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A.N.A. Bulletin, 16/02/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 815), February 16, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address:


  • [1] European Parliament lays blame for Imia crisis at Turkey's door, stresses Greek borders are the EU's

  • [2] Simitis to meet Clinton in Washington in April

  • [3] Greece reiterates 'no dialogue' with Turkey over Imia

  • [4] Greece to reconsider stance on Turkey-EU relations

  • [5] Romeos: danger not over

  • [6] Evert welcomes European Parliament resolution

  • [7] Samaras calls for EU summit

  • [8] Mitsotakis greets US position on referring Imia issue to The Hague

  • [9] Gov't welcomes Mitsotakis statement

  • [10] Andreas Papandreou concerned over Aegean developments, Tsohatzopoulos says

  • [11] No intention of extending length of military service, Arsenis says

  • [12] Athanassios Tzoganis appointed new armed forces joint chief of staff

  • [13] Simitis to focus on Aegean crisis in talks with Kohl

  • [14] Papandreou's health looking good

  • [15] Romania, Greece confirm willingness for closer defense ties

  • [16] Simitis confers with SAE presidium on expatriate Greek issues

  • [17] Romeos

  • [18] Black Sea Economic meeting ends

  • [19] Turkish patrol chases Greek fishing boats

  • [20] Police say botched blast at US Embassy work of terrorists

  • [21] Economic performance better than expected, Papantoniou says

  • [22] Industrial units redirect profits into investment, restructuring

  • [1] European Parliament lays blame for Imia crisis at Turkey's door, stresses Greek borders are the EU's

    Strasbourg, 16/02/1996 (ANA- P. Stangos)

    The European Parliament yesterday overwhelmingly approved a resolution expressly attributing responsibility to Turkey over the recent crisis in the Aegean and stressing that Greece's borders are also part of the borders of t he European Union.

    In Athens, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos described the European Parliament resolution as "important" while main opposition leader Miltiades Evert, returning from his visit to Strasbourg, also praised the move.

    The resolution, entitled 'On the provocative actions and contestation of sovereign rights by Turkey against a Member State of the Union', was approved with 342 votes in favor, 21 against and 11 abstentions, and reads as follows:

    The European Parliament,

    A. having regard to Turkey's provocative military operations in relation to the isle of Imia in the Eastern Aegean,

    B. concerned about the dangers of over-reaction if this dispute continues,

    C. having regard to Turkey's official statements making territorial claims and contesting the sovereign rights of an EU Member State,

    D. whereas the islet of Imia belongs to the Dodecanese group of islands, on the basis of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, the Protocol between Italy and Turkey of 1932 and the Paris Treaty of 1947, and whereas even on Turkish maps from the 1960s, these islets are shown as Greek territory,

    E. whereas this action by Turkey forms part of a broader policy of questioning the status quo in the Aegean,

    F. having regard to the common position of the Council set out at the Association Council meeting of 6 March 1995 which considered it 'of paramount importance to encourage good-neighbourly relations between Turkey and its neighbouring Member States of t he EU', and whereas these privileged relations between the Union and Turkey should automatically preclude any military aggression,

    1. Gravely concerned by the dangerous violation by Turkey of sovereign rights of Greece, a Member State of the European Union and by the build-up of military tension in the Aegean;
    2. Deplores the fact that Greece and Turkey appeared to be on the brink of hostilities and calls for an immediate stop to all actions which endanger peace and stability in this area;
    3. Stresses that Greece's borders are also part of the external borders of the European Union;
    4. Calls for compliance by Turkey with international treaties, and in particular the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe], which insists that all disputes be settled by peaceful means in accordance with international law;
    5. Deplores the failure of the European Union and its Member States in this crisis to take effective action within the framework of the common foreign and security policy;
    6. Calls on the Council to take appropriate initiatives for the amelioration of the relations between Greece and Turkey;
    7. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, Commission, the Government of Turkey, the Parliament of Greece and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

    Despite the fact that during consultations between the six political groups which had initially submitted different draft resolutions the wording in certain parts of the final text was modified so as not to be particularly unpleasant to Turkey (the expression 'gravely concerned' was substituted for the term 'condemning'), the general content of the final text is considered satisfactory for Greece.

