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A.N.A. Bulletin, 12/10/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 713), October 12

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Papandreou slams dissidents, rejects calls to step down

  • [2] Tsovolas quits party

  • [3] Simitis responds

  • [4] Greek economy enjoying fruits of credible policy, Papantoniou says

  • [5] 'Full confidence' in economy

  • [6] Skandalides new PASOK secretary

  • [7] Tsovolas launches new party

  • [8] New Democracy rejects Samaras ruse to force early elections

  • [9] NAFSI workers clash with police again

  • [10] ND 'euphoric' over opinion polls, 'ready to govern'

  • [11] Mitsotakis: no new bid for leadership

  • [12] Defense ministry denies Political Spring claims of Greek complicity in US raids on Bosnia

  • [13] WEU Parliamentary committee in Athens for talks today

  • [14] Athens-Skopje negotiations continue, Gligorov improving, doctors say

  • [15] Thessaloniki rally

  • [16] Commission grants extension for Skaramangas

  • [17] Iraklion to host state of the art telecoms conference next week


  • [1] Papandreou slams dissidents, rejects calls to step down

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    Prime minister and ruling PASOK president Andreas Papandreou yesterday lambasted dissidents within his party and rejected suggestions that he should step down from his post as head of the government and party.

    Addressing the party's Central Committee meeting yesterday, Mr. Papandreou said the dissidents comprised a "small circle representing self-destruction and dissolution" and were working to advance their "political ambitions, pursuits and hypocrisy."

    "In the name of an alleged unity and the party's prospects, they undermine the present work of the PASOK government and display their personal strategies aiming at PASOK's defeat and attrition," he said.

    The meeting elected Costas Skandalides as the new secretary of the party, replacing Akis Tsohatzopoulos, and elected a new executive bureau.

    Mr. Papandreou rejected a proposal for "political dialogue" at yesterday's meeting, saying the proper forum for a full discussion of issues would be future Central Committee meetings (the next is in three weeks' time).

    This is believed to be an invitation to dissenters to raise their queries, with the exception, of course, of the question of a start to processes aimed at his succession.

    The premier said he would not be placed "under confinement or guardianship".

    "In the name of my alleged protection and interest for my health, the dissidents have launched endless slanders and insults," he said.

    He said such practices were not disrespectful to himself but to PASOK's history, adding that the aspiring successors want to lead the party tomorrow, "but destroy its present."

    "Let them first try to assume responsibility and create their own parties and be judged by the people," Mr. Papandreou said.

    Singling out former EU commissioner Vasso Papandreou for her proposal last week that a "political secretariat" take over the party and the government, Mr. Papandreou criticized her for doing exactly what she was critical of.

    "Despite the slogan she used concerning 'non-institutional centers' taking decisions, she herself proposed a non-institutional and non-chartered meeting of some leading group," he said.

    The prime minister said the government had another two years to complete its task, and while the government and the party should have been waging together a battle for a new victory "we are obliged to preoccupy ourselves with internal party disputes."

    This, he said, "harms the party's relations with the people, conceals the work of the government and undermines its efforts."

    Referring to criticism of his entourage, Mr. Papandreou expressed his distaste at "this cheap lolly". He said the campaign of slander was a repetition of 1989. Today, he said, his enemies had found new allies and interests, alluding to intra-party opposition.

    His political and personal life, he added, was transparent and not affected by mud thrown by his opponents.

    Mr. Papandreou said his party did not consider a change in the country's political map desired by many a foregone conclusion, adding that a breakup of big parties should be averted and would be averted.

    He said "leaders and leaderships in waiting" did not exist. "There are bodies and visions. There are no other limits for more ingratitude and cowardice," he said.

    Mr. Papandreou said he would not distance himself from responsibilities entrusted him by the party congress and the Greek people in elections. "I will honor their confidence in me," he said.

    [2] Tsovolas quits party

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    PASOK deputy and former finance minister and PASOK deputy Dimitris Tsovolas submitted his resignation from all party bodies and the party shortly after Mr. Papandreou's speech.

    "I can no longer tolerate the parody of party body procedures," Mr. Tsovolas said, noting he was refused the opportunity to make an intervention to the Committee meeting.

    Mr. Papandreou later expressed regret at Mr. Tsovolas' decision and urged him to reconsider.

