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A.N.A. Bulletin, 09/10/95

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 710), October 9, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Decisive week for PASOK in view of central committee meeting

  • [2] Arsenis returns from US

  • [3] Constantopoulos to discuss proposals with other party leaders

  • [4] FYROM parliament to vote on interim accord

  • [5] Andov statement

  • [6] FYROM asks for participation in NATO parliamentary assembly

  • [7] Bosnian Serb officials express satisfaction over Greek support

  • [8] Claes: Effort underway to improve Greek-Turkish relations

  • [9] Issue of Halki theological school raised

  • [10] Greenpeace ship calls on Iraklion


  • [1] Decisive week for PASOK in view of central committee meeting

    Athens, 09/10/1995 (ANA):

    Internal developments concerning the ruling PASOK party are expected to occur this week with the convening of the party's central committee and executive bureau, as Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou is expected to answer dissidents who have raised a leadership issue.

    Internal party disputes also intensified within the main opposition New Democracy party following a meeting of its parliamentary group and controversial statements of former premier and ND honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis last week.

    Analysts in Athens view the meeting of PASOK's central committee, scheduled to convene Wednesday to elect a new secretary and members of the new executive bureau, as providing Mr. Papandreou with an indirect opportunity to react to statements by the "group of four" - former ministers Kostas Simitis, Theodoros Pangalos, Vasso Papandreou (no relation) and PASOK Eurodeputy Paraskevas Avgerinos, who have asked for the succession of Mr. Papandreou. The issue has created an atmosphere of controversy and strife within the party over the past few weeks.

    Judging from current PASOK central committee Secretary Akis Tsohatzopoulos' statements last week that through raising the leadership issue the "'modernizes' project their personal ambitions," political observers expect the prime minister will use the opportunity to deal a blow against dissidents by refusing to give in to pressures and discuss the party leadership issue.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said last week that party dissidents' statements do not affect implementation of the party's goals, insinuating that PASOK's leadership will not call for a convention of an unscheduled party congress to tackle the issue of leadership or endorse a proposal by Ms. Papandreou to form a "group of leaders" to undertake the party's political direction and government, but would settle "a pending issue in the central committee's meeting."

    It now remains to be seen whether party dissidents will be promoted to the new executive bureau.

    According to sources, the executive bureau will convene today, under the chairmanship of Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, while they did not rule out the possibility of a second meeting tomorrow, chaired by Mr. Papandreou, in view of the central committee meeting on Wednesday.

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis will also participate in the meeting after cutting short his visit to the United States.

    In another development Saturday, former PASOK minister Stelios Papathemelis called for a direct election of a successor to Mr. Papandreou, who will assume his duties when the current premier decides to withdraw from office.

    Sources said former Interior Minister Kostas Skandalides is the prime candidate for the post of central committee secretary.

    Meanwhile, strife in ND intensified after a parliamentary group meeting last week.

    ND deputy Nikos Kakkalos, who walked out of the meeting after a heated verbal exchange with ND leader Miltiades Evert, said in an interview in the Sunday edition of "Adesmeftos tis Kyriakis" that a solution to internal ND strife should be sought to "either reform or overthrow the ND leader."

    He said a solution could also be achieved if all party dissidents left the party.

    [2] Arsenis returns from US

    Washington, 09/10/1995 (ANA-L. Papantoniou):

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis has cut his visit to the United States short and returns today to Athens.

    In statements yesterday, Mr. Arsenis said he wished to be present at the ruling PASOK central committee meeting on Wednesday.

    Mr. Arsenis canceled his visit to Boston where he was expected to address a meeting at Harvard University and at the Boston Orthodox Theological School. He also canceled a visit to New York.

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou held a meeting Saturday with Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to discuss issues related to the agenda of a Wednesday meeting of the ruling PASOK central committee.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, who is also the secretary of PASOK's central committee, said there was no issue of party leadership or the convening of an unscheduled party conference.

    In reference to former EU Commissioner and PASOK deputy Vasso Papandreou's recent statements, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos described as "sad" the fact that "certain (party) officials escape common action to project personal ambition."

    Ms. Papandreou (no relation) on Saturday proposed formation of a "group of leaders to undertake the political direction of the party and the government."

