A.N.A. Bulletin, 25/05/95

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


Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


  • [1] Papantoniou welcomes OECD emphasis on social effects of development

  • [2] Premier: Gligorov intransigence major obstacle to resolution of Skopje dispute

  • [3] Trial of false mufti postponed due to absence of key witness

  • [4] Valyrakis confers with US officials on terrorism, drugs

  • [5] Papoulias: London Cyprus talks a failure

  • [6] Evert briefs Karamanlis

  • [7] Mazokopos sentence reduced

  • [8] Proposals for intergovernmental conference to be finalised today

  • [9] EOT looks at changing face of tourists in Greece

  • [10] Greece, Armenia sign air transport agreement

  • [11] Commission allocates Greece 30 million Ecu for new training programme

  • [12] Law 67 shipping companies bring in 1,324 million dollars

  • [1] Papantoniou welcomes OECD emphasis on social effects of development

    Paris, 25/05/1995 (ANA/J. Zitouniati/AFP):

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday welcomed the decision of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ministers to prioritise unemployment and the social effects of development. The decision by the OECD to turn its attention to the social problems created by development is a "small revolution", Mr. Papantoniou told reporters at the end of the two-day annual ministerial conference here yesterday. He said the OECD's position coincided with the Greek stance.

    The meeting also grappled with economic policy and prospects of development, their effects on employment, and with international trade and the monetary upheavals it causes, as well as the OECD's role in the world economic system. In a joint communique issued at the end of the meeting, the ministers undertook to sustain non-inflationary growth through mutually reinforcing economic and structural policies and also committed their governments to "maintain price stability through sound monetary policy" and to freeing up national saving for productive investment by pressing ahead with budget deficit reduction.

    Mr. Papantoniou told reporters that, for the first time in 15 years, Greece had shown progress in its economic indicators, and had ceased to be the European Union's 'black sheep'. There was agreement at the conference that the biggest contribution to a fall in unemployment was not likely to come from large corporations, which have a tendency to lay off staff, but from small and medium size enterprises, which needed support, he said. "This proposal is very favourable to Greece, as most of its firms belong to this category," said Mr. Papantoniou.

    He added that the Greek government was preparing an action plan for unemployment, which would be ready within June. Concerning the liberalisation of trade, he stressed that Greece favoured an upgraded role for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the regulation of monetary upheavals.

    The minister also called for the admission of Cyprus to the OECD as a full member, stressing that the island-republic met the most demanding criteria, with annual income per capita of $12,000, an unemployment rate of just 2.6 per cent, and with the third largest merchant fleet world-wide in terms of tonnage.

    He added that he also favoured Russia's association with the organisation. The OECD is currently negotiating membership with South Korea, while the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have also applied.

    [2] Premier: Gligorov intransigence major obstacle to resolution of Skopje dispute

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said yesterday that the major stumbling block to a resolution of the Athens-Skopje dispute was the continuing intransigence of the president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kiro Gligorov. "Mr. Gligorov continues to remain intransigent despite the great efforts made to commence negotiations," Mr. Papandreou told reporters after being briefed by Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias. He said that, apart from the Cyprus problem, the priority and most difficult at this time was the dispute with Skopje.

    Commenting on main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert's tour of the United States, Mr. Papandreou said that Mr. Evert had "expressed positions which coincide with those of the government" during his meetings with US officials and the UN Secretary-General. Mr. Papoulias said it was Greece's wish that Mr. Gligorov take the necessary steps that would bring him to the negotiating table. He said the meeting with UN mediator Cyrus Vance and US presidential envoy on the issue Mathew Nimetz would be held only if Skopje participated.

    Government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos reiterated yesterday that Greece would not recognise a state with the name of 'Macedonia' or any derivative but said that if the other issues in Athens' dispute with Skopje were resolved then it would be possible to discuss the issue of the name at some later stage. Mr. Venizelos said that the failure to resolve the problem was due to the intransigence of the neighbouring state's leadership, "intransigence which has been clearly seen by the entire international community".

    Thanks to Greece's decision to impose trade sanctions against FYROM on February 16 last year, Mr. Venizelos added, "the international community took notice of the issue and saw the intransigence of Skopje". The spokesman reiterated that FYROM would first have to provide some concrete signs of goodwill before Greece lifted its sanctions, such as on the issue of the (Greek) symbols it uses and its constitution which contains sections indicating irredentist designs against Greece.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Papandreou's statement that Mr. Evert's position coincided with those of the government brought criticism from Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras. "(The statement) confirms Political Spring's accusations of coincidence of views in national issues (between the government and the main opposition) with the guidance of a foreign factor," he said. "The Greek parliament and the Greek people must be told what the foreigners know and the Greeks are not aware of," he added.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday called on the government to assume an initiative for the commencement of direct negotiations with Skopje to resolve problems between the two countries. This "bold step", Mr. Constantopoulos added, "will free Greece from the impasse, which some politicians and other parties are using to their own ends."

