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A.N.A. Bulletin, 16/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 742), November 16, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Prisoners continue to hold hostages as talks to defuse crisis continue

  • [2] Reactions

  • [3] Greece calls for change in Turkish stance on Cyprus to enable 'just, viable' solution

  • [4] Action plan drawn up to prevent further violence at Polytechnic celebrations

  • [5] Greece will continue efforts on German occupation loan, war reparations issue

  • [6] Skandalidis clarifies press reports of comments

  • [7] Plo-Turkish lobby exerts pressure at European parliament

  • [8] Other groups

  • [9] EU-Turkey discussion

  • [10] Turkey slams Greek attitude to 'dialogue'

  • [11] EU widens probe of aid into AGET-Heracles

  • [12] Commissioner says scope for improvement in Greek absorption of EU funds

  • [13] Paris farewells Greek ambassador

  • [14] Laborers continue strike after 'fruitless' meeting with Tzoumakas

  • [15] Katsifaras inaugurates international shipping meeting

  • [16] Farmers' representatives confer with Papantoniou, Stathis on demands

  • [17] Inner cabinet approves 1996 budget

  • [18] Opposition

  • [19] Stratos calls for Gov't to maintain economic policy, cautions against premature rejoicing

  • [20] News in Brief


  • [1] Prisoners continue to hold hostages as talks to defuse crisis continue

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    The stand-off between rioting inmates at Athens' maximum-security Korydallos prison and authorities continued into its second night last night, with negotiations continuing to secure the release of six hostages held by the prisoners.

    Justice Minister Ioannis Pottakis said, however, the situation was under control.

    He added that the penitentiary take-over was an "opportunistic" and "unorganized" act.

    A ninth prisoner was reported injured late last night in fighting between inmates, apparently between Greek and foreign inmates. Others have been hospitalized for overdosing on barbiturates found in the prison hospital.

    Mr. Pottakis said the ministry's policy precludes police intervention, but aims at avoiding escapes as well as commencing negotiations with prisoners.

    Prisoners released two of their hostages - a prison psychiatrist and male nurse - during the day yesterday but talks between the justice ministry's Secretary-General George Pavleas and a 16-member prisoners' committee to secure the release of the six others - all prison staff - proved fruitless.

    Meanwhile, police units were placed at the prison's rear entrance to prevent inmates from taking over the facility's psychiatric ward.

    Hundreds of riot police (MAT) stood ready to storm the fortress-like jail.

    The takeover began on Tuesday night when more than 50 prisoners, among them several foreigners, rioted in a failed escape attempt.

    The inmates caused extensive damage to the jail's wards, the kitchen, pharmacy and the prison hospital. Reuters reported police saying the inmates controlled three of the prison's four wings.

    A spokesman for the prisoners said they were demanding decongestion of the jail - designed for 500 inmates but now holding an estimated 1,500 - reduction of the sentences of the long-term convicts by two-fifths, separation of drug addicts from other inmates, and improved living conditions.

    [2] Reactions

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said there was no issue of Justice Minister Ioannis Pottakis resigning his post.

    Mr. Pottakis, he added, was the head of a committee examining the demands put forward by the prisoners.

    The main opposition New Democracy party harshly criticized the government yesterday, after the Korydallos prison uprising and violence during student mobilizations Tuesday.

    "The PASOK government is collapsing, with the danger of pulling down the fabric of society. It has been many decades since we've seen an 'absent government', whose only support is the disorientation of public opinion," ND spokesman Vassilis Manginas said.

    He also criticized the justice minister for not being available during the prison riot and also said ND had warned the government about potential anarchists' violence during the student protests.

    Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis yesterday called on the government to immediately implement prison reforms.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Gerassimos Aravanis called for the government's intervention to end the riots at the prison and the immediate imposition of measures to "deal with the explosive problems and the re-location of Korydallos prison, due to the unacceptable living conditions created for more than 100,000 residents".

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday criticized the government for "criminal inertia" to calls by prisoners for modernization of the prison system.

