A.N.A. Bulletin, 27/05/95

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


Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


  • [1] More intransigence from Gligorov, gov't says

  • [2] Vance, Nimetz meet Gligorov

  • [3] Works of Sophocles published in Albanian

  • [4] Evert pessimistic about quick end to Skopje dispute

  • [5] Bulgarian customs officials to visit northern Greece

  • [6] Samaras warns gov't against possible Yilmaz visit

  • [7] Yilmaz threatens to make Ayia Sophia a mosque

  • [8] Rhodes to host Israeli-Palestinian peace meeting

  • [9] Drug use in Europe on the rise, Eurodeputy tells conference

  • [10] Skoulakis to open European conference on narcotics use Monday

  • [11] Venizelos opens national journalists' conference

  • [12] Greek-Albanian sub-committee on labour and employment meets in Athens

  • [13] Greece's National Theatre performs at Serbian theatre festival

  • [14] EU farm ministers to meet under new French counterpart on Monday

  • [15] Constantopoulos calls for wide-ranging changes in public life

  • [16] Simitis announces tighter controls on insurance firms

  • [17] Publishing firm buys stake in newspaper company

  • [1] More intransigence from Gligorov, gov't says

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    The government yesterday criticised statements by Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) President Kiro Gligorov at a meeting in Rome with UN mediator Cyrus Vance as yet another indication of his intransigence.

    "From time to time Mr. Gligorov engages in such displays of intransigence. I do not know if they are for domestic or foreign consumption," Mr. Venizelos said. In Rome Thursday, Mr. Gligorov reiterated that the lifting of trade sanctions imposed by Greece in February last year against FYROM was a precondition for direct dialogue between Athens and Skopje.

    "What is important," Mr. Venizelos added, "is that Greece is participating in the consultations under (UN mediator) Cyrus Vance, with its known positions which have the approval of the Greek people."

    Greece imposed a series of trade sanctions as retortion measures last year against Skopje to raise the profile of the issue on an international level and force the neighbouring country to curb its intransigence and change its name, the preamble to its constitution and remove ancient Greek symbols from its flag.

    [2] Vance, Nimetz meet Gligorov

    Skopje, 27/05/95 (ANA/M.Vihos):

    While in Rome, Mr. Gligorov met with UN mediator on the dispute Cyrus Vance and US presidential envoy Mathew Nimetz, according to a Skopje Radio report. The meeting, which the report said took place at the request of Mr. Vance and Mr. Nimetz, centred on the differences between Greece and FYROM and "the possibility of a resumption of dialogue between the two countries".

    During the discussion, Mr. Gligorov reiterated Skopje's position that Greece should lift the sanctions, adding that these measures did not assist the establishment of the appropriate conditions for dialogue nor create a climate of trust between the two countries. He said, however, that he was willing to hold direct talks with Greece in the presence of the UN mediator and that the prerequisites for the resumption of talks could be created and that, in any event, the consultations should be held at the UN.

    Direct talks between Athens and Skopje were set to begin in April earlier this year under the auspices of Mr. Vance but were postponed when Skopje did not reply to the invitation to participate. Greece said it was ready to take part.

    On his return from Rome, Mr. Gligorov told reporters that his talks with Mr. Nimetz and Mr. Vance had been "interesting." According to Mr. Gligorov, the two mediators feel "the time has come to continue the negotiations since there is evidence of greater understanding on the part of Greece." Mr. Gligorov said his country was always ready for dialogue and that it would listen to the arguments of the other side. "...There is hope that through direct talks under the mediation of the international mediators we might reach realistic negotiations," Mr. Gligorov said.

    [3] Works of Sophocles published in Albanian

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    The first appearance of the complete works of the ancient Greek tragic poet Sophocles in Albanian will be officially presented by Greek Ambassador to Tirana Christos Tsalikis on May 31, according to an announcement yesterday. The translation was written by John Slakou, who was taught Ancient Greek by a Greek priest while they were both imprisoned during the reign of Albania's communist dictator Enver Hoxha. The work is sponsored by the National Bank of Greece.

