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A.N.A. Bulletin, 15/02/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 814), February 15, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Pangalos: Greece has no intention of seeking international arbitration on Imia issue

  • [2] US State Department

  • [3] Foreign ministry

  • [4] Rifkind meets Baykal

  • [5] World Hellenism Council confers with political leaders

  • [6] SAE inaugural session on Saturday

  • [7] Evert gets agreement from Hensch, Martens on border issue

  • [8] Turkish exercise in the Aegean

  • [9] Italian presidency says will begin 'intensive communication' with Turkey

  • [10] Ipekci committee appeals for peace in the region

  • [11] Papandreou's condition 'proceeding normally'

  • [12] Simitis, Arsenis discuss defense issues

  • [13] Issue of longer military service still open

  • [14] Simitis confers with Tsohatzopoulos

  • [15] Beis proposes PASOK deputies be able to decide possible Gov't resignation

  • [16] Abstaining PASOK deputies to be reprimanded

  • [17] Romanian defense minister begins Athens visit today

  • [18] German statement on Simitis visit

  • [19] Kaklamanis to visit Cyprus today

  • [20] President receives Armenian patriarch

  • [21] Ministries clamp down on noisy, smelly motorbikes

  • [22] Committee to draft new law on protection of monuments

  • [23] Benos protests Turkish decision to allow camel fights at archaeological site

  • [24] Exhibition about the Aegean

  • [25] Closer co-operation between state, tourism agencies promised

  • [26] Shipping exchange inflows up 15.5 per cent

  • [27] Greece to apply to join 'Adriatic Route' transport programme


  • [1] Pangalos: Greece has no intention of seeking international arbitration on Imia issue

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Greece had no intention of seeking international arbitration over the Imia islets issue as there was no doubt that the islets belonged to Greece, in line with international law.

    "The Greek government has no reason to seek recourse to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. We consider that our rightful (positions) on the Aegean and the status of the islets are a given fact, easily interpreted and cannot be disputed by anyone," Mr. Pangalos said after talks with the presidium of the World Hellenism Council (SAE).

    "Reference to the Hague Court is not adverse for Greece," he added. "It is well-known that our country has accepted the Hague Court for the (delineation of the Aegean) continental shelf and the process of drafting a compromissum with Turkey for joint re course to the Hague Court."

    "If someone, specifically Turkey, one day seeks recourse to the International Court (over the Aegean and the islets), then we will face that and decide on how to proceed then. Our position is adamant," Mr. Pangalos added.

    Questioned on the position formulated by foreign countries on the recent Imia islet crisis, the foreign minister said that the inclusion of the sense of international law (and subsequently international treaties) in the positions of the US and other governments, bodies and organizations was an important step forward for the Greek positions on sovereignty in the Aegean, which Greek governments had for years been trying to achieve without result.

    He expressed "particular pride" in this result, adding that this was how this development was seen in the US and in European capitals and by all the media, except that of Greece.

    In another development, the government yesterday expressed satisfaction over a US clarification that it was Washington's "position and proposal" to refer the issue of the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas replied in the affirmative when asked if the government was satisfied with the clarification.

    Mr. Reppas Tuesday denied statements by US President Bill Clinton that Greece 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 legal framework is clear and Greece does not intend to take any action, since there is no question of vagueness or controversy," the spokesman said.

    Mr. Reppas added yesterday that the government viewed the US initiative in a positive light, while underlining that the status quo in the Aegean cannot be questioned "which is why Greece will not have recourse to the International Court."

    "If Turkey wishes to act in accordance with international law, let it undertake the relevant initiative," Mr. Reppas said.

    [2] US State Department

    Washington, 15/02/1996 (ANA - L. Papantoniou)

    A State Department spokesman said yesterday that Washington proposed a Greek-Turkish dialogue to solve the Imia issue, after a statement by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos that Athens never asked, and would not ask, the International Court of Justice at The Hague to decide the rocky islets' sovereignty.

    Asked to comment on Mr. Pangalos' remark, spokesman Nicholas Burns said: "I saw the statement by the Greek foreign minister. The American government respects it. The issue is that our allies, Greece and Turkey, should solve the problem peacefully, given the fact that the Greek government prefers not to refer the matter to the international court.

