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A.N.A. Bulletin, 02/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 730), November 2, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece, Syria look forward to closer co-operation on regional, economic issues

  • [2] Mitsotakis charges Evert prevented efforts to wind up FYROM issue

  • [3] Reactions

  • [4] Stephanopoulos starts Romanian visit today

  • [5] Greek minority education of 'primary importance', Greece says

  • [6] No comment from Greece on Zhelev statements

  • [7] Gov't hopes for successful outcome to US Bosnian peace meeting

  • [8] New multinational exercise set to begin Friday

  • [9] Grachev meets with premier

  • [10] Mitsotakis denies rumors of new party

  • [11] Lambrias book on Karamanlis launched

  • [12] German labor minister says joint EU action needed to deal with unemployment

  • [13] Papandreou will win re-election to PASOK presidency, Hytiris says

  • [14] Papoutsis speaks on tourism in US

  • [15] Bill for repatriation of Albanian illegal immigrants hits the 6.6 billion mark

  • [16] Economic News In Brief

  • [17] Credits for Aliakmonas section of Egnatia approved

  • [18] Papantoniou says no change in taxation policy


  • [1] Greece, Syria look forward to closer co-operation on regional, economic issues

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece and Syria yesterday reaffirmed their close bilateral relations and said they could both contribute to peace and co-operation in the Mediterranean.

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias had talks yesterday with his Syrian counterpart Farouq al-Shara on the further improvement of bilateral economic and commercial relations, the situation in the Middle East and the Balkans, the Cyprus problem and cooperation between the European Union and the countries of the Mediterranean.

    Describing Mr. Shara's visit as "very important," Mr. Papoulias said that it reaffirmed the close and cordial relations between the two countries and the close co-operation on issues of strategic economic interest.

    "Both sides ascertained that Greece and Syria are countries which can contribute to peace and co-operation among the Mediterranean countries, since both are important regional powers in their regions," Mr. Papoulias said.

    Relations between Athens and Damascus were at a good level, he said, adding however that they could be even closer.

    "Unfortunately there are many difficulties," Mr. Papoulias said, going on to speak of the embargo in former Yugoslavia and the conflict in the Middle East "which created conditions that did not facilitate the development of commercial and economic relations between Greece and Syria."

    Mr. Papoulias said that the planned re-opening of the Volos-Tartus ferry service was extremely significant, adding that it was in line with EU thoughts on channels of communication between Europe and the Middle East.

    He expressed the certainty that the talks between Athens and Damascus and the contacts between Greece and its EU partners would eventually result in the resumption of the ferry service.

    Mr. Papoulias said that Syria was an important factor in the Middle East peace process.

    "Greece has always maintained and, albeit with some delay this has now been accepted by our EU partners and the US that no overall peace can emerge from the negotiating process without the participation of Syria," Mr. Papoulias said. Greece, he continued, was trying at all levels to contribute to the Middle East peace process "which must be completed, with the participation of Syria and Lebanon."

    Mr. Papoulias said that the views of Athens and Damascus coincided on "most" issues related to the Balkans while on the remaining issues the views of the two countries "converged."

    Another issue discussed by the two ministers was that of the Euro-Mediterranean Conference to be held in Barcelona which will examine matters concerning co-operation between the EU and Mediterranean countries.

    The aim of both countries, Mr. Papoulias said, is for "this very important conference" to succeed.

    "Greece and Syria are working for peace and each country has taken many steps in this direction in their regions," Mr. Papoulias said.

    Both ministers were asked to comment on the decision of the US Congress to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Mr. Papoulias described the issue as "an important problem," along with others, for the peace process. Another problem, he added, was that of the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights.

    Mr. Shara said that the Senate decision totally contravened "the decisions of international legality and the UN and must not be implemented."

    "Eastern Jerusalem constitutes Arab territory which Israel seized in 1967 and must withdraw from, as well as from all the other Arab territories," Mr. Shara said.

    Thanking his Syrian counterpart, Mr. Papoulias said that Damascus' support over the Cyprus problem remained "constant, steadfast and consistent," while Mr. Shara assured him that Syria would continue to provide this support.

    Mr. Papoulias said both sides had agreed that UN resolutions and Security Council decisions must finally be respected.

