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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-23

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

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


  • [01] Pangalos, Albright discuss Cyprus problem,Kosovo situation
  • [02] ... Kosovo
  • [03] Measures to upgrade Greek-language education abroad
  • [04] Albanian defence minister in Ioannina
  • [05] Cordovez in Athens
  • [06] Papantoniou says drachma well-received into ERM
  • [07] Olympic work stoppage on Tuesday in light of gov't measures
  • [08] One-day conference on 'Agenda 2000'
  • [09] Tsovolas says new tax raids planned by gov't
  • [10] Athina Onassis-Roussel on lightning visit to Athens
  • [11] KKE, Synaspismos on racism
  • [12] ... Synaspismos
  • [13] Several people charged with cocaine trafficking
  • [14] More illegals brought from Turkey detained on Aegean islands
  • [15] Verdict in songwriter's murder trial expected today

  • [01] Pangalos, Albright discuss Cyprus problem,Kosovo situation

    WASHINGTON 23/03/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Greek-Turkish relations and efforts to settle the Cyprus problem were among issues discussed here late Friday by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    Afterwards,Mr.Pangalos told reporters they discussed the situation in Kosovo and developments in the former Yugoslavia, as well as initiatives to solve the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations. The meeting kicked off Mr. Pangalos' official visit to the US, schedul ed to last several days.

    "We discussed the Cyprus issue and we analysed our view that steps should be taken to decrease, stop or rather reverse the military build-up (on the island republic)," he said.

    However, the Greek minister pointed out that this should begin "with aircraft, which are the most advanced weapons."

    "If there are no aircraft, there would be no anti-aircraft systems and then there could be a reduction in tanks which could slowly lead to a better climate," he said.

    Mr. Pangalos said that matters relating to the island republic's defence were the Cypriots' responsibility.

    "I do not want to go into technical terms. I am not a specialist nor a Cypriot. These issues will be discussed by the Cypriots," he said.

    Referring to Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Pangalos said he reiterated Athens' views that they cannot be improved while Turkey insists on its intransigent positions on the Aegean and the Cyprus question.

    "We agreed to stay in touch and try to find a solution to the problem through our close cooperation," he added.

    [02] ... Kosovo

    Discussion also included Greek-Turkish relations and the current crisis in Kosovo, on which the two countries agreed to maintain coordination of moves in the framework of international initiatives.

    "Regarding Kosovo, I think there is a coincidence of views between the EU and the United States on the need to maintain Yugoslavia's territorial integrity, but also to reach a political solution safeguarding the freedoms and the human rights of Kosovans ," he said. "Due to the mistrust that has been created, there is also a need for an intenational presence in the negotiations. Mr. (Felipe) Gonzales (the former Spanish premier), who is a representative of both the OSCE and the EU, could, in eithe r of his capacities, meet this need," Mr. Pangalos added.

    Asked if there had been any developments regarding US-sponsored sanctions against Yugoslavia, he said these were endorsed by the EU, including Greece, a week ago.

    Mr. Pangalos said US Defense Secretary William Cohen would visit Greece in April, while Ms Albright may visit in the summer.

    "We agreed to exchange visits of particular ministers to improve, as much as possible, the degree of economic exchanges and our cooperation...through political action," he said.

    The Greek foreign minister later met with US President Bill Clinton's national security advisor, Samuel Berger, at the White House.

    [03] Measures to upgrade Greek-language education abroad

    MONTREAL 23/03/1998 (ANA - I. Frangouli)

    Visiting Education Undersecretary Ioannis Anthopoulos on Saturday presented several new measures here to improve Greek language education overseas.

    The undersecretary announced the measures during an official dinner at Montreal's Greek Community Centre, on the occasion of celebrations marking Greek Independence Day on March 25.

    The event was attended by a number of local officials, deputies and representatives of Greek-Canadian organisations.

    According to Mr. Anthopoulos, measures include new courses, text books and seminars for Greek-language teachers.

    During the same event, Greece's consul general announced that the General Secretariat for Hellenes Abroad offered $40,000 to Montreal's Greek-language day schools.

    Events marking Greek Independence Day were also attended by a three-member delegation from the Greek Parliament, headed by deputy Grigoris Niotis. Events culminated yesterday with a school parade and the laying of memorial wreaths.

    [04] Albanian defence minister in Ioannina

    TIRANA 23/03/1998 (ANA - P. Haritos)

    Albanian Defence Minister Sabit Brokaj is scheduled to visit the northwestern city of Ioannina on March 28 for talks with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    Talks will focus on the creation of a Balkan peace force, which Greece and Bulgaria are promoting.

