A.N.A. Bulletin, 26/05/95

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


Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


  • [1] Successful multinational exercise will lead to more, Arsenis says

  • [2] Naval exercise scheduled for June

  • [3] Restructuring plan for quake zones to be announced tomorrow

  • [4] Papoulias to attend Spring NATO meeting

  • [5] Holbrooke says US will continue pressure on Gligorov

  • [6] Evert says priority for Greece is relations with Turkey

  • [7] Greek-Albanian sub-committees on issues meet

  • [8] Gov't will examine possibility of Aktuna re-visit

  • [9] 'Flame of Hope' for Special Olympics begins journey to the US

  • [10] Greece to help Cyprus for EU membership

  • [11] Venizelos on possible extraordinary EU summit

  • [12] George Bush to speak in Thessaloniki

  • [13] Guards shut down major archaeological sites again

  • [14] Civil servants to go ahead with strike after meeting with Pottakis

  • [15] Aspropyrgos refineries makes profit of 10 billion last year

  • [1] Successful multinational exercise will lead to more, Arsenis says

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    The unqualified success of the five-day military exercise grouping four Balkan states and the US for the first time will lead to further multinational military exercises in Greece, National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said yesterday.

    Mr. Arsenis was speaking as troops from Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania and the US wrapped up the unprecedented military exercise in southern Greece, dubbed "New Spirit '95" and part of Nato's "Partnership for Peace" programme designed to bring former communist states closer to the Western defence body.

    The combined land, sea and air exercise, in which live fire was not used, focused on drills for the distribution of humanitarian aid. The exercise was staged at military installations near the city of Kalamata and carried out in six stages. It was designed to simulate co-ordinating emergency UN humanitarian aid in the event of a hypothetical earthquake in Kalamata, a city that was devastated by a major quake in 1986. This was the first time soldiers from the 40,000-strong Albanian army had taken part in operations outside the country.

    The purpose of the exercise, according to the defence ministry, was "to develop co-operation among the participating countries in providing humanitarian assistance... and the exchange of knowledge and experiences for such a specific mission." The troops did not carry arms, nor did they perform any training exercises with real or mock weapons. The final stage of the exercise was attended by foreign observers. Greece and the US were the only participating countries belonging to NATO.

    Answering a question by an AFP reporter, Mr. Arsenis said Greece had given "the green light" to participation in a likely withdrawal of United Nations troops from Bosnia. "I have already submitted to the NATO a list of the Greek soldiers who will participate (in the withdrawal)," Mr. Arsenis said. He added that "the Greek soldiers will mainly participate in operations in the field of transport and medical care." According to informed sources, Greece will send a company of 170 soldiers.

    [2] Naval exercise scheduled for June

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    A Greek Navy exercise, codenamed "Kataigis 95", will be held in the sea region of the Cyclades and the central and northern Aegean June 5-9. The exercise will be directed by the chief of the fleet and will include all fleet units in active service. It will be conducted in three phases and includes technical exercises covering all forms of warfare, using live ammunition against surface and air targets and conducting beach landing exercises.

    [3] Restructuring plan for quake zones to be announced tomorrow

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou has authorised a restructuring plan for the quake-stricken northern Greek regions of Kozani and Grevena, a Environment Minister Costas Laliotis said yesterday. "The plan was approved by the prime minister after long and detailed talks," Mr. Laliotis said.

    Some 5,000 buildings were levelled and 7,000 more damaged in Kozani and Grevena when an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale jolted northwest Greece two weeks ago. It was the biggest quake the country had witnessed in more than a decade. Thousands of people were left homeless and the region declared a disaster zone by the government. Athens said it would seek financial aid from the European Union to help cover the damage. Mr. Laliotis said details of the restructuring plan would be announced from Kozani tomorrow.

    [4] Papoulias to attend Spring NATO meeting

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias will participate in Nato's regular Spring foreign ministers' meeting at the Dutch resort of Noordwijk from May 30-31, foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas said yesterday.

    According to sources, the ministers will be discussing the enlargement of the Alliance, Nato's relations with Russia, the situation in former Yugoslavia, the dialogue between the defence organisation and the countries of the Mediterranean and Nato's relations with the Western European Union.

    The same sources said that the meeting will also focus on issues concerning the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Bikas said that Mr. Papoulias would visit Bratislava, Slovakia on June 2.

