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A.N.A. Bulletin, 18/10/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 718), October 18, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Papoutsis says Commission supportive of any Greek-FYROM energy cooperation

  • [2] Athens, Moscow agree to joint initiatives for better cooperation

  • [3] Papoutsis says Commission will restore Sarajevo's power networks

  • [4] Greek, FYROM delegations to resume talks in Athens today

  • [5] Commission will drop case against Greece, van den Broek says

  • [6] Arsenis reiterates NATO scenario furor is a non-issue

  • [7] Greece always prepared to assist victims of Bosnian war, Hytiris says

  • [8] Grachev visit to Greece re-scheduled

  • [9] Norwegian education minister to speak in Athens

  • [10] Israeli's Rabin, Peres receive church peace award

  • [11] President arrives in New York to address UN General Assembly

  • [12] PASOK Parliamentary Group to convene early next month

  • [13] Coalition presents five-point plan to Tsohatzopoulos

  • [14] George Papandreou, Evert confer on crisis in higher education

  • [15] Westendorp calls for more cohesive EU voice in international arena

  • [16] Papoulias says Beijing talks 'successful for Greek goals'

  • [17] Nezeritis says room for better Greek-Turkish relations

  • [18] Bulgarian defense minister in Athens today

  • [19] Gov't tight economic policy will not change, Papantoniou says

  • [20] News from Brussels


  • [1] Papoutsis says Commission supportive of any Greek-FYROM energy cooperation

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis yesterday proposed a practical first step in cooperation between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in the energy sector, under the auspices of a Community programme.

    Mr. Papoutsis, who was addressing a press conference as part of the conference on energy networks in the Balkans currently taking place in Thessaloniki, said the European Commission's General Energy Directorate could proceed with a joint energy plan between FYROM and northern Greece since "energy problems knew no borders".

    He said he had already issued instructions to Energy Directorate services in this direction.

    Mr. Papoutsis reiterated that the registering of energy problems would come before the European Commission went ahead with funding infrastructure programmes in FYROM, adding that all possible aid would also be offered in other sectors but after problems between Greece and FYROM had been eradicated.

    Asked by reporters to comment on a proposal by the Assistant Energy Minister of FYROM concerning the building of an oil pipeline linking Thessaloniki and FYROM, Mr. Papoutsis said that all plans regarding cooperation between Greece and FYROM would be examined by the European Commission and, after agreement was obtained from funding organizations, there would be a reply.

    Asked whether FYROM planned to establish a nuclear station on its territory, Mr. Papoutsis said the European Commission had no such information.

    Speaking to reporters on the same issue after the press conference, European Investment Bank Deputy President Panayiotis Yennimatas said funding conditions were not met for building such a project on the part of FYROM and expressed the view that a FYROM undertaking to finance it alone was not feasible.

    Meanwhile, a Turkish official said yesterday there was scope for cooperation between Greece and Turkey in the natural gas transport sector, when Ankara decides to export gas from Turkmenistan or Iran to Europe.

    Giokhan Yiardim, director of Turkey's Botas natural gas department, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry, told the Macedonian Press Agency that Turkey already had plans for a pipeline bringing natural gas from Turkmenistan.

    "The natural gas can be piped to Europe with two pipelines: one crossing through Bulgaria and Romania and one reaching Italy through Greece," he said.

    However, he said nothing had been discussed with Greek officials yet, adding that the implementation of such international plans was not so easy.

    Mr. Yiardim said cooperation already existed between Greece and Turkey in the electric power sector based on an agreement signed in November 1989 and which was continuing without problems.

    [2] Athens, Moscow agree to joint initiatives for better cooperation

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    The mayors of Athens and Moscow said yesterday that cooperation and friendship between the two cities would be strengthened and upgraded.

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday met with visiting Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzkov to discuss the forms cooperation between the two cities could take in the future.

    Some of the joint initiatives and projects decided upon include: the holding of a "Maria Callas Festival", sponsored by both cities in the Russian capital, while Athens committed itself to a "significant presence" at Moscow's 800th anniversary celebration s in 1997.

    Commercial and business ties and activities will also be strengthened through contacts between commerce and industry chambers, while the two men agreed to an exchange of expertise and know-how on the introduction and application of new technologies in t he management and operation of cities.

    Mr. Luzkov also said Moscow would participate in the next meeting of mayors from southeastern Europe; the inaugural meeting was held in Athens ten days ago.

