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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-11-22

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, 22/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Cyprus president meets Greek premier today
  • Clinton lauds Greece's role in Balkans
  • Simitis, Clinton agree on stepping up cooperation
  • Measures to strengthen US-Greek relations
  • Karamanlis tells Clinton ND rejects unilateral concessions
  • Clinton calls for return of the Parthenon marbles
  • Tsohatzopoulos yet again affirms Greece's potential in the Balkans
  • Storekeepers pick up the pieces after Athens riots
  • Public order ministry says laws are made to be enforced
  • Greek first division soccer results/standings
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Cyprus president meets Greek premier today

Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, who arrived in Athens on Saturday for contacts with Greek political leaders, is due to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis today.

The talks are expected to focus on the UN-sponsored dialogue on the protracted Cyprus problem, beginning December 3 in New York, and the upcoming European Union summit in Helsinki a week later.

Yesterday he met with former New Democracy party leader Constantinos Mitsotakis, who stated afterwards that the Cyprus problem was at a very crucial turn.

"For the first time after a long period there are positive prospects and reasonable hopes. Beyond the American factor, which will play a primary role anyway, Europe's stand acquires special significance," he said. He emphasised that the Greek government should ensure at the Helsinki summit that procedures for Cypriot entry to the EU should progress unimpeded and irrespective of the island's political problem.

The Cypriot president, who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, flew in from Istanbul, where he attended the OSCE summit.

Clinton lauds Greece's role in Balkans

US President Bill Clinton on Saturday acknowledged his country was wrong to support the military junta that ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974.

"The United States allowed its interests in prosecuting the Cold War prevail over its interest -I should say its obligation- to support democracy. It is important we acknowledge that," he said in a speech winding up a 22-hour visit in Athens.

Addressing business and political leaders, he paid tribute to Greece's historical contribution to contemporary political values.

"Standing in the rain on the Acropolis this morning, I was even more grateful for the deep ties of history, kinship and values that bind American and other freedom-loving nations to Greece --ties that prove the truth of Shelley's famous line, 'Eimaste oli Ellines' (We are all Greeks). We are all Greeks, not because of monuments and memories, but because what began here two and a half thousand years ago has at last, after all the bloody struggles of the 20th century, been embraced all around the world," he said.

The US president said Turkey was unlikely to enter the European Union before resolving differences with Greece, particularly Cyprus, but, at the same time, rapprochement with its neighbour was one of five major challenges facing Greece and the United States.

He described the status quo in Cyprus (occupation by Turkey of 37 per cent of the island republic's soil) as unacceptable and pledged "to do everything in my power to encourage both countries to continue building on the progress you have made."

"I am going to keep working hard to promote a just and lasting settlement in Cyprus... I will keep pressing for a settlement that meets the fundamental interests of the parties, including real security for all Cypriots and an end to the island's division," President Clinton said.

"Greece can lead the revitalization of the economy and the political and civic life of southeastern Europe, but the work will never be complete until Serbia is part of the process...

"I am pleased to announce that our two governments will fulfill a dream of Prime Minister Simitis by giving Greek and American companies a chance to jointly apply their technical knowledge to the region's challenges, from cleaning up pollution on the Danube to wiring Balkan villages for the internet...

The final challenge included the fight against terrorism.

President Clinton also praised Greece's economic progress, referring to a "bustling, modern economy with a booming stock market and one of the fastest growth rates in Europe, on the verge of joining the EMU".

"If there were Olympic gold medals for economic revival, Greece would surely get the very first one," he remarked, and called for an expansion of Greek-American economic ties.

Simitis, Clinton agree on stepping up cooperation

Greece and the United States agreed Saturday that relations between the two countries were very good and that there was significant room for stepping up cooperation between them.

Speaking to reporters in a joint press conference after talks here, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting US President Bill Clinton said they had an open and friendly discussion on all issues ranging from bilateral relations to developments in the Balkans, to Greek-Turkish affairs, Turkey- EU relations and the Cyprus issue.

"On Greek-US relations, we agreed that there is significant room for improvement of cooperation between the two countries. Greece, due to economic growth of recent years, is creating new worthwhile opportunities for investments, trade, technological and other collaborations," Mr. Simitis said.

On the Balkans, it is our conviction that the present state entails dangers. There is need for stability in the region, respect of existing borders, and intensification of the initiatives for reconstruction of the area and materialisation of the Stabili ty Pact," Mr. Simitis said.

