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A.N.A. Bulletin, 08/02/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 808), February 8, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Commission expresses full solidarity with Greece over Imia incident

  • [2] France wants Aegean to be a 'sea of peace'

  • [3] Demarche to CoE

  • [4] Mitsotakis comes out in favor of dialogue with Turkey

  • [5] US favors arbitration of islet dispute

  • [6] US official

  • [7] Greek-Americans work behind the scenes

  • [8] Ciller reiterates intention to contest sovereignty of Aegean isles

  • [9] Change of name

  • [10] Turkey denies firing on Greek vessel

  • [11] Greek diplomats find understanding of Greek positions in Belgrade

  • [12] European socialists condemn Turkey

  • [13] Union for Europe group condemnation

  • [14] Papandreou's health stable

  • [15] Clerides arrives in Athens for meetings with Greek leadership

  • [16] Rifkind plans visit to Athens this month

  • [17] Reppas: Lymberis act 'unethical'

  • [18] Evert briefed on last week's Imia incident

  • [19] Identity of views between party, Gov't, Simitis says

  • [20] Greece, Albania begin talks on minority education issues

  • [21] Armenian church dignitary to visit Greece

  • [22] Shorter time limit for nominalization of construction shares

  • [23] Kourtesis takes over as EOT Secretary-General, Vasso Papandreou says work on tourism matters will speed up


  • [1] Commission expresses full solidarity with Greece over Imia incident

    Brussels, 08/02/1996 (ANA - M. Savva, F. Stangos, P. Pantelis)

    The European Commission yesterday issued a strong statement supporting Greece over its recent stand-off with Turkey over the islet of Imia in the Aegean.

    Expressing its relief that the crisis was defused, the announcement pointedly told Turkey that it faced obligations on a political level, including avoiding the use of force, in its dealings with the EU.

    The statement read as follows:

    "1. On this occasion, the European Commission expressed deep concern over recent developments on Imia, in the Aegean Sea. It expresses satisfaction over the fact the incident was ultimately placed under control by the governments of the two countries an d worse consequences were averted. The Commission believes that similar incidents should be avoided in the future.

    "2. The Commission expressed its full solidarity with Greece, a member-state of the European Union. At the same time, it believes that tension in the region should be reduced in a lasting way and efforts should be made to restore relations of good neighborliness between Greece and Turkey.

    "3. The Commission reminds that the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers on March 6, 1995, which concern customs union with Turkey and which were ratified by the European Parliament on December 13, were aimed at creating conditions for an upgrade d level of relations based on respect for democratic principles, international law and definitely excluding resorting to force."

    Speaking to reporters last night, European Commission President Jacques Santer expressed his personal satisfaction that the crisis between Greece and Turkey had been defused.

    Mr. Santer said Europe felt profound solidarity for Greece, adding that the customs union with Turkey was an agreement which did not concern economic and commercial issues alone, but should also lead the parties concerned to good relations.

    He said the Commission would co-operate with the Greek government for this purpose.

    "I am pleased I will have the opportunity of meeting Greek Prime Minister Mr. Simitis soon," Mr. Santer said.

    Earlier, an ANA dispatch reported the statement was due to be written yesterday evening by European Commission President Jacques Santer and competent commissioner, Hans van den Broek.

    The issue was raised by Greek EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis who briefed his counterparts on the existing status quo in the Aegean, fully supportive of Greek positions from the aspect of international law.

    He further briefed them on the "unfavorable political climate" among Greek public opinion due to "the unjustifiable silence of the European Union."

    The Greek commissioner stressed that the European Union ought to react and warn Turkey that with this attitude, it distances itself from Europe, while he requested a clear and strong message in favor of Cyprus.

    Sources said Mr. Papoutsis' positions were not disputed by any of his counterparts, many of whom criticized Turkey for its stand, a few weeks after the implementation of its customs union with the EU.

    Italian Commissioner Emma Bonino said "we should not see the Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean as an inter-state issue. This is an issue that touches on Community borders."

    According to sources, Commissioner Hans van den Broek expressed "amazement at the point in time which Ankara chose to cause the crisis," as well as the fact that "the Council of Ministers, the most appropriate organ which ought to have taken a position on this, has not reacted."

