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A.N.A. Bulletin, 24/10/95

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 723), October 24, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address:


  • [1] Commission withdraws case against Greece at European Court

  • [2] Gov't rules out meeting of political leaders on FYROM issue

  • [3] Evert says interim accord will be re-negotiated under ND Gov't

  • [4] Papoulias in Sofia for bilateral talks today

  • [5] Premier salutes UN's first 50 years

  • [6] UN must be more resolute in condemning hostile acts, president tells General Assembly

  • [7] President speaks to American-Hellenic Council

  • [8] Hope in Ankara for more substantive bilateral contacts

  • [9] Peponis briefs premier on industry ministry issues

  • [10] Gov't denies early election rumors

  • [11] Romeos meets European assembly speaker on IGC issues

  • [12] EU welcomes Greek idea of European classics centre

  • [13] Former ND minister disagrees with Souflias proposal for coalition Gov't

  • [14] Samaras says Gov't, ND following dictates of US

  • [15] Venizelos dismisses talk of a `para-Egnatia` highway

  • [16] New transit routes

  • [17] Tsaklidis says Egnatia project will go ahead despite need for additional funding

  • [18] Bank employees call for safety net for unsuspecting borrowers

  • [1] Commission withdraws case against Greece at European Court

    Brussels, 24/10/1995 (ANA - G. Daratos):

    The European Commission has withdrawn its case against Greece at the European Court regarding Athens' imposition of trade sanctions against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), sources said yesterday.

    According to a source close to External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek, the European Commission addressed a letter to the European Court last Friday announcing it was withdrawing its suit against Greece.

    Apparently, the Commission reached its decision when it ascertained that the Greek government did not intend to officially inform it of its decision to lift the embargo on October 14, in line with provisions in the agreement signed between Greece and FY ROM in New York on September 13.

    Athens said last week that it would not be drawn into action regarding the status of the suit.

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias said last month that the Commission was obliged to "put an end to what it had started".

    "Greece cannot remain stigmatized as a violator," Papoulias said.

    Athens imposed trade sanctions on FYROM in February 1994 to force it to change its name, remove the ancient Greek symbol of the Vergina star from its flag and delete expansionist language from its constitution.

    The Commission brought an action against Greece at the European Court of Justice in April 1994. The court rejected a Commission appeal for an interim ruling in June 1994, saying the Commission was unable to prove that the Community had suffered as a result of the sanctions.

    Earlier this year, a senior legal adviser to the court said Greece's move had not infringed EU laws. According to Advocate-General Francis Jacobs, the European Court "cannot rule on the essence of the dispute between Greece and FYROM" and recommended that the case be dismissed.

    According to the source, the European Commission is particularly pleased with positive developments in relations between Greece and FYROM.

    [2] Gov't rules out meeting of political leaders on FYROM issue

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    The government yesterday ruled out the convening of a meeting of political party leaders under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic on the FYROM issue.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said that the Greek positions "are well-known and a given fact".

    He said that today's New York meeting between UN mediator Cyrus Vance and Greek representative to the UN Ambassador Christos Zacharakis had no agenda but was in the framework of "the discussions and soundings taking place in view of the commencement of dialogue on the Skopje name issue".

    [3] Evert says interim accord will be re-negotiated under ND Gov't

    Bonn, 24/10/1995 (ANA - P. Stangos):

    In an interview with Deutche Welle's Greek Section, New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert reiterated yesterday he would renegotiate the recently-signed interim accord between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) when his party comes to power.

    Mr. Evert made it clear that he did not aim at abolishing the accord, due to its "binding character", and at any rate, he would first wait for it to be brought for ratification to Parliament.

    "Then we shall see if Mr. Papandreou trusts his deputies," he said.

    Concerning the issue of German war reparations, for which a spate of suits is pending in Greek courts, Mr. Evert said the matter ought to pursued through the foreign and justice ministries, rather than through local government initiatives, warning that a issuing of a multitude of rulings by first instance courts could lead the issue to deadlock. He found that a "negative climate" prevailed towards Greece in German public opinion.

    [4] Papoulias in Sofia for bilateral talks today

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias will pay a 24-hour lightning visit to Sofia today for talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Georgui Pirinski, it was announced yesterday.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said Mr. Papoulias and Mr. Pirinski would discuss security issues and other bilateral concerns.

