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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-12-19

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (1070), December 19, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Pangalos satisfied with Britain's positions after talks with Rifkind
  • [02] Gov't spokesman
  • [03] Turkish response
  • [04] Euro Court condemns Turkey for human rights violations in Cyprus
  • [05] Dutch foreign minister comments on Greek-Turkish relations
  • [06] New NATO mission to Bosnia approved
  • [07] Greek-Turkish relations
  • [08] Stephanopoulos to visit Egypt, meet with Mubarak
  • [09] President, prime minister confer
  • [10] Talks between Greece, FYROM resume
  • [11] Diplomatic corps' strike suspended
  • [12] Gov't promises compensation for recent crop losses, blockades continue
  • [13] SEB estimates losses
  • [14] Pol.An
  • [15] Papantoniou says tabled '97 budget follows 'necessary' economic policy
  • [16] Soumakis condemns dockers' refusal to allow foreign vessels to disembark passengers
  • [17] Europarliament rejects funding of Turkey
  • [18] Airport employees strike tomorrow
  • [19] Athens mayor visits Tirana
  • [20] Traffic measures announced for holiday exodus
  • [21] Commission decides to continue tobacco subsidies, anti-smoking campaign
  • [22] Support for flood-stricken victims announced
  • [23] Environmental group sends SOS on Turkish plans for nuclear plant
  • [24] Aris-Besiktas game to be replayed
  • [25] Greek ambassador among hostages taken in Peru
  • [26] Glory of Byzantium to go on show at NY's Met
  • [27] Museum exhibit
  • [28] Onassis Foundation honors Olympic medallists
  • [29] Euro Court clears Greece in Jehovah Witness ruling
  • [30] Melbourne Greeks to celebrate their centenary

  • [01] Pangalos satisfied with Britain's positions after talks with Rifkind

    London, 19/12/1996 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos expressed satisfaction yesterday over his talks here with British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, noting that Britain's positions on the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations are very positive.

    Reiterating that Britain sets no prerequisite for the commencement of negotiations for a Cyprus-EU accession, Mr. Pangalos said that "it is now clear that the United Kingdom does not set as a prerequisite for the start of entry negotiations a settlement to the Cyprus issue, or even the start of talks for a Cyprus settlement."

    "But they (Britain) say, and this I will not have trouble accepting myself, that if there is progress on the Cyprus problem then negotiations between the Union and Cyprus would be much easier, conducted in a better atmosphere and concern the entire population of Cyprus." "We do not want a Cyprus' EU accession to be to the detriment of the Turkish Cypriot community," Mr. Pangalos added.

    Both ministers said negotiations for Cyprus' accession would commence according to a schedule already decided by the EU, namely, six months after the end of the IGC.

    Asked to comment on the British minister's statements regarding an "arms race" in Cyprus, which Mr. Rifkind termed as "a step in the wrong direction," Mr. Pangalos said:

    "Athens, and I believe Nicosia also, are in favor of a decrease in armaments, in favor of demilitarization of Cyprus. But demilitarization must first start from the mightier," he added.

    Mr. Pangalos said Turkey has not yet accepted the idea of the demilitarization of the island and retains there 300 tanks, heavy artillery and 40,000 Turkish soldiers."

    Earlier, both men told reporters that they had so far discussed the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), European issues and bilateral relations.

    [02] Gov't spokesman

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    In a related development, Athens announced yesterday that a statement by Mr. Rifkind on Tuesday, in which he referred to the possibility of a war between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean, was the minister's "personal opinion."

    "This opinion does not reflect the actual situation," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, stressing that the policy proposed by Greece for de-escalating tension between Athens and Ankara could constitute the basis for peace in the region.

    "The prospect of a military conflict is a long way off," Mr. Reppas added.

    Mr. Rifkind later clarified that he had made the comment when speaking "generally", and against the background of the Imia incident in late January, which resulted in a Greek-Turkish military stand-off in the Aegean.

    He made the clarification during a break in talks with Mr. Pangalos.

    When asked if he shared Mr. Rifkind's concern, Mr. Pangalos replied:

    "We live with these concerns every day, we have learned to live with them as well as with the frequent Turkish violations of our air space, and we continuously inform international public opinion about Turkey's behavior," the Greek minister added.

