A.N.A. Bulletin, 17/05/95

From: Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada (grnewsca@sympatico.ca)


Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


  • [1] Claes, Papandreou meet, sources say NATO bases discussed

  • [2] Turkey to conduct exercises in Aegean as planned

  • [3] Quake damage estimated at 105 billion drachmas

  • [4] Evert's Washington visit focuses on stability, peace in Balkans

  • [5] Rabin invited to Greece

  • [6] Arsenis to visit Washington

  • [7] Gov't appoints member of EU Audit Council

  • [8] IMF officials say economy on the right track but still work ahead

  • [1] Claes, Papandreou meet, sources say NATO bases discussed

    Athens, 17/05/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou held a meeting here this evening with NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes. No statements were made after the meeting but reliable sources said the two men discussed Greece's relations with NATO and the issue of establishing NATO headquarters in Greece. Government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos yesterday said Greece's positions on the issue remained steadfast.

    Ankara told NATO last month that it would block the establishment of a NATO rapid deployment force headquarters in Thessaloniki and the activation of a NATO headquarters in Larissa if Greece did not agree to its conditions. These include Greece relinquishing its right to extend its territorial waters in the Aegean from six to twelve miles and agreeing to the first rotating commander in Thessaloniki being Turkish.

    Athens said the dispute was between NATO and Ankara and not between Ankara and Athens. The two land and air NATO headquarters in Larissa should have already been established in compliance with a December 1992 ministerial decision but Ankara retracted its original consent.

    NATO officials say the establishment of Nato's Southern Flank Rapid Deployment Force in Thessaloniki would facilitate the force's operation. After Italy withdrew its proposal to base the force there, NATO was left to choose between Greece and Turkey, which has still to say where the base would be established.

    Mr. Claes, who arrived in Athens this afternoon, will have meetings tomorrow with Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias and National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis. He is also expected to meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    [2] Turkey to conduct exercises in Aegean as planned

    Ankara, 17/05/1995 (ANA/E. Athanasopoulou):

    The Turkish General Defence Staff yesterday said the country's armed forces were continuing their activities in the Aegean as planned. In reply to a question concerning a reported US request that "exercises not take place in the Aegean" over the summer, Defence Staff officials said they had not received such a request "and the Turkish armed forces are continuing their activities in the Aegean as planned".

    Press reports said that two different exercises will take place in June, 'Efes 95', involving land, air, and naval forces in the Aegean, and immediately afterwards, 'Seawolf', in the Sea of Marmara, international waters in the Aegean, and the Mediterranean.

    [3] Quake damage estimated at 105 billion drachmas

    Athens, 17/05/1995 (ANA):

    The two strong earthquakes which hit the prefectures of Kozani and Grevena in northwest Greece over the weekend have caused damage estimated at some 105 billion drachmas, much higher than previous estimates. Sources said the earthquakes wrecked 5,000 homes while 7,000 homes have been extensively damaged. The region is still experiencing aftershocks of the 6.6 Richter quake on Saturday.

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou is scheduled to chair a ministerial conference today to deal with the consequences of the quakes. Alternate Interior Minister George Daskalakis yesterday announced that his ministry would allocate 260 million drachmas to the local administrations of the affected regions. A ministerial conference on Monday has also established a 200 million drachma line of credit for the two prefectures and said it would set up camps for the temporary housing of the homeless. The government also said it would ask the European Commission to finance rehabilitation programmes for those affected.

    The first earthquake, measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, was recorded on Saturday in the farm town of Kozani. It was followed by another quake measuring 5.4 Richter on Monday. The epicentre of the quakes was in the Siatista region, 125 kilometres west of Thessaloniki and some 300 kilometres northwest of Athens, between the towns of Kozani and Grevena. Hundreds of aftershocks have and continue to be recorded since Saturday's quake forcing local residents to spend the nights in cars and military tents which have been set up in the affected areas.

    [4] Evert's Washington visit focuses on stability, peace in Balkans

    Washington, 17/05/1995 (ANA/D. Dimas):

    New Democracy party spokesman Vassilis Manginas yesterday briefed reporters here on main opposition leader Miltiades Evert's visit and high-level meetings in the United States. "Generally, there was substantial discussion on European security, and especially on stability and peace in the Balkans," he said, adding that Mr. Evert had expanded on his proposal for the creation of a multilateral framework of maintaining existing borders in the region, and expressed the view that the US could play a significant role in that respect.