    The spokesman said that the two men would not be discussing the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project.

    [5] Premier salutes UN's first 50 years

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou addressed a message yesterday to United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on the occasion of the international organization's 50th anniversary.

    The premier noted that this year's commemoration was an opportunity to honor the UN's successes to date, and plan new directions it should follow to fulfill the goals and ideals of its charter.

    Turning to the Cyprus issue, the prime minister expressed his thanks to the Secretary-General for his efforts to resolve the issue and reiterated the government's position that an end be put to this long-standing international problem which would benefit both the sorely-tried Cypriot people and regional peace and stability.

    In a separate message, Mr. Papandreou also saluted UNESCO's 50th anniversary, saying the UN organization "reflected peoples' unanimous decision for peace, based on humanity's spiritual and moral solidarity."

    "My country will continue to support its efforts with UNESCO, believing in the institutional premise that nations, based on the belief of tolerance, should pursuit productive cooperation between them, instead of potential differences and disagreements."

    The main opposition New Democracy also issued a statement yesterday on the UN's 50th anniversary.

    "The 50th anniversary of the UN's founding can justly be considered a day devoted to peace, world security, international cooperation and the rights of nations," the statement read.

    "Because the organization, of course, may not have always delivered everything the unjustly-treated deserved to receive, however, it undoubtedly established a framework of principles and law which comprised a safety valve for easing world tensions - thus successfully completing its larger goal: prevention of tribulations, such as those which brought about its establishment."

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress said, however, that the UN had "not yet justified the hopes" which had brought about its establishment.

    "However, despite its failures, the UN remains the hope of humanity, and its role is irreplaceable in a period where international cooperation is becoming a condition for survival for humanity's march toward the 21st century," it said.

    [6] UN must be more resolute in condemning hostile acts, president tells General Assembly

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos told the United Nations yesterday that the continued division and occupation of Cyprus was a typical example of the impotency of the UN to deal resolutely with acts of aggression.

    "The reinforcement of the UN's efficiency would benefit all members of the international community which would then act in the framework of a system where the rules and the principles of international law would be respected absolutely and the principle of 'might is right' would not prevail," he told the 50th UN General Assembly.

    "Cyprus is a characteristic example of the UN's inability to firmly and resolutely condemn a military aggression that was followed by an occupation which is still continuing," he said.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said Greece had many hopes for the new organization when it was set up 50 years ago, believing that there would be no more wars, no more bombings and executions, hunger and destruction.

    "But the wars did not stop, nor the crimes and the misfortunes of the peoples that accompany wars. International rules, which remain unenforceable, are not being imposed, while democratic principles and human rights are frequently and deliberately pushed aside in the face of interests and pursuits," the president said.

    That was not to say that nothing good been accomplished in those 50 years, Mr. Stephanopoulos said. "Much has been done, but not as much as we hoped."

    Saying that the UN had been deprived of the power to impose its resolutions if the major powers did not agree to them and provide the necessary means, Mr. Stephanopoulos cited the failure to implement the UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on Cyprus.

    "This has resulted in today's tolerance of the more than 20-year-old military occupation of Cyprus," he added.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said the threat of use of military force should be condemned as strongly as the use itself, since it blatantly violated UN principles.

    "I am referring specifically to the threat of war against Greece if it applies the Convention on the Law of the Sea" that allows it to extend its territorial waters from six to 12 nautical miles, Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    The Turkish National Assembly early this year passed a resolution authorizing Turkey's government to take all necessary measures, including military action, if Greece moved to apply the convention.

    "What is more surprising and unacceptable," he added, "is the fact that this arbitrary threat was voiced by a National Assembly not in order to repulse an unlawful act but to avert a perfectly lawful action."

    [7] President speaks to American-Hellenic Council

    New York, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos said yesterday that Greece desired the existence of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as its neighbor, but would not accept insults to its own national rights. "We did not create a problem with Skopje, they did with their well-known propaganda, the name issue, the flag, the maps and the schoolbooks, as well as the ideology of certain (FYROM) parties which express an expansionist and hostile attitude to Greece," Mr. Stephanopoulos told the American- Hellenic Council.

    "We desire the existence of the state of Skopje. But we do not accept the insulting of our national rights because the word 'Macedonia' is not a geographical notion that can be shared between Greece and Skopje," he said.

