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A.N.A. Bulletin, 17/10/95

From: tzarros@ccs.carleton.ca (Theodore Zarros)

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 617), October 17, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] NATO denies existence of Thrace exercise, Arsenis says case closed

  • [2] Parliament query

  • [3] Evert

  • [4] Talks on name issue to begin end month, Hytiris says, Greek, FYROM ministers stress future links

  • [5] Premier to meet with university heads on cash crisis

  • [6] Kaklamanis meets with Moscow mayor

  • [7] Greece, China sign bilateral shipping, exports agreements

  • [8] Stephanopoulos leaves today to attend UN General Assembly

  • [9] Nezeritis denies Greece hosting Kurdish training camps

  • [10] Memorandum of 'practical measures'

  • [11] Evert says ND preparing to assume office

  • [12] Spanish naval chief in Athens today

  • [13] Eleni Vlachou laid to rest

  • [14] Balkan peace and stability necessary for regional energy networks

  • [15] Absorption of Community Funds


  • [1] NATO denies existence of Thrace exercise, Arsenis says case closed

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis said yesterday that a NATO denial of the existence of any plan or map exercise concerning the Greek province of Thrace was "categorical" and ended the matter, as far as he was concerned.

    He reiterated that NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes had repeatedly assured him yesterday that no such plans existed after investigations by the alliance at all NATO headquarters and at all levels. "No sign of any exercise involving Thrace was found," the minister said.

    A NATO spokesman in Brussels yesterday unequivocally denied reports in Sunday's "To Vima" newspaper, which alleged a NATO map exercise over the summer was based on a scenario involving "partial autonomy" for western Thrace and a population exchange.

    "The claims in a Greek newspaper yesterday (Sunday) that NATO conducted an exercise last July with a particular scenario involving Western Thrace are without foundation," the spokesman said. "There are no NATO plans involving scenarios of the kind alleged in the article, nor has any exercise taken place (whether at AFSOUTH or any other NATO headquarters at any level) containing such scenarios.

    "The speculation in the article that, from the point of view of NATO, borders in the region 'are not fully inviolable' is also wholly without foundation. Respect for territorial integrity and inviolability is at the heart of the NATO Alliance's entire raison d' etre," the spokesman concluded.

    Mr. Arsenis said he wondered at the sources of this "misinformation" and why they would "disclose" such information at this particular time, when Greece is gaining special importance on an international level as a factor of stability, relations with Skopje were improving and an agreement on an oil pipeline running from Burgas on the Black Sea to Alexandroupolis in the Aegean was proceeding. "One should not play with national issues. This is a national matter and not a press one," he said.

    Earlier, Mr. Arsenis said anti-Greek elements outside the country may be behind such actions, and called on political leaders and the press to be extremely cautious in regard to "the games that are being played". Earlier yesterday, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said the government was dealing with the press reports with "seriousness" and "responsibility".

    In Alexandroupolis, local reaction to the press reports was one of 'skepticism. Evros Prefect George Dolios said: "The issue seems a provocation against Thrace, but we shouldn't be surprised when such issues are created by NATO. I believe the current attempt at destabilization of the area is a desperate venture, as Thrace has gained economic resilience with (the) open borders (development)."

    "It's difficult, almost impossible, for a problem to be created today in this region, because the greatest guarantee is Thrace's Hellenism. All the facts contribute to the fact that this effort was truly an 'exercise on paper'," he said.

    Representatives of the Thracian Chamber of Commerce said "such scenaria only help suspicious intentions, and attempt to create an atmosphere of uncertainty during a period of substantial investment flows to the region in combination with the construction of a Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline."

    [2] Parliament query

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Four PASOK deputies submitted a question toward the defense and foreign ministers yesterday concerning the "To Vima" report.

    The four - parliament Vice-President Panagiotis Sgouridis, and deputies Apostolos Fotiadis, Nikolaos Labadaris and Dimitrios Tsetines - stated that creation of such scenaria are extremely "dangerous and in reality adopt Turkey's foreign policy goals as well as cultivate a climate of uncertainty in the region."