    Meanwhile, initiatives by the Greco-Russian Cooperation Foundation to promote the Greek language in Russia were announced yesterday in Athens during a special ceremony, attended by the Athens and Moscow mayors, by Yiannis Yiannikos, the president of both the foundation and the Pushkin Institute of Athens.

    During the ceremony at the institute's headquarters, Mr. Yiannikos also presented commemorative plaques to Mr. Luzkov and Mr. Avramopoulos.

    "I believe the institute will strengthen the spiritual ties between the two people and will develop into a bridge of friendship and cooperation between the citizens of the two countries," Mr. Avramopoulos said.

    Mr. Luzkov said relations between the two nations "have a past, present and future."

    The Moscow mayor also promised his municipality will assist in the Pushkin Institute's efforts.

    [3] Papoutsis says Commission will restore Sarajevo's power networks

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    European Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis announced in Thessaloniki yesterday that the European Commission would undertake the restoration of damages caused to Sarajevo's power network during the 42-month war in Bosnia. Mr. Papoutsis told a press conference on the sidelines of a two-day Commission-sponsored conference on energy networks in the Balkans that the Commission's General Directorate for Energy had dispa-tched a representative to Sarajevo to prepare the ground for a visit by a team of experts in the next two weeks.

    The team will take inventory of damages and the needs for restoration of the electricity network, Mr. Papoutsis said.

    Mr. Papoutsis said the Commission would call on EU member-states' power companies to donate material for the restoration work.

    He said the Commission services had already contacted a few electricity companies, "which had responded favorably," adding that he had urged the Public Power Corporation of Greece (DEH) to take part in the initiative.

    Mr. Papoutsis expressed the hope that "in this way the European Commission will contribute to the consolidation of peace through a specific initiative in the energy sector." Such an initiative, he said, "is of particular importance if we consider that one of the main conditions for the cease-fire in Bosnia was the (restoration of) unimpeded supply of electricity and natural gas to Sarajevo."

    The commissioner said he would visit Sarajevo personally to discuss with the government the problems in the energy sector.

    He said the Commission was in touch with all international organizations providing humanitarian assistance to the former Yugoslavia for coordination of the initiative.

    [4] Greek, FYROM delegations to resume talks in Athens today

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) are set to resume talks in Athens today on outstanding technical details on the implementation of the recently signed interim accord. The talks will start at 2:00pm at the foreign and transport ministries.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris yesterday reiterated that consultations on the issue of the name issue would begin at the end of the month. Mr. Hytiris added that Greek importers of FYROM products should put a 'Made in FYROM' sticker on the imported goods, adding that those who do not abide by the regulations will face penalties. The spokesman ad-ded that FYROM has the right to use a "Made in Macedonia" sticker on its exports to third countries.

    [5] Commission will drop case against Greece, van den Broek says

    Brussels, 18/10/1995 (ANA - G Daratos):

    The European Commission will drop its case against Greece at the European Court calling for the lifting of trade sanctions against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek said yesterday.

    Replying to a question by Coalition of the Left and Progress Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos, Mr. van den Broek said he was ready to withdraw the case against Greece as soon as Athens addressed a letter to the Commission officially announcing that it had lifted the sanctions against FYROM.

    [6] Arsenis reiterates NATO scenario furor is a non-issue

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis yesterday said that continued speculation of NATO scenarios concerning autonomy for Thrace "lacked seriousness".

    "The matter has ended," Mr. Arsenis said, referring to the insistence of the main opposition New Democracy party of fanning the issue.

    Mr. Arsenis said the Alliance had denied the existence of any such scenaria in the most categorical manner.

    He said he had a telephone conversation with ND leader Miltiades Evert who informed him that the source of his information was a Greek officer serving at NATO's Naples headquarters.

    However, the officer, who has been questioned in the presence of senior officers and admitted to frequent contacts with Mr. Evert with whom he is on friendly terms, denied discussing the issue with Mr. Evert and has insisted that he has no information regarding a NATO plan for Thrace and neither was he aware whether relevant proposals or discussions had been made in Naples.

    Responding to Mr. Arsenis, Mr. Evert said the government was trying to "cover up" the incident, instead of searching for the truth.

    "I do not have to go into details," he said. "I am simply informed and inform, and the information I received was clear as was the information I gave the government."

