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A.N.A. Bulletin, 19/10/95

From: (Theodore Zarros)

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 719), October 19, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address:


  • [1] PASOK will fulfill voters' mandate, Premier says

  • [2] Executive bureau statement

  • [3] National Bank cautious on interest rate declines, to raise share capital

  • [4] President praises US mediatory role, downplays 'Thrace scenaria'

  • [5] Optimism on national issues

  • [6] Balkan developments discussed by Arsenis, Pavlov

  • [7] Hytiris comments on war reparations issue

  • [8] Hytiris: Gov't keenly interested in fate of 3 imprisoned seamen

  • [9] Greece, FYROM consultations resume

  • [10] Thessaloniki chamber delegation heads for Skopje

  • [11] Patriarch schedules May visit to Thessaloniki

  • [12] Europarliament delegation to examine Thriasion industrial area

  • [13] Athens joins 'healthy cities' network

  • [14] Thracian scenaria affair continues to simmer

  • [15] Athens-New Delhi air link considered

  • [16] Greece, China sign shipping agreement

  • [17] Shanghai visit

  • [1] PASOK will fulfill voters' mandate, Premier says

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister and PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou yesterday said all party forces would be mobilized in the next two years in an effort to fulfill the task undertaken by the party and under the voters' mandate.

    Mr. Papandreou spoke to the press after chairing the first meeting of the ruling PASOK's newly elected executive bureau at PASOK's Harilaou Trikoupi headquarters in downtown Athens.

    Branding the meeting "a new starting point for PASOK," Mr. Papandreou said the next two years until elections, will be characterized by close cooperation among the cabinet, the executive bureau, the parliamentary group and party officials, which will result in the completion of the government's goals.

    "It will indeed be a new starting point for PASOK," the premier said, adding that the socialist party aimed at a new four-year mandate in 1997.

    "We expect it and we seek it," the premier said adding: "The government will follow a course which will yield the desires of the people, peace, progress and democracy."

    In reply to press questions over the central committee's meeting last week, where the premier slammed dissidents within PASOK and rejected calls to resign as the head of the government and the party, he said: "We have overcome a turning point, hopefully with no return.

    In reference to his speech during the central committee's meeting, the founder of PASOK said, "it was a message exerting criticism, but aimed at mobilizing all the party forces."

    Asked whether the party dissidents will undertake an active role in developments in the party and government, Mr. Papandreou implied the decision was left to them. "They have not resigned or been expelled from the party," the premier said.

    Mr. Papandreou also expressed deep regret at former PASOK official Dimitris Tsovolas' decision to resign from the party.

    [2] Executive bureau statement

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    In one of its first actions, PASOK's newly elected executive bureau yesterday addressed a call to all members, cadres and local committees to undertake initiatives and unite in a collective effort, which will guarantee the present and future of the party and enable the government to fully implement its commitments.

    "We would like to provide the assurance that the next two years, leading to elections in October 1997, will be a period of creative effort, rallying and mobilization for the whole of PASOK," the executive bureau statement said.

    [3] National Bank cautious on interest rate declines, to raise share capital

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    The National Bank announced a reduction yesterday in its floating housing loan interest rate, down from 17 per cent to 16 per cent. However, National Bank President George Mirkos said the bank was skeptical about reductions in fixed interest rates recently announced by other banks.

    Mr. Mirkos said he disagreed with both the size of reductions and the way with which they were announced, primarily because they were not shaped in connection with the bank's cost of money and because loan conditions were open, conceivably allowing borrowers to assume large risks.

    In this context, National Bank won't give housing loans with a fixed interest rate but will service its clients with faster approval for loans and possibilities of loan repayment suiting the client's needs.

    Referring to mortgage interest rates, Mr. Mirkos said National Bank had reduced them considerably in past months, adding that the decrease would continue, provided inflation continued to slide.

    Concurrently, he said in the first half of 1995 the bank participated in business investments amounting to about 25 billion drachmas.

    The bank's loans both in drachmas and foreign currency increased 16.3 per cent in the first nine months in 1995 compared to the corresponding period in 1994, while loans in foreign currency increased 34.1 per cent over the same period.

    The bank has taken an important decision to undertake initiatives to develop a derivatives securities market.

    The bank will virtually become the key "player" in this new market since it will provide prices for the new products on a daily basis.

