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ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN, February 11, 1995


(Apo to Ellnviko Grafeio Tupou kai Plnroforiwv, Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca)


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece to take the 'diplomatic initiative and press UN to lift sanctions on Belgrade, move backed by four other embargo-affected nations

  • [2] Gov't denies FYROM reports of 'secret meetings'

  • [3] Gov't insists on reservations over Brussels agreement; Venizelos says customs union can go ahead if proposals accepted

  • [4] Central bank targets lower inflation for 1995

  • [5] Evert to choose ND's candidate for president soon

  • [6] Turks thank Greeks for rescue of F-16 pilot

  • [7] UN expects response from FYROM on state of talks over dispute with Athens

  • [8] Romaios: Delors II package funds to be spent with 'effectiveness'

  • [9] Dimas calls for presidential electoral process to begin now

  • [10] Kaklamanis meets with Lithuanian counterpart

  • [11] Ipekci prize to go to those involved in Turkish F-16 crash

  • [12] US Greek community leaders meet with top US policy-makers to plan strategy for 1995


  • [1] Greece to take the 'diplomatic initiative and press UN to lift sanctions on Belgrade, move backed by four other embargo-affected nations


    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    Greece said yesterday it was launching a diplomatic initiative with four other states to persuade the United Nations to lift sanctions against Yugoslavia. "The Greek initiative shares the agreement of the governments of four other nations that continue to be affected by the embargo against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia," Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias said.

    The initiative is backed by Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Ukraine, whose economies have borne the brunt of stiff repercussions from the UN-imposed embargo. Mr. Papoulias made the announcement after talks with his Yugoslav counterpart Vladislav Jovanovic in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. Speaking to reporters Mr. Jovanovic condemned the sanctions saying they were an "obstacle" to a peaceful resolution to the Yugoslav crisis.

    Mr. Papoulias strongly condemned the "unfair" behaviour of the international community towards Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic who severed ties with the Bosnian Serb leadership last August over their rejection of a Big Power peace plan. The United Nations, which reviews the embargo resolution every four months, agreed in January to ease some sanctions to reward Belgrade for cutting off supplies to Bosnian Serbs and accepting international monitors on its borders.

    Commenting on rumours that the subject of his imminent meeting with Mr. Jovanovic was over alleged intent on the part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to recognise FYROM, Mr. Papoulias said: "The information is not correct, and originated as press reports".

    Mr. Jovanovic was recently quoted as saying that Belgrade was willing to recognise Skopje if FYROM formally "acknowledged the historic continuity between the present Yugoslav federation and its predecessor". Serbia's previous position was that it would not extend recognition to FYROM unless it had first settled its dispute with Athens over the use of the name 'Macedonia'.

    Mr. Jovanovic said closer ties between Belgrade and Skopje hinged on the resolution of an on-going row between Athens and Skopje. "We are interested in a resolution that will benefit both Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Once this problem is settled we will strive to develop relations with Skopje and establish close co-operation between Athens, Belgrade and Skopje," Mr. Jovanovic said.

    Speaking upon arrival of his Yugoslav counterpart at Thessaloniki international airport, Mr. Papoulias said the meeting with Mr. Jovanovic, which he described as very important, "underlines the close relations" between Greece and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. "Mr. Jovanovic is an old friend and I believe that we have many issues to discuss, not only bilateral but others as well, such as the situation in Bosnia which I would say is at a turning point," Mr. Papoulias said. "We will discuss the problems of the region and I believe our talks will be productive," he added.

    Mr. Jovanovic told reporters on arrival that the normalisation of relations between Greece and FYROM was "a priority" for rump Yugoslavia so that it could go ahead and recognise Skopje. Asked by the ANA if Belgrade intended to recognise and establish diplomatic relations with FYROM, Mr. Jovanovic replied: "We will never be the ones to obstruct the normalisation of relations within the area of Yugoslavia and recognitions. But we first want a settlement of the problems which have been created between Greece and that state (FYROM). Problems which were created by the break-up of Yugoslavia."

    Mr. Jovanovic said that it would be in the interest of peace and stability in the Balkans and in the interest of rump Yugoslavia for the problem (between Athens and Skopje) to be resolved as soon as possible.

    Asked if he would be discussing the FYROM issue with Mr. Papoulias, Mr. Jovanovic replied that "we will be reviewing the situation in the region and we will have the opportunity to see how Greece views the settlement of the problem". Athens has accused Skopje of harbouring territorial claims on the northern Greek region of Macedonia. Mr. Jovanovic was scheduled to fly back to Belgrade yesterday evening.