    "In order for there to be an honorable order of things on a world scale, the rules of international law, which should be the sole criterion, must be respected," Mr. Papoulias said.

    "Unfortunately," he continued, "there are countries which behave outside the rules of international law. It is the duty of all of us to move within the framework of just and peaceful co-operation and to promote peace as the greatest ideal."

    Describing co-operation between Athens and Damascus as "broad," Mr. Shara said that it was not aimed at "lining up and confronting anyone" but rather at "maintaining international legality and (respecting) international decisions."

    "Neither Greece nor Syria has attacked anyone. There are others who are thinking of attacking the two countries," Mr. Shara said.

    "We do not want the airspace of Greece and Syria, nor relations between the two peoples to be disturbed. At the same time, however, we will not accept threats from anyone. This is the nucleus of our co-operation," Mr. Shara said.

    Diplomatic sources said that Greece and Syria will soon sign a framework co-operation agreement in all sectors with the exception of military co-operation. The sources said that the agreement would most probably be signed at the next meeting of the two ministers.

    Mr. Shara was also received by President Kostis Stephanopoulos and had talks with Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. He was due to depart for Vienna yesterday afternoon.

    [2] Mitsotakis charges Evert prevented efforts to wind up FYROM issue

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    At a packed gathering at the Grande Bretagne hotel in Athens yesterday, former prime minister Tzannis Tzannetakis and former foreign minister Giorgos Papoulias presented Theodoros Skyllakakis' book 'In the name of Macedonia', dealing with high-level deliberations in 1993 for a resolution of Greece's disputes with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    In his preface to the book, then-prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis charges that internal New Democracy party opposition and the reluctance of then-resident of the republic Constantine Karamanlis to provide support, prevented him from bringing the issue to a conclusion.

    "Apart from (then-foreign minister) Antonis Samaras, there was also another party wing, Mr. Evert (the present ND leader), the late Athanassios Kanellopoulos, and Mr. Dimas, who refused any discussion on the composite name," writes Mr. Mitsotakis.

    "Given the existence of the dependencies of this wing, and without the assistance of the then president of the republic, which I asked for and did not get, I could muster neither the parliamentary nor the internal party strength to conclude such an effort under the particular political circumstances of that period".

    At another point in the preface to the book, the former premier says that his slender majority in parliament at the time led to his losing control of developments. He also expresses serious reservations concerning the effectiveness of the institution of the council of political leaders, describing it as "inappropriate for decision-making", and a "dangerous experiment", and claiming that his hands were tied by its decision to reject any derivatives of the name 'Macedonia' for FYROM.

    Before attending the event yesterday, the former premier said the book was a timely contribution to the truth, as the issue was in its last critical stage, and might help in preventing any further mistakes.

    Mr. Skyllakakis, who was director of Mr. Mitsotakis' planning and communications bureau over the 1990-93 period, notes that it was not his ambition to write the history of the FYROM issue during that period, acknowledging that his sources are "too one-sided" to allow him to set out anything more than a political view.

    Mr. Tzannetakis claimed in his presentation that the FYROM issue evolved into a trap for Greece, as the aim ceased being its resolution, becoming a "challenge to our national egotism" instead.

    Mr. Papoulias compared the Vance-Owen plan of the time with the interim accord signed in New York in September this year, concluding that the latter constitutes a "150 per cent retreat" by the Greek side.

    [3] Reactions

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    In a statement after the event, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said the publication of the book and recent relevant debate should be attributed to the need of those who handled the issue during the tenure of the last government to defend themselves for their complete failure.

    "What is worse," he added, "is the fact that even today they have no solution to propose for the problem."

    Asked if the government would consent to the publication of the minutes of the political leaders' council of April 13, 1992, Mr. Hytiris said if the political leaders and the president of the republic agreed, the government had no objection.

    Former president Constantine Karamanlis' office said in a statement that the political leaders' council was not convened anew, as requested by Mr. Mitsotakis in January 1993, due to the refusal of then opposition leader Andreas Papandreou, who had state d he had no confidence in the government's policy.

    New Democracy party Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis expressed his opposition to the publication of the book at the present juncture, when the issue "is at a critical point", and said the author of the book should have known that Mr. Karamanlis could not have convened the political leaders' council given Mr. Papandreou's refusal to attend.

