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A.N.A. Bulletin, 21/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 746), November 21, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Premier's condition improving, doctors say

  • [2] Skandalidis

  • [3] Greece, Bulgaria reaffirm will for better bilateral, European co-operation

  • [4] Stephanopoulos: 'Cordial' relations with Sofia

  • [5] Polish deputy foreign minister in Athens for talks

  • [6] Tirana, Ioannina universities agree to co-operation

  • [7] News in Brief

  • [8] Greece condemns Islamabad bombing

  • [9] First Polytechnic 'anarchists' appear in court

  • [10] Thessaloniki convictions

  • [11] Inquiry ordered into murder of prisoner

  • [12] Samaras initiative

  • [13] Constantopoulos remarks

  • [14] All inmates present

  • [15] EU foreign ministers approve 'consular protection' provision

  • [16] Romeos

  • [17] Cyprus issue a European problem, says van den Broek

  • [18] Europarliament c'tee proposes delaying customs union vote

  • [19] Greece signs CoE treaty on co-production of films

  • [20] Press, media workers stop work to demand changes to ad tax clause

  • [21] Pensioners to join GSEE rally this week

  • [22] Greece looks to expand trade relations with Black Sea, Mideast regions


  • [1] Premier's condition improving, doctors say

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris told reporters last night that Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou was in good spirits and resting, after being admitted to hospital for tests for breathing difficulties earlier in the day.

    A medical communique issued at 8pm last night by the Onassion Cardiology Centre said exhaustive tests had ascertained he was suffering from a form of pneumonia and that his condition was improving and being monitored.

    Asked whether the premier would appoint an acting prime minister, Mr. Hytiris said there was no such issue, and the government's work was continuing normally.

    The premier was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit at noon, and attended by a team of doctors headed by his personal physician, Health Minister Dimitris Kremastinos. He was accompanied by his wife Dimitra Liani-Papandreou.

    A first medical communique said "the prime minister was admitted to the Onassion Centre to be examined for respiratory problems, possibly due to a pulmonary infection." A further communique on the premier's health will be issued today at noon, the hospital's deputy director Grigorios Skalkeas said.

    He added the prime minister had been undergoing treatment with antibiotics over the past few days. His condition was improving, he said, and complications, not necessarily dangerous, were possible, as in all patients with similar problems.

    According to certain sources, the premier had initially refused to be hospitalized but was finally persuaded to enter hospital by Mr. Kremastinos.

    Government ministers, party officials, opposition leaders and family members visited the hospital when they heard the news. They included Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras, former New Democracy premier George Rallis and Communist party deputies.

    Dozens of PASOK supporters congregated outside the hospital when news of the premier's hospitalization was broadcast.

    Mr. Hytiris thanked President Kostis Stephanopoulos, former pre-sident of the republic Constantine Karamanlis, and New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert for phoning the premier and showing an interest in his health.

    Cypriot president Glafcos Clerides sent a cable, wishing the prime minister a speedy recovery.

    News of Mr. Papandreou's illness this morning caused shares on the stock exchange to plunge by 2.0 per cent.

    A scheduled ruling PASOK Parliamentary Group meeting was postponed after Mr. Papandreou was rushed to the hospital.

    [2] Skandalidis

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis expressed optimism that the prime minister would overcome his health problem soon.

    People were expressing interest and sympathy all over the country, there was a rally of forces inside the party, and the government continued to function as planned, he said.

    He added a Central Committee meeting planned for the weekend would be postponed, as the prime minister had to be present.

    [3] Greece, Bulgaria reaffirm will for better bilateral, European co-operation

    Sofia, 21/11/1995 (ANA/N. Megadoukas/N. Hios):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos kicked-off the first day of his three-day state visit to Bulgaria with talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Zhelyu Zhelev yesterday.

    Both sides reaffirmed their will to further strengthen co-operation between Greece and Bulgaria at both a bilateral and European level.

    Apart from certain technical details expected to be settled, the two countries will soon sign agreements on the employment of Bulgarian workers in Greece and waters of the Nestos River, which Mr. Zhelev linked to the opening of new border corridors.

    It is unclear whether the two presidents discussed the issue of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, an issue expected to be raised in contacts with the Bulgarian government.

