|Monday, 11 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-26
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis terms informal EU summit as 'positive','useful'
POERTSCHACH 26/10/1998 (ANA - S. Liarellis/M. Spinthourakis)Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that the European Union's informal summit was positive because it reconfirmed the need for a common stance on international economic developments, the need to promote the unification process as well as for Europe to take steps forward.
Consequently, he termed the summit useful and added that its conclusions will be helpful, while noting that decisions are not taken at an informal summit.
On the question of the Union's Common Foreign Policy and Security Policy, Mr. Simitis said that all agree that decisions taken must be realised to enable Europe to have a role and a presence.
Mr. Simitis referred in particular to the issue of employment and the European social model, saying that all agree that it constitutes a main issue for Europe and that defining new policies to decrease unemployment are necessary. He also noted that following a change in government in Germany and Italy a different disposition appears to exist for more determination on these issues but, as he said, the disposition was merely expressed at this time.
Mr. Simitis said that despite different approaches by the "15" there is a common direction in that initiatives must be undertaken to handle the international crisis. In any case, he added, this issue will also be discussed at the Vienna summit in early December where, as it has been disclosed, the 15 EU finance and monetary affairs ministers will have to make specific proposals.
At the same time, he said, the "15" agree that the European economy has positive performances to show (a positive rate of development despite its expected decrease in 1999 compared to predictions), which is due to the process leading to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the prospect of a unified currency, etc.
Mr. Simitis referred to the decision taken by the "15" on the need to reform the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an increase in its available funds and the need to define a common European strategy at all international forums, such as the G-7.
An extensive discussion on the situation in Russia and Japan was also held at the summit.
Mr. Simitis said that the common conclusion was that the decrease in inflation in Europe justifies the existence of developments on the interest rate front which, however, will be examined by EU member-states' central bankers.
Apart from the economic policy issues, the questions of internal security and the handling of crime were also discussed. Mr. Simitis said that there is a joint conviction that better cooperation and common policies for handling these problems are necess ary.
Mr. Simitis said that crime emanating from economic immigration concerns all countries and all must contribute to its tackling. In any case, he added, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema said that his country cannot handle the problem alone and it must be examined by all at a European level.
Mr. Simitis said that the majority of EU leaders appeared not to share the view of French President Jacques Chirac for the need to enact a common tax policy since each country has its individualities although, as he said, many believe that that there must be no competition differences due to different tax settlements in each country.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the summit, Mr. Simitis again appealed to all of the country's social partners to make a positive contribution in the effort to combat inflation.
On the occasion of the discussion held between the "15" on the prospect of decreasing interest rates at a European-wide level in the effort to handle the international crisis, a speedup in development and combatting unemployment, Mr. Simitis observed that there is an acceptance by the majority of citizens in Greece for accession to EMU but, as he said, apart from acceptance of the target acceptance of measures is also necessary to enable them to produce results.
"When we will achieve accession to EMU then the interest rates will fall very quickly to approach the lower interest rates of EU countries, resulting in more investments and more jobs," he said.
Mr. Simitis said that it is a common conviction that this is the sole course to combat unemployment and for stability, while there will also be more funds for other policies, such as health and education, as a result of this development.
Mr. Simitis said that a drastic decrease in inflation is necessary in Greece and the role played by interest rates is different since there can be no correlations between the situation in Greece and that in the EU.
Simitis memo to counterparts : The need to revive the "European plan" and to give a new vision to the European Union's citizens was the focal point of Mr. Simitis' memorandum, which he presented on Saturday night.
The seven-point text centres on the question "After EMU, What?", attempting to provide answers to developments after the adoption of the euro.
Mr. Simitis wants policy to become a top priority again and a wider plan must be created on European political union which will extend beyond finances and the EMU to the building of a democratic and social Europe which will be close to citizens. At the same, a European Union which will live up to the needs and ambitions of European society, and will have a high level of social cohesion, will be capable of contributing to the handling of international crises. He further said that a large number of Europe an citizens feel disappointed by European institutions and its policies. The seven points are as follows:
- The EU must come closer to citizens through strengthening the role played by the European Parliament.
- There is a need for creating a Union which will be responsive to the demands of European societies with the examination of such ideas as direct elections for senior posts in the Union.
- The need for combatting unemployment constitutes one of the most crucial problems, while current economic conditions are favourable for the promotion of a new initiative in this respect.
- The EU's priorities must be reshaped and policies must be initiated which are requested by European citizens as a real supplement to EMU. From this point of view, the size of economic funds must be adequate to implement its targets.
