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A.N.A. Bulletin, 06/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 733), November 6, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece joins shocked international community in condemning murder of Rabin

  • [2] Israeli Embassy

  • [3] European leftists grieve

  • [4] Stephanopoulos returns from Romania

  • [5] Vartholomeos conducts mass at Notre Dame

  • [6] Full airing of views expected at today's Parliament debate on Skopje issue

  • [7] Tsohatzopoulos rules out co-operation with ND

  • [8] Coalition response

  • [9] Tsohatzopoulos urges agreement on new local government framework

  • [10] Evert defends his record

  • [11] Tsovolas lashes out at Gov't austerity

  • [12] Papoutsis calls for new dimension in Euro-Mediterranean co-operation

  • [13] Sifounakis rejects claims of unsafe flight conditions


  • [1] Greece joins shocked international community in condemning murder of Rabin

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis, representing Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and the Greek government, will join a host of world leaders today to pay a final tribute to Israel's assassinated prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin.

    The murder of Rabin in Tel Aviv on Saturday night provoked "outrage and condemnation" the Greek prime minister said in a statement.

    Expressing his deepest sympathy to the government and people of Israel, Mr. Papandreou praised Yitzhak Rabin's personal contribution to the Middle East peace process, commenting that his loss would deprive Israel of an eminent statesman.

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos sent Israeli President Ezer Weizman a message of condolences expressing his "horror and deepest regret" of the assassination of Rabin.

    Rabin, a former general and the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his ground-breaking efforts to resolve the protracted Israeli-Palestinian dispute, will be buried with full military honors on Mount Herzl, among Israel's founding heroes.

    The gunning down of the Israeli leader brought swift condemnation from around the world.

    In Athens, main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert said he hoped that Yitzhak Rabin's absence from the political arena would not upset the peace process in the region while Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras noted that the greatest tribute to the slain Israeli statesman would be the eventual successful outcome of that process.

    Former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis described Yitzhak Rabin's assassination as a blow for Israel and the peace process, adding that he had exhibited bravery both in war and in peace.

    "I hope his sacrifice will unite, instead of dividing the people of Israel," he added.

    A statement was also issued by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy and Political Bureau member Orestis Kolozof saying that the murder of Rabin served "the most reactionary forces".

    His assassination, he added, "will make it more difficult for the Palestinian people to achieve their goals".

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress declared its anger, sorrow and concern at the assassination of the Israeli prime minister.

    [2] Israeli Embassy

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Israeli Embassy announced yesterday that the public would be able to sign a book of condolences at the embassy's offices Marathonodromou 1, Paleo Psyhiko, from 11am till 1pm today.

    [3] European leftists grieve

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    Representatives from 19 European countries currently attending the European New Left Forum in Athens expressed their grief yesterday over the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

    The 50 delegates called for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, stressing that the speedy implementation of the bilateral peace accord was the surest way to stop the violence and secure the Palestinians' legal rights.

    [4] Stephanopoulos returns from Romania

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos returned to Athens on Saturday night from a three-day visit to Romania, where he had talks with President Ion Iliescu and Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu. He had concluded his tour in the city of Iasi, holding meetings with representatives of the local Greek community, including students. The president also visited the Monastery of Secu, where he unveiled a plaque in memory of the Greek martyr Giorgakis Olympios, who died fighting in the 1821 Greek war of in dependence.

    Meanwhile, the president is reported to be planning an official visit to Sofia November 21-23 for talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Zhelyu Zhelev and the Bulgarian government.

    [5] Vartholomeos conducts mass at Notre Dame

    Paris, 06/11/1995 (ANA - J. Zitouniati):

    Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos yesterday officiated an Orthodox vespers at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral in the presence of the Catholic Archbishop of Paris Jean-Marie Lustigier.

    Welcoming the Patriarch, Mgr. Lustigier said it was "one of the most important moments of the convergence of Churches."

    "The steps towards the unity of Churches continue with today's mess at the Notre Dame," he said.

    Patriarch Vartholomeos in his response said the vespers was a proof of the improvement of relations between the churches of East and West.

    Earlier, Mgr. Lustigier hosted an official dinner for the Patriarch.

    On Saturday, a Byzantine music concert was held at the Saint Sulpice church, on the occasion of Patriarch Vartholomeos' visit to France. The event, which featured three choirs, one Greek, one Russian, and one Arabic, was attended by a crowd of 3,000, including Greek Education Minister George Papandreou.