    The book launch will be followed by a reception held in honour of Mr. Slakou who will receive a commemorative silver plaque from the embassy for his contribution to the study of the Greek classics. The prologue to the works was written by Dimitris Reos, Ioannina University professor.

    [4] Evert pessimistic about quick end to Skopje dispute

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday said he did not foresee a quick solution to the Skopje problem. "We still have a long way to go before reaching a solution to the Skopje issue of benefit to our national interests," Mr. Evert said during a speech in Halkida last night.

    On Greek-Albanian relations, Mr. Evert said that, although the Greek minority in Albania was safer now, "that does not mean that the dangers have been overcome." Mr. Evert said the Greek state would persist on the issue of human rights of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania.

    Mr. Evert said the greatest danger for Greece "comes from the east and will grow every day." "Neighbouring Turkey will be facing increasingly pressing domestic problems and will at some point try to export these problems abroad," Mr. Evert said. "Abroad", he added, "has usually been our country".

    [5] Bulgarian customs officials to visit northern Greece

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    A group of customs officials from Bulgaria will visit northern Greece over the weekend at the invitation of the Inter-Balkan Co-operation Bureau. During their stay they will have meetings with their Greek counterparts and visit archaeological sites.

    [6] Samaras warns gov't against possible Yilmaz visit

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras yesterday called on the government to stop former Turkish prime minister Mesut Yilmaz from visiting the northeast Greek region of Thrace. "The Turks want to show that Thrace is a supposedly politically unstable area, not only for their own long-term goals, but also for economical reasons: it is not in Turkey's interests for the oil pipeline to pass, from the Caspian via Bulgaria, to Alexandroupolis, which will strengthen the economy of Thrace," he said. The projected oil pipeline will carry Russian crude oil from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis in Thrace.

    Government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos, responding to Mr. Samaras' statements, reiterated that the government's position was the same as that stated Thursday on the possibility of Turkish Minister of State and government spokesman Yildirim Aktuna making a second visit to Thrace. "The same response applies," Mr. Venizelos said.

    Mr. Venizelos had said the government would examine the issue of a return visit by Mr. Aktuna if it arose and would consider issues such as whether the visit was in an official capacity. He said the government's response to such a request would be examined in the context of international rules and law and of the minister's previous visit.

    [7] Yilmaz threatens to make Ayia Sophia a mosque

    Istanbul, 27/05/95 (ANA):

    Turkish Motherland Party (ANAP) leader and former prime minister Mesut Yilmaz threatened yesterday to re-convert the Ayia Sophia cathedral in Istanbul into a mosque if what he called "religious and cultural pressures" against Moslems in Western Thrace did not stop. "Although there is no absolute need for a mosque in the region where Ayia Sophia is located, if religious and cultural pressures against our fellow countrymen in Western Thrace continue Ayia Sophia could be turned into a mosque, but solely for symbolic reasons," Mr. Yilmaz said after Friday prayers.

    The 1,500-year-old cathedral is a central emblem for those of the Orthodox faith and was the pride of Byzantium. After the fall of Constantinople the church was used as a mosque until Kemal Ataturk, the leader of the Young Turks, stopped Moslem prayers there. It is now a museum.

    [8] Rhodes to host Israeli-Palestinian peace meeting

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    Israelis and Palestinians are to meet on the island of Rhodes on July 10 to discuss the peace process, it was announced yesterday. The meeting, held at the initiative of the Council of Europe, will take place with the participation of European Union and United Nations officials. Sources said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat might also attend the meeting.

    Rhodes was chosen as the site for the preparatory meeting for the Jericho Conference on the implementation of the peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians at a Council of Europe seminar on the Middle East in March.

    [9] Drug use in Europe on the rise, Eurodeputy tells conference

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    A New Democracy party Eurodeputy told a conference in Thessaloniki yesterday that there were over one million drug users in Europe while the annual turnover from drug trafficking Europe-wide is estimated at ranging from 80 to 400 billion dollars. The annual turnover from the sale of narcotics in Greece, he added, amounted to over one billion dollars while the turnover from drug trafficking worldwide is estimated at between 240 billion to one trillion dollars.