    [3] Evert

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday expressed his displeasure at press reports alleging that he had leaked the contents of his meeting last week with Minister of State at the Prime Minister's Office Antonis Livanis on a national issue as well as information regarding the so-called NATO scenario for Thrace.

    [4] Talks on name issue to begin end month, Hytiris says, Greek, FYROM ministers stress future links

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    The government said yesterday it was preparing for the start of talks on the issue of the name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in New York later this month, as senior Greek and FYROM government officials underlined the need for further bilateral cooperation at a conference in Thessaloniki.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris yesterday confirmed consultations between Greece and FYROM on the name issue would begin at the end of this month but did not specify the level of the talks.

    Expressing satisfaction at the signing of a memorandum between Athens and Skopje which paved the way for the implementation of the interim accord over the weekend, Mr. Hytiris said the Greek and FYROM delegations would resume talks in Athens this week o n outstanding issues.

    In Thessaloniki, Greek and FYROM ministers described the recent interim accord between the two countries as a "significant step", and expressed hope for future cooperation.

    "An important step was taken," Industry, Energy and Technology Minister Anastasios Peponis told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on the linking of Balkan energy networks, which began in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    FYROM's Assistant Energy Minister Nikola Crepnalkovski expressed the hope that cooperation between FYROM and Greece would not be limited to the energy sector.

    Mr. Crepnalkovski also proposed the construction of an oil pipeline linking Thessaloniki with Skopje, saying that it was more cost-effective than an earlier plan for an oil pipeline link-up with Albania.

    Greece's EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, who holds the energy portfolio, said that the Commission endorsed "rapprochements that help resolve the problems in the wider region," and considered the interim agreement "parti-cularly important".

    The Commission, he added, looked forward to a final settlement of all the problems "in order to activate all cooperation and assistance programmes for the restructure of the region."

    "After the signing of the interim agreement, it is reasonable to assume that the procedure for FYROM's participation in various Community programmes will be speeded up," he said.

    In Athens, meanwhile, National Economy Undersecretary Ioannis Anthopoulos announced he would chair a meeting of officials from finance ministries on October 20 to specify and enrich proposals to be included in Greece's "package" aid to FYROM.

    Mr. Anthopoulos said economic rapprochement between Greece and FYROM would be escalated in two phases:

    - In the first series of measures ("small package"), due to start immediately and last until a final settlement of the issue of the name, direct state support and intervention will be limited and the main burden will be shouldered by private enterprise.

    - In the second series, state support will take on gigantic proportions to restore permanent economic channels between the two countries.

    The first series:

    - "Defreezes" Community aid destined for FYROM. This covers both direct humanitarian aid of a limited amount (1-2 million ECU) and cross-border cooperation in the Phare framework amounting to 4-6 million ECU, while a national programme can be prepared f or FYROM in Brussels with bigger funds (about 10 million ECU).

    - The National Economy Ministry will make sure that Greece's representation office in FYROM will include a trade department as soon as this is possible which will be appropriately staffed to help the private Greek economic presence in the neighboring country.

    - Immediate consideration will be given to the prospect of full insurance coverage for businessmen active in the region, while its programmes will include insurance coverage for investments and construction projects in FYROM.

    - An effort will be made to extend the banking network to Skopje, starting with big state banks which are strongly interested in a dynamic presence.

    By the second series:

    - The National Economy Ministry will go ahead with securing conditions for granting credits to FYROM. These credits will be on similar lines with those given to Black Sea countries but on a much larger scale. Since Greek products undoubtedly have the up per hand in FYROM, in this case classical export credits will cover a small part of the total amount (10-20 million dollars) and will concern specific products or categories of products in need of support.

    On the other hand, credits totaling 80-90 million dollars will be given to enable Greek investments to be made in FYROM and the completion of construction projects. If necessary, these credits can be doubled in the future and reach up to 200 million dollars, Mr. Anthopoulos' announcement said.

    [5] Premier to meet with university heads on cash crisis

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou will meet with university deans on Thursday in an attempt to resolve the financial crisis affecting the country's higher education system.

    The meeting comes on the heels of escalated protests by universities around the country to protest the lack of funds. Already, six universities have said they will remain shut until the end of the week.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said the government was not satisfied with the level of funding for universities and that the issue was under consideration by the Education Ministry.

