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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-09

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 1411), February 9, 1998

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Iacovou leads in first round of Cyprus presidential elections
  • [02] ... Statements at polling stations
  • [03] Turkish policy on Cyprus and the Aegean a source of instability
  • [04] ND leader says he will not tolerate any more 'backstabbing'
  • [05] Elections held for PASOK's new Prefectural and Regional Committees
  • [06] Papandreou holds talks in Japan with IOC member
  • [07] Papantoniou stresses Greece's determination to join EMU
  • [08] Call for an end to 'sex racism' in employment and remuneration
  • [09] Tzoumakas meets representatives of agricultural unions
  • [10] Athens' Psyrri district being upgraded
  • [11] SAE to organize collection of funds
  • [12] ... 2004 Olympiad
  • [13] Eurodeputies visit Algiers
  • [14] Extensive flooding in Evros, hunter missing

  • [01] Iacovou leads in first round of Cyprus presidential elections

    Nicosia, 09/02/1998 (ANA/G. Leonidas)

    Independent presidential candidate George Iacovou, backed by left-wing party AKEL and center-right Democratic Party, was at press time late last night slightly ahead of incumbent President Glafcos Clerides in yesterday's presidential elections with 41.07 per cent out of 89.78 per cent of the vote counted.

    Seven candidates contested the election.

    President Clerides, who is supported by the Democratic Rally party, came second with 39.91 per cent. He will face Mr. Iacovou in the second round next Sunday.

    Socialist EDEK leader Vassos Lyssarides obtained 10.44 per cent and emerged as the power broker for the second round.

    Alexis Galanos, of the Democratic Party, standing in defiance of his party decision, received 4.02 per cent, George Vassiliou, former Cyprus president, 2.92 per cent, Nicos Koutsou, of the New Horizons party 0.90 and Nicos Rolandis, leader of the Liber al party, 0.74 per cent.

    In a statement last night, Mr. Clerides said he will start efforts as of today to create a national unity government because, as he said, this is necessitated by the interests of the people of Cyprus. He expressed satisfaction over the fact that the elections were carried out with absolute order and calm.

    Independent candidate George Iacovou said that 60 per cent of the people have expressed disapproval of the Clerides administration, adding that he extended a hand of co-operation to the Socialist EDEK party and George Vassiliou. He added that he will start consultations today with all the "bordering forces" with the purpose of having the second round of elections "bring victory to the progressive democratic forces". Lastly, he said he will also have consultations with independent candidate Alexis Galanos .

    Vassos Lyssarides expressed his warm thanks to the voters who "honored him with their vote", adding that he will "live up to their expectations with consistency and integrity". Mr. Lyssarides said the voters gave EDEK an important role which he will exercise with "full consciousness towards Cypriot Hellenism and the entire nation".

    Mr. Galanos also expressed satisfaction, saying that he will announce his party's decision for the second round with consciousness and responsibility.

    Mr. Vassiliou said the results of the elections were disproportionate with the deep appreciation he had during his electoral campaign.

    Nicos Koutsou said he was not satisfied by the result, adding that he assumed his responsibility and might submit his resignation.

    Lastly, Nicos Rolandis said the result did not satisfy him and that he will wait for the final results.

    [02] ... Statements at polling stations

    Nicosia, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    Casting his vote, Mr. Clerides described the elections as "highly important" because "their result will determine whether initiatives will be launched for a solution to the Cyprus problem".

    Expressing confidence in the judgment of Cypriot voters, Mr. Clerides said that if he is re-elected he will welcome all those willing to co-operate with him in the new government.

    "I have faith in the Cypriot voter and I hope my trust in him will be vindicated," Mr. Clerides said.

    Mr. Clerides' main rival, George Iacovou, a former foreign minister, said he trusted "the people's judgment and is optimistic about the outcome."

    "This day belongs to the people and to democracy," Mr. Iacovou added, noting that the people of Cyprus will exercise freely their right to elect the person who would lead them in the next five years.

    EDEK leader Lyssarides reaffirmed his party will play a definitive role in the second round of presidential elections next Sunday. Pointing out that this is a very difficult role, Mr. Lyssarides stressed, "our basic aim is a widely accepted national strategy", that would lead to a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    He added, however, that he has not submitted his party's proposal to either of the two leading contestants.

    Former president of the republic and leader of United Democrats George Vassiliou expressed the wish that the elections will run smoothly and thanked all those who supported his candidacy and voted for him.

    "Together we will have the power to tackle the problems Cyprus is facing and the difficult days that lie ahead", Mr. Vassiliou said.

    Alexis Galanos, former House President and deputy of the Democratic Party, said his candidacy is one of "resistance to old-party practices and to political sell-outs." "My message is to stress the need to introduce a new kind of mentality and a new approach," Mr. Galanos said.

