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A.N.A. Bulletin, 29/11/95

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 753), November 29, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Premier back on respirator after dialysis

  • [2] Hytiris

  • [3] Papoulias: Mediterranean must be a factor of regional rapprochement

  • [4] Gonzalez, Papoulias meet on summit issues in Barcelona

  • [5] President to attend celebrations in Patras today

  • [6] News in Brief

  • [7] Hytiris slams main opposition leader, says Greece needs 'less Evert'

  • [8] Premier approves Greek troops for Bosnia, Arsenis says

  • [9] Hytiris denies Turkish press reports of 'secret plan' for Cyprus

  • [10] Stephanopoulos, Mitsotakis meet

  • [11] Lianis: Greek proposal for Olympiad to be filed today

  • [12] Greek demands for repayment of 'loan' to Nazis not a new issue, sources say

  • [13] Meeting on future of Orthodoxy ends

  • [14] Founding conference of World Council of Overseas Hellenism gets underway today

  • [15] Helicopter pilot killed in crash

  • [16] EU telecoms networks get 225 million ECU boost

  • [17] New decisions on environmental projects adopted

  • [18] Papantoniou hopeful that Greece will have a 'European economy' by 1997

  • [19] Papademos urges acceleration of structural reforms


  • [1] Premier back on respirator after dialysis

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou was put back on a respirator to aid his breathing last night, following a second successful dialysis treatment earlier in the day.

    According to a medical bulletin read shortly after 8:30pm at the Onassion Cardiology Centre, the premier, hospitalized with a lung infection over a week ago, had reacted well to the second dialysis at midday, but persistent breathing difficulties late in the afternoon, had necessitated the resumption of the application of mechanical support through a respirator.

    A midday medical bulletin read by Onassion deputy director Grigoris Skalkeas said that the prime minister's condition appeared to be relatively stable after Monday night's dialysis.

    Treatment of his respiratory system continued unchanged, the bulletin added.

    Replying to questions, Mr. Skalkeas said that Mr. Papandreou's heart was functioning "sufficien-tly" and was not affected by the dialysis, which was found to be satisfactory after lab tests.

    Mr. Skalkeas did not rule out a third dialysis treatment.

    He clarified that the dialysis treatment might be repeated during the next few days until the functioning of the premier's kidneys was adequately restored.

    "There has been an aggravation of the functioning of the kidneys and it is this we are trying to improve," Mr. Skalkeas said, ruling out however another round of dialysis treatment in the present 24 hours. Commenting on Monday's blood transfusion which caused breathing and kidney problems, Mr. Skalkeas said that similar transfusions had been carried out previously and did not rule out the possibility of further transfusions if necessary in the future.

    He rejected reports that there had been a reaction to the transfusion because of blood incompatibility.

    Mr. Skalkeas confirmed that the premier underwent bronchoscopy yesterday morning, adding that the procedure would be repeated in order to clear the bronchi of fluid. He said that Mr. Papandreou's general health was "good" and assured reporters that there was no problem connected with his heart.

    "We have many reasons to be optimistic," Mr. Skalkeas said.

    [2] Hytiris

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said that only Mr. Papandreou had the constitutional right to decide whether he would be replaced in the party leadership and head of the government. "Any possible replacement of the premier in his duties, against his will, would be anti-constitutional," Mr. Hytiris said.

    "The prime minister ... will be the protagonist in decisions concerning the future of the (Panhellenic Socialist) Movement," Mr. Hytiris said.

    He added that Mr. Papandreou's health condition had had some effect on the Athens bourse.

    Meanwhile, in a statement yesterday, the Athens Medical Association said the Greek people had the right to know the exact condition of the prime minister's health, and called on the doctors treating him to provide scientifically grounded information.

    [3] Papoulias: Mediterranean must be a factor of regional rapprochement

    Barcelona, 29/11/1995 (ANA/T. Antonopoulos):

    Addressing the Euro-Mediterranean Conference here yesterday, Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias stressed its historic task in initiating processes "which will make the Mediterranean a factor of rapprochement" between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and "not division."

    "Even today, basic problems remaining unresolved for decades are throwing their shadow over the Mediterranean. Their resolution will enable Euro-Mediterranean co-operation to acquire the breadth it deserves," he said.

    Mr. Papoulias hailed the peace process in the Middle East question.

    "It constitutes a shining example and is the creation of its protagonists' political courage," he added.

