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Athens News Agency Bulletin, February 27, 1995

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

E-Mail Address:


  • [1] Greek position on EU-Turkey customs union 'unchanged'

  • [2] Cyprus solution not linked to EU accession, Clerides tells ANA

  • [3] Karayalcin: occupied territories will be annexed if Cyprus joins EU

  • [4] Albanian illegal immigrant killed in clash with border police

  • [5] Evert to meet Milosevic tomorrow

  • [6] Bulgarian armed forces chief in Athens

  • [7] Romaios to confer with Commission officials on Spata airport issue

  • [8] Wine growers criticise EU policies

  • [1] Greek position on EU-Turkey customs union 'unchanged'

    Athens, 27/02/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said on Saturday Greece would exercise its right to veto on Turkey's customs union with the European Union if Greece's principal position was not satisfied, namely, that negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the Community "will start" after the intergovernmental conference in 1996.

    In statements the same day, government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said Greece's position on the issue remained "firm and unchanged". Mr. Venizelos was replying to press questions in Thessaloniki on the extraordinary meeting of the Member-States Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) in Brussels today which is expected to discuss the French presidency's counter-proposals to Greek demands on the issue of Turkey's customs union with the EU. Athens gave Paris its reply on Thursday.

    The French presidency, the spokesman said, "has and is making serious and responsible efforts to find the wording of the joint position of the EU on the issue of its customs union with Turkey which will be acceptable to Greece".

    "The Greek government has given a clear and explicit reply within the framework of its known positions and we believe that this reply leaves room for a mutually acceptable position to be found. In view of this, it seems that the French presidency considered that the Permanent Representatives can meet on Monday (today)," Mr. Venizelos said.

    "Provided the text contains the elements of balance which we seek and provided it specifies the timetable for the commencement and course of accession negotiations between Cyprus and the EU, we shall be able to agree.

    That is, we shall be able to agree provided the wording is that 'negotiations will commence six months after the sessions of the intergovernmental conference', i.e. using the English phrase 'will start' or (the French) 'commenceront' and provided there is an appendix detailing how the structured pre-accession dialogue between Cyprus and the EU will be held and provided that there is a clear statement (concerning) the care which (the EU) must display with regard to Greece's textile industry," the spokesman clarified.

    On such a basis, Mr. Venizelos continued, Greece can agree to lift the veto on the EU-Turkey customs union, "since with regard to the granting of aid to Turkey, the procedure must in any case be followed as laid down in the relevant conventions and this procedure brings the problem not only before the Council of Ministers but also before the European Commission and European Parliament".

    If the 15 EU member states agree on Turkey's customs union with the Community, the issue will be deferred for final ratification to the March 6 meeting of EU foreign ministers.

    Mr. Venizelos said Friday that the French presidency had accepted that the procedure for Cyprus' accession to the EU should start six months after the 1996 intergovernmental conference which will revise the Maastricht Treaty. He said that Paris was already in contact with the other EU member states concerning their acceptance of Greece's demands.

    Meanwhile, an ANA report from Nicosia yesterday said Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides was satisfied with Greece's response Thursday to the French presidency's proposals. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Clerides said the Cyprus government was briefed on the content of the Greek answer. Refusing to reveal the content, Mr. Clerides said the answer was a "good answer".

    [2] Cyprus solution not linked to EU accession, Clerides tells ANA

    Nicosia, 27/02/1995 (ANA - S. Sideris):

    Cyprus' accession to the European Union was not linked to finding a solution to the problem of the divided island, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides told the Athens News Agency (ANA) in an interview Saturday. He said, however, that Cyprus' membership of the 15-member bloc would bring many political and economic benefits to the entire island and this would develop "new prospects" for the problem.

    "The accession of Cyprus to the EU will create a feeling of security among the people of Cyprus and, at the same time, its presence in a large organisation like the EU will assist it in dealing with even domestic problems," Mr. Clerides said.

    "The accession issue is not an issue linked to a solution to the Cyprus issue... We are not calling on Europe to solve our problem. What we want as an independent and sovereign state recognised by the UN is to join a big organisation, the EU. I don't think how it will be resolved is a problem preoccupying Europe," he said.

    Mr. Clerides did not appear to be concerned by Turkey's threats to annex the occupied region of Cyprus in the event of Cyprus' accession, saying no EU member-state had raised such an issue. "The Republic of Cyprus' application (for entry to the EU) is for the entry of the Republic of Cyprus and not for the entry of the area controlled by the legitimate government," Mr. Clerides said.

    "This application was accepted as an application by the Republic of Cyprus for the entry of the entire island." "Therefore, there is no question on our part. The issue which might be raised is if we go ahead with accession before a settlement to the Cyprus problem. But it is not the first time the issue will preoccupy United Europe. A similar issue was faced when Germany was divided. The then-Peoples Republic of Germany had been excluded until the problem had been resolved. Consequently, they will accept the Republic of Cyprus. Positions should be that they will accept the whole of the Republic of Cyprus, but provisions will be implemented for the part of the Republic subject to government control," Mr. Clerides said.

    Turning to the issue of the UN hearing a debate on the Cyprus issue later this year, Mr. Clerides said the National Council, the republic's supreme advisory body, had made the decision to ask for the debate.