- The need for promoting an effective common foreign and defence policy requires, according to Mr. Simitis, its further development and the reconsideration of relations with the Western European Union (WEU) and the NATO alliance. Unless it acquires real potential in foreign, defence and security policy, the EU will be incomplete and unfulfilled.
- The EU must develop into a leading factor in managing the world economy.
- Lastly, the significance of processing a constitution must be examined which will anticipate a clear allocation of responsibilities and powers and will contribute towards strengthening the Union's credibility.
Athens News Agency
 Political, ecclesiastical leaderships attend events on Mount Athos
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)Two-day celebrations to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of the Xenofon Monastery on Mount Athos concluded yesterday in the presence of high-ranking political and ecclesiastical leaders.
The Greek state was represented by President Kostis Stephanopoulos, while also present were Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, among others.
Citing the commemorative events as an example, Vartholomeos stressed the need for Hellenism to be kept united, noting that the nation has experienced many divisions in the past.
He made particular reference to efforts being made by the Church in this direction and underlined the work being done to disseminate the spirit of Orthodoxy and Hellenism in all nations hosting ethnic Greek communities.
The Patriarch also officiated at a service held at the monastery's chapel in the morning together with Archbishop Christodoulos.
Speaking at the end of the Church service, President Stephanopoulos also referred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and pondered how much "cleverer it would be" for the Turkish Republic if it promoted the Patriarchate of Constantinople (located in Istanbul ) so as to be able to also participate in the honours bestowed upon it. He said that this "would result in us not feeling anxious over the Fanar and not being in need of international laws for the continuation of its presence."
President Stephanopoulos also praised the contribution of the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Archbishop and the monks on Mount Athos towards disseminating the Orthodox spirit.
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos gave President Stephanopoulos the Grand Cross commemorating the 1,000th anniversary of Xenofon Monastery.
The Ecumenical Patriarch also symbolically planted a cypress tree in the yard outside the monastery. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Venizelos inaugurated the monastery's museum.
Referring to the celebration, ND leader Karamanlis said that "the thousand- year uninterrupted course of the Holy Xenofon Monastery promotes the elements of uniqueness and passage through time."
On his part, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the event was a message which confirmed the strength and appeal of Orthodoxy all over the world.
Vartholomeos will stay overnight at the Xenofon Monastery where he is expected to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis today.
Celebrations began at 2 p.m. on Saturday with the arrival of the Patriarch to the monastery. He was welcomed at the entrance to the monastery by Archimandrite Alexios and monks, while a event was held immediately afterwards. At 4 p.m. Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos also officiated at another Church service.
The service was attended by Mr. Stephanopoulos, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos, Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis, other members of the government, deputies, clergymen, represen tatives of the Holy Community on Mount Athos and the 20 monasteries, judicial and military officials and hundreds of faithful.
Athens News Agency
 Athens warns Ankara over mass violations by Turkish warplanes
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)Greece sternly warned Turkish leadership yesterday that they would be "solely responsible" in case of any accident related to military flights over the Aegean.
"Turkey assumes tremendous responsibilities and is being called to realise that, given its aggressive behaviour in the Aegean, it will be responsible for future accidents," National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in Evros prefecture, on the Greek-Turkish border, referring to mass violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes over the past few days. Turkish aircraft have been violating Greek and Cypriot airspace since last Thursday, trying to prevent Greek fighters and transport planes from participating in a joint Greece-Cyprus military exercise.
"Turkey will be held totally responsible. Greece will not tolerate any further conduct of the Turkish aircraft that jeopardise the safety of military planes, crews as well as the safety of civil aviation," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added.
"Turkish aircraft even harassed commuter planes, in fact, commuter planes belonging to third countries. We have not spoken during the holding of the exercise because we wanted it to be completed, making it clear that whatever means they (Turkish military) use, they are not in a position to prevent the implementation of the joint defence doctrine between Greece and Cyprus," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos further said.
"Turkey should definitely and clearly realise that, contrary to other countries where its threats yield results, this is not the case either with Greece or Cyprus. The sooner they realise this, the brighter their future in the European Union will be...Turkey will either learn to behave in a European fashion or it will be definitely left out of Europe," he said.
The Greek minister also expressed satisfaction over the successful conclusion of the joint military exercise. In Cyprus, the army manoeuvres, code-named "Nikiforos '98", which was held jointly with the Greek exercise "Toxotis" in the southeast Aegean, ended yesterday.