    "The definition of Macedonia is a historic one. And all the historic elements of this name belong exclusively to Greece, and no one else," Mr. Stephanopoulos added.

    The president continued: "If that state stops creating issues with Greece, through the name and other annoyances, it is we who will, more than anyone else, guarantee its (FYROM's) integrity and existence since Greece is perhaps the only Balkan state wit h no territorial claims on Skopje."

    Turning to Greek-Turkish differences, Mr. Stephanopoulos said the most important one was that of the (Aegean) continental shelf. Greece, he noted, had proposed long ago, and continuously reiterates, that the only way to resolve this issue was recourse t o the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

    Greece, he went on, "does not harass anyone, and does not accept being harassed by anyone, but only demands application of the (international) rules so that it may live in peace with its neighbors."

    "Greece," he continued, "has also never disturbed Albania. We are bothered by the fact that it (Albania) does not recognize the right of the (ethnic Greek) minority in the teaching of the (Greek) language, nor the freedom of religious beliefs and the performance of religious duties."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos yesterday briefed Greek reporters on the contacts he has had with his counterparts of many countries, on the sidelines of events marking the UN's 50th anniversary.

    The president met briefly with his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Armenia, Lithuania, France, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania.

    He said Albanian President Sali Berisha had assured him he had no intention of raising obstacles to the education of Greek minority students in his country.

    [8] Hope in Ankara for more substantive bilateral contacts

    Istanbul, 24/10/1995 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas):

    A re-establishment of Greek-Turkish cooperation in cultural matters is expected to provide the first impetus for rekindling bilateral dialogue, according to diplomatic sources in Ankara.

    A next step would be a meeting of the two nations' foreign ministry general secretaries, an event that could be repeated after formation of a new Turkish government, the same sources claimed.

    The expressed hope is that such a "limited" dialogue would lead to more substantial cooperation and discussion.

    [9] Peponis briefs premier on industry ministry issues

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou met yesterday with Industry Minister Anastasios Peponis, who briefed the premier on industry-related issues.

    Mr. Peponis said a host of difficult issues had beset the ministry, many of which have entered a critical phase, adding: "We will overcome the difficulties which are internally created and have no relation with the skillfulness and abilities of those who have handled such matters."

    Regarding the natural gas pipeline project, Mr. Peponis, who took over the industry ministry after Costas Simitis resigned the post in September, said he hoped that in "10 to 15 days delays will be overcome," allowing for the first deliveries of the Russian-supplied natural gas to commence in mid-1996.

    In response to a question on potential slashing of the government development bank's (ETBA) bloated employment rolls, he said:

    "We will look into absorbing as many (employees) as possible in other organizations. Reform without a decrease in personnel cannot happen."

    Mr. Papandreou will meet with Health and Welfare Minister Dimitrios Kremastinos and his undersecretaries, Nikos Farmakis and Manolis Skoulakis, today.

    [10] Gov't denies early election rumors

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    The government yesterday denied rumors of early elections in the spring.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris rejected as "a midsummer night's dream" press reports and assessments by politicians that elections would take place in the coming spring and under a different electoral system.

    "The (general) elections will be held in the autumn of 1997, with the existing electoral system, and the winner will be PASOK," he said.

    Asked to comment on the results of recent opinion polls in the media showing PASOK trailing behind the main opposition New Democracy party, the spokesman said "polls are relative", adding that what was of importance "are the results of the real election s taking place in various bodies such as trade unions and municipalities", which he said showed that PASOK maintained its strength.

    [11] Romeos meets European assembly speaker on IGC issues

    Strasbourg, 24/10/1995 (ANA - M. Savva):

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos held talks with European Parliament President Klaus Hensch in Strasbourg yesterday focusing on issues to be discussed at next year's intergovernmental conference (IGC).

    Mr. Romeos also broached with Mr. Hensch Greece's proposal to create a "European Civilization Academy" which would, he said, provide the basis for communication and cultural dialogue between member-states.

    Mr. Hensch said the proposal was interesting and that it would be discussed in further meetings with Mr. Romeos.

    The two men also discussed the issue of the customs agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

    Mr. Romeos was due to meet Greek Eurodeputies from all political groupings late last night.

