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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-09

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 (No 1434), March 9, 1998

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


  • [01] Papandreou: Int'l community must promote Kosovo autonomy, but no change in borders
  • [02] Mitsotakis-Pangalos meeting focuses on Kosovo
  • [03] Simitis message for elder Karamanlis' birthday
  • [04] State Dept.'s Miller reaffirms US commitment for Cyprus settlement
  • [05] Albania's Mejdani in Athens today
  • [06] Reppas: Athens' position on FYROM name issue absolutely unchanged
  • [07] Clerides arrives in Athens today
  • [08] Tsohatzopoulos says Greece sure to join EMU by 2002
  • [09] Karamanlis-Mitsotakis face-off at Parliamentary group meeting expected
  • [10] G. Papandreou covers 'Olympic Truce', Turkey's EU prospects at London conference
  • [11] Vartholomeos calls on Ankara to allow Halki school to reopen
  • [12] Russian Patriarch celebrates Orthodox Sunday at Greek embassy
  • [13] Archbishop Serapheim visited by Arsenis
  • [14] Greece,Bulgaria,Romania agree to work towards better police cooperation
  • [15] Simitis, parties' comment on the occasion of 'Women's Day'
  • [16] Insurance firms' subsidiary fund president assassinated
  • [17] Kasoulides: Purchase of S-300 missiles imperative for island's defence

  • [01] Papandreou: Int'l community must promote Kosovo autonomy, but no change in borders

    London, 09/03/1998 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Visiting Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said here yesterday that the international community must send a clear message that Kosovo should have partial autonomy, although it cannot accept the creation of a new independent state.

    Mr. Papandreou was commenting on the crisis in light of today's meeting here of a six-nation Contact Group, which will examine the issue.

    "There must be a clear message by the international community and it must have two aspects.

    "First of all, partial autonomy of Kosovo should proceed and, on the other hand, the international community should not accept a new independent country, namely, a change of borders, a restructuring of borders, which would create strong reverberation in the entire region.

    "The second is, I believe, that the international community could contribute and help in whatever way to facilitate a dialogue with (Yugoslav President Slobodan) Milosevic, as well as for implementation of the educational agreement and, thirdly, to cont ribute towards facilitating calm on all sides. No violent acts, condemnation of terrorist acts by extremist elements in Kosovo and, conversely, to urge absolute self-restraint by Serbia in relation to the suppression of Albanian-speaking population's freedom of expression," he said.

    [02] Mitsotakis-Pangalos meeting focuses on Kosovo

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    In Athens, meanwhile, New Democracy honorary president and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis visited Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Saturday morning, and was briefed on the latest developments in the tense Kosovo province as well as the wider region.

    Mr. Mitsotakis said "matters are continuing to be disagreeable and dangerous", expressing the hope that "the situation will not worsen..."

    Mr. Mitsotakis said he had reached an understanding with Mr. Pangalos, before the latter left for Belgrade, for a meeting as soon as he returned because, adding he is closely watching developments.

    [03] Simitis message for elder Karamanlis' birthday

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis sent congratulations to former president of the republic Constantine Karamanlis on the occasion of the latter's 91st birthday yesterday.

    "Mr. President, on behalf of the government and myself, please accept my best wishes for your health, happiness and longevity. I am certain that the same wishes come also from the Greek people, which you have served for many years," the PM's message read.

    [04] State Dept.'s Miller reaffirms US commitment for Cyprus settlement

    Larnaca, 09/03/1998 (ANA/CNA)

    The special US State Department coordinator for Cyprus yesterday reaffirmed Washington's support in efforts for a Cyprus settlement, as well as Ambassador Richard Holbrooke's commitment in achieving this objective.

    Speaking on arrival at Larnaca airport, Thomas Miller stressed the need to "keep our eye on the big picture" of the Cyprus problem.

    "Flexibility and creativity are also essential in solving any difficult problem", he said, pointing out that "the Cyprus problem is certainly one of the world's most difficult..."

    Reaffirming the US commitment towards a Cyprus settlement, Mr. Miller added, however, that he could not promise any success.