    [3] Greece calls for change in Turkish stance on Cyprus to enable 'just, viable' solution

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    Turkey should abandon its provocations and intransigence to enable a just and viable solution to be found to the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN resolutions, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said yesterday. He was speaking on the occasion of the anniversary of the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) of the Turkish Cypriot regime in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus.

    Mr. Hytiris underlined that the pseudo-state had been recognized only by Turkey and that the international community continued to condemn the Turkish-Cypriot UDI. "As far as Greece is concerned, the Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation and the number one national issue," Mr. Hytiris said.

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert said Greece will always remain by the side of the Cypriot people in order to find a just, viable, and functional solution to the national issue.

    He called on the international community to put an end to Cyprus's Turkish occupation.

    Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis said the drama of Cyprus could not continue and the international community could not deal with it as a fait accompli.

    Mr. Martakis said the proclamation of the pseudo-state was the greatest proof of disastrous consequences resulting from a policy of inertia, complacency and submissiveness.

    He said strengthening the unified defense zone, coordinating the effort to speed up processes for Cyprus's accession to the European Union and convening a pan-Hellenic conference on the Cyprus issue should constitute Hellenism's dynamic reply to Turkish occupation and intransigence.

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress also issued an announcement marking the occasion, saying that "the continued Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot intransigence ...requires that we put the Cypriot problem at the top of the national issues list."

    "Substantial progress regarding a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue must constitute the solid conditions for progress in Greek-Turkish relations," it added.

    [4] Action plan drawn up to prevent further violence at Polytechnic celebrations

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    The three days of celebrations marking the Polytechnic uprising in 1973 began yesterday morning, under the shadow of Tuesday's violence during a student demonstration.

    The students and staff of the Athens Polytechnic said yesterday that they were determined to monitor the demonstrations and the march to the US Embassy on Friday to prevent further violence.

    Polytechnic Rector Nikos Markatos condemned the manner in which Tuesday's student march was covered by journalists and said that the press had "created a war-like climate, uniting all kinds of troublemakers."

    He said that an action plan had been drawn up with the co-operation of staff and student bodies, and that the limits of police responsibility had been set.

    Messages on the Polytechnic anniversary were announced yesterday by the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) and the youth wings of PASOK, the Coalition of the Left and Progress and the Political Spring party.

    The governing body of PASOK Youth stated that "the Polytechnic uprising and the heroic sacrifice of November 17, 1973 occurred so that Greece could enjoy an independent, free and democratic life."

    KNE's governing body stressed that "after 22 years, the Polytechnic's demands remain as unfulfilled as ever." It said that the 1973 Polytechnic slogan "bread - education - freedom" has been placed in the forefront of today's political issues by the student mobilizations and the struggles of workers against privatization.

    The Political Spring youth wing considers the day of the Polytechnic uprising to provide "an opportunity for self-criticism" and pledged to "protect the home country of Democracy from regimes that insult freedom and human dignity."

    The Athens Labor Centre (EKA) condemned Tuesday's "thoughtless violence that threaten to sideline the student's demands." EKA will take part in the celebrations of the Polytechnic uprising by presenting a wreath at the institution today and joining in the scheduled march on Friday.

    [5] Greece will continue efforts on German occupation loan, war reparations issue

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    The government said yesterday that the issue of the repayment of the occupation loan and war reparations from Germany remained open for Greece despite Bonn's rejection of an invitation to hold talks on the matter.

    Bonn Tuesday rejected a verbal note submitted by Greece's Ambassador to the German Foreign Ministry concerning the repayment of the loan which the Bank of Greece was forced to extend to Nazi occupation forces and claims for war reparations.

    Noting that the issue was "very important" for Greece, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said "this was why the issue was officially raised at a state level".

    Mr. Hytiris said that Greece would try to resolve the dispute with "its friend, Germany" by "using all peaceful means".

    Mr. Hytiris said that Greece's claim was based on the 1990 unification treaty of West and East Germany, the Moscow treaty of the same year and the Paris Charter, also of 1990, reestablishing Germany within the international system. In rejecting Greece 's claims, the German side has repeatedly cited the 1953 Treaty of London.

