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Athens News Agency Bulletin, February 23, 1995


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

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca)


CONTENTS

  • [1] Mangakis meeting with Lamassoure on Cyprus entry a 'step forward'

  • [2] Defence agreements between Greece, Bulgaria an aid to regional stability

  • [3] Premier receives Cyprus interior minister

  • [4] Holbrooke meets with Vartholomeos


  • [1] Mangakis meeting with Lamassoure on Cyprus entry a 'step forward'

    Paris, 233/02/1995 (ANA):

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Alexander Mangakis described his meeting yesterday in Paris with French Foreign Under-Secretary for European Affairs Alain Lamassoure as "a positive step" towards resolving the issue of Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

    "We hope during the week to have found a positive solution which will allow the March 6 meeting (of the EU Council of Ministers) to go ahead," Mr. Mangakis said. "Without any exaggeration or distortion, the discussion was a positive step," Mr. Mangakis said of his one-hour meeting with Mr. Lamassoure. He said that he had ascertained a "real desire" for the finding of a solution but declined to elaborate further.

    Asked whether France continued to link the two issues of the EU-Turkey customs union and Cyprus' accession, Mr. Mangakis replied: "The two issues have been linked from the outset, which is why up to now they have been discussed jointly." Mr. Mangakis was also scheduled to meet with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe yesterday.

    In Paris, French foreign ministry spokesman Richard Duque was quoted by Reuters as saying Mr. Mangakis and Mr. Lamassoure "confirmed their common will to reach a solution." "The conversations will continue and we hope to reach a concrete result in coming days," Mr. Duque told reporters. "If such is the case, we could stick to the planned calendar," he was quoted as saying.

    France wants to settle the dispute before a planned EU meeting with Turkey on March 6 over the customs union, which would give Turkey some of the closest links to the EU of a non-member country and un-block as much as $1 billion in aid.

    Greece objected to an EU-Turkey customs union deal agreed in principle by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels earlier this month. Its objections stemmed from the deal's vague reference to when negotiations for Cyprus' admission to the EU would begin.

    In Athens, government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos, commenting on Mr. Mangakis' meeting with Mr. Lamassoure, told reporters that "Greece's position (on the issue) is known."

    Meanwhile, Spanish Under-Secretary for European Affairs Carlos Westendorp is expected in Ankara today for a meeting with Prime Minister Tansu Ciller and Foreign Minister Murat Karayalcin to discuss Turkey's custom union with the EU in view of the March 6 meeting in Brussels.

    In another development yesterday, President of the Europarliament, Klaus Hansch said yesterday in London that a customs union agreement with Turkey cannot be enforced unless it is first ratified by the European Parliament.

    Mr. Hansch told reporters that the "majority of the European Parliament is against the custom union with Turkey since human rights continue to be violated in Turkey and Cyprus is still under (Turkish) occupation."

    [2] Defence agreements between Greece, Bulgaria an aid to regional stability

    Sofia, 23/02/1995 (ANA - G. Zarkadis):

    National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said here yesterday that recently signed military accords between Greece and Bulgaria would contribute to stability in the Balkans.

    "Strengthened ties between Greece and Bulgaria benefit not only the two involved states but contribute to a climate of stability and co-operation in the broader region," Mr. Arsenis told reporters before ending a visit to Sofia.

    During his visit, Mr. Arsenis signed a string of accords on Greek-Bulgarian co-operation in the defence industry and agreed to joint military exercises.

    Earlier, addressing the Bulgarian Officers Club in Sofia, Mr. Arsenis stressed that the solution of problems plaguing the Balkans should be based on economic co-operation and respect for human rights and democratic institutions.

    [3] Premier receives Cyprus interior minister

    Athens, 23/02/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou received Cypriot Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides at the Maximos Mansion last night. Mr. Michaelides is visiting Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Costas Skandalides, who also attended the meeting.

    Mr. Michaelides told reporters afterwards he and the prime minister had the opportunity to exchange views on issues pertaining to the two countries' interior ministries. He further said views were also exchanged on the Cyprus issue and on present developments.

    Mr. Skandalides said the prime minister expressed optimism that the Cyprus issue was on a good path and that efforts currently under way would produce results both as part of speeding up processes for Cyprus' accession to the European Union and in general the good climate created in relations between Athens and Nicosia.

    [4] Holbrooke meets with Vartholomeos

    Istanbul, 233/02/1995 (ANA):

    US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Richard Holbrooke yesterday met with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos during his official visit to Turkey.

    "I ensured the Patriarch of the continuing US support for the religious independence of the Patriarchate," he told reporters later.

    Mr. Holbrooke said he also briefed the Patriarch on his discussions with the Turkish leadership. During their meeting they also discussed the Cyprus problem.

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