Regarding Turkey, Mr. Simitis said he stressed the need for adherence to international law. He said steps had been made recently for rapprochement, but a "more convincing" response was needed on Ankara's part to Greece's initiatives.

"On the Cyprus issue, we agreed that proximity talks starting (on Decemabr 3) must be substantive in order to lead to its resolution," the premier said.

Measures to strengthen US-Greek relations

On the occasion of President Clinton's State visit to Greece, the United States and the Hellenic Republic announced on Saturday the following new iniatives and programs: - President Clinton and Prime Minister Simitis have formally launched the Initiative for Technology Cooperation in the Balkans (ITCB), which will bring together scientists, business leaders and government officials who are committed to modernising the region's technological infrastructure. Greece's location and advanced development make the country a natural connection to the emerging democracies and markets of Southeastern Europe.

  • The US Fulbright Exchange Program has established two new programs
  • Millenium Scholarships, which will provide assistance to up to 200 Greek students wishing to pursue Master's degrees in the US;

    President Clinton recently announced that one of the Millenium Scholarships will be named in honor of Yiannos Kranidiotis, Greece's alternate foreign minister who died in a tragic air accident in September. - The Greek Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to allow the U.S. to resume humanitarian grain shipments through Greece to other countries in the region. This decision will allow the United States to provide much needed food assistance to many of the Balkan and other Central European countries. Grain shipments had been impeded due to Greek concerns about U.S. testing methods. The U.S. and Greece have since agreed upon survey and regulatory control activities designed to make the risk of disease negligable. - The US Embassy and the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) have reached an understanding confirming their desire to facilitate tourism and business associated with tourism between the two countries. The United States has committed to form a Visit USA Committee in Athens to promote tourism to U.S. destinations. - The US Department of Commerce will open a Commercial Service office in Thessaloniki to encourage investments in the Balkans and to assist companies in exploring commercial opportunities. This decision was made in the wake of the conflict in Kosovo, in recognition of Greece's key role in promoting stability in Southeast Europe. It reflects Thessaloniki's position as a commercial hub for the region. - The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US State Department have agreed to hold annual high-level talks on a wide range of issues, as part of an effort to deepen and enhance communication, understanding and cooperation between our two countries. Discussions will focus on areas such as European regional issues, counter-terrorism and economic cooperation.

    - Due to the substantial progress made by Greece in addressing the intellectual property rights issue, the president has announced that the United States government will proceed rapidly towards a resolution of its World Trade Organization (WTO) case again st the Greek government for violating television copyright laws. While US industries estimate losses of 120 million dollars in 1998, strong action by the Greek government reduced that amount by over half this year. - The United States continues to be the top supplier to the Greek armed forces. In 1998 and 1999, the Greek government announced plans to buy more than 4 billion dollars in arms from the US and American businesses. There has been a substantial increase in US arms transfers to Greece during the past twelve months after Greece had purchases of six Patriot Missile Systems (1.2 billion dollars), up to 70 Lockheed Martin F-16s (2.4 billion dollars) and 70 AMC Humvees (8.5 million dollars).

    Karamanlis tells Clinton ND rejects unilateral concessions

    US President Bill Clinton met on Saturday with Greece's main opposition New Democracy party leader, Costas Karamanlis.

    No statements were made after the meeting which took place early Saturday afternoon, but a few hours later Mr. Karamanlis told a press conference that his meeting with Clinton was "sincere" and "substan-tive".

    Mr. Karamanlis said New Democracy rejected unilateral concessions regarding Greek-Turkish relations, adding that he outlined to President Clinton "Greece's long-standing positions above and beyond political parties".

    "We can defend our national interests only if we have a clear voice," Mr. Karamanlis said.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, the opposition said the island republic's European bid should be separated from efforts to find a solution to its political problem.

    Regarding the Balkans, Mr. Karamanlis said he was opposed to any change of borders in the region, adding that any solution to the problems should include Yugoslavia.

    Clinton calls for return of the Parthenon marbles

    US President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, on Saturday defied early morning drizzle and visited the Acropolis, accompanied by culture minister Elisabeth Papazoi.

    President Clinton, who toured the ancient site and visited the Acropolis museum, said he was "enchanted".

    Ms. Papazoi presented the US president with two olive tree branches, a symbol of peace, asking him to do all he can for world peace. Ms. Papazoi briefed President Bill Clinton on Greece's long-standing campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, currently housed in the British Museum, to be returned to their homeland.