    The prime minister said PASOK would remain united, but refused to comment on whether he will take disciplinary measures to deal with the dissidents.

    [3] Simitis responds

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    Another leading dissident, former industry and commerce minister Costas Simitis, said after the premier's speech that: "Every leader has the privilege of choosing the way he will leave the (political) stage. Andreas Papandreou chose to deny reality."

    In earlier statements, he said the party faced crucial problems and had to choose between two options:

    "That of self-delusion and denial of an evolution determined by the laws of nature, or the option to undertake a creative initiative in order to make changes within the party easy to accept by PASOK cadres and the Greek society."

    Mr. Simitis said the premier's deferral of problems for discussion in the future regular congress was "in essence a denial to deal with them."

    "The road to waiting leads to attrition, absence of government, and uncertainty," Mr. Simitis said.

    He expressed doubts about PASOK's ability to win the next elections, saying that the party should become non-leader oriented.

    Commenting on his refusal to run as a candidate for the executive bureau, Mr. Simitis said there had been no developments since he resigned his post as industry minister to justify a change of attitude. The election of a secretary and executive bureau members "without a discussion and under constant pressure portends the continuation of today's practices," he added.

    He said, however, he would not leave the party and that he will continue to work as a deputy and member of PASOK's Central Committee "for a different PASOK which will face the future of the country."

    Vasso Papandreou said she regretted the fact that "we never realize where we stand." "Monologues do not give solutions," Ms Papandreou said of the premier's address. "Distortions and personal insinuations do not answer proposals made in good faith." "We will continue the struggle for a united and a different PASOK," she said.

    Press Minister Telemahos Hytiris said later that it depended on "these party cadres" whether they created a climate of confrontation within the party. The prime minister, Mr. Hytiris said "today felt the necessity to answer to his critics within the party."

    [4] Greek economy enjoying fruits of credible policy, Papantoniou says

    Washington, 12/10/1995 (ANA - L. Papantoniou):

    Speaking at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank yesterday, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said the Greek economy was enjoying the fruits of a credible economic policy for the second year in a row, and would continue its positive performance in 1996.

    He added the economy was on a course of healthy growth, based on public and private investment. Inflation was projected to fall to five per cent, GNP would increase by two per cent this year, and the fiscal deficit would fall to perhaps less than nine per cent of GDP, compared to 11.4 per cent in 1994, lower than the requirement of the EU convergence programme, he said.

    He reiterated that the successful fiscal, monetary, and exchange policy, aiming at a further reduction in interest rates, would continue, adding there would be a public offering of shares of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and the Public Petroleum Company (DEP), that certain ailing firms, belonging to state-controlled banks and the Industrial Reconstruction Organization would be sold or liquidated, and certain state banks would be restructured for eventual privatization.

    [5] 'Full confidence' in economy

    Washington, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    In an interview with the ANA yesterday, Mr. Papantoniou expressed full confidence in the course of the Greek economy and the results of his contacts on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank meetings.

    "We are getting away from the vicious circle of the last two decades as regards our economic progress, and are entering the game of the world economy in a dynamic way," he said.

    "Developments in the Greek economy have started inspiring confidence in the American business world. It is clear that our country's image has changed, with inflation and interest rates falling, the drachma holding its own, and recovery already underway. And of course, the large projects which are also in progress, are beginning to attract serious American business interest, which, I assume, will manifest itself next year," he said.

    Mr. Papantoniou added that in Tuesday's meeting with Treasury Under-secretary Larry Summers, they discussed the whole spectrum of bilateral Greek-US relations, trade, and investment.

    "I particularly underscored the central role Greece can play in the formulation of the general economic system now covering the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Black Sea region, and the Middle East," he said.

    "I drew attention to the great opportunities Greece is offering in investment and joint ventures in this area of the Balkans and the Middle East, our interest in the setting up of a Middle East Bank and the reconstruction of Palestine," he added.

    "Mr. Summers and I, of course, discussed more general issues, concerning European developments, the course of the European monetary system, the recent upheavals in international dollar market. Our common finding was that the world economy does not seem to facing serious problems," he continued.

