

ATH 3 01912 NEWS IN ENGLISH

ATHENS, GREECE, 29/03/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece says territorial integrity of states must be respected
  • ND leader says Greece can play a role
  • ND honorary president pleads to "an end of the madness"
  • Archbishop condemns NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia
  • Reinforcements to NATO forces in FYROM continue
  • Albright 'sends message' to Orthodox Church leaders
  • Greeks celeberate Independence Day worldwide
  • Simitis meets high ranking party officials
  • Agriculture minister sends bill to parliament
  • Repercussions over Greek soccer home ground defeat
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece says territorial integrity of states must be respected

Greece said last night that the territorial integrity of countries should be respected along with the principles of international law and human rights.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas speaking to journalists after a Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) three-hour meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, reiterated the steadfast Greek positions on the Kosovo crisis for "respect of the integrity of states, the principles of international law and the safeguarding of human rights".

Mr. Reppas also underlined that Greece was the only NATO and European Union member-state, which was part of the Balkans where the current crisis was taking place and this particularity should be taken into consideration.

He announced Greek initiatives aiming at facilitating solutions to problems that arise from refugee influxes in the neigbouring countries.

In this context, Mr. Reppas said, Greece will provide economic aid, as well as assistance in kind to Albania and to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) aiming at assisting refugees to stay "near their homes". He added that Greece may accept a limited number of refugees.

Mr. Reppas reiterated that there was no question of NATO troops passing through Greece to conduct military operations against Yugoslavia, expressing the view that no land forces will be engaged in military operations in Yugoslavia.

He also said NATO troops that were already transported to FYROM via Greece were not related to ground operations in Kosovo. Mr. Reppas said that US President Bill Clinton sent a letter to Mr. Simitis, which will be answered in the next few days .

He also announced a government for a parliamentary debate on the Kosovo conflict.

ND leader says Greece can play a role

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday proposed that the Kosovo problem as well as the role Greece could play in the Balkans should be tabled for discussion in Parliament this week at the government's initiative, while he stressed the need for total respect of existing borders.

Speaking in Larisa, north-central Greece, Mr. Karamanlis noted the need for Greece to make clear its national strategy and role for the foreseeable future, in regards to the Balkans, while he expressed his total disappointment over the role of the European Union, because of what he called its total absence.

Mr. Karamanlis said at this point there should be two priorities, the immediate ceasefire and the promotion of a political solution, while he underlined the need for the total respect of existing borders, otherwise there is danger for a total loss of control in the region.

He also said that a situation, which supposedly began aiming at stability in the region has lead to distabilisation, instability, fluidity and danger.

Mr. Karamanlis is on a two-day tour of Thessaly, north-central Greece.

ND honorary president pleads to "an end of the madness"

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) honorary president and former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday stressed that Greece should insist on the need for a political solution to the Kosovo problem, within the framework of NATO.

He said that all sides should stop military actions and return to negotiations, based on the initial agreement proposed by the contact group.

Mr. Mitsotakis said that the contact group, which represented the West, Europeans and Americans, had submitted a plan for political agreement of the Kosovo problem in January 29, which the Yugoslav side had accepted, but the Albanians of Kosovo rejected .

He added that the initial agreement was changed and the second agreement proposed, during the Rambouillet talks, containted two new elements and was not signed by the Yugoslavs.

Mr. Mitsotakis also said that following five days of continual attacks against Serbia, there is no military solution, and as long as bombardments continue hatreds accumulate, distabilising the whole region and aggravating the international environment.

He added that the continuation of the attacks "is something worse than a crime, it is an unbelievable mistake that hurts both victimizers and victims and also the audience of this irrational war."

Archbishop condemns NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia

Archbishop Christodoulos on Saturday blasted NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia, saying Orthodox Serbs had been wronged.

Archbishop Christodoulos called on Greeks to uphold the country's Christian tradition and rally round their spiritual leaders following what he called "an international injustice" perpetrated against the Serbs.

Greeks had shown their outrage at the bombings in Yugoslavia, taking a stand against the great powers that went beyond expediency or material gain, he said.

Archbishop Christodoulos was speaking during a visit to Thessaloniki where a large crowd applauded his remarks on the airstrikes, made during several addresses.

The archbishop also repeatedly underlined the indissoluble link between church and state, implying that trying to sever the connection would lead to destruction of the state.

Attending a ceremony in Thessaloniki to welcome Archbishop Christodoulos was Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Mr. Venizelos, like Archbishop Christodoulos, focused on Yugoslavia, saying that Greece had to maintain a fine balance in its dual roles as a member of Europe and of the Balkans.

In that spirit, Greece had acted as Yugoslavia's diplomatic representative, Mr. Venizelos said.

Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday launched stinging attacks for the second straight day on NATO's military offensive against Yugoslavia.

