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A.N.A. Bulletin, 07/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 734), November 7, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Final FYROM settlement will be brought to Parliament, premier says

  • [2] Evert

  • [3] Samaras

  • [4] Coalition

  • [5] Rallis

  • [6] Mitsotakis

  • [7] Halfhearted protests by farmers on first day of 48-hour mobilization

  • [8] Stathis: farmers must be realistic

  • [9] Arsenis stresses need for vigilance to safeguard regional peace

  • [10] Baykal say Greece actively working against Turkey

  • [11] Vartholomeos meets Lourdes bishops, condemns Rabin's murder

  • [12] No early elections, no coalition Gov't, Athanassakis says

  • [13] Coalition leader to meet premier, president

  • [14] Peponis meets Bangemann on textile sector

  • [15] Commission adopts Papoutsis SMEs report

  • [16] Alexakis receives Medicis literary prize

  • [17] Greece ordered to pay damages for land expropriation


  • [1] Final FYROM settlement will be brought to Parliament, premier says

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou told Parliament last night that it would have its chance to ratify any decision reached on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) once talks on the issue, set to start soon in New York, had concluded.

    Mr. Papandreou committed himself to bringing to Parliament for ratification the final accord signed between Greece and FYROM.

    The September 13 signing of the interim accord, Mr. Papandreou said, "is simply a good first step for the complete normalization of relations between the two countries but does not constitute the final solution."

    "Is there anybody who can claim that we are not better off now than we were before?" he said in defense of the accord. "The difference is visible with the naked eye."

    Responding to criticism why the government had not brought the accord to Parliament for ratification, Mr. Papandreou said it did not need to be ratified by Parliament because, as he said, the decision to impose the trade sanctions against FYROM was take n by his government and, consequently, lifted by a government decision.

    "The Skopje Parliament ratified the interim accord because they had to decide on the issues of their flag and constitution," he said.

    He said that Skopje undertook "with the specific articles in the accord" to change its flag and give a binding interpretation of disputed articles in its constitution. This last settlement is stronger, because instead of the simple elimination of the articles, Skopje is now bound by international treaties.

    "The major difference is the name for which consultations are now beginning and to which Greece is going to with the positions decided by the political leaders' council under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic," he said.

    The council meeting in 1992 decided that any name with the term "Macedonia" or any derivative was unacceptable to Greece.

    Mr. Papandreou said the opposition could express its opposition but the common denominator was ignorance of real facts and the complete lack of self-criticism.

    Mr. Papandreou reminded the Parliament that on February 16, 1994 the government linked its decision to take retorsion measures (trade sanctions) to specific moves FYROM had to take on symbols and its constitution.

    He went on to say that according to article 5 of the accord, FYROM accepted that the name was an issue for negotiations.

    As a result, he said, the essence and importance of the 16/2/1994 decision could be assessed now.

    He said certain people were criticizing the government at present of both promoting a double name (when this, he added, was a proposal of former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis) and being led to a composite name (forgetting that ND had accepted it but Mr. Gligorov had rejected it).

    Mr. Papandreou said he was ready for any comparison but "dissimilar things cannot be compared", adding that ND's position on a "large package meant nothing" since the small package came after the decision to impose trade sanctions.

    He spoke of accumulated mistakes made by ND about which "we could speak for hours."

    Mr. Papandreou sharply criticized his predecessor Mr. Mitsotakis, saying "he never believed in this case" preferring duplicity and deception.

    Referring to criticism that Greece would accept a composite name and that valuable time had been lost, Mr. Papandreou said the first mistake was that the critics were preempting the results of the negotiations and the second was that the government would continue the struggle.

    Mr. Papandreou also attacked ND leader Miltiades Evert, saying his position that he would renegotiate the accord when ND came to power was mistaken.

    "He cannot do it because in order to do it he has to become a proper prime minister, while the only thing he can do is remain a prime minister in waiting," Mr. Papandreou quipped.

    [2] Evert

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition leader Miltiades Evert accused the government of exhausting all of the country's bargaining chips by isolating the issue of the name, a basic component of the dispute.

    "Even if you believed that you could not proceed simultaneously on all issues, you should have dealt with them step by step, in a comprehensive agreement, rather than in clearly separate phases," he told the government.

    "Skopje got all it wanted. The control of further developments was effectively ceded to Skopje," he added.

