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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-12-06

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1059), December 6, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Premier calls on farmers to end protests, blockades stepped up
  • [02] Mobilizations stepped up
  • [03] Transportation standstill
  • [04] GSEE, ADEDY
  • [05] Opposition
  • [06] Economic leaders
  • [07] Papandreou reiterates Athens' interest in Bosnia's reconstruction
  • [08] AKEL delegation meets with premier
  • [09] Greek community of Istanbul discussed at event
  • [10] Athens rejects State Dept. statement on Greece's airspace limits
  • [11] Voice of America
  • [12] Gligorov commends Simitis
  • [13] Talks between Greece, FYROM postponed until Dec. 17
  • [14] Human rights group cites violations in Greece, Turkey, Albania
  • [15] ...Deportations
  • [16] ...Turkey
  • [17] ...Albania
  • [18] Meeting focuses on preparation for Dublin summit
  • [19] WEU Parliamentary Assembly endorses Liapis' report on organization's future
  • [20] Athens' 2004 Olympic Games candidacy committee leaves for Bangkok
  • [21] Frankfurt conference focuses on Greece, Aegean
  • [22] Ninth graders issue 'Greek-European' dictionary
  • [23] Egypt releases Greek seaman on death row
  • [24] Earthquake felt in Western Greece
  • [25] Papantoniou warns of a 'difficult year' for all
  • [26] Privatization efforts accelerated for several ailing enterprises
  • [27] Europartenariat session opens in Piraeus
  • [28] Black Sea nation academics to meet in Athens
  • [29] Port workers suspend nationwide strike
  • [30] Italy to launch initiative on Cyprus problem soon
  • [31] Laliotis, metro consortium due to discuss latest construction delays
  • [32] Contingency plan applied for Evros

  • [01] Premier calls on farmers to end protests, blockades stepped up

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday called on protesting farmers to immediately end their eight-day blockade of national roadways, saying their mobilizations were badly hurting the economy. Mr. Simitis stressed that the farmers' actions harmed the vital interests of other economic sectors, trampled on citizens' rights and posed a threat to the employment and income of other workers.

    If this type of labor action continues, he warned, it will cause a chain reaction which will be "paid" by all taxpayers.

    Stressing that the farmers' resorting to road blockades reflected "the anti-democratic attitude of a few, who believe that with takeovers and anti-social actions they can coerce (the government) into giving them benefits."

    "Under no circumstances will the government accept such behavior," Mr. Simitis said.

    Farmers' nationwide roadblocks and blockades of train lines have caused widespread disruption to road and rail traffic throughout the country.

    Farmers' demands include higher produce prices and increased crop subsidies, favorable debt settlements, cheaper fuel to cut the cost of production and lower prices for fertilizers.

    The government has said that to give in to farmers' demands would cost the state approximately one trillion drachmas.

    By immediately unblocking the national and regional road network, Mr. Simitis added, farmers would be serving... the interests of the country, "for the time has come for all of us to assume our responsibilities."

    He added said the government had responded to farmers' demands with a policy aimed at boosting competitiveness and modernizing Greek agriculture."

    The premier rejected many of the farmers' demands as being "excessive," underlining that the government could not agree to measures which either nullify its economic policy, create an enormous cost or fail to strengthen development.

    Greece, he said, was waging a battle to participate in European developments so as to avoid being left on the fringes.

    "Decisions which curtail the necessary adjustment may prove to be deadly traps for the country's position and future... which is why social sensitivity necessitates insistence on a policy which is in the interests of the vast majority of the Greek people,"

    Mr. Simitis said. The government, he continued, was given a mandate by the Greek people just two months ago, "and anyone who thinks that their professional aspirations constitute a stronger form of legitimization are challenging the operation of democracy."

    He concluded by saying that the state must operate with social responsibility, respect for the citizen, with the criterion of safeguarding democratic institutions and the rule that "nobody is exempt."

    [02] Mobilizations stepped up

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, farmers' representatives in Larisa said they wanted a meeting with Mr. Simitis to explain problems in the agricultural sector and rejected any suggestion that their protests were politically motivated.

