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A.N.A. Bulletin, 14/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 740), November 14, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece approaches Bonn over repayment of war-time loan and reparations

  • [2] Papandreou calls on deputies to focus on social role

  • [3] Papantoniou: looser incomes policy will lead to more recession

  • [4] Opposition reactions

  • [5] Senior Chinese official to visit Crete

  • [6] Greece recalls ambassador to Lagos after hanging of activists

  • [7] Self-styled 'anarchist' receives five years for attack on policeman

  • [8] Farmers' representatives to meet premier today

  • [9] Vartholomeos ends visit to Crete

  • [10] Arsenis in favor of WEU becoming EU defense, security body

  • [11] Papoulias to attend Madrid WEU meeting today

  • [12] Kranidiotis calls on Europarliament to demand release of Cypriot soldier

  • [13] President set to visit Sofia later this month

  • [14] AHEPA delegation concludes fact-finding tour

  • [15] Archaeologists find unique 'Pasquino' mosaic

  • [16] GSEE board fails to agree on level of wage increases

  • [17] EOT targets a new Greek image for the European tourist

  • [18] ATE looks at further co-operation with Yugoslav bank

  • [19] Athens to host regional economic conference

  • [20] CORRECTION


  • [1] Greece approaches Bonn over repayment of war-time loan and reparations

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said yesterday that the Greek Foreign Ministry had commenced procedures for raising the issue of the occupation loan taken out by the Nazi World War II regime and war reparations with Bonn at a state level.

    He made the statement during his opening address at a meeting of his ruling PASOK party's Parliamentary Group.

    Mr. Papandreou added that Greece would pursue its loan and reparations claims "with seriousness and responsibility" and in accordance with the principles of international law.

    He also expressed the hope that an "understanding" could be reached with Germany "which is a partner in the European Union".

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias later described as "important" the premier's decision to raise the loan issue, branding it a "political issue".

    "Of course we have the citizens' claims but this is something different," he told reporters before leaving for Madrid to take part in the Western European Union (WEU) foreign ministers' meeting.

    A drive by local government bodies for private citizens to file suit with Germany for damages suffered during the Nazi occupation has garnered much public support. Bonn last month refused to be served with the first thousand of the suits.

    Mr. Papoulias said the government would pursue the matter of the loan at first, but this would pave "the way to a political dialogue with the German government over Greece's claims."

    According to Mr. Papoulias, the government was expected to submit yesterday a 'note verbale' (verbal note) to the German Foreign Ministry calling for the commencement of negotiations between the two countries for the repayment of a loan the Bank of Greece was forced to extend to the Nazi occupation forces.

    The verbal note was due to be conveyed to the German Ministry by Greece's Ambassador in Bonn, but an ANA dispatch from Bonn later said a meeting to deliver the demarche would be arranged today due to the absence yesterday of the competent under-secretary .

    According to the dispatch, however, the German government "is aware of the content of the Greek demarche".

    Reliable sources said the Greek Foreign Ministry was sending a "low-key note" because the loan issue has remained open for the Greek government "for many years, something that the German side is aware of, and because Athens does not wish to disturb the friendly Greek-German relations".

    The sources expressed hope that Germany "will respond, and that the relevant talks will begin and be completed soon".

    [2] Papandreou calls on deputies to focus on social role

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Prime minister and president of ruling party PASOK Andreas Papandreou yesterday rejected outright the mass media's image of his party as one torn apart by strife and internal dissension.

    "(The media) are trying to line us up directly one against the other and exacerbate disagreements and problems," Mr. Papandreou said in his opening address to PASOK's Parliamentary Group which met to discuss the government's social policy and PASOK's "social image". "I do not accept these interpretations," he said.

    "I want to believe that what is preoccupying all of us, what must preoccupy us, is the better functioning of the Parliamentary Group and the Movement (PASOK) in general to enable us to meet the great responsibility of governing the country, entrusted to us by the people for this four-year term of office, in the most effective way," Mr. Papandreou said.

    Mr. Papandreou announced that the Parliamentary Group meeting would continue next Monday to discuss the party's social image, saying that one sitting was not sufficient for the discussion of such an important issue, particularly since other matters, such as the operation of the Parliamentary Group, had been raised in public.

    The premier proposed that the issue of the group's operation be assigned to the presidium which, in co-operation with the Executive Bureau, would elaborate proposals and formulate a recommendation for discussion at an extraordinary meeting.