    "What I do promise from the US government and this is from (US) President (Bill) Clinton to Secretary (Madeleine) Albright, to Ambassador Holbrooke to myself, and all of us involved in trying to bring a resolution to the Cyprus problem, is that we will give it our maximum effort", he said.

    Mr. Miller stressed that "Ambassador Holbrooke will come here when he thinks he can make a difference. He is very much focused on the Cyprus question for which he was brought on board. He is totally committed to working on the Cyprus problem".

    Replying to questions, he also said there is close cooperation between parties interested in a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "We continue to support a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution. That is the proposal that is on the table and we are all looking into", Mr. Miller said, adding: "We do not recognise the (Turkish-occupied) north as a state."

    The US envoy will be received today by President Glafcos Clerides, while tomorrow he will meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    After the conclusion of his Cyprus visit he will have further meetings in Athens and Ankara.

    Asked to comment on Mr. Denktash's refusal to meet with European Union Commissioner Hans van den Broek, as well as with British special representative for Cyprus and EU presidency representative Sir David Hannay, Mr. Miller said the reasons are well known to everybody.

    "I think we should all do what we can to contribute to a solution to the Cyprus problem and I think we should just leave it at that", he added.

    The US official also preferred to use the term "realistic" rather than "optimistic" to describe his mission in Cyprus, pointing out that he would have a better appreciation of the situation after he talks to Mr. Denktash on Tuesday.

    Cypriot-American's remains found in Turkish-occupied zone: Commenting on the issue of missing persons following the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island, and in relation with the recent confirmation of the death of one, Mr. Miller said the issue will be discussed during the meetings he will have here.

    "I am prepared to discuss the larger issue of missing persons on both sides in Cyprus and I think that it is pleasing and gratifying that the two sides have exchanged information several weeks ago. It is a very important issue."

    The remains of Andreas Kasapis, one of five Greek Cypriots with American citizenship that have been missing since 1974, were identified through DNA tests, while his family in Detroit was informed of the results by Mr. Miller himself.

    It is the first time the fate of any of the 1,619 Greek Cypriots missing since 1974 has been conclusively proven.

    Replying to questions, the US official said: "there was no mass grave and there were no other remains that were identified other than Kasapis."

    [05] Albania's Mejdani in Athens today

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani is due in Athens today on a three-day official visit at the invitation of h is Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    His talks here with both the president and with Prime Minister Costas Simitis will focus on the unrest in neighbouring Yugoslavia's province of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians comprise 90 percent of the population.

    Another issue on the agenda will be the rights of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania, which the new government of Premier Fatos Nano has promised to ensure.

    In summit meetings last year, "joint solutions" were agreed to a number of issues concerning the large number of Albanian illegal immigrants in Greece and the education of ethnic Greeks in Albania.

    Mr. Mejdani is to meet with Mr. Stephanopoulos soon after his arrival. Later in the day he will have meetings with the premier and the leaders of Greece's opposition parties.

    The visiting dignitary will also attend a dinner in his honour tonight hosted by Mr. Stephanopoulos.

    Sources said Mr. Mejdani would also hold talks with Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos during his visit, while the mayor would present him with the Medal of the City of Athens.

    Mr. Mejdani will be accompanied by Albania's minister of education, the secretary of the foreign ministry and the secretary general of the committee on Euro-Atlantic integration.

    The Greek and Albanian education ministries are expected to sign an educational cooperation agreement during the visit.

    [06] Reppas: Athens' position on FYROM name issue absolutely unchanged

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    Athens' position on the internationally recognised name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) remains the same, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said in Komotini on Saturday, calling on Greece's Balkan neighbour to overcome what he cal led its unproductive stance on the issue.

    Mr. Reppas said Greece was pursuing a policy of friendship and cooperation with all countries, governed by rules such as respect for borders and sovereignty, and for the dignity as well as the particular elements of each country's identity.

    The government spokesman said Greece desires the existence of FYROM with its present borders, stressing that it will be to the benefit of both countries to further develop economic and trade relations as well as cultural exchanges.

    Referring to ongoing negotiations between Greece and FYROM over the name issue, underway in New York under the aegis of the United Nations, Mr. Reppas said: "I hope that the quest for an agreement over the name, a process which so far has proven to be fruitless, will be completed. For this to happen there must be contribution from the other side by overcoming its persistence, its absolute and immovable stance, a position that is not productive".