    On the question of internationalization of the drachma, the bank will set parities in relation to the US dollar, the deutschmark and the pound sterling, which will be made public by the Reuters network and will be valid for international transactions in drachmas, even when the Greek market is closed.

    Mr. Mirkos announced that the National Bank will increase its share capital in the first half of 1996. He did not disclose the exact amount of the increase but said it would range between 40 and 100 billion drachmas. He also said the time the increase i n share capital would take place depends also on the date the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization's (OTE) shares would be registered at the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [4] President praises US mediatory role, downplays 'Thrace scenaria'

    New York, 19/10/1995 (ANA/ M. Georgiadou):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday dismissed the importance of recent speculation on alleged NATO scenarios concerning autonomy for Thrace, stressing the value of the United States' mediatory role in Greece's dispute s with its neighbors.

    In statements after arriving in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly during ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of its founding, he said NATO's categorical denial of the existence of any such plans of autonomy for Greece's northeastern province left no doubt hanging on the matter.

    "I do not think (the matter) is in the news any more. The denials, which were made in the most categorical way and the NATO denials, which the Greek government accepted and must be both true and reliable, leave no room for current interest or doubt on t he matter," he said.

    Questioned on the role of the United States in the entire spectrum of Greek national issues, he said: "This great country plays an important role everywhere, not only in the Balkans or Europe. Its role is always a peacemaking one. One of resolving differences. And this was ascertained with the intervention effected so that there might be progress, as there was, in Greece's differences with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)."

    Concerning the issue of FYROM's name, he said he hoped there would be a compromise.

    "Discussions and negotiations for the name presuppose concessions on the part of the so-called 'Macedonia,' because otherwise there would be no room for discussion. They have certain starting positions, and we are steady on ours... I hope a compromise will be reached," he said.

    During his stay in the United States, the Greek president will give a speech at Harvard University. Mr. Stephanopoulos has said his speech would certainly refer to Cyprus and the Aegean.

    "These are the main issues. Because we all know perfectly well that Greece's great difficulties originate in the east, to the east of the country. Our relations with Turkey go through tension at periods, and this is what creates problems for Greece."

    Referring to Greek-Turkish relations, he added: "One is aware of and understands the difficulties which America has in helping in the way it would wish. Because I also do not forget with the assurances provided by President Clinton and other officials i n American political life, that they will contribute their utmost to the smoothing out of these differences... This does not mean that (America's) interventions can reach the point of pressures against the interests of Greece. Greece may accept discussion and advice, it does not accept pressure."

    He coupled caution with a reference to the intricacies of politics in the Balkans.

    "It is not easy for people who do not know the peculiarities of the Balkans and do not know the history and the turbulence of this region - and I am referring to this century - to realize the justice of Greek positions," he said.

    He praised the role of Greek-Americans in support of national issues.

    "They are a forward bastion of national interests, which we all know very well how it activates itself in crucial moments in favor of national interests," he noted.

    [5] Optimism on national issues

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    In speaking to reporters before attending a dinner hosted in his honor by Archbishop of North and South America Iakovos, Mr. Stephanopoulos yesterday expressed a certainty that "problems faced by Greece abroad will soon be overcome."

    He said Greece had justice on its side and Greeks would soon feel more secure than at present.

    "It does not mean that we don't feel secure now, but the anxiety existing over our national issues is the cause of some discomfort," he added.

    The Greek president expressed confidence in the future of the country.

    "Greece has achieved things which other nations, with a much longer national life have not. I believe in the dynamism of Greeks, in their patriotism and I have the certainty we will face all our problems," he said.

    [6] Balkan developments discussed by Arsenis, Pavlov

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greece and Bulgaria's defense ministers, Gerassimos Arsenis and Dimitar Pavlov, yesterday discussed developments in the Balkans, the situation in Bosnia and prospects for its pacification as well as issues of bilateral cooperation in military matters, the defense industry and armaments.

    Mr. Arsenis described the talks as fruitful, proving that on many basic issues, Greek and Bulgarian positions were very similar.

    Mr. Pavlov said his country counted on Greece's help and cooperation, being the only Balkan country that's a member of NATO, the WEU and the European Union. He expressed the hope that there would be cooperation in foreign policy, as in defense, to the benefit of both countries.

    Mr. Arsenis said the two men also discussed scenarios for consolidation of peace in the Balkans through bilateral and multilateral schemes of cooperation that would constitute potential deterring factors to any efforts for destabilization.

    Replying to a question on the possibilities of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) turning into a new Bosnia, Mr. Pavlov said Bulgaria would use all its influence to avert such a development.

