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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-12-06

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, 06/12/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • EU must accept its responsibilities regarding Turkey
  • Turkey's European course treks through Greece
  • Simitis says PASOK will win next general elections
  • Greece protests to the British Museum over Parthenon marbles issue
  • Late Greek author Bakolas awarded Balkan distinction
  • Yilmaz: Greece and Turkey should `prepare together for the future`
  • Portugal expresses 'great understanding' over Greek positions
  • Memorandum says Greek community in Albania deprived of its property
  • Tourist travel between Corfu and Sarande
  • Karamanlis criticises government over situation in education
  • Greek first division soccer results/standings
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

EU must accept its responsibilities regarding Turkey

Greece's European partners should "stop hiding behind the Greek veto and accept their responsibilities regarding the European course of Turkey", Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday.

Addressing the 3rd conference of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) which opened its sessions in Thessaloniki, Mr. Papandreou called on Turkey to take seriously its own European prospect and to move forward with courage on the steps required by this prospect.

"A European course for Turkey means that our partners confront directly the existing issues," Mr. Papandreou said.

"The Cyprus problem should become a European issue, Greek-Turkish relations should become an issue of the European institutions. The same with the Kurdish problem and human rights in Turkey, they too should become issues of Europe, not only in words but also in essence.

The European Union summit in Helsinki on December 10-11 will discuss Turkey's upgrading to a Union candidate member-state status. Greece said that the EU should treat Turkey with the same criteria as other candidate countries, but added that its stand on the neighbouring nation's candidacy at the upcoming EU summit would be determined by a consideration of all factors during the sessions.

Turkey's European course treks through Greece

Turkey's course to the European Union treks through Greece, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday in Thessaloniki.

"Europe's need to promote a security and defence policy in the eastern Mediterranean, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Asia passes through Greece and Cyprus," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said addressing the same assembly.

"In Helsinki, we will make clear that it is the responsibility of our European Union partners to guarantee the unhindered completion of Cyprus' accession, independently of the resolution of the Cyprus problem," the defence minister said.

Mr. Venizelos also stressed that preconditions for a possible Turkish candidacy are Cyprus' unhindered accession to the Union and respect of the European legal and political culture by Turkey.

Simitis says PASOK will win next general elections

Ruling PASOK will win the next general elections, whenever they might occur, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said, in his closing address of the 4th party Central Committee conference in Athens Saturday. "Positive preconditions have been created for PASOK, since a new social majority has been created, a new great social coalition of forces that is expressed by the ruling party and can provide the victory," Mr. Simitis said.

Mr. Simitis also noted that there was a change in the way people confront governmental policies and there were more positive attitudes now, adding that citizens were certain that the course set by the government was generally accepted and for this reason it should remain the same.

He rejected any claim that the policies of the government are guided by expediency due to elections, stressing that those who do not understand this have not understood that the government's policy is not a collection of happenstance decisions as opposed to a planned policy. He also rejected claims that the stance of the government at the Helsinki summit will be determined by the expediencies of elections due next year, adding that there are several unchanging issues which "we must secure, since this is demanded by the interests of Greece".

"We do not change (policies) according to circumstance," he said, in response to main opposition New Democracy (ND) party accusations.

Greece protests to the British Museum over Parthenon marbles issue

Greece has protested to the British Museum over the development of a conference it organised last week on the issue of the cleaning of the Parthenon Marbles in the '30s. The protest was lodged by its Charge d'Affaires in London Constantine Bitsios.

Mr. Bitsios addressed a letter to the British Museum's director Robert Anderson, which he communicated to British Culture Minister Chris Smith, expressing regret that "the conference turned to irrelevant issues, that deliberate efforts were made to give a blurred picture, and that practices were aimed at dissolving the Greek request for the return of the Marbles by putting forward sentimental arguments."

"The Greek side was under the impression that the conference would focus on the cleaning of the Marbles and that reference to the issue of their return would be avoided by both sides for the benefit of an objective analysis of issues. We, namely the Greek side, honoured and kept this conception and it is regrettable that the discussion was distanced from the issue of the conference and turned to irrelevant issues," the letter added.

Late Greek author Bakolas awarded Balkan distinction

The late Greek author Nikos Bakolas was yesterday awarded the "Balkanika" Literature Award by an inter-Balkan critics committee.

The ceremony was attended by Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and representatives of seven publishing houses from Balkan countries.

The institution of awarding a prize to a writer from a Balkan country started in 1996.

Balkan writers gathered in Athens for the weekend in a meeting focusing on rapprochement through the literature of Balkan peoples.

Writers participating came from Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece.

Yilmaz: Greece and Turkey should `prepare together for the future`

The Turkish proposal for the "initiation of Greek-Turkish negotiations on differences" between the two neighbouring countries is still valid, while seeking recourse to third parties such as the International Court at The Hague should happen in the event that no agreement can be reached, former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said yesterday.

During an exclusive interview to the Athens News Agency, the leader of the "Motherland Party" - one of the three in the present coalition government in Turkey, addressed Greek-Turkish relations, European Union-Turkish relations and the upcoming Helsinki EU summit.

