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A.N.A. Bulletin, 20/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 745), November 20, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Evert calls on ND to learn from past mistakes and abandon 'politics of obstinacy'

  • [2] Hytiris responds

  • [3] Korydallos riot ends, guards take over prison

  • [4] First Polytechnic occupiers to be tried today

  • [5] Parliamentary Group reconvenes today

  • [6] Tsovolas speaks in Larissa

  • [7] Venizelos, Peponis speak at Patras seminar on Inter-European networks

  • [8] Stefanopoulos begins Sofia visit today

  • [9] EU commissioner Flynn in Athens

  • [10] Greek weightlifter sets new world record

  • [11] Papadopoulos invites entrepreneurs to invest in economy

  • [12] Polytechnic

  • [13] Thessaloniki prepares for founding conference of World Council of Overseas Hellenism

  • [14] France praises Greek stance on nuclear tests at UN


  • [1] Evert calls on ND to learn from past mistakes and abandon 'politics of obstinacy'

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    The main opposition New Democracy party took stock of its past and prospects at its two-day national conference over the weekend, with party leader Miltiades Evert making a final appeal to his opponents to stop bickering over past failures and mistakes an d support him as party leader.

    "We have to learn from the past, yet must look to the future," Mr. Evert said at the close of the conference last night. "In this way, we learn from our failures and mistakes."

    Criticizing internal party opposition, Mr. Evert described an "obsession with the mistakes of the past," as the "politics of obstinacy."

    "History has its good and its bad moments," he said. "We must learn from the first and be inspired by the latter.

    "You have elected me leader (of the party), in order to learn from yesterday and look to tomorrow... I cannot afford to (re-)write the past."

    Rejecting former prime minister and honorary ND president Constantine Mitsotakis' statement that New Democracy is only slightly different from ruling PASOK, Mr. Evert said "all parties are not similar. The Greek people know and judge. We are not alike."

    Acknowledging that there was internal party opposition to his leadership, Mr. Evert said "it is true that there are voices of complaining, voices of misery, voices of yesterday... and that they create a certain problem."

    He said, however, that "nobody has the right or is in a position to hinder" the party's favorable prospects.

    "Nobody has the right to prevent the course of New Democracy. You will never allow this," he told participants.

    Answering to criticism by Mr. Mitsotakis that the party is drawn to populism, Mr. Evert said that "social sensitivity is not populism. It is the very essence of politics."

    In his opening address to the conference on Saturday, Mr. Evert called for immediate elections, saying "the country should acquire a government before it is led to greater stalemates."

    "The time of responsibility is approaching," the ND leader said. He said he was certain that ND would win the next elections outright.

    He criticized the government for not keeping its pre-election pledges to the Greek people.

    "The Greek people has heard of change, social contracts, a more just distribution of national wealth. The people have heard, but seen nothing," he said.

    "The only thing the people see is the Greek flag burning (at the Athens Polytechnic clashes) and the concept of state being abolished," he added.

    Mr. Evert called on party members to "...escape narrow party borders, approach the citizens," adding that their arguments should be "honest, realistic, clear, documented, simple and socially sensitive."

    Mr. Mitsotakis, however, accused the party leadership of "making a fatal mistake of not defending ND's policy (during the time it was in office) but abandoning and not substituting it with another policy."

    Mr. Mitsotakis said attempts to portray New Democracy "as a new party has undermined and continues to undermine our political prospects."

    "Parties are not created out of nothing," he said. "When we have an important political asset we do not abandon it to start all over again."

    Criticizing ruling party PASOK of following a populist policy, Mr. Mitsotakis said: "I see that our party has not the boldness to name things as they are ... but is drawn to promises that neither the party or any government will have the potential of realizing."

    The party's honorary president said Greece needed a responsible party and that "the only answer which New Democracy can give is its strength in the people."

    Addressing the conference, ND Vice President Ioannis Varvitsiotis described as "fruitful" the party's course over the past two years, saying the party had a realistic programme, was leading the political race, according to opinion polls, and had upgrade d its social profile immensely.