    Professor Antonis Trakatelis, also a doctor of medicine and former rector of the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki, told the conference that in Paris in 1980 the number of deaths from narcotics was 140 but that number had increased to 700 in 1991. Also on the increase, he said, was the incidence of AIDS among intravenous drug users, with 34 per cent of males and 54 per cent of females in this category being infected.

    Dr. Trakatelis was addressing the 2nd Panhellenic Conference on the Study of Addictive Substances currently being held in Thessaloniki. Particularly worrying was the increase in the number of drug users in prisons, he said, adding that 35 per cent of prisoners in Europe used drugs, while the corresponding figure for Stockholm jails was 60 per cent. In 1992, the police seized 240 tons of hashish in Europe of the 500 tons seized worldwide, Dr. Trakatelis said.

    [10] Skoulakis to open European conference on narcotics use Monday

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    Health Under-Secretary Emmanuel Skoulakis will open the Second European Conference on drug user rehabilitation and addictive drug policies, due to start on Monday in Thessaloniki. The conference, entitled "Europe against Narcotics", is organised by the Centre for the Rehabilitation of Chemically Dependent Individuals (KETHEA) and the European Federation of Rehabilitation Centres. More than 300 academics, scientists and rehabilitation centre officials from all over Europe will participate at the conference which will focus on strategies to deal with the issue.

    One of the organisers, Professor Christos Yiannaras, told a press conference yesterday that the conference will focus on drug prevention, detoxification and rehabilitation. "The underlying philosophy of the rehabilitation centres is that drugs is not a problem, but a symptom of an ailing society," Mr. Yiannaras told reporters. "In that respect, total social intervention is necessary in order to face the issue."

    KETHEA Chairman Charalambos Papadopoulos said that Greek detoxification centres had an 85 per cent success rate.

    [11] Venizelos opens national journalists' conference

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    Speaking at yesterday's inaugural session of the conference of the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions (POESY), Press Minister Evangelos Venizelos said both journalism and politics were integral factors of public debate and, therefore, responsible towards the body social.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis voiced sharp criticism of the invasion of the media of wider large European and non-European interests who considered that the fate of humanity had to be subject to their commands.

    Provisional POESY president Dimitris Glavas, opening the conference, put emphasis on the role of both politicians and journalists, saying they especially shared one area of common ground: They were equally cast doubt upon.

    [12] Greek-Albanian sub-committee on labour and employment meets in Athens

    Tirana, 27/05/95 (ATA/ANA):

    The joint Greek-Albanian sub-committee on labour and employment discussed the issues of legalising Albanian emigrants to Greece and seasonal labour during its two-day meeting in Athens this week. The Albanian delegation was led by Durim Hatibi, director of the Emigration Department at the Labour, Emigration and Social Assistance Ministry, while Giorgos Zois, director of the G3 Department for Consular Issues, led the Greek side.

    An Albanian Foreign Ministry spokesman said a draft agreement for seasonal employment was discussed and accepted in principle at the meeting, which also agreed that the suggestions made during the discussion be reflected in the draft and the Albanian side be allowed to propose amendments to articles in the future.

    According to the spokesman, the Greek side stressed that there was a desire and goodwill to legalise a considerable number of Albanian emigrants, an issue which was also discussed at the meeting of the Albanian-Greek Joint Commission in Athens in April.

    According to the Greek side, this question will be settled by the Greek labour, public order and foreign ministries.

    [13] Greece's National Theatre performs at Serbian theatre festival

    Novi Sad, Serbia, 27/05/95 (ANA/M. Mouratidis):

    The National Theatre of Greece last night became the first foreign troupe to perform at the "Sterie Pozorie" theatre festival, which began here yesterday. The National Theatre was set to perform "Saint George kills the dragon" by Dusan Kovacevic and directed by Branislav Lekic.

    The director of the National Theatre of Greece Nikos Kourkoulos, at the official opening of the festival, said "that after so many wars where Greeks and Serbs have fought alongside each other, today we have been given the opportunity for a meeting on a different front - just as important for the survival of a people - the field of art and culture".