    Declining to reveal the government's next steps, Mr. Hytiris underlined that Bonn's rejection of the verbal note in no way marred relations between the two countries.

    Meanwhile, six Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputies tabled a question in Parliament yesterday regarding the war reparations issue and calling on the government "to immediately commence consultations for German war reparations, the occupation loans, the return of the stolen archaeological treasure, as well as the dues from World War I."

    The deputies described Germany's refusal to enter negotiations as "provocative," and requested the government refer the issue to international organizations and the International Court at the Hague.

    [6] Skandalidis clarifies press reports of comments

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis yesterday spoke of wishful thinking on part of the press which had interpreted a statement Tuesday as meaning that the next party conference would elect a new party leader, making it clear that he meant "the party conference which will elect a party leader".

    "I think wishes ought not to be confused with reality," he said.

    He had repeated an earlier statement by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, who had said that such a conference would reflect the party base.

    He said his meeting with the premier Tuesday had been excellent.

    Mr. Skandalidis declined comment on his hour-and-a-half long meeting yesterday with former EU commissioner Vasso Papandreou, a leading dissident inside the party.

    Ms Papandreou said after the meeting it was clear there were serious problems in both the country and the party, and everyone had to assume their responsibilities in facing them.

    A fire started by Molotov cocktails thrown by youths outside PASOK party offices near Kaningos Square yesterday was put out by owners of nearby shops.

    [7] Plo-Turkish lobby exerts pressure at European parliament

    Strasbourg, 16/11/1995 (ANA - M. Savva):

    Increased pressure is being exerted by the Europarliament's pro-Turkish lobby in order to achieve approval of a EU-Turkey customs union in the EU body's plenary session next month.

    To that end, three former Turkish foreign ministers, Murat Karayalcin, Hikmet Cetin and Coskun Kirca appeared in Strasbourg Tuesday and yesterday.

    According to reports, the presence of Mr. Karayalcin and Mr. Cetin at a Europarliament Socialist Group conference late Tuesday night angered several Eurodeputies, and were ultimately allowed to participate in the event after Socialist Group president Pauline Green explained that their presence was in their capacity as members of the international socialist movement.

    The Eurodeputies' reactions, however, were attributed to other factors besides the sudden appearance of the Turkish officials. Several delegations participating in the socialist group have requested the group vote on whether the Europarliament discuss t he EU-Turkey customs union in December or whether it is postponed.

    Citing several procedural loopholes, Ms Green told her colleagues that the group "clearly desires a postponement for discussion of the customs union," but did not call for a vote on the issue. She later said the socialist group will announce its decision at the beginning of the month.

    [8] Other groups

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    The European People's Party, the group including Greece's main opposition New Democracy, announced Tuesday that a vote by its members called for inclusion only of the issue of customs union discussions in the December plenary session.

    The group did not comment on the substance of the matter.

    Meanwhile, during a press conference, the liberals' group announced it favored discussion of the customs union in December, while the Union of Europe party, which includes Greece's Political Spring, met late yesterday on the issue.

    [9] EU-Turkey discussion

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    With pressure to approve the customs union building, it was also agreed yesterday that a joint Europarliament-Turkey committee will be re-activated.

    The vote for commencing the committee's discussions were supported by all of the Europarliament's political groups, with the thought that the EU body should have the ability to "converse with colleagues from Turkey." The joint committee's activities have been dormant since September 1994.

    [10] Turkey slams Greek attitude to 'dialogue'

    Istanbul, 16/11/1995 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas):

    Turkey's foreign ministry spokesman Nurettin Nurkan yesterday accused Greece of avoiding dialogue.

    He told reporters that Turkey regretted Greece's decision to reject a proposal for solving "all problems" between the two states through dialogue.

    "International public opinion has once again realized which is the side that avoids dialogue and does not attempt to solve the existing issues through negotiations," he said.

    "We hope," he added, "that all will realize that this is not a realistic ... rapprochement, overlooking existing problems, known to the world, and reducing them to the continental shelf problem."

    "Even in the case of the continental shelf, Greece expects the solution to come from the referral of the issue to the International Court at the Hague," he added.