    [5] Holbrooke says US will continue pressure on Gligorov

    Washington, 26/05/1995 (ANA/D. Dimas):

    Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Richard Holbrooke told delegates of the International Co-ordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) the US government "will continue to pressure (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia President Kiro) Gligorov to start talks" with Greece. He expressed "concern" over the continuing uncertainty and for the repercussions it could have in the Balkans.

    Mr. Holbrooke said he did not support the Turks' action in Western Thrace (namely the recent visit to the area by Turkish government spokesman Yildirim Aktuna), nor human rights conditions prevailing in Turkey or past terrorist incidents against the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. Indirectly criticising Ankara's attitude, Mr. Holbrooke said he equally shared PSEKA delegates' concerns.

    On the question of confidence-building measures, Mr. Holbrooke said they should be implemented as part of wider progress on the Cyprus issue, while, referring to a possible summit meeting between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, he said it was not indicated for the time being because "it might increase expectations which ultimately might not be realised."

    Mr. Holbrooke was categorical in saying "what will never happen is Turkey's accession to the European Union before Cyprus' accession to the EU", a statement he reportedly communicated to Turkey which has displayed an "ambiguous position" on the issue. He said "naturally, I am in favour of demilitarising" Cyprus, but added it was a problem on which present talks did not focus. Mr. Holbrooke disclosed that the Turks had recently increased the number of their tanks in Cyprus, an issue which he reacted to but did not press after holding talks with the Cyprus government.

    Meanwhile, US President Bill Clinton referred yesterday to the appointment of Matthew Nimetz, special envoy for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and to efforts by the US to resolve the issue in his address to delegates to the 6th Conference of the International Co-ordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. President Clinton also said he felt great satisfaction over his country's contribution to efforts being made to normalise relations between Greece and Albania, adding that he saw them having a "future."

    [6] Evert says priority for Greece is relations with Turkey

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert told an Antenna television interview Wednesday night that the priorities for Greece's foreign policy were relations with Turkey, followed by the Cyprus problem and differences with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Evaluating his recent contacts with American officials in the US, Mr. Evert said he had returned to Greece with the conviction that Greece could and should play a leading role in the Balkans. Although there was a welcome coincidence of views with the government on national matters, the fact remained, he added, that foreign policy lacked strategy, and the marked inactivity of the prime minister and the foreign minister abroad posed huge problems.

    Referring to the FYROM issue, the main opposition leader said he agreed with the government that there could be no negotiations with Skopje with a prior lifting of the embargo, adding that the dispute had to be resolved through the so-called 'large package' of issues for negotiation, including the symbols, the constitution, the hostile propaganda, and the name.

    Asked about his likely reaction if the government opted for the 'small package', he said it would depend on the result, condemnation not being an end in itself. Nevertheless, he said that he was against acceptance of the name of 'Macedonia' or any of its derivatives for FYROM. He dismissed claims of division within his party as the product of press "eagerness" to increase circulation. Differences of opinion were only to be expected in a democratic party, he said. "New Democracy is in a position to offer solutions to the problems facing Greek society today," he said.

    [7] Greek-Albanian sub-committees on issues meet

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    The sessions of the joint Greek-Albanian sub-committees for the improvement of relations between the two countries are "proceeding very well", foreign ministry sources said yesterday. The sub-committees were established following recent talks between Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias and his Albanian counterpart Alfred Serreqi and a meeting of the joint Greek-Albanian committee. The sources said that the sub-committee for public order, border security and illegal immigration met yesterday in Tirana.

    On May 23, the Greek-Albanian sub-committee for labour and employment met in Athens, and the following day, the sub-committee for legal and consular affairs in Tirana. The labour sub-committee discussed the issue of the employment of Albanians on a seasonal basis, according to the plan proposed by Greece in March 1994.

    [8] Gov't will examine possibility of Aktuna re-visit

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    The government will examine the possibility of a second visit to Greece by Turkish Minister of State Yildirim Aktuna in the light of "the previous experience", government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday.

    "Greece will examine the issue when it is raised, as well as precisely what Mr. Aktuna will request as minister, and will reply as required by international rules and international law, bearing in mind, of course, the previous experience," Mr. Venizelos said, indicating that Athens might not accept a second unofficial visit. The spokesman made the statement in reply to a question from a reporter for a Turkish newspaper.