    He also accused the government of entering the negotiations with a defeatist attitude, of violating the spirit of the 1992 political leaders' council decision and weakening its mandate, "which, in order to buttress the Greek government's bargaining position, posed as a basic pre-condition the inclusion of the whole spectrum of differences with Skopje in a comprehensive negotiation, including that concerning the name".

    He set out his party's three-fold position, which comprised ratification of the New York agreement by Parliament, securing an explicit commitment by European Union member states and the US that the provisional name FYROM will continue applying in all their bilateral relations with Skopje, and that the government will enter negotiations on the issue of the name on the basis of the political leaders' council decision of April 13, 1992.

    Mr. Evert also made references against former prime minister Constantinos Mitsotakis for recently expressed positions, saying "I consider it harmful to our national interests, but also to every form of negotiation, for Greece to appear willing to make concessions on the issue of the name, when Skopje exhibits an intransigent stand".

    [3] Samaras

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Former ND foreign minister and founder of the opposition Political Spring party Antonis Samaras proposed two alternative solutions for the Skopje issue during his speech in Parliament last night.

    Specifically, Mr. Samaras proposed a Swiss-style cantons system for the neighboring Balkan state or FYROM's re-inclusion in New Yugoslavia.

    The Political Spring leader said Athens should convince its European partners and the United States through diplomatic activity to accept the first solution, which would entail a loose federation. Mr. Samaras said such a system would defuse separatist tendencies in FYROM, "absorb" conflicts and allow better communication between various ethnic groups in the landlocked nation of about two million.

    The canton solution, according to the former foreign minister, would lessen Greece's problems with the one-time Yugoslav republic and aid regional stability.

    Mr. Samaras said his second alternative, calling for a return of Skopje to the status it enjoyed before the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, would relieve FYROM of its international standing as well as allow Yugoslavia and Greece to once again share common borders.

    He called on the government to bring its recently signed interim agreement with Skopje to Parliament for ratification.

    KKE --- Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga accused the government and main opposition New Democracy party of "double-talk" on the Skopje issue.

    Ms Papariga asked the PASOK government to "open its cards" on the matter or else "tonight's discussion has no particular meaning, and once again the Greek people will be left in the dark, susceptible to demagoguery, disorientation, false and deceiving impressions."

    The KKE leader said her party's position calls for the issue to end as soon as possible from the time concrete negotiations on the name materialize, adding that it is obvious the word "Macedonia" will be part of the neighboring country's name.

    "Let's remember that we (KKE) supported unified negotiations for all real issues that developed between the two nations, where we did not include the name as a principal and basic (factor) on which recognition and a good neighbor relationship depended.

    "We supported direct negotiations without referees and intermediaries, because it is well-known they represent certain state interests," Ms Papariga added.

    She also lashed out at Political Spring, saying the party clings to a political stance that is both incorrect and extremely dangerous.

    Concluding, she said her party wants this issue resolved so efforts at outside intervention in the Balkans are lessened.

    [4] Coalition

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Meanwhile, before the debate in Parliament last night, Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday called for a re-examination of the 1992 political leaders' council decision to reject the term 'Macedonia' and any of its derivatives as a possible name for FYROM.

    The Coalition leader told a press conference that sticking to that decision, co-signed by the Coalition (which is no longer represented in Parliament), and double-talk by those who handled the issue, constituted extreme political opportunism.

    He called for the formation of a national foreign policy council, and said last night's debate of the issue would only be meaningful if it led to specific decisions that could extricate it from the vicious circle of petty-party exploitation.

    Veteran left-wing figure Leonidas Kyrkos, who also spoke at the conference, criticized both parties for having being dragged along a road which ultimately led to a nationalist frenzy, accompanied by manifestations of the most conservative and reactionary elements.

    He referred to an older debate in Parliament, in which he had urged then Prime Minister Mitsotakis to follow through to the end any compromise policy he believed was right and then let the electorate judge, instead of making concessions in the name of p reserving national consensus.

    [5] Rallis

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Meantime, former prime minister George Rallis criticized Messrs. Papandreou, Mitsotakis and Samaras of being responsible for current developments in the Skopje issue.

    "...Each shares a part of the responsibility for present developments in our national issue," Mr. Rallis was quoted by the daily newspaper "Ta Nea" as saying.

    In an interview published yesterday, Mr. Rallis accused Mr. Mitsotakis of fearing "the political cost and therefore did not (when in office) proceed with (settling the issue by accepting) a composite name.