    [2] Hytiris responds

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    Responding to Mr. Evert's speech on Saturday, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said the "country has a strong government ... a government with considerable achievements and work to be completed during the next two years."

    "Mr. Evert is a ND leader under trusteeship ... and his party has no solutions for the country," Mr. Hytiris said.

    [3] Korydallos riot ends, guards take over prison

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    Prison officials will start taking stock of damage at Athens' maximum-security prison this morning after rioting inmates returned to their cells in the wake of a five-day rampage which left four dead and dozens injured.

    All inmates had returned to their cells by 12:30 noon yesterday after days of negotiations between prisoners and justice ministry officials and later, with prison guards.

    Police said guards were once again controlling the situation.

    At dawn yesterday, rampaging inmates attempted another failed breakout but were stopped by police who stormed to the entrance to push the inmates back.

    "The prison has started to operate," Justice Minister Ioannis Pottakis said yesterday on leaving the prison complex. "I have visited the prison and seen that there is a great deal of damage to the kitchen and all the communal areas. There is a great deal of work to be done."

    He said that the immediate problems to be dealt with at the moment was the replacement of phone lines "so that the prisoners can communicate with their families".

    He also added that Olympic Catering would provide meals for the inmates and a mobile medical unit would be available to treat any health problems.

    The deputy president of the Piraeus Bar Association Giorgos Apostolidis, who was present at talks regarding the prison guards re-entering the complex, said the communal areas had been totally destroyed while there was minor damage to the cells themselves.

    About 1,000 inmates took over the prison on Tuesday after a failed breakout. They initially took eight staff hostages but released them after the justice ministry said it would meet their demands for improved food and medical care and a reduction in the number of inmates at the overcrowded jail.

    But inmates refused to comply and went on a rampage of destruction, wrecking cells, setting fires, and clashing with fellow inmates using knifes and shards of glass as weapon.

    Dozens were treated for injuries sustained in fights with fellow prisoners and for drug overdoses, after prisoners raided hospital supplies.

    Of the four dead, the only fatality not due to a drug overdose was that of Dimitris Karamoutis, 27, who was serving 18 months for theft.

    The coroner called the circumstances of his death "barbaric", saying Karamoutis had been savagely beaten, stabbed 23 times, rolled into a sheet for six hours and then hanged upside-down before being set on fire.

    [4] First Polytechnic occupiers to be tried today

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    The first 137 of some 400 youths arrested after going on a rampage of vandalism at the Athens Polytechnic will be tried today by a First Instance Court.

    Some 300 youths in total are expected to be charged in relation to the violent clashes between riot police and self-styled anarchists that began on Friday night, after the end of a march to the US Embassy to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Polytechnic student uprising.

    Police said yesterday over 350 youths were still being interrogated at police headquarters, while 94 minors have been released.

    The violent occupation ended early on Saturday when, following an all-night vigil, riot police received permission to enter the university premises and arrest the 473 demonstrators.

    Police smashed open a padlocked gate and moved in after university officials approved the operation to stop the self-styled anarchists from causing further damage.

    In a well-organized operation, police evacuated the youths without further incident. The occupiers, who agreed to withdraw after protracted negotiations with university officials on the terms of the evacuation, were led in groups to awaiting police buses and taken to police headquarters for questioning and documentation.

    Police had arrested 13 people in clashes during the night and about 20 were treated for tear gas inhalation. One youth needed hospital treatment after he was beaten by police.

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou yesterday expressed his satisfaction at the orderly operation.

    The evacuation and arrest of the occupiers was the first time in 21 years since the student uprising that Polytechnic authorities had agreed to the use of security forces on the premises to end repeated wanton destruction of property.

    The permission was given following a strongly-worded appeal from the government.

    The anarchists, who occupied the building at about 6pm on Friday, hurled fire bombs at police outside and lit bonfires through the night in the courtyard, using desks, books, and other equipment for fuel.

    Reports on Saturday said the premises resembled a war zone and that the Fine Arts and Civil Engineering schools had borne the brunt of the occupiers' fury.

