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A.N.A. Bulletin, 23/02/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 821), February 23, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address:


  • [1] Bonn, Athens agree on need for international law to prevail on Imia dispute

  • [2] Simitis: Recall of ambassador not Greece's concern

  • [3] Council of Ministers will not discuss aid for Turkey at Monday session

  • [4] Ankara recalls ambassador for consultations

  • [5] Baykal: Greece will 'pay'

  • [6] Benos calls for UNESCO action over Ephessus camel fights

  • [7] Greek MPs criticize WEU 'lack of initiative' over Greek-Turkish crisis

  • [8] Canadian foreign minister supportive of Greece's position on Imia

  • [9] NATO chief due in Athens next week

  • [10] Greek diplomat confers with US State Dept. official

  • [11] Tsohatzopoulos, Romeos to attend EU-ASEAN summit

  • [12] Perrakis appointed EU affairs Secretary-General

  • [13] Nationwide strike deemed a success, GSEE says employers should change stance on wage increases

  • [14] 'War' over feta an aspect of the North-South divide, farmers say

  • [15] ND delegation to visit Albania

  • [16] Foreign ministry has nothing new on Belgrade press reports

  • [17] Milutinovic due in Skopje today

  • [18] Onassis prizes postponed due to lack of space

  • [19] Onassis Foundation concerned at lack of Greek identity of Onassis heiress

  • [20] Judges begin sorting through Onassis theater competition entries

  • [21] Arsenis visits Papandreou

  • [22] Papandreou's health

  • [23] Skandalidis confers with Papandreou on party congress

  • [24] Three separate devices responsible for Thessaloniki train blast

  • [25] Greek UNHCR representative thanks Greeks for support of Krajina refugees

  • [26] 'Shocking living conditions' revealed in study on Gypsy community

  • [27] Quake registered in northern Greece

  • [28] Light plane crashes off Crete

  • [29] Economy on the right road for growth, Papantoniou says

  • [1] Bonn, Athens agree on need for international law to prevail on Imia dispute

    Bonn, 23/021996 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    Bonn and Athens agreed yesterday that the rules of international law should be the basis for a resolution of the recent dispute over the Imia islets, following talks between German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and visiting Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    "The Chancellor and his guest agreed that the different views held between Greece and Turkey should be led to a solution in a peaceful way and specifically with the use of means provided by international law," an announcement by the Chancellery distributed after the talks read.

    The statement is considered to be an implicit condemnation of Turkey's threats of war and a recommendation that the issue should be referred to the International Court at The Hague.

    At a press conference after the talks, Mr. Simitis interpreted the German Chancellor's position as effectively overcoming the "equal distances" policy observed by Bonn to date towards Greece and Turkey.

    "I think it has been overcome. The Chancellor acknowledged the need to implement the rules of international law, which is a position which lies close to our view," he added.

    Mr. Simitis said that Mr. Kohl undertook a commitment for a "specific preoccupation" with this problem, "which was precisely what we wanted."

    Replying to questioners at the press conference on whether Greece was prepared to proceed with a dialogue with Turkey, he said Greece had repeatedly made a proposal for dialogue to Turkey to resolve pending issues, which Ankara had rejected, clarifying at the same time that "Greek sovereignty is not negotiable" and adding that "let the one questioning the status quo resort to The Hague." Mr. Simitis also made it clear that Greece did not intend to co-operate on promoting the financing of Turkey, entailed by its customs union with the European Union, for as long as Greece was threatened with war.

    "I made clear to Chancellor Kohl that he cannot count on Greece's co-operation on promoting the customs union under the present circumstances," Mr. Simitis said.

    On the part of Germany, this position was not approved, but was accepted as a "natural and necessary evil."

    Mr. Simitis was tight-lipped on information concerning the content of their talks on Cyprus.

    According to reports, Germany is "concerned" over a possible complication due to linking a freeze on the EU-Turkey customs union and the smooth course of Cyprus' accession.