    The only amendment which supported the idea of a "dialogue and mutual understanding" between the two countries, submitted by the Green Group, only mustered 50 votes.

    [2] Simitis to meet Clinton in Washington in April

    Washington, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    US President Bill Clinton has invited Prime Minister Costas Simitis to Washington on April 9 for a working visit, a White House press release said yesterday.

    "President Clinton has invited Greek Prime Minister Constantine Simitis for a working visit on April 9. Prime Minister Simitis has accepted the invitation," the statement said.

    "This will be the first meeting between the President and the new Greek Prime Minister. The visit will provide an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss a wide range of bilateral and regional issues and to reaffirm the warm relations that exist between our two governments, reflecting the special ties of kinship existing between our two peoples," the statement concluded.

    [3] Greece reiterates 'no dialogue' with Turkey over Imia

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Greece reiterated yesterday its opposition to any dialogue with Turkey on issues pertaining to Greece's sovereign rights saying it was ready, in the event that Turkey chooses to refer the Imia issue to international arbitration, to face the issue, following statements yesterday by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    "We have right on our side, supported by sound legal arguments. If someone challenges the legal framework in the Aegean, then that party may set in motion the relevant legal procedure," Mr. Pangalos said.

    Commenting on statements Wednesday by State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, Mr. Pangalos told a press conference that it was not within his competence to take a position on "the coherence and effectiveness of US diplomacy."

    He added that US thinking remained open not only to the idea of bilateral (Greek-Turkish) dialogue but also to discussion of the Imia problem within a legal framework by the competent judicial bodies. Mr. Burns said that Greece and Turkey should solve the problem peacefully, adding that it could be "directly solved by the two countries peacefully and in a friendly manner... and with various other forms of international mediation" with or without the assistance of the US.

    Mr. Pangalos clarified that Greece's rejection of dialogue was not "general" but "categorical" with respect to the country's sovereign rights.

    He said that Turkey wanted a dialogue "without principles, a dialogue between the victor and the vanquished. Greece is not the vanquished. If Turkey uses force first, the Greek nation will reply in the way which it has shown that it knows well."

    Commenting on talks between Turkey's premier-designate Mesut Yilmaz and Islamist party leader Necmetin Erbakan aimed at forming a government, Mr. Pangalos expressed concern over the positions put forward by the two parties concerning Greek-Turkish relations.

    He expressed the hope however that governmental power would "mature" the two parties so that they might modify their positions on the issue with greater cool-headedness and realism.

    Mr. Pangalos did not rule out the possibility of meeting at some point in the future with his Turkish counterpart but said there were no plans for such a meeting at present since there was no government in Turkey. Mr. Pangalos declined to comment o n statements Wednesday by British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, saying that he was due in Athens next week and would explain Britain's positions better then.

    Mr. Pangalos said however that Mr. Rifkind was "not some sworn enemy of Hellenism," noting that the views which he expressed on European borders reflected Britain's standing positions and were unconnected with Turkish aggressiveness.

    Mr. Rifkind said after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal that "the EU 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."

    [4] Greece to reconsider stance on Turkey-EU relations

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Turning to the issue of Turkey's relations with the EU, Mr. Pangalos said that Greece would "entirely reconsider" its stance, considering that the entire issue had been placed on a new basis following Ankara's numerous violations of texts, articles and provisions relating to its customs union with the EU.

    Mr. Pangalos said that he would be accompanying President Kostis Stephanopoulos, with whom he had talks earlier yesterday, on a tour of capitals aimed at promoting Greece's positions internationally. The first visit, to Albania, will take place on March 21-22, he said.

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday received Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos who briefed him on latest developments in Greece's national issues.