    Mr. Papandreou also referred to the role of deputies, saying that their role today was not "intermediaries" who undertake to resolve problems in their constituencies or grant "special favors."

    "In addition to the (Parliamentary Group's) rules of operation, we must identify the role of deputies in contemporary society," Mr. Papandreou said, proposing that a recommendation be made to the Parliamentary Group's presidium on the issue.

    On the matter of social policy, Mr. Papandreou said that the big question was "how today you can attain your economic targets while at the same time preserving the terms governing the exercise of social policy; that is, how can we succeed in restructuring the economy in a period of rapid technological developments while at the same time safeguarding the social web and social cohesion?"

    "I would like to say something at this point which is usually not taken into consideration. When we say the phrase 'social policy' we usually have incomes policy in mind, pensions and subsidies. It would be a mistake to limit ourselves to these," he said.

    Mr. Papandreou said "social policy is present everywhere. Namely, health, education, inflation, considered the most unjust form of taxation. Therefore, when we say that we are struggling for PASOK's social image, we must not limit it solely to incomes policy."

    "And one other thing. Transfers of income from one major centre to a geographically underdeveloped sector of our economy is also social policy in another form. I want to stress the complicated character of what we call social policy," he said.

    "For a socialist movement in particular, such as PASOK, questions are more direct and more imperative. And the answers are not always easy. The conservative forces, the right, always have skepticism of a different class. And the right does not hesitate to display its indifference on the country's major social problems, placing everything on private initiative and the private economy, the market forces. Everything through the market. And we have a Europe with huge and stunning social problems," he added.

    "We are implementing a stabilization programme with success at present... The positive results creating the bases needed by the country are ignored, the fact is ignored or downgraded that our policy is not a policy of independent and consecutive stages (stabilization first, development second, social policy third). It is a mistake. They all go together. And if they do not all go together we will be faced with failure. Therefore, the discussion on stages should be set aside," he said.

    "Our policy is defined in the triptych stabilization - development - social protection, which is a unified and contemporary triptych so that it will have real and positive results," Mr. Papandreou said.

    [3] Papantoniou: looser incomes policy will lead to more recession

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    During his opening comments at the meeting yesterday, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said a "policy of benefits that creates greater deficits" was irresponsible and a dead end.

    Mr. Papantoniou, who represented the government, also said a looser incomes policy would lead to higher inflation, economic instability and a new recession, which would again be shouldered by the working class.

    "There is no room for new mistakes," the national economy minister said, adding that even the slightest slackening of the economic policy will have repercussions on the drachma and the balance of payments.

    Mr. Papantoniou admitted that the government's successes in social policy during its two-year tenure so far have been "few in relation to the size of social problems," but he said they were the "best possible". He said the situation could be improved if political will was exhibited to eliminate public sector waste.

    "Necessary courage for this was not available in the first two years," he said characteristically, adding that growth must also be accelerated to "enlarge the (economic) pie."

    Mr. Papantoniou said 1996 will be the first year of real growth, with the economy growing at a rate of more than 2.5 per cent and private investment increasing for the second year (8.3 per cent), while public investment will rise by 18.6 per cent as opposed to 14.4 per cent this year.

    In addition, he noted that unemployment will fall slightly to 9.5 per cent and that inflation will decrease to around 5.0 per cent, while the public debt will be reduced to 114 per cent of GDP in 1996 in comparison to 116 per cent in 1995.

    According to the national economy minister, heightened growth along with savings from slashing public sector waste are the "twin" solutions for a better funded social policy.

    After Mr. Papantoniou's address, MP Yiannis Glavinas represented PASOK's central committee, and several MPs took the floor. The press was barred from the discussion.

    According to sources, former under-secretary Floros Constantinou attacked the phenomenon of internal factions, saying it was unacceptable that everyone should belong to groupings inside the party.

    Deputy for Corfu Spyros Kaloudis' criticism of the recent appearance of the prime minister's wife, Dimitra Liani-Papandreou, on television as untimely, and of the fact that she was accompanied by 16 ministers during a visit to northern Greece before the

    latest government reshuffle, drew a reaction from the premier, who said he could not tolerate insinuations that he was unable to govern.

    Mr. Kaloudis replied that his comments had not been directed at the prime minister.