"The proposal I tabled in 1996 included the initiation of a dialogue process by both countries for the resolution of the problems between them. In the event that there would have been issues on which there would not have been a result during this process, then the road to aid by third parties, including the International Court of The Hague would be maintained open, for the resolution of the differences," Mr. Yilmaz said.

"The Greek government, under the conditions of that time, did not have the opportunity to present a positive stance toward that proposal. It is true however that there is visible improvement in the relations between our two countries in comparison to 1996," he added.

Discussing the possibility of a goodwill gesture on Turkey's part in light of the Helsinki summit regarding Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Yilmaz said "the starting point in Turkish-Greek relations, for some years now, is before our eyes. "The starting point is the long term interest of our countries. Both sides should recount with honesty their benefit from the climate of hostility, which I would like to believe, has remained in the past, and to think what the next 20 to 30 years will bring, if they have the same 'character'.

Portugal expresses 'great understanding' over Greek positions

President Kostis Stephanopoulos returned to Athens on Saturday at the end of a four-day official visit to Portugal, where he held talks with President Jorge Sampaio and Prime Minister Antonio Guterres.

Speaking to reporters in flight to Athens, President Stephanopoulos said everything went well, adding that he found "great understanding" over positions he set out to his Portuguese interlocutors. He said they accept that EU principles should also apply to Turkey and that Greece is right to request what it is requesting.

Asked whether a solution to the political problem is called for before Cyprus joins the European Union, President Stephanopoulos said such a thing is not set as a precondition. He said all desire a solution in the framework of UN principles and the Secretary General's proposals.

Memorandum says Greek community in Albania deprived of its property

About 12,500 acres of grazing land, meadows, church property and other real estate belonging to the Greek community in Albania have been granted to Albanians, who are supposedly former owners, or which are being claimed by them with support by Albanian justice and relevant state bodies.

The campaign of granting expanses of land to Albanians, who are supposedly former owners, is aimed at the economic and demographic alteration of the solid part of the Greek minority, according to a memorandum signed by 15, 000 Greeks from Albania. The recipients of the memorandum are the Albanian authorities, the ambassadors of European Union member-states and the representatives of the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

Tourist travel between Corfu and Sarande

A total of 500 people a day are able to visit Sarande from Corfu and vice- versa thanks to three small ferries which carry out three sailings every day. The sailings were resumed following the disturbances in 1997 and there is an upward trend regarding passenger travel.

Twice a week the same ferries carry out sailings to Himare, providing this historic and tourist region with the opportunity to exit from isolation it has been led to due to a lack in infrastructure.

Restoration of communication with Corfu since last summer has led to an improvement in tourist conditions in Himare.

On Saturday 60 members of the Society of Greek Guides, representing various travel agencies from all over the country, visited the region's sights and historic and cultural monuments with the purpose of developing tourism.

Karamanlis criticises government over situation in education

Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis expressed opposition to sit-ins in schools and to dynamic mobilisations by pupils, but criticised the government over the situation currently prevailing in the education sector.

Speaking in the town of Servia in the Kozani prefecture on Saturday, Mr. Karamanlis criticised the government over its policy in the education sector, saying that it is dealing severe blows to the already morbid situation and is making a mockery of the sense of free education and called on it to assume its responsibilities and adopt dialogue.

Mr. Karamanlis said the government is creating a turmoil by causing confusion and uncertainty among young people and by burdening family budgets by 1.5 to 2 million drachmas a year for preparatory schools for each pupil.

However, he added that his party does not support dynamic actions such as sit-ins (in schools) nor protest manifestations against fellow citizens nor the destruction of public property.

Greek first division soccer results/standings

Paniliakos Pyrgos-Kalamata 3-1 Panathiniakos-Aris Salonika 3-0 Panionios Athens-Apollon Athens 3-1 Iraklis Salonika-Olympiakos Piraeus 3- 4 Proodeftiki-Kavala 1-1 Panahaiki Patras-Trikala 3-0 Xanthi-AEK Athens 2-2 OFI Iraklion-PAOK Salonika 2-0 Playing today: Ethnikos Astir Athens-Ionikos Piraeus Standings: Olympiakos 27, Panathinaikos 26, OFI Iraklion 25, Aris 18 Paniliakos 17, AEK, Iraklis 15,Xanthi 14,PAOK, Ethnikos Astir 12.

WEATHER

Rain is forecast for most parts of Greece today, while snow is expected on higher elevations and in nothern regions of the country. Winds southerly, moderate to strong. Athens will be cloudy with temperatures from 9-18C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5-11C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          325.624
Pound sterling       520.780
Japanese yen (100)   317.767
French franc          49.723
German mark          166.763
Italian lira (100)    16.845
Irish Punt           414.137
Belgian franc          8.085
Finnish mark          54.857
Dutch guilder        148.004
Danish kr.            43.850
Austrian sch.         23.703
Spanish peseta         1.960
Swedish kr.           37.908
Norwegian kr.         40.206
Swiss franc          203.990
Port. Escudo           1.627
Can. dollar          219.391
Aus. dollar          205.304
Cyprus pound         566.849
Euro                 326.160
(C.E.)
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