    [05] Cordovez in Athens

    NICOSIA 23/03/1998 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    The UN's special envoy for Cyprus, Diego Cordovez,arrives in Athens later today for contacts, after failing to revive talks between the Cyprus government and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    The UN Secretary General's envoy told reporters in Nicosia yesterday that Mr. Denktash insisted on equal status of the two in talks.

    Only Ankara, which Mr. Cordovez will visit after Athens, recognises the Denktash regime.

    [06] Papantoniou says drachma well-received into ERM

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Saturday that he was satisfied with the reception the drachma had received since being incorporated into the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) a week ago.

    Mr. Papantoniou was speaking to his European Union counterparts during their ECOFIN meeting in York, England on Saturday.

    In comments to the press, both Mr. Papantoniou and Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos said that their European Union counterparts had congratulated Greece not only for its decision to forge ahead towards the final phase of Economic and Monetary Un ion (EMU) but also for the "exceptional" handling of incorporating the drachma in ERM.

    He told reporters that Greece planned to reveal plans on the convergence programme for the Greek economy within the next month. Athens' goal, he said, remained adoption of the euro on Jan. 1, 2001. The eastern orientation of the EU's expansion and t he introduction of the euro were two important decisions which would result in the need for new financing, to enable the achievement of economic and social cohesion in the European Union, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    Financing of less-developed regions had to increase, in order to allow these regions to achieve high growth rates, he added.

    [07] Olympic work stoppage on Tuesday in light of gov't measures

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    Employees at state-owned Olympic Airways (OA) will hold a three-hour work stoppage on Tuesday to protest several recently announc ed government measures to revitalise the loss-making national carrier.

    The decision was taken at yesterday's general assembly of representatives of several OA employee unions, which examined the proposals handed to them by Olympic's management. Proposals include a freeze on wages, a 45-hour work week, abolition of various bonuses, cutbacks in the number of cabin crew and a reduction of routes.

    Employees' representatives and OA's management will meet on Tuesday to examine the alternate pr oposals put forth by the employees.

    On Saturday, OA's management unveiled a new five-year operational plan to the unions. The plan, which aims to save the national carrier from outright closure, envisages improved competitiveness, financial performance and productivity through a tightening of labour regulations, abolition of unprofitable routes, fleet renewal, strategic cooperation agreements with other airlines and development of non-core activities in ground handling and catering, as well as upgraded charter operations.

    [08] One-day conference on 'Agenda 2000'

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    "The European Union Ahead of New Challenges - Agenda 2000" was the title of a one-day seminar in Irakleio, Crete yesterday, attended by several PASOK Eurodeputies and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.

    In his address to participants, Mr. Kranidiotis referred to what he called the EU's "political and democratic deficit", which he said existed in spite of significant steps over the recent period.

    He further underlined that Greece could not afford to remain outside the Union's core, namely, Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    Paraskevas Avgerinos, the head of PASOK's Europarliament group, said the current period was very decisive as far as the Union's course was concerned, and very crucial for Greece.

    [09] Tsovolas says new tax raids planned by gov't

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    The leader of the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI), Dimitris Tsovolas, charged yesterday that the government is preparing a new tax raid, as well as restrictions on workers' personal and collective rights.

    Mr. Tsovolas was addressing a one-day DHKKI meeting entitled "Trade Union Movement, Labour Relations, Development and Unemployment".

    "The economy's globalisation aggravates social problems, instead of reducing them", he said, adding that modern technology was being used to reduce manpower.

    Regarding the recent drachma devaluation, Mr. Tsovolas claimed that over the past few days profiteers were making a fortune at the expense of the state treasury, while the working classes have witnessed a further reduction in their living standards.

    [10] Athina Onassis-Roussel on lightning visit to Athens

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    Athina Onassis-Roussel, the sole remaining heir to the massive Onassis fortune arrived in Athens on Saturday accompanied by her father and family.

    According to reports, the reason for the visit was an upcoming trial in the continuing legal battle between the Onassis Foundation and Thierry Roussel, Athina's controversial father.

    Mr. Roussel reportedly attempted to smooth over relations with the Foundation, following a bitter exchange over the past year over issues affecting Athina's fortune.

    The 13-year-old heiress visited the Acropolis yesterday.

    Afterwards, Mr. Roussel said that he was confident he would win a court battle on April 3, following a lawsuit by Onassis Foundation's board against him on charges of maliciously filing a lawsuit and slander.

    "I'm optimistic about the outcome of the trial because I do have evidence, but also because I'm telling the truth," he told reporters.

    Mr. Roussel and his children, including Athina, arrived in Athens on Saturday for a short two-day visit.