    He said a statement adopted in Barcelona which "expressly states the development of relations of good neighborliness as a target which should be established on the basis of international law principles" was particularly important.

    Mr. Papoulias spoke in the same spirit about the Dayton accord for peace in Bosnia "which gives hope that we have proceeded towards the resolution of one of the most tragic problems in the region."

    In his view, the European Union's new Euro-Mediterranean policy constitutes an important effort towards reversing the region's unfavorable course to date and developing closer relations in correlation with the policy set out and applied by the EU for central and eastern Europe.

    "The European Union's policies for central and eastern Europe and the Mediterranean frequently appear to be in competition. They are not in competition. On the contrary. They can prove to be complementary under certain conditions and preconditions," he said.

    During Mr. Papoulias' meeting with his Spanish counterpart Javier Solana, he expressed his support for Mr. Solana's candidacy for the post of NATO Secretary-General.

    According to diplomatic circles on the sidelines of the Euro-Mediterranean conference "Mr. Solana's name is in the balance, but without anyone knowing where the issue will lead to."

    Mr. Papoulias returned to Athens last night, accompanied by Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides who participated in the conference. Mr. Papoulias expressed his satisfaction over the conference's results.

    [4] Gonzalez, Papoulias meet on summit issues in Barcelona

    Barcelona, 29/11/1995 (ANA/T. Antonopoulos):

    Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez and Greek Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias met in Barcelona yesterday to discuss issues regarding the forthcoming EU summit in Madrid next month.

    The two met on the sidelines of the Euro-Mediterranean conference, after the Spanish prime minister, currently the president of the European Union, decided to drop Athens from his tour of European capitals ahead of the summit.

    Sources said after the meeting that Turkey's Prime Minister Tansu Ciller would not be invited to the summit.

    In Athens, government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris said it had not been decided who would represent Greece at the summit, adding that this will be decided and announced in the next few days.

    Asked to comment on Mr. Gonzalez's decision to drop Athens from his EU tour, Mr. Hytiris said this was a joint decision by the governments of Spain and Greece.

    However, the main opposition New Democracy party yesterday described as "unacceptable" Mr. Gonzalez's decision to not include Athens in his EU tour.

    In an announcement, ND said Mr. Gonzalez's behavior was "offen-sive" to Greece and downgraded the country's participation in the EU. It called on the foreign ministry to summon the Spanish ambassador in Athens and protest Mr. Gonzalez's stance.

    "Mr. Gonzalez is obliged to come to Greece and visit the President of the Republic and the person deputizing for the prime minister," the announcement said.

    Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis said the Spanish prime minister's decision not to visit Greece was "unprecedented" and "unacceptable," and called on the government to protest the decision.

    [5] President to attend celebrations in Patras today

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos will pay his first official visit to Patras today, on the invitation of Patras Mayor Andreas Karavolas and the municipal council.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will be guest of honor at ceremonies commemorating St. Andreas Day, patron saint of the city of Patras.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will represent Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and the government at the events.

    [6] News in Brief

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert will chair an ND executive committee meeting today, focusing on recent political developments and party issues.

    [7] Hytiris slams main opposition leader, says Greece needs 'less Evert'

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris blasted main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday, accusing him of exercising "coffee shop criticism".

    Mr. Hytiris said Mr. Evert was displaying irresponsibility "which we are faced with in his every statement."

    Referring to Mr. Evert's remark on "unredeemed homelands" during his tour of the Evros region, Mr. Hytiris accused Mr. Evert of warmongering "in the Balkans, which are trying to consolidate peace through delicate balances."

    Replying to Mr. Evert's criticism that the government lacked positions for the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean conference, Mr. Hytiris said the conference constituted a Greek initiative proposed by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou at the Corfu summit and accepted by European partners. In parallel, he said, the government had tabled a memorandum a year ago containing its positions on consolidating security and co-operation between the European Union and Mediterranean countries.

    On the question of "less state" requested by Mr. Evert, Mr. Hytiris said "what is certain is that the state needs less Evert." Mr. Hytiris also criticized Mr. Evert for saying the prime minister's hospitalization had turned into a TV serial, but concede d that Mr. Evert's visit to the Onassion Centre on Monday night was appropriate. Mr. Hytiris said that although his advisers urged him to remain serious, Mr. Evert could not achieve this for even one day.