    She blamed a "close circle" around the prime minister for the "tragic and poor image" of the party and the government.

    [3] Constantopoulos to discuss proposals with other party leaders

    Athens, 09/10/1995 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) President Nikos Constantopoulos will have a series of meetings this week with other opposition leaders and the Parliament president to discuss his proposals for "democratization and transparency of Greek political life."

    Mr. Constantopoulos will meet today with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    Tomorrow he meets with main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert and with Political Spring (Pol.An) party President Antonis Samaras on Wednesday.

    Mr. Constantopoulos also plans to meet in the near future with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga as well as the ruling PASOK Secretary Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

    [4] FYROM parliament to vote on interim accord

    Skopje, 09/10/1995 (ANA-M.Vihou):

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) parliament is due to convene today in order to ratify an interim accord signed recently by Athens and Skopje in New York and aimed at normalizing bilateral relations.

    FYROM Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski is expected to address the House.

    In the meantime, consultations between Greek and FYROM delegations focusing on technical aspects for implementation of the accord will resume Tuesday in Skopje.

    Analysts in Athens described consultations, which began in Athens last Thursday as "successful," despite an abortive assassination attempt against FYROM President Kiro Gligorov the same day.

    According to diplomatic sources, the consultations focused on the issue of visas and traveling documents for the free movement of goods and people from FYROM to Greece, as well as establishment of liaison offices in both capitals.

    The FYROM liaison office's nameplate will bear the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, while in the liaison's interior, considered foreign soil, it will be entitled "Republic of Macedonia."

    In another development last week, the Skopje Parliament ratified a decision to change the neophyte Balkan nation's national flag.

    Under provisions of the interim accord, Skopje was bound to remove the Vergina star (a Hellenic symbol signifying the ancient Macedonian dynasty of Philip II) from the one-time Yugoslav republic's flag - one of two steps to pave the way for withdrawal of trade sanctions which Greece imposed against FYROM as retorsion measures.

    The other action is related to Skopje's commitment to amend its constitution.

    Greece imposed the sanctions in an effort to force the Skopje government to stop using the name of Greece's northern province of Macedonia; remove the Hellenic symbol from its flag and delete expansionist language from the preamble of its constitution.

    The recently signed interim accord defers the name issue to future negotiations between the two countries.

    The fact that FYROM's Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of changing the national flag is seen by analysts as "an additional encouraging element which reinforces optimism regarding implementation of the interim accord as of Oct. 14."

    Meanwhile, Skopje University constitutional law professor Svetomir Skaric told ANA that the country's constitutional court was expected to assume a more decisive role in political developments, following the assassination attempt against FYROM President Kiro Gligorov last week.

    According to Mr. Skaric, the constitutional court is the only competent body to pass judgment "on the permanent inability of the president to exercise his duties," in which case elections are automatically announced within 40 days.

    However, he ruled out such a possibility since Mr. Gligorov's "inability to exercise his duties is only temporary."

    Mr. Gligorov survived an assassination attempt last week when a car bomb exploded as his armored limousine passed by, but was badly injured in the explosion. His driver was killed in the attack.

    In the aftermath the FYROM chief underwent a five-hour operation to save his right eye, while a group of French eye-specialists arrived in Skopje to decide on a second operation.

    In a related matter, anti-terrorist teams from the United States, Britain and Germany arrived in Skopje and continued their search for the assailants. They are expected to announce their conclusions in the next few days.

    FYROM Parliament Speaker Stojan Andov has been appointed acting president.

    [5] Andov statement

    Skopje, 09/10/1995 (ANA):

    Mr. Andov expressed certainty on Saturday that relations between Athens and Skopje will be normalized.

    He expressed his conviction in a telegram to President Kostis Stephanopoulos, thanking him for Athens' dispatch of medical aid and the Greek president's concern for the health of Mr. Gligorov.

    [6] FYROM asks for participation in NATO parliamentary assembly

    Rome, 09/10/1995 (ANA):

    NATO's parliamentary assembly met Saturday to discuss a Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) request "for development of relations and participation in the North Atlantic Assembly."

    FYROM's acting president Stojan Andov made the request.