    The mother of Athina was the late Christina Onassis, the only daughter of late shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.

    According to sources, Mr. Roussel has launched a legal counter-offensive against the Onassis Foundation, members of whom have questioned his ability to raise Athina.

    "(Due to her age) the time has come for Athina to understand certain situations and become aware of some issues. It is now time for her to get to know her roots in greater detail. She herself will decide what she wants to do when she is 18 years old," Mr. Roussel said.

    He claimed he had arranged the Athens trip "so that Athina can forget what she and her family have recently been through, due to people at the Onassis Foundation."

    Mr. Roussel and his children visited the site of Aristotle Onassis' home, which has since been demolished, in the coastal district of Glyfada. They were dinner guests on Saturday of the late tycoon's sister, Kalliroe Patronikola.

    The Roussel family was due to leave Athens last night.

    [11] KKE, Synaspismos on racism

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    An announcement by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), issued yesterday on the occasion of the "World Day Against Racism", underlined the party's determination to maintain the struggle against this phenomenon, as well as to support victims of racist attitudes and practices.

    KKE said poverty, border changes, unbridled nationalism and unemployment breed racist attitudes in modern societies.

    It further said that the surge in racism over the last few years in Greece, as it claimed, was the result of a total retreat brought about by the collapse of the "socialist system" in Europe.

    Referring the Balkans, KKE said cultivation of racist attitudes was an ingredient of the..."new order of things" in order to subjugate nations, keep them divided and unable to deal with "imperialist activity and the anti-popular policy of governments and the European Union".

    KKE further said that it was a contradiction that the government was, on the one hand, granting "green cards" to undocumented workers, while on the other, it has done nothing to deal with what it called "Albanophobia".

    [12] ... Synaspismos

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) also issued a similar announcement to mark the international day against racism, in which it stressed that "racist violence and exploitation" were evident in Greece.

    Synaspismos said required measures to fight crime should not lead to a "general pogrom" against foreigners, nor to phenomena of racism and xenophobia.

    The party said that the continuation of the legalisation process for all foreigners is urgent.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday that Greece will fight against racism everywhere, placing emphasis on the Council of Europe (CoE) in view of the upcoming Greek presidency.

    Mr. Papandreou added that the idea of equal development of social freedoms and democracy could not exist together with racist violence and ghettos.

    [13] Several people charged with cocaine trafficking

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    Seven individuals were arrested Saturday in Athens' upscale Kolonaki district on drug trafficking and possession charges.

    Among the suspects detained are 38-year-old Italian national Rafael Saripoli, Simeon Papastratos, 25, Vanessa Servietiadou, 20, and 20-year-old Francescos Xydakis.

    According to police, more than 300 grams of cocaine and small quantities of hashish were found in two of the suspects' residences, as well as precision scales and cash in Greek and foreign currency.

    The suspects appeared before a public prosecutor, who is expected to file charges.

    On Sunday, the Papastratos cigarette-maker released a press statement stressing that Simeon Papastratos is a distant relative to the founders and current owners of the company, and not an heir, as several news outlets had reported.

    [14] More illegals brought from Turkey detained on Aegean islands

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    Port authorities detained 25 Iraqi illegal immigrants on the eastern Aegean island of Samos yesterday, while two crewmembers from a Turkish fishing boat are being questioned in connection with the illegals' arrival.

    According to reports, none of the illegals had identified the Turkish fishermen as the smugglers that brought them to the island from Turkey. The fishing vessel had been spotted about 500 metres from the spot where the Iraqis were found.

    The Iraqi nationals include 14 men, seven women and four children. Five individuals were transferred to the island's hospital suffering from exposure.

    Meanwhile, authorities on the island of Kalymnos said yesterday they had detained 13 illegal immigrants on the island of Pserimo on Saturday. The 13 illegals, 12 Iraqi nationals and one Iranian, all males, said they had been transported to the islet from the Asia Minor coast by two Turkish smugglers for US$2000 each.

    The 13 are currently being held at the Kalymnos police station.

    [15] Verdict in songwriter's murder trial expected today

    Athens 23/03/1998 (ANA)

    A verdict is expected today by a Kavala court in the murder trial of a well-known Greek popular songwriter.

    Akis Panou is on trial for the fatal shooting of his daughter's married boyfriend last August. His daugther is currently carrying the victim's unborn child.

    Defence attorneys have argued that the killing of Sotiris Yialamas was not premedidated, but was committed during the "heat of the moment" and under "emotional duress".

    Public prosecutor Dimitris Papageorgiou on Friday requested that Mr. Panou be convicted on the murder charge without extenuating circumstances being recognised.

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