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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] EU accession negotiations with six candidate-states to officially begin on Nov. 10
  • [02] Greek stocks end flat, brushing off plunge in previous session
  • [03] Primary budget spending rises 9.1 pct in January-August
  • [04] Greek shipping registry loses ships but gains tonnage in Sept
  • [05] Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken to open more outlets in Greece
  • [06] Defendory '98 trade fair begins in Piraeus today
  • [07] Athens Medical launches quality assurance programme
  • [08] Commerce association welcomes voluntary price declines
  • [09] PM receives GSEE, ADEDY leaderships
  • [10] Thessaloniki doctors vote to continue strike
  • [11] Gov't delegation to visit DEH plant site
  • [12] Athens blames Ankara for Turkish-Syrian tension
  • [13] Athens expresses 'serious reservations' over potential NATO strikes in Kosovo
  • [14] Kranidiotis-Pickering talks in Washington
  • [15] Solana in Athens on Friday
  • [16] Athens on upcoming visit by Russian defence minister
  • [17] Parliament's third session begins
  • [18] ESP meeting in Vienna focuses on EU's external policy
  • [19] Apostolakis receives Iranian counterpart Ghazizadeh
  • [20] Premier defends policy in regard to local gov't
  • [21] Kaklamanis receives Kyprianou
  • [22] Tsohatzopoulos addresses seminar on int'l peace-keeping operations
  • [23] V. Papandreou lauds defence-related joint productions
  • [24] Burns' statement regarding 'Defendory '98'
  • [25] Congress' Gilman says military imbalance exists between Turkey, Greece
  • [26] OSCE high commissioner for ethnic minorities to attend Athens meeting
  • [27] Ethiopian national given suspended sentence for '95 OA incident
  • [28] Official: Study proves Athens' smog among Europe's worst
  • [29] Thessaloniki braces for water shortage

  • [01] EU accession negotiations with six candidate-states to officially begin on Nov. 10

    LUXEMBOURG 06/10/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Substantive negotiations between the European Union and six candidate- countries will start on Nov. 10, according to a unanimous decision taken here by the EU states' 15 foreign ministers yesterday.

    The decision is included in a communique containing conclusions reached during yesterday's Council of Foreign Ministers' meeting in Luxembourg.

    The six candidate-countries are Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Cyprus.

    Referring to Cyprus, the communique stated that the EU's target is the creation of "a bi-zonal and bi-communal state based on the overall political settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of relevant UN resolutions."

    It added that "progress achieved in the accession course of Cyprus, as well as those linked to a viable and just solution to the Cyprus issue will naturally support each other."

    The Council also expressed regret over the fact that a solution has not yet been found to the continuing division of Cyprus.

    The Council noted in the communique that due to the political situation prevailing in Cyprus a detailed examination of the island republic's adjustment to EU acquired rights cannot possibly cover Cyprus' territory in its entirety. This is so, it added, be cause a Cypriot government proposal for the Turkish Cypriot community to participate in a delegation negotiating Cyprus' EU accession was rejected.

    Speaking to reporters yesterday afternoon, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos expressed his satisfaction over references made to Cyprus.

    Replying to a question by a British reporter on whether the accession of a divided Cyprus into the EU would be feasible, Mr. Pangalos pointed to the example of Germany which, although divided, was among the countries which played a leading role in the course towards European unification, as he noted.

    Replying to another question, Mr. Pangalos referred to efforts by France, primarily, to link the accession of Cyprus to the EU with a solution to the Cyprus issue. He said that once again France raised a similar issue and that again it received the nece ssary reply.

    Speaking to French reporters, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine reiterated Paris' positions on Cyprus, which have been known over the past year or so. He conceded that accession negotiations for Cyprus will start on Nov. 10, but added that the problem of the possible accession of a divided Cyprus must preoccupy the European Council in the future.

    Referring to the issue of financial aid for Turkey through EU funds, Mr. Pangalos said that as is anticipated by the decision taken at the Cardiff summit the European Commission must submit relevant proposals. Replying to a question on whether Greece will continue to raise objections, Mr. Pangalos said that this will depend on the content of the proposals which the Commission will be submitting soon.

    On his part, Austrian Foreign Minister and current European Union Council President Wolfgang Schuessel also reiterated that substantive EU accession negotiations will begin on Nov. 10.