    Representatives of the farmers' coordinating committee called on farmers to increase roadblocks, a call apparently heard in eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where all road links between Greece and Bulgaria and Greece and Turkey have been severed.

    In addition, farmers' representatives are to hold a national meeting of all coordinating committees in Larisa tomorrow, following a decision taken during yesterday's meeting of the Pan-Thessaly Coordinating Committee.

    "Mr. Simitis' proclamation not only does not reply to farmers' demands, but further exacerbates the situation," an announcement issued by the committee said.

    "Protesting farmers demand solutions to avert bankruptcy and extermination and not threats and mudslinging to break the blockades. The government must free the roads by giving solutions to farmers' problems. The prime minister must speak directly to the protesting workers and the PanThessaly Coordinating Committee," their announcement read.

    [03] Transportation standstill

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    According to reports, scores of trucks are now stranded in lines stretching for kilometers on the road to the Promahonas border crossing on the frontier with Bulgaria.

    Heated exchanges between stranded truck drivers, unable to go forwards or backwards, and protesting farmers in several instances threatened to develop into violence, which was averted with the intervention of the police.

    In a related development, three major industrial units in the Larisa prefecture have been forced to shut down temporarily due to shortages of fuel or raw materials caused by the blockades.

    At the same time, a further seven industrial firms which operate on a 24-hour basis are on the verge of shutting down because they have enough fuel for only two more days. The problems caused by the farmers' blockades have been particularly felt by large processing enterprises, glassworks and the dairy industry "Olympos", which reportedly has fuel only until the end of the week.

    Ready-to-wear clothing manufacturers in the prefecture are also facing the threat of closure, while the Larisa long-distance bus company (KTEL) has already incurred losses running into millions of drachmas due to the disruption of services resulting fro m the farmers' protests.

    [04] GSEE, ADEDY

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    General Confederation of Greece's Workers (GSEE) president Christos Polyzogopoulos told reporters after yesterday's meeting between Mr. Simitis and delegations from GSEE and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) that "the premier did not answer positively to any of the specific demands which we put forward."

    Noting that the trade union delegations asked for a series of corrective measures to the government's economic policy, Mr. Polyzogopoulos said that the General Council of GSEE will hold a meeting on Tuesday to decide on measures.

    [05] Opposition

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    On her part, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga said that the government was able to satisfy the farmers' demands.

    "I am telling you with certainty that the money is there but they are not giving it because they are obeying the orders of the European Union. The aim is to reduce the number of farmers from the present 900,000 to 450,000," Ms. Papariga said, when asked b y reporters to comment on the farmers' protests. Ms Papariga said the farmers' demands were "just" and called on the government to satisfy them.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said yesterday that with his proclamation on the farmers' mobilization, Mr. Simitis is inaugurating "a deadlocked and dangerous tactic."

    "Social deadlocks are not handled with government ultimatums," Mr. Constantopoulos said, adding that "this tactic closes the path towards seeking a solution and opens the door to condemned conceptions and methods of the past."

    Mr. Constantopoulos called on the premier to satisfy farmers' claims, which have an "immediate and imperative nature", such as reducing production costs, rescheduling debt interest and settling the question of fines through a substantive dialogue with farmers and their trade union bodies.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas described Mr. Simitis as "incapable and dangerous."

    He said Mr. Simitis' statement yesterday was "a message of intransigence, arrogance and escape from reality."

    "In difficult times, the political leadership should have as its main concern the unity of the Greek people rather than leading the situation to pointless confrontations," Mr. Tsovolas said.

    [06] Economic leaders

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    In an announcement signed by the presidents of the country's largest industrial groupings, including the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) president Iason Stratos, the farmers' protests were condemned as a "wrong tactic."

    "It is unacceptable for the Greek economy to be used as a hostage by groups which decide to exert pressure on the state, breaking laws and preventing citizens from carrying on their activities unimpeded," the announcement read.

    The announcement called on the government and farmers to enter into a "substantial" dialogue, which would give long-term solutions to problems in the agricultural sector.