    Mr. Manginas said that US Vice-President Al Gore, and Defence and State Department secretaries William Perry and Warren Christopher had shown interest in the Evert proposal, while, at the same time, recognising Greece's leading role in the Balkans.

    "Concerning Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Evert expressed the view that we are against tension. However, Turkey and others must understand that our country has inalienable rights which everyone must respect," he continued, and added: "Greece has no reason to follow the path of tension in its relations with Turkey, nor, of course, to export problems".

    Concerning Greek differences with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the ND party spokesman said Mr. Evert claimed that Greece was the only country which sincerely wished this new state to exist, and to help in its economic development. "Of course," he noted, "all this applies on condition that the government in Skopje will proceed to the acceptance of solutions ending expansionism and propaganda". He added Mr. Evert's reiteration of the ND position in favour of a "large packet", that is a comprehensive settlement including the issue of the name.

    Referring to the Cyprus dispute, he said the ND party leader had maintained the view that there could be no substantial progress as long as there were occupation troops on the island. Replying to whether the US officials had tried to secure particular positions on the part of New Democracy, concerning a "small packet" for FYROM, or Cyprus, Mr. Manginas said the US side had acknowledged the main opposition's responsible handling of Greek national issues, and that Mr. Evert's views had been well received by his interlocutors.

    He added that the party has its own positions on national issues, but has also "shown a responsible attitude regarding the government's handling of certain issues, with which it may not agree, but has shown a consensual line precisely in order to maintain a united national front". Mr. Evert himself, after meeting Mr. Christopher, and Assistant Secretary of State Strobe Talbot, said the meetings had gone "better than expected".

    [5] Rabin invited to Greece

    Athens, 17/05/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou has officially invited his Israeli counterpart Yitzhak Rabin to visit Greece. The invitation was handed by Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias to Israeli ambassador David Sasson, during their meeting yesterday, the Foreign Ministry said.

    [6] Arsenis to visit Washington

    Washington, 17/05/1995 (ANA/D. Dimas):

    National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis is to pay an official two-day visit to Washington on May 30, the Pentagon announced here yesterday.

    [7] Gov't appoints member of EU Audit Council

    Athens, 17/05/1995 (ANA):

    The government yesterday proposed Calliope Nikolaou, a former PASOK Eurodeputy and member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for member of the European Union Audit Council, government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said. Ms Nikolaou will leave her post at the OECD to take up her new post.

    [8] IMF officials say economy on the right track but still work ahead

    Athens, 17/05/1995 (ANA):

    International Monetary Fund technocrats who arrived in Greece last week to collect data for the organisation's annual report have told the government that its policy was bringing positive results but that it was still too early for "rejoicing".

    The initial observations of the IMF officials are contained in a brief memorandum which they handed to the leadership of the National Economy Ministry. The purpose of their visit to Greece was to collect data for the organisation's annual report, to be issued in July. In the memorandum, the IMF representatives stressed that the government's economic policy "has improved confidence and led to a reduction in the cost of borrowing, strengthened the balance of payments and the recovery of economic activity".

    They warn, however, that "it is still too early for rejoicing" and urge the government to continue its economic austerity policy. According to the memorandum, the implementation of the 1995 state budget appears "in general" to be on course, while noting that there was still "considerable uncertainty" in the area of revenue.

    The IMF representatives also speak of "alarming pressure" on the government for (public sector) hiring and salary increases, stressing that spending on wages "must be strictly within the bounds of the budget and the curbs on hiring further strengthened". The IMF officials also warned that if the attainment of the budget targets remained uncertain during the current year, "immediate corrective measures" would have to be taken, focusing particularly on spending.

    The memorandum also contains a number of recommendations such as the reduction of grants to public corporations and organisations "through the implementation of a rational prices policy and more effective financial control". The IMF representatives also recommend the reduction of interest rates on state bonds, but at a slower pace than that of other interest rates The government, they note, should act more quickly and more decisively to limit state intervention in the economy, while an "ambitious" privatisation plan should be implemented, also extending to commercial banks. The IMF officials also call for "fiscal measures" to strengthen the 1996 budget.

    Commenting on the preliminary findings of the IMF, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that all international economic organisations now saw the course and prospects of the Greek economy in a positive light. "They acknowledge that the government's economic policy is bringing results such as the drop in inflation and interest rates, the rehabilitation of public finances and the beginning of economic recovery, and they stress the need for this policy to continue to be implemented with steadfastness and consistency," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    End of English language section.

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