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A.N.A. Bulletin, 09/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 736), November 9, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Bonn refuses to consider Greek claims for war damages

  • [2] 'Indignation' in Bonn

  • [3] Stathis, farmers' groups begin talks on resolving differences

  • [4] New Democracy

  • [5] Vartholomeos continues French visit

  • [6] Mixed reactions from ruling party cadres to Liani-Papandreou interview

  • [7] Constantopoulos says premier disagrees with Coalition proposals

  • [8] ND leadership meets on important issues

  • [9] President honors memory of Arkadi martyrs

  • [10] George Papandreou present EU's 'Socrates' educational programme

  • [11] Ukraine, FYROM admitted to CoE today

  • [12] Skopje no El Dorado, Anthopoulos says

  • [13] European Olympic Committees gather for 24th assembly in Athens

  • [14] New appointments in health sector announced

  • [15] Macedonia-Thrace Bank announces share capital increase

  • [16] Laliotis opens international fair on environmental technology

  • [17] Paris meeting reviews Black Sea economic co-operation issues

  • [18] News in Brief


  • [1] Bonn refuses to consider Greek claims for war damages

    Bonn, 09/11/1995 (ANA - P. Stangos):

    The German government said the issue of war reparations 50 years after the end of World War II was inopportune, adding that Greece had already received its "slice of the reparation pie".

    After a delay of over a month, unusual in Germany, the German government replied yesterday to a written question by Ula Yelpke, a Party of Democratic Socialism deputy, on German war reparations concerning the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II.

    The issue has come to the fore recently with the campaign, led by local government bodies in Greece, to file suit by private citizens for damage suffered by victims of the Nazi occupation.

    Bonn last month returned civil suits served on the German Foreign Ministry by some 1,000 Greek citizens. Athens, clarifying that it was not involved in the current case of private legal action, nevertheless said the issue had "enormous moral dimensions" and remained on the table.

    "Fifty years after the end of the war ... the issue of reparations is inopportune. After the end of World War II and on the basis of international law, Germany has paid, to a great degree, reparations to citizens of countries it occupied," the reply said.

    "The payment of reparations 50 years after the end of the war is, on the basis of international law practice, an exception without any precedent," it added.

    Referring to Greece in particular, the German Finance Ministry claims that Greece has already received its slice of the reparation pie "through committing German assets abroad" as anticipated by the Treaty of Potsdam on August 2, 1945.

    It repeated steadfastly that Germany, through the bilateral agreement concluded on March 18, 1960, had paid due reparations to Greece for victims of the German occupation and their relatives amounting to 115 million marks.

    [2] 'Indignation' in Bonn

    Bonn, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    The lawsuits filed by Greek citizens for reparations for victims and damage during the occupation of Greece have created "indignation" in Bonn.

    "You have remembered the issue 50 years later" is one of the arguments expressing German "indignation" together with reference to the fact that, on the basis of international law, a private citizen cannot take legal action against a state, adding that a settlement to differences of such a nature required an official approach by the Greek government.

    When Bonn refused to accept the private suits, Athens said it could not intervene in a matter that was already being dealt with by the Greek courts but that the issue of reparations, on a state level, was "still pending" and would be dealt with in time and the appropriate manner.

    Bonn also invokes the bilateral 1960 inter-state agreement under which Germany paid 115 million marks to the Greek government for occupation victims - namely to those who were persecuted or suffered damages for racial or religious reasons or on account of their beliefs. It expressly noted that the German side believes that in this way the issue of reparations is "finally concluded."

    Chancellor Helmut Kohl has also referred to the 1953 Treaty of London concerning the settlement of Germany's debts, which suspended payment of debts until a peace treaty was concluded. Mr. Kohl insisted that the 1990 treaty on German unification, known as the 2 plus 4 treaty, did not constitute and did not replace a peace treaty. For this reason Bonn does not believe that the "fullness of time" has arrived.

    Another argument used by the German government, already rejected by the European Commission, is that, through its contributions to the Community budget and defense aid through the NATO alliance, it has "more than paid off its debts to Greece".

