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A.N.A. Bulletin, 26/10/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 725), October 26, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Premier confident: PASOK will win new four-year term in office

  • [2] ND responds

  • [3] ND leadership gets clarifications from Souflias

  • [4] Evert confident of victory

  • [5] Zacharakis briefs premier on preliminary consultations in New York

  • [6] 'Technical oversight' blamed for fuss at Sofia conference

  • [7] Gligorov said to resign

  • [8] Greece says German war damages issue still pending, as Bonn rejects serving of private claims

  • [9] Moscow welcomes Iviron Monastery icon

  • [10] Vartholomeos in Crete next month

  • [11] Belgrade, Athens Olympic Committees sign agreement

  • [12] Thessaloniki kicks off three-day celebrations today

  • [13] Culture Ministry divers probe identity of mystery wreck

  • [14] Gov't confident new stamp duty a solution to threatened press pension funds

  • [15] President to visit Romania next month

  • [16] Joint defense doctrine 'only guarantee' for Cyprus' security, Kaklamanis says

  • [17] Greek fish storage procedures 'a model' for EU, association says

  • [18] Egnatia Highway in 'full swing', funds secured, ministry says

  • [19] Papantoniou says pensioners to get increases next year

  • [20] Athens' 'Balkan Summit' draws senior Balkans economic figures

  • [21] Greece, Bulgaria agree on ambitious regional telecoms scheme

  • [22] News in Brief


  • [1] Premier confident: PASOK will win new four-year term in office

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou yesterday said PASOK would win the next elections outright and that they would be held at the end of the present government's four-year mandate in 1997.

    Mr. Papandreou made the statement after chairing PASOK's Political Secretariat's meeting.

    "Elections will take place in 1997, at the end of PASOK's four-year mandate with the existing electoral system," Mr. Papandreou told reporters.

    He added that the party would win an absolute majority.

    The premier was indirectly responding to statements by main opposition New Democracy deputy and former minister George Souflias proposing that the two parties form a coalition government in the event neither won a majority.

    "We speak for two different political worlds," Mr. Papandreou said, adding that collaboration with "parties with different ideological, political and social standings is something which PASOK can not do."

    He said the only opportunity for PASOK-ND co-operation would be in the case of a national emergency.

    Mr. Papandreou attributed such scenarios to circles "which do not want strong parties in Parliament."

    "These circles are both abroad and in Greece," the premier said. He said these circles preferred more and smaller parties in parliament so that Parliament can not be an effective tool of government.

    He added that conservative European parties had difficulties with PASOK, "as the party has drafted a course in foreign relations, which although it yields positive results regarding the national interests, raises obstacles to certain schemes aiming at converting the country to a satellite."

    "This is something which PASOK can not permit," he added.

    Referring to the role of the party's Political Secretariat, Mr. Papandreou said it was an advisory body which will submit proposals regarding party policies. He said the government, the party's Executive Bureau, Central Committee and Parliamentary Group are represented in the body which will convene every 15 days under his chairmanship. The prime minister added that the remaining two years of the government's mandate were very important "since (during this period) government measures and decisions will be implemented."

    Mr. Papandreou's statements were echoed by Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who ruled out the possibility of early elections, saying that elections would be held at the end of PASOK's four-year mandate i n 1997.

    "There is no issue of early elections or change of the electoral law," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told reporters when asked to comment on the issue.

    He added that government, ruling PASOK and the "overwhelming majority of the citizens" did not want early elections.

    "We are not and will not be concerned with the electoral law," he added.

    [2] ND responds

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    Responding to the premier's statements, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Vassilis Manginas said:

    "If Mr. Papandreou seriously believes he can win elections - whenever they may happen - then let him try now, for the good of the country."

    [3] ND leadership gets clarifications from Souflias

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    The New Democracy party's Executive Committee and Political Council yesterday discussed the furor arising from former minister George Souflias' statements to the newspaper 'Sunday Ethnos' that the party should be prepared to consider a coalition government with PASOK should it not win the next elections outright.

    According to sources, members generally agreed with party leader Miltiades Evert's view that there had been some confusion in the base of the party.

    He reiterated that, on the basis on recent opinion polls, the party would win an absolute majority in the next election under the existing electoral law.

    Mr. Souflias defended his position, saying that the content of his interview had been distorted and that others - implying former national economy minister Stephanos Manos - gave the impression he had in effect proposed a ND-PASOK coalition government.

    Mr. Manos had said that the two parties had no common ground whatsoever for such a scheme.

