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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-12-20

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PAPANDREOU DISCUSSES GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS
  • [02] EU CANDIDATE COUNTRIES TO CONCLUDE DISCUSSIONS BY 2002
  • [03] FOREIGN HEADS OF STATE TO VISIT GREECE
  • [04] INDEPENDENT DEPUTY WILL NOT BE ELECTION CANDIDATE
  • [05] PRE-ELECTION FEVER BEGINS IN GREECE
  • [06] 2000 STATE BUDGET DEBATE CONTINUES IN PARLIAMENT
  • [07] FOREIGN MINISTER TO MEET WITH OMONIA LEADER
  • [08] REDUCTION IN COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE ANNOUNCED

  • [01] PAPANDREOU DISCUSSES GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS

    In an interview with yesterday's issue of the Greek newspaper "Kathimerini tis Kyriakis", Foreign minister George Papandreou stated that Greece was not prepared to discuss its sovereign rights, adding that the International Court at the Hague, had become the only way for Turkey to solve its differences with Greece. Mr. Papandreou also underlined that following the decisions made at the Helsinki summit, Turkey would not only have rights, but obligations as well. In an another interview with the Cypriot newspaper "O Phileleftheros", Mr. Papandreou stressed that the European Union was now involved in the efforts for a Cyprus settlement. The Cyprus issue, he said, will be part of the talks to be held between Turkey and the EU, on the level of political dialogue and the guidelines for its EU accession. Mr Papandreou added that had always used the argument that as soon as Turkey became a candidate country, issues connected with it would necessarily become European. In the meantime, foreign minister Papandreou will hold talks in Athens today with his Cypriot counterpart, Yannakis Kasoulidis, on the outcome of the first round of the New York proximity talks on Cyprus and the Helsinki EU summit decisions.

    [02] EU CANDIDATE COUNTRIES TO CONCLUDE DISCUSSIONS BY 2002

    The first six European Union candidate countries have agreed to make every effort, in order to conclude relevant discussions at the latest within the year 2001 -- a development which will enable their accession on January 1, 2003. The heads of the negotiating teams of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia, who met in Slovenia recently, hailed a commitment made by the European Council of Helsinki, according to which the EU will be able to accept new members after the end of the year 2002.

    [03] FOREIGN HEADS OF STATE TO VISIT GREECE

    The Dutch Prime Minister, Mr. Kok, and the Swedish Prime Minister, Mr. Person, are expected in Athens in mid-January to discuss the future of Europe with their Greek counterpart Costas Simitis. Meanwhile, the new prime minister of Albania, Ilir Meta, is scheduled to visit Athens next Wednesday, for consultations with Prime Minister Simitis and members of the government.

    [04] INDEPENDENT DEPUTY WILL NOT BE ELECTION CANDIDATE

    The independent parliamentary deputy and former senior New Democracy member, George Souflias, yesterday announced his intention not to run for a seat in parliament in the upcoming general elections next year. In his announcement, Mr Souflias strongly criticised the leadership of the main opposition party, and clarified that he did not plan to retire from politics completely. He also hinted that in the procedures for election of a new president of the republic, he would have voted for the current president, Costis Stephanopoulos. New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis expressed his regret that Mr Souflias would not be a candidate in the general elections, while the honorary president of the ND party, Constantine Mitsotakis, said that the independent deputy's decision harmed himself and the party.

    [05] PRE-ELECTION FEVER BEGINS IN GREECE

    Although the ruling Pasok party and the main opposition New Democracy party have not yet made their plans clear, the possibility of early Parliamentary elections is becoming more likely. New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis who is currently on a tour of the prefecture of Magnisia called on former party members to join forces in supporting the party, in view of the upcoming general elections. He also referred to the problems in the Magnesia area, and presented the measures his party would take when it came to power. Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas-in an interview published in yesterday's "Ethnos tis Kyriakis" newspaper-maintained that Pasok's supremacy would become even more obvious as election time drew nearer.

    [06] 2000 STATE BUDGET DEBATE CONTINUES IN PARLIAMENT

    A debate on next year's state budget-the final one with funds still calculated in drachmas-continued in parliament for the third day yesterday and will end with a roll call vote on Tuesday night. Last night, the Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis stressed that the public utility companies were ready to form strategic alliances, in order to set their sights on entering the Athens Stock Exchange. However, the leader of the Democratic Social Movement, Dimitris Tsovolas, described the budget as a pre-election one, and claimed it would cause even greater social injustice and unrest. In protest against the budget policies of the year 2000, the Union of the Civil Servants has threatened to stage a three-hour work stoppage tomorrow, as well as a march to the National Economy ministry. In the meantime, in an interview with the Greek newspaper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia," National Economy Minister Yannos Papantoniou forecasts upward trends for the Athens stockexchange in the next few weeks, together with a reduction of interest rates next year.

    [07] FOREIGN MINISTER TO MEET WITH OMONIA LEADER

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will meet today with the president of Albania's main Greek minority organisation, Omonia, to discuss a variety of issues affecting the Greek community in Albania. A key topic on the agenda will be a new agreement of cooperation between the Greek minority group and Albania's Human Rights Party, to which most of the country's ethnic Greeks flocked, after a 1992 law banning ethnically-based political parties.

    [08] REDUCTION IN COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE ANNOUNCED

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday announced a reduction in the length of compulsory military service for conscripts in the Greek armed forces, without, however, specifying the exact cut. He also said that the professional divisions in the armed forces would be expanded.
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