|Thursday, 21 November 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-03-19
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
Today's ERA News OnlineFriday, 19th March, 1999
 Prime minister's opening speech at PASOK congressThe prime minister, Kostas Simitis, opened the sessions of the 5th PASOK congress at the Athens Olympic Stadium yesterday. The congress will end with the election of 180 new members of the party's central committee on Sunday evening.
In his address, the prime minister issued a plea for party unity and an end to internal party conflict so that PASOK night go ahead and win the Euro- elections in June and next year's general election.
Mr Simitis said the first and most important national goal for a modern and economically independent Greece was the country's participation in European economic and monetary union.
With reference to national issues, the prime minister said Turkey was attempting to transfer its domestic problems on to foreign policy. Greece, he said, would not take part in these "cold war" games and would not become embroiled in the tension being cultivated by Ankara. Greece makes no claims, he reiterated, but it will not negotiate its sovereign rights and is well able to foil any threat against it.
The prime minister said Greece sought peace and security in the region and called on Ankara to abandon its vicious circle of provocations. Turkey's problem, he said, was not Greece but its own policies.
Mr Simitis described those involved in the Ocalan affair as ultra- nationalists. He said these people had formed bizarre alliances and were operating in secret service circles which had nothing whatever to do with PASOK. They constituted a para-state and would be dealt with as such, he said.
Addressing party dissidents, Mr Simitis pointed out that the mentality of defeat did not befit PASOK. He made frequent reference to the PASOK founder, Andreas Papandreou, and called on delegates to work together to ensure that PASOK emerged as the leading party in both the June Euro-elections and the general elections in the year 2000.
The secretary of PASOK's central committee, Kostas Skandalidis, underlined the need for a rebirth and a refounding of PASOK on the basis of a new collectivity. Otherwise, he said, it would not survive the times. In view of the forthcoming Euro-elections and next year's national elections, Mr Skandalidis called on PASOK forces to close ranks through a progressive orientation.
Representatives of Greece's other political parties and delegates from foreign countries also addressed the congress, which resumes this morning.
Several PASOK delegates who took the floor criticized the government's handling of issues and the leadership of the party.
Commenting on Mr Simitis' speech, the New Democracy party accused the government of delaying the country's true development, while the Greek Communist party spoke of an anti-popular policy and false dilemmas.
 NATO conference for Alliance's 50th anniversaryA conference marking NATO's 50th anniversary, in which over 200 personalities from 38 NATO countries will take part, opens in Athens today. The main speaker at the event will be the Alliance's secretary general, Javier Solana. Yesterday Mr Solana praised statements by the Greek prime minister in which Mr Simitis had made it quite clear that this country condemned terrorism along with all the NATO country leaders.
 Council of Europe permanent representatives on Ocalan caseDeputy foreign minister Yannos Kranidiotis yesterday expressed satisfaction with the outcome of consultations of the Council of Europe's committee of permanent representatives concerning the Abdullah Ocalan affair. Turkey did not succeed in furthering its goal which was to have the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, officially declared a terrorist organization.
 American vice-president's wife delivers speech in AthensIn a speech she delivered at an Athens hotel yesterday, the wife of the United States vice-president, Tipper Gore, said it was in the interests of Greece and the United States to protect the balance in the Balkans and maintain the progress accomplished with the Dayton agreement.
After making reference to the principles of democracy whose birthplace was Greece, Mrs Gore pointed out that the world was looking forward to the era when peace and equilibrium would be the normal state of affairs.
Earlier, Mrs Gore was received by the president of the Greek republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, with whom, she said, she had a cordial discussion.
 Bad weather throughout GreeceBad weather conditions have created problems in many parts of Greece. In central and northern Greece over 190 villages are snowed in and snow tyres are required in central and north-western Greece's mountain roads. Ships were banned from sailing yesterday because of gale force winds, while in Attica torrential rain disrupted traffic and caused flooding.
 Foreign minister attends inter-Balkan meeting in BucharestThe foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, is going to Bucharest today to take part in the inter-Balkan meeting which will discuss the Kosovo crisis, in an attempt to issue a common declaration on the matter. Albania and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are not taking part in the meeting.
 New Cypriot government spokesmanKostas Serezis was appointed as the new government spokesman of Cyprus following the resignation of Christos Stylianidis.
 Justice minister recovering from surgeryJustice minister Evangelos Yannopoulos is doing well and will leave hospital soon, after undergoing surgery, attending physicians have said.