    "There are many other ways this problem can be solved. It can be directly solved by Greece and Turkey peacefully and in a friendly manner. It can be solved with various other forms of international mediation. The United States could play some role. We may not need to play any role if the interested parties wished.

    "Our goal is, and we say this clearly, that no confrontation arise, or threat of violence, or intimidation because they are our allies. We are at the disposal of both countries to assist, if they want us to help."

    [3] Foreign ministry

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas yesterday described as "unfounded" a press report in Turkish newspaper 'Hurriyet' alleging that the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey will meet on neutral ground to discuss the Aegean crisis.

    According to the report, the meeting is being arranged via diplomatic channels.

    "As soon as a new government is formed (in Turkey) the foreign ministers of the two countries will meet in a third country to discuss the crisis," Hurriyet's editor Ertegrul Ozkiek claimed.

    According to the newspaper, Athens and Ankara have already began to exchange messages regarding the alleged meeting.

    In an announcement, the foreign ministry also denied a press report that Mr. Pangalos had had a telephone conversation with his British counterpart the night of the Imia stand-off.

    [4] Rifkind meets Baykal

    London, 15/02/1996 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind and Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal yesterday said they supported bilateral discussions and commencement of direct negotiations between Athens and Ankara to solve their differences in the Aegean.

    The two men were speaking after a working lunch in the British capital.

    Mr. Baykal said Ankara would not commit itself to adjudicating the Aegean issue at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, reiterating Turkey's position that negotiations with Greece must first take place before any committal of the issue to an international arbitration body is undertaken.

    In his initial statement, the British foreign secretary said: "We believe that the correct and desirable way for Greece and Turkey to solve their differences is for them to meet and discuss the issues which have become the reason for the creation of tension and crisis over the last few months."

    Asked if Greece's borders are by extension European Union boundaries which must be protected by the EU and its member-states, he said: "The European Union does not take a position in terms of territorial differences between nations, whether they are members of the union or not. These are issues which must be primarily solved between the countries that have territorial differences and differences related to their borders."

    In response to a question on whether he believes that all international agreements must be respected, including such agreements and treaties that designate the status of the Aegean islands, Mr. Rifkind replied "definitely."

    "...We must respect international agreements. That is a part of international law," he said.

    An ANA dispatch from Istanbul reported Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Nurredin Nurkan saying yesterday that Turkey "believes that it is imperative to solve all Aegean problems in bilateral negotiations."

    According to the Turkish spokesman, before referring the issue to The Hague, the two sides must conduct bilateral negotiations.

    [5] World Hellenism Council confers with political leaders

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    The presidium of the World Hellenism Council (SAE), headed by its chairman Andrew Athens, had successive talks yesterday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos and Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras.

    The Council will also hold a meeting on Saturday in Thessaloniki.

    Mr. Pangalos said after his meeting with the delegation that the ultimate goal was to organize a World Assembly of Hellenism, underlining that overseas Greeks contributed to the promotion of Greece's interests with respect to the safeguarding of the Greek identity and culture of the Greeks living in various countries around the world.

    Replying to questions on US statements concerning the rocky islet of Imia - the cause of the latest crisis in Greek-Turkish relations - Mr. Athens said that "the Americans said things which they should not have," adding however that the US government was "very pleased" with the Greek government.

    "The US said Greece was right (and the US) will do its duty and help," Mr. Athens said, adding that US President Bill Clinton had taken "a clear position concerning the guaranteeing of our borders."

    Senior SAE official Christos Tomaras said, however, that "the US cannot guarantee the borders between two allies, because it will become involved in a very difficult situation."

    Mr. Tomaras said it was "a known fact and proven" that the rocky islets in the Aegean are Greek.

    Mr. Athens held a private meeting with Mr. Simitis on issues concerning overseas Greeks.

    Following a meeting with the Council's presidium, Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos said the World Hellenism Council "is a political chapter which must be endorsed in the promotion of a national strategy."

    [6] SAE inaugural session on Saturday

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    The World Hellenism Council (SAE) will hold its inaugural session in Thessaloniki on February 17, in the presence of Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his alternate, George Romeos. The sessions will take place in pavilion 15 of the International Trade Fair grounds, and are also expected to be attended by a three-member delegation of the newly-elected informal Council of Expatriate Greek Media, consisting of Vice-President Dimitris Filios (US), Ioustini Frangouli (Canada), and second secretary-general Michalis Mystakidis (Australia).