    "Germany wants a solution to be found to the political problem (of Cyprus) before a start to accession negotiations, but without questioning the assumed commitment on the timetable set, namely six months after the end of the inter-governmental conference's work," it was stressed.

    On the question of the forced German occupation loan and war reparations, Mr. Simitis said he "mentioned" them to the chancellor, but without a discussion taking place on the substance of the issues. He said no position was stressed by the German side.

    "I do not wish to interpret the German side's silence," Mr. Simitis said, adding that at a "given moment in time" Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos would raise the issues with his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel.

    Replying to questioners on whether Germany raised the issue of Greek Air Force Phantom jets being modernized by the German aeronautical company DASA, Mr. Simitis said yes, but added that tendering was still "underway."

    Mr. Simitis will hold a press conference on Thursday, press reports said.

    [2] Simitis: Recall of ambassador not Greece's concern

    Paris, 23/02/1996 (ANA - S. Liarellis)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Turkey's decision to recall its ambassador to Athens for consultations in Ankara did not concern the Greek government.

    "The reason why Turkey recalled its ambassador is Turkey's concern. Let it explain this. What can we say?" Mr. Simitis told reporters en route to Paris from Bonn.

    Asked to comment on Ankara's position on Greece's activities 'against' Turkey, Mr. Simitis said "Turkey must get used to the idea that we will move in the Community and its position will have repercussions. The recall of their ambassador does not concern us."

    Replying to a questioner on the effort purportedly being made by certain Europeans (such as Commissioner Hans van den Broek) to link Greece's intention to have sanctions imposed on Turkey (such as a suspension of financing) for not implementing the clauses of the customs union agreement with the course of negotiations for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, Mr. Simitis said Greece was not preoccupied with the issue at present because in the best of cases the inter-governmental conference would be concluded in the first half of 1997 and consequently negotiations for Cyprus' accession would start either at the end of 1997 or in early 1998.

    "Almost two years will pass and until then certain issues could be linked in the future," Mr. Simitis said.

    He said Greece would work on "the issue of pressure on Turkey, resorting to the International Court at The Hague and will continue to have the same position it had on Cyprus."

    Mr. Simitis said the solution to the Cyprus issue and Cyprus' accession to the EU were separate issues.

    Mr. Simitis further said that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl did not raise such an issue during their meeting, adding that Mr. Kohl told him he hoped that with Turkey's customs union agreement a solution to the Cyprus issue would be promoted. However, the problem was not resolved and other difficulties might arise in the future.

    [3] Council of Ministers will not discuss aid for Turkey at Monday session

    Brussels, 23/02/1996 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    European Union foreign ministers meeting on Monday will not discuss the financial co-operation regulation between the EU and Turkey, nor the Euro-Mediterranean economic co-operation programme (MEDA), which includes Ankara, or issues linked to the General Affairs Council and EU-Turkey Association Council set for March 25-26.

    The development was the result of Greece's position at Wednesday's meeting of the member-states' Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER).

    At the meeting, Greek permanent representative Pavlos Apostolidis raised the issue of the EU-Turkey financial regulation, which anticipates free Community aid to this country in the region of 375 million ECU.

    He said approval of this regulation in favor of Turkey was not possible when this country had created big problems for Greece, an EU member-state.

    The permanent representatives of other member-states showed understanding for Athens and decided that all these issues of immediate Turkish concern should not be raised for discussion and resolution at the February 26 Council.

    Greece's 14 Community partners appeared clearly prepared to give it a period of time (probably three to four months), well-informed sources said, to facilitate a smooth development in Greek-Turkish differences.

    No permanent representatives at COREPER, with the exception of the Spanish representative, supported a postponement in convening the EU-Turkey Association Council, but, on the other hand, no one publicly supported that the Council should definitely take place on the date set, despite the contrary view held by Greece.