    Mr. Schuessel said that at an initial stage, negotiations will start in seven of approximately 30 sectors in which candidate-countries must agree with the EU on the completion of processes for their accession.

    He added that the decision on accession negotiations with the "six" was taken unanimously, stressing that in the case of Cyprus the EU acted on the basis of Luxembourg summit conclusions (December 1997).

    He also expressed hope that accession negotiations will help efforts aimed at a solution to the Cyprus issue, adding that the EU desires a solution based on UN resolutions on a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation.

    Efforts by many national delegations, primarily France's, to attach the completion of processes for the island republic's accession with a solution to the Cyprus issue, were met by a strong reaction from the Greek delegation.

    Mr. Pangalos said that the sole reference which he could accept for Cyprus (apart from those already agreed at the Cardiff and Luxembourg summits) in the finalised communiques of yesterday's session would be the attribution of responsibilities over deve lopments on the Cyprus issue, as well as the rejection of a proposal by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides for participation of the Turkish Cypriots in accession negotiations, to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    France claimed, according to sources, that Cyprus' accession to the EU must be linked to a solution to the political problem of Cyprus. This view was clearly shared by the Dutch delegation and, in part, by Germany. Luxembourg was explicitly opposed to the view.

    Speaking to German reporters, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said that the Cyprus problem must not be used as a pretext to obstruct the overall enlargement process.

    Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini expressed the wish that accession negotiations will assist in a solution to the political problem of Cyprus.

    Referring to Turkey, he spoke of the need for the disbursement of the EU funds and said that the issue of relations with Turkey must be discussed at the summit in December.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greek stocks end flat, brushing off plunge in previous session

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities finished slightly lower in highly volatile trade yesterday, regaining some equilibrium after a 7.32 percent plunge in the previous session triggered by a global financial crisis.

    Traders said the market was nervous in the wake of renewed turmoil in international markets, attributing a partial recovery of the market to bargain-hunting and speculative buying.

    The Athens general index ended 0.15 percent off at 1,889.69 points, sharply off the day's lows early in the session when the market lost around 4.0 percent.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 42.9 billion drachmas on 8,875,000 shares traded.

    Sector indices closed mixed.

    The heavily weighted banking sector fell 0.10 percent, Insurance rose 0.38 percent, Investment ended 0.26 percent up, Leasing dropped 2.34 percent, Industrials fell 0.04 percent, Construction rose 0.99 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.20 percent up and Holding eased 2.33 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.11 percent higher, and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue-chip index fell 0.26 percent to 1,135.39 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 129 to 104 with another 11 issues unchanged.

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, Teletypos, Hellenic Petroleum and Ideal were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Mouriadis, Marfin Invest, Papoutsanis, Aegek, Ridenco, Desmos, Macedonian Plastics, Dimitriadis and Riopesca scored the biggest percentage gains at or near the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Elfico, Dane Sea Line, Delta Inform, Development Invest, Viosol, Vioter, Athinea, Sarantis, Ideal and Gekat suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 33,900 drachmas, Ergobank at 20,700, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,600, Ionian Bank at 9,450, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,220, Delta Dairy at 2,960, Intracom at 9,120, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,290, Titan Cement at 15,790 and Minoan Lines at 5,400 points.

    Gov't to keep same economic policy despite global crisis : Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that there was no need to change the government's economic policy because of an international financial crisis that has badly hit markets.He noted that current economic policy was effective and repeated that the country's goal of participating in European economic and monetary union was of national significance. The government's target date for EMU entry is January 1, 2001. Reppas was replying to reporters' questions.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Primary budget spending rises 9.1 pct in January-August

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Primary budget spending rose 9.1 percent in January-August compared with the same period last year, exceeding a targeted 6.3 percent increase, according to government figures released yesterday.

    Spending on interest also exceeded this year's target of almost zero growth, marking a 7.0 percent increase in January to August.

    Higher spending on interest reflected the impact of the drachma's 13.8 percent devaluation on March 14 accompanying entry into the European Union's exchange rate mechanism; and the repercussions on domestic interest rates of market turmoil abroad.