    The president, Andrew Athens, and members of the SAE presidium will meet Thessaloniki area mayors on Sunday, and will fly to Istanbul on Monday morning, to meet with Orthodox Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    [7] Evert gets agreement from Hensch, Martens on border issue

    Strasbourg, 15/02/1996 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert has received the assurance of Social Democrat European Parliament President Klaus Hensch and European Peoples' Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens that they recognize Greek borders as the European Union's.

    Mr. Evert visited the European Parliament with the purpose of obtaining a resolution stressing that "Greek borders constitute European Union borders and that the EU will support Greek positions."

    Speaking to Greek reporters yesterday, both Mr. Hensch and Mr. Martens said they endorsed this position, while the latter also expressed support for "automatic solidarity" between EU member-states in the case of an attack and on condition a common European foreign policy and security policy exists.

    After lunching with Mr. Evert and ND Eurodeputies, Mr. Martens said Turkey's stance was "an entirely unjustifiable threat" and that it was guilty of "irresponsible behavior."

    In the view of the EPP president, the EU's stance so far has been "weak" and Mr. Martens expressed support for the assumption of a more active role by the EU "to handle a crisis concerning a member-state."

    Mr. Hensch confirmed that "the EU's external borders are the external borders of Greece and vice-versa", adding that in his view, which Mr. Evert shared, "the solution given now (meaning the islets of Imia) in no way retracts, and rather confirms, this situation (that the external borders of Greece are also the external borders of Europe).

    Mr. Evert is due back in Athens this morning.

    [8] Turkish exercise in the Aegean

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Turkish aeronautical exercise in the international waters in the Aegean sea continued for the third day yesterday, discreetly monitored by the Greek Armed Forces.

    Turkish aircraft violated Greek airspace twice between the islands of Samos and Kos in the third day of the "Sevik Pens" maneuvers.

    [9] Italian presidency says will begin 'intensive communication' with Turkey

    Strasbourg, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    During discussion of the Italian presidency's statement on the Aegean crisis late last night at the European Parliament, Italian Foreign Under-secretary Paolo Gardini referred to the assumption of an initiative on the part of the presidency to institute a channel of intensive communication with Turkey.

    "The action of the presidency aims to encourage the two sides in the direction of a peaceful resolution of the dispute and the normalization of bilateral relations. Greece and Turkey should agree on the method to be followed for the attainment of this aim, in other words, if they are going to proceed to referral to the International Court at The Hague, or to international arbitration ..."

    Commissioner Hans van den Broek reminded the body of the recent Commission statement, and expressed unreserved support for the option of international legal arbitration, such as the International Court at The Hague, calling, at the same time, on Turkey to adapt its legal status in that direction.

    Mr. van den Broek also ruled out the possibility of sanctions against Turkey, stressing the need to develop relations of trust between Greece and Turkey.

    "The agreement for the customs union of Turkey with the EU offers the appropriate bonds of trust, so that even the most thorny problems may be discussed with sincerity," he said.

    PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannos Kranidiotis noted that the recent incident in the Aegean constitutes yet another event in the series of planned Turkish actions aiming to question the whole status in the Aegean.

    [10] Ipekci committee appeals for peace in the region

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Ipekci Prize Committee yesterday appealed to Greek and Turkish public opinion to "isolate war and allow the ideal of peace to prevail".

    Prompted by the recent Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean, the committee issued an announcement saying that the two peoples were in favor of peace and friendship, and called on the Greek and Turkish governments and politicians "to avoid moves and statements that create tension and could lead to conflict."

    "It is necessary for solutions to problems (and it is not unusual for problems to exist between neighboring countries) to be sought through peaceful paths and procedures," the announcement said.

    The bi-annual Ipekci Awards were established 17 years ago on a Greek initiative immediately after the assassination of prominent Turkish journalist Abdi Ipekci, editor of the daily 'Milliyet' and a pacifist and champion of Greek-Turkish dialogue. They a re awarded for contribution to the promotion of Greek-Turkish friendship.

    [11] Papandreou's condition 'proceeding normally'

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    The health of PASOK leader and former premier Andreas Papandreou was described as "developing normally" in a Onassion Hospital medical bulletin yesterday.

    The announcement also stated that the 77-year-old PASOK president was successfully following respiratory physical therapy.

