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A.N.A. Bulletin, 14/02/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 813), February 14, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece denies it suggested arbitration for Imia issue

  • [2] Clinton's statements

  • [3] State Dept. spokesman sticks by statement

  • [4] Evert positive after meeting Santer: EU will support just Greek position on Imia, he says

  • [5] ND sends resolution

  • [6] European Parliament to examine resolutions on Imia crisis today

  • [7] Turkish press reports Ciller shifting position on islets issue

  • [8] Inner Cabinet discusses defense issues

  • [9] Coalition leader briefed on Imia incident

  • [10] Skandalidis meets with SAE president

  • [11] Pangalos welcomes German position on EU external borders

  • [12] Greek, Italian officials confer on preparations for IGC

  • [13] Papoutsis presents Green Paper on tourism policy

  • [14] Media watchdog warns leading television networks over coverage of Imia crisis

  • [15] ND response

  • [16] Gov't reply

  • [17] Evert slams ruling party promises of 'new ethos and profile'

  • [18] Premier confers with Beis

  • [19] Papandreou's health improving

  • [20] Expatriate education issues discussed

  • [21] Minor violations during Turkish exercise in Aegean

  • [22] Hania residents file suit for compensation from Germany

  • [23] Pangalos sees Albanian archbishop

  • [24] Vasso Papandreou announces aggressive development strategy

  • [25] Greece and Albania agree to develop bilateral trade links

  • [26] Sofia expects progress on oil pipeline details this month


  • [1] Greece denies it suggested arbitration for Imia issue

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday unequivocally denied statements by US President Bill Clinton that it had suggested that the International Court of Justice at The Hague was the appropriate forum for the dispute between Athens and Ankara over the islet of Imia.

    "The Greek government has not suggested nor will it suggest any measure or initiative to the United States," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    The spokesman was commenting on statements by Mr. Clinton claiming that a proposal to refer the issue to the International Court had been submitted by Greece.

    "The legal framework is clear and Greece does not intend to take any action, since there is no question of vagueness or controversy," Mr. Reppas said. "Mr. Clinton is expressing the policy of the US and not Greece."

    Last night, a State Department spokesman said Mr. Clinton's comments were the US position and proposal and were based on previous references by Greece to solve the dispute over the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf at The Hague.

    "Knowing that many times in the past Greece has said that a number of problems between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean could be resolved at the International Court at The Hague, I think that it is right that the International Court will be the forum where

    Greece and Turkey could meet and resolve this specific difference," he said.

    Mr. Reppas said that he had previously described the proposal to refer the issue to the International Court as interesting "because it is a proposal which refers (the issue) to international law and Greece believes that any view, whether it be that of t he US or another country, which refers to international law is in the right direction."

    His comments were echoed by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    "The Greek government does not intend to have recourse anywhere because it is not claiming and not disputing anything," he said when asked to comment on Mr. Clinton's statements.

    "If someone else has recourse to The Hague, then we shall handle it. We shall see the subject of the recourse and the legal arguments cited and we shall handle it," he said.

    [2] Clinton's statements

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    An ANA dispatch from Washington reported yesterday that President Clinton, in a recorded message to the 32nd biannual dinner of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) said: "We are now trying to further reduce tension and settle the sovereignty issue peacefully through the International Court, as this has been suggested by the Greek government."

    "I want to assure you that the United States strongly supports the principles of respect of international treaties, internationally recognized borders and territorial integrity.

    "Greece and Turkey can and must solve their differences via peaceful means."

    President Clinton further referred to the 7:10 ratio in arms sales to Greece and Turkey, saying that "I insisted in maintaining the 7:10 ratio for arms sales to Greece and Turkey, something which helps ensure the strategic balance in the Aegean."

    According to the US president, his envoy Matthew Nimetz "worked hard for the agreement which normalized Athens-Skopje relations."

    "I was determined to ensure the legal interests of Greece in the negotiations. And I have appointed Richard Beattie as envoy to actively pursue a solution to the difficult problem of Cyprus. In every meeting which I had with the Turkish leaders I kept reminding them that we have to find a just solution to this problem," the president said.

    [3] State Dept. spokesman sticks by statement

    Washington, (ANA - L.Papantoniou)

    State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said all that President Clinton had said on Monday on the issue of the islet of Imia constituted the policy of the US government and its proposal.