    [03] Turkish response

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, Ankara expressed opposition to almost all of Mr. Rifkind's points on a Cyprus settlement announced in Nicosia last Monday, although it underlined its satisfaction at the foreign secretary's meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in occupied Nicosia, and his recommendation for direct talks between the two communities on the Mediterranean island.

    An ANA dispatch from Istanbul quoted a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman as expressing a hope that "other states' representatives will show the same sensitivity shown by Mr. Rifkind (i.e. his meeting with Mr. Denktash)."

    He added, however, that Mr. Rifkind's views regarding guarantees, security and Cyprus' accession to the European Union "are issues concerning the 1960 guarantor agreements, for which Turkey is directly concerned."

    [04] Euro Court condemns Turkey for human rights violations in Cyprus

    Nicosia, 19/12/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    President Glafcos Clerides said a decision yesterday by the European Court of Human Rights, which found Turkey guilty of continuing human rights violations, will have immense effects on the Cyprus problem.

    Attorney General Alecos Markides described the decision as "historic".

    Yesterday's ruling by the Strasbourg-based court marks an unprecedented move which offers the opportunity to hundreds of Greek Cypriot refugees to claim their right to use and enjoy their property in the Turkish-occupied part of the island republic.

    The court found Turkey responsible for continuing violation of human rights in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus and said in its ruling that it "holds by 11 votes to six that denial of access to the applicants' property and consequent loss of control thereof is imputable to Turkey."

    The court's decision was warmly welcomed by lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, who argued the case before the European Court on behalf of his client, Greek Cypriot refugee Titina Loizidou, a summer resident of the currently Turkish-occupied port city of Kyrenia.

    Describing the decision as a "great success", President Clerides noted that Ms Loizidou's case was justified even though it was over a holiday residence.

    "The effects of such a decision can be even greater, if we take account the cases of permanent residents forced to abandon their homes", Mr. Clerides added.

    Speaking at a press conference, the attorney general said "the ruling is a landmark in the history of law relating to human rights and the development of international law".

    This decision, he added, by such a legal body proves there is faith in the role of international law and the Convention of human rights.

    Mr. Markides noted the importance of the decision in that it holds Turkey responsible for human rights violations, and since it controls the occupied part of the island, and rejected Turkey's arguments that it bears no responsibility in this part of Cyprus.

    "The violation of human rights by Turkey is continuing", Mr. Markides explained and referred to the text of the decision which says that the Turkish army "exercises effective overall control in northern Cyprus" through a large number of troops "engaged in active duties there".

    The decision also states that the "Republic of Cyprus remains the sole legitimate government of Cyprus" and that the international community does not regard the puppet regime in occupied Cyprus as a state under international law.

    Mr. Markides also explained that peace negotiations for a political settlement of the Cyprus question are not related to a case such as this one.

    Mr. Demetriades, who took Turkey to the court seven years ago, told the press conference that the ruling acknowledges that the property in question "was, is and will remain the property of my client."

    He explained that he has already asked for half a million Cyprus pounds in compensation (about one million US dollars) with regard to the denial of access to the property and has also asked to exercise freely the right to peacefully enjoy her property.

    Should Turkey refuse to pay damages, the applicant can ask for yesterday's ruling to be implemented with regard to Turkey's property or funds allocated to the country by international organizations.

    Polis Polyviou, a lawyer with the government's legal department, described the decision as "historic", because it makes clear that Turkey is responsible for what happens in the occupied areas and points out that legal rights exist irrespective of military circumstances.

    "Perhaps more importantly, the decision does not recognize any legal status to the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus, which in turn would render any attempt to recognize this self-styled entity almost impossible", Mr. Polyviou said.

    In a statement from Strasbourg, Ms Loizidou said the decision was "a victory for Cyprus and proves that Europe does recognize justice and cares that justice should be done".

    "It is a very important decision, not only for me but for all the Cypriot refugees who have not been able to go home and to their properties since 1974," the statement added. About 200,000 Greek Cypriots were forced to leave their homes when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of the island republic in 1974.

    A press release issued yesterday said the European Court "held that the denial of the applicant of access to her property in the northern part of Cyprus and consequent loss of control thereof was imputable to Turkey and amounted to a violation of the applicant's property rights, under Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention of Human Rights".