    [12] EU welcomes Greek idea of European classics centre

    Luxembourg, 24/10/1995 (ANA - F. Stangos)

    Education Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that a Greek proposal for a European centre of classics was being examined by the EU.

    Mr. Papandreou, who attended yesterday's meeting of the European Union's Council of Education Ministers in Luxembourg, said the plan proposed for the creation of a European centre of classics had received a positive welcome from the European Commission.

    He said he was satisfied at the speed with which the proposal he submitted several months ago was being promoted.

    He said the plan had a purely "supranational character" which persuaded commissioner Edith Cresson to support it in the framework of "the European year of education and training (1996)."

    [13] Former ND minister disagrees with Souflias proposal for coalition Gov't

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    Former New Democracy national economy minister Stephanos Manos yesterday reacted unfavorably to statements by his former predecessor George Souflias that he would favor a coalition government between PASOK and ND if the next elections did not produce an absolute majority for either of the two.

    "New Democracy and PASOK are not the same thing. ND wants to shrink the state, to denationalize, (it wants) large projects with the initiative of the private sector, private universities. On all these, PASOK wants the opposite. How can there be cooperation?" Mr. Manos said.

    "Greece needs clear-cut, not equivocal solutions. And, I may add, whenever elections take place, and under any electoral system, we must fight to win them."

    In a counter-response to Mr. Manos, Mr. Souflias said his interview contained a political analysis, according to which New Democracy, under the present electoral system, would muster an absolute majority.

    "I think Stephanos got a lot mixed up with my interview and its content... I am in favor of majority governments, because only then can a policy necessary for the solution of the problems of the country be exercised... (But) in case there was no outright winner, and if in fact the crisis continued, then we may be led to collaboration governments, and I would prefer collaboration between the big parties which can find a programmatic convergence, rather than between many parties that may result from the breaking up of political forces," he said.

    ND leader Miltiades Evert declined to make any statement on Mr. Souflias' statements upon his return from Germany yesterday. But, in a speech in D0sseldorf Sunday, he said, "I can assure you that the ND government will be strong, with an absolute majority, and effective".

    According to sources, Mr. Evert considers that Mr. Souflias' interview was misconstrued.

    In another interview with Ethnos, New Democracy party deputy, Michalis Liapis, echoed Mr. Souflias' statements.

    "All healthy forces in the country should contribute to finding a common solution and bickering between the parties should stop, because many issues were amenable to policies beyond parties... Interparty understanding and consensus has never done any h arm," he said.

    Commenting on Mr. Liapis' statements, Mr. Manos said, "I believe we need stable institutions, and not decisions in the heat of the moment. Both New Democracy and PASOK would benefit if they established a renewal of (the mandate for) their leaderships every two years, as in all democratic parties in Europe".

    [14] Samaras says Gov't, ND following dictates of US

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras yesterday accused the government and main opposition of being under the influence of the US and of concluding "humiliating agreements" for the country.

    In an interview with the Athens newspaper "Ta Nea", Mr. Samaras predicted that the day after the next elections would find no party with an absolute majority. He alluded indirectly to the possibility of Political Spring cooperating with one of the two major parties in forming a government, but set conditions he said constituted priorities for the country's future.

    Mr. Samaras paid particular attention to the problem of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), criticizing the government of de jure recognition which, he said, conflicted with commitments Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou made both before and after the elections and violating the decision taken at a meeting of party leaders in 1992.

    He said the present government was following in the steps of former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis and completing what PASOK had termed an act of treason at the time.

    Referring to the possibility of FYROM being recognized under the name of 'Macedonia', Mr. Samaras proposed "diplomatic initiatives for the implementation of either the solution of cantons or of FYROM being incorporated into the Federation of New Yugoslavia".

    Criticizing both the government and ND of being "dragged behind the vehicle of influence of the US", Mr. Samaras said he was not optimistic over the course of national issues, unless, he said "compromise was baptized success and continuous withdrawal on sovereign rights beneficial disinvolvement".

    On the question of the economy, Mr. Samaras expressed support for planned and aggressive depreciation and assessed that an abrupt decrease in bank interest rates was dangerous for the drachma.

    Mr. Samaras proposed generous increases for low pensions and set out a series of measures aimed at securing about 900 billion drachmas for social policy to be applied.