    In reply to a question whether Mr. Summers had made specific proposals on bilateral Greek-US issues, Mr. Papantoniou said there was a proposal for a joint trade mission to the Balkans and the countries of the Black Sea, which he hoped would materialize within 1996.

    Commenting on his earlier interview with CNN, the minister said, "the central point was the projection of the achievements of the Greek economy and an invitation to investment... which is the key to our development and prosperity".

    [6] Skandalides new PASOK secretary

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    Costas Skandalides, a 42-year-old deputy and former interior minister, was yesterday elected secretary by the ruling PASOK party's Central Committee in an uncontested candidacy.

    Mr. Skandalides, who was elected by the 150-member Central Committee with 111 votes for, 34 blank ballots and five abstentions, replaces Akis Tsohatzopoulos who resigned from the post to take on the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization after last month's government reshuffle.

    Mr. Skandalides was proposed for secretary by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou who described him as "a member of PASOK's younger generation who matured in the party."

    Mr. Skandalides, who has served as minister of the Aegean and interior since PASOK's return to power in October 1993, was born on the Dodecaneese island of Cos, which has returned him to Parliament for four consecutive terms since 1989.

    He was first elected to Parliament in 1985 on the PASOK ticket in the Athens B' electoral district.

    A graduate of the Athens Polytechnic University's department of electrical engineering, Mr. Skandalides served as alternate secretary of the PASOK youth wing from 1976 to 1977, at which time he was elected to the party's Central Committee.

    Between 1982 and 1984 he served as advisor to the ministries of national economy and culture, after which he was elected to the party's Executive Bureau for the first time.

    In the spring of 1989, Mr. Skandalides became director of the weekly "Exormissi", the official party mouthpiece.

    He was re-elected to the Central Committee twice in 1990 and 1994, and to the Executive Bureau three times in 1989, 1990 (alternate) and 1994, taking over the responsibility for cultural and sports issues.

    The new 18-member Executive Bureau comprises, in sequence of voting preference of those elected: Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Apostolos Kaklamanis, Yiannis Souladakis, Costas Laliotis, Gerassimos Arsenis, Evangelos Venizelos, Antonis Livanis, Christos Papoutsis, Miltiades Papanioannou, Maria Arseni, Manolis Daskalakis, Antonis Kotsakas, Karolos Papoulias, Stephanos Tzoumakas, Yiannis Haralambous, Pantelis Oikonomou, Giorgos Katsibardis, and Maria Kypriotaki.

    [7] Tsovolas launches new party

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    Former PASOK finance minister Dimitris Tsovolas yesterday announced the launching of a new political force, entitled 'Movement of Civilization', after giving up his PASOK Central Committee position and party membership.

    He said the new movement would be based on respect for human values, "stubbornly opposed to compromise", and accountable only to "the non-privileged Greek".

    Mr. Tsovolas launched a stinging attack against Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, saying decline had set in, the premier had no more to contribute and ought to be step aside without hesitation.

    "There are no historical leaderships with hereditary rights. Nobody and nothing are ever given, except the nation... The citizens' uprising against party establishments is now the highest patriotic duty," he said.

    [8] New Democracy rejects Samaras ruse to force early elections

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    The main opposition New Democracy party yesterday rejected a proposal by Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras that all the deputies of the two parties resign from Parliament in an attempt to force early general elections.

    Main opposition New Democracy deputy president Ioannis Varvitsiotis called Mr. Samaras' proposal "unrealistic." "We should think seriously before we make such groundless proposals," he added.

    ND representative Dimitris Kostopoulos said the proposal, which he described as "a damp squib" was "lacking in seriousness, and displays a lack of respect for the Constitution."

    Mr. Samaras made the proposition during a television interview on Tuesday night. Mr. Samaras controls 11 seats in the 300-member House and New Democracy 109.

    Communist Party of Greece Secretary-General Aleka Papariga yesterday described Mr. Samaras' proposal as a "trick".

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos said "elections, if and when they occur, will be a good opportunity for the Coalition", after meeting with Mr. Samaras yesterday.

    The two discussed a five-point Coalition proposal on transparency and democratization of Greek politics. Mr. Constantopoulos said afterwards that he and Mr. Samaras had common views on most of the issues they discussed.

    He said a need for a juxtaposition of specific political proposals is needed to cover a current political vacuum, adding that internal friction within the governing PASOK party was creating a huge problem for the country.