    The furor over the press report alleging a NATO scenario involving "partial autonomy" for western Thrace and a population exchange has caused the government and the main opposition to cross swords, after ruling party PASOK indirectly accused New Democracy of leaking the information to the press.

    The claim, that NATO conducted an exercise last July with a particular scenario involving Western Thrace, was published in the Sunday newspaper "To Vima."

    Mr. Evert expressed his displeasure on Monday at press reports alleging that he leaked the contents of his meeting last week with Minister of State at the Prime Minister's Office Antonis Livanis on a national issue to the press.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris yesterday intimated to the press that Mr. Evert had leaked the information, criticizing the opposition leader of "not handling national issues with due seriousness and responsibility."

    Mr. Hytiris told reporters that, following an investigation of the issue, NATO had said that "no such scenario existed at any NATO level."

    Mr. Hytiris said the Greek government has accepted NATO's statement and urged reporters to turn to Mr. Evert or the newspaper for further information on the issue.

    Mr. Hytiris added that the government had also been informed on the alleged NATO scenario and was investigating the issue before Mr. Evert informed Mr. Livanis.

    ND spokesman Vassilis Manginas lashed against Mr. Hytiris later, branding as "unacceptable, the fact that the government attempts to throw responsibility for the leakage on ND". Mr. Manginas categorically denied that Mr. Evert had leaked the information to the press.

    He added that Mr. Evert had contacted National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis "for the third time yesterday asking him to investigate in a specific direction this serious national issue."

    "The national defense minister knows very well the issue he is dealing with," he said, adding that the government was using a national issue for political gain.

    The spokesman said it was the obligation of the ND leader to "inform the government of any information he has on national issues."

    Commenting on Mr. Manginas' statements, Mr. Hytiris said that if Mr. Evert had information rebutting NATO's official statement he should submit it to Mr. Arsenis.

    [7] Greece always prepared to assist victims of Bosnian war, Hytiris says

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greece was fully prepared to satisfy its commitments regarding providing hospitality for refugees from former Yugoslavia.

    Replying to a questioner on whether Greece and other European Union countries would provide shelter for some of Bosnia's 2,000 Moslem refugees, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said the UN High Commission had appealed to the 15 EU member-states to receive the refugees.

    He said this number was absorbed by EU countries not including Greece which, however, was already sheltering 4,000 refugees from Bosnia on its own initiative.

    Mr. Hytiris said more than 160,000 Greek expatriate refugees from the former Soviet Union and Albania were currently living in Greece, adding that a large number of illegal immigrants also lived in Greece, creating a problem for the country which was no t faced by other EU countries.

    Meanwhile, children from Knin, the capital of the mostly Serb-populated region of Krajina that was overrun by Croat forces in early September, arrived Monday at the Nea Karvali boy scout camp in the Kavala Prefecture.

    The children, ranging between seven and 15, are accompanied by social workers and nurses.

    According to camp director Vassilis Pasalis, 35 to 40 of the children in the group are victims of the latest Croat bombings in Krajina.

    The Serbian children's hospitality is being covered by the Eleftheroupolis, Philippoi and Chrysoupolis municipalities, as well as the community of Limenaria on Thassos island.

    Fifty to 60 children from the same region will arrive next month at the camp.

    [8] Grachev visit to Greece re-scheduled

    Moscow, 18/10/1995 (ANA - D. Constantakopoulos):

    Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev has set back his scheduled visit to Greece later this month by four days, in order to be able to attend a court hearing in the Russian capital.

    Despite the issuing of a subpoena, the minister had initially refused to attend the hearing of a libel suit he has brought against a journalist, scheduled for October 25, saying he would be visiting Greece on that day.

    He was apparently forced to reconsider after President Boris Yeltsin asked him to re-examine his schedule of engagements.

    The visit was re-scheduled by mutual agreement with Greece.

    [9] Norwegian education minister to speak in Athens

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    Norway's Minister of Education, Research and Church Affairs, Gudmund Hernes, will arrive in Athens Thursday to deliver the "Nansen Memorial Lecture '95" at the Acropolis Studies Centre, according to a Norwegian Embassy press release yesterday.

    On Friday, the Norwegian minister will meet Education and Religious Affairs Minister George Papandreou before attending the inauguration of the Nordic Library in Athens.

