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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-12-15

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PRIME MINISTER OUTLINES GREEK POLICY TO FOREIGN JOURNALISTS
  • [02] OPPOSITION NEW DEMOCRACY PARTY LEADER MEETS PRESIDENT
  • [03] FOREIGN MINISTER TO GO TO ANKARA IN JANUARY
  • [04] OPINION POLL RESULTS
  • [05] FIRST ROUND OF CYPRUS PROXIMITY TALKS ENDS IN NEW YORK
  • [06] GREECE AND FYROM SIGN DEFENCE COOPERATION AGREEMENT
  • [07] INTERIOR MINISTER INTRODUCES BILL ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
  • [08] BANK OF GREECE TO REDUCE INTEREST RATES BY 0.75 OR 1%
  • [09] GREEK MONUMENT FOR 2000 OLYMPICS IN SYDNEY
  • [10] PASSENGERS ROBBED ON BUS NEAR SOFIA, BULGARIA

  • [01] PRIME MINISTER OUTLINES GREEK POLICY TO FOREIGN JOURNALISTS

    Speaking at a lunch for foreign corespondents yesterday, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, said Greece had succeeded in ensuring the stability required to set its economy back on its feet and that the results had been recognised by all the relevant international bodies. He added that these results and their recognition were the outcome of the efforts made by the entire Greek people and represented the start of a new financial era. Mr Simitis underlined that a re-evaluation of the drachma was currently being examined and the government was in agreement with the Central Bank of Greece and Greece's European partners over this issue. He also made it clear there would be no political negotiations over Greece's entry to European economic and monetary union. With reference to the recent EU summit, Mr Simitis said the decision taken at Helsinki opened up new prospects for Greece and Turkey, prospects of peace and cooperation. In reply to criticism from the opposition parties on the outcome of the Helsinki EU summit, Mr Simitis pointed out that delineation of the continental shelf in the Aegean was the only Greek-Turkish difference which Athens recognised and it would not negotiate over any of its firm stands at the International Court at The Hague. Finally the prime minister said he did not intend to call on Greece's political party leaders to agree over the election of a new president of the republic, since they had already adopted stands over the issue. He added that an early general election would not benefit the country and that the government's firm position was that it should exhaust its four-year term in office.

    [02] OPPOSITION NEW DEMOCRACY PARTY LEADER MEETS PRESIDENT

    Speaking after a meeting yesterday with the Greek president, Kostis Stefanopoulos, the opposition New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, issued a negative assessment of the results of the Helsinki summit. He maintained that although given the opportunity to consolidate Greece's position and security, there had been a shifting from firm Greek positions. But he admitted that the decision concerning Cyprus was a positive one. Different points of view have been expressed within the New Democracy party. The party's honorary president, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, described the Helsinki decision on Cyprus as an indisputable success for Greece, adding that in the long run Greece would be able to deal with its problems with Turkey from a more advantageous standpoint.

    [03] FOREIGN MINISTER TO GO TO ANKARA IN JANUARY

    The Greek foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, has told Cypriot Radio that Greece faces Turkey with confidence in the wake of the Helsinki summit. He added that he believed the Cyprus dispute and the Aegean issue would now take on a whole new perspective, although he did not expect any dramatic developments. Mr Papandreou also announced that he would probably visit Ankara in January to sign the first series of bilateral agreements on so-called low policy issues, such as trade cooperation and tourism.

    [04] OPINION POLL RESULTS

    The results of an opinion poll taken before the recent EU summit in Helsinki show PASOK to be slightly ahead of the New Democracy party in the electorate's declared voting intentions. 31.6% of those polled said they would vote for PASOK while 30.6% said they would support the New Democracy party. 41.9% said they believed Kostas Simitis was the most suitable man to hold the office of prime minister, while 31.2% backed Kostas Karamanlis. Mr Simitis was the most popular amongst the country's political leaders, with 40.4% of the votes, followed by Mr Karamanlis with 38%, the Democratic Social Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas with 35.3% and the Coalition leader, Nikos Konstantopoulos, with 34.3%.

    [05] FIRST ROUND OF CYPRUS PROXIMITY TALKS ENDS IN NEW YORK

    Speaking after the end of the first round of proximity talks in New York on the Cyprus issue, the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has called on the Cypriot president, Glafkos Kliridis, and the Turkish Cypriot representative, Rauf Denktash, to continue the talks in January. Meanwhile the Turkish Cypriot side has threatened not to resume the talks unless the paragraph referring to a bi-zonal and bi-communal federation on the island is removed from the resolution concerning the renewal of the UN peace-keeping force's stay on the island. The Greek Cypriots have threatened not to attend the talks if the paragraph is deleted. Commenting on the results of the EU summit in Helsinki, former Cypriot president and leader of the Democratic party Spyros Kyprianou said Cyprus had paid so that Turkey would acquire the status of candidate for admission to the EU.

    [06] GREECE AND FYROM SIGN DEFENCE COOPERATION AGREEMENT

    Greece's national defence minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, and his counterpart in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Nikola Kliusev, signed a defence cooperation agreement in Skopje yesterday. The agreement calls for bilateral meetings of experts, the training of defence ministry officials from the Former Yugoslav Republic and cooperation in the defence technology sector.

    [07] INTERIOR MINISTER INTRODUCES BILL ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

    Interior minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday introduced a draft bill in parliament which is to change the rules for entry into the country and the stay of foreigners in Greece with the aim of checking illegal immigration.

    [08] BANK OF GREECE TO REDUCE INTEREST RATES BY 0.75 OR 1%

    According to reports, the Bank of Greece is expected to make an announcement today on a reduction in interest rates from between 0.75% and 1%.

    [09] GREEK MONUMENT FOR 2000 OLYMPICS IN SYDNEY

    An impressive Greek monument, the donation of Greeks living abroad to the Olympic movement, is to be erected at the Olympic Games installations in Sydney for the Olympics of the year 2000. The monument is a synthesis of elements from Greek civilization, including ancient Greek symbolic depictions and five Greek columns representing the five continents. Eucalyptus trees underlining the bonds between Greece and Australia will also be preserved at the site.

    [10] PASSENGERS ROBBED ON BUS NEAR SOFIA, BULGARIA

    Unknown gunmen hijacked a bus near Sofia, Bulgaria, yesterday afternoon. They drove it to a deserted site and robbed the passengers, among them 15 Greeks traveling from Thessaloniki to Bucharest, of their valuables and money. None of the passengers were harmed.
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