Harassment continues : Turkey's air force was out in numbers again yesterday over the area between Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus, in another effort to interfere with Greece's participation in the Greece-Cyprus joint military exercises "Toxotis-Nikiforos".
Eleven Turkish formations infringed on Athens and Nicosia Flight Information Regions' (FIR) regulations, before being indentified and intercepted by an equal number of Greek warplanes. In several instances interceptions escalated into engagements.
Turkish air force activity in the area was relatively low compared to the massive deployment of previous days, designed to hamper Greek air operations in "Toxotis-Nikiforos". On every occasion the Turkish aircraft were intercepted and the Hellenic Air Force went ahead to conduct several training sorties over Cyprus.
Four Greek F-16 fighters participated in a Nicosia military parade for the conclusion of the "Nikoforos" exercise, attended by the president of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides. Another four F-16s landed at the "Andreas Papandreou" air base in Paphos, western Cyprus, to refuel, before flying back to Greece.
On Friday, Turkish fighters infringed on Athens and Nicosia FIR regulations a total of 96 times. They also violated Greek airspace in the central Aegean. Some 80 infringements were recorded the previous day.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Friday that the mass violations of Greek airspace and Athens FIR infringements demonstrated Turkey's "unjust aggressiveness" which was undermining any effort for rapprochement between the two countries.
He said Greece would respond at a diplomatic level.
Athens News Agency
 Med int'l conference on cooperation, development ends in Alexandroupoli
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)The 3rd International Conference on Mediterranean Cooperation and Development regarding "Viable Prospects of the New Economic Region After 2000" came to a close in Alexandroupoli yesterday.
The conference, which started on Thursday, was attended by delegates from 35 countries, as well as observers from another 45, ministers, undersecretaries, ambassadors and representatives of the business world and scientific fields, focused on issues con cerning peace, security, cooperation, transport networks, telecoms, small and-medium-sized enterprises, trade, etc.
Athens News Agency
 Fatah official reiterates that Palestinian state will be proclaimed next May
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's political adviser and high-ranking Fatah official Hani al Hasad said yesterday that the Palestinians will proclaim an own independent state on May 4, 1999.
In a statement to the ANA in Thessaloniki, Mr. Hasad was responding to a recent statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following the signing of an agreement by which "the final date of May 4th 1999, set in Oslo, must be ignored and that in the event that the Palestinian side stops talks and proclaims a state Israel will not stay with its hands crossed."
Athens News Agency
 Karamanlis cites trend of one-time ND supporters returning to party
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis referred to what he called the trend of ND supporters who had turned to the ruling PASOK party in the last general elections now returning to ND.
He made the statements in an interview with the Athens newspaper "Kathimerini", published in the Sunday edition yesterday.
Estimating this return at 2-3 per cent, he said that an ever-increasing number of voters is undecided and maintains a very loose relationship with preferences of the past.
Mr. Karamanlis said that the government did not receive the message sent by the recent mayoral and prefectural elections because it is attempting to adopt a policy which is not only lacking in efficiency but is also in unprecedented contradiction with the government sector, a fact which history proves cannot be overcome.
Mr. Karamanlis said that the country must and can join EMU, adding that the achievement of the target is not a certainty and that even if the target of accession is achieved it is important how it will enter because all its problems will surface on the next day and real convergence will be what is required.
He said that in government his party would have gone ahead with denationalisations quicker and at the beginning of its period of office, it would have explained them before the elections and that the people reacted because they expected a different policy due to the previous PASOK governments.
Mr. Karamanlis said that what Prime Minister Costas Simitis said that ND formulates the same objections as the leftist parties do was a gross lie. He said that his party will help the issue of EMU in every way, guiding and whipping the present government to enable it to reach the national target.
Athens News Agency
 Karamanlis criticises Simitis,calls for Romeos' ouster following recent violent crimes
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday placed political responsibilities directly on Prime Minister Costas Simitis for the recent surge in violent crime and police-related corruption, demanding the removal of Public Order Minis ter George Romeos.
On arrival at Macedonia Airport in Thessaloniki, Mr. Karamanlis said "the situation in the public order sector has gone too far. Crime, corruption and excess have sharply increased. Citizens in cities and in the provinces feel insecurity. We have a 'political party state' which is in a state of dissolution and decay and which is the enemy of the citizen. Citizens were never so alone, so vulnerable and so unprotected. The dissolution of the state entails grave political responsibilities, which Mr. Simitis himself is shouldering since he doesn't even dare to do what is self-evident, to remove an overtly failed minister."
