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A.N.A. Bulletin, 08/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 735), November 8, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Inflation continues to fall, industrial production up

  • [2] Industrial production

  • [3] Political Spring

  • [4] Gov't says Baykal statements 'nothing new'

  • [5] EPP approves Greek delegation resolutions

  • [6] European socialist leaders to meet in Madrid

  • [7] Bosnian Serb officials in Athens for talks

  • [8] Premier's wife refuses to say whether she will run for office

  • [9] Venizelos says coalition scenarios 'unrealistic'

  • [10] Parliament debate proves Gov't handling of Skopje issue 'right', Athanassakis says

  • [11] EU accession will be of benefit to all Cypriots, Kranidiotis says

  • [12] OA plan makes safe emergency landing in Khartoum

  • [13] Lianis condemns Monday's soccer violence

  • [14] Farmers call off protests after lukewarm response

  • [15] GSEE calls for end to austerity

  • [16] Municipal officials protest delay in Gov't funds

  • [17] MPs get a world of information with Parliament's new Information Centre

  • [18] UN calls for stop to war during Atlanta Olympics

  • [19] OA drops prices

  • [20] EU commissioners due in Athens this month for consultations

  • [21] Shipping exchange inflows up

  • [22] Greece, Visegrad countries confer on tourism development at Athens conference

  • [23] Kyriazidis announces new Greek Eurobonds

  • [24] Belgrade, Skopje express interest in new Thessaloniki bourse

  • [25] New plan provides for consumer role in DEKO management

  • [26] News in Brief


  • [1] Inflation continues to fall, industrial production up

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Figures released by the National Statistics Service yesterday showed annual inflation running at 8.3 per cent at the end of October, down marginally from 8.4 the previous month and continuing its stable downward course.

    The new figures compare favorably with figures of 11.1 per cent and 12.3 per cent for the same month in 1994 and 1993 respectively.

    The consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.1 per cent in October this year compared to the previous month.

    The release of the figures coincided with news from Brussels that Greece's industrial production increased by 0.9 per cent, close to the EU average of 1.0 per cent.

    According to Eurostat, the percentage is still too small to have any positive repercussions on the effort to absorb unemployment in the industrial sector.

    CPI --- Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    The 1.1 per cent CPI increase was due to a 4.6 per cent increase in clothing and footwear, a two per cent increase in foodstuffs, a 1.2 per cent rise in durable goods and household items and a 0.2 per cent increase in transport and communications.

    In contrast, there was a 2.2 per cent drop on the housing index due to the reduced price of heating oil which was partly offset by rent increases.

    [2] Industrial production

    Brussels, 08/11/1995 (ANA - G. Daratos):

    Industrial production in Greece increased by almost one percentage point (0.9 per cent) during the May-July 1995 period compared to the three previous months.

    According to latest data provided by Eurostat, industrial production increased on average by 1.0 per cent in the European Union over the same period.

    The increase in industrial production in EU member-states over the May-July period compared to the previous February-April quarter is as follows: Sweden 3.4 per cent, Austria 2.8, Finland 2.1, Italy 1.4, Germany 1.3, Netherlands 1.2, Spain 0.9, Greece 0 .9, France 0.8, Britain 0.3, Denmark 0.2 and Portugal 0.1.

    [3] Political Spring

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Commenting on the new inflation figures, opposition Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis reiterated the party's position for a change in the government's economic policy.

    Maintaining that the reduction in inflation has reached its limit and could go no further, Mr. Martakis called on the government to make drastic changes in its economic policy which he said was characterized by inefficiency, the hard drachma and an obsession with deficits.

    The spokesman said the economic policy, based on an aggressive sliding of the drachma, should aim at increasing production and productivity.

    [4] Gov't says Baykal statements 'nothing new'

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    The government yesterday described statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal on the Cyprus problem as "a repeat of the usual Turkish provocations."

    Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said that the statements illustrated "the policy of unilateral Turkish claims against Greece."

    Mr. Baykal told the Turkish National Assembly at the weekend that Ankara considered the Cyprus problem to be a national issue and would not be pressured into abandoning the Turkish-Cypriots.

    Mr. Athanassakis said that Greece considered the Cyprus problem to be the key for the normalization and improvement of Greek-Turkish relations.

    He reiterated that the sole dispute between Athens and Ankara was the issue of the Aegean continental shelf which should be resolved at the International Court of Justice, "something which Turkey has systematically refused for a number of years."

    "Therefore, Turkey should not blame Greece for the problems it has with the European Union and should stop trying to export its domestic problems," the spokesman said.

    Mr. Athanassakis also commented on statements by Turkish Premier Tansu Ciller in Jerusalem on Monday.

    "Of all the statements made by Ms Ciller, what sticks out in my mind is the one whereby she admits that Turkey impeded the process which was promoted by the UN Secretary-General for a settlement of the Cyprus problem," he said.

    According to a radio report, Ms Ciller said Ankara "now accepts for the first time, the confidence-building measures for Cyprus".

    As far as Greece is concerned, Mr. Athanassakis continued, apart from the confidence-building measures for Cyprus "there is also the essence of the Cyprus problem and the need to find a just and viable solution."

    [5] EPP approves Greek delegation resolutions

    Madrid, 08/11/1995 (ANA - D. Makri):

    A Greek delegation at the 11th conference of the European People's Party had two of its proposals approved yesterday in the Christian-Democratic manifesto, which will be presented at next year's EU Inter-governmental Conference.

    The first proposal calls for mandatory briefing of national parliaments by the European Commission on its legislative actions. The second adopted proposal would mandate collective support of EU member-states in case of outside threats to the Union itself or individual members.

    The conference is taking place in Madrid.

    Main opposition New Democracy Eurodeputy Timos Christodoulou, ND's Europarliament group head, also noted that any EU opening to eastern European nations must not cause disruptions in the economic and monetary union course of other EU countries, or cause imbalance in the former nations' domestic situation.

    [6] European socialist leaders to meet in Madrid

    Brussels, 08/11/1995 (ANA - M. Savva):

    The leaders of Europe's socialist parties will meet in Madrid on December 14, ahead of the EU Madrid summit set to take place December 15-16., Rudolf Scharping will chair the regular six-month meeting of the European Socialist P arty (ESP). As is usually the case at ESP meetings held at the end of each European Union presidency, leaders of social democrat and socialist governments will also be present with the leaders of European socialist parties.

    [7] Bosnian Serb officials in Athens for talks

    Belgrade, 08/11/1995 (ANA - M. Mouratidis):

    A delegation of high-ranking Bosnian-Serb officials, headed by the Vice-President of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Biliana Plavcic, will visit Greece today. An announcement from the office of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said that the aim of the visit was "talks with representatives of the Greek government, the Greek Church and local government" in order to "strengthen the housing fund of the Serbian Republic for the purpose of reconstructing the republic at the end of the war."

    [8] Premier's wife refuses to say whether she will run for office

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    The premier's wife, Dimitra Liani-Papandreou, left open the possibility that she would run for public office in the next general elections during an unprecedented interview on the state-run ET-1 television network late yesterday evening.

    Specifically, she said elections are scheduled for two years' time, and doubted that early elections would materialize. Mrs. Liani-Papandreou added that she would not be forced to announce or disclaim any candidacy.

    Any decision, she added, would be taken prior to elections.

    In an indirect reference to the campaign against her by the "Avriani" daily, she asked: "Which Greek citizen has been blackmailed in such a manner?". She called "inhumane" any attempt to force her to make such a decision now, referring to her alleged political aspirations.

    In addition, she clearly ruled out the possibility of resigning her position as director of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's private office, saying the premier's office is managed by the minister to the prime minister's office.

