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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-01-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 23/01/1999 (ANA)


  • Athens calls for cooperation on Kosovo crisis
  • Vasso Papandreou on US-Iran relations
  • Labour Minister on Intracom 35-hr week
  • Deputy defence minister denies missiles press report
  • Cypriot defence minister to visit Athens
  • Greek MPs to attend Council of Europe meeting
  • Eurocentral Bank's Duisenberg has praise for Greece
  • Stocks end the week moderately lower
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Athens calls for cooperation on Kosovo crisis

Greece on Friday called on Yugoslavia to coooperate with the international community so agreements that Belgrade has signed regarding the Kosovo problem may be implemented.

At the same time, Athens expressed its opposition to any military solution to the problem.

Addressing reporters after a Cabinet meeting, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that although the circumstances surrounding the killing of 45 ethnic Albanians in and around the village of Racak in Kosovo had not been fully clarified, responsibil ity lay with "those who contribute to the continuation of violence in the region."

Mr. Reppas said Prime Minister Costas Simitis referred to the Kosovo problem at yesterday's Cabinet meeting and had described the massacre as "a very unfavourable development".

The spokesman underlined that human rights were not a domestic issue for each separate country, but rather were of interest to the entire international community.

"For this reason, Greece calls on Belgrade to take all necessary measures to arrest those responsible (for the killings) and to cooperate with the international community so that agreements which Belgrade has signed may be implemented with consistency," he said.

Mr. Reppas further said that Greece was opposed to any return of Yugoslav troops to the area from which they withdrew on the basis of an agreement on Oct. 25, 1998.

He also called on Belgrade to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

"Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has made these positions known to the government of New Yugoslavia," Mr. Reppas added.

While stating that Greece, as a member-state, will take part in EU and NATO activities, the Greek spokesman said Athens was opposed to proposals for the use of military force and initiatives for military intervention on land.

Any intervention which does take place, he added, must have the backing of the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Reppas clarified that the Greek warship "Kimon", which is now sailing in the Adriatic, had nothing to do with the crisis in Kosovo but was "cooperating for training reasons with the naval forces of NATO which are currently in the region."

On his part, Mr. Pangalos on Friday blamed the policy followed by western countries vis-a-vis Yugoslavia, during an address he delivered in an international conference organised by the Hellenic Foundation for Foreign and Defence Policy (ELIAMEP) and focus ing on the Kosovo crisis.

"We have reached the worst point because of western policy", Mr. Pangalos told his audience, describing the west's policy on Yugoslavia as "wrong from the very beginning."

He explained that the west did not want to use all means to achieve the former Yugoslavia's survival under a different form and legal context than the ones existing before.

Instead, he said, the world witnessed the revival of what he called "old- type influence games and aspirations" in the region.

The Greek foreign minister also criticised the "hasty and makeshift moves" with which the west proceeded with the recognition of Yugoslavia's former states, while he reminded that the inviolability of Yugoslavia's borders was included within an agreed u pon framework.

"Any proposal raising the issue again is bringing up the whole problem again," he underlined.

The problem, according to Mr. Pangalos, could not be overcome in the "usual opportunism exhibited by major powers," which he said followed "double- standard policies".

He further described positions favouring Kosovo's independence as "cynical", but explained that he was referring solely to Turkey, the only country in the region having such a position.

Apart from favouring the independence of Kosovo, Turkey, he said, was also striving for the division of Cyprus, but not of Nagorno-Karabakh P as Ankara was in each case adjusting its policy based on its own interests.

Greece does not have the luxury to do that, he stressed, as it had to stick to a policy of principles.

Referring to problems in the implementation of the US-brokered Milosevic- Holbrooke agreement, Mr. Pangalos pinpointed the lack of a unified expression of the Albanian population's positions and the absence of measures to "seal" the Albania-Kosovo border .

Furthermore, he termed Belgrade's approach for non-involve-ment of third parties in its internal affairs as "naive" and "outdated", saying there were some internal sovereignty issues, but "human rights is an international problem."

"You cannot invoke your soveveign rights when grossly violating human rights," he stressed.

