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A.N.A. Bulletin, 01/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 729), November 1, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece ideal base for US investment in Balkans, Evert says

  • [2] No change in economic policy, Papantoniou says, 1996 to be year of consolidation of achievements

  • [3] Gov't satisfied with outcome of EU-Turkey Association Council

  • [4] Ethnic Greek minority not an obstacle to bilateral relations, Albanian official says

  • [5] Grachev calls for Bosnia peace conference in Moscow

  • [6] Papoulias meets with Bulgarian foreign under-secretary

  • [7] Romeos in Moldova for BSECP consultations

  • [8] Syrian foreign minister in Athens for talks with Papoulias, premier

  • [9] Foreign Ministry welcomes National Bank initiative in Palestine

  • [10] Lymberis broaches issue of Greek participation in WEU multinational force

  • [11] FYROM included in PHARE programme

  • [12] ND discusses tactics for FYROM accord debate on Monday

  • [13] Skandalidis meets with Simitis

  • [14] Kremastinos announces major surgery for ailing health system

  • [15] Tourism advertising campaign to focus on culture, EOT head says


  • [1] Greece ideal base for US investment in Balkans, Evert says

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert said yesterday that Greece was ideally located for prospective US investors in the wider area.

    Greece, he told a Balkan summit meeting focusing on the political, economic and investment outlook in the region, is the ideal base for the development of business activity in the Balkans, once the countries of the region agree to co-exist.

    "If I were an American, I would be heading for Greece to prepare the ground for the development of my business in the Balkans. I would use Greece as a springboard," he said.

    He added that the potential for Greek investment in the Balkans was considerable, and the state ought to assist Greek businessmen in facing the potential dangers involved in the process.

    The meeting has been organized by the International Herald Tribune and the Hellenic-American Chamber in Athens.

    "The Balkans, and particularly Greece, is located in a highly dangerous triangle, which is why our country should hasten to undertake positive initiatives for peace, not only in the Balkans but also in the Mediterranean basin and the Gulf,"

    Mr. Evert reiterated his proposal for the signing of an accord by the Balkan states recognizing the existing borders in the region.

    "All countries agree to such a move, which will be the first step for economic co-operation," he said.

    "We have every reason to extend co-operation to other areas and .. to agree to the accession of Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Bulgaria to NATO and the European Union so that Greece does not constitute the border of the E U...", he added.

    The ND leader said that Turkey should not be excluded from such co-operation, provided that a settlement is attained for the Cyprus problem, human rights are respected in the neighboring country, and Ankara "stops behaving like a regional superpower".

    Mr. Evert said that the role of both the US and NATO was essential for attaining the necessary balance in the region.

    [2] No change in economic policy, Papantoniou says, 1996 to be year of consolidation of achievements

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday there would be no change in the government's economic policy next year and that it would stringently strive for the targets set in the convergence programme.

    "We must protect our achievement so far so as to have better results next year," he told reporters after briefing Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou on latest economic developments.

    Mr. Papandreou met with Mr. Papantoniou, Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, and the premier's economic adviser Tassos Yiannitsis.

    Mr. Papantoniou said after the meeting that the drawing up of the budget and prospects for 1996 were discussed. He stressed there would be no change in economic policy.

    He did not rule out the budget being submitted for ratification before November 30.

    According to estimates by the economic ministries, inflation is expected to fall below 8 percent by the end of the year and to be maintained at around 5 per cent by the end of next year. Growth is estimated to increase to 2.7 per cent.

    Indications are that public servants will receive salary increases in the order of 5 per cent (divided into two installments of 2.5 each) while pensioners will receive increases of 7 per cent or 3.5 and 3.5.

    The three men will attend Friday's meeting of PASOK's Executive Bureau, which will discuss the government's economic policy and the party's social profile.

    [3] Gov't satisfied with outcome of EU-Turkey Association Council

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    The government yesterday expressed its satisfaction at the discussion which took place Monday at the European Union Turkey Association Council in Luxembourg, stressing that nothing had changed in relation to the decisions taken on March 6.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said that the presiding Spanish foreign minister Javier Solana had merely made certain announcements concerning the preparedness of the financing mechanism which will be activated provided the European Parliament approves the EU-Turkey customs union.

    Asked whether Greece would recommend approval of the customs union, Mr. Hytiris replied that the European Parliament is an "autonomous and independent body".

    He added, however, that the conditions set by the European Parliament, including respect for human rights, had not been met by Turkey.