    Replying to a questioner at yesterday's regular press briefing to comment on President Clinton's statement, as well as the Greek government's view that it did not propose reference of the Imia issue to the International Court at The Hague, Mr. Burns said:

    "I think it is a perfect statement. I would not remove any aspect from this statement. It is very clear and reiterates our policy that we are concerned over the problems of Greece and Turkey and that we are playing a leading role in resolving the problem of Imia. And knowing that many times in the past Greece has said that a number of problems between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean could be resolved at the International Court at The Hague, I think that it is right that the International Court will be t he forum where Greece and Turkey could meet and resolve this specific difference. I think that the President stressed very simply what US policy is."

    Replying to the observation that the proposal was ultimately made by the US government, Mr. Burns added:

    "We have known for a long time that the Greek government was interested in using the mediation of the International Court as a means of resolving specific problems in the Aegean and knowing this I think, of course, that it would be a good idea to bring this case to the International Court."

    The deputy leader of the main opposition party New Democracy, Ioannis Varvitsiotis, said any government proposal to refer the Imia issue to international arbitration "as this has been revealed in President Clinton's message to Greek-Americans, is nationally unacceptable and damaging."

    "The government must break its silence and clarify the issue," he said.

    [4] Evert positive after meeting Santer: EU will support just Greek position on Imia, he says

    Strasbourg, 14/02/1996 (ANA- P. Stangos)

    After meeting European Commission President Jacques Santer briefly yesterday, New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert said he was happy that Greek borders would also be viewed as those of the European Union.

    "Our meeting went very well. We jointly agreed that Greek borders are simultaneously the borders of the European Union... I believe that the European Union and Mr. Santer personally will help the Greek position, which is also that of justice," he said.

    Commenting on the change of climate in the EU in favor of Greek positions, Mr. Evert said that as these were the just positions of a European country, there had to be solidarity.

    "We must sometime realize that Europe cannot be an economic giant and a political dwarf ... There must be a common external and defense policy which will shield the member-states of the European Union," he added.

    Mr. Evert stressed his opposition to the Imia islets issue being referred to the International Court at The Hague under a Greek initiative. He wondered how the Greek government could have proposed such a referral, as claimed by President Clinton on Monday, adding that he could not imagine that President Clinton was not telling the truth.

    "We are staying put on our position that we cannot discuss Greece's sovereign rights... When Europeans say that Greece's borders are also Europe's, then why should we discuss and have doubt cast on our sovereign rights?" he said.

    Referring to Turkey during the European Peoples' Party meeting later, Mr. Evert said:

    "Turkey is going through a difficult period, having to face huge problems, such as the danger of Islamic fundamentalism, the Kurdish question, and the great economic crisis.

    "Despite all these, and the fact that Greece lifted its veto to its customs union agreement (with the EU), Turkey continues the policy of provocations.

    "Turkey was united in customs with Europe in order to export its products and not its problems," he said.

    [5] ND sends resolution

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party yesterday adopted a resolution to be sent to all European parties stressing Turkey's "dangerous aggressiveness" against Greece, and calling on its Balkan neighbor to respect international legality.

    The resolution was approved by the ND Parliamentary Group chaired by party leader Mr. Evert before he left for Strasbourg yesterday.

    "Greece is the target of dangerous Turkish aggressiveness," the resolution says, adding that Turkey, "in contempt of every meaning of international legality, is disputing the sovereign rights of Greece in the Aegean and violating in an unconcealed and blatant manner international rules and conventions, directly endangering peace in the region of southeastern Europe."

    The resolution also points out that while "Greece respects international legality, has avoided any provocations, and has been a party to the agreement for Turkey's customs union with the EU, the response it received was a series of unacceptable threats from Ankara such as the repeated 'casus belli'."

    The resolution further stresses that "it is clear that respect of international legality does not mean abandonment of sovereign rights."

    "It must be perceived that the patience and tolerance of a nation have bounds that are dictated by national dignity. By disputing and violating Greece's borders, Turkey is disputing and violating the borders of Europe, and this provocation cannot remain without consequence," the resolution says.