    Mr. Constantopoulos added that Mr. Samaras had no objections to the creation of a more representative electoral system.

    [9] NAFSI workers clash with police again

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    NAFSI ship-repair workers and riot police met for a second round of clashes yesterday after the striking workers marched on the Merchant Marine Ministry in the port city of Piraeus to protest the use of force by police against them on Tuesday night.

    Several people were slightly injured when police used tear-gas and truncheons to break up the demonstration.

    Meanwhile, three main opposition New Democracy deputies criticized the government for its lack of strategy for the shipbuilding and ship-repair sector and using force against the workers.

    Communist Party of Greece deputy Stratis Korakas lodged a demarche with Public Order Minister Sifis Valyrakis protesting the "unprovoked and brutal attack" of the riot police against the workers.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga criticized both major parties yesterday during an appearance in Hania.

    "The entire argument inside both parties ... is a struggle for the juxtaposition of the major imperialist forces. Juxtapositions within PASOK and New Democracy have to do with which power's interests will be better served in Greece. That's the reason f or the differences," she said.

    [10] ND 'euphoric' over opinion polls, 'ready to govern'

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    The Political Council and the Executive Committee of the New Democracy party met in a climate of euphoria yesterday, following the release of opinion polls showing the party leading ruling PASOK by five percentage points.

    ND spokesman Vassilis Manginas said after the meeting the party was "ready to govern the country with a sense of responsibility and specific solutions".

    Former culture minister Dora Bakoyanni said it was clear that PASOK was in a state of collapse and that the results of opinion polls were especially encouraging, but cautioned that there was confusion at the base of the party and qualitative aspects al so ought to be looked at.

    The Political Council also tackled Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras' proposal for the simultaneous resignation of his party's and New Democracy party deputies.

    Opinion was on the whole dismissive of the proposal, with members describing it as "far-fetched, unacceptable, unconstitutional, immature, adventurist, and betraying a lack of respect for the institutions".

    It was decided to set up a committee under the chairmanship of former parliament president Athanassios Tsaldaris that would work out proposals for changes in parliamentary regulations.

    [11] Mitsotakis: no new bid for leadership

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    Meanwhile, former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis has dismissed speculation that he might attempt a new bid for the party leadership in future.

    In the second part of his interview with the economic magazine 'Oikonomikos Tahydromos', excerpts of which were published by the daily 'Eleftheros Typos' yesterday, the former premier said he would not contest the leadership even if present leader Miltiades Evert withdrew for whatever reason.

    "Those who insist on claiming that I will break up ND or that I will create a new party, either consciously distort things or do not know me well at all," he said.

    "I withdrew from the leadership of the party of my own free will, when I was its undisputed leader, and I might add that had I remained, I would already be prime minister, and, of course, I am not going to return in order to break up the party or lead one of its segments," he added.

    Finally, he said that if parties did not prevail over their tendency towards demagogy and populism, the Greek political world would follow the fate of Italy, and that the constitution needed revision, with the president of the republic being directly elected by the people.

    [12] Defense ministry denies Political Spring claims of Greek complicity in US raids on Bosnia

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    The National Defense Ministry said yesterday that the American EP-3 airplanes stationed at a NATO base in Crete were information collecting aircraft that operated in international airspace and did not have the ability to take aerial photographs.

    In a written response to claims by Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras in a television interview Tuesday night that EP3s had flown from the base in Souda, Crete to Bosnia to take aerial photographs of Bosnian Serb targets for the NATO raids, the ministry said:

    "The American EP-3 aircraft are information collection planes with electronic means, they do not have the ability to take aerial photographs and they operate in areas of international airspace."

    It said electronic reconnaissance operations or "passive" operations which are carried out by all countries that have the necessary means, "and do not constitute an aggressive action." The data collected by the EP-3s is processed by an American team at Souda.

    The ministry further pointed out that the Greek-American agreement signed in July 1990 by Mr. Samaras himself, who was foreign minister at the time, "does not provide the right of intervention of the Greek authorities for control of the activity of the reconnaissance aircraft."