    The Union of Exporters of Northern Greece (SBBE) also issued an announcement, referring to "unacceptable methods, such as the closing of roads and the obstruction of the movement of people and products."

    SBBE stressed the danger of export orders being canceled, customers being lost and of excessive costs, while it stressed the situation is worst for enterprises dealing in perishable goods.

    [07] Papandreou reiterates Athens' interest in Bosnia's reconstruction

    London, 06/12/1996 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Proposals by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou for promotion of regional co-operation in the Balkans apparently met with a positive response, particularly from the Bulgarian delegate at yesterday's international conference here on Bosnia.

    "I gladly saw that my positions found positive response, and the Bulgarian representative supported the same elements," Mr. Papandreou said after the meeting at Lancaster House.

    In terms of regional co-operation, he dismissed fears that such a development spells a return to a status resembling the former Yugoslavia.

    "There is a fear on the part of those involved in regional co-operation, as I found, about a return to the former Yugoslavia. However, we are not talking about a return to the former Yugoslavia, we are talking good co-operation between the countries in the region," he added.

    Referring to Bosnia, he said Greece was willing to have a more marked presence in the reconstruction efforts.

    "In 1996, our economic assistance was US$ 7 million, rising to $10 million in 1997, despite the pressures on our budget, and this shows our political will. We have begun discussions regarding a framework of co-operation envisaging further investment and Greek economic presence, and there is also a positive response towards the promotion of Greek businessmen. All projects undertaken with our economic assistance are being carried out by Greek construction companies, because this is our agreement with the government of Bosnia," he said.

    Questioned if he was aware of a text prepared by the Irish EU presidency regarding a package of economic measures with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Mr. Papandreou replied affirmatively, adding that Greece had expressed serious objections, and that his latest information was that the text had been withdrawn from the agenda.

    [08] AKEL delegation meets with premier

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    Cyprus AKEL party Secretary General Dimitris Christofias met with Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday, briefing him on his party's views on initiatives underway on the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Christofias, who is visiting Athens at the head of a party delegation and at the invitation of the ruling PASOK party, notified Mr. Simitis of Moscow's interest in involving itself in processes to resolve the Cyprus issue in the framework of the UN.

    Replying to a question on the issue of suspension of military overflights in Cyprus, Mr. Christofias said he will state his official position after being briefed on the issue by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.

    The members of AKEL's delegation also met Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and were due to meet a PASOK delegation headed by party secretary Costas Skandalidis later in the evening.

    [09] Greek community of Istanbul discussed at event

    Istanbul, 06/12/1996 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    The interest of Turkish intellectuals in resumption of talks with Greece is one of the few encouraging elements presently, a member of the Greek community of Istanbul, Pantelis Vingas, said during a public discussion organized by the AEGEE-Istanbul Foundation here yesterday.

    Speaking about the Greek community, he said "for the first time our youth are speaking more Turkish and less Greek, something which could prove to be at the expense of our identity."

    Mr. Vingas spoke of the problems and difficulties faced by the Greek schools and communities and stressed how much the minority has suffered from the worsening of Greek-Turkish relations.

    [10] Athens rejects State Dept. statement on Greece's airspace limits

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that it totally disagreed with the US position that Greek airspace was only six rather than 10 miles, in response to a recent statement by State Department spokesman.

    In a written reply to a US-based Greek reporter, spokesman Nicholas Burns said the State Department's position on the extent of Greek airspace was identical to that of the US Pentagon, which recognizes only six miles.

    "Greek airspace has since 1931 been fixed at 10 miles, "government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, adding that "Greece protects its sovereign rights within this airspace."

    "The Greek position on the issue of airspace remains unchanged, he stressed.

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos described Mr. Burns' statements as being "unacceptable".

    Mr. Pavlopoulos said that "if (the spokesman's statements) express the official government policy of his country, they make untrustworthy a possible mediating effort by the US to deal with the crisis of Greek-Turkish relations, and which is due exclusively to the provocative and contrary to every meaning of international law, expansionist behavior of Turkey."