    If the same rate of increase on interest is maintained, then the target will be exceeded by more than 100 billion drachmas by the end of the year, economists said.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek shipping registry loses ships but gains tonnage in Sept

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Four ships of 134,104 gross tons were registered in the Greek shipping registry in September, while 10 ships totaling 118,661 gross tons left the register in the same month, the merchant marine ministry said yesterday. Although the net result was six fewer ships for the registry, tonnage increased.

    The new registrations, three tankers and one bulk carrier, were young vessels, the ministry said in a statement.

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis congratulated operators Carras Hellas Ltd and Thenamaris (Ships Management) Inc. on their decision to raise the Greek flag on three ships - the Aquabella, Aquadonna and tanker Seastar.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken to open more outlets in Greece

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Food Plus AEBE, a company representing international restaurant chains Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Greece, plans a rapid expansion in Greece, opening many new outlets.

    Haris Stavrou, the chairman and managing director of Food Plus, told a news conference yesterday that Pizza Hut was expected to have 30 restaurants around the country by the end of the year, and 40 by 2001.

    Of the total, 27 will be in Attica, two in Thessaloniki and one in Iraklio, Crete. Kentucky Fried Chicken currently operates four restaurants in Attica and is to launch another three this year.

    Mr. Stavrou forecast that at the current rate of growth, KFC would have 40 restaurants by 2003 around Greece.

    "The successful operation of Pizza Hut restaurants has led us to further develop the chain, especially in Greece's major cities. KFC restaurants have performed equally well, Mr Stavrou said.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Defendory '98 trade fair begins in Piraeus today

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Defendory '98, an international trade fair for conventional defence systems, begins in Piraeus today at the port authority's seafront exhibition centre.

    Among firms taking part in the trade fair, which ends on October 10, is Hellenic Arms Industry, which is to present nine new products resulting from joint ventures.

    The products include Shorad mobile anti-aircraft missile systems and Milan anti-tank missile launchers.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Athens Medical launches quality assurance programme

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Athens Medical, a listed member of the Apostolopoulos Group, has begun implementing a quality assurance system in the hospital, based on the ISO 9001 standard, it said in a statement yesterday.

    The contract to apply ISO standards in the hospital was made with the Athens Centre for the Environment and Management of Total Quality Projects (QUS).

    Athens Medical has already carried out a training programme for its senior executives and internal inspectors on the basic principles of quality management and on specific ISO standards.

    The training programme for executives was carried out by QMI Scotland Limited, an international consultancy firm whose programmes are recognised by UK authorities.

    QUS and QMI are discussing an exclusive joint agreement to expand activities into the Balkans, eastern Europe and the Middle East.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Commerce association welcomes voluntary price declines

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    An agreement forged by the development ministry and trade groups to reduce the prices of selected goods will help consumer price inflation to decline, aiding entry into European economic and monetary union by 2001, the National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) said yesterday.

    At the same time, the government should lower taxes for commerce and introduce index-linked taxation in order to boost competitiveness, ESEE officials told a news conference.

    The government should also lower rates charged by public utilities including electricity, telephone and water, some of which had risen sharply this year, the officials said.

    In addition, the confederation called on the government to speed up its privatisation programme in order to offload the crippling deficits that were ultimately shouldered by taxpayers, and could delay EMU entry. Finally, the officials said a study by

    ESEE had shown that this year's summer sales had brought poor returns with 65 percent of storeowners questioned saying that turnover was lower than last year.

    The study was based on a sample of 150 stores including textiles, apparel, footwear, household linen and electrical goods, sectors that traditionally show robust turnover in the sales.

    According to the study, sales were roughly 20 percent lower than in the same period last year, with some instances reported of a 30 percent drop.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] PM receives GSEE, ADEDY leaderships

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis met yesterday with the leaderships of the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) and the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE).

    Both GSEE and ADEDY presidents, Christos Polyzogopoulos and Yiannis Koutsoukos, respectively, said after a working lunch that they had outlined their organisations' views to the prime minister regarding government policies on wages, taxation, employment , as well as calling for a social policy on a national and European level.

    Mr. Simitis reportedly acknowledged requests regarding social sensitivity and the support of economically weaker groups among working people, within the narrow parameters prescribed for Greece's accession to the European Monetary Union, however.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Thessaloniki doctors vote to continue strike

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Doctors in Thessaloniki decided during a general assembly yesterday to continue their strike for a fifth consecutive week, ignoring a recommendation by their administrative council to end the strike.