    Finally, asked to comment on harsh criticism that she has intervened in government policy and decision-making, Mrs. Liani-Papandreou said she does not formulate policy, adding that anyone who thinks so underestimates Andreas Papandreou.

    [9] Venizelos says coalition scenarios 'unrealistic'

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Transport and Communications Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters yesterday that recent speculation regarding the possible formation of a coalition government between the two major parties in the event that the next election produced an inconclusive result, created an illusion which had no relation to reality.

    "We have a parliamentary majority and stability which exceeds the European average," he pointed out. He called for more attention to be paid to the substance of political problems.

    "Government collaboration schemes which very often create intransparency and inability of democratic control are one thing, and the search and establishment of consensus and political agreements on the major national problems is another.

    "Our position is always in favor of consensus and coincidence of views on issues concerning foreign policy, public administration, education, and I might add, certain strategic options for economic development," he said.

    [10] Parliament debate proves Gov't handling of Skopje issue 'right', Athanassakis says

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis yesterday said Monday's Parliamentary debate on the Skopje issue proved the government was following the right policy.

    Mr. Athanassakis reiterated the premier's statement that the discussion should not have taken place, since "the opposition lacks the necessary cool-headedness, resulting in conflict and oppositions which did not contribute to the debate."

    "The government," he added, "will continue to handle the issue in the same way, defending national interests in the best way possible."

    Mr. Athanassakis added that other parties shared the same policy on the issue, "a policy which the Greek people support."

    Asked whether the interim accord would be annulled if there was no agreement in talks on the name issue, Mr. Athanassakis said the accord would run for seven years, had already gone into effect and provided for negotiations on the name, which were pending.

    Earlier in the day, Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras criticized the ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy parties of sharing the same line on the Skopje issue and Greek-Turkish relations, criticizing both of following directions by US governments.

    Mr. Samaras made the statement after Monday night's parliamentary debate.

    He also responded to charges by former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis over Mr. Samaras' handling of the Skopje issue while he was foreign minister.

    "The Greek people are aware of my deeds and Mr. Mitsotakis' deeds and are able to make their own conclusions," he said.

    [11] EU accession will be of benefit to all Cypriots, Kranidiotis says

    Brussels, 08/11/1995 (ANA - M. Savva):

    Eurodeputy Yiannos Kranidiotis yesterday said Cyprus' proposed European Union accession will benefit all Cypriots, whether Turkish-Cypriot or Greek-Cypriot. The PASOK Eurodeputy was speaking during a meeting between left-wing Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot political leaders, journalists and academics in a Europarliament chamber after an initiative by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Institute.

    "Cyprus' course in the Union is final and irrevocable and that is why the European Union should assist the United Nations in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem," Mr. Kranidiotis said, adding that the island republic's accession and its division are separate issues not connected but that a just and viable solution will help Cyprus' future European course.

    The unique meeting was held to inform both communities of the effects that accession would have for all the island's residents.

    The president of EDEK, Vassos Lyssarides, led a Greek-Cypriot delegation, while A. Dourdouran, the president the Turkish-Cypriot party "New Cyprus" led a group from the occupied part of the island. Several Community and Union officials also took part, including Socialist Group president Pauline Green.

    In reference to the proposed EU-Turkey customs union, Mr. Kranidiotis said negotiation strategy could attach Cyprus' accession process with Greek acquiescence to the customs union, however, "the two issues are not related."

    The Greek Eurodeputy called for a delay in deliberations of the EU-Turkey customs union until next year.

    [12] OA plan makes safe emergency landing in Khartoum

    Khartoum, Sudan 08/11/1995 (ANA/Reuter):

    A Greek passenger plane made an emergency landing at Khartoum airport on Monday after a bomb scare, a Reuters dispatch said yesterday.

    According to the dispatch, the plane was en route from Athens to Nairobi and Johannesburg when it was alerted by the Greek authorities of claims of a bomb on board.