    Greece's permanent representative to the Community, Ambassador Paul Apostolidis, briefed Mr. van den Broek on Tuesday afternoon.

    In statements to the press yesterday, before the Commission statement was issued, Mr. Papoutsis said the Commission did not consider the recent crisis in the Aegean to be a bilateral problem, but a problem concerning the entire European Union.

    Mr. Papoutsis noted that the Commission is the first EU body to take a position on the Greek problem with Turkey.

    "The European Commission has undertaken to give the correct tone to discussions in other institutional bodies which are to follow," he added.

    [2] France wants Aegean to be a 'sea of peace'

    Paris, 08/02/1996 (ANA - J. Zitiounati)

    A French foreign ministry spokesman told reporters here yesterday that France wanted "Greece and Turkey to co-operate in order to transform the Aegean sea into a 'sea of peace'."

    "France always calls on Greece and Turkey to settle their problems via dialogue," spokesman Yves Dontriaux said. "It is concerned at the constant tensions which bring the two NATO allies and friends of France into opposition".

    Asked to comment on the legal aspect of the issue, the spokesman refused further comment.

    [3] Demarche to CoE

    Strasbourg, 08/02/1996 (ANA - I. Galanakis)

    Permanent Greek Representative to the Council of Europe Antonis Exarhos lodged a demarche yesterday with the Council's Secretary-General Daniel Tarschys regarding the recent crisis over the Imia islet, and statements made by Turkish caretaker Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, in which she doubted the sovereignty of Greek islands and rocky islets in the Aegean.

    In London, meanwhile, British Foreign Under-secretary Sir Nicholas Bonsor refused to agree that the treaty signed by Turkey and Italy in 1932 and the Paris Treaty of 1947 had permanently and clearly resolved the matter of sovereignty for the Aegean islets.

    Answering questions put by Labor MP Eddie O'Hara on Tuesday regarding the recent Greek-Turkish crisis, the under-secretary said that although international treaties must be upheld, he did not consider the matter to have been resolved by these treaties.

    He added that Greece and Turkey must not risk armed conflict for certain uninhabited islets, and must attempt to solve the matter peacefully.

    [4] Mitsotakis comes out in favor of dialogue with Turkey

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Speaking on television last night, former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis expressed support for dialogue with Turkey and maintaining a channel of communication, on three conditions: respect for territorial integrity; respect for the treaties in force and the rules of international law; and that Greece did not object to Turkey's European orientation.

    He said Cyprus was the touchstone in settling Greek - Turkish differences, adding that "if Turkey really wishes to solve its differences with Greece, we shall begin from Cyprus, without this precluding the parallel conduct of dialogue".

    Mr. Mitsotakis stressed that our country's policy was one of peace, and that Turkey was wrong in now disputing, for the first time, the legal status quo in the Aegean. He added that it would find itself "in opposition to world public opinion and fully isolated, especially when accompanying its claims with the use of violence".

    He revealed, for the first time, that a previous political leaders' council under former president Constantine Karamanlis had decided in favor of dialogue with Turkey, with Mr. Karamanlis citing two reasons for it, namely that it could provide the possibility for a gradual and peaceful resolution of differences sometime in future, and that, without dialogue, Turkey might continue unilateral and arbitrary acts in the Aegean, which might provide it with the pretext to wage war and blame Greece for responding.

    According to Mr. Mitsotakis, former prime minister Andreas Papandreou had said he agreed and that the channel of contacts and dialogue must not close.

    He did not rule out that Greece's stand might change now that Turkey had raised an islets issue, but added that "if we just stick to our positions, then we shall have the whole world on our side, and will just wait for the Turks to comply". The benefit s of dialogue would be that "we help Cyprus, we talk about the Patriarchate, the Greek minority, Greek properties. We must pursue the issue of minorities because we have nothing to fear".

    The former premier said that "the United States' intervention, as manifested during the last crisis, ended creating misgivings about its role, both in the particular case, and possibly in future". He disagreed with the government's decision to postpone US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke's visit to Athens, saying, "What is the sense of that? This is no serious foreign policy. Won't America play its role? Won't we need it for sure? (In this way) we don't have the possibility of influencing American policy, whereas we should be using the possibilities we have in using the Greek-American community".