    The fact remains that in no way does the German government want to be faced with the issue, fearing that a precedent will be created because if it "bows" in the case of Greece all countries having suffered at the hands of Germany during the war would raise similar claims.

    The German side appears to want the Greek government to raise the issue at inter-state level and, maybe, in the framework of relations in the European Union.

    [3] Stathis, farmers' groups begin talks on resolving differences

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    Agriculture Minister Theodoros Stathis met yesterday with farmers' representatives to discuss their demands after two days of halfhearted protests, Monday and Tuesday. At a joint press conference, Mr. Stathis and the representatives of the Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) and the Confederation of Democratic Agricultural Associations of Greece (SYDASE), Costas Markoulis and Yiannis Pittas, referred to the demands which would be satisfied and those which would require negotiations.

    On the issue of cheaper fuel for agricultural use, Mr. Stathis agreed to re-examine the percentage of reduction as soon as the Farmers' Register has been completed. The drawing up of the register has been undertaken by PASEGES and will begin in the next few days.

    With regard to the settlement of farmers' debts, Mr. Stathis instructed the Agricultural Bank of Greece to prepare a report on the amounts owed by farmers, containing proposals on state assistance for their settlement.

    The issue of the debts of 35 agricultural cooperatives will be settled in the next few days.

    Mr. Stathis said that the issue of farmers' pensions was being examined together with the Labor Ministry within the framework of solving the socio-economic problem facing all social security funds.

    He added that the Agriculture Ministry would fight in Brussels to secure changes in rules relating to cotton, oranges, tobacco and production quotas. In this respect, Mr. Stathis asked the competent organizations to submit official, substantiated proposals.

    Mr. Stathis said he would seek increased spending for agriculture and an increase in funds from the Delors Package II, adding that the Agricultural Policy Council would soon become operational and draw up a "national agricultural programme".

    [4] New Democracy

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greek agriculture is at a crucial turning point and despite this fact there is no national strategy, Stavros Dimas, Secretary-General of the main opposition New Democracy party's Parliamentary Group, said yesterday.

    Mr. Dimas was speaking at a press conference in the presence of party deputies and officials.

    Speakers said that, through its president, New Democracy had announced 250 proposals last December providing solutions to pressing problems faced by farmers. The proposals include a reduction in the price of fuel by 40 per cent, a reduction in the price of electric power by 20 per cent, a reduction in VAT for the purchase of mechanical equipment, an increase in farmers' pensions by 10,000 drachmas per month and a settlement for debts owed by stockbreeders.

    [5] Vartholomeos continues French visit

    Paris, 09/11/1995 (ANA - J. Zitouniati):

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos continued his official trip to France yesterday with a tour through the south, including visits to Marseilles, Aix-en-Provence, Nice and the Principality of Monte Carlo.

    The Patriarch toured Orthodox dioceses in the areas and was received with head of state honors by provincial authorities and the principality's leadership.

    Earlier, Vartholomeos held a private breakfast with Ecumenical Patriarchate officials and ecclesiastical leaders as well as representatives of the expatriate Greek communities.

    Vartholomeos then officiated an ecumenical service in the St. Nikolaos church and was received by the Catholic bishop of Monte Carlo, Joseph Sardou.

    Crown Prince Albert of Monaco officially greeted the Patriarch, while the tiny nation's monarch, Prince Rainier, later held a formal reception for the preeminent Orthodox prelate at his palace.

    Vartholomeos was accompanied by Greece's ambassador to Paris, Dimitris Makris, and members of the Patriarch's entourage.

    Today, he will hold a press conference in Paris for France's religion reporters and foreign correspondents.

    In the evening, the official patriarchal visit concludes with a dinner at a Paris hotel. Vartholomeos departs for Iraklion tomorrow.

    [6] Mixed reactions from ruling party cadres to Liani-Papandreou interview

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    Wednesday night's television interview by the prime minister's wife, Dimitra Liani-Papandreou, attracted mixed reaction within the ruling party yesterday.