    Doctors treating Mr. Papandreou said he was continuing to recuperate, a condition which if continued until the end of the week will allow physicians the opportunity to permanently close a tracheotomy.

    A date for the former prime minister's exit from the Onassion has not been decided upon, however, several doctors expect that Mr. Papandreou may leave for his Ekali residence in early March if no complications arise and if the physical therapy programme is strictly followed.

    [12] Simitis, Arsenis discuss defense issues

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis held a 35-minute meeting yesterday.

    Sources said the two men discussed the issue of changes in the leadership of the armed forces, in view of the convening of the Government Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) today and tomorrow.

    KYSEA is scheduled to select the new chief of staff this afternoon, and the heads of the three branches tomorrow.

    The same sources said that the two men today also discussed the possibility of extending the duration of military conscription. No statements were made after the meeting.

    [13] Issue of longer military service still open

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    The issue of military service was examined during Tuesday's inner cabinet meeting and the question of whether the mandatory tour of duty will be extended remains open. However, National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis reserved any response on the issue, which will be ultimately probed at a future Government Foreign Affairs and Defense Council (KYSEA) meeting.

    [14] Simitis confers with Tsohatzopoulos

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held a meeting yesterday with Interior, Decentralization and Public Administration minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos focusing on interior ministry issues.

    [15] Beis proposes PASOK deputies be able to decide possible Gov't resignation

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK parliamentary group secretary Dimitris Beis yesterday proposed that the body's new regulation provide for the possibility of it deciding, by an absolute majority, on the government's decision to resign.

    "PASOK's parliamentary group should express itself on the matter," he said.

    He submitted the proposal to the presidium of the group.

    [16] Abstaining PASOK deputies to be reprimanded

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    The PASOK Disciplinary Committee yesterday decided to recommend to the Central Committee that it reprimand deputies and Central Committee members Dimitris Vounatsos and Christos Kipouros for abstaining from the vote of confidence for the government in Parliament.

    It also decided to recommend their suspension from their duties as members of the Central Committee.

    Regarding the invocation of constitutional freedom by the two deputies for their abstention, the committee noted that this should have been preceded by their resignation or 'declaration of independence'.

    The committee also condemned the invocation of 'increased national sensitivity' by the two deputies, who represent the border regions of Lesvos and Evros respectively.

    The two did not attend the session, but sent letters countering the charges against them.

    [17] Romanian defense minister begins Athens visit today

    Bucharest, 15/02/1996 (ANA/AFP)

    Romanian Defense Minister Gheorghe Tinca will pay a two-day official visit to Greece beginning today at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Gerassimos Arsenis, the Romanian defense ministry announced yesterday.

    The two ministers will discuss the situation in the Balkans, bilateral relations and the enlargement of NATO.

    According to the announcement, Mr. Tinca will brief Mr. Arsenis "on Romania's efforts regarding the restructuring and modernization of its army in order to reach the level of the armed forces of the NATO member-states."

    [18] German statement on Simitis visit

    Bonn, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    A Chancellery announcement said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis' visit to Germany on February 22 "is the beginning of a tour of the new Greek prime minister to a series of European capitals, where he will introduce himself and present his policy statements to European partners".

    "The focus of the consultations," the announcement adds, "is expected to be European integration and international affairs issues."

    Diplomatic sources said the meeting will also centre on problems emanating from the Aegean crisis.

    [19] Kaklamanis to visit Cyprus today

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    President of the Greek Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis will leave for Cyprus today for a three-day visit at the invitation of his Cypriot counterpart, Alexis Galanos.

    During his stay, Mr. Kaklamanis will have meetings with President Glafcos Clerides, Archbishop Chrysostomos, and the political leaders of the island.

    [20] President receives Armenian patriarch

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos held a meeting yesterday with Armenian Patriarch of Cilicia, Aram, who awarded him the highest distinction of the Patriarchate.

    [21] Ministries clamp down on noisy, smelly motorbikes

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and Transport and Communications Under-secretary George Daskalakis yesterday announced the introduction of a technical control card for motorbikes of all types in an effort to combat noise and exhaust fume pollution.

    Owners of both new and old motorbikes will be obliged to obtain a technical control card and renew it every two years.

    The programme will be implemented by the end of the year, initially in Athens and Thessaloniki.