    According to the same sources, the Italian EU Presidency believes that there is time to convene the Association Council by the end of its six-month tenure (June 1996).

    The Greek position is that a statement by the Council of Foreign Ministers should come first in which the "15" will express their solidarity with Greece over the recent Greek-Turkish crisis.

    [4] Ankara recalls ambassador for consultations

    Ankara, 23/02/1996 (Reuters/ANA)

    Ankara yesterday recalled its ambassador to Athens for consultations over what it called Greece's increasingly anti-Turkish line since a stand-off over a rocky outcrop in the Aegean last month.

    "Our ambassador has been recalled to Ankara for consultations," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

    "We have seen a need for a wide-ranging assessment on our part after a series of hostile actions against Turkey's vital interests by Greece - using the 'Kardak' (Imia) crisis as an excuse - and by its moves aiming particularly to hurt Turkey-EU ties," the statement added.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a news conference in Brussels on Wednesday that unless Turkey eased its antagonism towards Athens it would be difficult for them to co-operate to enable the free functioning of the customs union.

    The lucrative deal came into effect on January 1 after Greece agreed to lift its veto.

    [5] Baykal: Greece will 'pay'

    Ankara, 23/02/1996 (ANA/AFP)

    Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal said yesterday that Greece "will pay the price of all hostile acts towards Turkey".

    In a statement issued soon after the Turkish ambassador in Athens was recalled to Turkey "for consultations", Mr. Baykal warned that "if Greece pursues a hostile policy towards Turkey, it will have to deal with the consequences." He called on Greece to avoid all actions detrimental to Turkey.

    "It must not be expected that Turkey will act with tolerance towards Greece while this country maintains this policy of hostility," continued the Turkish foreign minister's statement.

    "We reconfirm our determination to not remain without a reaction to each Greek action that aims to harm Turkish interests in the Aegean, with the European Union or in the scene of other international forums," the statement added.

    [6] Benos calls for UNESCO action over Ephessus camel fights

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Stavros Benos has called for UNESCO's intervention over Ankara's decision to allow camel fights in the ancient stadium of Ephessus, one of the best excavated ancient Greek city-states in the Mediterranean.

    In a letter to UNESCO director Federico Major, Mr. Benos said such events would damage the ancient monuments. A similar letter has been sent to the culture ministers of all 15 European Union member-states.

    In his letter, Mr. Benos points out to the head of the international cultural organization that Turkish archaeological officials have also expressed their dismay at the Turkish government's continued issuing of licenses for such events.

    [7] Greek MPs criticize WEU 'lack of initiative' over Greek-Turkish crisis

    London, 23/02/1996 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    A trio of Greek speakers at a Western European Union (WEU) parliamentary assembly meeting here yesterday sharply criticized the organization's lack of initiative during the recent Greek-Turkish crisis in the eastern Aegean .

    During an (WEU) session on the issue of "Security Organization in Europe," PASOK deputies Panayiotis Benetatos and Dinos Vrettos as well as main opposition New Democracy deputy Mihalis Liapis took the podium.

    In addressing other WEU delegates, Mr. Benetatos said European peoples supporting the WEU envisioned its active participation in containing violence and consolidating peace.

    "We disappointed them. The WEU's silence cannot continue. If we are unable to take initiatives then let us at least support the Europarliament and EU Commission's peace initiatives," he said.

    Mr. Liapis echoed those sentiments.

    "Where was Europe on the night of the Greek-Turkish crisis? How is Community solidarity towards ally Greece expressed when Turkey violates every rule of international law and unilaterally attempts to change the status quo in the Aegean? How, finally, do you back us when even today Turkey is threatening us with war?" the ND deputy asked, adding:

    "If we truly believe in a common foreign and defense policy for Europe; if we don't want our credibility shaken, just as in Bosnia, where we played the role of observer and not serious mediator, then all should take a clearly responsible position.