    Replying to Mr. Hytiris, ND spokesman Vassilis Manginas said "by losing his calm, Mr. Hytiris proves how petty and silly he is."

    [8] Premier approves Greek troops for Bosnia, Arsenis says

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said yesterday that the ministry had received the approval of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou for the dispatch of a Greek military detachment to participate in the multinational peace force to be deployed in Bosnia.

    Mr. Arsenis was speaking to reporters before departing for Brussels where he will attend a meeting of NATO defence ministers on the situation in Bosnia.

    At the same time, Mr. Arsenis reiterated the conditions set by Athens for the dispatch of Greek troops to Bosnia, namely the signing of a peace agreement, the consent of the warring parties, a relevant UN resolution and the participation of non-NATO countries in the peacekeeping force.

    [9] Hytiris denies Turkish press reports of 'secret plan' for Cyprus

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Telemahos Hytiris yesterday denied the existence of a "secret plan" of US origin to resolve the Cyprus issue, as reported in a Turkish newspaper.

    Mr. Hytiris said yesterday no such plan existed and referred to a similar statement by Cyprus government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides as well as a denial by the US, terming the report a "figment of imagination."

    [10] Stephanopoulos, Mitsotakis meet

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos held a meeting yesterday with main opposition New Democracy party honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis.

    According to sources, Mr. Mitsotakis and Mr. Stephanopoulos discussed political developments and national issues.

    [11] Lianis: Greek proposal for Olympiad to be filed today

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    Sports Under-secretary George Lianis said yesterday a Greek proposal for assuming an Olympiad is ready and will be informally filed in Lausanne today by Greece's consul in the Swiss city.

    Speaking during a press conference, Mr. Lianis said he will not personally deliver the proposal in order to remain in Athens in light of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's illness.

    He also said a national sports committee will convene in December to decide if Greece will contest the 2004 or 2008 Olympic Games.

    Meanwhile, the sports under-secretary met yesterday with members of Greece's weightlifting team upon its return from a successful performance at the international weightlifting championships in China. Mr. Lianis also announced the allocation of 500 mill ion drachmas for construction of a weightlifting training facility, and bonuses for members of the team.

    [12] Greek demands for repayment of 'loan' to Nazis not a new issue, sources say

    Bonn, 29/11/1995 (ANA/P. Stangos):

    Informed sources in the German capital say a basic premise used by the German government so far in rejecting reparations requests by Greece, including that an occupation "loan" exacted by Nazi authorities be repaid, is contrived.

    Specifically, the argument that "50 years after the war you remembered (the reparations issue)," employed by the German foreign ministry in an effort to outmaneuver and discredit Greek demands clashes into a historical impasse, as a verbal note sent by the Greek Ambassador to Bonn two weeks ago was not the first such diplomatic communication on the sensitive issue.

    According to sources, a similar verbal note by the Greek government was handed to the West German embassy in Athens on November 9, 1966, 20 days before a visit to Athens by then West German Foreign Minister Gerhardt Schroeder.

    When the occupation "loan" issue was presented to the West German delegation during the visit, their refusal centered on "verbal" agreement they said was reached with Constantine Karamanlis in 1958, whereby Greece gave up its rights to 32 million drachma s worth of gold coins taken by Nazi forces in 1941, in order to secure a Dm200 million loan.

    Verification of official West German foreign ministry documents dated March 31, 1967 under then-foreign minister Willy Brandt, state that while Bonn maintains that the London Agreement following the war absolves post-Nazi German governments of responsibility, West Germany recognizes that Greece has not resigned from its demands on the "loan" issue.

    "The federal government has never come to the conclusion that the Greek government with such statements (such as those included in Article V, Paragraph 2 of the London Agreement) during that time (1953) or later, had the intention of officially relinquishing its requests..." the West German documents read.

    The documents appear to discredit German claims that the issue suddenly propped up after 50 years or that an "under the table" compromise was reached in 1958, sources state.

    The critical documents are stored both in the German foreign ministry and in Bonn's embassy in Athens.

    [13] Meeting on future of Orthodoxy ends

    Istanbul, 29/11/1995 (ANA/A. Kourkoulas):

    The conference of Orthodox churches on the present and future of Orthodoxy in united Europe yesterday wound up its sessions at the Halki theological school in the Phanar district.