    "In 1995, we proceeded with the signing of a temporary treaty, the so-called 'interim agreement', that defines the way relations between the two countries should evolve. We are moving within the framework of the spirit and the wording of this agreement ."

    Mr. Reppas further said that "our position on this issue under adjudication remains the same, it has not changed. What I must clearly state in today's discussion is the following: All neighbouring countries that are being tested in their effort to cros s over to this new world, as they go through the motions and face strong unrest undermined by dangers of instability and political flux, are looking over to Greece to a great degree, as a country that can become their bridge to the modern world".

    [07] Clerides arrives in Athens today

    Nicosia, 09/03/1998 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides departs for Athens today for talks with the Athens government.

    The talks, which sources describe as crucial, will focus on Cyprus' European Union accession talks - due to start at the end of this month - as well as current efforts to solve the protracted Cyprus problem.

    President Clerides will meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    [08] Tsohatzopoulos says Greece sure to join EMU by 2002

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos expressed certainty that in 2002 Greece will be able to fulfill economic conditions and will achieve its accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was participating in a discussion on "National defence-development-foreign policy in the Balkans" at Macedonia University in Thessaloniki on Saturday night.

    Referring to foreign policy, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said Greece lay in the "instability trigon" which he defined from the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Middle East, adding that the claiming of Greece's equal participation in NATO's new shape, combined with its economic development and defence strengthening gives it the possibility of playing the role of a guarantor of security, stability and peace in this region.

    The event, organised by the Movement for Peace, Human Rights and National Independence, was also addressed by Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos, who called for the initiation of a collective agency to study, examine and han dle foreign affairs.

    [09] Karamanlis-Mitsotakis face-off at Parliamentary group meeting expected

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    The outcome of today's expected "confrontation" at a Parliamentary group meeting between main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and ND honourary president Constantine Mitsotakis was unknown yesterday, as both men appear ed adamant on their positions, although initiatives were underway to ease tension and avert a rift.

    Mr. Karamanlis, expected to reply to whatever Mr. Mitsotakis will say, stated in yesterday's edition of the Sunday newspaper "Ethnos tis Kyriakis" that "ND is unshakeably oriented towards the future.

    "It is moving unshakeably forward with the criterion of quality, effectiveness and the participation of the citizen in social and political events."

    According to reports, Mr. Mitsotakis appears determined to call for the lifting of latest dismissals of party deputies at today's meeting and the clarification of ND's political orientation.

    In a statement with the newspaper "Adesmeftos Typos tis Kyriakis", Mr. Mitsotakis stresses that ND's problem is political and must be handled as such at the Parliamentary Group's meeting, adding that what must be sought by all must be the fulfillment of the party's historical duty which can be none other than winning the next elections.

    Former ND premier George Rallis also intervened in the developments in the party with a statement in the newspaper "Eleftheros Typos tis Kyriakis" in which he took a swipe at Mr. Karamanlis, saying that he has never called on him to say his views on any issue, despite the fact that after the party's congress he had stated that he would be at the party's disposal if needed.

    Mitsotakis address to Thessaloniki Rotary Clubs : In another development, Mr. Mitsotakis made an address at an event organised by the Rotary Clubs of Thessaloniki, with the former premier as the main speaker. His speech could be interpreted as a prelude to the creation of a new political formation.

    Mr. Mitsotakis said "Greece needs a big rennaissance effort and it needs it now" and stressed his conviction that "the political world appears at present to be incapable of living up to the challenges of the new era. "We have a need to see again the ess ence of problems and to take at last the painful decisions which we have been avoiding so carefully, particularly over the past five years," he said.

    Mr. Mitsotakis said that in his view, reforms must start with the revision of the constitution and for this to be done the next Parliament must be a revisory one.

    For this to be possible, he added, the parties must agree in principle that all the clauses of the constitution, with the exception of the fundamental ones, will be raised for revision.

    In Mr. Mitsotakis' view, the two major problems of the Greek economy are the public sector and the insurance system, reiterating his positions on the immediate need for denationalisations and the taking of measures to strengthen funds.