    In a reply later, Mr. Skyllakakis said the book clearly acknowledges the fact that a new meeting was not convened by the president, following Mr. Papandreou's imposition of conditions in November 1992.

    [4] Stephanopoulos starts Romanian visit today

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos is due to begin today a three-day visit to Romania at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart Ion Iliescu. He will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias.

    During his stay, Mr. Stephanopoulos will hold talks with the Mr. Iliescu, the prime minister, the presidents of the Parliament and the Senate and the leaders of the opposition.

    He will also meet with representatives of the Greek community in the country as well as Greek students' representatives.

    Mr. Papoulias and his Romanian counterpart will sign a Greek-Romanian cultural agreement tomorrow.

    [5] Greek minority education of 'primary importance', Greece says

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that, although Greece looked forward to good relations with Albania, the question of the education of the ethnic Greek minority was of primary importance.

    The spokesman, Costas Bikas, was commenting on a speech Tuesday by Albanian Foreign Under-secretary Arian Starova that the education of Greek minority schoolchildren should not pose an obstacle to bilateral relations.

    "The question of education is of capital importance since it concerns the human rights of the ethnic Greek minority, and we believe that Albania will honor its obligations," Mr. Bikas said.

    The spokesman said that during the recent New York meeting between Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias and his Albanian counterpart Alfred Serreqi, the Greek foreign minister had proposed that a committee be set up to examine the issue of the Greek minority's education.

    The proposal, he said, had not yet been accepted by the Albanian side.

    [6] No comment from Greece on Zhelev statements

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Foreign Ministry yesterday declined to comment on reported statements by Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev that excessive emphasis on his country's relations with Greece would upset the balance in Sofia's policy of equal distances vis-a-vis both Greece and Turkey.

    In an interview appearing in the newspaper "Kapital," Mr. Zhelev also reportedly said disruption of the balance might be detrimental to his country's interests.

    "The Greek government does not comment on the statements of presidents of friendly countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Costas Bikas said.

    "Bulgaria is a friendly country and Greek policy in the Balkans is one of co-operation and development and a policy against (the creation of) any axes," he added.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris later said Greek-Bulgarian relations were very close and would become even closer following the visits of President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou to Sofia.

    [7] Gov't hopes for successful outcome to US Bosnian peace meeting

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    The government yesterday expressed its best wishes for a successful outcome of talks which opened yesterday among delegates from Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia in Ohio, US, aimed at reaching a peaceful settlement of the crisis in the former Yugoslavia. "Greece hopes that there will be a successful outcome which will secure peace, stability and co-operation in the region," government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said.

    [8] New multinational exercise set to begin Friday

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    A medium-level naval exercise involving destroyers winds up Friday, while the "Iolkos '95" multinational naval exercise commences the same day.

    Vessels from Romania, the United States, Italy and Greece will participate in the exercise as part of the "Partnership for Peace" initiative.

    Specifically, the Greek navy vessels involved in the exercise include the frigates Epirus and Lemnos, two torpedo patrol boats, a submarine as well as a tanker. Each of the other forces will participate with a frigate.

    The Iolkos exercise begins November 5 south of Skyros and continues through the Cyclades and the Myrtoo gulf.

    [9] Grachev meets with premier

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou yesterday met with visiting Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, in the presence of Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis.

    Mr. Arsenis expressed total satisfaction at the talks with his Russian counterpart, which focused on bilateral and defense co-operation issues, as well as the Bosnian crisis and developments in the Balkans. Mr. Arsenis also noted the "coin-cidence of views" between the two parties on the Bosnian crisis.

    Mr. Grachev, who ended his visit to Athens yesterday, said Mr. Papandreou approved the agreement between Russia and Greece and urged the two ministers to implement all parts of the agreement and reinforce co-operation in the defense field between the two countries.

    [10] Mitsotakis denies rumors of new party

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    Former prime minister and honorary president of main opposition New Democracy Constantine Mitsotakis reacted sharply to reports yesterday that he was spearheading efforts to found a new party.

    "Because various rumors have circulated, once again let it be stated that whatever Constantine Mitsotakis has to say he says it himself, and that no one else represents him," a statement from Mr. Mitsotakis' office said.

    The statement came after two senior ex-ND members said there were moves afoot for a new party.