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert yesterday met with the deans and called on Education Minister George Papandreou to immediately grant the universities seven billion drachmas.

    "The problems are not due to administrative handling but are institutional," Mr. Evert told reporters after the meeting. He said it was necessary for universities and institutes of higher education to have autonomy in handling their finances.

    Meanwhile, Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras called for the "speedy resolution of the immediate needs of institutions of higher education".

    "The prime minister is duty bound to realize that prayers, lies, and denunciations have come to an end... The time for decisions has come," he said.

    [6] Kaklamanis meets with Moscow mayor

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday met with the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzkov.

    The meeting, which took place in the presence of Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, confirmed the friendly and traditional ties between Russia and Greece, Mr. Kaklamanis said afterwards.

    The Russian mayor expressed concern over the situation in former Yugoslavia, praising Greece's contribution to efforts for a peaceful settlement in the Balkans.

    [7] Greece, China sign bilateral shipping, exports agreements

    Beijing, 17/10/1995 (ANA - K. Christodoulou):

    Greece and China yesterday signed a shipping cooperation and an exports promotion agreement in the framework of strengthening ties between the two countries.

    The shipping cooperation agreement was signed between Merchant Marine Minister George Katsifaras and China's Communications Minister Huang Zhendong.

    The agreement was signed in the presence of Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias.

    Following a meeting later with Chinese Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, Mr. Papoulias said Greek-Chinese relations were "constantly developing."

    "Consultations with China give fresh impetus to relations between the two countries," Mr. Papoulias said.

    Noting that "the trade balance between the two countries is tilting against Greece, Mr. Papoulias said Mr. Qichen promised to help Greek exports to China "in order to close the gap in the trade balance."

    Mr. Papoulias further said Greece and China shared the same views on the Balkan crisis.

    He said he had extended an invitation to his Chinese counterpart to visit Athens, "a visit which will mark a new chapter in Greek-Chinese relations."

    He said Greece supported China's desire for closer relations with the European Union.

    "There is, of course, the human rights problem," Mr. Papoulias said, adding that "certain encouraging steps have been made on the issue..." "China is a major power and the European Union can not ignore this reality," Mr. Papoulias said.

    Describing the shipping cooperation agreement as "necessary," Mr. Katsifaras said the meeting centered on sea transport issues and the ship-repair industry, as well as issues related to Greek-Chinese joint ventures in the maritime field.

    The exports promotion agreement was signed by Hellenic Exports Promotion Organization (OPE) President Ioannis Tzen and the president of the Chinese International Trade Promotion Council.

    Mr. Papoulias will meet today with Chinese Vice President and Alternate Prime Minister Zhu Rongjii.

    [8] Stephanopoulos leaves today to attend UN General Assembly

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos leaves for New York today to address the United Nations General Assembly.

    On the sidelines of the assembly, Mr. Stephanopoulos will hold a series of meetings with world leaders.

    The Greek president is expected to meet with French President Jacques Chirac and Italian President Luigi Scalfaro and may meet with his counterparts from Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Malta.

    While in New York, Mr. Stephanopoulos will meet with the city's mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, and Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will visit Boston for meetings with the city's mayor and representatives of Boston's Greek community and give a lecture at Harvard University on Greek foreign policy issues.

    [9] Nezeritis denies Greece hosting Kurdish training camps

    Istanbul, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greek Ambassador to Ankara Dimitris Nezeritis yesterday denied allegations that Kurdish rebels were operating training camps in Greece.

    "Whoever wishes can come to Greece to freely conduct searches in all areas where (training) camps allegedly exist," he said.

    In a meeting in Izmir with the city's deputy mayor, Mr. Nezeritis said Greece had never supported terrorism.

    "We don't want our neighbor Turkey to have to face a terrorism problem because it could exceed its borders and cross into other countries," he said.

    Replying to a questioner on the kind of Turkish government he would like, Mr. Nezeritis said: "We desire a government which will look forward to developing relations between the two countries without prejudices and without preliminary conditions."