    In addition, Democratic Socialist Movement (DHKKI) leader, Dimitris Tsovolas, said Mr. Burns' statements were "unacceptable" and "anti-Greek."

    "These statements show that Greece should not, under any circumstances, agree to US mediation on our national issues," he said, adding that the "major powers of the west should realize that international law cannot be adjusted according to their national interests," he added.

    [11] Voice of America

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    On an unrelated issue and replying to a question on Mr. Burns' statement that the "Voice of America" would broadcast from installations in Kavala, programs of Serbian radio stations banned by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Mr. Reppas said:

    "It is not possible for Greece to be used for unilateral propaganda concerning any issue, let alone if such an action would harm Greek national interests."

    [12] Gligorov commends Simitis

    Skopje, 06/12/1996 (ANA - M.Vihou)

    The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Kiro Gligorov, yesterday commented on his meeting earlier in the week with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Mr. Gligorov said the meeting "boosted the mutual respect and trust of the two countries," and described it as having been "a civilized and courageous act of Prime Minister Simitis."

    [13] Talks between Greece, FYROM postponed until Dec. 17

    United Nations, 06/12/1996 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    A resumption of talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) under the auspices of UN mediator Cyrus Vance, has been postponed until Dec. 17 due to health problems faced by Mr. Vance.

    Diplomatic sources believe that immediately after the New Year, Mr. Vance, provided he does not relinquish his mandate in the event a new UN secretary general takes over, must activate the process for referring the issue of the name of FYROM to the Security Council, after ascertaining that no substantive progress is being achieved in negotiations.

    However, other sources are of the opinion that Mr. Vance might wish to state his position first on the insistence of FYROM to focus the discussion of probing ways of achieving a bilateral settlement of the problem - and having the nature of "in Greece you can call us what you like, while internationally we will simply be called Macedonia". They further believe that Mr. Vance might make a certain proposal before stating that the talks have reached a deadlock.

    [14] Human rights group cites violations in Greece, Turkey, Albania

    United Nations, 06/12/1996 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Despite Greece being a member of the European Union and NATO, there continues to be violations of the rights of minorities, abuse of immigrants and restrictions on freedom of speech, the New York-based Human Rights Watch's annual report, which was released yesterday, claims.

    Referring to the interim accord signed between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the report maintains that despite the provision on freedom of movement there continues to ban on the return to Greece of some thousands of what it called "ethnic Macedonians", who the report says fled Greece after the civil war.

    However, it added, Greece has allowed the return of Greek political refugees.

    Human Rights Watch said it had noted an increase in tension against a "Turkish minority" in western Thrace, due in part to Greek-Turkish tension over the Aegean, the islet of Imia and Cyprus. The report notes that the Greek government "continues to deny the existence of a 'Turkish minority'," officially using the term "Moslem".

    The report also referred to the cases of former deputy Ahmet Sadik, to changes in the selection of Moslem religious leaders, and to article 19 of the code on nationality for Greeks of non-ethnic Greek descent who lose their Greek nationality when they move overseas.

    The organization also stressed that the election of three "Turkish-descent" politicians to the Greek Parliament in the September 1996 elections and the entry of 45 "Turkish-descent" students to Greek universities were both "bright points in 1996".

    [15] ...Deportations

    The report also refers to the deportation of some 7,000 Albanian illegal immigrants last August and also claims that the fate of 29 Albanian nationals arrested by the Greek police in March is still unknown.

    Also referred to was the European Parliament's "critical report" and to the condemnation of Greece by the European Court of Human Rights regarding "violation of the freedom of religion".

    [16] ...Turkey

    The lack of progress in democratization in Turkey was attributed to the harsh domestic policies, the Human Rights Watch said in its report on Turkey.

    The report was very critical of the continuation of the "unacceptable situation in Turkish jails", the torture of inmates, the systematic abuse of civilians and the planning of murder of political rivals by para-state groups.

    The report particularly underlines that the majority of violations of human rights are noted in the southeast of the country, where the Kurdistan Workers Party is active, with the displacement of the populations of many villages.

