|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
A.N.A. Bulletin, 20/02/96
From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Athens News Agency Directory
ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 818), February 20, 1996
Greek Press & Information Office
E-Mail Address: email@example.com
 Simitis begins diplomatic counter-offensive tomorrow in Brussels
 Stephanopoulos briefed
 Baykal in Paris reiterates call for negotiations with Greece
 Turkish foreign ministry denies press reports
 Greek liaison office head meets with Gligorov
 Stephanopoulos calls for support of a unified front
 New military chiefs assume posts
 CIA, FBI agents due to review November 17 information with Greek authorities
 Greek MPs to meet with US Congressmen
 New coast guard vessel chases off Turkish patrol
 Turkish planes harass Greek chopper
 Farmers block highway to protest low prices, promise further protests
 OTE workers begin four-day strike in protest at planned share float
 Parliament begins discussion on OTE privatization
 Karatzas appointment approved
 Vartholomeos stresses significance of church in expatriate Greek community
 Education ministry reveals plans to extend Greek education to expatriates
 Doctors examine discharge dates for an improving Papandreou
 ND backs off on call for inquiry into Imia crisis
 PASOK Youth elect new Central Council
 Albanian justice minister in Athens today
 Geitonas inaugurates new police academy in Thrace
 Papademos stresses ethics in banking
 Business mission to visit Mid-East, Cyprus
 Greek, Bulgarian businessmen join forces
 EKY stake in North Prinos oil field up to 35 per cent
 Yugoslavs prefer northern Greece for holidays
 Simitis begins diplomatic counter-offensive tomorrow in BrusselsAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis launches Greece's diplomatic counter-offensive tomorrow when he leaves for a three-city tour aiming at providing European partners with a fuller picture of Greek-Turkish relations, following the recent stand-off in the Aegean over the Imia islets.
Turkey's challenging of Greek sovereign rights, and the threats occasionally fired by Turkey will be raised during talks in Brussels with Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene and European Commission president Jacques Santer, in Bonn with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and in Paris with French President Jacques Chirac.
The Greek government considers it the appropriate moment to set out its arguments and garner support in the European Union, given that many European partners were supportive of Greece during the Imia incident: Athens wants to make it clear that it will not make concessions on sovereign rights.
Given increased US interest in the Cyprus issue, Mr. Simitis will also be carrying a full file prepared by the Cypriot National Council. The government considers the next few months may prove crucial for the course of the issue, and for this reason, the active involvement of the European Union is considered necessary.
A major figure not on Mr. Simitis' schedule is NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, who will be abroad while Mr. Simitis is in Brussels: the two will meet in Athens on February 29 when Mr. Solana pays an official visit to Greece.
Mr. Simitis will meet British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, who is also due to have talks with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, when he arrives in Athens today.
 Stephanopoulos briefedAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Mr. Simitis yesterday briefed President Kostis Stephanopoulos of his pending European tour and the positions of the Greek government regarding Greek-Turkish relations.
Mr. Simitis later told the press the meeting was "useful."
The prime minister had a meeting earlier with Greek Commissioner Christos Papoutsis who briefed Mr. Simitis of the climate in Brussels after the European Parliament's resolution in favor of Greece last week.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that the prime minister will place particular emphasis on the recent Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean in talks with his European counterparts in Brussels, Bonn and Paris but that bilateral issues would also be raised, leaving open the possibility of the issue of German war reparations being discussed with Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn.
Another issue to be discussed, the spokesman added, was Greece's positions in the European Union.
Mr. Reppas said that Mr. Simitis had not been in touch with ruling PASOK party president Andreas Papandreou about the tour, but did not rule out a telephone conversation "within the framework of the standing co-operation between the two men."
Commenting on a recent article published in the 'New York Times' on the recent crisis over the Aegean islet of Imia, Mr. Reppas described it as a "vindication" of Greece's diplomatic campaign on the issue, noting that the newspaper had praised Mr. Simitis' handling of the incident.
On the stance to be adopted by Greece at the forthcoming EU General Affairs Council with respect to Community funding for Turkey, Mr. Reppas said that Athens would "do its best to attain its targets, namely to show that Ankara's policy does not correspond to the commitments it has undertaken under the terms of the EU-Turkey customs union agreement." An inter-party parliamentary delegation, led by Parliament Vice-President Pafsanias Zakolikos, is to depart today for a visit to Finland, Sweden and Germany. The delegation will inform the countries' parliaments and public on Greek national issues.
 Baykal in Paris reiterates call for negotiations with GreeceParis, 20/02/1996 (AFP/ANA)
Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal yesterday stressed "the need" for the commencement of immediate negotiations between Greece and Turkey in order to solve the problem created over the Imia islet.