    Shunned by his party when he announced his intention to run for the presidency, he appeared hopeful that Cypriots will entrust him with their votes.

    New Horizons' leader Nicos Koutsou referred to the continuing occupation of 37 per cent of the island by Turkey and expressed sadness because the Cyprus government cannot exercise its legitimate rights over the whole of the Republic.

    "Turkish occupation is even more painful today", he said, pointing out however, that "the will to fight until Cyprus is liberated is growing stronger".

    Leader of the Liberal party Nicos Rolandis said he was confident of a good election result and stressed that the new president should be in a position "to help Cyprus during these difficult times".

    [03] Turkish policy on Cyprus and the Aegean a source of instability

    Munich, 09/02/1998 (ANA/P. Stangos)

    Turkish policy on the Cyprus issue and the Aegean is a source of instability for Europe and NATO, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told the "Confe-rence on Security Policies", which ended here yesterday.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that Cyprus' entry to the European Union would reinforce security on the whole island as well as the wider region. He said that this would be achieved even without Turkish Cypriot participation in the accession talks, due to Ankara's and the Turkish Cypriot leadership's intransigence.

    The defense minister compared Cyprus' EU membership with the inclusion of former Western Germany in the European Community and NATO where, as he said, it served as a "security guarantee" for Eastern Germany in spite of the country's division at the time .

    "The Cyprus issue might be of special concern to us -- Greece -- but it is also a problem concerning the collective security of Europe and NATO", said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos. Referring to "Greek-Turkish problems", he stressed that the use of the term in no way implies that Greece makes any claim towards Turkey. He repeated the government's stated position that Turkey should develop "a new European perspective" and pointed to comments made on Saturday by German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who said that Turkey should comply with EU criteria and accept its values before the two sides can develop closer ties.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said such issues pointed to the need for regional structures to promote collective security, referring to what he called the "insecurity triangle" formed by the Balkans, the Middle East and the region beyond the Caucasus, as an area which constitutes a potential source of instability.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also met his German counterpart Volker Ruehe on the sidelines of the conference.

    Issues of bilateral concern and the Western European Union were the focus of the meeting. Greece currently holds the WEU rotating presidency, while Germany was the immediate past president.

    [04] ND leader says he will not tolerate any more 'backstabbing'

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    The turmoil in the ranks of the main opposition New Democracy party continued over the weekend with ND leader Costas Karamanlis laying down the law yesterday and saying he would not tolerate any more "backstabbing".

    Speaking to supporters in Egio yesterday, Mr. Karamanlis said that the three leading New Democracy deputies expelled from the party last Tuesday had "provided the government with alibis".

    "Today, the time of big decisions has come, and this presupposes a clear definition of the things we want to do, clear policy, unity and cohesion," Mr. Karamanlis told his audience.

    "We are not dependent on vested interests and for this reason we will be uncompromising... it is inconceivable and unacceptable to have people among us who are providing with alibis and support a government which is collapsing and does harm to the country," he added.

    The three deputies were expelled from the party for failing to toe the party line against a government provision changing relations between workers and management at state-run public utilities.

    The amendment was approved early on Tuesday by a vote of 141 to 121. A total of 35 deputies - from both opposition and ruling party - absented themselves from the vote. One of the three, George Souflias, is a former national economy minister and had run unsuccessfully against Mr. Karamanlis for the party leadership at ND's Congress last March.

    The other two, former ministers Stephanos Manos and Vassilis Kontoyannopoulos had also supported Mr. Souflias' run for ND leader, as had another three ND deputies suspended for a year.

    The fall-out from the expulsions and suspensions dominated the weekend's news, with Dora Bakoyianni, another former minister, breaking her silence and criticizing Mr. Karamanlis' move against the dissenters.

    Ms Bakoyianni, the daughter of former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, whose failure to vote with the party on the provision was "excused" by Mr. Karamanlis, said that she would propose initiatives to ensure the unity of the party.

    She assured Mr. Karamanlis that nobody questioned his position as leader of the main opposition party.

    In an interview published in Sunday's Eleftherotypia, Mr. Karamanlis said he would not hesitate to expel others from the party and that he "could not occupy a chair that was continually being shaken".

    Mr. Souflias, meanwhile, told To Vima, that changes on the political stage were in the pipeline but that it was too early to talk about a new party. He said his aim was to "revive the liberal movement" in Greece.

    [05] Elections held for PASOK's new Prefectural and Regional Committees

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis yesterday praised the democratic functioning in the party on completion of intraparty processes for the election of new Prefectural and Regional Committees.

    "The elections for the creation of new Prefectural and Regional Committees of PASOK showed that the party has consolidated the rules of democratic functioning. The differences in views and approaches are being overcome in the common effort for a party with unified and modern functioning. Today's elections showed that PASOK can and must be the party of active citizens, a party open to society, new forces, ideas and approaches. It must be a party capable of leading Greece to the 21st century," he said.