    Deputy Lambros Kanellopoulos, a former president of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece, said the party's social profile was much worse than its leadership believed. He criticized the national economy and labor ministers for their public disagreements, saying it was unacceptable that they should each claim to draw legitimacy from the prime minister. Describing the situation inside the party, he said, "in a little while, we won't be on speaking terms with each other".

    Former industry minister Costas Simitis said the party should progress to organized and regular meetings, a modern operating charter for the group, and to the formulation of a specific social policy for the government.

    Former EU commissioner Vasso Papandreou said the procedures followed for the meeting did not do justice to the importance of the function of the parliamentary group.

    [4] Opposition reactions

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Vassilis Manginas later said the PASOK Parliamentary Group was supporting a government "which instead of being concerned with the real and big problems of the Greek people, is concerned with non-institutional roles and personal ambitions."

    Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis said the prime minister and the party's Parliamentary Group "inability" to deal with reality was the result of their "obsession with the policy of unjust austerity measures."

    Mr. Martakis asked for an immediate and drastic change of economic policy in order to achieve growth, stabilization and social protection. The Communist Party of Greece said PASOK was searching for a "social image" in vain and criticized the government' s social policy. The Coalition of the Left and Progress criticized the government for its persistence in applying an "unjust and unilateral economic policy," adding that talk of "social image," constituted "provocation and mockery of the people."

    [5] Senior Chinese official to visit Crete

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Chairman of China's National People's Congress Qiao Shi was due to arrive in Iraklion, Crete, yesterday for a two-day visit, accompanied by a large delegation of government officials, scientists and journalists.

    Qiao Shi, who ranks third in the Chinese power hierarchy after the president and prime minister of the country, was scheduled to attend an official dinner last night given in his honor by Nikitas Venizelos, representing the Greek parliament.

    Today, the Chinese official will visit the Knossos archaeological site and later attend an official dinner to be given by the Greek National Tourism Organization.

    [6] Greece recalls ambassador to Lagos after hanging of activists

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece yesterday recalled its ambassador from Lagos and expressed its abhorrence to Nigeria following the hangings of minority rights activist and writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the 500,000-strong Ogoni minority

    The nine were sentenced to death on Friday for the murder of four pro-government Ogoni chiefs, provoking rage from the international community.

    "The executions are a blatant violation of Nigeria's obligations to protect human rights in accordance with international law, particularly ensuring conditions for a fair trial and the right of appeal," a foreign ministry announcement said.

    "In the light of these developments," the announcement added, "the implementation of restrictive measures against Nigeria decided by the European Union shall continue and the Greek Ambassador has been recalled from Lagos for consultations. The taking of further measures jointly with our EU partners is currently being considered."

    [7] Self-styled 'anarchist' receives five years for attack on policeman

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    An Athens criminal court yesterday sentenced a 24-year-old man to five years imprisonment for the assault of a policeman guarding the Communist Party of Greece building in June 1994.

    Odysseas Kabouris was found guilty of accessory to robbery and illegal arms possession. He was acquitted of other charges, including assault, grand larceny, organized gang activity and weapons use (mace).

    The arrest and subsequent incarceration of the 24-year-old has attracted press interest and generated protests by self-proclaimed anarchists because the man claims to belong to "anarchist circles" and alleges that his persecution stems from that admission.

    Kabouris has maintained his innocence throughout the trial, saying he loaned his car to friends, but refusing to divulge their names to police, saying he did not want them to have the same fate as himself.

    In the incident for which Kabouris has been charged, three suspects stole the guard's pistol and automatic rifle after they maced him.

    The prosecutor in the case requested Kabouris be only sentenced only as an accessory to robbery (the fact he loaned his car to the assailants) and be declared not guilty in the other more serious charges.

    The three-member court panel recognized a prior unblemished criminal record on Kabouris' part and good behavior after his arrest.

    Two defense requests, one for release under supervision of a social worker and the other for suspension of his sentence pending an appeal, were denied.

    [8] Farmers' representatives to meet premier today

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Representatives of the Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) are expected to present a memorandum with farmers' demands and concerns at their meeting today with Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

    These include substantial increases in public investment in the farming sector, pensions, incentives for new farmers, measures facilitating exports, and the implementation of a national strategy in agriculture.

    [9] Vartholomeos ends visit to Crete

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos left Chania yesterday after a three-day visit to Crete to attend celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary of the construction of the St. Minas Cathedral in Iraklion.

