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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-11-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, GREECE, 08/11/1999 (ANA)


  • Simitis contacts European leaders at Socialist Int'l conference
  • Greek support for Bulgaria's and Romania's EU course confirmed
  • Arafat receives Tsohatzopoulos in Palestianian self-rule areas
  • Karamanlis: Clinton visit an opportunity to express Greek positions
  • Bomb blast outside Levi's offices
  • Archbishop Christodoulos inaugurates radio programme
  • Tsohatzopoulos addresses conference on suicide prevention
  • Karamanlis tours western Greece, criticises gov't
  • Shots fired at HAU building
  • Greek-owned freighter sinks in Bosporus
  • First division Soccer results/standings
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Simitis contacts European leaders at Socialist Int'l conference

Prime Minister Costas Simitis began a series of contacts last night within the framework of the Socialist International's 21st conference, which kicked off here yesterday.

Mr. Simitis met with Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok and stated shortly afterwards that their discussion focused on European Union enlargement, expected to also be discussed at the upcoming EU Helsinki summit.

He stressed that EU enlargement is of particular concern to Greece since the issue of Turkey's candidacy will be discussed.

Mr. Simitis added in his brief statements afterwards that "we want to safeguard all the conditions of enlargement which will guarantee a peaceful course in the region. Our primary concern is always peace and cooperation in the Balkan region."

The Socialist International's 21st conference began at noon with a dinner given by the presidium in honour of the conference participants.

Mr. Simitis also had brief meetings with Mr. Guterres, Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima, Mr. D'Alema, Mr. Jospin and Mr. Mauroy.

Mr. Simitis will be received by French President Jacques Chirac at the Presidential Palace at noon tomorrow.

Greek support for Bulgaria's and Romania's EU course confirmed

Prime Minister Costas Simitis referred to results of the recent summit with the presidents of Bulgaria and Romania Petar Stoyanov and Emil Constantinescu, respectively, at the mountain resort of Borovets in Bulgaria.

"We confirmed common positions at Borovets on our relations with the other Balkan countries and on crucial developments in the Balkans. These positions and views push us towards increasing our efforts to consolidate peace and prosperity in our wider region," he said.

"Our contacts so far give us the conviction that we are on a very good path. On this course, we will be able to resolve all problems from the small and insignificant to the big ones in our region," he added.

Mr. Simitis confirmed Greece's steadfast support for the accession course of both Bulgaria and Romania towards the European Union.

Arafat receives Tsohatzopoulos in Palestianian self-rule areas

Developments in the Palestinian problem as well as the Mideast peace process were the focus of talks here between Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on Saturday.

"We should thank the minister, the Greek government and the Greek people for their continuing support of the Palestinian people in all sectors, whether directly or indirectly through the European Union, we cannot ignore it," Mr. Arafat said following a meeting with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.

"We are proud and happy for this visit, as well as for the historical bonds between Greeks and Palestinians," he added.

"We came here to meet with President Arafat and the political leadership of the country and to reassure them that the Greek people, in continuing the traditional friendship and cooperation with the Palestinian people, support the peace process in the Middle East. We are happy, since this process has entered a dynamic phase of development, as the last meeting in Oslo has indicated," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, responding to questions regarding the recent signing of a Greek-Israeli defence agreement.

"The Greek government does not need anyone's approval" to be active in the region, the Greek minister said, responding to a question on whether his visits to the region were approved by NATO or the EU.

The meeting took place at the seat of the Palestinian self-rule areas in Ramallah. A few weeks ago Mr. Tsohatzopoulos had visited Israel.

Karamanlis: Clinton visit an opportunity to express Greek positions

Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis was quoted over the weekend as saying that he considers President Bill Clinton's visit here next Suturday, as an "opportunity to draw His (Clinton's) attention to the dangers of existing borders being overturned and to express our conviction for consolidating stability and peace in the Balknas."

In an Interview with the Sunday "Apogevmatini" newspaper, Mr. Karamanlis said " we should set out frankly what links us to the superpower, as well as what we disagree on", adding that Greece's leadership should not "negotiate our sovereign rights".

"We are not begging. We demand an end to continuing occupation in Cyprus," he said and assessed that Greek-Turkish issues and the problem of Cyprus "appears to be particularly cloudy."

Referring to domestic issues, Mr. Karamanlis said his party's struggle against corruption will escalate and warned that he does not fear "the mercenaries of interrelation."

Meanwhile, Speaking from Irakleio on Saturday, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said Mr. Clinton's visit to Greece "will add yet another black page to the dossier of official Greek-American relations since 1947."