    The court also held "unanimously that there had been no interference with the applicant's right to respect for her home under Article 8 of the Convention, and that the question of just satisfaction under Article 50 was not yet ready for decision and should be reserved."

    [05] Dutch foreign minister comments on Greek-Turkish relations

    Brussels, 19/12/1996 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo, whose country will hold the rotating European Union presidency as of Jan. 1 1997, said that a discussion held in Dublin on Saturday between Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller, in whose honor a dinner was given, and Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou was encouraging and hopeful.

    During the presentation of his country's program for the EU presidency and replying to a question on how the Dutch EU presidency plans to handle Turkey's relations with the EU, Mr. Mierlo referred primarily to Greek-Turkish relations, saying that he h ad the pleasure of attending a hopeful dialogue between the Greek and Turkish sides in Dublin.

    "I have the feeling that both Greece and Turkey are ready to start a dialogue both on their bilateral relations and on Turkey's relations with the EU. I had the privilege of attending Saturday's dinner and I believe that we must encourage dialogue between the two sides," he said.

    The Dutch presidency also referred to relations between the EU and Cyprus, placing emphasis on the participation of the two communities in the dialogue for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Michiel Patijn said "everybody is aware of the island's division", stressing that "when accession talks will start they should concern both communities of the island and not just one."

    However, according to EU diplomats, this reference can in no way be interpreted as a change in present factors, or as an effort to equate the legal government of Cyprus with the Denktash regime in the framework of the pre-accession dialogue.

    EU diplomats said it was a reiteration of the EU's known position that the accession of Cyprus should be beneficial for both communities.

    "The European Commission's adjudication concerning the accession of Cyprus has already been publicized. This adjudication is positive, but the division of Cyprus is a major problem. This issue should draw the attention of the Dutch presidency," the programme stated.

    [06] New NATO mission to Bosnia approved

    Brussels, 19/12/1996 (ANA - M. Savva)

    The NATO Defense Ministers' Council approved a new mission to Bosnia at the end of its two-day session yesterday.

    The formation of the new corps, named Stabilization Force (SFOR), will be activated tomorrow for a period of 18 months.

    "This force will continue the successful intervention of its predecessor, IFOR, with the aim of stabilizing peace in Bosnia," National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who attended the session, said.

    He added that the size of the Greek contingent would remain the same, i.e. 250 men, one C-130 transport aircraft, and vessels patrolling in the Adriatic.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos discussed the issue during a meeting with his Belgian counterpart, and matters of common interest with British counterpart, which included the terms and conditions for NATO's internal evolution.

    [07] Greek-Turkish relations

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Questioned about an earlier statement by Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo, regarding a dialogue between Greece and Turkey which, he claimed, "began in Dublin", Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, "I do not know of any dialogue between Greece and Turkey. Turkey must respect international treaties and conventions... And, of course, on the issue of the continental shelf, we are willing to go to the International Court at The Hague."

    Regarding the dialogue envisaged before the opening of entry negotiations between Cyprus and the EU, he said it will be "exclusively carried out by the Republic of Cyprus, but the final solution we are seeking of course concerns the both communities living on the island."

    [08] Stephanopoulos to visit Egypt, meet with Mubarak

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos leaves tomorrow for a four-day official visit to Alexandria and Cairo at the invitation of his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak.

    The two heads of state will have talks on Saturday in Cairo covering bilateral relations, international developments and problems in the region of the southeast Mediterranean.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos is also expected to brief Mr. Mubarak on major Greek foreign policy issues such as the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations.

    Mr. Mubarak will brief Mr. Stephanopoulos on developments in the Middle East problem, given Egypt's leading role in the Arab world. Mr. Stephanopoulos' visit to Egypt takes on special significance in view of Mr. Mubarak's visit to Turkey in July an d Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan's visit to Cairo in October.

    During his stay in Egypt, Mr. Stephanopoulos will meet with members of the Greek community and visit Luxor.

    It is the first visit to Egypt by a Greek president since March 1984, when Constantine Karamanlis had talks with President Mubarak.

    [09] President, prime minister confer

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis held a meeting yesterday focusing on the recent Dublin summit, Greece's relations with the European Union, Turkish demands and Ankara's aggressive policies, the Greek economy and other domestic issues. The two men also discussed the farmers' protests and continuing blockades in northern Greece.