    [3] Trial of false mufti postponed due to absence of key witness

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    The trial of Ibrahim Sherif, a self-styled religious leader, was postponed until April next year shortly after it began here yesterday before a three-member court, due to the absence of a key witness, court officials said. Mr. Sherif, who claims to have been elected mufti (religious leader) of the Moslem minority of Komotini in northern Greece, is charged with "usurping authority".

    The trial was postponed due to the absence of the legally-appointed mufti of Komotini, Metso Tsemali, whom the court described as a "key witness". The court decided to subpoena Mr. Tsemali at the rescheduled trial and fined him 30,000 dr. for his failure to appear yesterday. The court originally proposed a new trial to be set for February, but the defendant and his lawyers invoked the bad weather prevailing in the region during the winter months and requested a later date. The court rescheduled the trial for April 30, 1996.

    Mr. Sherif claimed that he had been elected mufti under a provision in a 1913 Greek-Turkish treaty, but under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and Greek law, the government has the right to choose the Moslem minority's two muftis from a list of candidates submitted by Moslem community leaders, in line with prevailing practice in most Moslem countries. Mr. Sherif later described the court's decision to postpone his trial as a political decision. "The trial is political (and so) is today's (yesterday's) development," Mr. Sherif was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying.

    Three members of the Turkish National Assembly's committee on human rights, who came to Thessaloniki for the trial, described the decision to postpone it as "a political torture." "This action is against human rights," they said, adding that "such things do not happen in Turkey."

    [4] Valyrakis confers with US officials on terrorism, drugs

    Washington, 25/05/1995 (ANA/D. Dimas):

    Public Order Minister Sifis Valyrakis met with US government officials here yesterday to discuss the fight against terrorism, organised crime and drug trafficking. Mr. Valyrakis is currently in the US at the invitation of Greek-American groups to attend celebrations marking the anniversary of the Battle of Crete.

    At a working luncheon at the Greek embassy yesterday, he met with senior State Department officials to outline Greek positions on terrorism and organised crime. The luncheon was also attended by Greece's ambassador Lucas Tsilas. Greece's sensitive geographical position resulted in having to deal with dangers from terrorism and organised crime both from the East and from the instability reigning in the Balkans, he said.

    Mr. Valyrakis also mentioned his dissatisfaction with the latest State Department report on terrorism, which had claimed that Greece was not doing all it could to combat the phenomenon. He said the report was "an internal document" written by bureaucrat s who had not been fully informed of developments. He said, however, the "unfortunate report" was not an issue that would affect US-Greek relations and underlined to his interlocutors the Greek government's desire for sincere co-operation.

    Mr. Valyrakis later yesterday met with Assistant Secretary of State for Narcotics Robert Gelbhardt and Assistant Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff at the State Department and discussed issues of mutual concern. Later in the day he met with high-ranking officials from the US Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and anti-terrorism services.

    [5] Papoulias: London Cyprus talks a failure

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias yesterday told the press that the London confidential talks on the Cyprus problem had failed and therefore Turkey should accept the proposals of the Greek-Cypriot side.

    Mr. Papoulias was speaking after briefing Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou on developments in foreign affairs. The London confidential talks ended yesterday without any concrete results. The two-member Greek Cypriot team which participated in the talks was due to return to Cyprus last night. The talks were initiated by the US and Britain in a bid to pave the way for a settlement to the Cyprus issue.

    Mr. Papoulias also said that he was likely to hold a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Erdal Inonu on the sidelines of an upcoming NATO foreign ministers summit. He said it had become customary to meet with every new Turkish foreign minister on the sidelines of the NATO summits.

    [6] Evert briefs Karamanlis

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert visited former president Constantine Karamanlis at his residence yesterday to brief him on the outcome of his recent trip to the United States. The discussion also included the situation in the Balkans, Mr. Evert said after the meeting.

    [7] Mazokopos sentence reduced

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    An Athens appeals court yesterday upheld the 1992 verdict of a first instance court which found Kyriakos Mazokopos guilty of illegal possession of weapons and explosives and causing an explosion through negligence but reduced his prison sentence from 17 years to seven years and four months. In considering its verdict, the court took into account the fact that Mazokopos had no previous convictions.

    Mazokopos was arrested on November 8, 1990, after a home-made bomb exploded in his hands in a storehouse he had rented in the Exarchia district of Athens. As a result of the explosion, Mazokopos lost his left eye and left hand. Mazokopos told reporters the court's decision was a blow to everyone who had tried to attach political dimensions to his case.

