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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-11-01

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, 01/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Diplomats to forge proposals on Turkey's EU bid, Balkan policy
  • ND leader accuses government of lacking transparency
  • Greece insists on return of Parthenon Marbles
  • Tsohatzopoulos attends funeral of Armenia's premier
  • Constantopoulos calls for direct talks between Greece and Turkey
  • New map of Thessaloniki for the blind
  • Re-election of President Stephanopoulos would benefit Greece
  • Conditional consensus proposed for March presidential elections
  • Six Iraqis killed when straying into minefield
  • Rallies around the country in protest of Clinton's visit
  • Bomb explodes outside office of Athens computer company
  • Greek First Division soccer results
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Diplomats to forge proposals on Turkey's EU bid, Balkan policy

Visiting Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his German counterpart Joschka Fischer on Saturday agreed that diplomats of the two countries would forge joint proposals on Turkey's bid to join the European Union, and on the EU's Balkan policy.

The proposals are to be drawn up by the diplomats ahead of an EU summit to be held in Helsinki in December, marking the end of Finland's rotating presidency of the 15-nation bloc.

The diplomats are to cover the framework that would be set for Turkey's EU candidacy, and the conditions for entry talks to begin.

Speaking to reporters at the end of two-day talks, Mr. Papandreou said that the decision to draw up proposals showed that Greece and Germany had the political will to work concretely together for a joint approach that would facilitate a mutually accepta ble outcome at Helsinki.

The German minister added that proposals put forward by the EU's executive Commission as a pre-entry strategy for Turkey were "good, because they contain all the elements that refer to a de-escalation of tension and the need for internal reform, especia lly in human rights and the protection of minorities."

Mr. Papandreou departed yesterday for Canada.

ND leader accuses government of lacking transparency

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis addressed what he called lack of transparency and corruption in public life, during a tour of the eastern Aegean islands of Hios and Inouses over the weekend.

Speaking to citizens on the island of Hios, Mr. Karamanlis accused the government of being at the service of the few and powerful and not the citizens, adding that there were "sinful" contracts not only in games of chance or gambling, but in public work s contract awards as well.

He said that young people have no respect for the political life of the country, because, according to him, they see a "dirty and fixed game".

Greece insists on return of Parthenon Marbles

Greece does not support the return of all antiquities to the countries of origin, Greek Embassy Press Attache Nikos Papadakis said yesterday, during an interview to LBC radio station here.

"Greece does not support the emptying of the British Museum of all the treasures it has now. (Greece) requests the return of the Marbles of Parthenon, because we consider them an integral part of the Parthenon Temple. It is not an issue of statues compr ising a single (artistic creation). The totality of the monument demands their return," he said.

Regarding the condition of the marbles, he said "I am afraid that the issue is not whether damage was done to the marbles, but, as far as we know, there was indeed damage done. The only discussion underway is conducted to estimate the extent of the damage."

Tsohatzopoulos attends funeral of Armenia's premier

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos flew to Armenia yesterday to represent Greece at the funeral of the country's premier, Vazgen Sarksyan, and seven other officials who were killed by gunmen in parliament last week.

Constantopoulos calls for direct talks between Greece and Turkey

Coalition of the Left and Progress party (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, in an interview with the newspaper "Sunday Ethnos", voiced support for direct consultations between Greece and Turkey based on international law.

Mr. Constantopoulos, who early last week visited Turkey and had meetings, among others, with President Suleyman Demirel, expressed the conviction that different prospects can open in Greek-Turkish relations.

On the Cyprus issue, Mr. Constantopoulos said that the accession to the EU of all of Cyprus would be a step which would decisively facilitate a settlement of the problem. If Turkey's course towards the EU follows the same criteria which are valid for a ny other candidate country, this would benefit both Greece and Cyprus, he said.

New map of Thessaloniki for the blind

A new map of the city of Thessaloniki is expected to make life easier for the city's blind people as it was created to be read by touch and was presented yesterday to Macedonia-Trace Minister Yiannis Magriotis.

The map was presented to Mr. Magriotis during the inauguration of the National Map Centre offices in the city and copies will be disbursed by the ministry to the blind.

Re-election of President Stephanopoulos would benefit Greece

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos called "very realistic" the proposal of former main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Miltiades Evert for the re-election of President Kostis Stephanopoulos on condition that general elections are held in June.

In an interview to an Athens Sunday newspaper, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the re-election of Kostis Stephanopoulos to the presidency in March would benefit Greece, as well as all political parties.