    PASOK's intraparty elections involved about 170,000 members. The party's Central Committee Secretary, Costas Skandalidis, said the elections were carried out with absolute calm and no incident occurred dealing a blow at the process in its entirety. He also hailed strict observance of democratic processes by the party's members.

    However, it was disclosed that only in one case a problem appeared in the process. More specifically, in the Prefectural Committee of Grevena, where despite the decision taken by PASOK's Executive Bureau for the elections to be postponed for a few days, the members of the outgoing Prefectural Committee affiliated to the so-called intraparty opposition, carried out elections with only half of the registered members. It was disclosed that the elections will be held again.

    The results of the prefectural and regional elections were due to be announced in the early hours of the morning today, but even after the results are announced some time will be necessary to assess which trend will have the upper hand between the "modernizers" and those affiliated to the "intraparty opposition."

    [06] Papandreou holds talks in Japan with IOC member

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou held talks with International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Mr. S. Kintane in Nagano, Japan, on Saturday.

    Mr. Kintane is the responsible coordinator of the IOC with the UN on the issue of the Olympic Truce. He and Mr. Papandreou discussed the next steps towards implementing the Greek government's initiative on the Olympic Truce.

    Mr. Papandreou also had a meeting with Ms. Judy Williams, who holds the Nobel peace prize for her campaign to have mines banned, whom he briefed on the Olympic Truce issue. He had similar talks with Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski.

    [07] Papantoniou stresses Greece's determination to join EMU

    London, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou stressed Greece's ste-adfast European orientation and its determination to join Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in a speech at the Hellenic Center in London on Friday.

    "In southeastern Europe, a region with a long record of relative instability, but of high potential at the same time, Greece remains the only country with a developed market economy, adequate infrastructure, established democratic rule and political stability. It is unnecessary to remind the audience that Greece, alone in this region, is a founding member of the OECD and NATO, and a member of the European Union. Our cultural ties and trading links to the peoples of this region, combined with the country's advantageous location at the crossroads of three continents, provide the potential for Greece to become a gateway to the region's emerging markets," he said.

    Mr. Papantoniou also referred to the considerable improvement in all of the country's economic indicators, the decrease in the fiscal deficit, an increase in the GDP and a decrease in the debt as a percentage of GDP.

    "On present trends, Greece is set to achieve the Maastricht Treaty deficit targets in 1998 and the inflation and interest rate targets in 1999, and hence to participate in the third stage of the European Monetary Union from the start of the year 2001," he added.

    Mr. Papantoniou further underlined efforts being made to strengthen the competitiveness of the Greek economy and its adjustment to the global economy through the entire or partial privatization of certain organizations in the public sector and the introduction of flexible forms and regulations in the labor market.

    [08] Call for an end to 'sex racism' in employment and remuneration

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    The 3rd Panhellenic Conference of Women Trade Unionists from the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) came to a close on Saturday with the ratification of a resolution focusing on full employment and full rights.

    The resolution includes specific actions on abolishing "sex racism" in employment and remuneration.

    Targets will concern a 35-hour working week without a decrease in wages. Immigrant women workers will enjoy equal labor and social rights with Greeks. In the health and insurance sector, protective measures should be taken for pregnant women, while a legal framework will be created to protect women from sexual harassment.

    In the trade union sector, equal opportunities should be provided for women in the trade union movement and at least one woman trade unionist should participate in collective negotiations.

    The national expert on the European employment network Ms. M. Karamesini provided interesting data on unemployment among women in Europe. Over the past two decades, a considerable increase in both women's employment and unemployment was observed in all developed countries, including Greece.

    In the European Union between the years 1975 and 1991 11.7 million new jobs were created of which 11.4 million correspond to women's jobs. From 1990 to date only 505,000 new jobs were created, meaning the phenomenon is beginning to wane.

    During the 1975-1991 period, 4.2 million unemployed were added to the women's labor force, while over the 1991-1996 period 2.1 million (half the previous figure).

    [09] Tzoumakas meets representatives of agricultural unions

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    Representatives of the Federations of Agricultural Unions of Thessaloniki and Serres held talks with Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas on Saturday, briefing him on the problems facing rice growers, such as large quantities of rice remaining unsold.

    Recognizing the existence of the problem, Mr. Tzoumakas said that the bill on creating an Organization to Control Community Subsidies will include a clause on the creation of a public agency department on facilitating European Union intervention on the product. He further said the new development law will have a provision on subsidizing investments.

    The representatives of farmers from Macedonia said afterwards that they will stay at the barricades, awaiting implementation of the minister's commitments.

    [10] Athens' Psyrri district being upgraded

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    The appearance of the wider region surrounding Psyrri Square in downtown Athens is changing radically with projects being carried out by the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry over the past two years to promote the region. The projects a re budgeted at 50 billion drachmas.