    "Certain member-states' 'neutrality' demonstrates a hypocrisy which hurts our joint effort and the political union of Europe," Mr. Liapis added.

    In a short address to delegates, Mr. Vrettos also called for Greece's WEU allies to show more solidarity to Athens.

    [8] Canadian foreign minister supportive of Greece's position on Imia

    Montreal, 23/021996 (ANA-I.Frangoulis)

    Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy yesterday expressed support for Greece's positions over the recent Greek-Turkish crisis.

    Speaking during a meeting with a Greek-Canadian delegation, he explained that Canada always supported the implementation of international treaties.

    "Canada continues to believe that the use of violence is not the most advisable way to solve problems," he said.

    He added that "disputes should be settled in good faith and via diplomatic channels."

    "However," the minister said, "international rules and treaties and the inviolability of borders must be respected."

    Mr. Axworthy said he would convey his government's position to Ankara.

    Concerning the Cyprus problem, the Canadian foreign minister expressed the view that more consultations should take place regarding demilitarization of the island.

    [9] NATO chief due in Athens next week

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana arrives in Athens on February 29 for an official visit, it was announced yesterday.

    The Italian EU presidency's appointee to the Cyprus issue Ambassador Federico di Roberto is also due in Athens on February 28-29.

    [10] Greek diplomat confers with US State Dept. official

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Greece's foreign ministry official responsible for Greek-Turkish affairs, Ambassador George Savvaidis, was due to have a meeting yesterday with the director of the Southern Europe Desk at the US State Department on Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus problem and the Imia issue, it was announced yesterday.

    Mr. Savvaidis held a meeting Wednesday with British Foreign Office official Jeremy Greenstock on the same issues.

    [11] Tsohatzopoulos, Romeos to attend EU-ASEAN summit

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos will represent Greece at the European Union-ASEAN summit in Bangkok on March 1-2, it was announced yesterday.

    [12] Perrakis appointed EU affairs Secretary-General

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Professor Stelios Perrakis has assumed the post of Secretary-General for European Union Affairs at the foreign ministry.

    Mr. Perrakis, a lawyer by profession, is an assistant professor at the Panteion University and has been president and general director of the Hellenic Centre for European Studies and Research (EKEM) since 1993.

    He has also acted for the Greek government in many cases at the European Community Court, including the case of Greek measures against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    [13] Nationwide strike deemed a success, GSEE says employers should change stance on wage increases

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Public transportation and services throughout the country came to a standstill yesterday following a 24-hour civil service and labor strike in demand of higher wages. Buses, trains, trolleys, banks, post offices, public utilities and civil service s remain closed in response to a 24-hour nationwide strike called by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), while aircraft personnel walked off the job for three hours at noon.

    Strikers are demanding salary and pension increases and protection of workers from planned changes to public corporations and the consequences of restructuring in industry. They are also calling on employers to be more flexible in negotiations on the new collective labor agreement.

    GSEE president Christos Protopapas expressed particular satisfaction at the strong support for yesterday's action, describing it as "the most successful strike in the last five years."

    He said participation had been "universal" in public transport and port services, with a high turnout also in public utilities.

    "The message to employers is clear. We demand that they enter negotiations on the collective labor agreement with new, favorable proposals. Otherwise, we shall call a further strike," Mr. Protopapas said.

    The GSEE leader said that under no circumstances would the confederation agree to referring the labor agreement issue to arbitration.

    He also made it clear that the figures to be agreed in the agreement would not be the "ceiling" but the minimum limit "which will constitute the starting point for all branch agreements."

    Mr. Protopappas said that GSEE representatives would meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis next Wednesday, adding that government officials should "stop trying to entangle collective negotiations in incomes policy."

    The Coordinating Committee of unions and pensioners organizations held a rally in Athens.

    Speakers at the rally said SEB's proposal for two 3 per cent salary increases this year was "unacceptable and provocative" and denounced the government's incomes policy as "unpopular and subservient."