    Despite strong protests from the Greek delegation, the body endorsed a proposal by US Congressman Douglas Bereuter to proceed with "an association agreement with FYROM no sooner than the official commencement of an Athens-Skopje interim accord and no later than the assembly's annual synod," scheduled in Paris for November 1996.

    [7] Bosnian Serb officials express satisfaction over Greek support

    Athens, 09/10/1995 (ANA):

    Two leading Bosnian Serb officials Saturday expressed satisfaction at Greece's aid to Bosnia's Serbs, stressing the deep ties between the two countries.

    The vice president of the "Serbian Republic of Bosnia," Dragan Dragic, told reporters that Bosnian Serbs' roots stem from Hellenic civilization, while the two peoples are united through Orthodoxy.

    "Our morale is heightened by Leonidas' phrase 'Molon Lave' (come and take them {weapons}).

    "With the ending of the war," Mr. Dragic said in Thessaloniki, "all bridges will be open for hospitality of our Greek brothers." Mr. Dragic also thanked Greek journalists, describing them as the "only journalists in the world reporting the truth on Bosnian Serbs."

    Radomir Lukic, the breakaway state's foreign undersecretary said Greece will be the first country with which the Bosnian Serbs will cooperate after the war's end.

    Both men spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar organized by the Kalamaria Municipal Information-Communication Enterprise to discuss the Bosnian refugee problem.

    Asked to comment on the prospect of United Nations peacekeepers' replacement by NATO troops, Mr. Lukic said this would be considered tantamount to "occupation."

    He said that so long as a cease-fire agreement was signed there was no need for the presence of foreign troops in the region.

    Mr. Lukic made allowances, however, for the presence of "6,000 UN-administered troops or observers... which could be comprised of Greeks and Russians."

    The Bosnian Serb official said his people have no confidence in NATO troops, which "caused (after two weeks of air strikes) material damages of $1 billion, turned 40,000 families into refugees and left 16,000 children without schools."

    [8] Claes: Effort underway to improve Greek-Turkish relations

    Williamsburg, USA 09/10/1995 (ANA-L.Papantoniou):

    NATO Secretary General Willy Claes Saturday said he began an effort to find a solution to Greek-Turkish relations.

    After an unofficial NATO council, Mr. Claes said he began efforts "a few weeks ago to find the beginning for a solution to the problems we face for many years in the alliance between the two countries."

    He said there were some encouraging omens but refused to elaborate.

    Mr. Claes said he would submit a specific proposal in due time and would begin shuttle diplomacy between Greece and Turkey in the next few months.

    "I'm not pessimistic concerning the prospects," he said, adding however: "I cannot give any details concerning my proposals at this minute."

    [9] Issue of Halki theological school raised

    Istanbul, 09/10/1995 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas):

    Addressing the "International Symposium for Tolerance," Metropolitan Constantinos of Derkon raised the issue of the reopening of the Theological School of Halki.

    The symposium is organized by the Istanbul-based UNESCO Turkish National Committee.

    Representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the symposium, Metropolitan Constantinos said that by permitting the operation of the theological school, the Turkish government will give an example of tolerance and religious freedom.

    The renown Orthodox institution, located on the Marmara Sea island of Halki, was shut down by Turkish authorities in 1972.

    The Armenian Patriarch also raised the issue of religious education for Christians in Turkey.

    [10] Greenpeace ship calls on Iraklion

    Athens, 09/10/1995 (ANA):

    The international environmental group Greenpeace continued its anti-nuclear testing campaign in Greece with the arrival Saturday of the vessel "Altair" in Iraklion, Crete.

    In speaking to reporters, the vessel's captain, George Stuart, asked for Greece's intervention to help end French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

    Altair's captain conveyed a message from the Pacific rim's citizens denouncing nuclear testing, which he stated "pollutes the air and sea of the countries which are opposed to nuclear testing."

    Greenpeace launched its campaign in Thessaloniki with the vessel's arrival. The Altair had previously "picketed" French President Jacques Chirac at a European Union summit on the Spanish island of Majorca last month.

    It has already called on Volos and Piraeus and is expected to visit Souda Bay in Crete and Patras before sailing to other Mediterranean destinations.

    The vessel is open to the public with briefings on Greenpeace's activities available.

    End of English language section.

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