    "Despite the pitiful and irresponsible attitude of the Greek authorities, Turkey will continue to pursue solutions to existing problems through dialogue," he said.

    Stressing that due to their geographical positions, Turkey and Greece are forced to co-exist peacefully, he said that dialogue "will be to the benefit of both the Greek and Turkish peoples."

    The Greek government had proposed the commencement of political dialogue between the two countries on a foreign ministry directors' level, which Ankara has turned down. Athens says the only difference between the two neighbors is the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf, which should be arbitrated by the International Court at the Hague.

    [11] EU widens probe of aid into AGET-Heracles

    Brussels, 16/11/1995 (ANA/ Reuter):

    In a letter to the Greek government yesterday, the European Commission said it had decided to reconsider the case of state aid given to the AGET-Heracles cement company in 1986.

    The Commission initially began investigations in 1988 into 27.7 billion drachmas worth of AGET's debt being turned into shares held by the state.

    It dropped its case in 1991 after having been satisfied that Greece had met its conditions for such aid. But competitors from Britain, Italy and Greece appealed to the European Court of Justice which annulled the Commission's decision on July 6 this yea r on procedural grounds, ruling that it had not adequately examined the effects of the aid on trade and competition.

    The Commission's action yesterday was a response to that ruling, saying it would "examine the compatibility of the support with the common market", but going as far as to adopt some of the arguments of the company's competitors.

    It said the support approved in 1991 "was not connected with some productive investment", and "is simply used to reduce the financial burden of an essentially solvent company, without being accompanied by any restructuring measures".

    "The competitive position of the AGET-Heracles company was strengthened more than necessary to secure its viability," it added. The support given "adulterated and continued to adulterate competition, and influenced and continued to influence transactions between the member states," it said.

    In support of its arguments, the Commission cites the fact that Greece (represented by four companies, not just AGET) increased its cement exports to the Community eight-fold between 1987 and 1994.

    A possible eventual Commission ruling that Greece did in fact violate common market rules does not mean necessarily mean that it will ask for the return of the whole 27.7 billion drachmas to the Greek state.

    In its letter, the Commission estimated the support granted to AGET exceeded the "minimum sum necessary for extricating the company from its difficulties" by five billion.

    The Greek government and other interested parties were being asked to submit their observations regarding the issue.

    AGET was sold to a consortium comprised of the Italian Calcestruzzi firm and the National Bank of Greece in 1992.

    [12] Commissioner says scope for improvement in Greek absorption of EU funds

    Brussels, 16/11/1995 (ANA - G. Daratos, M. Savva):

    In a written statement yesterday, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Monika Wulf-Mathies said there was scope for considerable improvement in Greece's absorption rate of funds from structural Community funds (Regional, Social, FEOGA, Cohesion), and that the Commission would continue working for its more effective utilization. "The fact that there is still considerable room for improvement is proved by the relatively low absorption rates from these funds in 1994 and 1995 ... The major political priority must be the effective use of their available resources," she said.

    Her statement came in response to a question by New Democracy party Eurodeputy Costas Hatzidakis Tuesday, who quoted her as telling the Europarliament's Regional Committee meeting that Greece would receive little from the Community for restructuring its textile industry.

    Meanwhile, replying to a question by Coalition of the Left Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos, Ms Wulf-Mathies noted that absorption of funds in the preparatory stage of Greece's national Land Register in 1994-95 had been almost nil, but recognized that a slow start was understandable at such a stage. She expressed hope that, after the drawing up of the legal base for the venture, there would be rapid progress after an initial delay.

    In comments to Ms Mathies' statements, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said yesterday the absorption rate of Second Community Support Framework funds this year was expected to be in the order of 82 per cent, compared to 36 per cent last year. He said the pace of absorption was not satisfactory, but the Community knew slow starts were to be expected.

    Mr. Hytiris said the EU's Projects Monitoring Committee, which was in Athens last week, expressed satisfaction regarding the progress of works and the institutional framework.

    He claimed Italy showed an absorption rate of 10 per cent.

