A.N.A. Bulletin, 22/05/95

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


Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


  • [1] Greek, Iranian foreign ministers detail latest efforts on Bosnian peace front

  • [2] First-ever multi-Balkan military exercise to commence today

  • [3] Foreign frigates to pay Piraeus a visit

  • [4] Evert optimistic on potential negotiations on FYROM issue

  • [5] Nimetz: US "respects and understands" Greece's national issues

  • [6] Eptanisa unification with Greece commemorated

  • [7] Venizelos remarks on confidential Cyprus talks

  • [8] Rain, aftershocks plague earthquake-stricken areas

  • [9] ONNED conference concludes yesterday

  • [10] Unfinished Athens superstructure demolished

  • [11] Athens to stage 1997 World Athletics Championships

  • [1] Greek, Iranian foreign ministers detail latest efforts on Bosnian peace front

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    The Greek and Iranian foreign ministers announced yesterday that some small, but positive steps have been taken to bring peace to war-torn Bosnia and restore peace and tranquillity in the Balkan region. Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayati, spoke to reporters in Athens after a lengthy meeting yesterday at the Greek foreign ministry, their second in five days.

    "The sensitivity of the Bosnian question is very high and our task is to help the people of Bosnia and also the Balkan peoples to live in peace and tranquillity," Mr. Velayati said. "Greece and Iran have been very active in this connection for the past few months," Mr. Velayati said, referring to an initiative launched by Greece last March and jointly supported by Iran and the Moslem-led government of Bosnia. "And now we are happy to see that some small but positive steps have been taken (in this direction)," he added.

    The two foreign ministers and their Bosnian counterpart, Irfan Ljubijankic, have held two tripartite meetings - one in Athens last March and in Tehran in April - aimed at finding ways to bring peace to the beleaguered former Yugoslav republic. Mr. Velayati stressed that their initiative "has been warmly welcomed both by Islamic countries and the European Union." The Iranian foreign minister said he briefed the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OAC) contact group in Rabat, Morocco, last Thursday on the progress of the talks, while Mr. Papoulias did the same with EU members.

    Apart from Iran, other members of the OAC group are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, Senegal, Malaysia and Bosnia. "We have been in close contact. I as representative of Iran, with the Bosnian government, and Mr. Papoulias has been in close contact with Belgrade and other parties," Mr. Velayati said. "Reciprocally, we have briefed each other and we are making continuous efforts. And we do hope that in the near future we will take some more positive steps," Mr. Velayati said, referring to his talks with Mr. Papoulias. "Once again, I reiterate the necessity of peace and tranquillity in this very sensitive region," he added.

    Speaking to reporters, Mr. Papoulias said he was in constant contact with Mr. Velayati, who briefed him on the results of the OAC meeting in Morocco, while he briefed the Iranian minister on talks in Austria concerning the Bosnian crisis. "Our efforts will continue. We are in constant contact with Mr. Velayati and our goal is to overcome this dangerous crisis and put an end to this tragedy," he said. The Greek foreign minister said both Islamic and European countries "are co-operating in these common aims to achieve a lasting and just peace in the region, which is very sensitive for Greece."

    In Vienna last Thursday, Mr. Papoulias proposed a tripartite meeting between Greece, Austria and Hungary aimed at strengthening efforts currently underway for a new approach to the Bosnian crisis, undertaken by the Contact Group, the European Union and the United States.

    [2] First-ever multi-Balkan military exercise to commence today

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    Troops from four Balkan nations and the United States will hold a first-ever joint military exercise beginning today, Greek Defence Ministry sources said.

    According to reports, soldiers from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and the United States will participate in a five-day military exercise code-named "Operation New Spirit 95." The exercise will be held at Greek military installations near the city of Kalamata, in the southern Peloponnese. Defence ministry sources said the operation will focus on drills simulating the distribution of humanitarian aid.

    Meanwhile, scores of peace activists rallied in Kalamata's main square to protest what they claim are NATO plans to extend its area of action. Members of various peace movements presented a written protest to Lt. Col. Anastasios Kanellopoulos, the Greek commander heading the exercise.