    [5] US favors arbitration of islet dispute

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that it agreed with a US statement that the issue of the Imia islets should be treated as a legal problem.

    "The message from the US proposal is addressed to the other (Turkish) side," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, adding, however, that Athens agreed that the issue should be treated as a legal one.

    He was referring to a statement by a White House spokesman on Tuesday that Greece and Turkey's dispute over the islet should be referred to the International Court at The Hague.

    "This does not mean that we shall enter into a discussion," Mr. Reppas added, saying that Greece had conclusive proof that the islets were Greek.

    "If Turkey wants a settlement of the issue, then the US proposal shows Ankara the way," he said.

    The spokesman said it was still "too early to evaluate the importance of the repercussions of this (White House) statement."

    Speaking in Washington on Tuesday, White House spokesman Jim Feting said "the US does not hold a position as to who is the owner of the islet".

    "There is possibly a number of agreements, regarding its ownership," he said.

    He added that other arbitration bodies might also take over the issue.

    Reiterating the US position on respect of international treaties as well as the territorial integrity and internationally-recognized borders of Greece and Turkey, the spokesman called on Greece and Turkey "to solve their differences through peaceful means, without use of violence, or threat of use of violence."

    Asked whether the United States also supported the referral of the issue of the Aegean continental shelf to the International Court, the White House spokesman said:

    "No. We don't have a position on this at the present time."

    Education Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that the latest statement by the White House showed that Greece's diplomatic initiatives to inform international public opinion and foreign governments on the issue of the rocky islets in the Aegean we re bearing fruit.

    Mr. Papandreou was speaking to reporters after briefing Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the contacts he had in Davos, Switzerland within the framework of Greece's diplomatic campaign.

    He said he had conveyed to US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke the climate prevailing in Greece and the "indignation" felt by the Greek people caused by "the United States placing the victim and the offender in the same boat."

    However, he described the White House statement as "an important step forward."

    Asked why the US kept an equal distance between Greece and Turkey, Mr. Papandreou replied that "it is a long-standing policy of the United States with which we disagree because there can be no question of keeping an equal distance when issues of international law are involved."

    Mr. Papandreou said he had also briefed in detail the prime ministers of Bulgaria and Albania on Greece's policy in the Balkans and the latest Greek-Turkish crisis, adding that he found "understanding."

    Meanwhile, Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras yesterday attributed Washington's proposal for international arbitration to "pressure from the Greek-Americans," adding that "Greece has no reason to refer to The Hague the issue of the islets, which belong to it."

    He added he was strongly opposed to a proposal by main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert to establish a special parliamentary committee of inquiry on the recent Aegean crisis.

    Such a committee "will bring partition among the parties and the people," Mr. Samaras said. "At this time, Greece needs firm unity on the domestic front and coordinated action abroad."

    He also said he was opposed to blaming the military over the Imia incident, adding that "the army unites the people, it does not divide it."

    [6] US official

    Washington, 08/02/1996 (Reuter/ANA)

    The United States believes Greece and Turkey should take their dispute over an uninhabited Aegean islet to the World Court or some other international tribunal, a US official said here on Wednesday.

    The official, who asked not to be identified, discussed the matter after White House spokesman David Johnson denied reports circulating in the region that the United States had issued a statement urging that the potentially explosive dispute be taken to the Hague.

    "There are a number of documents that bear on the question of ownership and sovereignty. Some date back decades and involve Italy, the state that formally owned the Dodecaneese, and the Greeks claim that the islet is part of that," the official said.

    He added that there was "some dispute over the validity of at least one of the documents that relate to this."

    "We believe that the best venue for addressing these questions would be the International Court of Justice or another consensual body which would be well-suited to gather and evaluate information, impartially weigh the legal arguments of both sides and explain a basis for its ruling," the official said.

    US President Bill Clinton has sent letters to acting Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis thanking them for peacefully resolving last week's crisis.

    However, the official said Mr. Clinton's letters did not state the US position on international arbitration. That is being privately suggested in continuing diplomatic contacts with both sides, the official explained.