    [10] Talks between Greece, FYROM resume

    New York, 19/12/1996 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Talks between Greece's permanent representative to the United Nations, Christos Zacharakis, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) representative, Ivan Tosevski, resumed here yesterday on the issue of the one-time Yugoslav republic's name.

    The talks were held under the aegis of special UN mediator Cyrus Vance. After the end of the session, Mr. Vance said that "the two sides are expected to meet again in January, at a date to be determined in the near future."

    He added that he would continue providing his services until the completion of the talks, irrespective of the election of the new UN secretary general.

    Mr. Vance replied negatively on a question on whether the two sides had submitted specific name formulas on the negotiating table.

    Questioned whether his country had the political will to proceed to an amendment of its constitution regarding its name, Mr. Tosevski replied, "my country has the will to solve the problem."

    [11] Diplomatic corps' strike suspended

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    A strike called by the foreign ministry's diplomatic employees will be suspended as of Monday after the Union of Diplomatic Employees' general assembly reached a majority decision on the issue yesterday. Consequently, diplomats will not turn up for work today and tomorrow.

    According to reports, the diplomats' representatives received assurances from the government that their claim that an overseas bonus should not be taxed will be examined in January, before the tax bill is tabled in Parliament. In the event their claim is not satisfied the strike will be resumed.

    The diplomats' union provided special permission for diplomats to accompany President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on his four-day official visit to Egypt, which begins tomorrow.

    [12] Gov't promises compensation for recent crop losses, blockades continue

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas announced yesterday that farmers who have incurred losses due to bad weather would receive compensation, as farmers continued to blockade roads around the country for the 21th consecutive day.

    Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Tzoumakas said that compensation payments would be made in January to farmers whose crops or facilities were damaged by recent bad weather.

    He said the ministry was in the process of drawing up lists of the damage which will be sent to the European Union in order for the corresponding compensation to be approved.

    The compensation, estimated at 10 billion drachmas, will be given to farmers in Thessaly, Karditsa, Trikala, Larissa, Volos, Xanthi, the island of Mytilene and other areas of the country.

    Replying to questions, Mr. Tzoumakas clarified that the funds would be made available from the Second Community Support Framework, a procedure which had been approved by the European Commission.

    Mr. Tzoumakas also announced that the Agricultural Policy Council would be convened for the first time on Jan. 10, the sessions of which would be opened by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Opposition party leaders and 43 representatives of producer classes, mainly farmers, exporters and industrialists active in the agricultural sector, have also been invited to attend the council.

    Although no agenda has yet been prepared, it is expected that the meeting will discuss problems facing the agricultural sector.

    Meanwhile, the board of the union of truck drivers was scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. yesterday to decide whether or not they would use their vehicles to block roads to Athens today, in order to prevent farmers from reaching the capital to take part in a protest rally.

    If the truckers decide to block access to the capital, it will be in protest against the 21-day blockade of roads by farmers, which has left hundreds of drivers stranded.

    In another development, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated yesterday that the government will not enter talks with protesting farmers if the latter do not end the blockades.

    Stressing that protesting farmers have not so far expressed a desire to meet with government officials, Mr. Reppas said the government was willing at any time to enter dialogue with the farmers.

    He told reporters he did not anticipate any violent clashes today when the farmers take the streets of Athens to demand satisfaction of their claims.

    In a related development, farmers in northern Greece began to dismantle roadblocks which have stood in place since the beginning of protests three weeks ago.

    At midnight Tuesday night, farmers and stockbreeders in the southern part of Evros prefecture suspended their protest action and lifted a roadblock at the Ardanios junction, freeing the flow of traffic between Alexandroupolis and the Greek-Turkish border.

    The decision meant that 110 international transport trucks coming from Turkey, which had been stranded at the Kipi border post for a fortnight, could continue their journey to Greece and other European countries.

    Conversely, farmers in the north of the Evros prefecture maintained their blockades at three points, resulting in the closure of roads and border crossings.

    Yesterday afternoon, the farmers' coordinating committee for Macedonia and Thrace decided to lift their blockade of the road linking Thessaloniki with the Macedonia International airport as goodwill gesture to the government.