    An honorary committee for the event included former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, Hellenistic scholar Jacqueline de Romilly, academician Jean d' Ormesson, philosopher Edgard Morin, president of the College of Europe Eleni Glykatzi-Ahrweiler, composer Mikis Theodorakis, director Costa Gavras, singer Nana Mouskouri, and other prominent French historians and scholars of Byzantine culture.

    [6] Full airing of views expected at today's Parliament debate on Skopje issue

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece's political leaders will come together in Parliament today, to discuss present and anticipated future developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) issue.

    The debate is taking place at the request of main opposition New Democracy party.

    ND submitted the request almost two months ago, when negotiations between Skopje and Athens on the signing of an interim accord to normalize relations between the two states were in progress.

    According to sources, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou is expected to defend the government's dealing of the issue, arguing that he had led the issue out of stagnation and that imposition of trade sanctions as retorsion measures against its neighbor had prompted the interest and intervention of other countries to find a settlement.

    Greece imposed trade sanctions against FYROM in February 1994 to force it change its name, remove ancient Greek symbols from its flag, and eliminate expansionist language from its constitution. They were lifted last month as part of the interim accord signed in New York on September 13.

    The sources said the prime minister will reiterate the position that the government acted according to national interests and not in line with the US.

    Mr. Papandreou is also expected to express the hope that negotiations over the name issue will end in the following two months.

    Sources say he will reiterate the government's position that a name containing the term Macedonia or its derivative will not be acceptable. He is also expected to launch a stinging attack against former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis concerning h is handling of the Skopje issue during his term in office.

    On his return from Paris yesterday, Mr. Mitsotakis said he hoped that Monday's debate would not be wasted, and that responsible positions would be put forward for a policy truly in the interests of Greece.

    Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert is expected to criticize the government for not informing the people of developments and refusing to bring the interim accord to Parliament for ratification.

    Sources said that Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras would refer to his policy on the issue during the time he was ND foreign minister and reiterate his position that no name containing the term Macedonia or its derivative can be accepted. He is expected to call for a referendum or the convening of a political leaders council under the chairmanship of President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga is expected to criticize all the parliamentary parties for not assuming the responsibility of finding a solution to the issue. She is expected to underline the "need to find a compromise solution".

    [7] Tsohatzopoulos rules out co-operation with ND

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    Interior, Public Administration, and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday said he was in favor of co-operation with left-wing parties in the event PASOK did not win an absolute majority in the next election, but ruled out collaborating with New Democracy in a coalition government.

    "What more obvious than for PASOK to co-operate with forces of the broader left?" he said in an interview with the newspaper Sunday Eleftherotypia.

    He added that although other parties wanted a change in the electoral law, it was not the intention of the ruling party to do so, and elections would take place as scheduled at the end of the government's four-year term.

    Referring to the wave of dissension within the party in recent months, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it was not of a political nature, but represented a "quarrel" for the leadership, but expressed confidence that "there will be no issue of leadership, success ors, or weakening of the common effort in the next two years".

    Commenting on recent attacks against the prime minister's wife, Dimitra Liani-Papandreou, by the Avriani newspaper, he said they were effectively aimed at the prime minister himself, and that if she withdrew from active involvement in public affairs, she would be giving in to blackmail.

    He admitted that it was wrong for PASOK to tolerate the support of this newspaper in the 1980s, saying it had "underestimated the side-effects".

    Finally, the minister dismissed speculation about impending changes in the law specifying procedures for public appointments, and noted the excessive influence of economic interests on government.

    [8] Coalition response

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    Coalition of the Left and Progress president Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday excluded any form of co-operation between his party and others before or after general elections.

    Accusing ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy of being responsible for the "bankruptcy" of the Greek political system, Mr. Constantopoulos said the Coalition "has no reason and does not intend to play the role of propping up the collapsing political order."

    "The prevailing political situation concerns both of them, because they have created it and they reproduce it with their policies," he said.

    In a clear response to Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' statements, Mr. Constantopoulos said Coalition will "fight independently" and would not "make PASOK's dilemmas and problems (the Coalition's) existentialist trials".

    [9] Tsohatzopoulos urges agreement on new local government framework

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Greek Union of Prefectures' first general assembly, which began in Thessaloniki on Saturday, was addressed by Minister for the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    The minister stressed that the goal of second-tier local government could only be achieved if central ministries set up services in the prefectures. He also urged Greece's 6,000 municipalities and communities to take advantage of the regional councils which would begin operating on January 1, 1966.

    Among proposals Mr. Tsohatzopoulos announced was for agreement to be reached in Parliament on the constitutional ratification of the new institutional framework for local government.