    [10] Memorandum of 'practical measures'

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    According to the memorandum signed after meetings between the Greek and FYROM delegations in Athens October 3-4 and in Skopje October 10-13, "the Liaison Offices shall be established in a coordinated manner in the capitals of the Parties of the Two Parts. "

    Concerning movement of persons and goods, Athens is bound by the memorandum to grant entry visas to citizens of FYROM "on a special visa document."

    According to the memorandum, such visa documents will be issued by the liaison offices and the two countries' consular missions abroad, and entry to both countries shall be allowed upon presentation of the visa documents provided that all other preconditions foreseen by the respective national legislation have been met.

    "Accordingly, neither stamp nor sticker shall be put on passports of either side."

    In exceptional cases, and until the establishment of liaison offices, such visa documents may be issued by border authorities. Concerning official and other correspondence between Greece and FYROM, Athens will not return Skopje documents on which the latter is designated by a name which the first does not recognize.

    According to the memorandum "the Party of the First Part (Athens) will process these documents only after its appropriate authorities have affixed on them a seal bearing the provisional designation by which the Party of the Second Part (Skopje) is refer red to in the UN Security Council Resolution 817/93."

    Accordingly, Skopje "will not return documents of the Party of the First Part (Athens) on which the Party of the Second Part is designated by the provisional designation by which the Party of the Second Part is referred to in the UN Security Council Resolution 817/93.

    "The Party of the Second Part will process these documents only after its appropriate authorities have affixed on them a seal bearing a name which the Party of the First Part does not recognize."

    The same applies to trade documents.

    Concerning bank exchanges, Athens and Skopje agreed that "the banking institutions of the two Parties, upon receipt of electronic messages, will continue to communicate in accordance with the already established practice."

    They have also agreed that "a meeting between representatives of banking institutions should take place as promptly as possible in order to promote bilateral cooperation in this field."

    Concerning transport and communications, the memorandum provides for "meetings between representatives of the Ministries of Transport and Communications, railways authorities, post and telecommunication offices, civil aviation directorates, customs authorities and the national green cards bureaus of the Parties of the Two Parts," to be held within seven days in order to "examine and determine, on the basis of reciprocity, the relations between the Parties of the Two Parts in their respective fields in compliance with the Interim Accord of September 13, 1995 and relative provisions of this document."

    Pending bilateral regulation of the relations in the field of transport and communications, to be determined by the end of the year, the Two Parts have agreed on a number of measures to facilitate the unimpeded implementation of the Interim Accord.

    According to the memorandum "regarding products of the Party of the Second Part (FYROM) exported to the Party of the First Part (Greece) and bearing as name of country of origin a name not recognized by the Party of the First Part, the Party of the Firs t Part's importers, before the products' customs clearance by the Party of the First Part, shall cover this name with a sticker bearing the provisional designation by which the Party of the Second Part is referred to in the UN Security Council Resolution 817/93."

    Furthermore, "the use of the distinguishing 'MK' on vehicles with a registration plate of the Party of the Second Part, entering the territory of the Party of the First Part, does not imply recognition of its validity by the Party of the First Part, pursuant to the reservation deposited by this Party with the UN Secretariat acting as depository of the Convention on Road Traffic (Vienna, November 8, 1968).

    "Consequently, upon entry of private vehicles with an 'MK' sign into the territory of the Party of the First Part, the officials of this Part will place, on a free space, on the back wind-shield of those vehicles a self-adhesive sticker, not bigger than the distinguishing signs used in international transport, stating the above reservation."

    [11] Evert says ND preparing to assume office

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    In an interview with Flash radio station yesterday, New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert dismissed calls for tougher opposition tactics, saying what was necessary at a time when the government was disintegrating, was for the main opposition to prepare adequately to assume power.

    "New Democracy's attention must now turn to its preparation to take over the government with a sense of responsibility, and this is the policy we are following," he said.

    Mr. Evert said differentiated conditions now required different opposition tactics.

    "Prospects and conditions in the 1980s, when PASOK had opted for trapping voters, are different from the current phase, which gives emphasis on the main opposition's creative presence," he added.

    He said recent opinion polls showed that ND was well ahead of the ruling party.

    "With the present electoral law, which I believe will not change, we shall have a comfortable parliamentary majority, but this does not mean that we shall not cooperate with other parties at programmatic convergence level," he said.