    [7] Greek-Americans work behind the scenes

    Washington, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Andrew Athens, president of the Hellenic-American Congress (UHAC) and of the Council for Overseas Hellenism (SAE), said yesterday that "intense efforts behind the scenes in the US government and Congress have begun to show results."

    Mr. Athens added that in a letter sent to President Bill Clinton, chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Ben Gilman expresses his opinion that "Greece's sovereignty is supported by treaties and international law which was accepted by Turkey until last week's events. If my view is correct, I find it hard to accept a US backing down from the recognition of Greece's sovereignty under conditions amounting to military provocation on the part of Turkey."

    Philip Christopher, president of the Pan-Cypriot Union and of the International Coordinating Committee, said that "information on Turkish tanks supplied by the US, which have been transported to Cyprus and are moving towards the Green Line after the Imia episode, was not well received in the US."

    [8] Ciller reiterates intention to contest sovereignty of Aegean isles

    Istanbul, 08/02/1996 08/02/1996 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)

    Caretaker Prime Minister Tansu Ciller reiterated Turkey's intention to dispute the sovereignty of the Aegean islets and rocky islets, during a live television interview late Tuesday night.

    "There are hundreds such rocky islets and islets in the Aegean the regime of which must be clarified," she said.

    Calling on Greece to prove its sovereignty over the islets, Ms. Ciller said:

    "We say to all international fora, states and interested organizations that they (the Greeks) are leading the world to war."

    Commenting on Ms Ciller's statements, foreign ministry spokesman Omer Akbel said "until the final delineation of national waters in the Aegean and of the continental shelf as a result of an agreement between the two countries, any unilateral move or fait accompli is unacceptable."

    According to Turkish officials the isles and islets in the Aegean "do not automatically belong to Greece, unless (this is dictated) by some international law."

    Diplomatic sources stated that until now, Turkey has not officially made such claims. The Turkish foreign minister and Turkish officials have constantly called for discussions over the past few days in order to "find a solution to the problems concerning the disputed sovereignty of the islets and rocky islets," without clarifying which islets are being referred to or how these "disputes" have arisen.

    Last Sunday, Ms Ciller stated the islets numbered between 1,000 and 3,000, while now she is speaking of hundreds and dozens of Greek islands.

    The Turkish foreign ministry said the 1932 Turkish-Italian protocol "is not valid, neither from the domestic or the international law point of view."

    Mr. Akbel described the protocol as "a document resembling a working meeting of low-ranking officials making suggestions to the governments (of Turkey and Italy)."

    "If anyone is alleging any differently then these persons should come forward with new evidence and explain it to us," he said.

    The 3rd article of the protocol defines the border line between the Dodecaneese and the Asia Minor coasts to be "in the middle of the distance between Kardak (Imia) and Kato I (Asia Minor coast)."

    Meanwhile, a Turkish news commentator yesterday said Ms Ciller was annoyed by the United States' involvement in the recent crisis.

    Yalcin Doyan, a columnist for the Milliyet newspaper said that "Ms Ciller wished, and still wishes, for conflict in the Aegean."

    In her television interview, Ms Ciller said that she had personally taken all decisions and had not succumbed to pressures.

    According to Ms Ciller, the United States warned her "that if just one citizen set foot (on Imia) you will be confronted with the United Nations, NATO, the European Union and the United Nations."

    According to Mr. Doyan, Ms Ciller "is basing her power on an outbreak of conflict with Greece."

    "For this reason, Ms Ciller has appointed (former chief of staff and deputy) Doyan Gures to investigate the regime of the Aegean isles. His task is to examine every file and find an answer to Ms Ciller's request 'what can be done and where'."

    Other Turkish press reports said the Turkish leadership deliberately delayed contact with Washington until the Turkish commandos' landing operation to Imia began.

    [9] Change of name

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Turkish General Staff announced that the Turkish name for Imia will change from 'Kardak' to 'Inkindze'. A Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said "Inkindze' is the name given to the islet by local residents", but added that it was not clear which of the two Turkish names will prevail.