    [14] 'War' over feta an aspect of the North-South divide, farmers say

    Brussels, 23/02/1996 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    The European Farmers' Coordinating Organization is attributing the latest "war" over feta cheese to differences between the Community's north and south. The organization criticized what it said was "fake feta with cow's milk , which is produced by the dairy industry in countries of the Community's north."

    The controversial issue of feta has pitted Greek producers, who use sheeps' milk to manufacture the traditional Greek cheese, and northern European producers, who use cow's milk in their imitation feta. Greek producers have requested that the European Commission restrict the use of the name "feta" to cheese made in the traditional manner.

    Discussion of the issue in the Commission was postponed after a request by the Danish commissioner, who backs the Danish imitation feta production and with the support of other nations, such as the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Italy and France, which al so produce the imitation cow milk feta. "Feta is a traditional cheese made from sheep's milk, which allows the development of regions in the Community's south and is a means of support for a large number of producers in agricultural areas that have a difficulty producing other agricultural products," the farmers' organization stated. They also said large northern producers, on the other hand, use cheaper cow's milk, causing increased market pressure on traditional feta, and misleading consumers.

    [15] ND delegation to visit Albania

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    A New Democracy party delegation, comprising deputies Marietta Yiannakou-Koutsikou, Georgios Tzitzikostas, Aristotelis Pavlidis, and Constantinos Haralambopoulos, will visit Tirana on February 27-29 at the invitation of the Democratic Party of Albania.

    The four deputies will meet with President Sali Berisha, Prime Minister Aleksander Meksi, ministers, opposition party officials, Orthodox Archbishop of Albania Anastasios, the head of the Catholic church in the country, and the Chief Mufti.

    [16] Foreign ministry has nothing new on Belgrade press reports

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry said yesterday that it had nothing new to add to press reports that Belgrade will recognize the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the "Republic of Macedonia".

    "There is no new or official information at the foreign ministry regarding the recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by Serbia under the name 'Republic of Macedonia'," ministry spokesman Costas Bikas told reporters.

    Press reports from Belgrade Wednesday said that Yugoslavia will recognize FYROM continuity as a state entity since 1944 and that, in turn, FYROM will recognize the state continuity of Yugoslavia since its creation.

    Mr. Bikas said the press reports were a repetition of old information.

    [17] Milutinovic due in Skopje today

    Skopje, 23/02/1996 (ANA- M. Vihou)

    According to private television channel A1, which quoted diplomatic circles, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic will arrive in Skopje today in order to sign the agreement for diplomatic recognition between his country and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    A1 said recognition would be in FYROM's constitutional name, and that although there was no official announcement about an impending visit by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to Skopje, "it could not be ruled out that the visit and the signing of the agreement for mutual diplomatic recognition would be announced simultaneously".

    An ANA dispatch from Belgrade reported the 'Nasa Borba' newspaper as saying that the visit to Skopje yesterday by the President of the Montenegrin parliament, Svetozar Marovic, provided a confirmation of unofficial reports that mutual recognition between FYROM and Yugoslavia will take place soon.

    FYROM Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski has expressed the hope that recognition between the two countries will take place soon, as this would be to their mutual interests.

    [18] Onassis prizes postponed due to lack of space

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Onassis Foundation yesterday announced that it was temporarily suspending the granting of its prestigious bi-annual prizes due to its failure to secure "a suitable venue" for the glittering award ceremony. "The Foundation is facing a problem with the International Onassis Prizes due to an inability to secure a suitable venue for the award ceremony in 1997 and subsequently," foundation president Stelios Papadimitriou told a press conference. "In order to continue this institution, which has gained international recognition, we need the main chamber of the Athens Concert Hall due to the large number of Greeks and foreigners who are invited... (but) The foundation is unable to fix the precise date of the award ceremony 18 months to two years beforehand, as the Concert Hall requires," he said.