    The committee, however, decided to maintain the blockade of other roads in the prefectures of Thessaloniki, Imathia and in central Macedonia until Friday, when it will reconvene to examine the situation.

    [13] SEB estimates losses

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    The value of industrial production lost as a result of farmers' mobilizations amounts to 56 billion drachmas, a sum representing 0.7 per cent of the estimated total for 1996, Association of Greek Industries (SEB) President Iason Stratos told reporters.

    He added that deliveries of industrial goods were down by 134 billion drachmas, of which 84 billion were destined for the domestic market, and the rest abroad, while 208,000 working days had been lost, corresponding to some two billion drachmas.

    [14] Pol.An

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Political Spring party issued an announcement yesterday criticizing Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    "Indignation is now turning one class against the other," the announcement read.

    [15] Papantoniou says tabled '97 budget follows 'necessary' economic policy

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou outlined the government's economic policy on the second day of Parliamentary debate on the 1997 state budget yesterday, stressing that it will be a difficult year.

    Appearing optimistic over the outcome of economic policy, he said it is a necessary policy, which is both a just and effective at the same time.

    Mr. Papantoniou called on businessmen, working people and property owners to de-escalate their nominal incomes claims, so as to safeguard their real incomes in a better way with a decrease in inflation.

    Referring to the economy in general, he said inflation decreased by 5.9 percentage points, the economy recovered by 6.2 points over the last three-year period of economic output anticipated by the Convergence Program, while the deficit was decreased b y 6.6 units of the GDP.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that despite progress achieved, the country still had a great deal of ground to cover to achieve real and nominal convergence with its other European partners.

    He said the progress of the economy, either collective or individual, the long-term interests of the working people and the weaker classes depended on the country's ability to converge with the development levels of the other European Union member-states.

    [16] Soumakis condemns dockers' refusal to allow foreign vessels to disembark passengers

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis said yesterday it was unacceptable for foreign-flagged vessels to be prevented from entering or leaving Greek ports by the ongoing nationwide dockworkers' and seamen's strike.

    "This kind of logic serves neither the interests of the seamen nor of shipping in general...," Mr. Soumakis said, when asked to comment on the decision of the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) on Tuesday to extend a 48-hour strike which began on Monday for a further two days.

    In a related development, minor incidents broke out at Igoumenitsa, western Greece, when two foreign-flagged ferryboats headed for Ancona, Italy tired to dock at the port to let off passengers.

    The two vessels, the "Ionian Star" and the "Brindisi", both of which belong to Greek companies, had previously been given permission by the PNO administrative board to dock at Igoumenitsa, because they were sailing under foreign flags. However, when the first ferryboat let its ramp down, about 20 striking dockworkers boarded her and tried to persuade the few Greek crew members to join the strike. At the same time, dozens of trucks began to move towards the ramp to disembark, triggering strong protests from the striking workers.

    The port police intervened to restore order and arrested three striking dockworkers who were released shortly afterwards.

    A similar incident took place at Piraeus when five trucks tried to board the ferryboat "Daedalus" with destination Crete. Again, scuffles broke out between drivers and striking dockworkers until order was restored by a public prosecutor.

    Meanwhile, more than 300 trucks were stranded at the central port city of Patras yesterday morning.

    The trucks were scheduled to board ferry boats to Italy and Piraeus.

    [17] Europarliament rejects funding of Turkey

    Brussels, 19/12/1996 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    The budget committee of the European Parliament has rejected two proposals by the European Commission for the funding of projects in Turkey, worth a total of ECU 50 million, within the framework of the Mediterranean Assistance Program (MEDA).

    The reason cited for the rejection was that EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek did not submit the necessary documents with the applications for approval of funds.

    It may be noted that Mr. van den Broek did not take into account the Commission's commitment to the Europarliament that any funding of Turkey through MEDA should concern improvement of human rights in Turkey, and the economic development of the areas where the Kurdish minority lives.

    [18] Airport employees strike tomorrow

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Airport employees will stage a 24-hour nationwide strike on Friday demanding improvements in their wages and other fringe benefits, the Federation of Civil Aviation Employee Associations (OSYPA) announced yesterday.

    The announcement said that the employees are demanding that four benefits they receive be excluded from the new salary scale, an 8.0 per cent salary increase, and legislation regarding overtime and holiday remuneration.