    Mr. Hernes will speak on the topic of "Norway in the present European context," focusing on Norway's position in Europe and the challenges ahead in light of a November 1994 referendum in the Scandinavian country that narrowly rejected membership into the European Union.

    The event begins at 6pm at the centre, Makriyianni 2-4.

    [10] Israeli's Rabin, Peres receive church peace award

    Jerusalem, 18/10/1995 (Reuter):

    The Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem gave Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres its top peace prize yesterday for their role in promoting Middle East peace.

    The two shared the Golden Peace Prize with Jordan's King Hussein and Crown Prince Hassan, who were already awarded the prize in Amman, and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, who was expected to receive it at a later date.

    Patriarch Diodoros I said in an outdoor ceremony at his Jerusalem home that the Greek Orthodox church had decided "to reward the zeal and commitment of the top contributors to the work of peace," to encourage their continuing efforts.

    Rabin, Peres and Arafat shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for the Israel-PLO deal which launched Palestinian self-rule. Israel and Jordan signed a peace accord last year.

    The patriarch decorated each of the two leaders with a necklace at the ceremony attended by clergymen, foreign diplomats and Israeli and Palestinian officials.

    [11] President arrives in New York to address UN General Assembly

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived yesterday in New York where he is due to address the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

    During his stay in New York, President Stephanopoulos will meet with the French and Italian presidents as well as other heads of state.

    [12] PASOK Parliamentary Group to convene early next month

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    The ruling PASOK party's Parliamentary Group will convene in the first 10 days of November to discuss the government's social policy.

    Parliamentary Group Secretary Dimitris Beis, who made the announcement, met Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in the presence of Minister of State Antonis Livanis yesterday. Mr. Beis was accompanied by presidium members Messrs. Reppas, Lotidis and Glavinas.

    Mr. Beis expressed the view that "voices had quieted" in PASOK's intra-party confrontation.

    Replying to a questioner on whether they had communicated the unfavorable situation to the prime minister, Mr. Beis said they conveyed the climate existing in the Parliamentary Group and among the people.

    Mr. Beis said the role played by deputies in new conditions being created was discussed (he said the prime minister requested proposals from him), adding that the prime minister was making a steady effort to upgrade the Parliamentary Group.

    He said general issues could also be raised at the Parliamentary Group's meeting and that soon the prime minister would invite all PASOK deputies for a meeting.

    Interior Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday asked the "group of 4" PASOK dissidents to support the successful promotion of the government's policy.

    Replying to press questions, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said each member, individually or collectively, should contribute to the promotion of institutional reforms for success of the government's policy.

    "The materialization of this message, this great agreement, is necessary in PASOK so that a perception of in-fighting and dissension that has appeared in the past can be overcome, and primarily to rejuvenate a need for collective and effective efforts towards satisfaction of the Greek people's demands," he added.

    [13] Coalition presents five-point plan to Tsohatzopoulos

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos presented his party's five-point plan on the "democratization of the political system and safeguarding transparency rules" in a meeting with Interior and Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday.

    Mr. Constantopoulos raised the issue of simple proportional representation being established in general elections, but Mr. Tsohatzopoulos replied that the government was not preoccupied with changing the electoral law.

    He also said in a statement that Greece was currently faced with an overall political problem as a result of the failure of the bipartisan system.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said he made it clear that the country needed a climate of political and economic stability for institutional changes the government was promoting.

    He offered assurances that he would proceed with settlements safeguarding transparency and social control, adding that the law on the responsibility of ministers would also change.

    The five points proposed by the Coalition are the establishment of proportional representation in elections, a law on transparency and control for the finances of parties and politicians, settlements for the democratization of electoral legislation, integration of the institution of Prefectural self-administration and rules, criteria and institutions of inter-party supervision in managing the second Community Support Framework.

    [14] George Papandreou, Evert confer on crisis in higher education

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    Education Minister George Papandreou and main opposition leader Miltiades Evert yesterday discussed general education issues and the financial problems currently faced by the country's higher educational establishments.

    Following the meeting, Mr. Papandreou said there would be a new regulatory framework for universities by the end of the year, which would shut the door to parallel occupation for academic staff, and would reform the system of supplying textbooks to students.

    He added that the finances of universities also needed gradual improvement, with transparent procedures related to their efficiency and performance.

    Referring to the meeting, he said he had found willingness to arrive at an inter-party agreement on educational issues.