    No statements were made after the 55-minute meeting, but press sources said the talks covered all issues that had arisen recently in Greek-Turkish relations as well as the government's initiative to launch an international public awareness campaign on t hose issues.

    [5] Romeos: danger not over

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    In another development, Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos told Parliament's European Affairs Committee yesterday that the danger of a hot incident in the Aegean has not been eliminated.

    "The fact that the tension caused by Turkey's unilateral claim of the Imia islet has not led to a direct conflict, does not mean that we have escaped the danger," Mr. Romeos said.

    Describing the Aegean crisis as "extremely serious," he added that Turkey's claim on Imia aims at "overturning the territorial status quo in the southeastern Aegean, thus putting into dispute the territorial status quo in the entire region."

    The minister further questioned Turkey's sincerity "when, proposing dialogue over the Greek sovereign rights in the Aegean, in fact it intends to use all possible means, including those prohibited by international law, to impose its views."

    "Under the circumstances," Mr. Romeos said, "it is evident that there is no issue over which consultations could be held, but neither (is there) the necessary will for consultations."

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday it was clear that "Turkey does not have a problem with Greece, but rather with international law." He was commenting on Ankara's stance in the recent Aegean crisis and the issue of referring the problem to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    Commenting on the US State Department spokesman's statement on Wednesday, who said the issue could be led to a compromise at the International Court, Mr. Reppas said the US official had delivered the judgment of a body which had not been convened, at a time when neither Greece nor Turkey had requested its convening.

    [6] Evert welcomes European Parliament resolution

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy president Miltiades Evert praised the Europarliament resolution on the recent Imia crisis on his return yesterday from Strasbourg where he met with European Union leaders.

    Mr. Evert said the resolution was a "message that Turkey should take into consideration," adding that all EU bodies agreed that Greece's borders are also the Union's boundaries.

    In reference to the meetings he held with Europarliament President Klaus Haensch, EU Commission President Jacques Santer and European Peoples' Party President Wilfried Martens, the ND leader said he emphasized Athens' positions on the issue, saying the PASOK government must accelerate its initiatives so valuable time is not lost.

    "It is not the time for discord in the government or for changes of ambassadors," he said.

    The main opposition leader also said the premier and foreign minister should brief their counterparts before EU member-states commit themselves. He also did not preclude the possibility that he would assume similar initiatives in the future.

    Asked to comment on honorary ND president Constantine Mitsotakis' statement that only a referral to the International Court of Justice at The Hague is left as a possible solution after Turkey's dispute of Imia's sovereignty by Greece, Mr. Evert replied:

    "Since Turkey has eliminated it (possible referral of the issue to the international court), there is no reason to discuss it. Greece has no reason to resort to the court because it does not dispute sovereign rights, as Turkey is doing."

    [7] Samaras calls for EU summit

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Opposition Political Spring party leader, Antonis Samaras, yesterday reiterated his proposal for a European Union summit, on Greece's initiative, while rejecting direct dialogue with Turkey.

    Mr. Samaras said a Ministers Council or a summit were the only solution in order for Europe to "declare that the Greek borders are also European borders."

    He added that all political forces should be mobilized on a diplomatic level, noting that he was willing to go anywhere as long as there was a common national policy.

    Mr. Samaras ruled out the possibility of direct dialogue with Turkey, noting that "if Ankara wants to refer to The Hague to claim a just cause which it does not belong to it, it has the right to do so, but this is no concern of ours."

    [8] Mitsotakis greets US position on referring Imia issue to The Hague

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday described as an "exceptionally positive development" the position adopted by US President Bill Clinton and other international figures that the Imia islets issue should be settled at the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    "Greece, being sure of its rightful (position), has no reason to take the initiative to refer the issue to court, but it has every reason not to discourage other countries from adopting such a position because we have an extremely strong legal base (on the case)," Mr. Mitsotakis said.

    The honorary president of the main opposition New Democracy party said that Greece had proposed the referral of the (Aegean) continental shelf issue to The Hague from the time that veteran statesman and former president Constantine Karamanlis had been premier.