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris dismissed claims of a high profile appearance by Mrs. Liani-Papandreou and, when asked whether she had become a liability for PASOK, said that the government dealt with various problems with prudence and would continue to do so, regardless of whether they received prominence in the news.

    PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said the interview had been seen by a great number of people and that they could form their own conclusions.

    Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis said that those who watched the interview were now better informed.

    Interior Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos found the interview certainly had positive results.

    "This racist (sic), fascist and chauvinistic campaign, aiming at the prime minister's wife personally, has been debunked and revealed.

    "The vast majority of people are with those who reject such methods, either as means of political opposition or as an element of blackmail and intimidation.

    "Greek society will forge ahead. Prominent issues will soon come to the fore," he said.

    Former defense minister Antonis Drosoyiannis charged that Mrs. Liani-Papandreou not only wished to engage in politics, but wanted to assume a leading role, adding that it was unacceptable that she should claim to have built PASOK.

    Former under-secretary, and the prime minister's son-in-law, Theodoros Katsanevas said it was unacceptable that Mrs. Liani-Papandreou should wish to govern the country, and referred to responsibilities on her part for breaking up a family.

    "The affair is only in the beginning," he concluded, "we shall see how divine justice, which she invokes so much, treats her".

    Transport Under-secretary Christos Kokkinovassilis said the interview was a contribution to the restoration of truth, while former minister Lefteris Veryvakis took a diametrically opposed view, saying certain individuals would do well not to provoke the people, because they were not fools.

    Deputy Kyriakos Spyriounis said the interview aimed to show citizens "how an air hostess could enter parliament".

    Merchant Marine Minister George Katsifaras urged reporters to ask ordinary citizens what they thought of the interview, "to see how you have behaved to her".

    Main opposition leader Miltiades Evert, meanwhile, found the whole affair rather unbecoming for Greece.

    "It is unfortunate that the rotten society we live in concerns itself with other matters. We need to pay attention to the problems of the Greek people and provide solutions. This situation can do a lot of harm to our country. We have become everyone's laughingstock. This is unbecoming to Greece, our traditions and our nation."

    [7] Constantopoulos says premier disagrees with Coalition proposals

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos said yesterday he and Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou had disagree on their assessments of the political situation and a number of proposals put forward by his party, after a meeting at the prime minister's residence in Ekali.

    He said the country was facing an acute political problem and social despair, and for this reason he had taken the initiative to consult with the government and other opposition parties.

    He noted, however, that the government persisted in the same policies and views regarding the electoral law and other Coalition proposals, including the formation of an inter-party foreign policy council, which had provided the points of disagreement with the prime minister.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said they had not discussed post-electoral co-operation between the two parties, and described recent speculation on the matter as "fictional".

    [8] ND leadership meets on important issues

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    A meeting of main opposition New Democracy's top political leaders was held yesterday, the second in a week, focusing on problems in the Greek economy, small- and medium-sized enterprises and farmers' concerns.

    Convened by ND leader Miltiades Evert, other high-ranking participants included honorary president and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis, former premier Tzannis Tzannetakis, Athanassios Tsaldaris, George Souflias, Stavros Dimas and Stephanos Manos.

    ND Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis was abroad.

    Only Mr. Tzannetakis made comments after the meeting, saying: "We discussed all daily issues."

    Asked whether there was agreement among the participants, he said: "There was agreement on all, after all in democracy there is dialogue."

    ND spokesman Vassilis Manginas said "all serious issues which concern Greek public opinion were covered." He added such meetings will continue.

    According to reports, a meeting of ND's political office will convene Friday.

    [9] President honors memory of Arkadi martyrs

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday attended celebrations marking the 129th anniversary of the siege of the Arkadi Monastery on Crete, when besieged defenders preferred to blow themselves up rather than surrender to invading Ottoman forces.

    He extolled the significance of the historic sacrifice to the nation, and said such celebrations ought to be organized on a nationwide basis.

    Later, the president attended events in Rethymnon and Iraklion, where he was handed the golden keys to the two cities, and declared an honorary citizen.