    "I feel he was afraid the government would fall," Mr. Rallis was quoted as saying.

    The former prime minister said former president Constantine Karamanlis could not be held responsible for not convening a political leaders' council in 1993, saying that "a later council meeting did not take place not because Mr. Karamanlis did not want it to, but because Mr. Papandreou refused to participate."

    [6] Mitsotakis

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Former ND prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis lashed out against leader of the Political Spring party Antonis Samaras on Samaras' handling of the FYROM issue while he was foreign minister in the period 1990-92.

    Mr. Mitsotakis said he had committed a "tremendous mistake" which he paid for dearly by appointing Mr. Samaras to the post of foreign minister.

    "He never fought for the name "Macedonia" abroad, only at home in pursuit of his personal image," he said.

    Calling Mr. Samaras "dishonest", Mr. Mitsotakis said he overthrew and betrayed his government for financial reasons.

    "He served the interests of (founder of telecoms giant Intracom, Socrates) Kokkalis and the digital phone lines," he said.

    The former prime minister called the interim accord "tragically weaker" than the agreement worked out by his government and claimed that the imposition of the trade sanctions and the "walk-out" from negotiations at the United Nations were "senseless act s which harmed the country".

    [7] Halfhearted protests by farmers on first day of 48-hour mobilization

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    The first day of renewed protests by farmers yesterday ended with the removal of tractors from the Thessaloniki-Kavala national road and the lifting of a two-hour blockade of the Thessaloniki-Athens national road at the Malgera toll post while two farmers ' groups in the north decided to lift blockades on national roads.

    Road blockades, protest rallies and marches were held by farmers around the country to press demands for better prices for their products, pension increases and cheaper fuel.

    Access to and from Thessaloniki's international airport was briefly disrupted by the farmers' protests, despite a strong police presence, with passengers having to cover a distance of about two kilometers on foot.

    Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the airport's lounges unable to leave.

    The epicenter of protests was, as earlier this year, the central region of Thessaly.

    Groups of farmers used tractors and other farm machinery to block the main Thessaloniki-Evzones and Thessaloniki-Edessa highways while others also blocked secondary roads in the prefecture of Imathia, and, elsewhere in northern Greece, farmers parked tractors near a number of major road junctions.

    In some cases there was disagreement among the farmers themselves as to whether they should block the roads or restrict themselves to less dynamic forms of protest.

    The two-day protests which began yesterday are in effect a continuation of similar action taken by farmers earlier this year. They ended their action in early April after receiving assurances from the government that some of their demands would be met.

    In Larissa, central Greece, the turnout at yesterday's protests was clearly lower than in March. Late last night, farmers in Larissa decided not to block the national highway but said that tractors would line the road until noon today when the Panthessalian Struggle Coordinating Committee will reconvene to decide on the further course of labor action.

    In another development, the Struggle Coordinating Committee of Evros Farmers decided to lift the blockade at the Ardanio crossing at 8pm last night, letting through traffic on the roads linking Alexandroupolis and the border with Turkey and Alexandroupolis with Orestiada.

    [8] Stathis: farmers must be realistic

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    "All the demands of the farmers have a basis, they are just. What must be examined however is which of them are feasible and which cannot be satisfied," Agriculture Minister Theodoros Stathis told the ANA.

    "There are demands which cannot be met, such as the farmers' demand that they participate in shaping the size of European and national subsidies," he added.

    "The rules of the game are such that the farmers must choose between national subsidies and European subsidies. They cannot have both," Mr. Stathis said.

    The agriculture minister said that the reduction of VAT for farmers from 18 to 8 per cent was a decision of the European Union which concerned all member states and not just Greece.

    At the present time, he continued, there is no possibility of changing this.

    Acknowledging that farmers' pensions were low, Mr. Stathis said this was the reason why the government had already begun efforts to increase them to the same level as the minimum received by retired persons insured with the Social Security Foundation (IKA). He said that the funds allocated by the state to the agricultural sector in 1994 were increased by 4.5 billion drachmas as compared to 1993.

    [9] Arsenis stresses need for vigilance to safeguard regional peace

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis said yesterday that the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the recent attempt against Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia president Kiro Gligorov "stress the need for vigilance of all the forces of peace in the region."

