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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-05-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Simitis says continyed NATO bombings entail only dangers
  • [02] Hellenic Petroleum majority purchase of FYROM refinery, pipeline announced
  • [03] Constantopoulos concludes visit to London
  • [04] Peace march
  • [05] Portugal's Guterres arrives in Thessaloniki
  • [06] Apostolakis: NATO operations won't solve Yugoslavia problems
  • [07] Closer NATO-WEU cooperation the focus of meeting in Germany
  • [08] Stephanopoulos arrives in Geor gia
  • [09] Romanian cadet class in Greece this week
  • [10] Karamanlis calls war in Yugoslavia a 'mistake'
  • [11] Skandalidis addresses PASOK campaign event in Rodopi prefecture
  • [12] Anti-war rallies at N. Greece border posts
  • [13] US bank fired upon
  • [14] Charges filed against inmate for weapons cache
  • [15] Gov't pleased with pilot 35-work week in bank sector
  • [16] Bus union calls-off strikes

  • [01] Simitis says continyed NATO bombings entail only dangers

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday expressed his deep regret for the victims of the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia, while stressing the indignation of the Greek people as well.

    Speaking in the frontier post of Krystallopighi in Florina prefecture, on the Greek-Albanian border, the premier formally inaugurated the operation of a 1,000-strong border guard.

    At the ceremony, Mr. Simitis said the continuation of the NATO bombings entailed only dangers, while a G-8 decision had vindicated Greece's positions. He added that flexibility was necesssary for peace to be achieved in the Balkans and that prudence and caution were necessary in the implementation of any policy applied for peace in the region.

    Mr. Simitis said Greece would do all it can for a political solution to the crisis, noting that the EU would discuss later this month a plan submitted by the Greek government for the reconstruction of the Balkans.

    The premier further expressed satisfaction that Greece had not allowed itself to become a part of the problem, averting the policies which he said had desired to push the country into the margin.

    Mr. Simitis, accompanied by a group of ministers and MPs, was in Krystallophighi for the installation of the new border guard corps - 100 of which were women - in the prefectures of Florina, Kastoria and Ioannina.

    The Greek PM told local residents that the government was advancing the development of the region, particularly Macedonia, which would comprise the basis for the development of Greece's relations with the neighbouring countries.

    He noted that one trillion drachmas had been allocated for projects in the region under the Second Community Support Framework (CSF), adding that substantial funds would also be earmarked under the Third CSF.

    Mr. Simitis further recalled that some 20,000 smaller and larger-scale projects were currently being carried out througout the country.

    G. Papandreou: Latest NATO strike hinder diplomatic moves : Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday that diplomatic moves to end the Kosovo crisis had been hindered by the latest round of NATO bombings.

    "The bombings over the last two days that struck civilian targets and led to casualties among civilians create problems in the diplomatic attempt," Mr. Papandreou said during a visit to Stockholm.

    He said Greece backed a recent initiative by the G8 group of nations to end the Kosovo crisis through political means, which had "engendered hopes of success".

    "(The attempt) must continue and receive support from everyone so that we can arrive at adoption of the U.N. Security Council's resolution as soon as possible," Mr. Papandreou said.

    Opposition condemns latest NATO bombings : Main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos yesterday called for an immediate end to NATO's bombardment of Yugoslavia, following the deadly air strikes against a civilian marketplace in Nis and against the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called the attack an "escalation," adding that "...only the language of popular reaction fits these international criminals (NATO)."

    A Coalition for the Left (Synaspismos) press release termed the attack "a war crime," and an act that "bombs the attempt to find a peaceful political solution."

    Greece's newest party, the "Liberals", established by former ND deputy Stephanos Manos, also issued a press release condemning the attacks.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Hellenic Petroleum majority purchase of FYROM refinery, pipeline announced

    SKOPJE, 10/05/1999 (ANA - D. Tsalapatis)

    Hellenic Petroleum on Saturday signed contracts with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to buy a majority stake in a refinery in that country and build a cross-border oil pipeline.

    The contracts were signed here at a ceremony attended by FYROM PM Ljupco Georgievski and Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    The Greek oil company, which is listed on the Athens bourse, will purchase a majority stake in FYROM's OKTA refinery and ugrade the facility.

    Working with Meton SA, a Greek engineering contractor, Hellenic Petroleum will also build a 230-kilometre oil pipeline linking Skopje and Thessaloniki with a capacity of 2.5 million tons of crude oil annually.

    The contract was signed by FYROM's finance minister, Boris Stojmeno, on behalf of the Skopje government.

    According to the arrangement, within a three-year framework the strategic investor agrees to design, build and manage the oil pipeline, with an 80 per cent stake. The rest will be held by the FYROM state with a right to transfer to third parties.

    The Greek side will hold 54 per cent of the OKTA facility, while the total investment package will eventually reach US$ 182 million.