He added that PASOK supports the re-election of Mr. Stephanopoulos to the presidency, in line with the popular will.

Regarding foreign affairs, the defence minister said that Greece does not accept special treatment for Turkey regarding its course to the European Union, thus clarifying the stance of the Greek delegation in the Helsinki summit.

"In no case can the acceptance of Turkey's candidacy move on, without the securing of the unhindered conclusion of the negotiations of the Cyprus Republic with the European Union, independent of a political solution to the Cyprus issue. No one can make Cyprus a hostage of Turkey," he added.

Conditional consensus proposed for March presidential elections

Former Main opposition New Democracy (ND) defence minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis yesterday proposed a conditional consensus for the presidential elections in March, in order to avert early elections.

In an interview to the newspaper "Eleftherotypia's" Sunday edition, Mr. Varvitsiotis said that such a political agreement should include the establishment of transparency rules in public works contracts and party pre- election expenditures, as well as the establishment of an operational framework for television stations.

"The mechanisms necessary for the correct functioning of democracy do not exist and those which were in existence have been neutralised by the government.

"I would expect, by the 'moderniser' (Prime Minister Costas) Simitis, to propose just that to parties and not whether Kostis Stephanopoulos will or someone else will be the President," Mr. Varvitsiotis said.

Six Iraqis killed when straying into minefield

Six Iraqis were killed and 15 injured yesterday when they strayed into a minefield in northeastern Greece after illegally crossing the border from Turkey, police said.

The accident at the minefield near the Kipi border post in Evros took place in the early hours of the morning.

Four of the who are being treated at Alexandroupolis General Regional , were to be in critical condition.

Military personnel removed the wounded and 15 other Iraqis, who were unhurt, from the site of the blast. No names have been released.

Survivors claimed they had paid two Iraqi immigrant traffickers a fee of $3, 600 to ferry them across the Evros river, police said.

Rallies around the country in protest of Clinton's visit

Demonstrations are expected to take place around the country in the middle of the month to protest against a visit to Greece by US President Bill Clinton.

In Athens, trade unionists and peace activists are to rally in Syntagma Square and then march to the American Embassy in a demonstration timed to coincide with Mr. Clinton's visit from November 13-15.

At the same time, students and other groups will gather outside the central Athens university building, joining the first group of marchers on the way to the embassy.

The Coalition of the Left's youth movement has proposed another march to the embassy on November 14 for the youth groups of political parties.

However, students and activists rejected a proposal to reschedule an annual march commemorating a student uprising against the 1967-1974 dictatorship to November 14 from November 17 in order to fall within Mr. Clinton's stay. The march will retain its traditional date.

Bomb explodes outside office of Athens computer company

Dynamite and a slow-burning fuse left in a flowerpot outside the office of an Athens computer company exploded yesterday, causing slight damage to nearby premises. No-one was injured.

No group claimed responsibility for the early morning blast, which left a small crater in the ground.

The explosive material was left outside the main entrance of an apartment block housing the ground floor office of Ideal Mediterranean Advance System SA in the southern suburb of Kallithea.

The company's premises were slightly damaged and windows broken in an apartment block opposite.

Police said the firm, which also deals in photocopying machines and telephone systems, had recently joined the Athens Stock Exchange.

Greek First Division soccer results

Panachaiki-Proodeftiki 2-0 Aris 1, Kavala 0 Ethnikos Asteras 2, Kalamata 0 Xanthi 5, Panionios 0 PAOK 0 Paniliakos 1 Panathinaikos 3, Iraklis 0 Trikala 2, Ionikos 2 AEK vs. Olympiakos (postponed until Nov.15)

WEATHER

Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country on today with scattered cloud in some areas. Winds northerly, northeasterly, light to strong. Gale force winds are expected in parts of the Aegean Sea. Mainly sunny in Athens with temperatures from 13-24C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 10-22C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          313.512
Pound sterling       512.844
Japanese yen (100)   298.255
French franc          49.913
German mark          167.402
Italian lira (100)    16.910
Irish Punt           415.724
Belgian franc          8.116
Finnish mark          55.066
Dutch guilder        148.572
Danish kr.            44.057
Austrian sch.         23.794
Spanish peseta         1.968
Swedish kr.           37.710
Norwegian kr.         39.638
Swiss franc          204.248
Port. Escudo           1.633
Can. dollar          212.685
Aus. dollar          201.148
Cyprus pound         567.662
Euro                 329.060
(C.E.)
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