Speaking after his meeting with his French counterpart, Herve de Charette, Mr. Baykal said the French position on the matter was "very satisfactory". He said that French officials "believe that we (Greeks and Turks) must meet and discuss our problems within the framework of international law and treaties."
The Turkish foreign minister said that this was also the Turkish position and added his belief that "Greece will not object to this, at least in the future." He said that the prerequisite of solving a problem is the recognition that one existed.
Mr. de Charette supported the idea of a dialogue between the two sides, a French foreign ministry spokesman said. "For us, the solution passes through dialogue, as well as through the respect of law," he said.
He added that Europe intends to help in this dialogue and that France "has invested a lot in the reinforcement of relations between the European Union and Turkey, and it will continue to do so."
 Turkish foreign ministry denies press reportsIstanbul, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
The Turkish foreign ministry on Saturday denied Turkish press reports that Tirana and Skopje refused to accept a visit by caretaker Prime Minister Tansu Ciller during the recent Greek-Turkish crisis.
"The claims in question do not correspond to reality, no move was made for our prime minister to visit these countries," a statement said.
Daily 'Hurriyet' wrote that "the Balkans overturned Ms Ciller's plan to bring Greece into a difficult position".
Quoting diplomatic sources, the paper added that Albania's and FYROM's relations with Greece have recently been in a phase of ditente, and turned down the Turkish proposal in order not to be involved in Greek-Turkish differences.
 Greek liaison office head meets with GligorovSkopje, 20/02/1996 (ANA - M. Vihou)
The head of the Greek liaison office in Skopje Alexandros Mallias met yesterday with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) President Kiro Gligorov and gave him a message of greetings from Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
According to an announcement from Mr. Gligorov's office, the positive development of bilateral relations between the two countries after the signing of the agreement in New York was stressed during the meeting and the wish was expressed for progress in all sectors of bilateral co-operation.
In parallel, the European orientation of Greece and FYROM and its significance were underlined, not only for the development of bilateral relations but also for peace and stability in the Balkans.
Mr. Mallias had also visited Prime Minister Branco Crvenkovski and Parliament President Stojan Antov last week and the positive climate prevailing in bilateral relations was mutually ascertained.
 Stephanopoulos calls for support of a unified frontAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday appealed to all Greeks to support a unified domestic front in order to deal with Greece's national issues.
Speaking at a reception in honor of the armed forces, Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed his sorrow at the recent loss of three naval officers, stressing that it is an honor for officers to sacrifice themselves when circumstances so demand.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the government is creating a policy for the country's course and is working for the constant improvement of the armed forces. Mr. Simitis added that morale within the armed forces was and remains high.
Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos also expressed his support for national consensus.
National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis stressed the armed forces will do their duty under any circumstances, and must remain outside the political arena.
 New military chiefs assume postsAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
The three new military chiefs of staff assumed their posts yesterday after ceremonies at the national defense ministry.
Specifically, Lt.-Gen. Manousos Paragioudakis took over the army general staff position from Lt.-Gen. Constantinos Voulgaris; Vice-Adm. Leonidas Palaiogiorgos assumed the navy general staff position from Vice-Adm. Ioannis Stangas, while Lt.-Gen. Georgios Antonetzis took over the air force general staff post from Air Force Gen. Athanassios Tzoganis, who was appointed general staff chairman.
 CIA, FBI agents due to review November 17 information with Greek authoritiesAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
An eight-member delegation of CIA and FBI agents is expected to arrive in Greece to review information about the November 17 terrorist group as well as evidence from an attack at the US Embassy in Athens last week.
Authorities believe the shadowy group ended an almost year-long period of inactivity late last Thursday after an unsuccessful bazooka-launched rocket attack aimed at the rear of the embassy.
Meanwhile, according to sources, US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Niles held a lengthy meeting yesterday with an FBI team based at the embassy and later visited high-ranking anti-terrorist unit officials at police headquarters.
Mr. Niles is expected to meet with Public Order Minister Costas Geitonas at the ministry today.
Based on the same sources, the US federal agents will have at their disposal hi-tech equipment to identify fingerprints samples as well as computer imaging technology to assist eyewitnesses in sketching the suspects.
Both police and the head of the FBI team have expressed concern over the latest terrorist attack, as November 17 has not assumed responsibility for the incident. Along those lines, added security measures have been instituted at potential US and Turkish targets, especially in light of the recent Imia crisis in the eastern Aegean.