    This proposal, he added, had been endorsed by all ensuing Greek governments.

    "But, on the contrary, Turkey as expected, hastened to react negatively, knowing that it would lose the case at the International Court at The Hague, and still knows that if the islets issue reaches The Hague, it would be very difficult for it (Turkey) to refuse a Hague solution for the continental shelf issue as well," Mr. Mitsotakis said. Consequently, he went on, "the endorsement by the international community of a Hague solution is Greece's most significant weapon against Turkey."

    Greece, he said, ought to make it clear that since Turkey is raising an issue over the islets, "the only possible way of settling it is referral of the issue to The Hague."

    If Greece made this crystal-clear, he added, "I am certain that none of our allies and partners would dare to propose bilateral negotiations as the solution for an issue that concerns dispute of treaties and our sovereign rights."

    [9] Gov't welcomes Mitsotakis statement

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that Mr. Mitsotakis' position was "almost identical" to that of the government.

    Expressing satisfaction over Mr. Mitsotakis' statement, Mr. Reppas said it served "to broaden the front of (Greek) national forces," noting however that the former premier's position was different to main opposition party ND's official position.

    [10] Andreas Papandreou concerned over Aegean developments, Tsohatzopoulos says

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK president and former prime minister Andreas Papandreou expressed concern over future developments in the Aegean during a telephone conversation with Interior Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, the latter revealed yesterday.

    "Be careful because Turkish expansionism will cause setbacks in our national issues," Mr. Papandreou was quoted as telling the minister.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos conveyed Mr. Papandreou's concern during a speech on Wednesday night in Thessaloniki.

    "Turkey has chosen this specific point in time to cause the crisis over Imia, now that Andreas Papandreou is not in office, and following a government reshuffle in order to try the credibility of the new government and its ability to protect the just national causes," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    "(But) both today and tomorrow, PASOK's governments are in a position to defend our national interests independently of individuals," he added.

    Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "the only issue we are willing to discuss with Turkey is the (delineation of the Aegean) continental shelf for which we have decided that our difference will be solved at The Hague."

    "A first priority, in our national issues, is the Cyprus problem," he added, "and if Turkey wants a positive development in the issue of the continental shelf, it must accept a positive development in the Cyprus issue."

    Regarding the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that "our position is steadfast that we will not, under any circumstances, recognize the Skopje state with the name of Macedonia or its derivatives."

    The minister also lashed out against the mass media, denouncing "the artificial image," they convey of internal PASOK affairs.

    "Recently we have witnessed an organized attack against PASOK's government, an attack which questions the ability of the collective PASOK to support its government following the great government change and presents the movement as a place where internal party strife is prevalent."

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos accused the media of "being interested in their private interests only and not the national interest."

    [11] No intention of extending length of military service, Arsenis says

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis yesterday denied recent press reports claiming that the length of national service was to be increased, saying it was "not in the ministry leadership's intentions."

    Mr. Arsenis stressed that the issue of national service should not be linked to the recent Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean over the rocky islet of Imia.

    "In the recent crisis, the armed forces were and remain strong. They were at a high level of preparedness and enjoyed a tactical advantage over the adversary," Mr. Arsenis said.

    On the issue of national service in general, Mr. Arsenis said that in the long term Greece faced a demographic problem but that the ministry preferred to deal with the problem using other means rather than increasing the term of compulsory military service for Greek men.

    Mr. Arsenis noted, however, that the issue of increasing the length of military service had been raised by several ministers at the recent meeting of the inner cabinet.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated yesterday that the government was not considering lengthening the term of national service.

    [12] Athanassios Tzoganis appointed new armed forces joint chief of staff

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Air Force Lieutenant-General Athanassios Tzoganis was yesterday named the new armed forces joint chief of staff by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), after a proposal was submitted by National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis.