    Thousands of residents crowded the streets of Chania in the morning to cheer the Patriarch.

    [10] Arsenis in favor of WEU becoming EU defense, security body

    Madrid, 14/11/1995 (ANA - D. Makri):

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis yesterday said the Western European Union (WEU) could develop into the European Union's defense and security organization.

    The WEU's course in light of the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) is on the agenda of the defense and foreign ministers' session, which began in Madrid yesterday.

    Greece, a permanent WEU member, is represented by Mr. Arsenis and Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias.

    The outcome of the session will constitute a basis for decisions to be taken at the IGC. Creating a Europe guaranteeing the security and defense of its member-states is the major issue and ministers are holding talks in an effort to reach an agreement o n common defense policy.

    "The WEU can develop into a defense and security organization which, of course, will require time. In the meantime, the WEU can have a political link with the European Union and, under its political mandates, conduct various military initiatives such as various peacekeeping missions in Europe and elsewhere," Mr. Arsenis said.

    Through the Maastricht treaty, the WEU appeared for the first time as a guarantor of the EU's defense and the means of strengthening the European sector. Since its establishment in 1948 until the Maas-tricht Treaty, its role was oversha-dowed by NATO.

    "The WEU does not have its own military structure. It can borrow NATO's military structure. There are plans for the future, there are views that the WEU should develop into not only a political organization but into a military organization as well, having the infras-tructure to conduct military actions and initiatives under the command of the EU," Mr. Arsenis said.

    [11] Papoulias to attend Madrid WEU meeting today

    Madrid, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias left for Madrid yesterday to participate in a Western European Union (WEU) ministerial meeting today. A foreign ministry announcement said that Mr. Papoulias would return to Athens this evening.

    [12] Kranidiotis calls on Europarliament to demand release of Cypriot soldier

    Strasbourg, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Eurodeputy Yiannos Kranidiotis tabled a resolution yesterday during a Europarliament plenary session demanding the immediate and unconditional release of a Greek-Cypriot national guardsman arrested by Turkish occupation forces in early November.

    The PASOK Eurodeputy tabled the resolution on behalf of the European Socialist Party group. Unarmed guardsman Giorgos Karotsakis, 19, was apprehended by occupation forces on November 3. The resolution also criticizes the continued illegal occupation of one-third of Cyprus' territory by Ankara's armed forces.

    Meanwhile, about 60 Cypriot students continued a hunger strike outside the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki yesterday. In addition, protests marking the anniversary of the declaration of a pseudo-state in Cyprus' occupied north began yesterday with a blood drive, while a demonstration is programmed tomorrow through the city's centre.

    [13] President set to visit Sofia later this month

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos will pay an official visit to Sofia on November 20-22 at the invitation of his Bulgarian counterpart Zhelyu Zhelev, the president's office announced yesterday.

    It will be Mr. Stephanopoulos' second official visit abroad following his trip earlier this month to Bucharest.

    During his stay in Sofia, Mr. Stephanopoulos will have talks with Mr. Zhelev and Prime Minister Jean Videnov on bilateral relations and the general situation in the Balkans, particularly former Yugoslavia.

    [14] AHEPA delegation concludes fact-finding tour

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    A high-level delegation of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) concluded a quick fact-finding mission to Athens over the weekend.

    The AHEPA group met with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Niles, National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis and Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias as well as Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert, joint chiefs of staff chairman Adm. Christos Lymberis and Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis.

    The AHEPA delegation included President Spiro Macris, Sacramento-based businessman Angelo Tsakopoulos and George Savidis, director of AHEPA's public affairs office in Washington D.C.

    The Greek-American group briefed Greek officials on developments in the expatriate community, Washington events, AHEPA's latest "Congressional Report Card" and Internet services, as well as upcoming US elections.

    Also high on the agenda was a forthcoming meeting of Greeks from around the world hosted by the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad in Thessaloniki next month.

    The delegation began its visit in Cyprus, where Dr. Macris delivered a talk on AHEPA's activities to a conference held by several foundations.

    [15] Archaeologists find unique 'Pasquino' mosaic

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    An ancient mosaic known as "Pasquino," depicting a scene from Homer's "Iliad" was discovered in excavations at the Herod Atticus villa in Eva Dolianon, Kynouria, in the Peloponnese by the fifth directorate of the Archaeological Service.