    The decision, taken with a large majority, as well as charges of "submission to party legality" made by many doctors against council members affiliated to the pro-government union PASK, led the president of the Union of Hospital Doctors and other four council members to tender their resignations.

    Resigned council president Thrasyvoulos Ventouris interpreted the decision as an expression of the doctors' indignation over what is happening in the public health sector. He added that the decision could be the start to many developments both at politi cal level, at the Health Ministry, and in the organisation of the National Health System (ESY) which, as he said, needs deep changes.

    Referring to the development of the strike, Mr. Ventouris appeared reserved over its success due to the doctors' fatigue.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Gov't delegation to visit DEH plant site

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis leads a high-ranking government delegation to the port of Lavrion today, to inspect the site of a Public Power Corp. plant and be briefed on extensive works being undertaken at the port.

    Accompanying Mr. Simitis will be Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, Labour and Welfare Minister Miltiades Papaioannou, Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis, Undersecretary to the Prime Minister's Office George Paschalidis and Development Undersecretary Anna Diamantopoulou.

    A number of ministry officials will also be present.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Athens blames Ankara for Turkish-Syrian tension

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday attributed responsibility to Ankara for the recent tension between Turkey and Syria.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said all countries should take steps to ensure a climate of stability and security in the region.

    "Turkey dynamites all attempts at creating such a climate," Mr. Reppas added in the context of Greek-Turkish relations.

    The spokesman underlined the need for "good faith, a desire to reach an understanding and the behaviour one would expect from a good neighbour".

    In addition, he said, problems should be resolved on the basis of international law.

    Tension between Turkey and Syria has worsened recently, with Damascus concerned at Ankara's growing military ties with Israel and Turkey accusing Syria of supporting Kurdish separatists.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Athens expresses 'serious reservations' over potential NATO strikes in Kosovo

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Athens reiterated yesterday that it had "serious reservations" about the undertaking of any military action to resolve the conflict in the strife- torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement when asked what stance Greece would adopt in the event of a military intervention by NATO.

    "The solution to the crisis must be political and found through dialogue," Mr. Reppas said, expressing the hope that consultations currently under way will yield positive results.

    "There must be no more bloodshed in the region," the spokesman stressed.

    Replying to other questions, Mr. Reppas said it was too early for Greece to make known all its positions regarding the issue of whether it would take part in any military intervention in Kosovo or whether it would make all its military installations ava ilable for use by NATO forces.

    Greece, Bulgaria and Romania on Sunday called for a ceasefire in Kosovo in order to pave the way for a political solution and to avert intervention by NATO.

    "The (countries') three leaders make an urgent and dramatic appeal to all sides involved, and in particular to Yugoslav authorities, to work for a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Kosovo...namely, a ceasefire should be put immediately into effect, " a joint statement by the three countries read.

    The declaration was released after talks in Delphi over the weekend between PM Costas Simitis, Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and Romanian President Emil Constantinescu.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Kranidiotis-Pickering talks in Washington

    WASHINGTON 06/10/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis/A.Podimata)

    US Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Thomas Pickering received Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis here yesterday for talks on developments over the Cyprus issue, in the light of a new initiative by the UN Secretary- General.

    The two men also discussed the crisis in Kosovo and the situation in Turkey during talks at the State Department. The meeting was held at Mr. Pickering's request.

    Mr. Kranidiotis, who is currently visiting the US with the main purpose of promoting Greece's candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, held talks in New York last week on the Cyprus issue and the content of the UN Secretary-General's initiative with Richard Holbrooke, Thomas Miller, David Hannay, Ann Hercus and Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.

    Speaking to Greek reporters in Washington, Mr. Kranidiotis termed "useful and interesting" his meeting with Mr. Pickering. He said its main conclusion was that there are many points of convergence in the views of Greece and the US, at least with regard to long-term targets.

    The issue of the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles was also discussed, while Mr. Kranidiotis said that as far as Greece is concerned the latest initiative by the UN Secretary-General is a move in the direction of easing tension and possibly the restriction of armaments but it is not adequate by itself to justify a postponement in the deployment of the missiles on the island.

    Referring to developments in Kosovo, Mr. Kranidiotis assessed that the next three days will be crucial since it will be defined whether N ATO will intervene, adding that Greece has a reserved position on the use of force and insists on diplomatic means.