    According to data provided by Mr. Laliotis and Mr. Daskalakis, 60 per cent of Athens and Piraeus have unacceptably high levels of traffic noise. People living in Thessaloniki, Patras and Iraklion, as well as almost all tourist regions such as Rhodes, Corfu, Crete and Halkidiki are also faced with serious noise problems.

    About 550,000 motorcycles are in circulation in Athens alone, while the figure for the entire country amounts to 1,400,000.

    The ministry has installed four permanent stations to gauge noise levels in Athens: at the Patission, Alexandras, Vassilisis Sofias and Panormou streets.

    [22] Committee to draft new law on protection of monuments

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Stavros Benos yesterday announced the establishment of a committee to revise existing legislation and draft a new bill aimed at the protection of Greece's cultural heritage.

    Addressing the members of the committee, the culture minister said the new bill on cultural heritage will be much broader than existing legislation.

    "It will be a modern, flexible and clear law," Mr. Benos said.

    Stressing that it will not be "a new archeological law," the minister said:

    "You should not forget that the monuments should be protected and promoted in the best possible manner, also through the best possible structures and operation, and survive in a society that is friendly to monuments, one which will have to understand, love and include them in daily life through knowledge and the realization of their value."

    [23] Benos protests Turkish decision to allow camel fights at archaeological site

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Stavros Benos yesterday sent a letter to his European Union counterparts condemning the decision of the Turkish culture ministry to allow camel fights in the ancient stadium of Ephesus in Asia Minor.

    The letter has also been sent to UNESCO head Federico Mayor and international organizations for the protection of cultural heritage.

    Turkish archaeologists have also criticized the decision to allow camel fights in the stadium and have demanded an end to the commercialization of archaeological sites which the Turkish culture ministry rents out for between 20 and 360 million Turkish lira.

    [24] Exhibition about the Aegean

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    A large archaeological exhibition entitled "Aegean: The Sea of Hellenic Civilization" is ready to tour several foreign capitals.

    The exhibition, which chronicles Aegean civilization from pre-historic times down to the modern era, is organized by the culture ministry.

    [25] Closer co-operation between state, tourism agencies promised

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou and National Tourism Organization General Secretary Vassilis Kourtesis officially met for the first time yesterday with all the presidents of the nation's hotelier associations.

    Both government officials said solutions will soon be proposed for the country's outstanding tourism problems, while both sides agreed on the need for closer co-operation between the state and professional associations.

    In addition, a major obstacle in an ambitious advertising campaign in 26 countries was partially alleviated yesterday with agreement on contract terms with several well-known international ad agencies. The agreement was reached on the last day of a government-issued deadline.

    According to reports, the impasse and delay arose after advertising agencies requested increased commissions, up from a 6 per cent figure originally agreed upon.

    Specifically, the firm Geo Young Rubicam/Projekt agreed to stick by its 710-million-drachma contract for an trans-Atlantic advertising campaign. BBDO/Olympic will also honor its 860-million-drachma contract for a campaign aimed at Mediterranean nations .

    However, the Mass/Spot Thompson consortium rejected a 910-million-drachma contract it was awarded for promoting Greece in central European nations, the Balkans, the Ukraine and Russia.

    No disagreements were noted with Saatchi/Sense/McCann firm's assumption of a more than 2.5-billion-drachma advertising campaign for Greek tourism's main markets.

    [26] Shipping exchange inflows up 15.5 per cent

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Inflows of shipping exchange increased to 1,803 million dollars over the January-October 1995 period, from 1,561.5 million dollars in the corresponding period of 1994, marking an increase of 15.5 per cent.

    In October 1995, shipping exchange entering the country totaled 182 million dollars, compared to 174.4 million dollars in the same month of 1994, marking an increase of 4.4 per cent, according to figures released yesterday by the merchant marine ministry.

    [27] Greece to apply to join 'Adriatic Route' transport programme

    Athens, 15/02/1996 (ANA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis said yesterday that Greece would submit a request to the European Union to participate in the combined transport programme "Adriatic Route." Describing the programme as "extremely important," Mr. Kastanidis said that Greece's bid to participate had Italy's backing.

    The programme foresees a transport route traversing the countries on Italy's northern border, passing through Greece and on to the Middle East. The transport network will necessitate major infrastructure works related to railways, the Egnatia Highway and combined transport.

    End of English language section.

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