    The choice of Lt.-Gen. Tzoganis, who is currently the Hellenic Air Force chief of staff (YEA), was unanimously approved by KYSEA's members. The new joint chief of staff takes over from Adm. Christos Lymberis, who was replaced last week by KYSEA following the Imia crisis in the eastern Aegean.

    At the time, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Adm. Lymberis' official replacement could occur before this Sunday's scheduled announcement of high-ranking military officers' promotions, if Mr. Arsenis submitted such a proposal.

    The 57-year-old Tzoganis was born in the village of Skourtos in Aitoloakarnania and is a 1962 graduate of the Greek Air Force Academy. He ranked first among 16 graduating cadets that year out of an initial class of 50.

    The new joint chief of staff has 18 years flying experience in both jet fighter squadrons and air transport units, having completed more than 7,000 flight hours.

    Lt.-Gen. Tzoganis has also served as commander of several air force squadrons and at NATO headquarters.

    [13] Simitis to focus on Aegean crisis in talks with Kohl

    Athens 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    All issues are up for discussion at next week's meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl but the purpose of the visit is to brief the German leader on the events leading to the latest Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas made the statement when asked if the issue of German war reparations and the loan which Greece was forced to extend to Nazi occupation forces during World War II would be discussed during talks between the two in Bonn on February 22.

    The spokesman said it was highly likely that the issue of the loan would be raised but that the matter of reparations was one which mainly concerned Greek citizens and the German state.

    Mr. Simitis will visit Bonn next week as part of a tour of European capitals beginning on February 21 aimed at briefing European leaders on the recent Aegean crisis prompted by Turkey's disputing of Greek sovereignty of the rocky islet of Imia.

    [14] Papandreou's health looking good

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Doctors at the Onassion hospital said former prime minister and PASOK president Andreas Papandreou probably spent his best day there yesterday.

    Indicative of this is the latest medical bulletin, which said that "the state of the president's health is developing smoothly. The respiratory physiotherapy and kinesiotherapy programme is continuing."

    [15] Romania, Greece confirm willingness for closer defense ties

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis yesterday had two-hour talks with his Romanian counterpart Gheorghe Tinca on bilateral co-operation in the defense sector, developments in the Balkans and NATO enlargement.

    Mr. Arsenis stressed the close ties between Athens and Bucharest in the military, economic, political and cultural sectors and described as particularly satisfactory the stance adopted by the two countries at international organizations and within the framework of the multinational peace-keeping force in Bosnia.

    He also noted an identity of views between Greece and Romania on international developments and the situation in the Balkans. Mr. Arsenis termed "very satisfactory" the pace of implementation of the military co-operation programme, making special reference to the reciprocal training of officers at military academies in the two countries.

    He added that a memorandum of understanding providing for co-operation between the Greek and Romanian defense industries would be signed at the earliest opportunity.

    Mr. Arsenis observed that there was much room for the further development of cooperation in this sector and that "bold steps" were needed in, for instance, the area of joint production.

    He said the issue would be discussed anew at a political level between National Defense Under-secretary Nikos Kouris and his Romanian counterpart to examine possibilities for a "dynamic" programme in the defense industry sector.

    Mr. Arsenis said that he had briefed Mr. Tinca on the latest Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean over the rocky islet of Imia and that his Romanian counterpart was "now in possession of all the facts in order to formulate an opinion and convey it to his government."

    Describing his talks as "substantial", Mr. Tinca expressed the hope that Mr. Arsenis would visit Bucharest "for the further strengthening of relations". He added that the most likely date for such a visit would be at the end of the year or early 1997.

    Mr. Tinca confirmed an identity of views on Balkan issues, particularly the situation in former Yugoslavia, and said Bucharest was in favor of resolving problems in the Balkans and Europe in general by peaceful means.

    He said Greece and Romania also agreed on issues concerning the enlargement of NATO with respect to countries on the Alliance's southern flank.

    Mr. Tinca agreed that Greek-Romanian co-operation in the defense sector was satisfactory but stressed that it must be intensified and cover more fields "based on much more specific ideas and views, to the benefit of both countries."