    "Turkey must finally respect international legality and refrain from any action against Greece, and consequently against Europe," the resolution says, warning that "other-wise it will have to face all the consequences of EU solidarity, having dissolved the last delusions as to its European future."

    The resolution expressed ND's faith that "Europe will actively support the principles on which it is building its future, ensure peace, and protect in an effective way the national integrity of its members."

    Earlier, Mr. Evert held talks with visiting German Alternate Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer on EU common defense and security policy and next month's inter-governmental conference (IGC).

    They had coinciding views on the necessity of strengthening the common defense of Europe and security of its external borders, an announcement said.

    The need was also stressed to speed up the process of Cyprus' and Malta's accession to the EU.

    Addressing the Parliamentary Group meeting before his departure, Mr. Evert reiterated that it was Greece's inalienable right to extend its territorial waters from the current six to 12 nautical miles. "There is only one difference with Turkey, and t hat is the delineation of the continental shelf (in the Aegean)," he said.

    Mr. Evert described the Imia islet incident as a pre-meditated Turkish plan "and the government fell into Ankara's trap."

    Turkey, he added, "follows an expansionist policy against Greece, and frequently exports its domestic crises abroad."

    Mr. Evert said it was "embarrassing to see the national defense minister publicly ask whether the prime minister made any commitments to the United States, and is even more embarrassing to question the prime minister while Mr. Simitis keeps silent".

    Referring to ND initiatives to brief international public opinion on Greek positions, Mr. Evert said: "I will not tolerate pressure or involvement from any side as to how much we will pressure the government. We know and we have the responsibility of what we should do." Mr. Evert also met with the presidium of the World Hellenism Council, telling them that their work could be seen in the statements of US officials.

    He also noted the contribution of Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America.

    [6] European Parliament to examine resolutions on Imia crisis today

    Strasbourg, 14/02/1996 (ANA- P. Stangos)

    Five political groups in the European Parliament - accounting for 85 per cent of deputies - had submitted draft resolutions in view of today's discussion, following a statement on the recent Greek-Turkish crisis by the president of the Council of Ministers, Italian Foreign Minister Susanna Agnelli. Voting on a common draft resolution, the content of which will be formulated after consultations between the groups, will take place tomorrow. The condemnation of Turkey by the parliament for violation of Greek sovereign rights on the Imia islets was considered certain yesterday, as it was a common denominator of most draft resolutions prepared, with the exemption of that of the Liberal group which restricted itself to addressing "an appeal to both sides to abstain from provocative words and deeds," while pointing out that "the illegal presence of the Turkish army on Cyprus since 1974 tends to exacerbate the situation in the Aegean".

    [7] Turkish press reports Ciller shifting position on islets issue

    Ankara, 14/02/1996 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)

    The Turkish press reported yesterday that caretaker prime minister Tansu Ciller may visit Rome and Paris in the framework of efforts to deal with problems caused by the recent Aegean crisis.

    'Hurriyet' said that Ms Ciller "abandoned her hawkish attitudes against Greece during yesterday's security meeting" quoting her as saying that "the status of the Kardak (Imia) islets is unclear."

    According to the newspaper, it was the first time Ms Ciller had admitted the status of the islets should be the focus of negotiations. Until now, the newspaper said "she was saying that the islets are ours".

    The paper claimed that Ms Ciller had appealed to Greece for negotiations over the islets and rocky islets in the Aegean.

    Another newspaper, 'Turkiye' also wrote that Ms Ciller stressed the need for negotiations over the Aegean islets whose status is unclear.

    An AFP dispatch from Ankara, meanwhile, said Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal had made a fresh appeal to Greece for consultations with Turkey over the Aegean issue.

    "The Kardak (Imia) islet crisis is over," Mr. Baykal was quoted by the French news agency as saying. "Now a new period of reconciliation should begin. I hope that a new dialogue based on goodwill shall begin."

    He described Turkey's attitude as "responsible and careful."

    Mr. Baykal is due to begin a European tour this week to explain Turkey's position on the Imia crisis, meeting with his British counterpart Malcolm Rifkind and EU External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek.

    [8] Inner Cabinet discusses defense issues

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    The inner cabinet convened yesterday to discuss defense policy issues and, according to informed sources, took decisions on armaments policy and the salaries of military officers.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the inner cabinet had discussed the planning and improvement of national strategy.