    The two officials also discussed the situation in Turkey and Ankara's negative stance regarding the Aegean and Greek-Turkish relations in general.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Solana in Athens on Friday

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana will be in Athens on Friday and will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis later the same day, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said he had no new information on the dialogue between Greece and Turkey at NATO under Mr. Solana's auspices and did not comment on press reports that there had been a recent meeting between Greek and Turkish officials on the issue, saying that it was Mr. Solana's as well as Athens' and Ankara's wish that these talks remain confidential.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Athens on upcoming visit by Russian defence minister

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday said a forthcoming visit by Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev to Athens was an "significant event".

    "We want close cooperation with Russia at all levels," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters. Details of Mr. Sergeyev's visit are not yet ready, but according to press sources he will have talks with Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, a nd probably meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Parliament's third session begins

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament's third session was inaugurated yesterday with a customary blessing delivered by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos. Following the ceremony, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis announced that the election for the Parliament's committee chairmanships would take place later in the day. According to the legislature's agenda, the first bill to be discussed will be bourse regulations, scheduled for today. Meanwhile, it was reiterated that all Parliament sessions will be transmit ted on the Internet at
    Athens News Agency

    [18] ESP meeting in Vienna focuses on EU's external policy

    VIENNA 06/10/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis/D. Stamboglis)

    European socialist party leaders participating in a European Socialist Party meeting (ESP) here agreed that the EU's external policy, as well as principles of international law, human rights, democratic proc esses and international legality should be implemented in a uniform way, with no discrimination and selectivity.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who is representing PASOK president Costas Simitis in the ESP meeting and Cypriot Socialist EDEK party leader Vassos Lyssarides, underlined the need for such a foreign policy to be implemented for Cyprus, a position referred to in the general formulation of the ESP leaders' position.

    The meeting, whose main topic was "Europe's future in relation to increased expectations by citizens", was held in preparation of a top-level meeting of EU leaders' meeting in Austria on Oct. 24-25, as well as the EU Vienna summit on Dec. 11-12.

    Participants in the ESP meeting stressed the need to strengthen socialist and social-democratic policies in the new century, to lend weigth to the vision of a new Europe, to deal with new problems facing humanity.

    In that context, socialist leaders examined Europe's new role, the world's economic reality and the current crisis, in conjunction with the common currency and the social model envisaged by the socialists.

    Special emphasis was placed on policies to effectively deal with employment, the environment, education, culture and institutions.

    Addressing the meeting, Mr. Papandreou underlined that Athens was in favour of "subsidiarity" insofar as this meant greater participation by citizens and more effective solutions to practical matters.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Apostolakis receives Iranian counterpart Ghazizadeh

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis yesterday met yesterday with his Iranian counterpart Seyed-Ziaaldin Ghazizadeh, who is heading Tehran's delegation to the international weapons exhibition "Defendory '98".

    The exhibition is taking place at the Piraeus port authority's exhibition centre this week.

    The two men discussed bilateral issues and relations, Balkan and Persian Gulf peace prospects, while Mr. Apostolakis accepted Mr. Ghazizadeh's invitation to visit Iran.

    The Greek undersecretary is expected to meet with his counterparts from other nations over the next few days.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Premier defends policy in regard to local gov't

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis last night defended his government's policy with regard to local government while speaking at a rally outside the election office of the PASOK-backed candidate for Piraeus.

    Mr. Simitis underlined that Sunday's local and prefectural elections provided citizens with a chance to have their say on what he called a "forward-oriented policy", as well as for an "independent, creative and developemental local government."

    However, Mr. Simitis acknowledged that local government was facing certain problems, but added that this was natural for all new institutions, such as the Kapodistrias programme.

    The rally was also attended by several cabinet members, including Environment Minister Costas Laliotis, Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis, Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos, among others.

    After his speech, the prime minister paid a short visit to the electoral office of the PASOK-backed candidate for the post of Piraeus prefect.

    Gov't spokesman : The government will not be judged during the upcoming municipal and prefectural elections, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas replied yesterday.

    He added that the results will include a message, but he added that the government's work will be judged during the 2000 elections, saying the government will not yield to those who will interpret the election results as a rebuke against the government.

    Answering a question related to Mr. Simitis' visit to Piraeus, he said that the premier was a long-time deputy from that election district.