    The plane, an Olympic Airways Airbus 3550 with 260 passengers on board, was searched but no bomb was found, Reuters said.

    The plane later proceeded with its journey.

    [13] Lianis condemns Monday's soccer violence

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Sports Under-secretary George Lianis yesterday categorically condemned violent clashes between soccer fans and police in Thessaloniki on Monday night, saying that the law would be enforced "to the letter."

    "I am very sorry for the incidents, which took place yesterday in Toumba and I categorically condemn them," he said.

    But he laid blame for the violence not only on fans but on club officials who "on some occasions use (the fans) as an argument and at other times as an alibi."

    He said he would examine the official reports on the clashes before taking a position, stressing, however, that "if there is a lack of satisfaction from the point of view of justice I will intervene personally."

    Mr. Lianis praised the action of the police in Monday night's clashes, saying that the number of injured could have been much higher.

    Eight soccer fans appeared before the public prosecutor in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    The eight, all supporters of PAOK Thessaloniki, were charged with assaulting police officers, unprovoked assault and damage to property.

    Of the 26 policemen injured in the clashes, one remains in hospital with a fractured leg. In the violence, 14 fans were injured, two of whom remain in the hospital with chest injuries.

    The referee abandoned the game at the 75th minute when angry PAOK supporters invaded the pitch after throwing rocks and other missiles, one of which hit a linesman in the head.

    PAOK was losing 3-1 to AEK Athens when the game was abandoned.

    PAOK president Thomas Voulinos tendered his resignation after the clashes, which could result in a heavy fine for the team and a five-game ban on playing at home. The latest violence mean a cumulative 10-game ban on playing at home for PAOK since another case of field violence is already pending against the club.

    Mr. Voulinos said he would no longer have anything to do with the club, "not even as a supporter."

    He described Monday night's violence as "the tombstone for my club and Greek football in general."

    Thessaloniki police chief Lieutenant-General Ioannis Karakontinos said that the police had in no way provoked the PAOK supporters and that there had been no fighting between rival fans prior to the pitch invasion.

    He said that the police had succeeded in its task since it had prevented the violence spreading.

    Meanwhile, the Union of Greek Police Officers of Central Macedonia in a statement called for the "exemplary punishment" of those responsible for the clashes.

    The union's board of administration demanded that urgent measures be taken to ensure safety at football matches, warning that otherwise it would be forced to consider the possibility of refusing to provide security at games.

    [14] Farmers call off protests after lukewarm response

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Farmers' organizations yesterday called off their two-day protests against alleged government delays in meeting earlier promises after receiving a lukewarm response to the call for mobilization.

    Members of the organizing committee called for the implementation of a national farming policy and decided to meet government officials on problems.

    They warned, however, that if their demands were not promptly met, they would resume labor action, possibly in January-February, when no farming work is in progress.

    A first meeting was held shortly after the withdrawal of tractors from key roads near Thessaloniki, with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Costas Triarides, who promised to relay grievances to the government.

    Another delegation is due to meet Agriculture Minister Theodoros Stathis today.

    [15] GSEE calls for end to austerity

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) yesterday set out a number of demands which will form the crux of its protest rally on November 23, together in collaboration with the Civil Servants Union (ADEDY).

    These include an immediate end to austerity, with real wage rises, free collective bargaining, the parity of lowest pensions with 20 daily rates for unskilled labor and the rest with 80 per cent of wages, immediate measures for justice in taxation and a boost in employment, a doubling of social security benefits, and transparency in the utilization of Second Community Support Framework funds.

    According to GSEE, 1.5 million people in Greece already live in conditions of poverty and registered unemployment is in danger of exceeding the 10 per cent mark under the conditions of nominal convergence of economies prescribed by the European Union.

    [16] Municipal officials protest delay in Gov't funds

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Town halls and municipal offices in the Attica region were shut yesterday, in protest against delays in the provision of government economic assistance.