Saying he had information that Orthodox monasteries in the Balkan country had been bombed on Saturday night, Archbishop Christodoulos said: "(NATO members) hate the Orthodox ... They hear about the Orthodox and they bristle because we are not easily sub jugated."

The archbishop was speaking during a visit to Thessaloniki.

Reinforcements to NATO forces in FYROM continue

Reinforcements to the NATO forces in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) continued over the weekend as 70 vehicles and 40 containers were unloaded at the Thessaloniki port from a German transport ship.

According to reports the military supplies and vehicles will find their way to FYROM in the framework of the creation of a force, which will be depolyed in Kosovo in the event the warring sides reach the relevant agreement.

The same reports said that a second German transport ship entered the Thessaloniki port, but has not yet unloaded the military supplies, it reportedly has aboard.

In a related development an unspecified number of Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers arrived in Thessaloniki from Kosovo and departed from the city's "Macedonia" airport.

Albright 'sends message' to Orthodox Church leaders

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright yesterday requested a teleconference with the Orthodox Church leaders of North America to take place today.

According to reports, the Synodic Council of the Orthodox Bishops of America (SCOBA), of which Greek Orthodox Archbishop Spyridon is president, was resolved to note its condemnation of NATO's attack against the people of Yugoslavia and to request for th e immediate finding of a peaceful solution for Kosovo.

Greeks celeberate Independence Day worldwide

Greek ex-patriates celebrated on Saturday the 178th anniversary of the Greek war of independence with events culminating with a parade on New York's 5th Avenue.

US Senator Ted Kennedy and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos were Masters of Ceremony, in this traditional event in one of the largest cities of the United States.

Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis represented the Greek government, while Cyprus Foreign Minister Ouranios Ioannidis represented the government of the island republic.

During his US visit, Mr. Niotis met with US President Bill Clinton and discussed bilateral relations.

In a related development, Mr. Avramopoulos and New York Mayor Rudolf Guiliani signed a protocol of friendship between their two cities as the base of what they called a historic cooperation effort.

Simitis meets high ranking party officials

Prime Minister and ruling PASOK president Costas Simitis yesterday met with high ranking party cadres and discussed yesterday's party officer elections.

Mr. Simitis yesterday met with Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, while previous days he met with National Economy Minister Yiannos Papandoniou and Foreign Minister George Papandreou, among others.

According to reports, Mr. Simitis is expected to propose the re-election of party secretary Costas Skandalidis, who is expected to be the only candidate for the post.

Discussion between party cadres focused on the elections of the PASOK Executive Bureau, which will be now limited to 11 members.

Agriculture minister sends bill to parliament

Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis yesterday announced that within the week the government will table a bill in Parliament for the restructuring of the agricultural organisations around the country, based on the decision of "Agenda 2000".

Speaking to farmers in Larisa, north-central Greece, during events commemorating the 1910 peasant uprising, Mr. Anomeritis said that the increase of the farmer's income will not stem from direct subsidies but through policies, which aim at restructuring the country side, managing water resources and infrastructure support for the production of both quality and competative goods.

He added that one of the aims will be the creation of infrastructure for the supply of seeds to the farmers thus freeing, as he said, the farmers from the interests of the multinational centers of seed and food production, which use the method of biotechnology.

Repercussions over Greek soccer home ground defeat

Vassilis Daniil on Sunday replaced Anghel Iordanescu as Greece's soccer coach following a 2-0 defeat for the national team at the hands of Norway.

Mr. Daniil, a former Panathinaikos coach, is to hold his first training session immediately before leaving on Monday for Riga where the team is to play against Latvia on Wednesday in a qualifying match for the Euro 2000 championship.

The Greek coach accepted the job on the spot after Romania's Iordanescu quit late on Saturday, taking the blame for the defeat on home ground.

"It is a credit to Mr. Daniil that he accepted our proposal without setting terms," secretary general Vassilis Gagatsis of the Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) told the Athens News Agency.

The new appointment will have to be ratified by EPO's board, which is expected to meet as soon as possible.

WEATHER

Unstable weather is forecast in most parts of the country today with showers expected in the evening. Storms are probable in western and southern Greece. Athens will be sunny with few clouds and a likelihood of showers from late afternoon. Temperatures will range from 7-18C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6-15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          296.013
Pound sterling       480.981
Japanese yen (100)   248.298
French franc          48.839
German mark          163.801
Italian lira (100)    16.546
Irish Punt           406.781
Belgian franc          7.942
Luxembourg franc       7.942
Finnish mark          53.881
Dutch guilder        145.376
Danish kr.            43.114
Austrian sch.         23.282
Spanish peseta         1.925
Swedish kr.           35.807
Norwegian kr.         38.228
Swiss franc          200.468
Port. Escudo           1.598
Aus. dollar          188.510
Can. dollar          196.416
Cyprus pound         552.167
Euro                 322.142
(C.E.)
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