    [13] Paris farewells Greek ambassador

    Paris, 16/11/1995 (ANA - J. Zitouniati):

    French Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Bertrand Dufourg yesterday threw a farewell dinner at the Quai d'Orsay for departing Greek ambassador to Paris Dimitris Makris.

    Embassy first attachi Frangiskos Verros is taking over from Mr. Makris.

    Mr. Makris underlined the good and traditional relations between the two countries but also expressed his dismay at the manner in which a part of the French press has portrayed Greece, particularly concerning its Balkan policies and its relations with FY ROM.

    The event was attended by the former French foreign minister Mr. Raymond, the former French ambassador to Athens and advisor to the French prime minister on European matters Jean Cadet, and scholars Jacqueline de Romilly and Eleni Glykatzi-Ahrweiler.

    [14] Laborers continue strike after 'fruitless' meeting with Tzoumakas

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    Construction workers will rally in front of the Labor Ministry this morning as the prelude to a new 48-hour strike beginning today following a "fruitless" meeting between their federation's leadership and Labor Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday.

    Builders around the country walked off the job yesterday to press demands for unemployment benefits and insurance claims and for better working conditions.

    Federation President Kyriakos Kerasounlis said Mr. Tzoumakas' behavior was "indescribable and the worst I have seen in all the years I have been a trade unionist."

    The climate prevailing at the meeting created concern over today's meeting. Many trade unionists warned that Mr. Tzoumakas "will receive a message not to play around with unemployed workers any more", while others said "he will be responsible for whatever happens tomorrow."

    In another development, the Federation of Societies of Parents and Guardians of Handicapped Persons held a gathering outside the Labor Ministry, requesting a meeting with Mr. Tzoumakas to brief him on their claims.

    Mr. Tzoumakas refused to see them but committed himself to having the issue of Vocational Training Centers resolved in 15 days' time.

    [15] Katsifaras inaugurates international shipping meeting

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    Merchant Marine Minister George Katsifaras yesterday opened the 13th annual international meeting on shipping, international trade and funding, organized by the Piraeus Marine Club and the London-based City University Business School.

    In his address, the minister stressed Piraeus's leading role in world shipping and referred to the strict safety measures and measures to protect the sea environment adopted by the world shipping community.

    He also mentioned the importance of conditions of free competition to the development of the shipping sector.

    [16] Farmers' representatives confer with Papantoniou, Stathis on demands

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    The presidium of the Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Co-operatives (PASEGES) held consecutive meetings with National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Agriculture Minister Theodoros Stathis yesterday, requesting the settlement and gradual resolution of issues raised at its meeting with Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou earlier this week.

    An announcement by PASEGES said that as a first step, Mr. Stathis entrusted it with the preparation of the farmers register, a task expected to be completed in six months' time.

    A series of meetings was also agreed between the PASEGES presidium and Mr. Stathis to resolve other issues falling under his jurisdiction.

    Mr. Papantoniou and the PASEGES presidium, headed by President Nikos Liolios, discussed issues concerning public and private investments in agriculture, the promotion of exports of farm products, cheaper fuel prices for agricultural use and farmers' pensions.

    According to an announcement, Mr. Papantoniou promised increased investments through the public investments programme and the second Community Support Frame-work.

    On the question of exports, Mr. Papantoniou promised personal intervention with the Exports Promotion Organization (OPE), while regarding fuel prices he said it was a matter for the finance minister.

    Referring to farmers' pensions, Mr. Papantoniou did not commit himself but said the issue was being examined by his ministry and the labor ministry in co-operation with the Farmers Pension Fund (OGA).

    [17] Inner cabinet approves 1996 budget

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    The inner cabinet yesterday approved the 1996 state budget, presented to the meeting by Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos.

    The budget will now be tabled in Parliament by the end of the month for ratification.

    Before chairing the meeting, Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou said the new budget did not signal a further year of "economic austerity". "I cannot accept the term 'austerity' when incomes are rising at our rate," he told reporters.

    Replying to questions after the meeting, Mr. Papandreou expressed the view that "the economy is going well but we must be wary of traps".

    According to informed sources, budget spending is expected to be increased by 9-10 per cent over last year, with the highest increases in the sectors of education, health and social security.

