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Antenna: News in English, 99-05-12

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article

From: Antenna <> - email:


  • [01] Papandreou
  • [02] Venizelos-Tourist season
  • [03] Radioactive pollution
  • [04] Karamanlis-Avramopoulos

  • [01] Papandreou

    Greek foreign minister George Papandreou says if the war in Yugoslavia continues without basic repairs to factories and homes being made, then the 11 million Serbs that live there will face a humanitarian catastrophe.

    Papandreou told reporters that if the damaged facilities and water supply are not restored soon then the Serbs will quickly become part of the humanitarian crisis already engulfing the ethnic Albanians in Kossovo.

    Greece is set to host an international summit on humanitarian aid in June.

    Papapandreou also said Greece's goal is to see the entire Balkan region upgraded in the long term. Greece's national interest, he explained, coincides with that Balkan goal.

    Papandreou also said that the Kosovo Liberation Army must be disarmed as part of any settlement of the crisis.

    Greece and the Czech Republic are promoting a peace initiative. It calls for the deployment of an international security force in Kosovo comprising mainly troops from countries that haven't taken part in the bombing campaign. The plan also calls for a significant role for the UN.

    The Czech Republic's foreign minister says that is the toughest point for all those involved in the conflict to agree on.

    [02] Venizelos-Tourist season

    The government is determined to limit the amount of damage the crisis in Yugoslavia does to Greece's crucial summer tourist season.

    The development minister told a parliamentary commerce committee Wednesday that the damage will be restricted to parts of northern Greece.

    Development minister Evangelos Venizelos responded tit for tat to Britain's announcement Tuesday that its nationals should bear in mind that there was an anti-Nato bombing of an Athens hotel recently; and that there are frequent anti-war demonstrations, particularly in Thessaloniki, at which port Nato troops have been disembarking for over two months.

    Britain advises its nationals visiting Greece to avoid demonstrations or other situations that could lead to confrontation.

    Venizelos said that Greeks planning to visit Britain are the ones who need to be cautious. "It's unacceptable", he told the committee, "for a country which has a huge internal security problem - as the bombings in central London this year show - to send out such advice about Greece. Greeks going to Britain should bear that in mind".

    Venizelos says despite the war, Greece should have a boon summer season - 5 to 6 per cent better than last summer.

    The places expected to be hurt by the Yugoslavia situation are northern Greece, especially normally popular Corfu and the Halkidiki region near Thessaloniki.

    The main drop off in foreign visitors is expected to come from Americans and central Europeans who would normally travel to Greece overland through Yugoslavia.

    [03] Radioactive pollution

    One of the issues of concern to stem from Nato's attacks on Yugoslavia has been that of toxic and radioactive pollution.

    New findings have some people concerned about radiation levels in the Balkans - radiation released by missiles containing depleted uranium. Scientists in Fyrom say they have found uranium levels 26 times higher than an earlier reading in the atomosphere of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    With the safe limit of depleted uranium set at five milibekerels pre cubic metre, the readings in Fyrom are 1.25 milibekerels. That's a quarter of the safe limit, say Fyrom officials.

    They add that before the bombing started, levels were 26 times lower than the acceptable limit.

    But Greek physicist Constantinos Papastephanou says Fyrom is grossly exaggerating the danger. The increased levels they site, he contends, are 50 to 70 below the levels that someone could live with for a year without suffering any health problems as a result.

    Former Pentagon adviser and physicist Dr Doug Rokke, who led the clean-up of depleted uranium weapon pollution after the Gulf War, is opposed to the use of rounds that contain the toxic and radioactive substance.

    But Nato says the depleted uranium is no more dangerous than any other heavy metal, adding that a round contains about as much uranium as a flourescent watch.

    [04] Karamanlis-Avramopoulos

    The leader of New Democracy and the mayor of Athens held a friendly meeting - their first since mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos announced in April that he would not be running independently of New Democracy in June's European elections.

    The rumours that Avramopoulos, backed in both Athens terms by New Democracy, was about to start his own party, placed a strain on their relations for months.

    But Avramopoulos and his wife Vivian dined at the residence of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis and his wife Natasha Tuesday night.

    Sources say discussion at the supper table centred on Kosovo and the European elections.

    The same sources also said there was no discussion of Avramopoulos and New Democracy working together in the EU elections.

    (c) Antenna 1999

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