    The conference, opened by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, was organized by the representative office of the Orthodox Church in the European Union, with the assistance of the European Commission.

    Prominent church personalities from Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Finland, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland, as well as European Union officials and professors discussed the position of various churches today an d their potential contributions to European integration.

    Mr. Dimitrios Kourkoulas, consultant to the General Directorate of the European Commission, spoke on the integration prospects of central and eastern European countries, while Professor Jan Kerkhofs, of the Catholic university of Louvain, presented a study on the evolution of religious values in Europe.

    [14] Founding conference of World Council of Overseas Hellenism gets underway today

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    The founding conference of the World Council of Overseas Hellenism (SAE) gets underway at the HELEXPO 'Ioannis Vellidis' conference centre in Thessaloniki today.

    The sessions of the conference will be attended by about 260 representatives of ethnic Greek organizations around the globe, while nearly as many entrepreneurs, scientists and journalists will participate in six conferences to be held on the sidelines.

    The conference will be officially declared open by President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Sunday, in the presence of Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, the Greek Parliament president and the speaker of the Cypriot House of Representatives, and ministers of the two governments. It will also be attended by Interior, Decentralization and Public Administration Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, representing Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, and party leaders and delegations.

    Foreign Under-secretary for Expatriate Greek Affairs Grigoris Niotis said in the course of a press conference yesterday that the conference would include discussion of all issues of interest to expatriate communities, and stressed the importance of the six parallel conferences, concerning Greek media the world over, expatriate businessmen (December 1 and 2), Hellenist scholars, expatriate Greek women (December 4 and 5), Cyberspace and Greeks Abroad, and Greek youth abroad (December 5 and 6).

    Director of the 'Vryonis' Greek Centre in Sacramento, California, Professor Christos Ioannidis touched upon a different dimension of the importance of the conference, saying that American public opinion was turned to the Balkans at the present time, which made it very important that it realized that Greece was the only country with democratic stability in the region.

    [15] Helicopter pilot killed in crash

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    An army captain was killed yesterday when his helicopter crashed shortly after take-off from Alexandroupolis airport.

    Artillery captain George Konstantilieris, 38, was declared dead on arrival at hospital after suffering third degree burns in the crash.

    A committee of experts was investigating the causes of the crash.

    [16] EU telecoms networks get 225 million ECU boost

    Brussels, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    The European Union Telecommunications Ministers Council yesterday decided to finance inter-European television networks with 225 million ECU for the 1996-99 period.

    Transport and Telecommunications Under-secretary Dimitris Sarris, who represented Greece, said the decision was a boost to possibilities to link Greece with central European countries.

    The decision is expected to be ratified by the European Parliament.

    The directive for full deregulation of the telephone sector and the telecommunications infrastructure from January 1,1998, envisages the possibility for a five-year transitional period for Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.

    Mr. Sarris expressed the view that the directive should not extend to matters of harmonization, and insisted on securing the parallel nature of harmonization and deregulation. The Greek stand was accepted.

    The Council also discussed the INFO 2000 programme for the development of the European electronic media industry in the framework of the society of information. A sum of 65 million ECU was approved for the programme, with the Greek side concurring.

    No decision was reached on the draft directive on the application of rules of competition in the postal sector.

    [17] New decisions on environmental projects adopted

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    The Cohesion Fund's Environmental Projects Monitoring Committee met for its fifth session at the national economy ministry yesterday.

    The meeting adopted 13 decisions of the Temporary Cohesion Financing Means concerning 61 projects for water supply, drainage, sewage treatment and refuse disposal nationwide costing 121 million ECU (absorption 114 per cent).

    The meeting also approved interventions for works in Athens and Krya Livadias, as well as the submission of a new appeal for protection works for underground water reserves in the Argolis valley. Assurances were given that funding will be approved before the end of 1995 for two major projects in Thessaloniki, the second phase of sewage treatment costing 65 million ECU, and water supply from the Aliakmonas River costing about 95 million ECU.

    The next committee meeting will be held at the end of March, 1996.

    [18] Papantoniou hopeful that Greece will have a 'European economy' by 1997

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday that the government was determined to continue its economic policy, saying that Greece's economy would be "truly European" by the end of 1996.

    "By the end of 1996, Greece's economy will be truly European, provided the same economic policy is continued and the unbelievable mistakes of the last 15 years are not repeated," Mr. Papantoniou said, addressing the sixth annual Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce conference which opened Monday.