    Mr. Reppas added that National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis had placed particular emphasis on defense policy and the country's capability within the framework of the dogma of 'we do not claim anything but we will not concede anything'.

    Other issues discussed were the coordination of the joint defense doctrine covering Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus.

    The spokesman announced that the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) would meet tomorrow night to decide on the new chief of general staff, while on Friday KYSEA would select the chiefs of the three military services.

    [9] Coalition leader briefed on Imia incident

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress party leader Nikos Constantopoulos was yesterday briefed by the political and military leadership of the national defense ministry on the recent stand-off between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean.

    Speaking to the press following the meeting, Mr. Constantopoulos described the briefing as "full, substantial and useful."

    Mr. Constantopoulos also reiterated a party proposal for the establishment of a foreign policy council, and the convening of a political leaders council.

    He also pointed out the need to draft and apply a firm national strategy, which he called "the first pressing priority."

    According to Mr. Constantopoulos, the national strategy should include political, diplomatic and military initiatives to ensure the country's territorial integrity and the defense of national rights.

    "Defending peace," he said, "calls for modern and effective armed forces (which will operate independently of) party, political and internal expediencies and policies, and diplomatic initiatives for the promotion of peace, stability and the recognition of the country's rights."

    Referring to the Imia incident, he added that "Greece should take advantage of Turkey's strategic mistake in disputing (Greece's) territorial integrity and proceed with substantial diplomatic and political initiatives."

    [10] Skandalidis meets with SAE president

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Ruling socialist PASOK party Secretary Costas Skandalidis and World Hellenism Council (SAE) President Andrew Athens held talks yesterday on a comprehensive plan to mobilize Greek expatriates towards promoting national issues.

    Mr. Skandalidis said the government should fully utilize the strength possessed by Hellenism, adding that it appeared from developments following the incidents on the islet of Imia that positive results stemming from the World Hellenism Council's mobilization had already started.

    Mr. Athens offered assurances that expatriates would do more for national issues, particularly in Washington, and stressed that Greeks in other parts of the world should also help in promoting national issues.

    [11] Pangalos welcomes German position on EU external borders

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Speaking to reporters after talks with German Alternate Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer yesterday, Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said Greece agreed with the German position on the European Union's external borders as expressed by Mr. Hoyer.

    "The German government... is of the view that the EU must have borders. Wherever there are obscurities, these must be interpreted by international law and international treaties and by the bodies foreseen for such procedures. As you know, Greece does no t challenge the borders of any other country. But in terms of a general approach, we agree, and I don't see how anyone could disagree. And this does not apply only to Greece, but to any country wishing to be an equal member of the civilized community of nations," he told reporters after the hour-long meeting.

    At this point, Mr. Hoyer interjected saying he could not have expressed the issue better than Mr. Pangalos.

    Mr. Hoyer said Monday that "the external borders of all our member states are external borders of the EU. What we need is clarity about these external borders and I hope this clarity can be achieved in a peaceful manner."

    Asked if he would put forward this position on borders during forthcoming talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal, Mr. Hoyer replied:

    "It is understood that we shall express exactly the same view in the contacts we shall be having with the Turkish foreign minister. Besides, as I said Monday, in order for there to be true unification in the EU, it is absolutely necessary for us to add the dimension of foreign policy and security policy. And we must also regard the Western European Union as Europe's defense arm. Consequently, we most certainly must occupy ourselves with issues relating to borders."

    Mr. Hoyer added that clarity with respect to borders was "an issue which can be dealt with within the framework of peaceful and civilized means and measures which are foreseen by international law."

    Mr. Pangalos said that Greece and Germany had "very close positions" on issues such as monetary union and closer collaboration within the European Union with respect to foreign and defense policy.

    He said he had discussed with Mr. Hoyer Greek-German collaboration within the framework of the EU and the procedures for the forthcoming inter-governmental conference (IGC).

    "We decided to make our collaboration more specific. Mr. Hoyer, who will be Germany's representative at the IGC, will co-operate closely and regularly with our representative there," Mr. Pangalos said.