    [15] Venizelos dismisses talk of a `para-Egnatia` highway

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    Transport and Communications Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday downplayed the significance of a plan, reportedly discussed by the presidents of Albania, Turkey, and Bulgaria and FYROM's acting president in New York yesterday, for the construction of a highway through the Balkans, linking D0rres on the Adriatic with Istanbul.

    "It must be realized by everyone that the Egnatia highway, already under construction on Greek soil, is a major project in full swing. It belongs to the 14 particular networks receiving top priority by the European Union, according to decisions adopted at the Essen Summit.

    "For a 'para-Egnatia' highway to be constructed, political wishes and declarations do not suffice. Credits and creditors are needed. And it is obvious that between two parallel axes that are in proximity, priority is given to the one already under construction, rather than the one being discussed on a diplomatic level," he said.

    "The reality of inter-European networks is marked by two developments these days: First, the extension of the Helsinki to Plovdiv highway to Alexandroupolis, due to be signed in Brussels tomorrow morning (today); and secondly, the tripartite cooperation between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, both as regards road transport through them, and the selection of the location for the new bridge on the Danube. It is an issue which is of interest to Greece, a member-state of the European Union, and two associated members, Bulgaria and Romania," added Mr. Venizelos.

    The idea of the 'para-Egnatia' highway has been discussed before, but this time the four leaders signed a common statement, agreeing to provide funds for its construction, estimated at some one billion dollars.

    In an interview with the Voice of America yesterday, Albanian President Sali Berisha said the Clinton administration had allocated funds for the study of the project by a Sofia-based team. He expressed the conviction that the World Bank, the European In vestment Bank, and other international institutions would be involved in the execution of the project.

    [16] New transit routes

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    Mr. Venizelos yesterday sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region, the president of the Enlarged Prefectural Local Administration of Evros and Rodopi, the prefect of Evros, the mayor of Alexandroupolis and the regional director of Evros notifying them that a protocol on transit routes would be signed in Brussels tomorrow.

    "Tomorrow, October 24 1995, a protocol will be signed in Brussels by which the so-called ninth corridor of 'Crete', which had been initially planned by the European Conference of Transport Ministers in Crete in 1994 and having Helsinki and Filippoupolis (Plovdiv) as its extremities, will be extended up to the port of Alexandroupolis," the letter said.

    Mr. Venizelos said the signing ceremony would be held at the offices of the permanent Greek representation at the European Union in the presence of commissioner Neil Kinnock.

    He also underlined the prospects the extension of the axis to Alexandroupolis would have for transport and communications.

    [17] Tsaklidis says Egnatia project will go ahead despite need for additional funding

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    The ambitious Egnatia Highway expected to span the breadth of northern Greece will be constructed along original designs, although available funding for the project is not sufficient for completion, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Undersecretary Ioannis Tsaklidis said in Kavala yesterday.

    According to Mr. Tsaklidis, 432 billion drachmas is currently available for the project, designed as a western European-standard motorway connecting the port of Igoumenitsa, on Greece's extreme northwestern corner, with Alexandroupolis in Thrace and possibly Istanbul. In the past, proposals have been made for using two-lane construction (as opposed to four lanes) in less-frequented mountainous regions to reduce costs, and toll concessions.

    "The additional sum will be found, while a private company formed for Egnatia is already searching for new sources of funding," the undersecretary said. In other statements, Mr. Tsaklidis said up to 600 billion drachmas in infrastructure works are underway in the eastern Macedonia and Thrace region. Mr. Tsaklidis is participating in a three-day gathering focusing on infrastructure projects for the region.

    [18] Bank employees call for safety net for unsuspecting borrowers

    Athens, 24/10/1995 (ANA):

    The Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) yesterday expressed its concern over the recent reductions in housing loan rates and called on the government, the Bank of Greece and bank administrations to establish a code of practice for housing loans and banking products.

    OTOE President Dimitris Kouselas expressed fears yesterday both over the possibility of loan recipients being caught unaware by hidden costs and the prospect of the credit system turning into an "uncontrollable jungle of competition".

    OTOE called on banks to set out housing loans conditions clearly and in simple terms. It said that through "secret" factors, the real loan interest rate was at least 2.5 per cent higher than that advertised. In addition, the interest rate is increased b y the cost of the loan's lumpsum expenditures.

    OTOE also called on bank employees to inform the public sincerely and consistently and cover loopholes left by bank administrations.

    End of English language section.

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