Athens News Agency
 Stephanopoulos in Thessaloniki for triple celebration
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived in Thessaloniki from Mount Athos yesterday afternoon in order to participate in three days of celebrations in the northern Greek port city.
Today marks the annual feast day of the city's patron saint, Agios Dimitrios, as well as the 86th anniversary of Thessaloniki's liberation from five centuries of dour Ottoman rule. Wednesday marks the 58th anniversary of Greece's entry into World War II - Oct. 28, 1940.
Speaking on arrival at Macedonia Airport, President Stephanopoulos referred to the state's interest in the city of Thessaloniki and the greater region of Macedonia.
Athens News Agency
 Yiannopoulos speaks at event focusing on fighting organised crime
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)There has been a dramatic increase in crime throughout Greece over recent years and effectively dealing with this requires the rallying of a number of different agencies simultaneously, Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos stressed in Komotini yesterday.
Mr. Yiannopoulos was speaking during the official opening of the seventh national conference of the Greek Society of Criminal Law, which will focus this year on organised crime.
He said that what was needed were speedier procedures of prevention which, combined with technological advances, could restrict the opportunities for organised crime to operate freely in the country.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Yiannopoulos said calls for the resignation of Public Order Minister George Romeos, following the fatal shooting of a Yugoslav high school student on holiday in Thessaloniki on Friday by a police officer, were "unfair".
"The attack against him is unfair, and it would also be unfair if he submitted his resignation," Mr. Yiannopoulos said.
Athens News Agency
 Bomb blast at building housing tax bureau office
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)A bomb exploded at the ground-floor level of a Piraeus building housing a tax bureau office yesterday evening.
An unidentified caller reportedly called the Athens daily "Athi-naiki" before the blast, recorded at 8:40 p.m., to warn of the explosion. However, the caller reportedly said the bomb would detonate at 8:30 p.m.
An investigation is pending.
Athens News Agency
 Policeman charged with intentional homicide in Serb student's death
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)The police officer that fatally shot an 18-year-old Yugoslav high school student on vacation in downtown Thessaloniki on Friday was charged yesterday with intentional homicide and illegal use of a firearm.
Kyriakos Vandoulis, 32, was initially referred to a magistrate with the charge of unintentional homicide, which however, was upgraded. He is also scheduled to provide a statement tomorrow - today is a public holiday in Thessaloniki. The body of the victim, Marko Bulatovic, will be transported to Yugoslavia today, accompanied by the 215 fellow students with him.
Eyewitnesses said that the youth and his companions had been standing outside a clothing store on Thessaloniki's main commercial avenue, Egnatia, when police arrived. The eyewitnesses said police attempted to arrest the youths and that the teen was shot in the head while trying to free himself.
On his part, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Saturday expressed the government's deep regret over the death of the teen.
"For Greece, the tragedy is indeed serious. A young Serb, a student, lost his life while on a school trip to Greece, at a time when the feelings in Greece and Serbia are of deep friendship and affection. I should like to stress that this grief is shared by all Greek citizens. This should be clear not only to Bulatovic's family but to all Serbs," Mr. Papandreou said.
Athens News Agency
 Anarchists claim responsibility for weekend car torchings
Athens 26/10/1998 (ANA)A group calling itself "Terrorist Core" claimed responsibility for the torching of a car early yesterday morning, in a telephone call to a local television station.
The car, belonging to an architect, was parked in the Athens suburb of Halandri. It was doused in gasoline and set alight. It was completely destroyed, while a neighbouring car was also severely damaged.
The anonymous caller claimed that similar attacks would follow. Police said another two cars were also torched, most likely deliberately, overnight, one in Neo Irakleio and another in central Athens. On Saturday, the organisation "Cooperation
Between Anarchist Groups" claimed responsibility for arson attacks overnight against the cars of two police officers and a lawyer in the east Athens district of Ilioupoli.
The three attacks with makeshift incendiary devices took place between 1:55 a.m. and 2 a.m.
At 3:20 a.m., an anonymous caller telephoned an Athens radio station to claim responsibility.
Meanwhile, a group of about 30 youths early on Saturday threw a petrol bomb at a computer company truck parked near the Panteion University in Athens. The vehicle was badly damaged by the fire. The group then proceeded to throw rocks and stones at other vehicles belonging to the same company which were parked nearby.
They also broke the window of the Mercedes car dealership on the same road.
Athens News Agency