    Mayors and councilors staged a gathering outside Athens City Hall in the morning, and then marched to parliament where they handed a memorandum to president of the House, Apostolos Kaklamanis, and party representatives.

    At a press conference later, the organizers of the mobilization warned that they will renew action if their demands are not met before the conference of the Central Union of Municipal Authorities (KEDKE) in Rhodes, November 23-25.

    [17] MPs get a world of information with Parliament's new Information Centre

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greek deputies gained access, as of yesterday, to a vast array of information through a newly-established Information Centre in the Parliament. The Information Centre, gathering data from some of Greece and Europe's most credible data bases, gives deputies and researchers access to news and parliamentary issues and was presented to deputies by President of the Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis. The centre is linked to the Athens News Agency, including the MNEME data bank, the Botsis Foundation data bank, the Internet, Celex (which includes the EU network), Eurocron (statistical data on social and economic factors of EU member-states), Epoque (which covers the European Parliament's activities) as well as Nomos and Ellaslex, which are Greek data banks on legislation and the body of law.

    Mr. Kaklamanis said the Information Centre, which is part of the Parliament's modernization policy, aims at facilitating deputies in their research.

    [18] UN calls for stop to war during Atlanta Olympics

    United Nations, 08/11/1995 (ANA - M. Georgiadou):

    The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution late Monday night requesting that member-states adhere to a international truce during next year's Olympic Games in Atlanta, the centennial of the event's modern resurrection. The idea for an Olympic truce stems from ancient Hellenic tradition, whereby all warring states declared peace for the duration of the games in Olympia.

    "Greece is ready to receive the Olympic Games and invite the world's youth to an Olympiad of brotherhood, civilization and peace, contributing to the renaissance of the Olympic ideals, after a new creative beginning," Greece's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Vassilis Kaskarelis said Monday during the session.

    Control of all Olympic Airways flights will, as of tomorrow, be effected centrally through the EUROCONTROL system operated from Brussels, Transport and Communications Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday. He added that delays were likely, especially with domestic flights, until rescheduling and planning, expected to be completed until March 31, 1996, was fully coordinated.

    [19] OA drops prices

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Olympic Airways, Greece's national carrier, is offering new cheaper fares for its overseas flights for all seats as of early November.

    Olympic is offering special tourist fares for Rome, Milan, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Duesseldorf, London, Sydney and Melbourne.

    Fares for passengers choosing to travel in first or business class will also be reduced from Greece to all European destinations with the exception of Brussels, Sofia, Tirana and London.

    In addition, Olympic is offering excursion fares, in conjunction with special prices at selected hotels to Britain, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the US.

    [20] EU commissioners due in Athens this month for consultations

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Three European commissioners are scheduled to visit Greece over the next few weeks within the framework of their regular contacts with European Union member states.

    Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock is due in Athens tomorrow for talks with Merchant Marine Minister George Katsifaras, Transport Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos.

    Greece's Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis will arrive in Greece to address a conference on Friday at a central Athens hotel on renewable forms of energy.

    Meanwhile, according to informed sources, Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn is scheduled to visit Athens on November 20.

    [21] Shipping exchange inflows up

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Inflows of shipping exchange rose by 22.4 per cent January-July this year to reach 1,259 million dollars, compared to 1028.2 million dollars in the corresponding seven-month period last year, the Merchant Marine Ministry said yesterday.

    In July, shipping exchange inflows totaled 201 million dollars, against 170.4 million dollars in the same month last year, marking an increase of 18 per cent.

    [22] Greece, Visegrad countries confer on tourism development at Athens conference

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Some 80 high-ranking officials of ministries, state tourist organizations as well as businessmen from the four Visegrad countries of Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are aiming to attract investments and more tourists from Greece at a three-day conference which opened here yesterday.

    The delegates will be presenting possibilities for further co-operation with Greece and at the same time try to benefit from Greece's experience in tourism development.