    [3] Foreign frigates to pay Piraeus a visit

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    Bulgarian and Egyptian frigates will sail to the port of Piraeus next week as part of a training exercise conducted by their respective Naval Academies, Greek Navy sources said yesterday. Sources said the Bulgarian vessel "Dimiter Dimitrov" would dock at Piraeus on Monday, May 29, a day before the arrival of the Egyptian frigate "el-Nasser." The Bulgarian warship will remain until June 1 and the Egyptian until June 2. Both ships are carrying scores of Bulgarian and Egyptian naval officers, who will meet with Greek Navy personnel as well as port and local authorities during their stay.

    [4] Evert optimistic on potential negotiations on FYROM issue

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert on Saturday said he hoped United Nations-sponsored talks on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) could start in a month's time.

    Speaking to reporters at the airport shortly after his arrival from a week-long visit to the United States, Mr. Evert said talks were expected to begin "in a month's time to resolve the problems" and end the countries' two-year dispute. He reiterated ND's position on settling the dispute with a "package deal" that would include the name of the neighbouring country.

    Athens insists FYROM change its name to prove it has no territorial claims on Greece's own province of Macedonia. In addition, Athens wants the former Yugoslav republic to remove a Hellenic symbol, the Vergina star, from its flag as well as delete jingoistic language from its constitution.

    Mr. Evert described his US visit as "very fruitful" and stressed that the United States "recognises Greece's leading role in the Balkans, which is a significant fact." He said this "gives Greece the possibility to take positive initiatives on is sues concerning the Balkan peninsula, and particularly peace." Greece had "contributed decisively" in peace efforts in the region, Mr. Evert said, stressing the "possibility of peace being established between Bosnia and Serbia in the next few days."

    [5] Nimetz: US "respects and understands" Greece's national issues

    New York, 22/05/95 (ANA/M. Georgiadou):

    The US special envoy for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) said Friday that the Clinton administration and he personally consider Greece's concerns over national issues "with great respect and understanding."

    Matthew Nimetz said that same respect and understanding concerns problems in the Aegean, the Cyprus issue or the problem of FYROM, "since Greece is an eternal friend of the United States and a valuable and reliable ally." Mr. Nimetz made the comments during a gathering at the Astoria headquarters of the Federation of Greek Societies of Greater New York. The event was held at the initiative of New York City Congresswoman Caroline Maloney.

    Mr. Nimetz reaffirmed that the United States would not proceed with full diplomatic relations "with the country it recognised under the temporary name FYROM," before actual progress was achieved in resolving differences between Athens and Skopje (FYROM). He also expressed doubts over the possibility of promoting a "big package," which calls for resolving the issue of the name together with issues included in the so-called small package.

    [6] Eptanisa unification with Greece commemorated

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    Events marking the 131st anniversary of the union of the Ionian Sea's Eptanisa Islands with Greece were observed on Cephalonia yesterday in the presence of President Kostis Stephanopoulos. A formal church service was held at the island's main cathedral, wreaths were laid at the memorial of the "Radicals," a patriotic movement, while a parade was held in the central square of Cephalonia's capital of Argostoli. National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, Regional Governor G. Raftopoulos and armed forces leaders were also present.

    [7] Venizelos remarks on confidential Cyprus talks

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    Referring to confidential discussions over the Cyprus issue, government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said Saturday that negotiations were not so secret after all since issues were developing in the light of publicity. He added it was a decision by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and that the Greek government was aware of his decision and had nothing else to add.

    Replying to a question on what position the Greek government would observe, he said Greece did not participate in the negotiation processes, reiterating that the Cyprus issue was a problem of international law, a problem of invasion and occupation by Turkish forces which remained on the island, occupying a large part of its territory.

    "Unfortunately, it is a continual and continuing crime over the past 21 years and it should be confronted in such a manner. We always honour the United Nation's efforts which, of course, should lead to success at some time," he said.