    Mr. Hytiris also underlined that the dialogue between the EU and Turkey had not been upgraded to the level of a "structured" dialogue at yesterday's meeting in Luxembourg, as was the case with regard to Cyprus and Malta.

    Replying to questions on statements by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel on the course of Cyprus' accession to the EU, Mr. Hytiris said that "the decision for the commencement of the pre-accession talks between the Community and Cyprus was taken at the Essen summit and reiterated at subsequent summit meetings and at the recent Council of Ministers.

    Saying that Mr. Kinkel's statements "do not hold water", Mr. Hytiris underlined that "there is no way that the talks between Cyprus and the Community will not begin".

    Commenting on the presence of Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos at Monday's meeting, he said that following Mr. Romeos' intervention, the Council decided to add a clause to the customs union agreement, according to which, if the Turkish government reneges on the issue of human rights, EU finance will automatically be cut off.

    [4] Ethnic Greek minority not an obstacle to bilateral relations, Albanian official says

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Albania's Foreign Under-secretary Arian Starova said yesterday that the issue of education for ethnic Greek minority schoolchildren in Albania should not be an obstacle to bilateral relations, which he described as "good and having prospects".

    Speaking at the 'Balkan Summit', Mr. Starova described the ethnic Greek minority as a "bridge of friendship".

    He claimed that no essential problem between the two countries remained unresolved and that the Greek ethnic minority enjoyed any education they desired, adding that the problem concerned "only 23 schoolchildren and can easily be solved".

    Greece maintains the problem affects hundreds of minority schoolchildren, who are unable to be properly tutored in the Greek language.

    Mr. Starova further claimed that Albania had shaped a legal framework on the basis of regulations in effect internationally on protection of minority rights, adding that the condition of the ethnic Greek minority was "incomparably better" than in the past.

    He called for the abolition of visas among Balkan states in order to improve the climate in the peninsula.

    He warned of a "possible escalation" of the situation in the Kosovo "if the international community does not act promptly".

    Asked to state Albania's position on improvement of EU-Turkish relations, Mr. Starova said his country "had reservations", adding that "naturally, the Kurdish problem should first be taken into consideration since it could in the long-term become an obstacle to Turkey's admission to the EU". But he did not rule out that Ankara might "bypass" the problem.

    Earlier, Greek Foreign Under-secretary Grigoris Niotis called on Tirana to "create an absolutely secure environment for the Greek ethnic minority and fully respect its rights".

    Mr. Niotis stressed the need for the minority to be represented "proportionately" in Albania's public administration.

    He told the conference that there "are still substantial restrictions in the exercise of the minority's religious and educational rights", and expressed the hope that Tirana would "resolve these in the immediate future".

    "Greece attributes great importance to its relations with Albania and supports that country's efforts in the economic and political reforms and contribute - with the investments of Greek enterprises, particularly in southern Albania - in a substantial way to the development and social stability of its neighbor," Mr. Niotis said.

    [5] Grachev calls for Bosnia peace conference in Moscow

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Visiting Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev yesterday called for a peace conference on Bosnia in Moscow with the participation of the countries involved, neighboring countries, and the seven most economically developed nations, the G-7.

    Mr. Grachev made the proposal during talks with Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias.

    Speaking to the press after the meeting, Mr. Grachev said his talks with Mr. Papoulias focused on problems in the settlement of the Bosnia crisis "for the sake of security in Europe and the rest of the world".

    "The views of Greece and Russia coincide on such a settlement," he said. "Efforts by Russia and other countries for a peaceful settlement of the crisis are already proceeding".

    He said these efforts "are not expected to begin within, say, the next two months but a bit later", although, he added, Russia believed that they should begin "as soon as possible" and urged that a peace conference be called, as proposed by Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

    Such a conference, he said, "can be held in any country, but we propose Moscow, with the participation of the G-7 group representatives of the seven most economically advanced nationsand Russia, the leaders of the sides involved and of other interested countries, namely the states neighboring former Yugoslavia."

    Mr. Grachev said that relations between Athens and Moscow in the economic, political and military sectors should be further developed.

    Official sources said the two men discussed the "further improvement of Greek-Russian relations, the situation in the Balkans and peace efforts in the former Yugoslavia".

    Mr. Grachev, who arrived in Athens Sunday night, signed a Greek-Russian framework co-operation agreement on Monday in the armaments and military industry sector with Greek counterpart Gerassimos Arsenis.