    [2] Gov't denies FYROM reports of 'secret meetings'

    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday denied claims reportedly made by Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Interior Minister Lubomir Frckovski that the government had proposed to Skopje a secret meeting in January.

    "This is all in the imagination of Mr. Frckovski. No such proposal has been made. There has never even been such an intention. And there has never been any reason," government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said in reply to press questions. "We are awaiting the outcome of the consultations under (UN mediator) Cyrus Vance who has seen with his own eyes the intransigence of the Skopje government," Mr. Venizelos added.

    In an interview with AFP, Mr. Frckovski reportedly claimed that the Greek government proposed to Skopje a secret meeting at the end of January, prior to the European Court hearing on the legitimacy of Greece's trade sanctions against FYROM.

    According to Mr. Frckovski, the proposal was supposedly made by representatives of the Greek government who visited Skopje on the pretext of discussing police co-operation.

    [3] Gov't insists on reservations over Brussels agreement; Venizelos says customs union can go ahead if proposals accepted

    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias yesterday insisted on Greece's decision to reject an outline European Union agreement that could pave the way for Turkey's customs union with the 15-nation bloc.

    Asked by ANA to comment on reports that the French EU presidency intended to advance financing to Turkey (under the Fourth Turkey-EU Financial Protocol) as a technical issue in order to skirt Greek objections, Mr. Papoulias said: "The French (EU) presidency is free to make its own calculations and undertake initiatives, but Greece's position is that stipulated at Thursday's Inner Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou."

    Government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos told reporters yesterday that the Greek government considered that negotiations on the outline agreement for Turkey's customs union could continue and a positive result be obtained if a series of Greek proposals for improvements were accepted. He said the European Union was in constant negotiation and that "nothing was final and irrevocable".

    A European Commission spokesman said in Brussels yesterday that the Commission was awaiting Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's letter on the desired improvements of the outline agreement, and there was no official reaction yet. He added that the responsible Commissioner, Hans van den Broek, was absent abroad.

    The French Presidency was also reported to be in an expectant mood on Greek objections, and diplomatic sources in Brussels said that "the French are willing to discuss the points on which Greek reservations are centred".

    Commenting on German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel's statements on the issue Thursday, Mr. Venizelos expressed the view that they contained an interpretation on the commitment undertaken by the EU concerning the time schedule for Cypriot full membership negotiations, which was part of the deal. He said Germany is reported as accepting the existence of a clear political commitment, and if this was indeed so, there was nothing to prevent the explicit mention of this commitment in the text. He added that the Cypriot government was being kept fully informed.

    In Bonn yesterday, German SPD party spokesman on external affairs and president of Nato's Parliamentary Convention Karsten Fogdt fully backed Mr. Kinkel's rejection of Greek reservations, saying: "I would co-sign the statement without any hesitations".

    Questioned why he supported Turkey's customs union with the EU so warmly despite human rights violations and the continuing occupation of northern Cyprus by the Turkish army, he said, "the SPD has repeatedly condemned these violations, but the agreements signed between Turkey and the EU are still in force and an issue of consistency is raised...". He added that the customs union "would be in Greece's interest as it would stabilise Turkey...".

    Meanwhile the French Presidency yesterday expressed regret over Greece's negative stance against the Brussels ad referendum agreement and hope that the differences will be settled, in an official announcement by Foreign Affairs ministry representative Richard Duque.

    The Presidency yesterday called the permanent representatives committee (COREPER) to Brussels to discuss the Greek amendments and was awaiting a letter from the Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. At the same time, working on the hope that the differences will be resolved, the Presidency announced that the Association Council will convene on March 6 for the signing of Turkey's customs union with the European Union.

    The French press did not share the Presidency's optimism that a settlement will be reached. The leading Paris daily Le Monde in an article entitled "Greece against itself" noted that "at the beginning of negotiations for Turkey's customs union with the EU, Greece held all the cards in its hand, a fact which would have allowed Greece to achieve a 'real' diplomatic success."

    [4] Central bank targets lower inflation for 1995

    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    The main target of monetary policy for 1995 will be the further de-escalation of inflation, central bank governor Lucas Papademos said yesterday. "This policy will be within the framework of the revised programme for the convergence of the Greek economy and the target for 1995, through the implementation of monetary policy, is to bring the Consumer Price Index down to 7 per cent by the end of the year," Mr. Papademos said while presenting a report on monetary policy for the current year.

    The reduction of inflation and the monetary policy targets, he said, depend on Public Sector Borrowing Requirements (PSBR). "Consequently," Mr. Papademos continued, "only to the extent that inflation abates and the public deficits are curbed can we expect a drop in nominal interest rates." The Bank of Greece governor said that the cutting of interest rates in the Greek market would also depend on interest rate developments internationally.