    Mr. Kourkoulas also said that not enough "bridges have been built between the two countries" and that the Greeks have always considered the Serbs as brothers and supported their struggles. "We support the Serbs during this difficult moment of suffering , because they too have always supported and helped us," he said.

    The members of the National Theatre met with the Mayor of Novi Sad on Thursday and received a warm welcome from the organisers of the festival and the Municipal Council. The National Theatre is also scheduled to perform the play in Belgrade tomorrow.

    [14] EU farm ministers to meet under new French counterpart on Monday

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    New French Agriculture Minister Philippe Vasseur will chair the European Union's Agricultural Minister's Council in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday. The sessions will be dominated by discussion on prices for produce, but agreement is not expected to be reached due to intense disagreements among member states.

    The agenda includes the issue of milk quotas for Greece and Italy. The Commission has made a negative recommendation for Greece's request for an increase of 125,000 tonnes. Discussion will also include the Commission's proposals for cotton and wine, to which Greece is opposed. Finally, the Council will also tackle the issue of transportation of live animals, on which Greece has expressed in-principle agreement, but has asked for certain amendments.

    [15] Constantopoulos calls for wide-ranging changes in public life

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    Opening a two-day meeting of his party's farmers' representatives in Larissa yesterday, Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos said the need for all-round change in public life was urgent, as the political system was incapable of securing the terms for progress and positive prospects.

    The government, he said, appeared powerless and uncoordinated to face the challenges of the times, being held captive by its internal problems. It could not make up its mind on the great issues of foreign policy, and dare not undertake any important initiatives. The situation prevailing between parties might be described as a "political Babylon" and the country was at an especially critical point, he added.

    [16] Simitis announces tighter controls on insurance firms

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    Trade and Industry Minister Costas Simitis yesterday announced three sets of measures designed to place the private insurance industry on a sounder footing, improve the ministry's control procedures over it and provide better safeguards for consumers.

    The first set of measures is included in a draft bill concerning insurance contracts, requiring clearer and more comprehensible "small print" in policy documents and restricting the ability of insurers to activate escape clauses. Further, the policy holder will be entitled to back out of the contract if the insured risk is diminished and the insurer refuses to reduce cover commensurably. In the event of a dispute, the insurer will be obliged to effect immediate compensation to t he extent that he accepts liability.

    The second set of measures is provided in a draft presidential decree comprising 35 articles. These include a definition of the terms and conditions under which companies based in a country of the European Economic Area (EEA) may operate subsidiaries in Greece, provide for extended liaison of the ministry with the overseeing authorities of other EEA countries, and stipulate that the ministry will retain financial control of Greek insurance subsidiaries abroad. EEA subsidiaries in Greece will remain under the control of the Trade Ministry until the expiry of the transitional period on December 31, 1998. The decree also lifts controls on the level of premiums in all types of private insurance and sets October 31, 1995 as the deadline for companies to comply with its provisions.

    The third set of measures comes in a ministerial decision which amends provisions regarding the formation of technical reserves.

    In a separate development, Mr. Simitis announced the revoking of the licences of three insurance companies - Euromonde, Intercontinental and Hellenic Reliance - for failing to meet the required level of technical reserves and despite repeated extensions of the deadline. He also said that fines totalling 4,000 Ecu will be imposed on the companies Hermes, Apollon, Panelladiki, National Insurance Institute of Greece and Piraiki for failing to meet the requirements in time.

    He added that certificates of compliance will not be granted to any company at present, as controls have not been completed.

    [17] Publishing firm buys stake in newspaper company

    Athens, 27/5/95 (ANA)):

    The Kerdos Publishing firm yesterday announced the signing of purchase contracts for 10 per cent of Press Foundation S.A. Kerdos Publishing publishes the economic newspaper 'Kerdos' and the economic magazine 'Agora' while Press Foundation publishes the Eleftheros Typos and Typos tis Kyriakis newspapers.

    According to Kerdos publisher Thomas Liakounakos, the purchase is part of the company's development programme, adding that it will benefit both publishing companies.

    End of English language section.

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