    Over the past few day, the Turkish press has quoted Mr. Aktuna as saying he would visit Greece again. The government strongly criticised what it described as the "provocative" behaviour of Mr. Aktuna during a recent three-day unofficial visit to Thrace, northern Greece. It said he failed to observe the norms of international relations and that his visit was an abuse of the democratic practice that would not be allowed in Turkey.

    [9] 'Flame of Hope' for Special Olympics begins journey to the US

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    The "Flame of Hope" for the 9th World Special Olympics for the handicapped was yesterday lit on an ancient hill at a special ceremony in Athens attended by President Kostis Stephanopoulos. The Special Olympics will be held from June 26 to July 9 at New Haven, Connecticut, in the US. Also attending the ceremony on the Pnyx Hill was Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Education Minister George Papandreou, Sports Under-Secretary George Lianis, US Ambassador Thomas Niles and a number of Olympics and Special Olympics officials from Greece and abroad.

    Noting the aptness of the name given by the organisers to the flame, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that the Special Olympics "keep alive the hope of mankind at a time when war, poverty, social unrest, civil conflict and oppression make today difficult and tomorrow uncertain". "The lighting of the flame today," he added, "once again underlines the symbolism and hope of mankind for peaceful co-existence in a world characterised by differences...".

    Mr. Avramopoulos said that the Special Olympics were entirely consistent with the ancient Olympic spirit "which strove to secure the homogeny of the participating athletes". "Those who participate in these (special) games," he said, "are brimming over with spirit and mind, and it is very fitting that the flame for them should be lit in the city of Athens, which combined intellect and athletics in its own great festival, the Panathenaea."

    Mr. Lianis said that in times such as the present, when ethos in sports was at a low ebb, "today's lighting of the "Flame of Hope"... provides a necessary point of reference for the age we live in, a lesson of how to think and act in sport and a lesson in humanity."

    After the ceremony, the flame was carried by Greek Special Olympics long-distance runners past ancient monuments, the Panathinaikon Stadium where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896, to the US Embassy, where it was handed to the US ambassador and to the chairman of the organising committee of the 9th Special Olympics, Timothy Kennedy Shriver. The flame was then delivered to the captain of the vessel "Argonaut" for the voyage across the Atlantic to the Statue of Liberty in New York harbour. From there it will be taken to New Haven where US President Bill Clinton will open the Special Olympics on June 26.

    Greece, as the original home of the Olympic Games, is the traditional guardian of the flame which was lit yesterday by a solar reflector brought from Ancient Olympia where the ancient Olympic Games began in 776 BC. The 9th Special Olympics will bring together 7,200 athletes from 143 countries. Greece will be sending a team of 91 athletes who will compete in 10 events.

    [10] Greece to help Cyprus for EU membership

    Nicosia, 26/05/1995 (CNA/ANA):

    Greece will try to secure the best possible deal for Cyprus in the country's efforts to join the European Union (EU) but success will depend on the outcome of next month's meeting of the EU-Cyprus Association Council, European Affair s Minister George Mangakis said here yesterday.

    Speaking at a joint press conference here yesterday with Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides, Mr. Mangakis said the EU has opened the road for more Cypriot involvement in EU institutions. The minister was referring to an EU decision on March 6 in Brussels, which provides for the start of accession talks with Cyprus, six months after the 1996 intergovernmental conference. Both ministers stressed the close co-operation and co-ordination of efforts between Greece and Cyprus to promote the latter's admission to the Union.

    The core of yesterday's discussions was the content of discussions at the June meeting and concerted action to achieve the best possible outcome in Cannes where the EU-Cyprus Association Council will meet, Mr. Michaelides said in his opening remarks. "A proposal has been prepared on the issues for discussion at the Council meeting and efforts will focus on its promotion," Mr. Michaelides said. Welcoming Mr. Mangakis, he noted that Cyprus' success in its bid for EU membership was due to "proper planning and close co-operation between Greece and Cyprus".

    Mr. Mangakis said the June meeting was "a positive step" for Cyprus in that there had been difficulties in convening the Association Council. Asked if Greece would aim to include the Cyprus problem in EU foreign policy for the adoption of joint action on Cyprus, Mr. Mangakis replied "Greece aims to secure for Cyprus the best possible deal and the widest possible role in EU matters. The manner and the timing of this objective will depend on the outcome of the Council meeting.