    On the issue of the recent Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean, Mr. Arsenis said that Greece and Romania remained firm in the position that all relations must be based on respect for international conventions and agreements.

    Mr. Tinca said that he now understood the problem better and expressed Romania's satisfaction at the fact that the incident was over and diplomacy had prevailed.

    [16] Simitis confers with SAE presidium on expatriate Greek issues

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with the presidium of the World Hellenism Council (SAE) and discussed ways of promoting national issues abroad and initiatives to help expatriate Greeks.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Simitis said they had agreed on two aims: for the SAE to project Greek views on national issues and create, in all countries in which there was a Greek community, the conviction that Greece must be supported; and that the SAE examine the problems of overseas Greeks and submit proposals to the Greek State on how to deal with them.

    He added that the SAE was the country's "main support and advisor, and the organization from within which we shall act". SAE President Andrew Athens said that during the meeting the task ahead of the body had been clarified.

    He added that an integrated action plan would be drawn up after the SAE's inaugural session in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

    The presidium also met with Minister for the Aegean Antonis Kotsakas and discussed prospects and investment incentives for the Aegean islands.

    Mr. Athens showed particular interest in investment in tourism and fish farming.

    On Monday, the SAE presidium will leave for Istanbul for a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    [17] Romeos

    New York, 16/02/1996 (ANA-MPA)

    In an interview with the New York-based Greek-language daily 'Ethnikos Kiryx', Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos discounted claims that the Undersecretariat for Overseas Greeks had been abolished.

    "Only the post of foreign undersecretary was abolished, and his responsibilities transferred to the alternate foreign minister," he said.

    "Policy concerning overseas Greeks is characterized by consistency and continuity, and the change of persons in government posts in no way means a change in government policy," he added.

    [18] Black Sea Economic meeting ends

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Economic, Trade Technology and Environmental Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Co-operation issued a press bulletin yesterday at the conclusion of its sixth meeting, held in Athens.

    The press release said the main theme of the meeting focused on the transportation problems and the needs of the member countries, adding that a draft report and set of recommendations were debated on and adopted by the Committee.

    "All modes of transportation problems encountered in the region as well as the issue of the straits were the predominant priority subjects discussed in the meeting," the bulletin said. "The Committee reaffirmed its strong determination to maintain active co-operation in order to eliminate the existing obstacles concerning transportation as well as to pursue the projects which would rehabilitate infrastructural needs regarding all modes of transportation in the area, stressing the Trans-European Systems connection with the Black Sea Region routes which is a vital interest of the region," it added.

    The bulletin went on to say that "the Committee also called upon the National Parliaments and Governments of the member countries to give their utmost efforts as well as to enforce the set of recommendations adopted by the Committee regarding transportation."

    "In addition, First Interparliamentary Conference on the Black Sea Environmental Protection to be held in Istanbul in July 1996 was taken up by the Committee and comprehensive information was provided by the members on the progress of the Conference which will be organized jointly with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe," it said.

    "Also, The Committee reinforced its determination for the speedy ratification of the Agreement Establishing the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank in order for it to be operational as soon as possible which is of utmost significance for the financing of the investment projects and credit need of the member countries," it added.

    "The members also exchanged their opinions on the Black Sea Forum... The Committee adopted the joint project to be held together with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation as a part of its future activity."

    "Finally, the election of the Vice-Chairman of the Committee was held and Mr. Ion Dediu from Moldova was elected as Vice-Chairman," the bulletin concluded.

    [19] Turkish patrol chases Greek fishing boats

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Fishing boat owners in Alexandroupolis, near the Greek-Turkish land border, yesterday called on the government to provide adequate protection, following an incident 4-5 nautical miles southwest of the harbor city, in which two fishing boats were pursued by a Turkish patrol vessel.

    The patrol boat returned to Turkish territorial waters when a Greek navy vessel was called to assist.