    Asked if cooperation with other parties would involve all opposition parties, he replied affirmatively.

    "We don't exclude anyone. We shall seek a national foreign policy, a national policy on education, and we shall apply self-control on public spending and appointments in the public sector," he said.

    [12] Spanish naval chief in Athens today

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Spanish Navy General Staff Chief Admiral Juan Romero will pay an official visit to Athens today for talks with his Greek counterpart on issues of mutual cooperation.

    Admiral Romero will be received by National Defense Undersecretary Nikos Kouris and the National Defense General Staff deputy chief and will visit SDAM and Fleet Headquarters.

    He will also be visiting Mycenae, Nafplion and Epidavros on Friday.

    [13] Eleni Vlachou laid to rest

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greece's "first lady of the press" and long-time "Kathimerini" publisher Eleni Vlachou was buried yesterday in Athens First Cemetery.

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and former president and prime minister Constantine Karamanlis sent wreaths, as did much of the political and press community. The "Society of Imprisoned and Exiled 1967- 1974" also sent a wreath.

    Several well-known political leaders attended the 84-year-old former publisher's funeral.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis spoke of Ms Vlachou's "enormous contribution to the Greek press and her resistance to the colonels' (seven-year) dictatorship."

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert noted "the contribution of this great journalist to society and Greece," while Press Minister Telemahos Hytiris highlighted Ms Vlachou's "stance during the junta, where she protested by closing her publications."

    Political Spring leader and founder Antonis Samaras called the one-time Kathimerini and "Eikones" publisher a "symbol of morality and objectivity."

    Other notables attending the ceremony included, among others: former premier and honorary ND president Constantine Mitsotakis, who declined to make press comments; former parliament president and current ND deputy Athanassios Tsaldaris; former ND ministers Virginia Tsouderou and George Souflias; independent deputy Michalis Papaconstantinou; Athens Academy President Yiangos Pesmazoglou; veteran left-wing politician Leonidas Kyrkos as well as many other politicians and journalists.

    [14] Balkan peace and stability necessary for regional energy networks

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Speaking at the opening of the European Commission-sponsored two-day conference on energy networks in the Balkans yesterday, Industry and Energy Minister Anastasios Peponis and EU Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis stressed that the consolidation of peace and security in the Balkans was a necessary prerequisite for turning the peninsula into a strategic junction of energy networks.

    Mr. Papoutsis said the energy sector was a basic lever for development in the region and cooperation between Balkan countries and the European Union.

    He said plans supported by the EU, and capable of conferring considerable benefits, included the supplying of Iranian natural gas to western Europe through the Balkans, the construction of new pipelines for the transportation of oil from Russia, the Caucasus, and Central Asia to the Mediterranean, and the interconnection of the electricity grids of Balkan countries between them.

    Mr. Peponis, who opened the conference, said Greece had made systematic efforts in the direction of restoring peace and cooperation in the Balkans, and that "we are now entering a period in which international energy transportation networks will form part of the great infrastructure projects of top priority". Greece, he added, had already realized the significance of the interconnection of its electricity grid with that of Italy since 1988, and financing of this project had been secured.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos said the Russian natural gas project, expected to provide more than two billion cubic meters annually, was the cornerstone of a comprehensive change in Greece's energy system in the direction of better performance and greater economy.

    He said the project would also have favorable effects on the environment and could contribute to the further development of friendly relations between Balkan countries.

    Referring to the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, he said it was a project of strategic importance which would change the energy structure not only in the Balkans, but in the whole of the eastern Mediterranean.

    The conference is being attended by Armenian deputy premier Zurab Kervlisvili, Bulgarian deputy premier and External Trade Minister Kyril Tsosev, Moldovan deputy premier Valentin Petrou, and the deputy energy ministers of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Armenia, and FYROM.

    [15] Absorption of Community Funds

    Athens, 17/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greek European Commissioner for energy Christos Papoutsis said in Thessaloniki yesterday that the Greek government had forecast the acceleration of the pace of absorption of Community Funds and the European Commission hoped that it would reach maximum levels by the end of the year.

    End of English language section.

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