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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-10-23

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, 22/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Foreigners targeted in drive-by shooting spree
  • Minister condemns racially-motivated attacks
  • OSCE's Vollebaek: Regional stability up to Serbia
  • Health minister 'surprised' at Greek MSF expulsion
  • IOC says pace of projects needs stepping up
  • Lord Owen says Russia, Turkey could be in EU
  • Greece, Albanian continue police cooperation
  • Turkish man killed while running immigrants to Greece
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Foreigners targeted in drive-by shooting spree

Two people were arrested after a series of separate shooting incidents mostly in downtown Athens late Thursday and early today left one dead and five other persons wounded, all of them of Asian and African origin. The shootings took place in a spate of seven hours between 21.45 Thursday and 04.30 today, police said. A police source said two suspects had been arrested in the Kolonos district in connection with the shootings, and were being interrogated at the Athens security police headquarters. Police said the two suspects arrested were making contradictory statements but that one, Pantelis Kazakos, 23, told police that he had committed himself to "killing ten". He later retracted the statement, claiming to have nothing to do with the attacks, but police believe that he is the main perpetrator in the overnight shooting spree.

Minister condemns racially-motivated attacks

Asked to comment on the attacks on foreigners, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoides said that if police fears that the attacks were racially motivated were true then the issue was of far greater concern. "There are two aspects to the specific incident. One is that there was immediate and effective police intervention with the arrest of the suspect 10 minutes after the final incident," he said. "The other aspect should concern us all: if it is what we all fear, that the crimes were racially motivated, then it is reminiscent of racist crimes which occur in countries which are less tolerant towards foreigners," he said.

OSCE's Vollebaek: Regional stability up to Serbia

Norwegian Foreign Minister and current chairman of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Council of Ministers Knut Vollebaek said in Athens on Friday that Serbia had to be included in OSCE and Stability Pact procedures if regional stability were to be ensured. Vollebaek, speaking after a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, said that Serbia's exclusion would mean an inability to ensure regional stability. Belgrade itself, he underlined, had to understand this issue. "Everything depends on what the authorities in Belgrade are thinking and preparing to do," Vollebaek said. "We are not isolating Belgrade; Belgrade is isolating itself from Europe." There are well-developed democratic forces in Serbia, including the Serbian Orthodox Church, which the international community wants to support, Vollebaek said. Papandreou and Vollebaek discussed both bilateral relations as well as the situation in the Balkans, Caucasus and Abkhazai, the Stability Pact and developments in the European Union.

Health minister 'surprised' at Greek MSF expulsion

Health and Welfare Minister Lambros Papadimas on Friday expressed his "surprise" at the news of the expulsion of the Greek branch of Doctors without Borders (Medecins sans Frontieres) from the central organisation. Papadimas queried the reasoning behind the decision, which, according to press reports, related to the Greek branch's decision to offer medical support to Serbs during the Kosovo war. "The provision of medical help 'without borders' can not be considered a matter of reproach for an organisation awarded the Nobel Peace Prize," Papadimas said. "The Greeks - truly 'doctors without borders' - offered humanitarian aid to their fellow humans under merciless bombardment, acting according to conscience and in accordance with the organisation's charter," he said.

IOC says pace of projects needs stepping up

A representative of the International Olympic Committee's Coordination Commission on Friday asked Greece to step up the pace in awarding and completing projects for the 2004 Olympic Games. "In relation to the Olympic Games, procedures awadring contracts have to be stepped up - the competent ministries, too, have to speed up the carrying out of the projects," Commission president Jacques Rogge told reporters. Rogge said the cancellation of the government's plans to hold an lottery to finance Olympic Games preparations was of no account. "This issue does not concern us. There is the government's commitment, and the personal affirmation of the Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, for adequate financing of the Olympic Games," he said. "Above all, Greece must be united ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games. Also there must be concord between the ministries and the Organisation Committee," Rogge said.

Lord Owen says Russia, Turkey could be in EU

Senior British diplomat Lord David Owen on Friday lent his support to the European Union's expansion eastwards at some point including even Russia and Turkey. Speaking during an address at the Greek foreign ministry, the former EU special mediator for Bosnia said, however, that today's 15-nation bloc will not in the near future become one nation, "but a union of identifiable nations." Analysing Greece's stance during the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia, Lord Owen added: "Greece used the flexibility of NATO's consensus to agree to disagree with other states, and you managed to hold a distinctive critical position on a Balkan issue while remaining committed to your NATO loyalties."

Greece, Albanian continue police cooperation

Greece's public order minister said on Friday that regular cooperation between the Greek and Albanian police forces was bringing the desired result and would be strengthened. "Regular meetings between the heads of Epirus and southern Albania police bring positive results," Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoides said, referring to the two regions on either side of the Greek-Albanian border. He said the meetings were consolidating a feeling of security among the Greek minority in southern Albania as police worked together to break up gangs in the neighbouring country. Chrysohoides met on Thursday with his Albanian counterpart Spartak Poci in the Albanian town of Sarande. They agreed to joint cooperation in patrolling of sea regions to counter smuggling and illegal immigration.

Turkish man killed while running immigrants to Greece

A Turkish national was killed in a chase by a harbour patrol after disembarking an unknown number of illegal immigrants from his boat on the southeastern coast of Chios island, port police said today. They said a Harbour Corps patrol boat, after being informed that a boat had disembarked illegal immigrants on Chios, located the Turkish speedboat late last night and repeatedly called to the captain to stop for a search. The speedboat ignored the calls to stop and started making dangerous manoeuvers, endangering the patrol boat and its crew, the port police said. They said warning shots were fired in the air but the speedboat continued to make dangerous manoeuvres.

WEATHER

Cloudy weather with scattered showers will prevail throughout Greece today, with the exception of the southeastern and central Aegean. Winds variable, moderate to very strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with a chance of rain later in the day and temperatures ranging from 18-26C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 16-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          303.820
Pound sterling       506.753
Japanese yen (100)   286.093
French franc          49.868
German mark          167.249
Italian lira (100)    16.894
Irish Punt           415.346
Belgian franc          8.109
Finnish mark          55.016
Dutch guilder        148.437
Danish kr.            44.007
Austrian sch.         23.772
Spanish peseta         1.966
Swedish kr.           37.172
Norwegian kr.         39.283
Swiss franc          205.408
Port. Escudo           1.632
Can. dollar          204.074
Aus. dollar          196.952
Cyprus pound         565.936
Euro                 327.112
(M.P.)
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