"He...has nothing to do with dialogue, peace and the interests of peoples, while the (one who) will welcome him as a government and not as a person is not prepared to say a 'no' to the plans of the US," she said.

Ms Papariga said the greatest victims of the visit are the Aegean, the borders, the Cyprus issue and the people of Yugoslavia. Clinton wants to close the deal for the delivery of the Aegean and to secure Greece's 'yes' to efforts to overthrow the new government of Yugoslavia," she said.

In a related development, Coalition for the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said Mr. Clinton's visit is a political event and thus the existence of protests is self-evident .

Bomb blast outside Levi's offices

An explosive device went off outside the offices of the Levi Strauss Hellas offices in the Athens district of Halandri late yesterday evening and a group calling itself "Anti-capitalist action" later claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to initial reports, the timebomb was placed on the ground floor level of the three-storey building on 11 Argonauton St., which was closed and unguarded at the time.

Police said the blast, described as of medium force, damaged the storefront and broke windows in the building as well as adjacent buildings. There were no injuries.

Archbishop Christodoulos inaugurates radio programme

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos spoke over the Church's radio station yesterday and replied to questions put to him by several individuals.

He also announced the creation of the programme entitled "The Archbishop's Hour", with which he will communicate with listeners once a month to help.

Questions put to him primarily concerned US President Bill Clinton's upcoming visit to Greece, young people, aspects of secularisation in the Church, racism and other issues.

Tsohatzopoulos addresses conference on suicide prevention

Suicides are an important and mutli-faceted phenomenon that the state is obliged to confront, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday, addressing the 20th world conference of the International Society for the Prevention of Suicides.

"The conditions of life of the young Greek citizen in the armed forces are different than those of his family environment," he said, adding that the armed forces were expending effort to confront this problem in the military, in efforts to avert the inc reasing tendencies of suicides internationally.

Karamanlis tours western Greece, criticises gov't

Addressing a party conference in Patra on Saturday regarding development of western Greece, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis criticised PM Costas Simitis of living in a sham reality.

The ND leader also claimed Mr. Simitis "cannot see what is going on around him and claims that everything is going well in the country."

Mr. Karamanlis said ND does not "deal out promises", adding that he will set five major priorities for each region which he will carry out.

He added that western Greece lies in an "orbit of divergence" from the national average in almost all sectors, while unemployment mainly plagues young people and women.

Shots fired at HAU building

Two unknown persons fired some six rounds at the Hellenic American Union's offices in downtown Athens yesterday afternoon before fleeing on a motorcycle, police said.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack as of presstime. According to reports, several windows were broken at the building, which was empty at the time of the incident and was not guarded.

Greek-owned freighter sinks in Bosporus

A Greek-owned vessel collided with another ship yesterday in the Bosporus and sank shortly afterwards. All six Greek and 14 foreign merchant seamen were rescued following the collision between the Belize-flagged freighter "Semeli" and the Bulgarian-flagged vessel "Shipka".

The crew of the Semeli was rescued by other ships in the region and taken to Istanbul, Greek authorities said.

First division Soccer results/standings

OFI Heraklion-Apollon Athens 1-0 Panathinaikos-Iraklis Salonica 3- 0 Aris Salonica-Kavala 1-0 PAOK Salonica-Paniliakos Pyrgos 0-1 Xanthi-Panionios Athens 5-0 Panachaiki-Proodeftiki 2-0 Ethnikos Astir-Kalamata 2-0 Trikala-Ionikos Piraeus 2-2 AEK Athens-Olympiakos postponed to November 15. Points/standings: Panathinaikos 16, Olympiakos 15, Aris 14, OFI 13, Paniliakos 11, AEK 10, Xanthi, Ionikos, Iraklis, Ethnikos, Astir 9.


Overcast weather and rainstorms throughout the country today. Winds northerly, strong to gail force in the Aegean and Ionaina Seas. Rainy in Athens with temperatures between 12-19C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 11-15C.


Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          313.591
Pound sterling       508.797
Japanese yen (100)   297.531
French franc          49.686
German mark          166.641
Italian lira (100)    16.832
Irish Punt           413.835
Belgian franc          8.079
Finnish mark          54.816
Dutch guilder        147.896
Danish kr.            43.848
Austrian sch.         23.686
Spanish peseta         1.959
Swedish kr.           37.551
Norwegian kr.         39.521
Swiss franc          201.897
Port. Escudo           1.626
Can. dollar          214.411
Aus. dollar          199.610
Cyprus pound         565.460
Euro                 325.922
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