    He said at this point that in essence reality was recorded by the Spraos report which called for an increase in age limits and other tough measures for the problem to start to be restricted.

    Referring to foreign policy, Mr. Mitsotakis said that if an effective policy is desired one must be ready to make concessions and that this foreign policy is neither a competition of bravado nor public displays of toughness nor the launching of 10-second phrases for consumption in evening news bulletins.

    [10] G. Papandreou covers 'Olympic Truce', Turkey's EU prospects at London conference

    London, 09/03/1998 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Concluding a three-day conference at the London School of Economics, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou underlined a new dimension in Greek foreign policy, namely culture, which helped, as he said, in Athens being awarded the 2004 Olympics.

    During the conference, entitled "The Contribution of a Changing Greece in the European Union", he also said that the Greek proposal for revival of the "Olympic Truce" helped in preventing a military strike against Iraq during last month's Winter Olympic s in Nagano.

    Regarding Turkey, he said "we do not consider the religion of the majority of the population of Turkey as an obstacle in a European course, while certain forces in Europe have expressed opposing views.

    "I believe that the enrichment of the European Union with civilisations which are different than those dominant at present constitutes both a democratic conquest and a powerful weapon in the framework of shaping the globalisation of the EU to approach other peoples and secure co-existence and mutual understanding with them," he said.

    Mr. Papandreou also referred to the political handling of Turkey.

    "Whatever problems Turkey has with its European prospect do not result from the position of some member-state but from its own refusal to honour the multicultural right of existence and expression of the Kurds, to withdraw from the occupation of a porti on of the territory of Cyprus, to recognise and honour international law, which must govern relations between neighbours, as well as its borders with them. Mr. Papandreou said Athens would not object to the promotion of a non-aggression pact which will be accompanied by a friendship accord and the constructive development of economic, cultural and other social relations with Ankara.

    He said this would require Turkey to show self-restraint, not conveying domestic problems to foreign policy, a withdrawal of its troops from Cyprus, and for the neighbouring nation to become a player on the international political scene acting in the framework of international law and recognising both the role played by these rules and the duties of international courts, such as that at The Hague.

    [11] Vartholomeos calls on Ankara to allow Halki school to reopen

    Istanbul, 09/03/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos appealed to the Turkish government yesterday to prove that it respects religious freedom, adding that a ban on the operation of the Halki theology school over the last 27 years is unaccept able.

    Replying to questions by Greek reporters, who visited the Phanar yesterday on the occasion of Orthodox Sunday, the Patriarch said "that proclamations on religious freedom are not compatible with the ban on the academy's operation for 27 years."

    However, he said he was optimistic that the school will ultimately reopen and recalled the interest shown on the issue by US President Bill Clinton.

    Meanwhile, the Ecumenical Patriarchate celebrated Orthodox Sunday in a grandiose church service at the Aghios Georgios (St. George) Cathedral by Vartholomeos, members of the Holy Synod as well as by other Orthodox Metropolitans.

    In another development, major Patriarchate benefactor Panayiotis Angelopoulos announced yesterday, in the presence of the Ecumenical Patriarch, that he will undertake the renovation of the Patriarchate's most renowned educational academy in the Phanar district.

    [12] Russian Patriarch celebrates Orthodox Sunday at Greek embassy

    Moscow, 09/03/1998 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexiy II expressed his satisfaction at celebrating Orthodox Sunday at the Greek embassy here again this year, as well as appreciation for historical ties between Greece and Russia.

    He was speaking at a dinner given in his honour by the Greece's ambassador to Moscow Dimitris Kypreos.

    The Russian Patriarch referred to the special role played by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim, expressed wishes for the latter's speedy recovery.

    Referring to relations between the Vatican and Moscow, Alexiy placed responsibility on Pope John Paul II for the continuing deadlock due to the position of the Catholic church over the proselytisation issue and the Uniate, adding that Russian President Boris Yeltsin assured him personally that he did not extend an official invitation to the Pope to visit Russia.