    Political Spring spokesman Notis Martakis described the ministry's announcement as "an official confession of guilt by the government." He added that electronic reconnaissance operations constitute major offensive acts, noting that, according to the agreement, Greece has the right to forbid such actions which would harm Greece's national interests and cause problems in its relations with third countries.

    Communist Party of Greece Secretary-General Aleka Papariga yesterday described the incident as "Greece's entanglement in this unjust war."

    [13] WEU Parliamentary committee in Athens for talks today

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    The Western European Union (WEU) Assembly's Committee for Parliamentary and Public Relations will be in Athens today for talks on parliamentary co-operation in the Mediterranean region. During its three-day visit, the committee, headed by French Socialist Party Senator Jean-Pierre Masseret will hold talks with members of the National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Greek Parliament and its chairman, Eleftherios Veryvakis, and with the chairman, Pafsanias Zakolikos, and other members of the Greek Parliament's European Affairs Committee.

    The WEU Committee will also meet with Alternate Foreign Minister in charge of European Affairs, George Romeos.

    A WEU Assembly announcement said the discussions will deal mainly with parliamentary co-operation in the Mediterranean region, which is to be the subject of a report to be submitted at the next session of the WEU Assembly by PASOK deputy Theodore Kotsonis.

    The talks will further focus on the role of national parliaments and the road to the 1996 intergovernmental conference, to be the subject of a report to be submitted at the next session by conservative British deputy Sir John Hunt.

    [14] Athens-Skopje negotiations continue, Gligorov improving, doctors say

    Skopje, 12/10/1995 (ANA/AFP):

    Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) yesterday continued the second day of negotiations on the implementation of the interim accord, focusing on the operation of liaison offices and the resumption of trade exchanges between the two countries.

    The two delegations are headed by officials from the foreign and transport ministries and customs authorities as well as international law experts, according to an official source.

    Meanwhile a medical report issued in Skopje at noon yesterday said the health of FYROM President Kiro Gligorov. "The president has started taking food and is actively participating in physiotherapy," the report said.

    [15] Thessaloniki rally

    Thessaloniki, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    About 2,000 people gathered in front of Ayios Dimitrios Cathedral in Thessaloniki last night to listen to speeches by Metropolitan Panteleimon and Thessaloniki Mayor Constantine Kosmopoulos, who indirectly opposed the interim agreement reached in New York, claiming that it paved the way for the name to be negotiated.

    Speeches were also made by PASOK deputy Stelios Papathemelis and New Democracy deputies Sotiris Kouvelas, Tassos Spiliopoulos and Panayiotis Psomiadis, who said Greece should make no concessions on the name issue.

    [16] Commission grants extension for Skaramangas

    Strasbourg, 12/10/1995 (ANA - P. Stangos):

    The European Commission granted an extension to the Greek government yesterday for submission of a restructuring plan for Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas that ensures viability of a solution entailing transfer of 49 per cent of ownership to workers.

    EU Commissioner Karel Van Miert said "the Commission's decision (to request the return of state subsidies) continues to stand, under the premise that it will be canceled if a persuasive plan for the solution's viability is proposed by the Greek government, with all the required commitments and repercussions of those commitments."

    Mr. Van Miert would not specify exactly the length of the extension, but according to reports, a three-month deadline was granted, which could change for technical reasons.

    "After a second round of discussions, we came to a conclusion that the purchase (of the shipyard) by its workers is possible. At least we have written assurances this will occur... The (Greek) government needs more time to prepare a new solid and persuasive plan," the EU competition commissioner said. He added the Commission will let experts in the sector examine the plan after its submission.

    [17] Iraklion to host state of the art telecoms conference next week

    Athens, 12/10/1995 (ANA):

    The latest in advanced telecommunications systems will be displayed next week in Iraklion during an international conference entitled "Intelligence in Broadband Services and Networks."

    The conference, held for the first time in Greece and scheduled for October 16-19, includes the unveiling of a multimedia programme designed by the Athens-based Democritos research centre and other groups.

    The programme will be able to convey information on ecological parks of Europe as well as television instruction on cultural and information issues.

    Computer applications on the programme are for the first time available on the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization's (OTE) artificial intelligence network. Halkida is next in line after Iraklion on OTE's list for acquiring the network.

    On October 19 and 20, an international forum on high speed computer network communications will also take place in Iraklion.

    End of English language section.

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