    Revenue is expected to be up by about 13 per cent or 900 billion drachmas, this amount coming mainly from the acceleration of the rate of increase of GDP, the curtailing of smuggling and tax evasion, an increase in taxes on alcoholic drinks, fuel and tobacco, increased road taxes and taxable property values.

    Sources said efforts to promote more social programmes hindered on the strict limits imposed by the convergence programme.

    [18] Opposition

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday chaired a meeting focusing on the 1996 state budget, with the participation of party cadres and academics.

    Following the meeting, ND deputy Anastasios Papaligouras said "the course of the economy is bad and New Democracy is concerned both with this and the next year's budget."

    Referring to the government's economic policy, Political Spring party spokesman, Notis Martakis said the government was indifferent to the fact that the Greek people have been undergoing ten years of austerity.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress spokesman Dimitris Papadimoulis said "PASOK's new concept of 'a social image' constitutes, in actual fact, a continuation of the same unjust and one-sided economic policy."

    [19] Stratos calls for Gov't to maintain economic policy, cautions against premature rejoicing

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) President Jason Stratos said yesterday that the government's economic policy had brought "positive, visible" results but warned that it was still too early to celebrate.

    "Inflation has fallen below the ten per cent mark for the first time in two decades. Interest rates have retreated considerably. The balance of payments has been strengthened, the climate improved and economic activity has recovered somewhat," Mr. Stratos told an annual meeting organized by the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.

    "In the manufacturing sector in particular, production rose in 1994 after four years of continuous decline and this year the continuing improvement indicates that the decade-long crisis in the sector could possibly be drawing to an end," Mr. Stratos said.

    The BHCC annual meeting is generally held a few days before the release of the new state budget and the announcement of economic policy guidelines for the coming year. Noting these "welcome" developments, Mr. Stratos warned nevertheless that "it is far too early for celebration".

    "The economy remains fundamentally weak and the recovery of economic activity is much weaker than in most of the other EU countries. The size of the state, the public debt, public administration, public expenditure and deficits remain the weak spots. An d in all of them improvement was either negligible or none at all," he said.

    Referring to calls for an easing of the government's stance, political pressure for more public sector hirings and wage increases "far above the expected inflation rate", the SEB chief said that these proposals "amount to the virtual abandonment of the convergence programme and the return to the policy which generated public deficits and debt in the past".

    Acknowledging that the economic stabilization policy had created social problems, Mr. Stratos said he believed that "we can tackle these problems only through faster growth of the economy and not by a retreat to policies that are responsible for the pre sent crisis".

    "Therefore," he said, "we believe that these proposals should again be resisted."

    [20] News in Brief

    Athens, 16/11/1995 (ANA):

    - Forty-four billion drachmas has been allocated to the Kavala, Drama, Rodopi, Xanthi and Evros prefectures by the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Region for major projects. Of the total, 10.560 billion drachmas will go to Evros, 9.270 billion to Kavala, 8.500 billion to Rodopi, 8.120 billion to Xanthi and 7.550 billion to Drama. The funds will be provided for road works, rural electricity networks, drainage works, fisheries, tourism, ecological protection, school buildings and for port projects in Kavala and Alexandroupolis.

    - President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday held separate meetings with the new Japanese, Indonesian and Cuban Ambassadors to Athens. Japanese Ambassador Yasumitsu Kiuchi, Indonesian Ambassador Irawan Abidin and Cuban Ambassador Ana Maria Gonzalez Suarez presented the president with their credentials. The ceremony was attended by the Foreign Under-secretary Grigoris Niotis and secretary-general to the President's Office, Ambassador Emmanuel Gikas. National Defence Minister Gerassimos Arsenis will fly to Brussels on November 28 to participate in the two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers. On December 12, he will pay a two-day official visit to Britain.

    - Greek and US warships and support vessels will take part in a naval exercise in the Aegean from November 22-30. The exercise, code-named "Alexander the Great", will be centered in the region of the Sporades and the Pagasitikos Gulf. Also taking part in the exercise will be Greek and US special forces and air force units.

    End of English language section.

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