    UN sources in New York on Friday said confidential meetings aimed at reviving long-stalled negotiations between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities were expected to be held in Britain next week. Taking part will be officials from both communities on the divided island as well as from the United States and Britain.

    [8] Rain, aftershocks plague earthquake-stricken areas

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    Heavy rain and lower temperatures worsened conditions for earthquake victims in the Grevena and Kozani prefectures over the weekend.

    Meanwhile, seismographers at the Aristotelion University in Thessaloniki continue to register aftershocks in the region where a earthquake registering 6.6 on the Richter Scale occurred May 13. Five tremors measuring more than 4 on Richter Scale occurred over the weekend and were felt by residents in the area.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said Saturday that "creating and safeguarding" conditions for residents in the earthquake-struck regions to stay in their area as well as for those returning constituted a major challenge and opportunity in the post-seismic period for the Kozani and Grevena prefectures.

    Speaking at a press conference at the end of a two-day tour of devastated areas, Mr. Laliotis said damage was greater than the impression given on the first day, while in certain communities it resembled a "biblical catastrophe."

    "In the next few days, incentives and grants will be announced for the reopening of production units and investments. Loans will be given for the reconstruction and repair of public buildings and houses while, through dialogue, the possibility of uniting communities and creating "open cities" is being considered with sound restructuring and improved infrastructure," he said.

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert also visited the stricken regions Saturday. The cities of Grevena and Kozani were also visited by Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Konstantopoulos.

    [9] ONNED conference concludes yesterday

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    The third conference of ONNED, the youth wing of the main opposition conservative New Democracy party, was due to end last night with the election of the organisation's new central committee and other party representatives. Despite ominous forecasts, the prevailing political climate was reported as calm, even when candidates for chairmen took the floor.

    Party leader Miltiades Evert was enthusiastically welcomed at the conference Saturday. Addressing the conference, Mr. Evert referred to quick developments sealing the "transition to a new era ... the era of technology, knowledge and the era of a new universality."

    Mr. Evert defended his party's ideological platform, saying ND was "indeed the progressive force. The party of all major national options. We are not claiming infallibility, but we are the best and we will prove it again."

    [10] Unfinished Athens superstructure demolished

    Athens, 22/05/1995 (ANA):

    An unfinished 17-story cement structure collapsed in a cloud of dust at noon yesterday after a demolition team set off dynamite charges, spectacularly bringing it down to a mass of only eight metres high. Crowds of spectators watched from Mesogion Avenue behind Athens' Red Cross Hospital and other side streets, while several television channels provided viewers with live coverage of the demolition.

    The 48-metre-high building, which conspicuously stood for 30 years on the corner of Mesogion and Slimann Street, was condemned for structural and economic reasons. Greek Red Cross President Andreas Martinis pressed a button detonating explosives at exactly noon that imploded the giant concrete structure in consecutive phases lasting 30 seconds.

    A British company assigned the demolition of the 10,000-tonne superstructure used 200 kilograms of dynamite located in two basement sections and on the eighth floor. A new hospital will be constructed on the site with a capacity of 420 beds and covering an area of 47,000 square metres. It is expected to be ready in 1998.

    [11] Athens to stage 1997 World Athletics Championships

    Gothenburg, 22/05/1995 (Reuter):

    The 1997 World Athletics Championships will be staged in Athens, the International Amateur Athletic Federation decided yesterday. The championships were originally due to be staged in Mexico City, but Mexico withdrew from holding the event citing economic problems. Athens won the vote over rival bids from Madrid, Stanford in California, New Delhi and Helsinki, the venue for the inaugural world championships of 1983.

    Athens is already scheduled to host the 1997 world indoor championships, but members of the Greek contingent offered to give up the indoor event if the IAAF received other bids. Otherwise, Athens will stage both championships. The city failed to win the 1996 Summer Olympics, but now looks set for a memorable 1997. In Athens, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou expressed late last night his "deep satisfaction" over the decision.

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