    The report also refers to the measures taken by the US Congress with the restriction on military and economic aid to Turkey as well as the statements by the US Ambassador to Ankara Mark Grossman that the united State supports a strong relation with Turk ey in the field of security, a relationship founded on the common interests of the two countries.

    [17] ...Albania

    The report says that the respect of the Albanian government for human rights continues to be non-existent with an increase in violence by police authorities with the politicization of courts and all sorts of infringements in the conduct of elections and i n the restrictions of the mass media.

    The report also noted the numerous violations of human rights noted in the May elections but notes improvements in the status of the Greek minority and the operation of three Greek minority schools.

    Greek-Albanian relations, the report said, showed a steady improvement in 1996 despite continued complaints from the ethnic Greek minority of discrimination in employment as well as delays in the issue of the return of church property.

    On the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the report notes that the main problems concern the rights of minorities as the state is comprised of numerous national minorities, with the largest and most sensitive being the Albanian.

    [18] Meeting focuses on preparation for Dublin summit

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday chaired a meeting regarding preparation of the Dublin summit.

    Issues discussed included the course of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), as the Irish EU presidency was due to present a plan for the revised Maastricht Treaty to national delegations yesterday.

    The course towards economic and monetary union (EMU) was also discussed, in view of a submission to the European Commission of a German proposal for the adoption of a stability pact aimed at ensuring the fiscal discipline of countries which will be in t he third phase of EMU on Jan. 1, 1999.

    Those attending the meeting included Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Foreign Under-secretary Christos Rozakis and the prime minister's financial advisor Tasos Yiannitsis.

    [19] WEU Parliamentary Assembly endorses Liapis' report on organization's future

    Paris, 06/12/1996(ANA - G. Zitouniatis)

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union (WEU) yesterday unanimously endorsed Greek deputy Mihalis Liapis' report on the future role of the WEU.

    Mr. Liapis' report proposes the consolidation of the inviolability of borders and the territorial integrity of the European Union and the speeding up of procedures for a Cyprus-EU accession.

    The report also records the will of WEU member-states for the organization's merge to the European Union.

    [20] Athens' 2004 Olympic Games candidacy committee leaves for Bangkok

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    A delegation of the Athens' 2004 Olympic Games candidacy committee left for Bangkok yesterday in order to attend a meeting of the Asian National Olympic Committees on Sunday and Monday.

    The delegation, consisting of the committee's president, Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, deputy director Yiannis Yiannakis, Marton Simicek and Dionysis Gagas, is to meet with members of the Olympic community within the framework of supporting Athens' candidacy to host the 2004 Games.

    [21] Frankfurt conference focuses on Greece, Aegean

    Bonn, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    A series of events entitled "Greece and the Sea: A Cruise of the Aegean" is taking place in Frankfurt on the occasion of an international two-day scientific conference beginning today.

    The event is will be inaugurated by classical archaeology professor at the Ioannina University, Lila Marangou, and will include about 25 Greek and German university professors will participate.

    The events include an exhibition of Cyclade art sculptures at the Greek consulate in Frankfurt as well as an exhibition on Greek shipping techniques in ancient times at the historical museum of Mainz.

    They are also flanked by theatrical performances by Greek theatrical companies from Wuppertal and Frankfurt and musical and cultural evenings.

    All the events are sponsored by the Mayor of Frankfurt Petra Rot and Greek Ambassador, Ioannis Bourloyiannis-Tsangaridis.

    [22] Ninth graders issue 'Greek-European' dictionary

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    Fifty pupils from the ninth grade at a junior high school in the Agios Athanasios community near Thessaloniki have composed and published the first-ever "Greek-European" dictionary.

    The "Ellino-Evropaikon Lexikon" as it is called, contains 5,000 words of a Greek origin that are included in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish and Dutch.

    The dictionary was published with funds provided by parents and the community with the purpose of distributing the publication to Eurodeputies of all European Union member-states.