Mr. Pangalos said a solution to the Kosovo crisis should be sought through an extended autonomy to the Albanian-speaking population, with a consolidation of their rights, saying that he was strongly opposed to any idea for the province's independence.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos warned that "the worst" could happen if a solution to the crisis in Kosovo was not achie-ved before the end of winter, stressing that the solution must be a political one.

In an interview with the Athens-based German-language weekly "Athener Zeitung", Mr. Tsohatzopoulos noted that while the international organisations' policy had succeeded in Bosnia and Albania, the situation in Kosovo "appears to be uncontrollable".

"Nationalistic extremism is increasingly gaining ground," he said, expressing concern over the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army's (KLA) rejection of "the only possible solution: broad autonomy in the framework of the existing borders of Yugoslavia, sinc e there can be neither changes of borders nor independence for Kosovo."

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also rejected any kind of military solution to the problem, adding: "The solution can only be a political one."

"We must make every effort now, during the course of the winter, to succeed in that direction," he said, warning: "After April, when the snows start to melt, I fear the worst."

Vasso Papandreou on US-Iran relations

Greece would welcome more investments by US companies, who say that red tape and a rigid labour market are still a deterrent, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou told a news conference in Washington late on Friday.

US investments in Greece total 1.2 billion dollars, a figure too low, Papandreou said after talks with senior US government officials.

At the same time, Athens should work harder to entice Greek-American capital into the country, she added.

According the minister, several US companies have shown interest in Greek natural gas and renewable energy projects.

Papandreou also said she had rejected US criticism of Greece for seeking business links with Iran, saying the policy was pursued throughout the European Union.

The EU believed that developing trade ties with Tehran was the best way to aid reform within Iran, and a growing number of US companies agreed, she said.

Papandreou, whose ministry is to hold a politics and economy conference in the US in November, left for New York on Friday, the second port of call in her seven-day visit to the US.

On Monday, she is due to address the Foreign Policy Association.

She will then leave for Texas for talks with Governor George Bush and corporate exectives in the energy sector.

Labour Minister on Intracom 35-hr week

Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou on Saturday welcomed a decision by Intracom, an information technology and telecoms manufacturer, to launch a 35-hour working week on full pay.

"It is very positive that one of the biggest Greek firms is to apply the 35- hour week with no pay cuts at a time when talks are starting on the issue with social groups. I hope other firms move in the same direction," said Papaioannou in reply to a reporter's question.

Intracom's chairman, Socrates Kokkalis, said on Friday that the reduction in working hours would come into effect in the first half of the year for the firm's 1,807 employees.

The Federation of Greek Industry has not backed the 35-hour week being debated in the European Union, and consultations so far have implied a pay cut if the measure were to be introduced.

Opponents of the move have argued that the competitiveness of domestic firms would drop against their rivals abroad.

Intracom is a blue chip on the Athens bourse whose customers include NATO, the EU and the Greek armed forces.

The government has so far refused to legislate a 35-hour working week, but has said it would welcome initiatives by individual companies.

Deputy defence minister denies missiles press report

National Defence Deputy Minister Dimitris Apostolakis on Friday denied a report in the Greek-American community newspaper "Proini" claiming that negotiations were under way for the sale of the S-300 missiles to Egypt. He was replying in Parliament to a question tabled by ruling PASOK deputy Lefteris Veryvakis. Apostolakis said that when the S-300 and recently ordered US-made Patriot missiles came to Greece, they would have the capability of operating in conjunction with electronic weapons systems already deployed in Greece.

Cypriot defence minister to visit Athens

Cypriot Defence Minister Yiannakis Chryssostomos arrives in Athens on February 8 for a four-day visit expected to focus on the transport and installation of Russian S-300 missiles on the Greek island of Crete, according to an ANA dispatch from Nicosia. Chryssostomos will meet with Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos during his visit. The Cypriot defence minister said in Nicosia on Friday that defence department officials were continuing talks on the S-300 issue in Athens and that the ministry would act "in line with developments". Cyprus announced late last year that it would not deploy the Russian surface to air missile system on the island, after consultations with the Greek government in Athens.