    Furthermore, he said that the government is present every time the country has elections, while when asked if Mr. Simitis will visit mayoral candidate Maria Damanaki's election centre, he said that PASOK and Mr. Simitis support specific candidates all over the country, and as for Athens, that has not changed.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Kaklamanis receives Kyprianou

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Visiting Cypriot House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou and Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis met in Athens yesterday, both stressing that the Cyprus problem was currently at a very delicate phase.

    A Parliament announcement said the two men referred to recent efforts to restart stalled intercommunal talks on Cyprus, stressing that Athens' target was the island republic's EU accession, which would also help resolve the Cyprus issue.

    Referring to the US role in the long-running problem, the two men underlined that "despite its proclaimed intensions", Washington eventually did not work on the issue as an objective third party, which resulted in a delay in the already pending issue, the announcement said.

    Mr. Kaklamanis also met with Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas.

    Mr. Tsovolas said afterwards that he told Mr. Kyprianou that "any consideration to cancel the installation of the (Russian-built S-300) missiles will be catastrophic and would open the way to 'closing' the problem, instead of finding a just and viable s olution".

    The DHKKI leader further underlined that US pressure should be put on Turkey, not Greece, to show respect for international law.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Tsohatzopoulos addresses seminar on int'l peace-keeping operations

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday stressed the significance Greece places on peace-keeping operations.

    He was speaking during the opening of a seminar on "Civil and Military Aspects of Peace-Keeping Operations", organised by the national defence general staff and held under the aegis of the Euro-Atlantic Alliance Council.

    The seminar, which runs through Thursday, aims at recognition of the civil and military relations that need to be developed to ensure that all the purposes of future multi-lateral peace-keeping operations are fully attained.

    The seminar will examine the recent peace-keeping operations in Bosnia, Albania and Somalia.

    Delegates include 70 representatives from NATO member-states and countries participating in NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme.

    Earlier, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed the need for Greece's defence industry to join the European armaments programme in order to survive and improve its competitiveness.

    Opening a day-seminar orgranised by the Federation of Greek Defence Materiel Manufacturers, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos noted that at a time when defence industries were merging on a world-wide scale, Greece could not possibly operate with "small shops".

    Turning to the prospect of a NATO intervention in Kosovo, the Greek minister reiterated Athens' firm position that such an eventuality required a decision of the UN Security Council and a new NATO political decision.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] V. Papandreou lauds defence-related joint productions

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday described joint production as the best course for the local defence industry and foreign investors.

    Addressing a conference of the Federation of Greek Defence Materials Manufacturers on the subject of "Armaments-Cooperation Among Defence Industries-Economy", she said that offset benefits that can result from the armaments programme will constitute a lever for the development of the country's defence industry. She added that the decisive factor in success is for foreign suppliers to be obliged to present binding contracts with Greek suppliers before the signing of contracts. Referring in particular to state-run defence industries, Ms Papandreou said their dependence on the state to such a great degree allowed for interventions which did not lead to rational manning, resulting in the swelling of the operational costs with the known negative results. Mai n opposition New Democracy party deputy Alexandros Papadongonas proposed the restructuring of state- run defence industries. Among others, he said that overlapping should stop in the production of similar materials by various units and units considered to be unproductive must be abolished.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Burns' statement regarding 'Defendory '98'

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns yesterday issued a statement stressing Washington's interest in the modernisation of the Hellenic Armed Forces.

    Mr. Burns' statement was released on the occasion of the opening of a US pavilion at the international weapons exhibition "Defendory '98", taking place at the Piraeus port authority trade centre this week. According to a press release, Mr. Burns noted that "the United States pavilion in Defendory this year is the largest national exhibit and the biggest American showing ever. Forty-nine US companies are displaying the latest in American high technology products and services." Furthermore, Mr. Burns sai d US companies "understand the importance of defence-related industrial co-production (offsets) here in Greece...partnerships can be realised during the coming months, if decisions are made to utilise US systems."

    Finally, he said that the "US government supports Greece's military modernisation programme..."

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Congress' Gilman says military imbalance exists between Turkey, Greece

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    The first official US recognition of an imbalance of military power between Turkey and Greece was welcomed yesterday by several Greek-American leaders, according to an announcement by the Washington-based National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes organisation.