    Attributing responsibility to both his ruling PASOK party and the main opposition New Democracy party which "did not respond to the circumstances," Mr. Papantoniou said the result had been that Greece was the only European country which "woke up 15 year s late."

    In 1996, he said, the divergence of the country's economy from the European Union's economy would end, with the attainment of the same rate of economic growth as the European average (2.7 per cent) "and from then on convergence will commence, as Greece will develop at a more rapid pace than the rest of the EU."

    Although he did not rule out the possibility of a postponement of the third phase of EMU on January 1, 1999, Mr. Papantoniou gave the assurance that Greece would be ready in any case to participate, having attained the targets set by the Maastricht Treaty.

    At the end of 1997, he continued, when a decision will be taken as to which countries will proceed on January 1, 1999 to EMU, Greece will be "on the borderline" and "it is difficult to make specific predictions."

    Mr. Papantoniou acknowledged that there were delays in the absorption of Community funds by the ministries of industry, labor and education. He excused the three ministries to some extent, however, saying that they had less experience in dealing with " quality" Community programmes.

    He said that the word "devaluation" had disappeared from the Greek government's vocabulary and there was no longer any concern about the balance of payments deficit.

    The difficult points which the government has yet to resolve, Mr. Papantoniou said, are waste in the broader public sector and the delays in the implementation of the privatization programme.

    Alternate National Economy Minister George Anomeritis yesterday described as a "serial of disorientation" recent criticism leveled at the government over the rate of absorption of European Union funds.

    Mr. Anomeritis said that the government was interested in "real infrastructure works" rather than "political expediencies."

    "It would be a true waste of funds if the works were speeded up without targets and criteria, for the sole purpose of attaining rates of absorption," Mr. Anomeritis said, adding that "the phenomenon of a thousand half-finished works within the framework of the Delors Package I under (the previous main opposition) New Democracy (government) must not be repeated."

    Mr. Anomeritis said that the performance of works and inflow of funds would reach 81 per cent in 1995 in relation to the funds allocated. On private investments which are subsidized under the development law, Mr. Anomeritis said that 2,100 investment proposals had been submitted, while in the first half of 1995 approvals were three times higher than for all of 1994.

    According to national economy ministry figures, approval is expected to be given in 1995 for investment projects worth over 700 billion drachmas.

    Speaking at the same conference, main opposition New Democracy deputy Aristides Tsiplakos, a former national economy under-secretary, charged that despite the govern-ment's assurances, the shortfall in the inflow of Community funds continued in 1995.

    According to Mr. Tsiplakos, in the first two years of implementation of the Delors II Package (i.e. up to the end of 1995), the fund absorption shortfall would be 1,300 billion drachmas.

    Addressing the conference, former PASOK minister, deputy Theodoros Pangalos expressed support for the government's strict economic policy, adding that the policies of convergence and streamlining of public compa-nies should be continued before and after elections.

    Stressing that the government should complete its four-year mandate, Mr. Pangalos said it was time for the economy to shift from a policy of stabilization to a policy of growth.

    [19] Papademos urges acceleration of structural reforms

    Athens, 29/11/1995 (ANA):

    The central bank yesterday urged continuation of the government's economic stabilization policy and acceleration of the structural adjustment of the economy with the aim of attaining sustained development.

    "There is no point in winning the battle of stabilization if we lose the war of development," Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos told delegates at the conference.

    Mr. Papademos did not rule out the possibility of inflation falling to 5 per cent by the end of 1996, as the government hoped, "provided the strict monetary policy is continued and there is a more restrained and far-sighted incomes policy in the private sector."

    Within this framework, Mr. Papademos urged employers and workers preparing to sign the new collective labor agreements not to conclude nominal wage increases "which do not bring a corresponding increase in productivity."

    Mr. Papademos expressed concern over the relative increase in the cost of labor per unit of product in the manufacturing sector "which reduces the competitiveness of Greek products."

    The Bank of Greece governor also spoke of "underlying" inflationary pressures which, apart from the increase in the cost of labor, are due also to the lack of market competition, the high cost of services and the "alarming" level of credit expansion.

    He said that if credit expansion was not curtailed, it would adversely affect inflation.

    Mr. Papademos predicted that nominal interest rates would drop in parallel with inflation while real rates would drop only if public sector borrowing requirements were reduced.

    End of English language section.

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