    Former ND general director Yiannis Dimitrokallis characterized the atmosphere at the official launch of a book written by Theodoros Skyllakakis, a former top aide to Mr. Mitsotakis, as the "birth of a political party."

    Mr. Dimitrokallis, described as a close friend of Mr. Mitsotakis, said he doubted, however, whether a new party would materialize easily. "Everyone is turning to Mr. Mitsotakis to lead such an effort," he said.

    And, in response to press questions, former foreign minister Mihalis Papaconstantinou made it clear that developments were underway for creation of a new political party.

    Mr. Papaconstantinou, currently an independent deputy after leaving New Democracy in 1994, said "there are discussions; a procedure has started, but I don't know if we are ready for the next elections."

    "The opinions of Mr. Papaconstantinou and Mr. Dimitrokallis concerning the creation of a new party are clearly personal positions and do not reflect those held by Mr. Mitsotakis," the statement from Mr. Mitsotakis' office concluded.

    [11] Lambrias book on Karamanlis launched

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    Eurodeputy and journalist Panayiotis Lambrias' book, "Constantine Karamanlis: Selective Texts," was presented to the press yesterday by the Athens Daily Newspapers' Union (ESHEA) President, Dimitris Glavas, scholar George Vlahos and journalist George Leontaritis.

    The book is a selection of texts or speeches by former president Constantine Karamanlis and covers the gamut of public life.

    It includes letters by Mr. Karamanlis to various prominent personalities and his thoughts during his self-exile in Paris.

    Presenting the book to an audience of journalists, political figures and scholars, Mr. Leontaritis underlined Mr. Karamanlis' contribution to the country during his 60-year political career, while Mr. Vlahos said the book encapsulated Greece's recent political history.

    [12] German labor minister says joint EU action needed to deal with unemployment

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    Germany's Labor Minister Norbert Bluem said yesterday the acute problem of unemployment across the European Union was "a social provocation."

    Mr. Bluem was speaking to reporters after meeting Labor and Social Security Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas at the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace in Thessaloniki.

    He said the problem could not be overcome by any state separately, but only as part of a common effort and in the framework of European co-operation.

    "We also need a social policy on the issue of unemployment," he said.

    Mr. Bluem agreed with Mr. Tzoumakas on distinguishing between a stabilization programme and social policy.

    Mr. Tzoumakas reiterated these views in Thessaloniki after meeting Mr. Bluem, saying his German counterpart agreed with the distinction.

    "Without social policy we will not be able to have a common Europe for all its citizens," Mr. Bluem said.

    Mr. Bluem's visit to the Macedonia and Thrace Ministry and his meeting with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Constantine Triarides and Mr. Tzoumakas came at the end of a private visit Mr. Bluem paid to Mount Athos. During their meeting the three ministers discussed bilateral and European issues.

    Mr. Tzoumakas told Mr. Bluem the government had decided to legalize 500,000 illegal immigrants which would result in their being insured and remunerated according to law.

    Mr. Bluem had said earlier that refugees arriving in Germany from former Yugoslavia had reached 600,000.

    Mr. Tzoumakas completed meetings he held in Thessaloniki late yesterday afternoon.

    He started his meetings in the morning with a visit to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) housed in a section of the US Agricultural Academy near Macedonia airport.

    The Center's director Mr. Van Rens and board members briefed Mr. Tzoumakas on issues related to the Center's final relocation from Berlin to Thessaloniki.

    [13] Papandreou will win re-election to PASOK presidency, Hytiris says

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris yesterday said Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou would contest the presidency of the ruling party PASOK and expressed certainty that he will be re-elected to his position. Mr. Hytiris was speaking to the press concerning statements by former PASOK minister and deputy Theodoros Pangalos who called for an extraordinary congress to elect a new party president. Mr. Pangalos said he hoped that the ruling party would not go to the polls in 1997 under Mr. Papandreou.

    Asked whether the premier would be a candidate for the party's presidency at the next party congress, Mr. Hytiris said: "I believe Mr. Papandreou will be a candidate and will also be re-elected to this position". Mr. Hytiris declined to comment on a press report that Mr. Papandreou had been considering withdrawing from the political scene since 1989.

    Asked to comment on Mr. Pangalos' statements, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos declined comment, saying that "what interests me at the present moment is how PASOK's policies will be reality and socially accepted."