    Rector Nikos Markatos and the board of governors have been held widely responsible for the repetition of the occupation this year, on account of having provided assurances beforehand that all necessary precautions had been taken and for prevaricating in properly authorizing police intervention afterwards.

    A Supreme Court prosecutor has ordered an urgent investigation into possible penal responsibilities on the part of Mr. Markatos and the board of governors.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the issue of how the events were dealt with "will be the subject of dialogue and discussion in the following days."

    Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras expressed abhorrence at the incidents and called on the government, the parties, and the university rector to take the necessary measures to avert similar events.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued an announcement on Saturday saying the incidents were an effort to "undermine the struggle of the students."

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress said the only beneficiaries of the clashes "are the opponents of the message of the 1973 uprising."

    [5] Parliamentary Group reconvenes today

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    The ruling PASOK Parliamentary Group meets today under prime minister and party president Andreas Papandreou's chairmanship to discuss the government's social image, although this issue will not be the only one discussed, according to observers.

    The issue of the parliamentary group's operation might also be raised during today's discussions, political observers said.

    Two proposals concerning the issue were submitted by PASOK deputies at last Monday's meeting but Mr. Papandreou then proposed the issue 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.

    Due to the long list of speakers, a third meeting of the parliamentary group might be needed, observers added.

    Today's meeting, which is the continuation of last Monday's meeting, will also determine the climate in which the party's central committee will convene during the coming weekend.

    [6] Tsovolas speaks in Larissa

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    Dimitris Tsovolas, a former PASOK minister, hinted Saturday that he would announce the creation of a party at the end of his visit to various prefectures in the country.

    Speaking in the central Greek city of Larissa, Mr. Tsovolas said he intended to commit himself to "a disinterested struggle which will be a struggle against dependency on economic interests and foreign powers".

    Mr. Tsovolas also said he expected there to be "changes" in the two main parties before the next elections.

    He refused to be drawn on issue of whether PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou should name or make room for a successor, stressing that he had "great respect" for the prime minister, but that he no longer agreed with him politically.

    Mr. Tsovolas resigned from the ruling party last month and announced the founding of a "movement".

    [7] Venizelos, Peponis speak at Patras seminar on Inter-European networks

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    The southern city of Patras has become the epicenter of transport and communications networks in the country, Transport and Communications Minister Evangelos Venizelos said Saturday, at a day-long seminar on "Inter-European Networks and the Information Society" in the city.

    The seminar was organized by ruling party PASOK Eurodeputies.

    Referring to rail links, Mr. Venizelos said the country's biggest public works programme was in progress at the moment and included the linking by rail of Athens and Patras and the transformation of the Hellenic Railway Organization's central network in to a truly European network.

    He added that the Hellenic Telecommunications Organizations (OTE) was moving ahead rapidly in the field of basic telecommunications services and that Patras had been chosen as the site of a pilot programme on the application of video phones.

    Industry Minister Anastasios Peponis, referring to the linking of national electricity systems into an inter-European network, said the Balkans could develop into a crossroads for the transfer of electrical energy, as it was bound by central and western

    Europe and the Italian peninsula, the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Mediterranean.

    Other speakers at the seminar included Eurodeputies Giorgos Katiforis and Stelios Panagopoulos.

    [8] Stefanopoulos begins Sofia visit today

    Sofia, 20/11/1995 (ANA/N. Hios):

    Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos is expected in Sofia today for talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Zhelyu Zhelev and Prime Minister Jean Videnov on bilateral relations and the situation in the Balkans, primarily relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos is accompanied by Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias.

    In Sofia yesterday, Mr. Zhelev said the Greek president's visit and Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's forthcoming visit "will give a new boost to the development of bilateral relations," he said, adding that these were not on a satisfactory level.

    Mr. Papandreou is expected to visit Sofia by the end of the year to sign important bilateral agreements, which include the opening of border checkpoints between the two countries, the waters of the River Nestos, the employment of seasonal workers and an agreement on relocating people.

    Speaking on Bulgarian television, Mr. Zhelev said talks between the Greek and Bulgarian delegations will focus on bilateral relations as well as European and Euro-atlantic issues.