    Party Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis told Mr. Souflias that he should have taken care not to provide material in his interview for the newspaper headline which gave prominence to the issue.

    Party spokesman Vassilis Manginas, talking to reporters later, refused to expand on whether the matter should be formally clarified, saying that the party was certain to win an absolute majority in the next election, and that he had no comment to make o n hypothetical questions.

    Former minister Sotiris Kouvelas, who was not able to attend the Political Council meeting, attempted to by-pass the issue, stating in Thessaloniki there was "need for substantial debate to clear confusion in serious matters, such as New Democracy's for eign policy line, including Thrace, so that we might arrive at a new government".

    In a statement before the meeting, former prime minister Tzannis Tzannetakis blamed the media for giving prominence to the issue.

    The Political Council also discussed procedural matters concerning the party's National Convention, scheduled for November 18 and 19.

    [4] Evert confident of victory

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    Mr. Evert yesterday defended his opposition tactics, in a speech to prefectural party committees in Thessaloniki, saying they had put the party five percentage points ahead of ruling PASOK in the polls.

    Mr. Evert arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday to attend events marking the 83rd anniversary of the liberation of the city from the Turks today, and national day celebrations on Saturday.

    He accused the government of incompetence, especially in its economic policy, and described as an economic and national 'crime' the fact that construction of the Egnatia highway across northern Greece had been delayed. He also charged that the government had only managed to absorb 54 billion drachmas in European Union funds, instead of potential of 800 billion.

    He called on party members to "go out into the society" with a message of social solidarity.

    [5] Zacharakis briefs premier on preliminary consultations in New York

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou was yesterday briefed by Greece's permanent representative at the UN Christos Zacharakis on the latest developments in New York on the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which Greece is to begin negotiations on soon.

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, who was present at the meeting, said consultations on negotiations for the issue of the name had indeed started, but added that, at present, "the ground was being surveyed and there was nothing substantive".

    Mr. Papoulias said that UN mediator Cyrus Vance had made no proposal on the name, adding that reports that Mr. Vance had proposed the name "Nova Macedonia" were simply "assumptions".

    He said other "information" on the issue of the name was "groundless and speculation", underlining that Greek positions were steadfast.

    He added he was optimistic that the issue could come to an end in three to four months.

    [6] 'Technical oversight' blamed for fuss at Sofia conference

    Sofia, 26/10/1995 (ANA - N. Hios):

    A "technical oversight" identifying FYROM as "Republic of Macedonia" by an international secretariat was blamed for the Greek delegation's departure from a major environmental conference in Sofia yesterday.

    The conference's organizers, headed by Bulgarian Environment Under-secretary Ognyan Velev, expressed their regret at the delegation's departure, adding: "Bulgaria does not intend to involve itself in the Athens-Skopje relationship on the matter, which both capitals are negotiating at the moment."

    Athens' delegation, led by Environment Under-secretary Elizabeth Papazoi, left the 54-country conference when organizers failed to uphold international decisions on the name Skopje uses at such events, even after repeated demarches by Greece at similar international fora.

    "The Greek delegation wishes to state that it does not hold FYROM responsible for the failure of the (conference's) secretariat to comply with the United Nations' resolution," Ms. Papazoi said Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, in Alexandroupolis, 15 northern Greece mayors suggested yesterday the title of "Central Balkan Republic" for FYROM's name in a text entitled "A proposal of sincerity and 'bluntness' for Skopje's name."

    In justifying their proposal, the mayors stated: "Any country with a name that contains the word 'Macedonia' or a derivative bases its existence on a distortion and is therefore insecure and liable to extortion by its protectors.

    "We believe it (proposal) is a message leading to a lessening of tension and the beginning of a Balkan communication and Balkan solution to the problem."

    [7] Gligorov said to resign

    Belgrade, 26/09/1995 (ANA - M. Mouratidis):

    A press report out of Belgrade quoting "well-informed sources" in Skopje said FYROM President Kiro Gligorov, badly injured last month in an assassination attempt, will resign this week.

    The "Telegraf" newspaper claims in an exclusive report that Mr. Gligorov will cite health reason for his resignation.

    According to the report, the 78-year-old president has diminished abilities after a remote-controlled car bomb exploded as his limousine passed through a downtown Skopje area.

    His driver was killed in the blast.

    Stojan Andov is now FYROM's acting president.

    According to the constitution, elections must be held 40 days after president's resignation.

    [8] Greece says German war damages issue still pending, as Bonn rejects serving of private claims

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greece reiterated yesterday that the issue of claiming war reparations from Germany for the brutal Nazi occupation of 1941-44 was still pending.