    Speaking in Iraklion, where he also received from mayor Costas Aslanis one of the latest municipal publications with maps of Crete by Venetian engineer Francesco Basilicata, dating to 1818, he said he was honored to be in the birthplace of Theotokopoulos (El Greco) and Kazantzakis.

    [10] George Papandreou present EU's 'Socrates' educational programme

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    Education Minister George Papandreou yesterday presented the European Union's 'Socrates' educational programme at the Zappeion Hall in Athens.

    He said the programme opened up a new common European domain in exchanges of educational and cultural experiences that transcended national educational systems, and added that it bore the name of the ancient Greek philosopher in order to link its aims with the timeless value of Greek philosophy.

    The aims of the programme include the development of the European dimension at all levels of education, with the cultivation of each member state's cultural heritage, the promotion of language learning, especially of those languages least spoken, to encourage co-operation between educational establishments at all levels, exchange of students among member states, the mutual recognition of degrees and diplomas, and open distance learning and adult education.

    Mr. Papandreou said application of 'Socrates' will begin early in 1996, and an information campaign at all levels of education will be launched next month.

    [11] Ukraine, FYROM admitted to CoE today

    Strasbourg, 09/11/1995 (ANA - G. Zarkadis):

    Ukraine and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) today will be admitted to the Council of Europe as the organization's 37th and 38th member states respectively.

    The ceremony will take place on the occasion of the 97th meeting of the foreign ministers of the Council of Europe, in which Greece will be represented by Alternate Foreign Minister George Romaios.

    Meanwhile, the organization's parliamentary convention, which convened yesterday, tackled the issues of the admission of the Russian Federation, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the American request for the granting of observer status, and granted a n audience to Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties. Greece was represented by deputies Panagis Benetatos (PASOK), and Aristotelis Pavlidis (ND).

    During the audience, the Council of Europe's sponsor of the Cyprus problem Lord Finsberg said its purpose was to create a climate of confidence between the two communities, and informed the committee that he would be visiting the island in February.

    [12] Skopje no El Dorado, Anthopoulos says

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    National Economy Under-secretary Ioannis Anthopoulos yesterday journalists today that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) remained in the throes of a major economic crisis characterized by a drop in per capita income, rising inflation and stagnation of economic activity. "Skopje is no El Dorado," Mr. Anthopoulos said, adding that the National Economy Ministry viewed the promotion of commercial and economic relations with FYROM in the same light as the promotion of such relations with the other republics of former Yugoslavia.

    "FYROM should be treated with the same economic policy as the other republics of former Yugoslavia," he said, stressing that he hoped for a positive outcome to efforts for peace in the broader region.

    Mr. Anthopoulos said that the National Economy Ministry was ready to assist the neighboring country with export credits, particularly for capital investments, but he said that this would depend on the outcome of the name issue.

    "The interim agreement brought a compromise between the two countries. As far as I am concerned, the provision of financial assistance to FYROM depends on the choice of the name," Mr. Anthopoulos said.

    [13] European Olympic Committees gather for 24th assembly in Athens

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    The 24th general assembly of Europe's Olympic Committees begins tomorrow at a downtown Athens hotel in the presence of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

    Some 180 delegates from 48 European organizations will participate in the conference at the Athens Hilton.

    The Spanish IOC president arrives in Athens today and will later be received by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

    Of interest to Greece are supplementary elections to fill four vacant slots on the European Olympic Committee Union's executive committee, as Greek Olympic Committee Secretary-General Dionysis Gaggas, is a candidate among 12 delegates for a spot.

    Meetings between the presidents and secretary-generals of Olympic host countries with the Greek committee's leadership are also planned on the conference's sidelines to discuss details of next year's centennial games in Atlanta.

    In addition, a one-day seminar on marketing of the Olympic games is scheduled tomorrow at the Grande Bretagne Hotel in downtown Athens.

    [14] New appointments in health sector announced

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Supreme Staff Selection Council (ASEP) will provide 5,562 priority jobs at hospitals, health centers, mental hygiene centers and the National Emergency Centre (EKAB) according to prefecture, region, agency, category, branch and specialty.