    Mr. Clinton said he fully perceived the need for treasures to be returned to their countries of origin, but added that if peoples demanded the return of their cultural heritage, it was probable that museums throughout the world would empty out.

    He did, however, say he would take up the issue with British Prime Minister Tony Blair when he meets with him in Italy during a weekend meeting of European centre-left leaders in Florence on welfare reform and progressive governance, also to be attended by Mr. Blair.

    Tsohatzopoulos yet again affirms Greece's potential in the Balkans

    This weekend's visit by US President Bill Clinton has provided a clear affirmation of Greece's role as a factor for peace, security and cooperation among the peoples of the southeast Europe region, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yester day.

    Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of celebrations marking National Armed Forces Day, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that this affirmation provided the framework for Greece to pursue a just solution to the Cyprus issue, the implementation of UN Security Co uncil resolutions not only for Cyprus but for all the peoples of the region, such as the Middle East and Lebanon, as well as the application of rules of international law in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean.

    Storekeepers pick up the pieces after Athens riots

    Downtown Athens was bustling with activity yesterday as storekeepers and banks rushed to mop up the effects of Friday's riot and get their premises ready for the start of business on Monday.

    Athens' Panepistimiou and Stadiou streets - which bore the brunt of the violence which erupted in the wake of US President Bill Clinton's arrival in Athens - was filled with crews of workmen, electricians and painters working on replacing broken shop windows, and restoring the damage caused.

    Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that businesses and shops damaged in the riots would be compensated. Thirty people have been charged on counts of arson, possessing explosive devices and resisting arrest in the wake of the riots by masked youths on Friday evening.

    Michalis Mentis, head of the crews, said that in some cases complete restoration of the damage would require up to two months.

    Merchants and bank representatives told the ANA that the damage caused on Friday appeared to be the most extensive in the past ten years.

    Public order ministry says laws are made to be enforced

    The public order ministry on Saturday said that the laws in a democratic country were made to be enforced, and they will be enforced in Greece, adding that it was the duty of police to implement them.

    In a statement on the incidents Friday night in downtown Athens between MAT riot police and demonstrators protesting US President Bill Clinton's visit here that broke out when protesters were repelled by the riot police when they tried to break through a police cordon to reach the US embassy, the ministry said that a police ban on rallies and marches in several areas of the capital closed off for the duration of Clinton's visit had been made known several days before the US president's arrival.

    "The organisers of the rally at Syntagma Square have immense blame, since with their stance they essentially assumed the risk of what eventually took place in the centre of Athens to occur.

    "It must be understood that the laws of a democratic country exist to be enforced, and they will be enforced," the ministry added.

    Greek first division soccer results/standings

    Panathinaikos-Olympiakos 2-0 AEK Athens-Aris Thessaloniki 2-0 OFI Haraklion-Trikala 2-0 PAOK Thessaloniki-Ionikos Piraeus 3-0 Xanthi-Kavala 1-0 Panachaiki Patras-Apollon Athens 1-2 Ethnikos Astir-Paniliakos Pyrgos 3-1 Proodeftiki-Panionios Athens 1- 0 Iraklis Thessaloniki-Kalamata 2-1 Points: Panathinaikos 22, Olympiakos 21,OFI Heraklion 19, Aris 17, Iraklis 15, AEK 14, Xanthi 13, Ethnikos 12, PAOK, Paniliakos 11.

    WEATHER

    The forecast for today is overcast with some rain and storms in the west and north of the country. Snow may fall overnight in the northern mountain areas. Occasional showers are forecast for the rest of the country. Winds southerlies strong to very strong and gale force in the Ionian and the Aegean islands. Athens will be overcast with the likelihood of rain later in the day and temperatures between 14-19C. Thessaloniki will be cloudy with rain and storms in the afternoon and temperatures from 11-15C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Monday's rates (buying)
    U.S. dollar          316.349
    Pound sterling       511.059
    Japanese yen (100)   298.493
    French franc          49.732
    German mark          166.793
    Italian lira (100)    16.848
    Irish Punt           414.213
    Belgian franc          8.870
    Finnish mark          54.867
    Dutch guilder        148.032
    Danish kr.            43.854
    Austrian sch.         23.707
    Spanish peseta         1.960
    Swedish kr.           37.894
    Norwegian kr.         39.847
    Swiss franc          203.653
    Port. Escudo           1.627
    Can. dollar          215.244
    Aus. dollar          201.693
    Cyprus pound         563.020
    Euro                 326.219
    
    (C.E.)
    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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