    The announcement by the Foreign Ministry, prompted by Bonn's announcement yesterday that it was returning civil suits lodged by some 1,000 Greek citizens for damages, said that Greece could not intervene in the current case of private suits, but that the matter was still unresolved at a state level.

    "The Greek government, in cases of affairs falling under the jurisdiction of (Greek) Justice, can take no action which could be considered as an intervention in the work of Justice," the announcement said.

    "However, apart from the adjudication of lawsuits by Greek law courts, we also reiterate a past statement by us by which the issue of reparations remains pending in its entirety."

    According to Greek law, the suits must be served on the defendant but efforts to serve the suits on the German Embassy in Athens proved futile.

    The Greek Justice Ministry then conveyed the suits to the German Foreign Ministry, which promptly returned the lawsuits to the Greek Embassy in Bonn, saying they were "legally untenable".

    Bonn said that, according to international law, private citizens cannot file lawsuits against a state and that such demands could only be raised at a state level.

    The civil suits are the result of a local government initiative to take up the cause of thousands of Greeks who suffered under the Nazi occupation of Greece and was prompted by Germany's reunification in 1989, which, legal experts say, has freed up the procedure for claiming damages.

    The Nazi response to fierce Greek resistance to the German occupation was characterized by mass executions and razed villages. The prefecture of Viotia, which is leading the campaign and in which more than 2,500 people have filed claims, was one of the areas that suffered greatly.

    Estimates say the total damages bill could run to $35 billion.

    In a statement, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Stratis Korakas said the "KKE was vindicated in warning that private citizens did well in making these lawsuits but this does not resolve the problem and this case will not absolve the government of its responsibilities in raising the issue itself".

    [9] Moscow welcomes Iviron Monastery icon

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    The Russian Orthodox Church held an impressive reception yesterday for the copy of a sacred icon that arrived in Moscow on a Hellenic Air Force transport plane.

    An exact copy of the 'Madonna Portaissa' icon from the Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos was sent to Moscow after a request by Moscow and All Russia Patriarch Alexios. The icon will be placed at the entrance of the Resurrection Cathedral in Red Square.

    The sacred icon was accompanied by the monastery's abbot, Archimandrite Vassilios and the monastery's choir. Besides the Russian Patriarch, Greece's Ambassador to Moscow, Kyriakos Rodousakis and crowds of faithful and clergy greeted the icon's arrival.

    [10] Vartholomeos in Crete next month

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will arrive in Iraklion next month for festivities commemorating the 100th anniversary of construction of the city's metropolitan cathedral.

    The week-long events begin November 5 and centre on the St. Minas Church, inaugurated on April 16, 1895.

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos has also been invited to the festivities.

    [11] Belgrade, Athens Olympic Committees sign agreement

    Belgrade, 26/10/1995 (ANA - M. Mouratidis):

    The Yugoslav Olympic Committee has signed an agreement for sports and technical co-operation with its Greek sister organization.

    The agreement concerns co-operation and exchange of athletes, teams, coaches and experts.

    Assistance and technical expertise will also be provided in the sector of building and maintenance of sports installations and training officials in technical and organizational issues.

    The agreement was signed by Yugoslav Olympic Committee President Alexander Bakacevic and Greek Olympic Committee President Antonis Tzikas.

    [12] Thessaloniki kicks off three-day celebrations today

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    Three days of celebrations, starting this morning, will mark the 83rd anniversary of the liberation of the city of Thessaloniki from the Turks, the name day of the city's patron saint Dimitrios, and the 55th anniversary on Saturday of Greece's historic refusal to bow to an Italian ultimatum in World War II.

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos, ministers, New Democracy and Political Spring party leaders Miltiades Evert and Antonis Samaras, other party representatives and military officials will attend mass at St. Dimitrios church.

    Mayor Constantinos Kosmopoulos will host a reception in honor of President Stephanopoulos at the Macedonia Palace hotel in the evening.

    A parade of schools is scheduled for tomorrow, one day ahead of the big military parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday, also to be attended by Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis.

    [13] Culture Ministry divers probe identity of mystery wreck

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    A team of archaeologists and divers from the Underwater Antiquities Department of the Ministry of Culture is investigating a wreck lying in shallow waters between the islands of Lemnos and Imvros in the northern Aegean.

    The ministry was informed of the wreck by two local fishermen, Antonios Thomas and Theodore Vareltzis. Although much of the wreck is buried in sand, the divers have counted 50 large cannons of between three and five meters in length and two enormous iron anchors.