 Greek MPs to meet with US CongressmenAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
An all-party delegation from the Greek Parliament will be visiting Washington DC from February 26 to March 1, 1996. The delegation is headed by PASOK deputy and former public order minister Stelios Papathemelis and is comprised of New Democracy deputy Theodoros Kassimis, Political Spring deputy Andreas Lendakis, Communist Party deputy Orestis Kolozov and former deputy of the Coalition of the Left and Progress Costas Rigas.
 New coast guard vessel chases off Turkish patrolAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
A new coast guard vessel assigned to the northeastern Aegean over the weekend yesterday chased off a Turkish patrol boat harassing a Greek fishing vessel in international waters.
The Greek coast guard vessel, assigned to the region following harassment of Greek vessels fishing in international waters, rushed to the scene after the owner and captain on board the small boat immediately notified Alexandroupolis and Samothrace Port Authorities; the Turkish boat made for Turkish waters upon sighting the Alexandroupolis patrol boat.
Alexandroupolis fishermen said yesterday afternoon that the presence of the port authorities' new patrol boat will contribute significantly to their sense of security in view of such actions by Turkish vessels.
The new ultra-modern vessel, 17 meters long and capable of achieving speeds of up to 40 knots, was provided for Alexandroupolis harbor authorities by order of Merchant Marine Minister Kosmas Sfiriou in the wake of recent provocations by the Turkish coast guard against Greek fishing boats in the northeastern Aegean.
The vessel had been requested by the Federation of Fishing Boats of Alexandroupolis to protect professional fishermen operating in the region.
The merchant marine ministry is considering providing the port of Alexandroupolis with a coast guard vessel of an even greater operational capacity from a number of such vessels expected to be received from abroad in the near future.
 Turkish planes harass Greek chopperAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
According to reliable sources, two Turkish F-5 fighter planes harassed a Greek military helicopter on a flight from the island of Kos to the island of Kastellorizo on Friday.
 Farmers block highway to protest low prices, promise further protestsAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Farmers in the Domokos area, central Greece, yesterday blockaded the Lamia to Trikala highway, in protest against prices for their produce and supplies that, they claim, erode their income.
Speakers voiced strong concern over the European Union's policy of freezing prices at last year's levels and called on the government to implement its promises, stressing that "farmers are resolved to continue their mobilizations in a dynamic fashion if satisfactory solutions are not provided within a month".
Stockbreeders spoke of a "policy of obliterating animal farming," and called for strict controls in imported cheeses, and a speeding up of the payment of subsidies.
Further north, animal farmers also blockaded the Thessaloniki to Langada road for three hours yesterday morning, protesting against low milk prices. They poured considerable quantities of milk on their road, stating it was cheaper than water.
Mobilizations will resume tomorrow, while a march to the Macedonia-Thrace ministry in Thessaloniki has been scheduled on Friday.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas acknowledged there were problems in agriculture and they were being dealt with by the competent ministry in consultation with farmers' unions.
New Democracy's agriculture secretary Evangelos Basiakos expressed his party's support for farmers' demands and called on the government to stop its evasive tactics and immediately adopt measures.
Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras urged immediate action, saying that the situation in the sector left no room for experimentation and postponements.
The Coalition of the Left and Progress called for relief measures in the cost of production, and for a policy of investment and improving infrastructure.
 OTE workers begin four-day strike in protest at planned share floatAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
The participation of trade unionists affiliated to the ruling PASOK party in the four-day strike by Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) workers "should not raise an eyebrow in a democratic country," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday. Mr. Reppas said the workers' action was "in the direction of the organization's modernization and development," adding that the government shared their concern. OTE workers began a four-day strike to protest the government's plan to float six per cent of OTE's shares on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, the same day that Parliament began debating the bill providing for the sale.
Workers are also demanding modernization of the telecommunications organization, a license to set up a land-based mobile telephone network and a "satisfactory" labor agreement for 1996.
The president of OTE's labor union (OME-OTE) George Maniatis said that the strike had got off to a successful start, adding that the union would request meetings with the competent ministers to discuss the organization's future.
In contrast with the high participation in the strike, only a comparatively small number of OTE workers took part in a rally and march to Parliament yesterday morning. A delegation of trade unionists handed a resolution containing workers' demands to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and representatives of political parties.
 Parliament begins discussion on OTE privatizationAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Discussion began in Parliament yesterday evening over legislation leading to a partial privatization of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) with opposition parties expressing objections to the bill.
Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert called for the government to set the share price of OTE stock and to not value the public utility at less than 1.3 trillion drachmas.
He charged that if in the next three months OTE's stock increases by 30 to 35 per cent, then the government will be accused of intentionally losing money. Mr. Evert also referred to what he said was pressure from banking circles that OTE not be valued a t more than 1.4 trillion drachmas.