    Referring to the Brussels decision, Mr. Mangakis said it offered Cyprus the chance for full membership of the Western European Union (WEU) and participation in the conference on the Mediterranean. He said the March decision defined four important aspects relating to Cyprus: It accepts the Republic of Cyprus as the partner for talks with the EU, it denies this status to the Turkish Cypriot community, it disseminates information through the legal government of the Republic and does not set the solution of the Cyprus problem as a precondition for EU accession. Mr. Mangakis noted with pleasure the close bilateral co-operation on EU matters and pledged this would continue.

    Replying to questions, the Cypriot foreign minister denied reports that Cyprus was attempting to block ratification by the European Parliament of an EU-Turkey Customs Union agreement. "If the European Parliament wishes to set terms to Turkey for the ratification of the agreement, he would like to add to these terms the Cyprus problem and the violation of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus," he said.

    [11] Venizelos on possible extraordinary EU summit

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    Greece said yesterday that it would respond "in the best possible way" if the French presidency of the European Union requested an extraordinary summit meeting. Government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos made the statement when asked if Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou intended to accept an invitation extended by new French President Jacques Chirac to EU leaders to a working dinner in Paris on June 9, less than three weeks before he chairs an EU summit in Cannes.

    [12] George Bush to speak in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    Former US President George Bush will be a guest speaker at a Eurobank Forum lecture at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) exhibition centre on June 11. The lecture is entitled "A glance at the world today" and politicians, economists and officials from Greece and Balkan countries have been invited to attend. Eurobank is extending its activities to Thessaloniki as of June 5.

    [13] Guards shut down major archaeological sites again

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    Four major archaeological sites in Greece were closed yesterday as guards began a 48-hour warning strike demanding higher wages and better working conditions. The strike has affected the Acropolis in Athens, ancient Mycenae - the legendary kingdom of Agamemnon - in the Peloponnese, and the Palace of Knossos in Crete as well as the Museum of Thessaloniki.

    The stoppage is the second in six months and a spokesman for the 5,500-member confederation of Culture Ministry employees, who guard museums and sites throughout Greece, said that unless the government met their demands they would begin a five-day rolling strike on July 1, at the peak of the tourist season. During the summer months, about 8,000 people a day visit the Acropolis alone.

    [14] Civil servants to go ahead with strike after meeting with Pottakis

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    A meeting between Minister to the Prime Minister's Office Ioannis Pottakis and the presidency of the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) yesterday ended in a deadlock. ADEDY President Yiannis Koutsoukos said the minister undertook no commitment to meet claims in the public sector. Trade unionists briefed the minister on current problems facing civil servants which have prompted a planned 24-hour nation-wide strike for May 30.

    Mr. Pottakis confirmed that in the next few days he would be promoting an amendment on deregulating the transfer system in the public sector. Trade unionists fear that unless the needs of organisations and surplus staff are registered, free transfers could lead to conditions of favouritism and granting political favours. Trade unionists said after the meeting their prime target from now on was to achieve the success of the May 30 strike.

    [15] Aspropyrgos refineries makes profit of 10 billion last year

    Athens, 26/05/1995 (ANA):

    Manolis Daskalakis, president of the Aspropyrgos Hellenic Refineries (ELDA) and Public Petroleum Company (DEP) managing director, said yesterday that ELDA had achieved profits of 10 billion drachmas in 1994, and profitability was expected to continue in 1995, despite unfavourable conditions in Europe. He announced that the ELDA-E subsidiary was diversifying into retailing.

    Other senior ELDA officials said 1994 was a record year for production for the company, recording a nine per cent increase. The company has managed to improve spectacularly all its economic indicators in recent years, with its continuous and high profitability, its net position rising from 11.9 billion drachmas in 1989 to 42.6 in 1994. The ratio of own to borrowed capital rose from 0.29 in 1989 to 6.45 last year.

    Referring to ARAMCO's acquisition of a stake in Motor Oil, the private refining concern, Mr. Daskalakis said the presence of one of the biggest oil companies world-wide in the Greek market was evidence of the improved business and investment climate in Greece. He went on the say that DEP did not shirk from competition, was continuing investment and was not about to sell of any of its parts. Indeed, he said, it was looking for to make acquisitions in other companies.


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