    [14] Papoutsis speaks on tourism in US

    New York, 02/11/1995 (ANA - M. Georgiadou):

    Speaking at a conference on the development of tourism between the US and Europe, European commissioner for energy and tourism Christos Papoutsis yesterday referred to the Commission's Green Paper on tourism, nearing completion.

    He said the Paper included "our positions on the situation and prospects for tourism in Europe, and a number of alternative proposals, in the private and public sector, to secure the development of the sector and closer co-operation between member states ".

    Later, Mr. Papoutsis stressed to ANA the importance of the new Greek tourism campaign, centering on the country's cultural features, and said it was certain to attract a large number of Americans interested in the cultural and artistic aspects of the countries they visit.

    [15] Bill for repatriation of Albanian illegal immigrants hits the

    6.6 billion mark Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece has spent 6.6 billion drachmas in deporting one million Albanian illegal immigrants over the past four years, the Public Order Ministry said yesterday.

    In the first nine months of this year alone, police arrested 175,000 Albanian illegal immigrants.

    Repatriation costs include the hire of special vehicles, tickets, fuel, food, expenses for sustaining and remunerating police participating in arrest and repatriation processes and renting buildings to detain illegal immigrants.

    Police say the increasing numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border into Greece has coincided with a significant increase in crime, reaching 40 per cent in certain categories.

    Police say, however, that deportations were of little deterrence and that those deported often attempted to return to Greece since border surveillance measures on the Albanian side were non-existent.

    The mountainous terrain of the Greek-Albanian border also worked against effective policing on the Greek side.

    Greece is also facing a wave of illegal immigrants from the east, Public Order Minister Sifis Valyrakis said.

    He said a systematic and organized effort was taking place in Turkey, and tolerated by the state, to transport illegal immigrants to Greece across the Greek-Turkish border through the river Evros or by leaving them on the Aegean islands.

    He said the EU should take measures to support surveillance squads created by Greece to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the country. He said he would be coordinating a committee set up to tackle the problem and including the participation of the secretary-generals of the interior, finance, merchant marine and health ministries, foreign ministry advisers and defense ministry officers.

    [16] Economic News In Brief

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    A six-member Polish trade delegation will visit Athens on November 6 for talks with Greek businessmen on imports and exports between the two countries, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced yesterday.

    The delegation will be mainly interested in promoting Polish exports of copper, bronze, sheet metal, aluminum rolls and strips, cast brass bars, zinc, steel, cotton threads and chemicals.

    It has also expressed interest in Greek products and services including cotton threads, marine transport and the sale to Greek investors of shares in Polish companies manufacturing steel structures and woolen fabrics.

    [17] Credits for Aliakmonas section of Egnatia approved

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    Credits totaling 11.5 billion drachmas were approved by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Alternate Minister Costas Geitonas yesterday for a section of the Egnatia Highway between Grevena and Kozani.

    The 26.5-kilometre Aliakmonas section is part of the government's ambitious Egnatia Highway project, a partially EU-funded modern roadway that will span northern Greece, stretching from Igoumenitsa on the Ionian Sea to Alexandroupolis and possibly Istanbul in Turkey.

    Meanwhile, mayors of cities to be crossed by the Egnatia Highway yesterday expressed their concern at the project's "unjustifiable delays" at a meeting in Thessaloniki.

    They agreed to send representatives to meet with the senior Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry officials "in order to pressure the government to speed up completion of relevant studies and the unimpeded funding of the entire project."

    If their actions failed to produce the results desired, they said they were determined to seek a meeting with Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou to inform him of their constituents' anxiety about the project.

    A delegation of theirs will also participate in the major prefectural self-administration meeting in Thessaloniki on November 5.

    [18] Papantoniou says no change in taxation policy

    Athens, 02/11/1995 (ANA):

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday rejected demands by the Confederation of Traders, Small Manufacturers, and Professionals (GSEBEE) for more favorable tax treatment.

    After meeting their executive board for discussion of the government's economic policy for 1996, the minister said taxation policy would remain unchanged, but provision would be made for a 20 per cent subsidy of lease rents for SMEs.

    GSEBEE executives described the taxation policy for SMEs as shameful, and certain government measures as contradictory.

    End of English language section.

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