    The Russian defense minister will meet Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou today.

    [6] Papoulias meets with Bulgarian foreign under-secretary

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias had talks yesterday with Bulgarian Foreign Under-secretary Ivan Christov on bilateral relations between Athens and Sofia.

    The meeting was a follow-up to recent talks Mr. Papoulias had in the Bulgarian capital.

    Diplomatic sources said that the talks focused on the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the waters of the River Nestos and the opening of border entrance and exit points.

    According to the same sources, the two ministers also discussed Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's forthcoming visit to Sofia, expected to take place before the end of the year, during which the two countries will sign a number of co-operation agreements.

    [7] Romeos in Moldova for BSECP consultations

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Issues of direct interest to Greece will be discussed at a Black Sea Economic Co-operation Pact (BSECP) ministers' meeting today in Chisinau, Moldova.

    Greece will be represented by Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos, who flew to the former Soviet republic after the end of deliberations on the European Union-Turkey customs union in Luxembourg. The event marks the sixth such synod of Black Sea Economic Co-operation Pact ministers.

    The ministerial meetings follow a week of talks and negotiations by lower level delegations.

    It should be noted that the EU view the co-operation pact in a favorable light, judging that the EU-backed PHARE and TACIS programmes have the same economic goals as the BSECP. The European Commission has already agreed to support the group with the founding of a development and commercial bank as well as a international research centre of the Black Sea.

    [8] Syrian foreign minister in Athens for talks with Papoulias, premier

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara arrived in Athens yesterday afternoon for an official visit.

    Mr. Shara was greeted at the airport by his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias.

    The two foreign ministers will begin talks this morning prior to a meeting of Greek and Syrian delegations, while Mr. Shara will subsequently be received by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Premier Andreas Papandreou in Ekali.

    According to diplomatic circles, the Syrian minister's visit confirms the very good relations between the two nations and comes on the heels of official visits to Damascus by Prime Minister Papandreou and Mr. Papoulias.

    The Syrian delegation will leave later today for Vienna.

    [9] Foreign Ministry welcomes National Bank initiative in Palestine

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Greek Foreign Ministry yesterday welcomed the National Bank of Greece's initiative, in co-operation with the Development Bank of Cyprus, to found the Industrial Development and Investment Bank in Palestine.

    "The bank aims to help in the development of the economic and social prosperity of the Palestinian people in the autonomous areas through, among other things, the reconstruction and improvements in infrastructure, and support to the private sector.

    "We consider this initiative a strong step towards an active regional co-operation which complements and supports the peace process in the Middle East," the foreign ministry statement said.

    [10] Lymberis broaches issue of Greek participation in WEU multinational force

    Madrid, 01/11/1995 (ANA - D. Makri):

    An in camera meeting of National Defense General Staff chiefs from Western European Union (WEU) member-states ended at Eskorial in Madrid last night. Greece was represented by National Defense General Staff Chief Admiral Christos Lymberis.

    The meeting, held every six months in the country holding the European Union presidency, focused on the WEU's internal operation. Proposals were also made on upgrading its operational role and its intervention in current conjunctures was examined.

    Admiral Lymberis told the Athens News Agency (ANA) he again put forward for discussion Greece's claim for inclusion in the WEU's multinational forces. Greece wants active participation for its army, navy and air force in the WEU's multinational forces. The appeal is expected to be accepted shortly. It will be discussed again at the defense ministers' session due to be held in Madrid November 12-14.

    The next meeting of National Defense General Staff chiefs will be held in Italy in April 1996.

    [11] FYROM included in PHARE programme

    Brussels, 01/11/1995 (ANA - F. Stangos):

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was admitted to the Community PHARE programme following a unanimous decision by the European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg late on Monday afternoon.

    The signing of an interim agreement in New York on September 13 allowed the Greek government to lift its reservations on technical aid being granted to FYROM through the PHARE programme.

    Monday's unanimous decision amends the PHARE programme's regulation (3906/89), adding FYROM to the list of remaining central and eastern European countries.

    [12] ND discusses tactics for FYROM accord debate on Monday

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert yesterday chaired a 90-minute party meeting on the forthcoming extraordinary debate in Parliament on Monday on the interim accord signed in September between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    According to sources, ND will criticize the government for its handling of the dispute with FYROM and will ask for the accord to be ratified by Parliament. The party considers that FYROM is capable of winning eventual recognition of the name 'Macedonia' , the sources said.