    The Russian Patriarch said he hopes very soon, after certain bureaucratic obstacles are overcome, to be in a position to announce the opening of the Moscow estate that belongs to the Mount Athos monastery of Iviron.

    He also referred to the restoration of relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and his recent meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos in Odessa, saying the two Patriarchs are planning to jointly officiate on the 2000th anniversary of Christianity.

    [13] Archbishop Serapheim visited by Arsenis

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim, currently undergoing treatment at the Laiko Hospital in Athens, was lucid but tired yesterday morning, according to reports.

    Education and Religious Affairs Minister Gerasimos Arsenis visited and talked with him briefly yesterday, as well as with attending doctors during his half-hour stay at the hospital.

    Close relatives and senior clergymen have remained by Serapheim's side.

    Orthodox Sunday was celebrated at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral yesterday in the presence of President Kostis Stephanopoulos, ministers, deputies and Mr. Arsenis, who represented the government. Also present were the Holy Synod Metropolitans and the Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros.

    [14] Greece,Bulgaria,Romania agree to work towards better police cooperation

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece, Bulgaria and Romania announced the establishment of a joint experts' committee to formulate a protocol on methods of increasing their law enforcement and legislative cooperation, following a decision at a three-nation ministerial meeting in Thessa loniki on Saturday.

    Public Order Minister George Romeos and his Bulgarian and Romanian counterparts, Bogomil Bonev and Gavril Dejeu, respectively, agreed to the move during talks in the northern Greek capital, which focused on cooperation in combatting drugs and arms traf ficking, organised crime, money laundering and illegal immigration.

    According to Mr. Romeos, the protocol will aim at harmonising legislation not only among the three nations but with Europe as well.

    Both the Romanian and Bulgarian ministers emphasised the progress made over the past year in fighting organised crime and illegal immigration.

    Mr. Bonev said his country's legislation had already been amended in order to facilitate the return of stolen luxury cars from Bulgaria to their owners in Greece.

    Both the Bulgarian and Romanian ministers ended their stay in Greece with a visit to the Mount Athos all-male monastic community yesterday.

    [15] Simitis, parties' comment on the occasion of 'Women's Day'

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    In a statement on the occasion of the international observance of "Women's Day", Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the government is promoting special measures in support of women.

    Women's Day, March 8, was marked by events organised by women's agencies and organisations, as well as by statements from political parties.

    Mr. Simitis said, among others, that March 8 constitutes a challenge for us for new efforts, which will create a society that's more just, humane and open.

    An announcement by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said this year's occasion "again finds women and young girls being the greatest victims of the system and the policy which generate poverty, ignorance, reactionary social models and prejudices."

    In a similar announcement, the Coalition of the Left and Progress said "women, more than half the population of the earth, continue to experience the consequences of direct and indirect discrimination due to gender."

    [16] Insurance firms' subsidiary fund president assassinated

    Athens, 09/03/1998 (ANA)

    Police yesterday attributed the early morning murder yesterday of insurance firms' subsidiary fund president Nikos Sotiropoulos to hired killers.

    Police said the 67-year-old man was gunned down by two assailants at roughly 2:15 a.m. yesterday as he left his car to enter his vacation home in the Athens seaside resort town of Saronida, on the Athens-Sounion highway.

    Sotiropoulos, who was shot three times in the head, died almost instantaneously, according to a preliminary coroner's report.

    Authorities said they believe Sotiropoulos' killing was an act of vengeance, and that the owners of one or more insurance companies whose licences were recently revoked may have hired the gunmen, although they were also investigating other possibilities, a police spokesman told ANA.

    [17] Kasoulides: Purchase of S-300 missiles imperative for island's defence

    Nicosia, 09/03/1998 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Washington does not intend to guarantee against any Turkish air attack targetting Cyprus, therefore, the purchase of the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles by the government is indispensable, Cyprus Foreign Minister Io annis Kasoulides told reporters here yesterday.

    The Cypriot FM made the statements after meeting visiting Special US State Department coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller.

    Mr. Kasoulides also said that Mr. Miller's mission this time was to "occupy himself directly with the essence of the Cyprus problem", as Washington wished to substantially assist efforts by the United Nations secretary general in resolving the Cyprus problem.

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