 Karatzas appointment approvedAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
The appointment of Theodoros Karatzas as the new governor of the National Bank of Greece was approved by the parliamentary hearing committee last night with no problems. All eight PASOK deputies voted for the appointment, while the five New Democracy deputies voted against, as did the Political Spring representative. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) representative cast a blank vote.
 Vartholomeos stresses significance of church in expatriate Greek communityIstanbul, 20/02/1996 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)
The presidium of the World Hellenism Council was in Istanbul yesterday for talks with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on the common goal of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Council in maintaining the unity of the overseas Greek community. The Patriarch said Greece's interest in the expatriate community was natural since "many of them retain Greek nationality and all are linked to the Hellenism of Greece through blood ties, common language, common faith and common tradition." He added, however, that "overseas Hellenism is a clearly spiritual and church-centered institution" and only the church can guarantee its unity and survival outside politics and party politics.
SAE President Andrew Athens said the members of the presidium had been warmly welcomed by the Patriarch, who had blessed their mission.
"We had the opportunity to meet with him and exchange views," Mr. Athens said. "The Patriarch wished every success in the completion of our mission to retain the unity of the overseas Greeks."
During the meeting, the Orthodox leader stressed the ecumenical and supranational character of the Patriarchate, adding that "the church is ready to have a creative co-operation with the SAE."
 Education ministry reveals plans to extend Greek education to expatriatesAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Education Minister George Papandreou announced yesterday the basic provisions of legislation planned to give expatriate Greeks the benefit of Greek education. Entitled "Greek Education Beyond Borders", it includes the admission of outstanding expatriate students of overseas high schools to Greek higher education institutions. Mr. Papandreou said the graduates would be admitted without entrance exams upon verification that they were among the top of their graduating classes. In addition, a number of scholarships will be made available to outstanding graduates.
A proposed National Scholarship Foundation will develop scholarship programmes for expatriates studying at Greek higher education institutions, Mr. Papandreou said. Finally, the establishment of an International University for Hellenic Studies is included in the legislation. The new entity is projected to expand study and teaching of the Greek language, Hellenic civilization and history as well as Orthodox traditions.
 Doctors examine discharge dates for an improving PapandreouAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
PASOK leader and former premier Andreas Papandreou's health is improving, according to an Onassion Hospital bulletin yesterday. The 77-year-old premier is continuing respiratory physical therapy and kinesiotherapy, while physicians treating Mr. Papandreou believe that he will soon be able to leave the hospital. A medical team met yesterday and for the first time discussed when the PASOK leader could possibly be discharged.
The ex-premier's continuing recuperation over the past two weeks has led doctors to expand the physical therapy programme, while they have asked Mr. Papandreou to move around for lengthier periods of time. According to reports, Mr. Papandreou is following televised news programmes and reading newspapers daily.
 ND backs off on call for inquiry into Imia crisisAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
The main opposition New Democracy said yesterday that it would not pursue its call for a parliamentary fact-finding committee to investigate the handling of the recent Greek-Turkish stand-off in the Aegean.
Spokesman Vassilis Manginas made the announcement after New Democracy's Political Council held a four-hour meeting yesterday.
"For reasons of national responsibility, New Democracy will not, at the present time, press for the establishment of a parliamentary fact-finding committee to investigate the recent incident in the Aegean," he said, noting, however, that the crisis with Turkey continued.
Referring to the crash of the Hellenic Navy helicopter off Imia, Mr. Manginas said ND stood by its positions and that there was "a campaign to conceal the truth."
Concerning a US proposal to refer the Imia issue to the International Court of The Hague, Mr. Manginas said that "if Turkey decides to refer (the issue) to the International Court of The Hague, Greece has nothing to fear ..." since it pursues a just cause."
He reiterated that the initiative to refer the issue to the international court should be taken by the party that disputes, in this case Turkey.
 PASOK Youth elect new Central CouncilAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
The 2nd PASOK Youth conference yesterday elected a new Central Council, consisting of 51 regular and 15 substitute members.
The new Council is considered to be made up of members who favor Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, and is headed by Tonia Antoniou, 29, a trade unionist.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos himself, asked whether the results of the election could be considered a foreteller of trends that will emerge at the party's national congress in July, said it was "a big mistake" to identify the youth movement with personalities and "dependencies".
 Albanian justice minister in Athens todayAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Albanian Justice Minister Hector Frasheri is due to arrive in Athens today, after an invitation by his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos.
The two ministers are due to discuss the completion of co-operation between the two countries on all aspects of their ministries, including the prison system and justice procedures in the two countries. The co-operation is of particular importance as the greatest number of foreign prisoners in Greece are Albanians.