    After private talks between the two presidents, they chaired a meeting of delegations of the two countries headed respectively by Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias and Bulgarian Foreign Under-secretary Ivan Kristov.

    In a brief statement after the meeting, Mr. Zhelev said willingness existed on both sides to sign agreements on the seasonal employment of Bulgarian workers in Greece and co-operation between the two countries in the banking and economic sectors.

    Another issue discussed by the two presidents was the situation in former Yugoslavia and the two countries' willingness to participate in reconstruction projects after the end of the civil war.

    Mr. Zhelev expressed satisfaction at Greek support for efforts made by Bulgaria to join the European Union and NATO.

    On his part, Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed the certainty that technical details would be ironed out, adding that a good level of political will existed on both sides.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed the hope that a solution to the Yugoslav problem would facilitate the development of co-operation between all the Balkan nations.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will visit Plovdiv today and then hold private talks in Sofia with Prime Minister Jean Videnov.

    [4] Stephanopoulos: 'Cordial' relations with Sofia

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    President Stephanopoulos underlined that the main characteristic in the "cordial understanding" existing between Greece and Bulgaria was that it was not directed and nor could be interpreted as being directed against any third party.

    Speaking at an official luncheon President Zhelev gave in his honor, Mr. Stephanopoulos said the basic position and fundamental principle of Greece and Bulgaria was opposition to the creation of axes and intra-Balkan coalitions, adding that axes only created suffering and destruction.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said Greece's unconditional and unselfish support for Bulgaria's accession to Euro-Atlantic institutions would be decisive and steadfast, adding that Bulgaria's complete accession to the European Union corresponded to a historical, political and economic necessity and was in line with the European Community's wider geostrategic interests in southeastern Europe.

    He said common interests between Athens and Sofia called for the assumption of initiatives on trade in the Balkan hinterland and central Europe, from the Danube to the Aegean, the Mediterranean and the Near East, adding that ports in northern Greece had an important role to play in this context.

    In his address, Mr. Zhelev expressed appreciation at the fact Mr. Stephanopoulos visited Bulgaria first among neighboring Balkan countries. He said Bulgarian candidacy for the EU and NATO was absolutely natural as well as support by friendly Greece.

    He also referred to common support between Greece and Bulgaria and to the two countries' energetic participation in efforts by the international community aimed at a just and permanent solution to the Yugoslav crisis and to the prevention of its spreading.

    Mr. Zhelev said he believed he expressed the common conception of the two countries in saying that the states sustaining the greatest losses from sanctions imposed against Yugoslavia had the right and the obligation to participate in the region's economic recovery after the end of the war.

    He pointed out that Greece was Bulgaria's second trade partner among EU countries, adding that the number of Greek companies operating in Bulgaria was increasing constantly and had already exceeded 700.

    [5] Polish deputy foreign minister in Athens for talks

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Stefan Meller arrived here yesterday for a two-day working visit and talks with government officials. A foreign ministry announcement said the talks will focus on a review of bilateral relations and international issues.

    At a ceremony last night, Mr. Meller bestowed on Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos a Polish medal of distinction awarded to the mayor by the Polish President Lech Walesa.

    Polish Ambassador to Greece Ryszard Zoltaniecki and Mr. Meller also awarded honorary distinctions to New Democracy Vice President Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Polish Consul in Thessaloniki Minos Kiriakou, university professor Theodoros Katsanevas, Polish Consul in Piraeus Mihail Kokkinis and others.

    [6] Tirana, Ioannina universities agree to co-operation

    Tirana, 21/11/1995 (ANA/ATA):

    Vice Rector of Tirana University Valentina Duka recently visited Ioannina University and expressed her belief that possibilities exist for closer co-operation between the two establishments.

    During talks with her counterpart at Ioannina University, staff discussed the upgrading of teaching methods and scientific activity. The Greek side said it will give aid to the Albanian university, mainly for the science and medical faculties, and promised to provide laboratory equipment for teaching the Greek language in the Tirana University's Slav and Balkan Department. Ioannina University also said it would offer Albanian History to ten students, who will attend a two-year specialization course and graduate with a degree in Archaeology. The agreement also includes an exchange of teaching staff and the teaching of the Greek and Albanian languages in the two universities.