    Mr. Papademos said that total credit expansion would be in the region of 6-8 per cent during 1995, noting that the rate of expansion had slowed down to 8.9 per cent in 1994 from 13.5 per cent in 1993 and 11.6 per cent in 1992. The rate of increase for 1995 is expected to be in the region of 7-9 per cent, he added, attributing this to the curtailing of bank financing of the public sector, while financing of the private sector marked a slight acceleration.

    Money supply in the broad sense (M3) increased by 8.1 per cent in 1994, compared with increases of 15 per cent in 1993 and 14.4 per cent in 1992, Mr. Papademos said. On the drachma, the central bank governor said that the national currency's slide against the ECU was contained at 5.6 per cent, compared with 6.6 per cent in 1993 and 9.9 per cent in 1992.

    [5] Evert to choose ND's candidate for president soon

    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party's Parliamentary Group convened yesterday, concluding meetings of party agencies on the issue of the upcoming election of a new President of the Republic by Parliament. Party leader Miltiades Evert is now expected to announce the presidential candidate his party will support.

    At the end of a three-hour meeting, the Parliamentary Group gave Mr. Evert a carte blanche to choose both the time the candidacy will be announced and the name of the candidate "who will come from the party's active political sector." The decision was unanimous with the exception of Deputy Sotiris Hadzigakis who said the issue should be once again referred to the Parliamentary Group after the candidate had been chosen.

    According to reports, the most likely person for party candidate is former Parliament President Athanassios Tsaldaris, not ruling out the candidacy of ND Deputy President Ioannis Varvitsiotis.

    Meanwhile, a stir was caused among Parliamentary Group members by a statement former prime minister and honorary ND leader Constantine Mitsotakis made in London Thursday that he would be interested in being a candidate if the President of the Republic was elected directly by the people.

    Addressing the Parliamentary Group, Mr. Evert confirmed his previous assessment "that the dominant issue preoccupying the country before the election of a president would not be the person to become president but who is ruling and which policy is being implemented".

    Mr. Evert termed latest developments in foreign policy and in various domestic policy sectors "tragic", adding that "there is no government and there is no prime minister." He said it was impossible for the party to even indirectly support PASOK by giving a vote of confidence to an irresponsible policy.

    [6] Turks thank Greeks for rescue of F-16 pilot

    Istanbul, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    Turkish National Defence General Staff chief General Ismail Hakki Karantagi yesterday sent a message of thanks to his Greek counterpart Admiral Christos Lymberis for the rescuing of the pilot of the F-16 fighter aircraft which crashed into the sea east of Rhodes on Wednesday.

    In his message, General Karantagi expressed hope "for further co-operation in the future (between the two countries), under better circumstances", and thanked the admiral and the Greek Armed Forces for their "friendly co-operation", Turkish Anatolian news agency reported yesterday.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Murat Karayalcin and the government's Vice-President also sent a message of thanks to Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias. The Turkish press yesterday made front page news of the pilot rescue characterising it as "pleasant developments".

    "The Greeks saw the Turkish pilot off on Wednesday, the Greek pilots (which took part in the rescue) gave him flags from both countries decorated with laurels" news commentators said, underlining that "the civilians of both countries, consider that this event will sow the seeds of peace in the Aegean." "Politicians should be ashamed of wanting to turn the Aegean into a blood-bath," the commentators added.

    [7] UN expects response from FYROM on state of talks over dispute with Athens

    United Nations, 11/02/95 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Referring to the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), diplomatic sources said "UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and UN mediator Cyrus Vance would not allow the Geneva precedent to be repeated.

    They were referring to a marathon meeting with FYROM President Kiro Gligorov in Geneva last year which led to no developments, despite warnings from the UN representatives that FYROM must make some move talks over its dispute with Athens, which had been postponed for elections in the republic.

    The sources said if FYROM's reply -- expected next week -- is once again negative and its position remains intransigent, insisting among other things on linking the issue of the flag to the name, Mr. Vance will submit a report to the Secretary-General who will then notify the Security Council.

    If, on the contrary, the sources said, FYROM's foreign minister informs Mr. Boutros-Ghali's special mediator either by post or by phone that the Gligorov administration is again ready to come to the negotiating table to discuss at an initial stage the "mini package" on the issues of the flag, the symbols and the constitution, leaving discussion of the issue of the name for a later stage, Mr. Vance intends to convene the two sides immediately for the resumption under his auspices of separate talks, possibly within the month.