    The two ministers also exchanged views on the Balkans, with Mr. Pangalos underlining the positive developments in Greece's relations with neighboring Balkan countries, as well as bilateral issues. Mr. Pangalos said there would be frequent contacts between Athens and Bonn with respect to Balkan policy and co-operation between the scientific institutions of the two countries which deal with Balkan affairs.

    He also briefed his German counterpart on Greece's positions concerning the latest Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean.

    Mr. Hoyer described his talks with Mr. Pangalos as "constru-ctive," adding that they had been conducted in an atmosphere of "mutual trust."

    The German minister expressed the conviction that there would be an identity of views between Athens and Bonn on most issues at the IGC.

    [12] Greek, Italian officials confer on preparations for IGC

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry's representative at the Planning Group for the inter-governmental conference (IGC), Stephanos Stathatos, held talks yesterday with his Italian counterpart Silvio Faggolo and other officials on issues concerning the intergovernmental conference on revising the Maastricht Treaty.

    The representative of the Italian EU presidency was also received by Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos for a brief discussion.

    The Italian delegation briefed the Greek side on its intentions regarding the IGC's procedural issues, while Mr. Romeos reiterated Greek positions on main chapters to Mr. Faggolo which will be subject to revision in the Maastricht Treaty.

    [13] Papoutsis presents Green Paper on tourism policy

    Brussels, 14/02/1996 (ANA - P.Pantelis)

    European Commissioner for energy, tourism and small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) Christos Papoutsis yesterday said that there should be a "European space for tourism" in a united Europe, during a speech at the Europarliament.

    Mr. Papoutsis was presenting the "Green Paper" concerning European tourism policy at a plenary session of the Europarliament.

    The Greek EU commissioner noted that with the Green Paper, the Commission has put forth several alternative proposals related to the union's future institutional framework for tourism policy, which he said will encourage dialogue on the issue.

    He praised a report by New Democracy Eurodeputy Pavlos Sarlis, which proposed that regulations concerning the tourism sector be inserted during a revision of the Maastricht Treaty.

    In his report, Mr. Sarlis states that the omission of provisions dealing with a common tourism policy in the Maastricht Treaty was a mistake. He added that the Commission is now legally hindered from placing the union's tourism sector problems on the negotiating table at upcoming GATT talks in Geneva.

    That mistake, the Sarlis report states, leaves EU tourism interests unprotected in any opening a united Europe makes in a third country's tourism businesses.

    A large majority of the Europarliament approved the Sarlis report.

    [14] Media watchdog warns leading television networks over coverage of Imia crisis

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    A warning was issued yesterday by the National Radio and Television Council to the Mega, Antenna and Star private television stations over their coverage of the Imia crisis and for re-broadcasts of Turkish networks' footage.

    Images taken from Turkish television showed the Greek flag being lowered on Imia by a Istanbul newspaper's staff before a Turkish flag was raised.

    The council, which is comprised of members nominated by the political parties, will convene today to consider the issue of the Skai television station filming several Greek warships daylight and unconcealed departure from their Salamina anchorage during the crisis.

    A decision is expected by tomorrow.

    [15] ND response

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party yesterday bitterly criticized the council's warning to the broadcasters.

    A ND announcement stated that "the boundaries of media freedom are prescribed by the Constitution and not by Mr. (Premier Costas) Simitis and his mouthpieces.

    "The Simitis government again provided an example of the new ethos and profile that characterizes it, with methods that betray panic and lack of basic democratic sensitivity; trying to muzzle media outlets so the recent and dangerous fiasco during the Imia crisis is not revealed."

    [16] Gov't reply

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    In response to the ND statement, government spokesman and Press Minister Dimitris Reppas said the radio-television council is an autonomous administrative body "without orders or directions, and its decisions should be respected." He called yesterday's main opposition announcement a monument of "corruption and hypocrisy."

    [17] Evert slams ruling party promises of 'new ethos and profile'

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Speaking to his party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday, main opposition leader Miltiades Evert said New Democracy was facing problems both at home and abroad with prudence and responsibility, and pointed to the party's initiatives from the day former prime minister Andreas Papandreou was hospitalized to the day of the Imia crisis.

    He claimed that "PASOK has proved to not be a democratically organized party," adding that there had been manifestations of internal revanchist phenomena, and that the "new ethos and profile" enunciated by Prime Minister Costas Simitis had proved to be a myth.