    He also announced that a new proposal would be put to the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities' congress regarding expansion of the legal framework for funding local government.

    [10] Evert defends his record

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    In an interview in the Sunday Apogevmatini, main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert defended his opposition tactics in response to comments made by the party's honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis a few days previously.

    "Citizens know full well that methods practiced in the past only put a burden on the present and undermine the future," he said, adding that he had no intention of falling into the trap of "artificial conflict".

    He warned against paying too much attention to the current spate of interviews, books and statements (by politicians). Such disputes, he concluded, did nothing to help matters, but served extra-party interests.

    [11] Tsovolas lashes out at Gov't austerity

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    Former PASOK minister Dimitris Tsovolas launched a stinging attack against the government's economic and foreign policy during a visit to Patras on Saturday.

    He criticized the government for continuing a policy of austerity, saying there was a tendency towards marginalizing the citizen.

    Regarding issues of foreign policy, Mr. Tsovolas accused the government of accepting the EU-Turkey customs union without first ensuring progress in the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Tsovolas told reporters his visit to Patras aimed at "communicating with (PASOK) officials, friends and the people in order to assess public opinion" regarding his intention to form a party.

    Mr. Tsovolas announced the launching of a new political force, 'Movement of Civilization,' after giving up his PASOK Central Committee position and party membership early last month.

    He told reporters in Patras that he would proceed with the founding of the new movement if he was persuaded that the party would gain popular support.

    Asked to comment on the possibility of early elections, Mr. Tsovolas said anything was possible.

    "Unfortunately, this is something which is determined by foreign powers and big interests," he said.

    He ruled out the possibility of returning to PASOK or acceding to any of the existing parties.

    [12] Papoutsis calls for new dimension in Euro-Mediterranean co-operation

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    Speaking at a one-day event on the European Union's Mediterranean policy, organized by PASOK's Eurodeputies in Iraklion, Crete, yesterday, energy and tourism commissioner Christos Papoutsis called for a new dimension in co-operation in the Mediterranean, concerning tourist development, the provision of adequate energy supplies, emphasis on employment and social progress, and promotion of regional integration.

    He said Greece could and should play a prominent role in such co-operation, being, among other advantages, the only European Union member that belonged to both the Balkans and the Mediterranean.

    Interior Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos also stressed the importance of Greece's role in the Mediterranean, with its maintenance of good relations with Arab countries, but noted that when Americans and Europeans spoke of a European policy in the region, t hey were directly interested in how to support Turkey.

    Head of PASOK Eurodeputies Paraskevas Avgerinos stressed the role of the Mediterranean in history, and said Greece should undertake initiatives for the development of the southern islands of the EU, the connection of the Eastern Mediterranean with the B lack Sea region, and of the EU with the countries of the Arab League.

    Eurodeputy Yiannis Roubatis said political stability and security in the basin were inexorably linked, and could not be secured without economic and social development.

    Eurodeputy Costas Klironomos stressed the significance of Crete in a Euro-Mediterranean policy, pointing out its geographical position, the existence of research and educational establishments of a high stature, and its unique archaeological treasures.

    Eurodeputy Angela Kokkola referred to environmental problems in the basin, and called for the implementation of an older proposal by Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos for the setting up of a European observatory for pollution. She also said that the dissemination and protection of the cultural heritage should be the focus of Community action programmes.

    Dean of the University of Crete Giorgos Grammatikakis said the institution's positive achievements were largely due to European Union funding, and asked the state to provide assistance so that it might play a greater role in the Mediterranean.

    [13] Sifounakis rejects claims of unsafe flight conditions

    Athens, 06/11/1995 (ANA):

    Tourism Minister Nikos Sifounakis categorically denied on Saturday that flight conditions in Greece were unsafe, describing the allegations by German travel agents as "hot air."

    "The safety of flights and Greek airports prove the untruth of their claims," Mr. Sifounakis said in Thessaloniki.

    "Our airports are safe and our flights are among the safest in the world."

    "The causes for this attack must be looked for elsewhere," he added.

    On Thursday, an official of the German travel agencies' union criticized airport facilities, especially on the islands.

    Mr. Sifounakis was speaking after a meeting with international tourist agents.

    In September, the Federation of Civil Aviation Unions (OSYPA) President Christos Alevizopoulos said an orchestrated attack by Germans, Austrians and Danes against Greek airports and air traffic control systems was due to expediencies and economic interests.

    German and Danish pilots had stated in September that flight conditions in Greece were "catastrophic".

    End of English language section.

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