    The Macedonia and Thrace ministry, after learning of the pupils' initiative, will undertake the cost of sending 626 copies to the members of the Europarliament.

    The ministry will also finance the second edition of the dictionary, including more words, which is expected to be published in early spring.

    [23] Egypt releases Greek seaman on death row

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Egyptian authorities have released, for health reasons, one of three Greek seamen sentenced to death in Egypt on drug smuggling charges, the Greek justice ministry announced yesterday.

    Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos was informed Wednesday of the release of Nikolaos Zekelidis by the Egyptian Ambassador in Athens Samir Seif Yazal.

    A ministry announcement said that Zekelidis' release was "the result of repeated Greek government and justice ministry appeals to the Egyptian government" and termed it "an indication of the good relations and close co-operation between the two countries ".

    Zekelidis, Costas Kastanias and Tasos Kontoyiannis were sentenced to death in 1992 after being convicted of smuggling 7.5 tons of hashish aboard the motorship "Thanasis" as it crossed the Suez Canal in October 1989 en route to India.

    Three other crew members, two of them Cypriots, were sentenced to death in absentia, while the ship's captain, Achilleas Badounas, is serving a life sentence in Greece.

    Execution of the death sentence, scheduled for May 1992, was put off after Greek government and Athens Bar Association appeals to Egyptian authorities and their EU counterparts

    [24] Earthquake felt in Western Greece

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale yesterday shook the prefectures of Achaia and Aetoloakarnania in western Greece but there have been no reports of injuries or structural damage.

    The Seismology Center of the University of Patras pinpointed the quake, recorded at 09:40 local time, in the sea area of Antirrio.

    [25] Papantoniou warns of a 'difficult year' for all

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    1997 will be difficult for everybody, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told the parliamentary committee discussing the new state budget yesterday morning.

    Next year, Mr. Papantoniou said, will be difficult not only for the affluent - targeted by the government to bear the brunt of its new economic measures - but for all social groups.

    Mr. Papantoniou said the targets so far had been attained "100 percent in the containment of deficits, in inflation by 80 percent and in growth by 140 percent."

    The new budget, he added, " is one of growth, European convergence and social cohesion".

    Speaking on the government's social policy, Mr. Papantoniou said every possible effort is being made to safeguard social expenses and workers' incomes, stressing that expenses for education and health are particularly high at present.

    He stressed that the budget is freezing indirect taxation which affects mainly those on low incomes, and that the fight against tax evasion continues.

    New Democracy rapporteur George Souflias, however, called the budget not credible and that the government was not in a position to carry out the innovations needed because it was "tied to union and ideological anchors".

    On his part, Finance Under-secretary George Drys said that with the 1997 budget the government is creating necessary conditions so that by speeding up development rates, supporting competitiveness and reducing the public deficit Greece will strength en its position in the world economic sphere.

    Mr. Drys said Greece cannot participate on the international scene with loans and cannot always request exceptions from general rules.

    He added that the 1997 budget aims at continuing economic stability, which is consolidated by the existence of a competitive economy, and promoting development and social solidarity.

    [26] Privatization efforts accelerated for several ailing enterprises

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Organization for the Rehabilitation of Ailing Enterprises (OAE) appears determined to accelerate privatization procedures for the loss-making businesses it is managing.

    Specifically, the receiver of the Peiraiki Patraiki textiles group's assets will be officially declared at the end of next week.

    Meanwhile, a court decision issued yesterday rejected a motion submitted by businessman Panagiotis Zeritis, the owner of the Thrace Paper Mills, who had asked for an injunction against an OAE decision for an improvement of offers for Peiraiki Patraiki.

    Despite the ruling, Mr. Zeritis continues to be the highest bidder for the textile company's facilities at Varibobi, for which he has already bid 1.8 billion drachmas.

    The development ministry is now studying the final proposals by OAE and guarantor banks for privatization of the Athinaiki Paper Mill (Softex), Kerafina and Elefsina Bauxite, among others.