    "The National Council has reached a decision, due to stagnation currently governing the Cyprus issue which, as the (UN) Secretary-General has ascertained, is due to the lack of political will on the Turkish side. And so we decided to resort to the General Assembly and denounce two things. The one is that the Cyprus issue is not merely an inter-communal conflict but is primarily an issue of invasion and occupation. And the second is to denounce the lack of political will, since in a statement (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash clarified that he is not negotiating to find a solution but as a way to perpetuate the Cyprus issue," Mr. Clerides said.

    The National Council is due in Athens in April to discuss all aspects of the Cyprus issue with the Greek government and Greek political parties. Mr. Clerides will discuss developments in the Cyprus issue in contacts with foreign leaders on the sidelines of the UN summit on social development in Copenhagen, March 6-12.

    [3] Karayalcin: occupied territories will be annexed if Cyprus joins EU

    Vienna, 27/02/1995 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis):

    Turkish Foreign Minister Murat Karayalcin reiterated his government's threat that Ankara would annex the occupied northern part of Cyprus, in the event Cyprus joined the European Union, in an interview with the Austrian Press Agency yesterday.

    Mr. Karayalcin conceded that the accession of all of Cyprus to the EU would also have advantages for the Turkish Cypriot population. Referring to a solution to the Cyprus issue, Mr. Karayalcin said he believed the basis for it should be UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's proposals "namely that Cyprus should be a bi-zonal state."

    [4] Albanian illegal immigrant killed in clash with border police

    Athens, 27/02/1995 (ANA):

    A young Albanian illegal immigrant was killed yesterday in a clash with police near the Greek-Albanian border. The man, identified as Albert Kouka, 18, from Boureli, Albania, was shot in the face near the village of Mikrolimni, Florina in northern Greece when a police patrol stopped a group of 18 illegal immigrants he was travelling with.

    Police said Kouka was accidentally shot in a scuffle to disarm him when he pulled a knife after officer Socrates Papadopoulos ordered him to stop. Kouka was immediately taken to Florina hospital in a police patrol car but died on the way. The other 17 Albanians are being detained at the Psarades police station.

    A similar border fight on February 18 threatened to sour already tense relations between the two neighbours before a visit to Albania by Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, due in mid-March. In that incident, a Greek army patrol shot and injured an Albanian illegal immigrant trying to cross the border. Tirana accused Greek guards of wounding the man on Albanian territory but Greece rejected the allegations and played down the issue.

    Mr. Papoulias' visit would be the first high-level meeting between the two countries since relations abruptly worsened last year after an Albanian court convicted five leaders of Albania's ethnic Greek minority on charges of espionage and illegal possession of arms.

    The arrest of the five and their conviction in August rekindled a simmering feud between Athens and Tirana over the ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania, with Greece vetoing a 35 million Ecu ($42 million) loan to Albania, which was lifted in November last year as a "goodwill gesture". Albanian President Sali Berisha released one of the five on Christmas Eve and the remaining four, on appeal to Albania's Supreme Court, had their sentences reduced and suspended earlier this year.

    [5] Evert to meet Milosevic tomorrow

    Athens, 27/02/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert will visit Belgrade tomorrow for talks with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Talks are expected to focus on developments in the Yugoslav crisis which Mr. Evert discussed with European Union Council of Ministers President Alain Juppe in Paris last week. Mr. Evert met with Mr. Milosevic in Belgrade in December last year before going on to Zagreb for talks with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman.

    [6] Bulgarian armed forces chief in Athens

    Athens, 27/02/1995 (ANA):

    General Tsvetan Bladenov Totomirov, head of Bulgaria's armed forces, is due to arrive here today on a three-day official visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart, National Defence General Staff chief Admiral Christos Lyberis. During his stay, General Totomirov will have talks with the political and military leadership of the National Defence Ministry and visit the Hellenic Navy headquarters and other military installations.

    The general's visit comes a week after Greece and Bulgaria agreed to defence industry co-operation and the holding of joint military exercises, in an agreement reached between National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis and his Bulgarian counterpart Dimiter Pavlov in Sofia. Mr. Arsenis' visit to Sofia was the first by a Greek minister since the Bulgarian Socialist Party come to power in elections late last year.

    [7] Romaios to confer with Commission officials on Spata airport issue

    Athens, 27/02/1995 (ANA):

    Alternate National Economy Minister George Romaios arrives in Brussels today for negotiations with the European Commission on the Spata airport project. The Commission has criticised Greece for procedures it has followed in selecting a contractor to build the new international airport, budgeted at $2.2 billion.

    Greece chose Germany's Hochtief consortium late last year as a partner to build and operate the airport after improving the terms of a previous contract. The PASOK government froze a contract its conservative predecessor made with Hochtief in October 1993, opting to review offers by the group and by another bidder, Aeroports de France.

    [8] Wine growers criticise EU policies

    Athens, 27/02/1995 (ANA):

    Speakers at a seminar entitled "Revision of Common Market Organisation (CMO) and Greek viticulture" said Saturday that revision of the CMO in the viticulture sector was "disastrous despite improvements made to date.

    The seminar was organised by the Central Union of Wine Cooperatives (KEOSOE) as part of the annual Oinorama '95 exhibition. Speakers agreed that the Greek wine industry would be threatened if the CMO for wines was implemented as proposed.

    The points which representatives said would be disastrous for the industry were the uprooting of vines and the use of sugar mentioned in the report. KEOSOE President Christos Marcos called on the government to intervene to safeguard the incomes of those employed in the wine sector.

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