    He claimed that New Democracy was two years ahead of PASOK in terms of proposals for modernization, transparency and a new ethos and profile.

    He said that during the recent Greek-Turkish crisis, PASOK and the government were busy with their internal party matters, and that Mr. Simitis found it necessary to remind his internal party opponents that he was prime minister, and his government the government of PASOK.

    Referring to his party's opposition tactics, Mr. Evert said there would be severe criticism of the government, with parallel proposals for the economy and development, and concern for the unjustly treated, especially the farmers and small- and medium-size entrepreneurs.

    He announced that in the next few days he would ask for a special parliamentary debate on the upcoming EU inter-governmental conference.

    Finally, he claimed that his party was ready to face elections which could happen at any moment due to the fluidity in the political situation.

    [18] Premier confers with Beis

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with the presidium of PASOK's parliamentary group, and as group secretary Dimitris Beis stated later, discussion concerned the new regulation for the body, which will be voted on early next month and will be followed by the election of a new presidium.

    He added that the prime minister referred to the need for better mutual briefing.

    [19] Papandreou's health improving

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Former prime minister Andreas Papandreou's health is gradually improving and the respiratory physiotherapy and kinesiotherapy programme is continuing, according to the latest medical report yesterday.

    Mr. Papandreou's doctors believe he has regained his strength to a considerable degree, his weight is estimated at 66 kg and he has started taking light meals through the mouth.

    He underwent dialysis at noon and doctors believe that by the end of the week or at the beginning of next week at the latest they will be in a position to close the tracheotomy permanently and be able to set the date of his discharge from hospital.

    [20] Expatriate education issues discussed

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Education Minister George Papandreou yesterday held a meeting with the presidium of the World Hellenism Council to discuss education issues affecting expatriate Greek youth.

    Following the meeting, both Mr. Papandreou and the Council's President Andrew Athens said they also exchanged views on Greece's national issues.

    Mr. Papandreou said an education bill for youth of Greek extraction was being drafted.

    Asked to clarify whether Greece asked for the referral of the Imias issue to international arbitration, Mr. Papandreou said:

    "Our position is that Greece does not question its borders and has not raised a referral issue to international courts."

    "If there is doubt, however, we have already said that international courts exist," he added.

    Asked by the press to comment on US President Bill Clinton's attitude towards the Greek-Turkish crisis, Mr. Athens said:

    "The president is trying very hard to show Greece that the United States is a true friend."

    [21] Minor violations during Turkish exercise in Aegean

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Greece's armed forces continued to discreetly monitor the Turkish aeronautical exercise "Sevik Pens" in international waters in the Aegean Sea on the exercise's second day.

    Officials said Turkish violations were nothing unusual so far, adding that in the few cases it was deemed necessary, the armed forces reacted promptly and effectively and in accordance with instructions.

    Meanwhile, the planned technical exercise of the Landing Craft Command codenamed "Aegialos 2/96" got underway yesterday in the regions of the Cyclades, the southern Evoikos, the Pagasitikos Gulf and Skyros.

    The 575 Marine Battalion is also participating in the exercise.

    [22] Hania residents file suit for compensation from Germany

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Hania Bar Association yesterday filed a group action seeking compensation for the families of 606 persons executed during the Nazi occupation of Crete during World War II.

    The Hania Court of First Instance, where the action was presented, has set the hearing for November 7. Bar Association president Stratis Papamanoussakis said that all the details of the action would be sent to Bonn as the judgment of a Greek court requesting enforcement.

    He expressed reservations however as to whether Bonn would recognize the judgment, due to the fact that the action would not have been heard in Germany.

    In November last year, the German foreign ministry refused to accept civil suits filed by some 1,000 Greek citizens for compensation as part of a local government drive.

    Bonn claimed that Greeks could not claim war reparations 50 years after the event and that Greece had already received its "slice of the reparations pie".

    Mr. Papamanoussakis stressed that the action would "open the way" to the European Court, to which the Hania Bar Association intended to have recourse.

    In the prefecture of Hania alone, a total of 5,000 petitions have been filed for compensation against Germany arising from the occupation of the island. Mr. Papamanoussakis said that the petitions would be grouped and submitted to the Court of First Instance.