    The sources expressed reserved optimism over the possibility of a positive response by FYROM, given that, as Mr. Vance warned FYROM Foreign Minister Stevo Crvenkovski during their talks in New York last week, Greece will not lift retortion measures whatever the verdict of the European Court might be, unless FYROM gives tangible proof that it is prepared to make serious and effective negotiations.

    According to authoritative sources, Greece's permanent representative ambassador Christos Zaharakis met his US counterpart Madeleine Albright yesterday morning. Their talks, the sources said, focused on Mr. Vance's efforts on the resumption of negotiations between Greece and FYROM, the Yugoslav issue and developments over the Cyprus issue.

    Ms Albright, they said, "pondered whether Cyprus' recourse to the General Assembly will help in promoting efforts to resolve the problem", while "she expressed support for a start to the process for Cyprus' accession to the European Union."

    [8] Romaios: Delors II package funds to be spent with 'effectiveness'

    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    Speaking at a one-day conference on the strategy and prospects of the European Union Support Framework programme in Lamia yesterday, Alternate National Economy Minister Giorgos Romaios said Delors Package II funds did not suffice to meet all needs, and discounted fears of losses of such funds until the year 2001.

    He stressed the need for an examination of projects under regional programmes in order to effect a "tidying up", and noted that the "central aim was not the rate of absorption at the expense of quality and effectiveness". He criticised the effectiveness of procedures under Delors Package I, citing the example of many biological treatment plants which were inoperative, or had been constructed without the necessary sewage networks. He predicted 1995 would be a good year if there was no early election, and said the projects of the Rion-Antirrion bridge and Spata airport would start in a matter of days.

    [9] Dimas calls for presidential electoral process to begin now

    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy Parliamentary Group Secretary Stavros Dimas yesterday requested Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis speed up procedures to elect a new President of the Republic.

    Mr. Dimas, who relayed the demand made by ND leader Miltiades Evert, said that he requested the immediate commencement of procedures. "PASOK and Political Spring (party) are contradicting (themselves) with the position they have declared.

    The uncertainty, instability and the upset created cause problems for the economy," Mr. Dimas said, adding that "with their stance they disorient and increase this uncertainty which should end as soon as possible".

    [10] Kaklamanis meets with Lithuanian counterpart

    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday met his visiting Lithuanian counterpart Ceslovaw Jursenas, saying the visit constituted a start to developing relations between Greece and Lithuania. Mr. Jursenas will leave for Cyprus tomorrow.

    [11] Ipekci prize to go to those involved in Turkish F-16 crash

    Athens, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    The Athens Secretariat of the Ipekci Prize will propose in the next few days that the Ipekci communications prize be awarded to air force officer Ioannis Natsios, commander of the Rhodes air base, and Turkish air force officer Mustafa Yildirim, who crashed near Rhodes last week. The purpose of the prize is to reward actions bringing the people of Greece and Turkey closer together.

    The attitude of Greek air force officers and Turkish air force officers in the wake of the latter's' accident in the south-eastern Aegean last Wednesday was praiseworthy, according to an announcement by the Ipekci Prizes Committee.

    [12] US Greek community leaders meet with top US policy-makers to plan strategy for 1995

    Washington, 11/02/95 (ANA)

    Leaders of major Greek-American organisations and America's top policy-makers met yesterday in Washington in preparation for their strategy meeting regarding their approach to the development of American policy toward Greece and Cyprus in 1995.

    Those included in the meeting ranged from the Clinton administration's lead person, who recently returned from the region, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and Senior Advisor to President Bill Clinton, George Stephanopoulos, on the one hand, to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and Chairman of the House International Relations Committee Ben Gilman, on the other.

    The gathering of the national presidents (or their representatives) of UHAC, PSEKA, AHEPA, the Pan-Macedonian Federation, the Cyprus Federation and the meetings were arranged by the "Co-ordinated Effort."

    "The administration's very recent change of position strongly in favour of Cyprus' accession to the European Community and our enactment of the 'Missing in Cyprus' legislation are both unusual and excellent indicators calling for an aggressive new strategy to reach our goal for Cyprus," said Philip Christopher, president of PSEKA.

    Andrew A. Athens, national chairman of UHAC, added, "The release of the 'Omonia four' was no accident. The effectiveness of all parts of the administration, the US Senate and House, the government of Greece and our community's efforts, led by the Pan-Epirotic Federation and backed by all of our people's extraordinary investment in our country's democratic policy process have brought about a good result."

    Andrew E. Manatos, president of Manatos & Manatos, the public relations firm which co-ordinated the gathering on a pro bono basis, said: "The in-depth, more than an hour discussions that our leaders had with groups of American power centres was unprecedented and will bring a far more effective strategy for 1995."

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