    In another incident northeast of the island of Samothrace on February 9, a Turkish patrol boat in pursuit of another two Greek fishing boats fired rounds of live ammunition, endangering the lives of their crews.

    [20] Police say botched blast at US Embassy work of terrorists

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the strong blast which ripped through a parking lot behind the US Embassy shortly after 11pm last night.

    Three vehicles were destroyed, but there were no deaths or injuries. Police combing the debris found evidence that the blast had been caused by a rocket grenade launcher, and officials say this points to the work of the notorious November 17 group.

    [21] Economic performance better than expected, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Greek economy is recovering at a faster rate than that expected by the government, while inflation and the public deficit continue to decrease, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    Mr. Papantoniou described the January rise in the Consumer Price Index as "transient," attributing it to the increase on cigarettes, beverages and fuel as well as to the hikes in Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) rates.

    He noted that the CPI increased by 0.5 per cent as a result of these rises, while the increase in inflation had been just 0.3 per cent.

    Mr. Papantoniou underlined that the principal economic indicators remained within the framework of the government's economic programme.

    The growth rate for 1996, he continued, was expected to be 2.5 per cent.

    In 1995, private investments increased by 6.1 per cent at fixed prices, compared to the 3.5 per cent foreseen by the economic convergence programme. The corresponding increase in investments in the public sector was 18.6 per cent, against a programme target of 9.5 per cent, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    For 1996, he added, the government would stick to its policy of monetary stabilization, while the drop in interest rates would be proportional to the drop in inflation. Mr. Papantoniou predicted a further drop in inflation in 1996 of three percentage points and indirectly therefore, a 3 per cent drop in interest rates.

    The main axis of the government's public finances policy until the end of its present four-year term in office, Mr. Papantoniou said, would be the "rehabilitation" of public spending.

    He added that a working committee would be set up to formulate a programme aimed at curbing waste in the public sector. The committee will be made up of high-ranking officials of the ministries of national economy, of finance and of public administratio n and decentralization.

    Mr. Papantoniou also announced that increases in charges for public utilities this year would be less than 5 per cent, that is, less than expected rate of inflation.

    He said that there would be further reductions in 1996 in interest rates for business loans, housing loans, consumer loans and credit card spending.

    Asked how current political developments could effect the course of the economy, Mr. Papantoniou said the Greek people were getting tired of internal party conflict, adding that the government should focus on its goals.

    He said however, that Prime Minister Costas Simitis "will lead PASOK to the coming elections."

    Mr. Papantoniou also said "the necessary quiet has been restored within the ruling party."

    "PASOK went through hard times," he said. "A great leader, Andreas Papandreou, has withdrawn. A new prime minister has been elected and he will lead PASOK through the (party) congress to elections."

    Meanwhile, Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras strongly criticized the government's economic policy adding that "the country is steadily proceeding to divergence rather than convergence."

    He said "the country's economy is recovering only in Mr. Papantoniou's imagination".

    He called the policy of austerity and the hard drachma as "anti-development and socially unfeeling," adding that it hit the poorest Greeks the hardest.

    Mr. Samaras dismissed the government's forecast of 2.5 per cent growth as "not only not feasible, but not even enough for economic convergence with the European Union, which requires growth of 4 per cent.

    [22] Industrial units redirect profits into investment, restructuring

    Athens, 16/02/1996 (ANA)

    Data provided by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) based on the balance sheets of industrial firms for 1993 and 1994 reveal that profits are used for investments and capital restructuring.

    For every 100 profit and depreciation units, replacement investments and additions of new fixed installations increased by 130 units in 1993 and 115 units in 1994.

    The picture is even more positive if increases in own and fixed indicators are compared to profits in the previous year, given that there is a time lag between accumulated profits and their use.

    According to views stressed by SEB President Jason Stratos at the Economic Policy Studies Institute, investments in industry are primarily made by industrial enterprises already functioning and are aimed at their modernization to consolidate their posit ions in international markets and infiltrate new ones.

    End of English language section.

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