    The archaeologists have so far been unable to determine the characteristics of the cannon, and, consequently, date the vessel, since they are covered in barnacles and other marine crustaceans. However, two theories prevail at the moment.

    The first is that the vessel was a warship of England, France, Turkey or Piedmont, whose fleets took on Russian naval forces at Sebastopol during the Crimean War.

    The second dates the wreck a century earlier, during the Russo-Turkish War (1768-1774) when military operations were being conducted against the Ottoman Turks after the Russian noblemen Alexei, Theodore and Grigori Orlov had persuaded Catherine the Great to incite the Balkan peoples, particularly the Greeks, to rise up against the Turkish yoke.

    Further excavation and study of the wreck is expected to solve the mystery of the vessel's identity.

    [14] Gov't confident new stamp duty a solution to threatened press pension funds

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    The government expects a new law on payment and collection of a advertising stamp duty will solve the economic problems faced by several press-related employee pension funds, Press and Media Minister Telemahos Hytiris said yesterday.

    Mr. Hytiris said his ministry has the ability and intends to end the problem of "social security" funds which in essence have become "insecurity" funds.

    However, press employee representatives meeting at the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) headquarters yesterday announced that mobilizations would be forthcoming, saying they would not allow pension and insurance funds to collapse. In a vote, press employee representatives called for abolition of Article 12 and return of the older method of collection, verification and payment of the ad stamp duty, an issue that has deeply concerned the Greek journalistic world of late. Representatives also demanded the immediate suspension of the article's application until it is legally regulated or the status quo returned, as well as the immediate payment of dues to the pension funds owed, which, according to the press employees' spokesmen, have been illegally retained for years by publishing and radio-television outlets.

    The vote calls on the sector's employees to ready for possible mobilizations in the next few days.

    [15] President to visit Romania next month

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will officially visit Romania on November 2-4, the Romanian Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will address the Romanian Parliament on the first day of his visit.

    The Greek president's visit to the country was originally planned for October 5-7 but was postponed.

    [16] Joint defense doctrine 'only guarantee' for Cyprus' security, Kaklamanis says

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday said the joint defense doctrine between Greece and Cyprus constituted the only guarantee against Turkish expansionism and the constant and permanent threat of a full annexation of Cyprus.

    He made the statement after meeting with Cypriot Defense Minister Costas Eliades.

    On Tuesday, Mr. Kaklamanis held a meeting with the members of the Cyprus Parliament National Defense Committee.

    "Hellenism has the obligation to protect its borders against any threat," Mr. Kaklamanis said. This, he continued, was reflected in the new Greek-Cypriot policy .

    "This (policy) is our answer to Turkish expansionism on the Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus front," he said.

    Mr. Eliades said implementation of the joint defense doctrine "gives a new perspective to Hellenism and Cyprus' national problem, as well as the presence of Greece in the broader region of the eastern Mediterranean."

    [17] Greek fish storage procedures 'a model' for EU, association says

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    The Association of Greek Fish Farming Cooperatives said in an announcement yesterday that all Greek fish farms had packing units which had been certified by the European Union and described the storing and preservation processes used in the country as a "model."

    The announcement follows press reports that the EU European Bureau of Consumer Unions had alleged that Greek fish contained high levels of bacteria and were "of doubtful quality."

    Agriculture Under-secretary Alexandros Akrivakis responded Tuesday with the assurance that the quality of Greek fish products was excellent.

    The association said that the findings of the EU consumer bureau were based on "highly biased" sampling, noting that the conditions in other countries which trade in a high volume of fish - such as Spain, Portugal and Italy - were very similar to those prevailing in Greece.

    The association said that the high volume of Greek fish exports and the strict adherence to sanitary specifications tended to disprove the findings of the EU Consumer Bureau.

    [18] Egnatia Highway in 'full swing', funds secured, ministry says

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    In response to recent various press reports concerning the pace of construction of the Egnatia Highway across northern Greece, an Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry statement yesterday said the project, considered by the government to be of the utmost national importance, was in full swing and that funds for its completion in the envisaged five-year period had been secured.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said yesterday that the "Egnatia Highway was action while the 'para-Egnatia' highway is still talk."

    He was referring to the signing of a protocol among Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria and Skopje for the construction of a major road link, shadowing the course of the Greek highway, through the region.

    On Tuesday, Greece said construction of the Egnatia Highway, a similar road network, planned to span the breadth of Greece from west to northeast and possibly extending to Istanbul, effectively canceled out plans by the four Balkan nations.