    Speaking to reporters at Athens airport before his departure for Israel to attend the Rabin funeral, Mr. Arsenis expressed the hope that the murder of the Israeli prime minister "will not affect the Middle East peace process."

    Recalling that he and Mr. Rabin had recently signed the first defense agreement between Greece and Israel, Mr. Arsenis said the late Israeli leader's vision had been for "a Middle East and a Balkan peninsula free of wars, with peace and co-operation among the peoples."

    Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis also expressed the government's regret at the death of Rabin, saying he had "fought hard for his country's interests," and had made "a personal contribution to the establishment of peace in the region."

    He expressed hope that the peace procedures will continue.

    The leader and honorary president of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Miltiades Evert and Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday visited the Israeli embassy in Athens to express their condolences over the death of Rabin.

    "To make war is easy, but to succeed in securing and implementing peace is difficult. I want to believe that Rabin's sacrifice will not be wasted and that the struggle for peace will continue for the good of humanity and of Israelis and Arabs," Mr. Ever t said.

    Mr. Mitsotakis expressed the hope that forces for peace will be strengthened further.

    "I went to the embassy to express my condolences, the grief of the Greek people which are mourning the death of a great leader together with the people of Israel," the former prime minister said.

    Meanwhile, the Movement for National Independence, International Peace and Disarmament (KEADEA) in an announcement yesterday on the assassination of Mr. Rabin stated:

    "News of the Israeli prime minister's murder caused anger, sadness and indignation of the peace-loving Greek people. Warmongering ultra right-wing circles cannot stop with any means the peace process between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

    "KEADEA denounces... all those who wish for and attempt continuation of this long and devastating war."

    [10] Baykal say Greece actively working against Turkey

    Istanbul, 07/11/1995 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas):

    Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal said Turkey was "extending a hand of friendship" to Greece "despite the policy of Greek governments which for more than 10 years not only do not reciprocate goodwill gestures" by Ankara but "exploit every opportunity to worsen relations with Turkey and add new problems to existing ones."

    Mr. Baykal made his statement during the reading of the Turkish government's policy statements in the Turkish National Assembly over the weekend.

    "The creation of obstacles in Turkey's relations with the West has become steadfast policy for Greece," Mr. Baykal said, adding that the target of Greek policy had been to "obstruct Turkish diplomatic initiatives in the Balkans and the Middle East."

    Mr. Baykal accused Athens of "arming the Aegean islands in flagrant violation of international treaties", adding that "it oppresses and imposes restrictions on more than 130,000 expatriates of ours living in Western Thrace" and attempted to give lessons in respect for human rights from the podium of the Turkish National Assembly.

    "It is true that early civilization passed from Greece to the West thousands of years ago. We simply hoped they had kept a little (civilization) for themselves," he added.

    "National, religious and cultural rights are not the kind of rights we invoke 'a la carte' solely for certain countries under certain conditions," Mr. Baykal said.

    He warned human rights organizations "to widen their horizons and become more fair in approaching world humanitarian values otherwise they are in danger of losing their credibility." The European Parliament has said it may not approve a proposed customs union with the European Union if Turkey does not improve its dismal human rights record.

    "The Greek Cypriots should not follow the dream of complete accession to the European Union before the Cyprus issue is resolved," Mr. Baykal said, reiterating that Ankara considered the question of Cyprus a "national issue" and that it would not "abandon" the Turkish Cypriots under pressure.

    [11] Vartholomeos meets Lourdes bishops, condemns Rabin's murder

    Lourdes, 07/11/1995 (ANA/AFP):

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was received yesterday by the plenary council of Lourdes' Catholic bishops.

    "We are against any form of violence, coming from any direction and against anyone," the Patriarch said in reference to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on Saturday.

    Vartholomeos said he and Mr. Rabin had last met and co-operated in May.

    Cardinal Joseph Duval, who presided over the council, said the Patriarch's first visit to France is an "excellent moment" in relations between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, which are going through a period of rapproachment. In answer to a press question, the Patriarch said a preparatory meeting for a Pan-Orthodox Synod will probably convene in February, the first such synod held since the 11th century A.D.

    [12] No early elections, no coalition Gov't, Athanassakis says

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis yesterday dismissed talk of post-election alliances with other parties and of the possibility of early elections, reiterating that elections would take place at the end of PASOK's four-year mandate in 1997.

    Mr. Athanassakis was commenting on Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos's statement on Saturday that 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.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, however, ruled out the possibility of collaborating with New Democracy in a coalition government.