    [10] Turkey denies firing on Greek vessel

    Istanbul, 08/02/1996 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)

    The Turkish foreign ministry yesterday denied that Turkish coast-guard ships fired at two Greek fishing vessels near the island of Samothrace on Saturday. Ministry spokesman Omer Akbel said that Athens will receive a formal answer from Ankara over the incident. On Saturday evening, two Turkish coast-guard ships fired on and tried to ram Greek fishing vessels sailing in Greek territorial waters during a two-hour-long chase.

    The Turkish ships gave up the chase when the fishing vessels managed to join another 17 Greek shipping vessels operating in the region.

    [11] Greek diplomats find understanding of Greek positions in Belgrade

    Belgrade, 08/02/1996 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Official circles in Belgrade apparently understand Greek positions on the issue of the rocky Aegean islets and at the same time expressed concern over Ankara's attempt to subvert the legal status quo in the region.

    That was revealed yesterday from talks between Greece's charges d'affaires in Belgrade, Mihalis Spinellis, and Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic.

    In addition, concern has been expressed in the Yugoslav capital over the possibility that the recent Greek-Turkish crisis was due to interference by a third party. The opposition Serbian Democratic Party issued a statement citing Turkey's unjustified territorial designs as behind the problems faced by Athens.

    Yugoslav public opinion is being briefed on the Aegean crisis by press dispatches from both Athens and Ankara.

    Meanwhile, the Greek Embassy in Belgrade prepared and disseminated a press information package on Greece's positions on the matter as well as a history of unilateral Turkish demands in the Aegean from 1973 to the present. Diplomatic editors from the neighboring country's largest mass media outlets were invited to the embassy and briefed by Mr. Spinellis and the embassy's press officer on Turkish designs in the Aegean.

    [12] European socialists condemn Turkey

    Brussels, 08/02/1996 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    The presidium of the European Socialist Party (ESP) issued a strongly-worded announcement against Turkey yesterday over Ankara's provocations in the Aegean last week.

    Delegates from Europe's socialist parties released the statement during their conference here.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos represented the ruling PASOK party, in his capacity as ESP Vice-President.

    In the statement on Ankara's provocations against a European Union member-state, the announcement said:

    "Following the incidents that resulted from Turkey's aggressive military actions in the eastern Aegean on January 30-31, 1996, and the official dispute by that country of a section of Greek sovereignty, we express our extreme concern for security and stability in the region, and we condemn the Turkish government's escalating provocations against a European Union member-state.

    "We express our satisfaction at the Greek government's handling of the situation, which had as a result the avoidance of a general conflict in the southeastern Mediterranean.

    "We draw attention to actions which violate international law and Community practices and directly place the peace and security of the entire region in danger.

    "We request the immediate compliance by Turkey of international agreements and international law, and call on it to immediately desist from any action or attempt to damage relations between the two countries and threatens the sovereignty rights of a union member-state.

    "Finally, we declare our opposition to unilateral provocations and machinations that attempt to change the existing balance in the Aegean, which is guaranteed under international agreements and treaties, and we call on the Turkish government to assume its responsibilities and obligations that emanate from its capacity as an associate member of the European Union."

    [13] Union for Europe group condemnation

    Brussels, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Italian, French, Portuguese and Irish Eurodeputies of the Union for Europe group unanimously supported a resolution by Political Spring Eurodeputy Katerina Daskalaki yesterday, which condemns Turkey's recent aggressive actions against Greece.

    Ms. Daskalaki highlighted the fact that the crisis was not "over a rock," something heard in certain quarters, but concerned a substantial dispute of the European Union's external borders.

    Several Eurodeputies, with first and foremost Italian MPs, requested a European declaration that Greece's borders are the borders of the EU, and noted that Turkish provocations "isn't only a Greek-Turkish issue, but a European Union-Turkey (issue)."

    [14] Papandreou's health stable

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Yesterday's Onassion hospital bulletin on the health of PASOK president Andreas Papandreou said his condition had recorded no change in the previous 24 hours, and the fever which had appeared on Monday due to the installation of a fistula, designed to facilitate kidney dialysis, had receded.

    Doctors said they hoped they would be able to perform a minor operation before the end of the week, in order to close Mr. Papandreou's tracheotomy.