    [27] Europartenariat session opens in Piraeus

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    The 16th Europartenariat session on co-operation between enterprises will take place in Piraeus on June 23 and 24. The last Europartenariat ended in Genoa on Nov. 29 and was attended by 2,000 enterprises from Europe and the rest of the world.

    The session will focus on holding contacts between enterprises and the conclusion of relations aimed at future co-operation. The event was inaugurated by Christos Papoutsis, the European Union Commissioner responsible for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    [28] Black Sea nation academics to meet in Athens

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    The foreign and development ministries are organizing a conference of Black Sea countries' academics, scheduled to be held in Athens next week. Some of the aims of the conference, which is the first of its kind to be held since the forming of the Black Se a Economic Co-operation Organization (BSEC), include co-operation between the scientific and technological forces of the 11 member-states and the seven observer countries.

    According to a foreign ministry announcement, the conference is expected to constitute an important step in determining sectors for social activities, new agricultural technologies, protection of the environment and communications.

    [29] Port workers suspend nationwide strike

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    Port workers throughout the country have suspended a strike they began on Nov. 27 following an assurance by Prime Minister Costas Simitis that their productivity bonus will not be abolished.

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis conveyed the premier's assurance to the Federation of Greek Port Workers (OMYLE) yesterday. He also presented the workers with the relevant draft bill, which he said was submitted in Parliament yesterday morning .

    After a five-hour meeting, the workers decided to call off the strike until Feb. 1, 1997.

    [30] Italy to launch initiative on Cyprus problem soon

    Rome, 06/12/1996 (ANA-L.Hatzikyriakou)

    Italy is expected to launch a diplomatic initiative regarding settlement of the Cyprus problem which is possibly going to start with the visit of Italian President Luigi Scalfaro to Nicosia in the next few weeks, Italian Foreign Under-secretary Piero Fasino said in Parliament.

    "A diplomatic initiative is being promoted, which in the next few days will become more substantive with the visit (of Mr. Scalfaro)," Mr. Fasino said.

    He said Mr. Scalfaro's visit to the island republic aimed at assessing possibilities from both sides for a resumption of talks.

    Meanwhile, Democratic Left Deputy Marco Petsoni called on the Italian government to coordinate its position with the European Parliament and not take any step in the direction of the EU-Turkey customs union prior to resolve of the Cyprus, the Kurdish an d the human rights issue.

    [31] Laliotis, metro consortium due to discuss latest construction delays

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis is due to hold talks over the next 10 days with the consortium undertaking construction of the Athens metro.

    Talks are expected to concern technical solutions for resumption of operations by the two massive boring machines underneath the Karaiskaki and Syntagma squares, which have stopped tunneling.

    This development was announced yesterday after a meeting between Mr. Laliotis, Attiko Metro President Leonidas Kikiras and a delegation of Metro workers, who marched to the ministry to request revocation of 250 recent dismissals.

    However, reports state that the fired workers will not be rehired since the consortium maintains that they have completed the work of their specialty and that the next stages of the project requires the hiring of other specialists.

    Mr. Kikiras said no intervention can be made with the consortium Olympiako Metro, since the dismissals were not due to a discontinuation of work but to completion of specific work.

    Metro workers are requesting to stay on and be employed wherever possible, saying that they are being used by the consortium as a "pressure lever" to achieve further financial benefits from the Greek state.

    [32] Contingency plan applied for Evros

    Athens, 06/12/1996 (ANA)

    The "Xenokratis" emergency plan is in full force in the Evros prefecture as cultivated land in the north of the region is in danger of being flooded.

    According to initial estimates, the Evros River has already flooded roughly 18-20,000 stremmata in the Orestiada and Didymoctiho districts. No inhabited areas are in immediate danger.

    The river level began to rise yesterday afternoon, threatening the main levee. The prefecture's technical services estimate extensive damage will be caused if it gives way.

    Evros prefect Giorgos Dolios described the situation as "very dangerous and particularly fluid", saying all will depend on the weather conditions prevailing in southern Bulgaria.

    Mr. Dolios noted he is in constant contact with Bulgarian authorities, who are facing a similar problem.

    End of English language section.


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