    The two men left open the possibility for a joint meeting with their Romanian counterpart in future.

    Concerning the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the Bulgarian minister noted that its construction would be to the benefit of Greece, Bulgaria and Russia, and promised his country would do everything possible for the speedy completion of the project .

    Regarding the issue which recently arose over alleged NATO scenarios for autonomy in Thrace, Mr. Arsenis said they did not discuss non-existent scenarios, but he had briefed Mr. Pavlov on the repercussions of the affair in Athens.

    Mr. Pavlov also met with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    Following the meeting, Mr. Kaklamanis said Greece and Bulgaria are both extremely interested in, and cooperating for, peace and stability in the Balkans.

    During the meeting, Mr. Kaklamanis stressed Greece's efforts for promotion of EU-Bulgarian relations, while the Bulgarian minister said his visit aimed at developing relations between the two countries in the defense field.

    [7] Hytiris comments on war reparations issue

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greece reiterated its position yesterday on the issue of war reparations from Germany stemming from the Werhmacht's occupation of Greece during World War II.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said procedures "to find a solution" to the issue have already started. He was replying to statements Tuesday by a group of visiting German deputies who said "the only money Greece will get from Germany will be from German tourists."

    [8] Hytiris: Gov't keenly interested in fate of 3 imprisoned seamen

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greece has repeatedly shown its interest for the fate of three Greek merchant seamen sentenced to death by an Egyptian court in 1989, according to Press and Media Minister Telemahos Hytiris.

    The government spokesman made the statement in reply to press questions and recent reports stating the three will be retried sooner than was expected.

    Mr. Hytiris said the foreign ministry has made numerous inquiries into the matter, while Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou has sent a letter to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on issue.

    [9] Greece, FYROM consultations resume

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Consultations between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) resumed in Athens yesterday and focused on implementation of an interim accord signed between the two countries last month to normalize relations.

    Sources said the meeting centered on a number of practical measures to implement the accord, including road, rail and air transport as well as post, telephone and radio communications.

    The consultations should conclude with the signing of an agreement on the issues.

    [10] Thessaloniki chamber delegation heads for Skopje

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    A business delegation headed by the Thessaloniki Professional Chamber's administration will visit the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) next month, while representatives of the Skopje Chamber will be make a similar visit to Greece.

    Chamber President Themistoklis Nikolaidis made the announcement at a press conference yesterday, saying the opening of the border was a good omen for northern Greece since hundreds of businessmen and thousands of shoppers are expected.

    Mr. Nikolaidis said the purpose of the delegation's visit was to probe forms of business cooperation. The delegation will also include representatives of tourist agents and hoteliers from Thessaloniki.

    The administrations of the two chambers have already held telephone conversations to pave the way for the visit, it was reported.

    [11] Patriarch schedules May visit to Thessaloniki

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will visit Thessaloniki in May next year to chair a special meeting of the Thessaloniki Bar Association, after becoming its honorary president last week.

    The Patriarch confirmed the news himself during a ceremony in Istanbul proclaiming him the association's honorary president.

    During their four-day stay in Istanbul, members of the Bar Association, including its music department, visited Agia Sofia and the Vlachernon Church. On Sunday they attended a mass officiated by the Patriarch himself.

    [12] Europarliament delegation to examine Thriasion industrial area

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    A four-member Europarliament delegation arrives in Athens today to examine levels of pollution in the industrial Thriasion plain, west of Athens, by petrochemical and oil refineries, the subject of reports by nearby residents to the assembly.

    The delegation is comprised by Nuala Ahern (Ireland/Greens); Nikitas Kaklamanis (Greece/Political Spring); Nikolaos Papakyriazis (Greece/PASOK) and Roy Perry (Britain/Conservative).

    [13] Athens joins 'healthy cities' network

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    As of yesterday Athens is the 35th member of the World Health Organization's "healthy cities" network.

    The accession agreement was signed by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and the director of the organization in Europe, Agis Tsouras, at a special ceremony at city hall yesterday.

    The purpose of the programme is to improve the health of people living and working in urban centers. Mr. Avramopoulos said Athens would become a model city and local society.

    [14] Thracian scenaria affair continues to simmer

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party yesterday accused the government of leaking information to the press regarding alleged NATO scenarios dealing with partial autonomy for Thrace.

    ND spokesman Vassilis Manginas said the government leaked the information to the press in order to serve petty party politics.