    Although they were reluctant to make predictions, they expressed the belief it would be possible to discharge the former premier before March.

    Meanwhile, a team of doctors from the well-known Mayo Clinic, in the US, are expected in Athens in the next few days, to decide on whether he needs to be transferred to the US for treatment.

    [15] Clerides arrives in Athens for meetings with Greek leadership

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides arrived in Athens yesterday evening and was met by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    Speaking to journalists on arrival, Mr. Clerides said he is having meetings with the political and military leadership of Greece to discuss both the Cyprus problem and the joint defense pact the two countries agreed on in 1993.

    Mr. Clerides will meet his Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos at noon and immediately afterwards he will see Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Tomorrow he will receive political party leaders.

    Commenting on the transfer of heavy Turkish military equipment to the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus during the crisis in the Aegean, Mr. Clerides said the Turks have been transporting such equipment for a long time and noted that Cyprus has already ma de representations to the UN on the matter.

    Mr. Clerides is accompanied by Foreign and Defense Ministers Alecos Michaelides and Costas Eliades as well as Under-secretary to the President Pantelis Kouros.

    Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Alexandros Sandis and Commander of the National Guard Lieutenant-General Nikolaos Vorvolakos are also in Athens, while government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides is flying to Athens today.

    Mr. Cassoulides will have talks today with Minister of Press and Media Dimitris Reppas who will host a dinner in Mr. Cassoulides' honor.

    [16] Rifkind plans visit to Athens this month

    London, 08/02/1996 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind will visit Athens on February 20 for talks with the Greek government.

    The Foreign Office and the Greek embassy in London were in consultations to decide the programme for Mr. Rifkind's visit.

    Informed sources said Mr. Rifkind would fly on to Tirana and Sarajevo after his Athens visit.

    [17] Reppas: Lymberis act 'unethical'

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday termed "unethical" a statement by General National Defense Staff chief Admiral Christos Lymberis in which he made public a conversation he had with Prime Minister Costas Simitis during the critical hours of t he recent Greek-Turkish stand-off in the Aegean.

    "This act damages the prestige and moral standards of the armed forces," Mr. Reppas said, adding that the issue would be discussed at tomorrow's meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA).

    Asked by reporters if Admiral Lymberis' action would have consequences, Mr. Reppas replied "we will soon know."

    Asked if Mr. Lymberis had tendered his resignation, the spokesman said:

    "He has not resigned, at least not up to now. When the government takes its decisions, they will be announced."

    Commenting on media reporting of the movements of the Greek navy during last Tuesday night's stand-off, Mr. Reppas said that "at times of special importance, the sense of responsibility must be heightened," stressing that this applied to politicians, businessmen, the media and ordinary citizens. He said that the issue was being examined by the National Council for Radio and Television "which does not take orders from the government," adding that the matter might also be taken up by the courts.

    [18] Evert briefed on last week's Imia incident

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert was briefed yesterday by the political and military leadership of the national defense ministry on the details of last week's Greek-Turkish stand-off in the Aegean and the present situation.

    Accompanied by four senior ND cadres, including former defense minister Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Mr. Evert was briefed at the ministry for over two hours.

    He declined to make any comment on the briefing.

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis decided after yesterday's meeting that all political party leaders would be similarly briefed.

    [19] Identity of views between party, Gov't, Simitis says

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that there was identity of views between ruling party PASOK and his government over recent government decisions.

    "Through its pre-election announcements and its programme, the party sets out the general policy framework and the government implements this policy, it is competent and responsible and decides on policy in individual sectors and for persons," Mr. Simitis said after attending a ruling party PASOK Executive Bureau meeting, also attended by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    His statement is believed to be a reply to those who disagreed with the appointment of Theodoros Karatzas as National Bank of Greece Governor.

    Mr. Simitis said co-operation with the Executive Bureau was fruitful, while Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis said the party supported government policy, adding that the party and the government followed a common course.

    "When problems are not discussed false impressions are created," Mr. Skandalidis said, adding that "it is a day on which we overcame reefs and are forging ahead."