    In a related development, Skopje also announced that it will abolish a visa requirement for Greek citizens wanting to visit the country.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Constantopoulos concludes visit to London

    LONDON, 10/05/1999 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress Nikos Constantopoulos on Saturday concluded a two-day visit here, following his participation in an anti-war rally along with British Labour deputy Tony Benn.

    Mr. Constantopoulos addressed a crowd gathered for the rally at Hyde Park.

    "As days go by and barbarism escalates, public opinion wakes up, intervenes and expresses its antiwar feelings," he said.

    Before the rally, the Greek politician met with Mr. Benn and exchanged views on issues related to the Kosovo crisis and the course of the European Union.

    Mr. Benn said that during the Second World War the people of Yugoslavia and Greece fought heroically against the Nazis, while today the majority of the Greek people are against the war in Yugoslavia.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Peace march

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek committee for international detente and peace yesterday organised a protest march against the war in Yugoslavia, beginning in Marathon and concluding in central Athens' Syntagma Square.

    Committee president Evangelos Maheras said Greek public opinion demands an end to the war,

    The march stopped briefly in front the US embassy and upon its arrival at Syntagma Square a resolution was read out.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Portugal's Guterres arrives in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    Portuguese Premier Antonio Guterres arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday afternoon for an unofficial visit and talks with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis.

    Mr. Simitis last night hosted a dinner in Mr. Guterres' honour, while the two leaders will visit the all-male monastic community of Mount Athos today.

    The two premiers will hold a working session tomorrow morning, followed by a joint press conference.

    Sources said Greece was looking forward to the meeting with interest as the two countries face similar problems within the European Union. In addition, Portugal assumes the rotating EU presidency in the second half of 1999, during which time credits for EU member-states under the Third Community Support Framework will be approved.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Apostolakis: NATO operations won't solve Yugoslavia problems

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    Continuation of NATO military operations in Yugoslavia will not solve the problem, Deputy Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis said Saturday night.

    He said Greece had been opposed to the military rationale from the outset, as it believed that military operations, instead of solving the problem, would only add to human pain and incalculabe material destruction, thus perpetuating hatred and hostility .

    Addressing a seminar in Santorini on seas and naval fleets heading into the second millennium, Mr. Apostolakis added:

    "For 40 days, the rationale of war has taken precedence over that of peace, dialogue and understanding. It is up to those who insisted on that tactic to see if it has borne results and, if so, where and how much.

    He outlined the advantages for the national defence of a strong naval fleet and also of a correspondingly strong merchant fleet that could be called upon in reserve capacity.

    Mr. Apostolakis also defined the Greek navy's mission of acquiring and maintaining control in the sea regions of naval operations, particulalry in the Aegean.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Closer NATO-WEU cooperation the focus of meeting in Germany

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    The defence and foreign affairs ministers of the European Union and the Western European Union (WEU) are set to meet in Germany today, as part of efforts for closer cooperation of the two organisations.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis will represent Greece.

    The WEU, considered the European Union defence appendage within NATO, is expected to become the basis of the European Union's military branch based on the Amsterdam Treaty, which is in effect since May 1.

    According to reports, the proposed time-table for the unification of the two organisations will be a five-year long programme, an issue to be discussed during the EU summit in Germany on June 3-4.

    Based on the same reports, the German foreign ministry will propose for only one individual to be responsible for both the common foreign and defence policies.

    The WEU's 10 full members are Belgium, France, Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal, while 18 more countries participate in the organisation as associate members or as observers.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Stephanopoulos arrives in Geor gia

    TBILISI, 10/05/1999 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived here yesterday and was greeted by his Georgian counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos is reciprocating an official visit by Mr. Shevardnadze in Greece two years ago.

    The two men are to meet today, while Deputy Foreign Minister Gregoris Niotis and Deputy Economy Minister Alekos Baltas are expected to sign two agreements with their Georgian counterparts.

    During an inauguration ceremony of one of 10 medical clinics built by the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Mr. Stephanopoulos said the creation of such facilities for the Greek expatriates and other local residents is gift from Greece to Georgia.

    Mr. Shevardnadze, who also participated in the event, said the people of Greece and Georgia feel as "brothers", while he noted that both countries will do what is necessary to resolve the differences in the Caucasus region.

    In a related development, Mr. Stephanopoulos was named an honourary citizen of the Georgian capital.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Romanian cadet class in Greece this week

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    Fifty-nine officer cadets from Romania's national defence academy will arrive Greece this week as part of an educational exchange programme.

    The group of cadets will visit the Third Army Corps, the Greek national defence academy, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB), as well as archaeological sites in Attica prefectures.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Karamanlis calls war in Yugoslavia a 'mistake'

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis over the weekend criticised the PASOK government for its economic and foreign policies, while on tour of the Ionian islands.

    Addressing ND supporters on the island of Lefkada yesterday, he claimed that the government's lack of policy kept Greece out of the initial phase of the European Monetary Union.

    Mr. Karamanlis said Greece does not have an agricultural policy and as a result has lost all the negotiation battles at the EU level, while it has wasted the community funds allocated to agriculture.

    He added that Greece's tax system is "unbearable, unfair and takes taxpayers by surprise."