    [7] News in Brief

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    - Cleaning and lighting taxes will be increased by 19.8 per cent from January 1, 1996. The decision was taken by the Athens Municipality last night.

    According to another decision, taxes for the use of communal space of small shops and kiosks will rise by ten per cent.

    - Municipal and local community offices in Attica will be closed today and tomorrow after a decision by the Union of Attica Municipalities and Communities (TEDKNA).

    TEDKNA called for the closures to demand satisfaction of its funding requests by the government.

    [8] Greece condemns Islamabad bombing

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Greek government yesterday condemned a car bomb attack at the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad which killed 14 people and left more than 60 wounded. A foreign ministry announcement said the Greek government "expresses its abhorrence and condemns the bomb attack."

    It also expresses its "undivided support to the injured and the families of the victims of this blind terrorist attack."

    [9] First Polytechnic 'anarchists' appear in court

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    Twenty-five of 38 youths arrested outside the Athens Polytechnic Friday night for anarchist-related violence will appear before an Athens court today after a postpone-ment yesterday.

    Their trial was interrupted at 2pm because an official reading of the charges had not been completed by prosecutors until late afternoon.

    The 25 face a total of seven misdemeanor charges, while the other 13 underage suspects were freed and will be tried by a juvenile court.

    Meanwhile, all 137 suspects out of a group of 350 individuals detained inside the Polytechnic early Saturday morning also faced a first instance court yesterday on misdemeanor charges of gang activity, vandalism, violation of university asylum, disturbing public peace and desecration of national symbols (burning of Greek flags).

    Five suspects were freed due to health reasons, while the rest requested and received a commonly granted three-day trial postponement and will be tried Wednesday. Thirty suspects from the group requesting a postponement were freed, while the other 107 suspects were ordered jailed pending trial.

    The group of self-styled anarchists had all appeared before a three-member judges' panel by late afternoon and were led into court in separate groups of 25.

    During yesterday's proceedings, the rector and vice-rector of the Polytechnic, Nikolaos Markatos and Ioannis Polyzos, were also present during proceedings in order to appear as witnesses. Attorneys representing the badly damaged higher education facility were also present.

    Heavy security measures were apparent inside and outside the multi-building court complex on Evelpidon Avenue as a group of about 100 supporters of the suspects gathered outside the building shouting slogans against police and the press.

    [10] Thessaloniki convictions

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    Three self-styled anarchists arrested during incidents outside the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki's theology school last Tuesday were convicted yesterday of rebellion, resisting arrest and insul-ting authority.

    Specifically, 23-year-old university student Yiannis Anagnostou was sentenced to two and a half years for rebellion, while 22-year-old Paris Sofos, a student, and 24-year-old Elias Hatziliadis, a pansion owner, were given 3 1/2-year sentences for rebellion, resisting arrest and insulting authority.

    The four were arrested last week after riot police attempted to search their bags for firebombs and rocks during a protest march.

    All three men claimed they had no part in the theology school violence, saying they were apprehended in the Kamara square area. They also claimed they were severely beaten while in police custody.

    The verdict caused loud protests by dozens of youthful supporters of the defendants outside the court. A protest march followed.

    In addition, a 17-year-old juvenile co-defendant's trial was postponed due to medical treatment for injuries she allegedly incurred during her arrest by riot police.

    A new trial date was set for November 27.

    [11] Inquiry ordered into murder of prisoner

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    An urgent preliminary investigation was ordered yesterday by prosecutors into the murder of a 27-year-old prisoner during last week's inmate uprising at Korydallos prison.

    The judicial investigation into the death of convicted burglar Dimitris Karamoutis and widespread damages at the prison complex during the six-day standoff will be conducted by a Pireaus prosecutor.

    According to reports, damages will be videotaped for use by prosecutors.

    The same sources state that judicial officials will also investigate why long-time convict Vassilis Danalatos was held in a Korydallos wing designated to hold only prisoners facing trial or sentenced to no more than 18 months.

    Calm reigned in the cell blocks yesterday as no incidents were reported at the prison, located in the east Athens working-class district of Korydallos. Correctional officers began recor-ding damages and searched for homemade weapons still in prisoners' possession.