    The organisation stated that US Congressman Ben Gilman, chairman of the international relations committee of the US House of Representatives, said following his talks at the US State Department and Pentagon and regarding an inquiry over the sale of advanced jet fighters to Greece, he was "convinced that it was necessary to rectify the imbalance between Greece and Turkey."

    Mr. Gilman added that he was now inclined to support the sale of advanced fighter aircraft to Greece, which would lessen the gap between Greece and Turkey's air capabilities, provided that such a sale is done in a manner that will promote stability and reduce tensions in the region.

    The announcement added that Mr. Gilman was also urging the US administration to adhere to an earlier timetable for accomplishing this objective.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] OSCE high commissioner for ethnic minorities to attend Athens meeting

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    The High Commissioner for ethnic minorities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Max van der Stoel, will attend a meeting in Athens on Thursday focusing on the "Greek dimension" of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    The meeting has been organised by the Andreas Papandreou Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISTAME), the newly established "Centre for the Protection of Human Rights and the Foundation for Mediterranean Studies", on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the declaration's adoption by the UN General Assembly.

    It will also be attended by Ibrahim Fal, the UN's assistant secretary- general for political affairs.

    Speakers will include Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and the president of the Centre for the Protection of Human Rights, Maria Vassiliou.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Ethiopian national given suspended sentence for '95 OA incident

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    An Athens court yesterday handed down a six-month suspended sentence to an Ethiopian national for illegal possession and use of a weapon, a knife, during a half-hearted attempt to hijack an Olympic Airways passenger jet in November 1995.

    Melaku Makebet held an OA a flight attendant hostage before television cameras at the door of the plane with a butter knife at her throat, demanding political asylum. He had been deported from Australia, while awaiting an appeal from that country's high courts regarding his request for political asylum. He told Greek authorities after his arrest that he was a journalist in Ethiopia, claiming he feared imprisonment if he returned to the Horn of Africa.

    An earlier court ruling acquitted Makebet of hijacking charges.

    Athens News Agency

    [28] Official: Study proves Athens' smog among Europe's worst

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Athens has the worst benzoline pollution levels among six European cities taking part in a programme to record the pollutant, Athens prefectural authorities announced yesterday.

    The programme was implemented in Greece by the Athens prefecture in cooperation with the health and epidemiology department of Athens University Medical School.

    Taking part along with Athens were the cities of Copenhagen, Padua, Murcia, Antwerp and Rouen.

    According to the results of the programme, average levels of the pollutant in Athens were between twice and eight times the maximum permissible level advised by the World Health Organisation, namely 15 milligrammes per cubic metre of air.

    At a meeting yesterday chaired by Athens Prefect Dimitris Efstathiadis, a number of decisions were taken aimed at confronting the threat to the health of citizens in the greater Athens region.

    These include demands for the introduction of a card verifying that emissions of benzoline from cars with catalytic converters are within prescribed limits and the establishment of maximum levels of benzoline pollution for the taking of emergency measures.

    In addition, the prefecture will seek the further expansion of the existing pollution measurement network and the formation of a special committee of experts to evaluate the effectiveness of measures taken and recommend, when necessary, the taking of ad ditional measures.

    Benzoline is a carcinogenic pollutant and scientists in Greece have recently urged action to reduce the high levels in the Athens area.

    In July, the environmental organisation "Greenpeace" said that the cloud of pollution which often hangs over Athens was responsible for thousands of premature deaths annually.

    Greenpeace said the measurements in particular for benzoline and micro- particles in Athens were among the highest recorded in Europe.

    Athens News Agency

    [29] Thessaloniki braces for water shortage

    Athens 06/10/1998 (ANA)

    Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, was facing problems with its water supply on Monday, in the wake of rolling 24-hour strikes since Saturday by workers at the city's Water Company.

    Residents of the city were expected to face long delays in the repair of any faults and erratic provision, given that only skeleton staff was on duty during the strike.

    Workers called the strike to press for changes to the government's plans to merge the city's water and sewerage agencies. They want subsidiary organisations that will be established under the merger to be controlled by the state and, possibly, local aut horities.

    They also want local authority representatives on the board of directors of the new authority to arise from the merger and current work contracts to remain in force until the establishement of a new board and approval of new working regulations.

    Athens News Agency

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