    "Greece is the only Balkan country which is also a member of the European Union, NATO and the Western European Union and it is therefore perfectly natural to seek its support for our pursuits in NATO and the European Union, as we have sought the support of Turkish President Suleyman Demirel during his visit to Bulgaria," Mr. Zhelev said.

    He added that "there will be no opposition between our countries concerning Balkan infrastructure works," since there is "a broad spectrum for work to the benefit of all Balkan countries."

    Greece has said that the Egnatia Highway, planned to span the breadth of Greece from west to northeast and possibly extending to Istanbul, effectively cancels out plans by Bulgaria, Turkey, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to construct a highway linking Durres on the Adriatic with Istanbul.

    [9] EU commissioner Flynn in Athens

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    EU Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn was due in Athens yesterday for talks with government officials.

    He is expected to meet with Labor and Social Security Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas tonight over dinner.

    On Tuesday, Mr. Flynn will visit the Labor Ministry for a meeting with Mr. Tzoumakas, which will also be attended by Education and Religious Affairs Minister George Papandreou.

    The three are expected to discuss social issues and the Community Support Framework.

    [10] Greek weightlifter sets new world record

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    Greece's Valerios Leonidis set a new world record in a tremendous duel with Turkey's Naim Suleymanoglu at the world weightlifting championships in China on Sunday.

    Suleymanoglu, however, retained the men's 64 kg title.

    Leonidis lifted 148 kg in the snatch to beat the 147.5 kg hoisted by Suleymanoglu at the 1994 world championships in Istanbul last November.

    [11] Papadopoulos invites entrepreneurs to invest in economy

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos Saturday reiterated his recent call to Greek entrepreneurs to invest in the economy, in his address to an economic congress on the sidelines of the international "Money Show '95".

    Mr. Papadopoulos called on Greek businessmen to "chose the road of productive investments and not to take refuge in profits".

    "We have to fight tooth and nail to support the welfare state but within the limits of the tolerance of our economy," he said.

    He stressed that the 1995 budget was the second in a row executed to the letter and said increased expenditures in the '96 budget were of a "technical character" and not motivated by political reasons.

    Speaking at the same function, ND deputy and former minister Stephanos Manos disagreed with Mr. Papadopoulos, saying that what was needed at the current juncture was "mass privatizations".

    [12] Polytechnic

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    Asked by reporters later to comment on the outcome of events at the Polytechnic, Mr. Papadopoulos said "the bill (for damages), as usual, will be paid by the finance ministry", adding "an end must be put to this matter".

    [13] Thessaloniki prepares for founding conference of World Council of Overseas Hellenism

    Athens, 20/11/1995 (ANA):

    Some 260 representatives of more than 3,000 expatriate Greek organizations from around the world are expected in Thessaloniki to participate in the inaugural conference of the World Council of Overseas Hellenism, to be held from November 29 to December 8.

    The participants are expected to thrash out the form of the permanent body that is aimed at coordinating activities for the seven million Greeks of the Diaspora.

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos will officially open the sessions of the conference on Sunday December 3, at a function to be attended by the leaders of political parties and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou will welcome the participants at a dinner held in their honor in the evening.

    On the sidelines of the founding conference, Greek artists will stage a number of cultural events. Among the performers will be 107-year-old George Katsaros, from Florida, USA, one of the remaining great 'rembetes'.

    [14] France praises Greek stance on nuclear tests at UN

    Paris, 20/11/1995 (ANA) :

    France's government spokesman Alain Lamassoure expressed Paris' "appreciation" for Greece's stance in abstaining from condemning nuclear tests at a vote at the United Nations, in statements to Radio France International (RFI) on Saturday.

    Greece joined Germany and Spain in abstaining from the vote, while Britain voted against the motion, drawing praise from Mr. Lamassoure for its "expression of Community solidarity".

    But the stance of the remaining 10 EU states, and particularly Italy and Belgium, drew fire from the government spokesman.

    He noted that the '15' have an agreement to present a united stand at international fora on the national interests of each member-state.

    End of English language section.

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