    [12] Samaras initiative

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras met yesterday with the mayor of Korydallos, who briefed Mr. Samaras on problems stemming from the prison's operation in the municipality. In comments after the meeting, Mr. Samaras expressed the hope that the government, in light of last week's uprising, will apply a past decision by a parliamentary inter-party committee to immediately transfer the entire prison complex.

    [13] Constantopoulos remarks

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    In reference to the Korydallos uprising and occupation of the Athens Polytechnic at the end of last week by self-styled anarchists, Coalition of the Left and Progress President Nikos Constantopoulos said a serious political and social crisis was plaguing the nation.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said the Coalition was struggling for a "major change" in all sectors, because "Greece needs a political life that inspires, that plans... that solves problems."

    [14] All inmates present

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    In another matter, authorities reported all inmates were present and accounted for during a check yesterday.

    Meanwhile, a total of 184 juvenile inmates have been transferred out of the facility in order for repairs and cleaning to commence.

    Out of 81 injured or ill inmates transported to various hospitals during the six-day jail takeover, 56 have been returned to the prison, while all inmates freed on temporary exit passes before the uprising have returned to the correctional facility after expiration of their pass.

    [15] EU foreign ministers approve 'consular protection' provision

    Brussels, 21/11/1995 (ANA/G. Daratos):

    Foreign ministers from the European Union's 15 member-states yesterday approved application of "consular protection" for all EU citizens, a step that fulfills a Maastricht Treaty provision.

    Specifically, consular protection allows a member-state citizen traveling or living in a third country where his nation does not have diplomatic or consular offices to use consular services of available EU countries, and be accorded the same rights as that nation's citizens, under certain circumstances.

    The measure is seen a further step toward EU integration and creation of a common European citizenship.

    Consular protection is also significant for Greece, a nation with expatriates in numerous countries around the world and few diplomatic missions. Thousands of Greek merchant seamen that regularly dock in practically every port around the world should al so benefit.

    [16] Romeos

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    In an unrelated matter, Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos, speaking at yesterday's General Affairs Council, set out the issue of the practice of unofficial meetings between the EU's five largest members and Turkey.

    "I would like to briefly touch on an issue that should have been discussed already, which I believe also preoccupies other colleagues. I may talking about repeated instances of a group of countries which meet, usually at a ministerial level, with third countries to discuss issues that involve all of us," Mr. Romeos.

    [17] Cyprus issue a European problem, says van den Broek

    Brussels, 21/11/1995 (CNA/ANA):

    The Cyprus issue is a European problem and its solution should not be left to the United States, European Union External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek said in London yesterday.

    The Dutch commissioner said even though Britain and some other EU member-states have played an important role in the Yugoslav, Middle East and Gulf crises, there is a tendency to leave the solution of European political and security problems, such as the Cyprus problem, to the United States.

    Unless the EU follows a common policy when faced with an external challenge it will not be able to act as a peacemaker and its role will be limited to that of a cashier providing financial assistance, Mr. van den Broek added.

    The EU has always supported the UN secretary-general's good offices mission for a Cyprus settlement.

    Only last year and for a short period, it appointed an EU observer on Cyprus. The Turkish side rejected this appointment.

    [18] Europarliament c'tee proposes delaying customs union vote

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    The European Parliament's Political Freedoms and Internal Affairs Committee decided yesterday to propose a postponement of a debate and vote on the EU-Turkey customs union.

    Adopting a proposal by Irene Lambraki (PASOK), the Committee, the sole relevant European Parliament committee on human rights, decided that the final decision on customs union between the EU and Turkey should not be taken before the Turkish elections.

    The decision was taken during the discussion held yesterday on customs union based on a proposal by German Social Democrat Martin Schultz.

    The Foreign Economic Relations Committee and the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee have yet to make their proposals on the debate and vote on customs union.

    [19] Greece signs CoE treaty on co-production of films

    Strasbourg, 21/11/1995(ANA):

    Greece signed the European Treaty for Multinational Film Co-productions in Strasbourg yesterday.

    The treaty aims at setting out the guidelines for relationships between countries in film co-production, where producers from at least three countries are involved.

    The treaty outlines the benefits enjoyed by national productions, the conditions under which co-productions are filmed, producers' rights and the contribution share relating to each producer.