Greek MPs to attend Council of Europe meeting

An eleven-member Greek parliamentary delegation leaves for Strasbourg on Sunday to participate in the first part of the 1999 Meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The sessions of the meeting, which will be held from January 25-29, will deal with a number of issues including commitments and obligations of Turkey as a CoE member- state, the creation of an enlarged Europe, religion and democracy, the crisis in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, the situation in Federal Yugoslavia and internal security in Europe.

Eurocentral Bank's Duisenberg has praise for Greece

The Greek economy has made significant progress in the last few years, European Central Bank's chairman Wim Duisenberg said today in Frankfurt. Duisenberg said he hoped that Greece, along with the other EU member-states not participating in the euro, would soon participate in the single European currency. Speaking to reporters, the ECB's chairman noted that Greece has fought hard improving its macro-economic and fiscal conditions, although not yet fully achieving all the convergence criteria to participate in economic and monetary union. Duisenberg said he was aware of the government's pledge to participate in the euro by 2001 and he hoped that the EU's council would respond positively to the Greek demand.

Stocks end the week moderately lower

Greek equities ended the last trading session of the week moderately lower on the Athens Stock Exchange with sentiment hit by negative developments in international markets. The general index ended 0.65 percent down to 2, 985.75 points, off the day's lows. The index ended the week 3.55 percent higher. Turnover was 91.7 billion drachmas. Volume was 19,886,000 shares. The week's average daily turnover rose to 100.2 billion drachmas, up from 97.5 billion the previous week. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.10 percent up, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 0.89 percent off to 1,894.27.


Fair weather is forecast for most parts of Greece on Sunday. Winds will be variable, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Fair weather in Athens where temperatures will range from 6C to 13C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki where temperatures will range from 1C to 10C.


Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.687 Pound sterling 456.161 Japanese yen (100) 242.028 French franc 48.814 German mark 163.715 Italian lira (100) 16.537 Irish Punt 406.567 Belgian franc 7.937 Finnish mark 53.853 Dutch guilder 145.299 Danish kr. 43.833 Austrian sch. 23.270 Spanish peseta 1.924 Swedish kr. 35.597 Norwegian kr. 37.091 Swiss franc 200.131 Port. Escudo 1.597 Aus. dollar 175.405 Can. dollar 182.151 Cyprus pound 550.421

Athens foreign exchange

Athens, 23/1/1999 (ANA)

Banknotes Buying Selling

US Dollar 275.687 282.079 Can.Dollar 182.151 186.374 Australian Dlr 175.405 179.472 Pound Sterling 456.161 466.738 Irish Punt 406.567 415.994 Pound Cyprus 550.421 563.183 Pound Malta 683.602 712.085 Turkish pound (100) 0.072 0.075 French franc 48.814 49.946 Swiss franc 200.131 204.771 Belgian franc 7.937 8.122 German Mark 163.715 167.510 Finnish Mark 53.853 55.102 Dutch Guilder 145.299 148.668 Danish Kr. 43.833 44.031 Swedish Kr. 35.597 36.422 Norwegian Kr. 37.091 37.951 Austrian Sh. 23.270 23.809 Italian lira (100) 16.537 16.920 Yen (100) 242.028 247.640 Spanish Peseta 1.924 1.969 Port. Escudo 1.597 1.634


Buying: 320.198 Selling: 327.622

Exchange Buying Selling

New York 275.687 282.079 Montreal 182.151 186.374 Sydney 175.405 179.472 London 456.161 466.738 Dublin 406.567 415.994 Nicosia 550.421 563.183 Paris 48.814 49.946 Zurich 200.131 204.771 Brussels 7.937 8.122 Frankfurt 163.715 167.510 Helsniki 53.853 55.102 Amsterdam 145.299 148.668 Copenhagen 43.833 44.031 Stockholm 35.597 36.422 Oslo 37.091 37.951 Vienna 23.270 23.809 Milan 16.537 16.920 Tokyo 242.028 247.640 Madrid 1.924 1.969 Lisbon 1.597 1.634

Athens News Agency/End



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