The Albanian minister is also scheduled to meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and other political figures during his visit.
 Geitonas inaugurates new police academy in ThraceAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Public Order Minister Costas Geitonas inaugurated the Police Academy in Xanthi yesterday, saying that the new institution was a measure of the government's commitment to support Thrace.
"Hellenism is rallying round the government of Costas Simitis," he said in a brief address. "The government supported and will support Thrace by taking a series of measures and one of them is the creation and operation of one of three police academies i n all to be created in the region of Thrace."
"The bastions of Cyprus, Thrace and the Aegean are and will remain unshakable. Enemies as well as those having designs against our country should bear this in mind," he added.
Mr. Geitonas praised efforts by his predecessors Sifis Valyrakis and Stelios Papathemelis to create the three police academies in Xanthi, Komotini and Didimotiho.
 Papademos stresses ethics in bankingAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Speaking at a conference on entrepreneurial ethics organized by Ergobank yesterday, Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos dwelled on the importance of ethics in the operation of the banking system and the effectiveness of monetary policy.
He stressed that especially for banks, ethics holds tremendous significance, as banking is based on credibility. The importance of entrepreneurial ethics for a banking concern is linked with two factors affecting its profitability, credibility, viability, information and trust.
He said that timely and accurate information concerning the quality of the bank's portfolio, the risk factor associated with its investments, and its real net capital position, is crucial for its effective operation, and, in some cases, as that of Barings, for its survival.
More especially, referring to the relation between ethics and role of the central bank, Mr. Papadimos said:
"Concerning supervision of the banking system, a substantial and big change is being noted in recent years. The Bank of Greece has turned its attention to monitoring the credibility and capital sufficiency of banks, as well as to the adequacy of mechanisms of internal auditing".
"Another timely and difficult aspect of the supervising authority's relations with the members of the banking system is that connected with money laundering," he said.
 Business mission to visit Mid-East, CyprusAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
Macedonia-Thrace Ministry Secretary-General Nikos Afentoulidis will head a business mission of northern Greek businessmen and members of chambers of commerce to Cyprus and the Middle East at the end of March.
The delegation is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait and Cyprus, and the programme will be conducted in co-operation with the local Greek embassies.
The countries to be visited have expressed an interest in imports from Greece of clothing, shoes, food, household goods, jewelry, cigarettes, detergents, car accessories, water pumps and electrological and building materials. They have also showed interest in the coordination of studies, construction work and the provision of tourist services.
 Greek, Bulgarian businessmen join forcesAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
A consortium has been founded in Pomorie in Bulgaria, aiming at promoting co-operation between Bulgarian and Greek businesses.
The "Black Sea Union for Greek-Bulgarian co-operation" includes the town's municipality, representatives of commercial, transport, tourist companies and agricultural cooperatives as well as the agricultural union of new landowners in the area.
President of the new consortium, Stelios Stamboulis, visited Secretary-General of the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry Nikos Afendoulis yesterday and presented the consortium's plans. These include attempts at co-operation with businesses in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
 EKY stake in North Prinos oil field up to 35 per centAthens, 20/02/1996 (ANA)
After months of negotiations between the EKY subsidiary of the Public Petroleum Company (DEP) and two foreign consortiums, it was agreed that the company will increase its participation in the development of the North Prinos oil field in the northern Aegean from 15 to 35 per cent, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou announced yesterday.
The North Prinos field, discovered in 1994, lies 2.5 km north of Prinos 1, and is estimated to have a capacity of three million barrels.
Ms Papandreou said that EKY will hand over 20 per cent of proceeds to the parent company, retaining the remaining 15 per cent.
Listing the benefits accruing from the operation of the two fields, she cited continued public revenue, the continued employment of 400 jobs, the maintenance of a favorable investment climate, especially in view of the international tender for concessions in western Greece now in progress, and the possibility for further research activities in the Prinos area, with the accompanying inflow of technical know-how and modern technology.
Concerning the first tender for concessions in western Greece, Ms Papandreou noted there was an especially strong interest among international oil companies. The deadline for the submission of tenders to be submitted to DEP-EKY expires on May 31, 1996.
 Yugoslavs prefer northern Greece for holidaysBelgrade, 20/02/1996 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)
The Union of Halkidiki Hoteliers outlined offers for this year's season in Belgrade yesterday at a press conference attended by representatives of many travel agencies in Yugoslavia.
Representatives of Yugoslav travel agencies said most Yugoslav tourists would prefer Greece again this year, putting their number at about 300,000.
End of English language section.