    A percentage of the jobs in Thrace and Macedonia, with the exception of the Thessaloniki prefecture, will go to repatriated Pontian expatriates on condition they sign a 10-year contract.

    Another percentage will concern the appointment of people protected by clauses contained in Law 1648/1986 on condition they are subject to the categories of war victims, invalids in either wartime or peacetime, invalids suffering from a chronic corporal or mental condition (provided they are registered with the Organization for the Employment of Human Resources) as unemployed invalids, people having children or brothers suffering from serious mental or corporal problems (whose percentage of disability exceeds 67 per cent) and parents with large families as well as children from large families (not more than one member from each family).

    [15] Macedonia-Thrace Bank announces share capital increase

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Bank of Macedonia-Thrace announced yesterday that it will increase its share capital by eight billion drachmas.

    Bank president Andreas Boumis made the announcement during a press conference in Thessaloniki.

    Additional capital, according to Mr. Boumis, will cover the bank's participation in joint ventures throughout the Balkans, help the creation of venture capital and trading companies as well as form a joint Greek-Romanian bank in Bucharest.

    Furthermore, bank officials hope to establish Macedonia-Thrace outlets in every Balkan capital, develop more branch offices in Greece and open an automated data processing centre.

    [16] Laliotis opens international fair on environmental technology

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry will provide and manage 3.5 trillion drachmas by the year 1999 in planning and carrying out major projects and projects of a national and regional scale, Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said yesterday. He said that if 800 billion drachmas in additional funds for environmental protection were added, the final figure amounted to 4.3 trillion drachmas.

    Inaugurating the second International Exhibition and the Conference on Environmental Technology, Mr. Laliotis said his ministry's new interventions and actions would focus on protecting water resources, problems affecting urban and semi-urban areas and protecting rare species of fauna and flora. The exhibition will be held at the Peace and Friendship Stadium and will be open until Sunday. A conference on serious environmental issues will be held on the sidelines of the exhibition with the participation of 118 scientists.

    [17] Paris meeting reviews Black Sea economic co-operation issues

    Paris, 09/11/1995 (ANA - J. Zitouniati):

    A seminar by the International Diplomatic Academy focusing on economic co-operation between Black Sea countries (BSEC) ended here yesterday.

    The seminar was attended by representatives of BSEC countries (Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and the Russian Federation) as well as international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    It reviewed issues concerning co-operation in the Black Sea, the establishment of a Development and Commerce Bank in Thessaloniki, co-operation in the telecommunications, energy and transport sectors and the International Research and Economic Co-operation Centre due to be established in Athens.

    BSEC was founded in Istanbul in 1992 by the leaders of states hoping to "turn the Black Sea into a common sea for Europe and Asia" and to promote economic co-operation and relations of good neighborliness between countries participating in the initiative.

    Ambassador Spyridakis, who represented Greece and the European Union, thanked the International Diplomatic Academy for its initiative to organize a seminar on BSEC in Paris and outlined activities, plans and latest developments concerning co-operation between Black Sea countries.

    Mr. Spyridakis referred to the EU's keen interest in the initiative which is being formalized with BSEC's support and plans through PHARE, INTERREG, Synergie and other programmes.

    He said a new dimension was given at the seminar to Black Sea co-operation and stressed France's increased interest in BSEC which was also being favored in practice by the EU.

    [18] News in Brief

    Athens, 09/11/1995 (ANA):

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Costas Triarides and Russian Tourism Minister Sergei Spilko yesterday agreed on the need to further explore the scope of joint investment initiatives and promoting tourist exchanges between the two countries. Mr. Spilko, a guest at the 11th Philoxenia tourism exhibition in Thessaloniki last week, referred to the need for more information on the potential of Greek tourism in Russia, including, in particular, the monastic community of Mount Athos, which he visited and found extremely interesting. Mr. Triarides was invited to attend the Siberian International Tourism Exhibition in Lake Baykal in December, also to be attended by tour operators from the Far East.

    Leading members of ruling party PASOK and representatives of European socialist youth organizations will be in Chania today for the start of a two-day seminar on the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference, organized by the PASOK Youth Group.

    End of English language section.

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