    According to reports, Mr. Simitis said Mr. Karatzas' appointment took place at the suggestion of National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, which he accepted, and that Mr. Papantoniou had notified outgoing National Bank governor George Mirkos of the government's decision.

    In addition, the reports said, Mr. Simitis mentioned a letter he had sent to the Executive Bureau when he was industry minister, requesting that the party propose suitable persons to staff civil posts at his ministry.

    Mr. Pangalos briefed the Executive Bureau on latest developments on foreign policy issues and, more specifically, Greek-Turkish positions and developments on the international scene.

    Some Executive Bureau members criticized the government's handling of the islet issue, but added that the issue was closed following Tuesday's Parliamentary Group session where deputies analyzed their views in detail.

    Referring to national issues, Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos said "a serious discussion with long-term prospects" took place, while Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said it was "a very useful discussion."

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas said relations and principles which had to govern the government and the party, the autonomy the government should have in taking decisions and policy lines PASOK would follow were all discussed.

    Mr. Simitis had a brief meeting with National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis afterwards.

    [20] Greece, Albania begin talks on minority education issues

    Tirana, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    Greek and Albanian foreign ministry delegations held a meeting yesterday in Tirana focusing mainly on the rights to a Greek education of the members of the Greek minority who lives in southern Albania. The meeting took place in the framework of efforts to improve Greek-Albanian relations following an Albanian government decision to abolish a regulation calling for the border check of Greek visitors' visas. At the head of the Greek delegation were Alexandros Filon, general director of the foreign ministry's political affairs' department and Dimitris Kypraios, director of Balkan affairs at the ministry. According to the Albanian press, the talks also focused on reviewing current relations between the two countries and the opening of new prospects for further reinforcement and development.

    [21] Armenian church dignitary to visit Greece

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Armenian Patriarch of the Great House of Kilikia and President of the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches, Aram Kesisian will visit Greece for a week-long stay, beginning Saturday.

    During his stay, the Patriarch will visit President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Archbishop Iakovos of Athens and All Greece.

    He will also hold meetings with members of Thessaloniki's Armenian community.

    [22] Shorter time limit for nominalization of construction shares

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    A new amendment allowing for a three-month instead of a six-month extension for nominalization of shares of construction companies undertaking public projects was decided yesterday by the government. The decision was taken in a meeting at the national economy ministry that included Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, while National Economy Secretary-General Miltiades Papaioannou represented the ministry.

    Nominalization of company shares affects Greek firms assuming public works contracts worth more than one billion drachmas.

    Earlier, Mr. Laliotis said he was in favor of transparency in government construction contracts and nominalization of shares. He also criticized the national economy and press ministries for not processing the relative presidential decree in order to apply the new law.

    A government spokesman later attributed the three-month extension of issuing nominal shares for large construction companies to technical problems in publication of presidential decrees.

    [23] Kourtesis takes over as EOT Secretary-General, Vasso Papandreou says work on tourism matters will speed up

    Athens, 08/02/1996 (ANA)

    The new Secretary-General of the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT), Vassilis Kourtesis, officially assumed his duties yesterday.

    In a press conference after the handing-over ceremony, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, who hand-picked Mr. Kourtesis, said the ministry and EOT would seek the speeding up of the Tourism Operational Programme for the modernization of tourist enterprises, and the introduction of an amendment in the investment incentives law for the upgrading of the existing infrastructure.

    She dismissed claims that the incorporation of the former tourism ministry in the newly-formed development ministry constituted a downgrading of the sector, stressing that the new entity incorporated the most important sectors in the economy.

    Ms Papandreou also reported that the final details were being put to EOT's advertising campaign abroad.

    Vassilis Kourtesis was born in Corfu in 1931, is a graduate of Athens University, and has occupied various managerial posts in the last 20 years.

    He has served as director-general of the Export Promotions Organization (1986-89), chairman of the Association of Exporters of Northern Greece (1990-94), and president and, from 1994 till now was managing director of the Thessaloniki International Trade

    Fair organization (HELEXPO-DETH). He is also president of the Inter-Balkan and Black Sea Business Centre (DIPEK), based in Thessaloniki, and Vice-President of the Arab-Hellenic Chamber.

    End of English language section.

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