    Olympic Airways (OA) officials said they expected only minor problems on tarmacs from the stoppage, as air traffic controllers and civil aviation technical staff were not taking part in the strike.

    [19] Athens mayor visits Tirana

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos left yesterday for Tirana at the invitation of the Albanian capital's mayor.

    Mr. Avramopoulos is also due to meet with Albanian President Sali Berisha, government officials and local government authorities.

    He will also visit the town of Sarande, home to a sizable ethnic Greek community.

    [20] Traffic measures announced for holiday exodus

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Traffic police will introduce special measures to facilitate the exodus of holiday makers from Athens during the Christmas holidays and the circulation of vehicles and pedestrians in the city.

    An extra lane will be introduced for outgoing traffic from Dafni to the Elefsina toll station on the Athens to Corinth highway between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and on Jan. 3, and at the same times and place on Sunday, Dec. 22.

    The same measures will be applied on the same dates and times at several stretches of the Athens to Lamia highway.

    [21] Commission decides to continue tobacco subsidies, anti-smoking campaign

    Brussels, 19/12/1996 (ANA - P.Pantelis)

    After discussions lasting many years, the European Commission yesterday decided to maintain supports to tobacco growers, but for radically improved varieties and to continue a strong anti-smoking campaign.

    The anti-smoking campaign had originally envisaged the gradual abolition of tobacco subsidies. In a press conference yesterday, Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said the Commission had opted for a radical change in the tobacco support system, because the abolition of supports altogether would have serious repercussions on 200,000 jobs in the tobacco production and manufacturing sectors.

    "The European Commission estimates the number of tobacco growers' families at about 135,000, of which 52 per cent are in Greece, and 31 per cent in Italy. For many of these tobacco growers there is no alternative. If tobacco growing is abolished, they will have to leave agriculture," he said.

    He added that it had been found that tobacco production did not correspond to contemporary demands regarding processing and quality, and for this reason the Commission decided to discriminate in favor of improved varieties in granting supports.

    Greek EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis issued a statement calling for safeguards for the income of tobacco growers in the less developed parts of the Community, and expressing the view that a fall in tobacco production, far from leading to a corresponding reduction in smoking, would lead to a significant increase in tobacco imports from third countries.

    All of the EU Commissioners agreed with Mr. Papoutsis' second observation.

    [22] Support for flood-stricken victims announced

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis yesterday said the government would allocate six billion drachmas to flood-stricken victims in Xanthi prefecture. He added that another 112 billion drachmas has been slated for the construction of infrastructure and developmental projects in Xanthi until the year 2000. Mr. Laliotis headed a government delegation that toured Xanthi's flood-stricken villages.

    [23] Environmental group sends SOS on Turkish plans for nuclear plant

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    The environmental organization "Mediter-ranean SOS" yesterday warned of the dangers posed by Turkish plans to build the country's first nuclear power plant at Akkuyu in the area of Mersin on its eastern Mediterranean coast.

    In an announcement, the organization called on local government, ecological groups and citizens in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus to co-operate in protesting the planned construction.

    Mersin lies to the north of Cyprus and just 300 kilometers from the Dodecanese islands.

    The plans to build the plant, which have been discussed for the past 30 years, have already been opposed by environmentalists and local government authorities in Mersin.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said in May that Greece would pull out all stops to halt construction of the plant.

    Mediterranean SOS condemned what it called "the promotion of unsafe technology in the Balkans by the nuclear lobby and the nuclear mafia" at a time when nuclear energy is being abandoned in countries with a strong ecology movement.

    In the announcement, the organization also called for the closure of the six reactors at Kozloduy in Bulgaria, the closure of the nuclear plant at Korsk in Slovenia and an end to construction of five nuclear reactors in Romania.

    [24] Aris-Besiktas game to be replayed

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Basketball's governing body, FIBA, has ordered a Korac Cup match between Aris of Thessaloniki and Besiktas of Istanbul to be replayed in Athens on January 7 without the presence of supporters.

    The second leg of the tie was held in Thessaloniki on December 11 but was abandoned shortly after the start of the second half when Besiktas' American forward, Gary Alexander, attacked Aris' Dinos Angelidis.

    Aris was ahead 40-31 when the match was abandoned.