    On Saturday, speaking to ND members in Cephallonia, Mr. Karamanlis said the war in Yugoslavia was a "mistake", since it has caused thousands of victims and even more pronounced violations of human rights.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Skandalidis addresses PASOK campaign event in Rodopi prefecture

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis yesterday addressed a party campaign committee of Rodopi prefecture, northeastern Greece.

    Mr. Skandalidis announced that Prime Minister Costas Simitis will officially begin PASOK's Euroelection campaign this Saturday in Komotini.

    He also said the premier will convey a message of security, cooperation and development, expressing his certainty that all citizens of the region, both Christian and Muslim, will welcome him.

    Mr. Skandalidis again criticised opposition parties for demagoguery, adding that the country's highest interests are at stake in the upcoming election.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Anti-war rallies at N. Greece border posts

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    Hundreds of northern Greece residents protested at the Promahomas and Evzones border posts yesterday against the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia.

    A resolution issued by the events' organisers called for the peoples of Europe to pressure their governments to "end the blood bath in Yugoslavia," and for intellectuals throughout the world to take a stand against the "NATO bombings and murder of civilians".

    Local officials, performers and prefectural leaders participated in the protests, with addresses focused on solidarity to the Yugoslav people. Environment Deputy Minister Theodoros Koliopanos yesterday briefed the informal European Union environment ministerial council on the environmental repercussions from the war in Yugoslavia.

    Denmark and the Netherlands supported Athens' proposal for a detailed listing of the damages.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] US bank fired upon

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    An group calling itself "Red Line" yesterday claimed responsibility for two drive-by shooting attacks against a US bank and insurance company on main Athens thoroughfares earlier in the day.

    Eyewitnesses saw two unidentified men on a motorcycle at about 10:30 am opening fire on the American Express Bank branch on Kifissias avenue in the Maroussi district, police said.

    Police who arrived in the scene found five 9mm cartridges.

    An unidentified caller phoned the private radio station SKAI shortly before 1 p.m. and claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of the group, as well as a similar attack against the Interamerican insurance company offices on Syngrou avenue.

    The Interamerican shooting had gone unnoticed until the telephone call, and police sent to the insurance agency after the caller found two bullet holes in a back first-floor window and two cartridges that lab tests found to have been fired from the sa me weapon as the American Express attack.

    This urban terrorist group has in the past claimed responsibility for shooting against a court building in June 1998, the Holy Synod building in Kolonaki and the Athens Stock Exchange building in downtown Athens in February, as well as the UN offices in central Athens about two weeks ago.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Charges filed against inmate for weapons cache

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    A public prosector on Saturday brought charges against a Romanian prison inmate who received an arms cache concealed in a portable television set, taking it from Thessaloniki to Athens and back again while under police supervision.

    Prison officials said the inmate, Gilbert Mihaida, received the television by post last month at the Diavata prison in Thessaloniki, where he is serving a sentence for cross-border arms trafficking and other offences.

    He carried the TV with him on a trip to Korydallos prison in Piraeus, in a court in Athens to stand trial, and police detention centres in both cities, the officials said.

    The contents of the arms-filled TV were found on Friday by a prison worker in Thessaloniki after the 10-day trip had ended.

    Inside were three hand grenades, 447 grams of explosive material, two detonators, two sets of handcuffs and a pistol.

    Mihaida reportedly told police that he intended to use the arms to blast through the door of a police detention centre in Athens to escape, but the plan was foiled when he couldn't get to the contents of the TV.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Gov't pleased with pilot 35-work week in bank sector

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    Deputy Labour Minister Christos Protopapas on Saturday welcomed a decision by bank managements and bank employee unions to launch a pilot scheme for a 35-hour work week. Speaking in Thessaloniki, Mr. Protopapas said he hoped other sectors also would try out the shorter work week, following agreement between employers' federations and employees' unions.

    "We realise the complexity of application, but we feel that a pilot study of the 35-hour week will lead to a positive appraisal and contribute to a broader attempt to modernise and restructure the sector," Mr. Protopapas said.

    The government has stated that it backs initiatives by companies or sectors to shorten work hours, but has refused to legislate the change.

    Intracom, Greece's foremost information technology and equipment manufacturer, has said it will proceed with the scheme. The company is a blue chip on the Athens bourse whose customers include NATO and the Greek armed forces.

    The banking sector agreement was reached at the end of lasts week by the Union of Greek Banks and the OTOE umbrella bank employees' union.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Bus union calls-off strikes

    Athens, 10/05/1999 (ANA)

    The union of the greater Athens area's bus workers said on Saturday that it had called-off work stoppages scheduled for this month. The union's board suspended the strikes after snap talks between the management of the state- run Athens Urban Transport Org anisation (OASA) and Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis.

    Trolley, metro and bus drivers have staged stoppages to protest a government overhaul of the capital's public transport system.

    The plan includes turning sector companies into subsidiaries of OASA and changing the terms of employment of drivers.

    Athens News Agency

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