    The conference at a central Athens hotel has been organized by the ministries of national economy and tourism, the Greek National Tourist Organization (EOT) and the embassies of the four Visegrad countries in Athens.

    Opening the sessions of the conference, National Economy Under-secretary Ioannis Anthopoulos said that Greece had much to offer and to benefit from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in the tourism sector.

    GNTO Secretary-General Apostolos Kosonas stressed that Greece's tourism leadership would do everything possible to encourage investment co-operation with the Visegrad countries.

    The president of the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) Spyros Kokotos said that Greek tourist enterprises would be interested in investing in the four countries provided they were suitably informed about the investment, tax and legislative framework in force there.

    At a press conference later, the heads of the four delegations agreed that they needed Greece's experience and stressed that tourism was gradually developing in their countries and taking on increasing importance for their national economies.

    The common strategy of the four countries is to attract high income tourists and develop special forms of tourism, which is basically in line with Greece's present strategy. According to figures announced at the press conference, in 1994 Hungary received 21.5 million tourists, Poland 18.8 million and the Czech Republic 17 million.

    Poland estimates that it will earn foreign exchange from tourism this year in the region of seven billion dollars. Inflows of tourist exchange to Hungary totaled five billion dollars last year and to Slovakia 568 million dollars.

    The corresponding figures for Greece in 1994 were 11 million arrivals and 6.5 billion dollars in foreign exchange inflows.

    [23] Kyriazidis announces new Greek Eurobonds

    London, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    Finance Under-secretary Nikos Kyriazidis signed an agreement in London to issue medium-term Hellenic Republic Eurobonds in denominations of up to two billion dollars.

    The programme for issuing Eurobonds has been assigned to the Lehmann Brothers investment firm, while major international banks are main negotiators. The first loan in the programme for 700 million German marks is being issued at an interest rate of 0.65 per cent (libor).

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Kyriazidis referred to Greece's steadfast implementation of the medium-term fiscal adjustment programme and strict monetary policy.

    Mr. Kyriazidis said resorting to the international Eurobond market would take place when considered expedient to improve the structure of the country's foreign debt.

    [24] Belgrade, Skopje express interest in new Thessaloniki bourse

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Thessaloniki Stock Exchange will begin operating in early April and has already attracted keen interest from business sectors in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Central Macedonia Secretary-General Costas Tsimas said work at the Thessaloniki Stock Exchange's building complex would be completed at the end of January and the stock exchange would start operating in early April.

    Mr. Tsimas said the operation of the stock exchange was a fundamental prerequisite to making Thessaloniki the economic and commercial centre of the Balkans.

    [25] New plan provides for consumer role in DEKO management

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    A draft report concerning modernization of the nation's largest public companies and utilities (DEKO) proposes consumers' participation in their operation and management.

    The ambitious proposal, which has already been sent by the national economy ministry to Greece's nine largest state corporations and utilities, calls for creation of councils comprised of consumers, supervising ministry representatives as well as member s of the government's economic and social committee.

    These councils would make suggestions on improvement of service and examine complaints.

    The plan will be the subject of a meeting tomorrow at the national economy ministry.

    Changes in the salary structure for the large state entities will also be discussed.

    [26] News in Brief

    Athens, 08/11/1995 (ANA):

    A large-scale military exercise took place on Rhodes yesterday in the Kattavias firing range with the participation of infantry, commandos, heavy artillery and mechanized units. Military observers judged the exercise successful, with an emphasis placed on coordination of the participating armed forces.

    The Athens criminal appeals court yesterday sentenced 39-year old George Balafas to 10 years in prison for arms possession. The conviction relates to his arrest nine years ago, when he was charged with possession of a variety of arms in his apartment. He was acquitted by a criminal court in July 1994. The appeals court prosecutor had asked for his acquittal, on the grounds of insufficient evidence, and after conviction, for a six-year sentence.

    End of English language section.

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