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Cyprus News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-04

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] Clerides to address Salonica SAE meeting
  • [02] US condemns bomb attack on Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • [03] WPC on Greco-Turkish NATO agreement
  • [04] Overseas Greeks' assembly opens

  • 0920:CYPPRESS:01

    [01] Clerides to address Salonica SAE meeting

    Nicosia, Dec 4 (CNA) -- President Glafcos Clerides left this morning for Salonica, Greece, where he will address today a meeting of overseas Hellenes.

    President Clerides will address the first assembly of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), before flying to Britain later today.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Greece's President Costis Stefanopoulos will also address the three-day biennial meeting.

    This is the first time the Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK) are officially being represented in SAE with the 40 members of their central committees.

    The Salonica-based SAE was set up in 1995 to consult the Greek government on overseas Hellenes issues.

    CNA AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    0930:CYPPRESS:02

    [02] US condemns bomb attack on Ecumenical Patriarchate

    Washington, Dec 4 (CNA) -- The US has strongly condemned a terrorist bomb attack Tuesday night on the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate, in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey.

    US State Department spokesman James Rubin told the press yesterday the US "strongly condemn this act of violence, as we condemn any act of terrorism."

    Rubin said the US acting Consul General in Istanbul has visited the wounded deacon in the hospital and met with the Patriarch Bartholomew.

    The spokesman added the US assume that "the Turkish government will take appropriate security measures for the protection of the Patriarchate."

    A cluster bomb exploded on Tuesday night on the roof of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul wounding deacon Nicolai Nectarius, who was taken to the American hospital, and damaging the church and buildings.

    The Patriarchate was the target of a similar bomb attack 14 months ago. No one was hurt in that incident.

    The Turkish government has condemned the attack and vowed to punish the assailants, while Athens has criticised Turkey for slack security measures.

    According to a Greek TV report, Turkish fundamentalists have claimed responsibility for the attack.

    CNA DA/AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1330:CYPPRESS:03

    [03] WPC on Greco-Turkish NATO agreement

    Washington, Dec 4 (CNA) -- US-based Western Policy Center (WPC) has described as a "significant development" a recent agreement between Greece and Turkey on the joint control of military flights over the Aegean Sea.

    A statement by WPC Executive Director John Sitilides praised the Greco- Turkish agreement, noting it will strengthen NATO'S regional security and guarantee collective security to new NATO members.

    He pointed out, however, that the possibility of war between Greece and Turkey continues, despite their NATO membership, noting this risk has been heightened by Turkey's threats to destroy the defensive missiles to be deployed in Cyprus mid-1998.

    "The NATO agreement between Greece and Turkey to jointly control military flights over the Aegean Sea is a significant development in the effort to strengthen the alliance's command and planning operations in the region," Sitilides said.

    At the same time, WPC Executive Director said, a critical NATO regional security issue affecting enlargement planning remains outstanding.

    "The alliance promises to guarantee collective security to new members" and noted relevant articles of the NATO treaty "fail to provide mechanisms for resolving intra-alliance conflict."

    A conflict between NATO allies, Greece and Turkey, nearly occurred on two occasions in the past decade, he noted.

    "Athens decided to alter its policy to help NATO establish a joint sub- regional command in the Eastern Mediterranean theatre of operations. The extent of parallel permanent concessions by Turkey, such as the cessation of future challenges to Greek sovereignty in the Aegean Sea air space remains unclear," he said.

    Sitilides pointed out that, in the wake of its 1974 invasion of Cyprus, Turkey had escalated the level of jet fighter infringements of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR).

    This resulted to "endangering international air traffic, impending NATO military command and planning operations in and around the Aegean Sea region, and taxing the readiness of the Greek armed forces," he added.

    According to Sitilides, NATO's Foreign Ministers meeting of December 16- 17 has to answer a series of important questions.

    Among these answers, he said, is whether the US and other NATO countries will be required to inform Greece or Turkey, or both nations, of military flights over the Aegean Sea, or if the two countries would have to inform each other about their unilateral military flights in the Greek airspace within the shared theatre of operational control.

    The possibility of war between Greece and Turkey continues, despite their long-standing NATO membership, the WPC official said.

    "Turkish threats to destroy defensive missiles slated for deployment in Cyprus by mid-1998 heightened the risk," he added.

    In conclusion, Sitilides said any agreement in the Aegean airspace should address vital Greco-Turkish national security concerns in a mutually accepted manner.

    Unequal concessions from Greece and Turkey may aggravate, rather than resolve, ongoing alliance crises throughout southeastern Europe," the WPC Executive Director said.

    CNA DA/AP/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    1445:CYPPRESS:04

    [04] Overseas Greeks' assembly opens

    by Rebekah Gregoriadou

    Salonica, Dec 4 (CNA) -- The first assembly of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) opened here today by Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos.

    Under the slogan, "17 million Greeks... 141 countries. Bright stars in the same galaxy", the three-day biennial meeting was addressed by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, Greek Prime Minister, Costas Simitis, Greek Parliament Speaker, Apostolos Kaklamanis, and SAE President, Andrew Athens.

    Opening the meeting, Stephanopoulos reassured overseas Greeks that their country does not forget them.

    He expressed the conviction that SAE would be very successful in its future mission.

    Noting that Greece and Cyprus might be two different states, President Clerides stressed that "we are one nation".

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, the President said "we are at the initial stage of early initiatives which will culminate after the presidential elections."

    He said the solution which would be found, should secure the island's reunification, the withdrawal of foreign troops and the right of all refugees to return to their homeland.

    The Cypriot President said Turkey knows that the "time of truth" was nearing and stressed that the key to the solution of the Cyprus problem was in Ankara.

    Turkish troops have been occupying 37 per cent of Cyprus territory since 1974, in violation of repeated UN resolutions calling for their withdrawal.

    Greek Premier Costas Simitis, said through the SAE, overseas Hellenes show they are always near their homeland.

    He praised SAE's vital role in providing a "channel of cooperation" between Greece and overseas Hellenes.

    Indirectly referring to Turkey, Simitis said "no civilised country which wants to become a member of the European Union... can claim that it can veto the EU membership of any country."

    Simitis categorically stressed that human rights in Cyprus were not respected (by Turkey) and added that "we have to continue reminding this to everyone until there is a restoration" of the situation.

    SAE President Andrew Athens described SAE as a "great thing" because it united Greeks into one family.

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister, George Papandreou, described "an historic day", today's opening of the SAE assembly. "Hellenism unites its voice through SAE", he noted.

    Greek Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis acknowledged that SAE's work was extremely difficult.

    Referring to the threats which Hellenism faces, Kaklamanis said Greeks should assert their determination and reassured that the Greek Parliament would always support the overseas Hellenes.

    The SAE assembly was also addressed by New Democracy party leader, Constantinos Karamanlis and heard a message from Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew.

    Clerides already left Salonica for London. He is expected to return to Cyprus on Saturday.

    CNA RG/EC/GP/1997
    ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
    CNA ENDS
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