    [15] Westendorp calls for more cohesive EU voice in international arena

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    A need for Europe's voice to become "understood and heard in the international arena through improvement and support of the European Union's common foreign policy" was the highlight of Spanish Minister for European Affairs Carlos Westendorp's speech last night in Athens.

    The Spanish minister, who is also president of the working group for the EU's intergovernmental conference, spoke at the event organized by the Hellenic Foundation for Foreign and Defense Policy (ELIAMEP).

    Earlier, Mr. Westendorp met with Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos at the foreign ministry to discuss issues related to next year's conference.

    Mr. Westendorp cited the need for support of EU relations with Russia, Mediterranean nations and the United States and commented on various ideas being developed within the framework for preparations of the important 1996 conference.

    He also remarked on the need for transparency within the EU for European citizens.

    [16] Papoulias says Beijing talks 'successful for Greek goals'

    Beijing, 18/10/1995 (ANA - K.Christodoulou):

    Speaking at the close of an official three-day visit to China, Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias said he was satisfied with the results of the talks and that the goals of the Greek delegation had been met with success.

    He was speaking following talks with Chinese Vice President and Alternate Prime Minister Zhu Rongjii, also attended by Greek Merchant Marine Minister George Katsifaras and National Economy Undersecretary Ioannis Anthopoulos.

    Stressing that Greek-Chinese relations were still developing, Mr. Papoulias said "there is political will to improve these relations but there are also tangible results."

    Mr. Katsifaras told reporters that a Greek proposal for the formation of joint ventures in shipping was accepted by Chinese officials.

    He said it was agreed that the Greek shipowners will undertake the transportation of Chinese products and promote marine tourism.

    The Greek delegation is due to arrive in Shanghai today.

    [17] Nezeritis says room for better Greek-Turkish relations

    Istanbul, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    In an interview with the daily 'Turkiye', published yesterday, Greek ambassador to Turkey Dimitris Nezeritis said he was optimistic about Greek-Turkish relations.

    "I am optimistic that certain things could be done," he said. "We desire good relations with Turkey, nobody wants bad relations."

    Referring to moves having a negative effect on bilateral relations, he said one of them was the Turkish Parliament's authorization to the government, earlier in the year, to use force if Greece extended its territorial waters to 12 miles.

    "That announcement created a threatening atmosphere," he said.

    "Today, we cannot expect the immediate resolution of certain problems. We must not scratch small pimples and turn them into open wounds. They may not go away, but they are not very annoying either," he continued.

    Commenting on the struggle waged by the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), he said it was being waged in southeast Turkey, where Greece was not present.

    "On the issue of support to the PKK granted from abroad, you should not be looking at us, but in other directions," he said.

    Meanwhile, after a visit to the Izmir Commercial Chamber, Mr. Nezeritis said that the two countries had to increase trade exchanges, which would promote friendly relations.

    [18] Bulgarian defense minister in Athens today

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    Bulgarian Defense Minister Dimitar Pavlov arrives in Athens today for talks with Greek counterpart Gerassimos Arsenis. The two ministers will hold a joint press conference in the afternoon. Mr. Pavlov will also meet with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    [19] Gov't tight economic policy will not change, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 18/10/1995 (ANA):

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said the government's tight economic policy would remain unchanged and committed to achieving targets set in the convergence programme.

    He said he would start a series of meetings next week with representatives of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB), the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and other employee and employer trade unions as part of dialogue on economic policy to be applied in 1996.

    Mr. Papantoniou said all economic policy issues would be handled in the framework of the convergence programme.

    In the event reliability was upset in economic policy, the entire spectrum of economic activities would be endangered, including the stability of the drachma, he said.

    Recent price increases in the market were not considerable and would not overturn the government's target for inflation, which was a decrease to 5 per cent at the end of 1996.

    Public organizations would not increase their tariffs until the end of the year, while next year's tariff policy would be examined in connection with fiscal and incomes policy.

    Mr. Papantoniou also referred to his meetings with officials of the US government, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank during his recent visit to the US.

    [20] News from Brussels

    Brussels, 18/10/95 (ANA - G. Daratos):

    The European Commission will consider filling various vacant high-ranking positions during its regular weekly meeting today. According to reports, the Greek foreign ministry's general director for European affairs, Thanassis Theodorakis, is expected to be appointed alternate general director of development (mainly with Third World countries).

    End of English language section.

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