    [23] Pangalos sees Albanian archbishop

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos held a meeting yesterday with Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania, focusing on the problems, prospects and achievements of the Greek Orthodox Church in the neighboring country. Today Mr. Pangalos is due to meet with the presidium of the World Hellenism Council and with the Armenian Patriarch.

    [24] Vasso Papandreou announces aggressive development strategy

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday that the Greek economy possessed all the prerequisites to enter into a course of growth, and announced an aggressive strategy that would surpass structural weaknesses and the restrictive fiscal situation.

    Addressing the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) General Council, Ms Papandreou called for a mobilization for a competitive and socially just Greek industry and society, defining the three main tools in that direction as: measures to upgrade market conditions (promotion of qualitative standards, competition, and consumer protection); planning of public intervention; and the greatest possible co-operation between the public and the private sectors.

    At a press conference earlier, she said that two draft bills were being drawn up, aiming to promote devolution and regional planning in industry.

    She also announced that she had insisted on special measures in the programme for industrially-depressed regions in the eastern Aegean, particularly the Lesvos, Hios, and Samos prefectures, the development of which she said she considered a matter of national importance.

    Regarding privatizations, Ms Papandreou said the programme would proceed with concern for the social factor, and announced that tendering for the Peiraiki-Patraiki textile industry would be repeated due to legal problems which rendered the initial procedure fruitless.

    At the same press conference, Industry Under-secretary Foivos Ioannidis said that the contract for the sale of the Skalistiris Mines would be discussed in Parliament today, with the corresponding contract for the Kassandra Mines coming up for discussion soon.

    Speaking at the SEB meeting, its president Jason Stratos said the government's policy statement in Parliament had had an initial positive effect on the general business climate, with its adherence to the convergence programme with other European Union economies.

    He added that only a strong Greece, keeping pace with its European partners, could hope to promote its national issues more effectively and participate more actively in the decision making processes inside the European Union.

    [25] Greece and Albania agree to develop bilateral trade links

    Athens, 14/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Exports Promotion Organization (OPE) and the Tirana Commerce and Industry Chamber signed a co-operation agreement in Athens yesterday to promote and develop bilateral trade. The agreement was signed by OPE president Ioannis Tzen and Albanian Chamber President Arben Shecei.

    The protocol provides for the promotion and development of trade, the exchange of financial information and feasibility studies for a series of products, the organization of business missions and exhibitions, the establishment of common working groups f or the study of issues of financial interest, and the vocational training of Albanian businessmen and unemployed youth.

    OPE will participate in the Greek Products Week "Euromachinery '96" to be held in Tirana on April 4-7.

    Mr. Shecei, visiting Athens on the initiative of OPE, also had a meeting with the External Trade Secretary General N. Zachariadis.

    He also visited the Athens Biotechnical Chamber and the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    [26] Sofia expects progress on oil pipeline details this month

    Sofia, 14/02/1996 (ANA-N.Hiou)

    Bulgarian deputy prime minister Dontso Konakchev yesterday was quoted as saying there would be "substantial progress" over the construction of the Alexandroupolis-Burgas oil pipeline this month.

    According to the financial newspaper 'Kapital', Athens and Sofia will clarify their positions during the second tripartite meeting of the foreign ministers of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, which is expected to be held in March.

    Mr. Konakchev, according to Kapital, forecasts that by the end of this year, specific steps will have been taken towards construction of the pipeline.

    He said that there are no state-level differences between the three countries involved in the project, but that differences existed between companies and businessmen who are displaying an interest in the construction of the pipeline.

    Kapital writes that Athens and Sofia agreed on equal participation in the consortium that will undertake the construction, during the first tripartite meeting in Ioannina, Greece.

    "But in autumn, our southern neighbor announced, to our amazement, that we can only count on 5 per cent participation, while we have been hoping for a 25 per cent," the deputy prime minister was quoted as saying.

    According to the newspaper, hope for an agreement now hinges upon the "Ioannina II" meeting, since both sides have not been able to reach agreement over the intervening six-month period.

    Maintaining that "everything depends on Moscow," Kapital writes that delays in the construction of the work are not due to Greek-Bulgarian differences, but rather on circumstance and obstacles from Russia.

    According to the newspaper, tension in Chechnya has caused delay in the work.

    End of English language section.

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