    The treaty was signed by the permanent Greek representative to the Council of Europe, Ambassador Antonis Exarhos, in the presence of the Council's Secretary-General Daniel Tarschys.

    [20] Press, media workers stop work to demand changes to ad tax clause

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    Workers in the press and media held a three-hour work stoppage yesterday, rallying outside the Press and Media Ministry in the afternoon to demand amendments to legislation which transfers responsibility for payment of advertising tax to advertisers and t hose being advertised.

    About 1,500 workers convened outside the Press Ministry, denouncing media owners for illegally withholding advertising tax, resulting in debts to pension funds of over 22 billion drachmas.

    President of the Athens Journalists Union Dimitris Glavas stated that if the controversial Article 12 continued to exist in its present form, the pension funds of those working for the media would be faced with an immediate survival problem. He stressed that press employees will fight with all legal means for the acceptance of their just demands by all officials.

    A petition was delivered to Press and Media Under-secretary Nikos Athanassakis for him to pass on to Press and Media Minister Telemahos Hytiris.

    The Foreign Press Association also issued a press release expressing their "wholehearted support for the movement of Greek journalist organizations".

    [21] Pensioners to join GSEE rally this week

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    Pensioners will hold a rally in Athens on December 7, toughening their stance against the government to satisfy their demands for pensions to be linked to present-day incomes.

    Representatives of major pensioner organizations told a press conference yesterday that pensioners would participate in the rally called for Thursday by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY).

    The pensioners' pensions linked to 20 wages or 80 per cent of 1996 salaries and clarified that they would not accept Labor and Social Security Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas' proposal for gradual linkage over the next three years.

    [22] Greece looks to expand trade relations with Black Sea, Mideast regions

    Athens, 21/11/1995 (ANA):

    Trade Minister Nikos Akritidis said yesterday the Greek government regarded the Black Sea and Middle East regions as the second most important pole of its international orientations - after the European Union - for co-operation and regional integration, stressing that Greece would do everything possible to facilitate co-operation between East and West.

    He was speaking at a two-day conference at the Hilton Hotel, organized by the Panhellenic Exporters' Association (PSE), on new business opportunities in the two regions, attended by high-ranking government officials and business leaders from 18 countries, as well as executives of international banking organizations, such as the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

    A wealth of PSE data presented at the conference seemed to justify the minister's claim, with 11 per cent of Greek exports, amounting to more than $1 billion, going to Black Sea countries, Bulgaria, Russia, Turkey, Romania, and Ukraine, in order of volume. Greek trade with the region has been growing at a much faster pace than that of other EU countries since 1989, and latest data shows Greek investment in Bulgaria to be first among foreign countries, both in terms of volume and the number of investment s, in the first half of 1995.

    Trade with Middle Eastern and North Africa has also recorded considerable improvement since 1990, growing from $1,820 million to $2,533 million in 1994, thus reducing the country's trade deficit with these regions. Greece's most important customer in the region is Lebanon, buying $170 million worth of exports last year.

    National Economy Under-secretary Ioannis Anthopoulos told the conference that Greece had become a capital exporting country for the first time in its history. Despite the 'hard' drachma policy, which admittedly represented a limiting factor for the Greek export drive, Greek exports had increased 20 per cent in the first half this year. A faster sliding of the drachma would boost inflation and production costs, he claimed, and for this reason sliding would be limited to one per cent next year, as already announced by the Bank of Greece.

    Mr. Anthopoulos also said that Parliament would vote through a law permitting the setting up of international trading companies before the end of the year. He added that the procedure for the granting of export credits to Georgia, Romania, and Moldova would be completed soon.

    Political Spring president Antonis Samaras said that the nucleus of his party's economic programme was the "aggressive and programmed sliding of the drachma" combined with "accompanying political reinforcement of production" in order for the rate of GDP growth to reach four per cent.

    Mr. Samaras said he was against direct devaluation and claimed that an increased slide will have a minimal effect on inflation that will be quickly canceled out.

    PSE president Christina Sakellaridi said Greek firms were "determined to go to all countries of the Black Sea and Middle East regions to mutual benefit, holding the olive tree as a symbol of peace and co-operation".

    She added that the success story of the Greek presence in Bulgaria seemed set to be repeated in other countries too, particularly in Russia, and Ukraine.

    End of English language section.

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