    They added that in the debate, former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, who recently asserted he was prevented from promoting a compromise solution of the dispute in 1993, will expand on his personal stand in favor of a composite name for FYROM.

    [13] Skandalidis meets with Simitis

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Ruling PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis held an hour-long meeting with former minister and PASOK executive bureau member Costas Simitis yesterday at the party's head offices.

    Mr. Skandalidis made no statement afterwards, but Mr. Simitis said: "We must break the cycle of lost opportunities. We must reverse the course of degradation of politics and parties. We have proposals and we will make them."

    Mr. Simitis is considered to be a leading dissenter in the ruling party.

    "The country is faced with aggravated problems. PASOK and the progressive sector should make bold steps and take radical measures to confront these serious problems and in this way maintain their perspective, their character and their soul. We must not continue an ostrich policy and complacency," he said.

    Mr. Skandalidis is expected to meet another dissenter, former minister Theodoros Pangalos, tomorrow, while as of today he will start contacts with party deputies.

    [14] Kremastinos announces major surgery for ailing health system

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    Health and Welfare Minister Dimitrios Kremastinos yesterday unveiled major legislation aimed at reorganizing the National Health System (ESY), adding the bill is fully funded until the end of 1997.

    Mr. Kremastinos said the new health care system will be directed by a Unified Health Organization (EFY), whose operation will gradually be implemented, and with the voluntary participation of health and pension funds.

    The new bill entails creation of an EFY governing board comprised of representatives from the larger public health and pension organizations (IKA, OGA and TEBE); state-controlled banks, merchants as well as health care specialists from the Civil Servant s' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), the Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) and the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB).

    The health minister said the new board will begin negotiations with the health care-related sections of interested health and pension funds in the next few days. The government hopes that at least two major funds will initially join EFY.

    Asked whether insured employees' contributions in less healthy funds joining EFY will be raised, Mr. Kremastinos said the reorganization's primary goal was to provide proper health services to all, without an increase in rates. He said additional money would be garnered from cutting waste, which the health minister put at more than 200 billion drachmas in savings for just one year if health funds "cease paying three times the price for supplies" than in the rest of Europe.

    Another major facet in the new legislation includes institution of a family general practitioner system. Under the proposed reform, a family doctor would first receive a patient and treat medical problems and act as a middleman for further treatment at a hospital if necessary. This reform is aimed at lessening the patient load at hospitals.

    The family GP concept is expected to start next year on Crete and Rhodes, with approximately 1,500 to 2,000 patients for every doctor.

    Other provisions include:

    - Abolishing the non specialized rural medical tenure, and substituting specialized physicians who will also act as family doctors.

    - Expanding hospital shifts at all health centers and military hospitals with more than 20 beds, as well as expansion of the national paramedic and ambulance service.

    - Continuing the current hospital ownership regime.

    [15] Tourism advertising campaign to focus on culture, EOT head says

    Athens, 01/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Greek National Tourism Organization's (EOT) advertising campaign abroad will focus on "Greece and Culture" with EOT cooperating with the Culture Ministry for the first time.

    EOT Secretary-General Akis Kosonas told a press conference yesterday the 10 billion drachma campaign will be undertaken by "the most capable company", to be selected by a special committee composed of representatives from the advertising, cultural and tourism sectors.

    An international auction has already been proclaimed with all the analytical terms. The budget for that campaign will be half the total amount. The remaining five billion drachmas will be allocated for other forms of advertising.

    Mr. Kosonas said tourism decreased 10 per cent in 1995 rather than the 30 per cent initially estimated, but is expected to improve in 1996.

    He said the Swiss market continued to be the best for Greece, followed by the Dutch and Danish markets. Arrivals from Switzerland amounted to 250,000 in 1995 and were expected to increase by 50,000-60,000 in 1996.

    Sales of Greek armaments increased by 139 per cent in 1994 over 1993, reaching 12.5 billion drachmas, the Hellenic Armaments Industry (EBO) said yesterday.

    Financial costs in the same year were reduced by 905 million drachmas, while new investments totaled 630 million.

    Sales in 1995 are expected to be in the order of 14.5 billion, with a further 600 million reduction in financial costs, and investment exceeding one billion drachmas.

    Losses are also showing a downward trend, dropping from 15.5 billion in 1992 to a projected 2.5 billion this year.

    End of English language section.

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