    "Everything has changed here," Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said after visiting Heroes' Square, Agioi Anargyroi Square and other parts of the Psyrri district.

    Local inhabitants and shopkeepers are also satisfied with the projects aimed at upgrading the historic neighborhood, since it will acquire greater economic value. Rents are increasing, new shops are opening and the region is gradually beginning to resemble Plaka. Reformation work also includes pedestrian roads and other projects budgeted at two billion drachmas.

    The Psyrri area is an important neighborhood in the historic center of Athens. However, it had been neglected in the infrastructures sector. Moreover, it is gradually acquiring a tourist character and the role of a "tourist path" to and from the archaeological park in Athens.

    [11] SAE to organize collection of funds

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) will organize a world collection in May to enable Greek expatriates to contribute with funds towards the building of Greek medical centers in regions of the former Soviet Union where Greeks live.

    The first Greek clinic has already been established and is functioning in Tbilisi, Georgia, with funds collected by SAE. The Council's target is to establish a total of 11 clinics in Black Sea regions, Armenia, Ukraine, etc.

    The collection will be conducted on May 23-24 in parts of the world where Greeks live, with the contribution of local radio and TV stations. In one hour alone a collection made by the Greek radio station in Chicago 27,000 dollars were collected.

    The collection to build clinics is part of the new activities decided over the weekend by SAE during the first regular meeting of its nine-member presidium (following elections held last December) at its permanent headquarters in Thessaloniki.

    SAE's program includes the creation of a kind of Orthodox Church "network" throughout the world. Consequently, as a result of a proposal by SAE, Orthodox Churches throughout the world will adopt an Orthodox Church in former USSR republics, providing economic aid to enable services to be held and the Greek language and civilization to be taught.

    [12] ... 2004 Olympiad

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    Planning also got underway in the same meeting on actions aimed at expatriate Greeks contributing towards the Athens 2004 Olympiad. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos briefed the SAE presidium in this respect on Saturday.

    Organizing the 2004 Olympiad, the Cultural Olympiad as a permanent and continuous institution headquartered in Greece and the Young Expatriates' Olympiad, a new permanent institution headquartered in Thessaloniki, were examined at the joint meeting of SAE's presidium with Mr. Venizelos who is president of the Interministerial Committee on issues related to the 2004 Olympiad.

    Mr. Venizelos briefed the presidium on Saturday in Thessaloniki on decisions taken at Friday's cabinet meeting on the organizing formation of the 2004 Olympiad.

    Mr. Venizelos said SAE will participate in the National Council for the 2004 Olympiad with a five-member committee headed by SAE President Andrew Athens.

    Mr. Venizelos appealed to expatriate Greek businessmen and investors to participate in preparation projects in Athens, and the country in general, on the major sports event, stressing the need for the mobilization of the seven million Greek expatriates, whose participation alone will provide absolute success for the event.

    Referring to the Young Expatriates' Olympiad, Mr. Venizelos said the government's aim is to make it a permanent institution headquartered in Thessaloniki.

    [13] Eurodeputies visit Algiers

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    A nine-member European Parliament delegation, including Greek Socialist MP Yiannis Roumbatis, is currently visiting Algiers to examine possibilities of an EU contribution to efforts for a political dialogue in strife-torn Algeria.

    During their four-day stay, the Eurodeputies will have a series of meetings with Algerian government officials as well as representatives from parliamentary parties, local human rights organizations, publishers and journalists and trade union representatives.

    [14] Extensive flooding in Evros, hunter missing

    Athens, 09/02/1998 (ANA)

    Flooding in the border region of Evros has caused extensive damage to farmland in the area, regional officials said late on Saturday.

    A full estimate of the damage will be made as soon as waters from the swollen Evros River recede, Eastern Macedonia-Thrace Secretary-General Stavros Kambelis said.

    Some 10 families in the Lavaron region which have lost their homes will receive 200,000 drachmas in emergency aid, he added. Macedonia-Thrace ministry Secretary-General George Lyssaridis, who visited the region, said the "excellent" level of coordination between emergency services had averted more damage from the adverse weather.

    Evros Prefect George Dolios told reporters that damage had centered on cotton crops but that agriculture generally would be affected in the region as farmers would not be able to collect crops in time, if at all. He said efforts to locate a hunter missing in the Evros River since Saturday evening would be continuing, but added that authorities had issued notices about the dangers of hunting and fishing in the region during the bad spell.

    Spyros Galatsidas, 28, from Trikala in the Imathias prefecture, was swept away by the raging Evros waters in the Kornofolias area while hunting for wild ducks with his father-in-law and another relative. He disappeared after their boat overturned.

    Rescue efforts have been hampered by the high levels of the Evros' waters.

    End of English language section.


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