    [8] Proposals for intergovernmental conference to be finalised today

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    Greece said yesterday that it would insist that the rule of consensus applied in decision-taking on foreign policy and defence issues as well as the right of each country to exercise a veto in matters where national interests were involved, at next year's intergovernmental conference to revise the Maastricht treaty.

    Government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said that Greece would also insist that there be no deviation from the principle of equality vis-a-vis the European Union member-states. Greece's positions at the 1996 intergovernmental conference, the spokesman added, would be finalised today at a meeting of the competent inter-party committee and submitted soon after to Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

    [9] EOT looks at changing face of tourists in Greece

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    The Greek National Tourist Organisation (EOT) said yesterday that tourists from countries that traditionally supply the bulk of arrivals to Greece were on the decline but that the difference was being made up by tourists from other countries. The directors of EOT's offices abroad met here yesterday to discuss current trends and present their reports and proposals from each country to the organisation's Secretary-General, Evangelos Yannakoulias.

    The meeting concluded that, so far this year, there had been a reduction in the number of tourists from the major markets such as Germany, Britain and the Netherlands, which together account for 50 per cent of annual arrivals, contrasting with an increase in the number of tourists visiting Greece from other countries.

    The number of British tourists is expected to be down by 5-7 per cent this year compared with 1994. The corresponding reduction for Cyprus will be in the region of 12 per cent, while Turkey is expected to mark an increase of 30-35 per cent. The number of Dutch tourists visiting Greece this year will be down by about 7 per cent compared to last year's figures. Arrivals from Germany, Greece's biggest market, are currently down by 20-25 per cent, but the figure for the entire year is expected to be about 15 per cent down compared with 1994.

    Participants at yesterday's meeting said that the situation would be better if the national carrier, Olympic Airways, had a subsidiary company offering charter flights with lower fares. They also criticised what they said were "excessive" increases -up to 30 per cent - in hotel rates, particularly in the case of visitors booking their holidays in Germany.

    In contrast, increases are expected this year in the number of tourist arrivals from the United States (20 per cent), Italy (5-6 per cent), Sweden (20 per cent), Finland (15 per cent), Denmark (15 per cent), Norway (22 per cent), Poland (10 per cent), the Czech Republic (10 per cent), Hungary (10 per cent) and Spain. It is estimated that the number of French and Belgian visitors will remain at 1994 levels.

    [10] Greece, Armenia sign air transport agreement

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    Greece and Armenia have signed an air transport agreement, which will take effect after ratification by Parliament, it was announced yesterday.

    A Transport Ministry announcement said the accord provides for the execution of scheduled flights between Athens and Erevan by the two national carriers, co-operation on air security issues and mutual exemption of the airlines from customs duties and other tariffs.

    A bill ratifying the agreement will be tabled soon in Parliament by Transport and Communications Minister Thanassis Tsouras.

    [11] Commission allocates Greece 30 million Ecu for new training

    Brussels, 25/05/1995 (ANA/P. Pantelis):

    The European Commission has approved 30.1 million Ecu (more than nine billion drachmas) to fund Greece with an operational programme as part of the new Community ADAPT initiative. The ADAPT initiative aims primarily at speeding up adjustment of the labour force to industrial change, increasing competitiveness in industry, services and trade, increasing qualifications and vocational mobility to prevent unemployment and speeding up the creation of new jobs.

    To secure the above aims, the actions of the operational programme should have inter-state and innovative aspects. Funding will be covered by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the 1995-1999 period and will involve 25,000 workers.

    With the participation of Greek state and private contributions to the programme, the total budget for the programme will be 44.593 million Ecu (about 13.5 billion drachmas).

    Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn said yesterday all member-states would benefit from these programmes. The total amount of funding for member-states, approved together with the one for Greece, amounts to 1.4 billion ECU.

    Referring to the challenge posed by new technology, Mr. Flynn said 80 per cent of present technology would be antiquated by the end of the century. He said the new Community ADAPT initiative concerned working people in danger of losing their jobs due to industrial shake-ups in the world.

    [12] Law 67 shipping companies bring in 1,324 million dollars

    Athens, 25/05/1995 (ANA):

    The 1,011 shipping companies established in Greece under Law 67 imported foreign exchange totalling 1,324 million US dollars in 1994, marking a five per cent increase over the previous year, according to figures released yesterday by the Merchant Marine Ministry.

    According to the ministry, the companies managed a total of 3,324 vessels under the Greek or foreign flags and employed 8,915 persons, 7,979 of whom were Greeks.

    End of English language section.

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