    The Environment Ministry's statement said 128 kms of the proposed 630 had already been constructed (19 per cent), with another 140 kms currently under construction, and a further 107 kms being auctioned soon. Funds totaling 432 billion drachmas from national and European Union sources had been secured for 415 kms of the four-lane highway, which belonged to the top-priority inter-European networks.

    Further complementary projects in the ports of Igoumenitsa, Thessaloniki, Kavala, and Alexandroupolis, for the better operation of the highway, and costing 32 billion drachmas, were either being studied or under construction, the statement added.

    The Egnatia will be linked with five vertical road axes, leading north into the Balkans.

    Main opposition New Democracy deputy and former minister Stephanos Manos said, however, that Greece's neighbors were taking advantage of delays in the construction of the highway.

    He warned that unless work on the Egnatia Highway was sped up, the 'para-Egnatia' would be completed before it.

    [19] Papantoniou says pensioners to get increases next year

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday promised pensioners on base-line pensions increases in 1996 slightly above the rate of inflation.

    At a meeting yesterday with the leadership of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), the country's largest labor grouping, Mr. Papantoniou acknowledged that workers had suffered a considerable loss of real income during the period 1989- 1994. The meeting marked the opening of a "social dialogue" on incomes policy for 1996.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that the government had kept its promise to reverse this trend by supporting workers' pay, adding that wage increases for the coming year would cover the rate of inflation which is expected to be about five per cent at the end of 19 96.

    GSEE President Christos Protopappas said that the unions would make determined efforts to protect and improve the income of workers by demanding increases above the projected rate of inflation.

    He said that the top priorities for GSEE in its dialogue with the government would be the problem of unemployment and the demand that the lowest monthly pensions be equal to at least 20 days' wages.

    Opposition Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis criticized the government for "shutting its ears to the cries of despair" from workers suffering from harsh austerity measures for a decade.

    He said the workers were "the permanent victims of the government's obsession with deficits," and also faced the danger of unemployment due to the government's anti-development policy.

    [20] Athens' 'Balkan Summit' draws senior Balkans economic figures

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    A number of senior economic figures from Balkan nations, as well as EU commissioner Christos Papoutsis, will be in Athens on Monday for the start of a two-day conference on exploring investment opportunities in the region.

    Entitled "Balkan Summit: Political, Economic and Investment Developments" and jointly organized by the Hellenic-American Chamber and the International Herald Tribune (IHT) newspaper, the conference will explore specific investment opportunities in the fields of telecommunications, transport, constructions, cybernetics, banking and energy.

    Among the speakers are National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis, main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert and Greek EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis. Government officials, bank governors, businessmen and economic analysts from Balkan countries as well as representatives of international financial firms will also participate.

    Bulgaria's Economic Development Minister Rumen Gechev, the Romanian Finance Ministry's general director of international financial relations Mihai Borza, IHT publisher Axel Krause and Albanian Finance Under-secretary Ariana Nati are all slated to address the conference.

    [21] Greece, Bulgaria agree on ambitious regional telecoms scheme

    Sofia, 26/10/1995 (ANA - N. Chios):

    Greece and Bulgaria yesterday signed a protocol of co-operation in the telecommunications field which foresees the creation of a Balkan telecommunications consortium.

    The protocol, providing for information exchange, the establishment of a digital telephone network in Bulgaria as well as joint investments and initiatives by the two states, was signed by Petros Lambrou and Michail Danov, the respective general directors of the telecommunications organizations of Greece and Bulgaria.

    The consortium's first venture will be the launch of a telecommunications satellite.

    Talks also focused on the construction of an undersea cable system by Bulgaria in the Black Sea, linking part of Europe with Asia.

    [22] News in Brief

    Athens, 26/10/1995 (ANA):

    - A protocol of co-operation was signed between the Central Union of Chambers and the Slovakian Commerce and Industry Chamber in Athens yesterday. The protocol provides for the exchange of information, co-operation between businessmen, exchange of trade missions and joint organization of meetings and conferences, and focuses efforts on the elimination of barriers in the free flow of goods between the two states.

    - A large Greek delegation will be present in Montreux, Switzerland for the 20th International Tourism Fair (TTW), which has drawn an estimated 1,100 exhibitors from more than 100 nations. The Greek contingent includes the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) and Olympic Airways. The unveiling of a new charter service by Olympic, Charter Macedonian Airlines, was also announced.

    End of English language section.

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