    Commenting on former PASOK minister Dimitris Tsovolas' intentions to form a party, Mr. Athanassakis reiterated Mr. Papandreou's statement that the formation of a new party would be a mistake.

    Meanwhile, in an interview with the daily "Apogevmatini," ND deputy and former minister Dora Bakoyanni said she opposed coalition governments, adding that the country was in need of stable governments.

    "It is the ultimate solution, a solution of necessity, the country needs stability...," she said.

    [13] Coalition leader to meet premier, president

    Athens, 07/11/1995 (ANA):

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos will meet with Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

    According to a press release, Mr. Constantopoulos will express his party's views on the nation's political developments and "democratic transparency" in public life.

    With the premier he will also discuss creation of a national council for foreign policy and establishment of a proportional representation voting system.

    [14] Peponis meets Bangemann on textile sector

    Brussels, 07/11/1995 (ANA - F. Stangos):

    Industry Minister Anastasios Peponis yesterday raised the issue of European Union financial support for the Greek textile industry with responsible Commissioner Martin Bangemann.

    The Greek demand was part of a deal struck on March 6, whereby Greece would lift its veto against Turkey's customs union with the EU.

    In a joint statement with the Council of Ministers then, the Commission undertook to "examine, within 1995, and in co-operation with the Greek government, the difficulties created by the new conditions of international competition (Uruguay Round, Lome IV

    Convention, and customs union with Turkey) for the Greek clothing and textile industry", and submit proposals for dealing with them, taking into account the limitations of the Community budget.

    The minister said he set out the economic arguments constituting the Greek demand, such as the loss of 51,000 jobs over the last five years, as well as the political dimension of linking the issue with Turkey's customs union with the EU.

    He stated he had emerged particularly optimistic from the meeting, but believed that the first useful representation had been made, and that the results would be apparent by year-end.

    "There was an explicit mutual commitment that the issue would not be concluded before the Greek side was briefed on the findings of the European Commission," he added.

    "The Greek government awaits with interest the recommendations of the Commission, in full knowledge that the textile industry must dare to undertake all necessary rationalizing measures that will render it competitive".

    Mr. Peponis also took part in the EU Industry Minsters' Council, where he called for special measures to protect member states from unfair practices by developing nations in the sectors of steel, merchant marine, and textiles.

    [15] Commission adopts Papoutsis SMEs report

    Brussels, 07/11/1995 (ANA - P. Pantelis):

    The European Commission has ado-pted a report by Greek Commissioner Christos Papoutsis on small and medium size manufacturing enterprises (SMEs), concerning 10 high priority measures endorsed at last year's Berlin conference for the sector.

    The measures, which are in accordance with the principle of subsidiary, and are subject to available funds, concern administrative rationalization, the integration of SMEs in the internal market, support to cross-border provision of services, international co-operation, improvements in international competitiveness, vocational training, integration in the society of information etc.

    Mr. Papoutsis said in a statement that the SMEs could create employment, provided the appropriate conditions for their competitiveness were secured.

    [16] Alexakis receives Medicis literary prize

    Paris, 07/11/1995 (ANA - J. Zitouniati):

    Vassilis Alexakis, a writer of Greek extraction, has been awarded France's prestigious Medicis 1995 literary prize for his book 'La Langue Maternelle'.

    Mr. Alexakis received the prize jointly with Russian Andrei Makin's 'Le Testament Francais'.

    'La Langue Maternelle' has already received extensive favorable publicity in France, and is expected to top the 20,000 mark in sales in the next few weeks.

    The Hellenic Culture Foundation and the Fayard publishing house have planned a literary evening on Alexakis and Greek literature for November 16.

    [17] Greece ordered to pay damages for land expropriation

    Strasbourg, 07/11/1995 (ANA/AFP):

    Greece must pay 6.12 billion drachmas in punitive damages for land expropriated in 1967 by the then military junta, according to a ruling yesterday by the European Court.

    Fourteen plaintiffs won the case in June 1993, after the Strasbourg court ruled that 104 stremmata near the Ayia Marina community, north of Marathon on the coast of Attica, were illegally seized by the government in order build a naval officers' retreat .

    Yesterday's ruling dealt with the amount of damages awarded.

    The European Court of Human Rights also stated that the government must return the land within six months or pay the owners 5.55 billion drachmas.

    End of English language section.

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