    Mr. Manginas criticized the PASOK government for not dealing with "the actual problem," but focusing efforts "on proving the problem does not exist or attempts... to defer responsibilities to the main opposition."

    The ND spokesman also lashed out against National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis, accusing him of "letting three days pass since Mr. (ND President Miltiades) Evert informed (Minister of State) Mr. (Antonis) Livanis, without taking action."

    He also accused Mr. Arsenis of exposing the Greek officer who disclosed the information to Mr. Evert, by leaking his name to the press.

    Mr. Manginas branded government handling on the issue as "superficial and irresponsible."

    Commenting on Mr. Manginas' statements, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris called on ND "to stop defending what cannot be defended."

    Earlier in the day, he described Mr. Evert's handling of the issue as "unfortunate and superficial."

    Meanwhile, the Coalition of the Left and Progress issued an announcement yesterday accusing the government and the main opposition of sharing the same responsibilities on the issue, because "with grotesque and superficial handling they have managed to convert unattributed and unconfirmed information to damaging political events, causing concern and confusion to the Greek people."

    [15] Athens-New Delhi air link considered

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Top airline officials from Greece and India concluded talks yesterday on the possibility of direct flights between Athens and New Delhi.

    The six-member Indian delegation, headed by the managing director India's state-run airline, P.C. Sen, opened two-day talks in Athens Monday. The Greek delegation was led by Olympic Airways chairman Rigas Doganis.

    "The talks have been very positive, examining in detail the schedules of the two airlines," an Indian Embassy source told ANA. At present there is no direct air link between the two capitals.

    A delegation from Greece's state carrier will visit New Delhi soon to continue negotiations and finalize an agreement scheduled to be signed next year, according to sources.

    [16] Greece, China sign shipping agreement

    Athens, 19/10/1995 (ANA):

    Merchant Marine Minister George Katsifaras concluded talks in Beijing yesterday with the signing of a shipping agreement between Greece and China based on free market competition and without distinctions on international sea transport.

    The agreement also allows for easier port stay-over for vessels; lower port and passage fees for environmentally friendly tankers as well as avoidance of double taxation on ships providing international sea transports.

    Mr. Katsifaras, who held discussions with his counterpart, Huang Zhendong, also proposed upgraded shipping ties between the two countries in other sectors, including reciprocal ship repair and construction and development of cruise-ship tourism between t he two countries.

    The Greek minister also met with Chinese Vice-President Zhu Rongji.

    Mr. Zhendong will visit Athens from Nov. 26 through 29 for further negotiations and discussions on bilateral shipping cooperation.

    [17] Shanghai visit

    Shanghai, 19/10/95 (ANA - C. Christodoulou):

    Meanwhile, a Greek government delegation composed of Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, Mr. Katsifaras and National Economy Undersecretary Ioannis Anthopoulos arrived in Shanghai yesterday, concluding an official four- day visit to China to further develop overall economic and political relations between the two nations.

    The high-ranking Greek ministers were accompanied by the presidents of Greek economic organizations, bankers, shipowners and businessmen.

    Mr. Papoulias visited the city's Free Trade Zone (FTZ) where the organization's senior officials briefed him on foreign investment possibilities in China, with special reference made to the Shanghai zone. The delegation was also given information on capital investments made in the area by firms from the United States, Denmark, Germany as well as Chinese-Americans and businessmen from Hong Kong.

    Addressing a joint meeting of Greek and Chinese businessmen, Mr. Anthopoulos urged the latter to contact the 14 representatives of Greek companies in order to examine possibilities of cooperation based on agreements between the Hellenic Exports Promotion Organization (HEPO) and the Chinese International Trade Promotion Council. A meeting between Greek and Chinese businessmen was held early yesterday afternoon as an initial step toward cooperation.

    Mr. Anthopoulos held talks both in Beijing and Shanghai, where the Chinese side requested export credits and a low-interest loan to promote exports to China. The Greek side accepted the request.

    The disposition of credits and relevant conditions will be discussed soon. The Chinese side also expressed a desire to obtain 30,000 engines over a period of four or five years through the Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO) as well as training on how to manufacture them.

    On the question of fertilizer exports, cooperation which started a decade ago is continuing. The Hellenic Arms Industry (EBO) agreed with the Chinese side to produce clothing and auxiliary military equipment, but not weaponry.

    The Greek delegation is due back in Athens tonight.

    End of English language section.

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