    FIBA also suspended Angelidis for three matches, Alexander for four and fined Aris 45,000 marks (about 6.8 million drachmas).

    [25] Greek ambassador among hostages taken in Peru

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Athens' ambassador to Lima, Alcibiades Karokis, is among the approximately 200 hostages being held by Peruvian rebels at the Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima, foreign ministry sources confirmed yesterday.

    Guerrillas from the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) stormed the Japanese ambassador's residency late Tuesday in an operation they codenamed "Breaking the Silence" in order to demand the release of jailed comrades.

    The hostages, which include the Peruvian foreign and agriculture ministers, local legislators and numerous ambassadors and diplomats from around the world, were attending a reception in honor of the Japanese emperor's birthday.

    The same sources said Ambassador Karokis' wife was among the approximately 80 women and elderly released.

    [26] Glory of Byzantium to go on show at NY's Met

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    A major exhibition entitled "The Glory of Byzantium" will be held in March 1997 at the Metropolitan Museum of New York.

    Among the treasures to be sent to New York for the exhibition is the 13th century Liturgy of St. Basil from the Library of St. John's Monastery on the island of Patmos.

    The cross on the frontspiece of the liturgy has been selected by renowned Greek jeweler Makis Mihalas as his 1997 good luck charm, in honor of the event.

    [27] Museum exhibit

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    Approval has been granted for the exhibition "Aidonion Treasure", to be presented again at the National Archaeological Museum, by order of the culture ministry.

    The exhibition will open in the museum's periodical exhibitions hall tomorrow and will continue until May 31.

    [28] Onassis Foundation honors Olympic medallists

    Athens, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Alexandros Onassis Foundation honored several athletes and their coaches yesterday that distinguished themselves in the recent Atlanta Olympics.

    The event at a downtown Athens hotel was attended by several Olympic medallists as well as by players of the national basketball and water polo teams.

    The foundation is the sole private body which has begun an effort over the past 10 years to support sports in Greece by offering athletic scholarships, up to 83 so far. Among those studying with the foundation's scholarships are gymnastics Olympic gold medallist Yiannis Melissanidis, national high-jumping champion Lambros Papakostas and wrestling champion Iordanis Constantinidis.

    Speaking at the event, the foundation's President Stelios Papadimitriou said the board will also provide scholarships for the children of the Olympic champions. Namely, a full university scholarship in Greece and then an overseas scholarship for post-graduate studies.

    "...We all hope that the Olympics will soon be held in the country which also gave birth to the Olympic Games and what they represent in ideals," Mr. Papadimitriou said.

    "Unfortunately, it was not only the (Parthenon) marbles which were forced to leave for foreign countries in dark times of Hellenism. It is these and even more which Greek civilization, on its knees, was forcibly deprived of..." he added.

    [29] Euro Court clears Greece in Jehovah Witness ruling

    Strasbourg, 19/12/1996 (Reuter/ANA)

    The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Wednesday that a Greek headmaster acted legally in suspending a young Jehovah's Witness from school for refusing to march in a parade on Greece's national day.

    The court threw out a complaint by the parents of Victoria Vlasamis of Athens that their daughter, a follower of the Jehovah's Witness Christian sect, should have had the right to refuse on religious grounds.

    She was later suspended from school for a day as a punishment.

    The parents argued that her religion espoused pacifism and the Greek national day, celebrated on October 28, commemorated the outbreak of war between Greece and Italy in 1940. The court expressed surprise at Greece's insistence that marching in the parade was part of the required national school curriculum, but concluded that such celebrations "served, in their way, both pacifist objectives and the public interest".

    The court criticised Greece for failing to offer Victoria's parents legal avenue to raise their complaint with the Greek authorities before bringing it to the European Court and awarded the family 600,000 drachmas for legal costs.

    [30] Melbourne Greeks to celebrate their centenary

    Melbourne, 19/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Greek communities in the city of Melbourne and state-wide will mark the first hundred years since the Greek community's foundation with a series of events lasting throughout 1997, it was announced yesterday.

    Events include cultural conferences with the participation of Greek intellectuals from Greece and expatriate communities abroad, photographic and art exhibitions, sports events, lectures, concerts, theater performances and a world conference entitled "Hellenism in the 21st century."

    End of English language section.

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