    It is the first time the depiction has been unearthed as a mosaic. The "Pasquino" is the most famous Hellenistic period sculpture, dated around the 3rd century B.C. and other such works of art are found in museums in the Vatican, Florence and Villa Hadriana in Tivoli.

    Pasquino depicts an epic Homeric scene where legendary king of Sparta Menelaus carries the body of dead hero Patroclus.

    The original work is credited to Antigonos the Karystian.

    [16] GSEE board fails to agree on level of wage increases

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    The board of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), where most political parties are represented, yesterday failed to decide on a common stand regarding the level of wage increases in 1996.

    The PASKE faction, which is affiliated to ruling party PASOK and holds the majority on the board, proposed increases of 10 per cent, while the New Democracy party affiliate, DAKE, proposed increases of 13 per cent, the Coalition of the Left and Progress affiliate 15 per cent, and the Communist Party affiliate, ESAK, 22 per cent.

    The meeting, coming 10 days before the GSEE rally on the government's incomes policy and next year's budget, took place in a tense atmosphere, and a compromise is considered difficult.

    If this does not materialize, it appears evident that PASKE will shoulder the brunt of responsibility and any disaffection that will arise from soft-pedaling the government's case for limited wage increases.

    [17] EOT targets a new Greek image for the European tourist

    London, 14/11/1995 (ANA-L.Tsirigotakis):

    Changes in the mentality and philosophy in the sector of Greek tourism as well as modernization and improvement of tourist infrastructure and the tourist product are the primary targets set by the new leadership of the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT), a press conference was told here yesterday.

    The conference was attended by Tourism Minister Nikos Sifounakis and EOT's Secretary-General Apostolos Kosonas and held within the framework of events at the International Tourism Exhibition here.

    "Based on the fact that Greece is the motherland of true hospitality, we aspire at promoting this traditional and national virtue by projecting a new image responding to new tourist needs, as these have been formed in our era," Mr. Sifounakis said.

    He said the new image would be formed through a series of initiatives and decisions, many of which are already underway.

    He said two of the main initiatives were the establishment of an interministerial coordination body for tourism-related issues and the 10 billion drachma increase in EOT's 1996 advertising budget for promotion abroad.

    Referring to the on-going construction of tourist installations and works such as golf courses, casinos and conference centers, Mr. Sifounakis said the Athens Festival would be diversified to take in events at other equally important tourist areas such as the islands of Corfu, Rhodes and Crete.

    "We have not forgotten that the European consumer is our main target," Mr. Sifounakis said, adding that the modernization of Greece's tourist product aimed at meeting the needs of "this demanding European visitor."

    Within the framework of its new policy based on "tourism, development, culture," the ministry would meet the cultural and entertainment needs of the European family, he said.

    [18] ATE looks at further co-operation with Yugoslav bank

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE) Governor Dimitris Kanellopoulos held talks yesterday with a delegation of the Yugoslav Beobanka bank on laying the foundations for close co-operation between the two banks.

    The Yugoslav delegation was headed by Mr. Popovic, the bank president's adviser.

    Sectors of mutual interest include developing relations between representative offices, funding joint investment plans, serving Beobanka depositors coming to Greece through credit cards, facilitating imports and exports and training staff members of the Yugoslav bank at ATE's training centre.

    Another issue discussed was the possibility of utilizing ATE as an intermediate agency to exploit funds from the PHARE Community programme and the possibility of the banks' joint presence in the Balkans and eastern Europe (a proposal made by the Yugoslavs).

    [19] Athens to host regional economic conference

    Athens, 14/11/1995 (ANA):

    Government officials and representatives of business organizations from 18 countries of the Black Sea region and the Middle East, France and the United States will meet in Athens later this month to discuss ways of developing business co-operation with Greek firms.

    The conference, to be held November 21-22, has been organized by the Panhellenic Association of Exporters under the aegis of the National Economy Ministry.

    Speakers will include National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Under-secretary Ioannis Anthopoulos.

    Experts, representatives of business organizations and bankers from Greece and abroad will address the conference on subjects in their fields of activity.

    [20] CORRECTION

    The Bulletin would like to make a correction to the article entitled "Paris meeting reviews Black Sea economic co-operation issues" on page 7 of the November 9 edition.

    Ambassador Spyridakis represented only Greece at the relevant meeting, not Greece and the European Union, as stated.

    End of English language section.

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