    "In view of this, the foundation's board of directors regrets to announce the temporary suspension of the International Onassis Prizes. At a later date the foundation will decide on the abolition of the institution or its transfer abroad," Mr. Papadimitriou said.

    The awards by the Liechtenstein-based foundation were set up by the will of shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in memory of his son, Alexander, who was killed at the age of 23 in an aircraft crash at Athens airport.

    Among the recipients last year was UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who was awarded "the Onassis Prize for International Understanding and Social Achievement". The award was accompanied by a cash prize of $US 250,000.

    [19] Onassis Foundation concerned at lack of Greek identity of Onassis heiress

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Alexander S. Onassis Foundation yesterday accused Thiery Roussel, father of 11-year-old heiress Athena Onassis, of "consciously" cutting her off from her Greek roots to such an extent that she might not be able to head the foundation when she takes on the post at the age of 21.

    Speaking at a press conference, the chairman of the public benefit foundation's board of directors, Stelios Papadimitriou clarified that there was nothing in the will of the late shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis saying that a direct descendant should head the foundation.

    "However, the executors of the will considered that it would be good to confer, in an honorary capacity, the presidency of the foundation on such a direct descendant... subject to certain conditions to be set by the foundation's board," Mr. Papadimitriou said.

    "There is consequently no doubt that the qualifications of Athena - with respect to her becoming president of the foundation upon attaining the age of 21 - are of importance for a Greek-founded and Greek-controlled foundation like the Onassis and this fully justifies the foundation's interest from a moral point of view," he added.

    Mr. Papadimitriou said it had always been the desire of Athena's mother, Christina, that her daughter should remain Greek.

    "This is why she provided in her divorce agreement with Thiery Roussel that Athena should remain a Greek, with all that this entails. Indeed, Athena held a Greek passport up until her mother's death," Mr. Papadimitriou said.

    He added that the executors of Christina's will, also as administrators of her estate, had signed an agreement with Mr. Roussel clearly stipulating that Athena should retain her Greek identity in terms of language, frequent visits to Greece and professional qualifications.

    In return, Mr. Papadimitriou said, at his own request Mr. Roussel was granted "an additional and considerable fixed annual amount" from his daughter's estate.

    Mr. Papadimitriou said however that Mr. Roussel had not fulfilled any of his obligations.

    "We of course believe that Mr. Roussel has consciously cut Athena off from her Greek roots," Mr. Papadimitriou said.

    Mr. Roussel told a Swiss court on February 7 that "following her incorporation in her new family, Athena has necessarily become estranged from her Greek roots."

    After Christina's death, Mr. Roussel remarried. Apart from Athena, he has another three children.

    [20] Judges begin sorting through Onassis theater competition entries

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Onassis International Theater Competition is to officially begin in the next few days, with the Greek Committee beginning to sort through the 170 original theatrical works dealing with the problems facing man on the threshold of the 21st century.

    The three best works will receive monetary prizes, with the award ceremony to take place in Greece. This is the first time the competition, which was announced in December 1994, will take place. It includes all types of the theatrical forms - tragedy, comedy, drama and monologues - dealing with "the unresolved human problems, the emergence of new problems, the need for reviewing the spiritual, and moral and cultural orientations" among others.

    The competition rules state that the play must not, until the official day of the award, have been published or produced on stage, nor have become the theme or scenario of a cinema or television film.

    [21] Arsenis visits Papandreou

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis held a meeting yesterday at the Onassion hospital with PASOK leader and former prime minister Andreas Papandreou.

    Following the meeting, Mr. Arsenis told reporters that he had discussed "various political issues" with Mr. Papandreou

    Mr. Arsenis said that he visited the former prime minister on his own initiative.

    [22] Papandreou's health

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Yesterday's bulletin on the health of Mr. Papandreou said his condition was developing normally, with the programme of chest physiotherapy and kinesiotherapy continuing.

    Doctors said Mr. Papandreou would leave hospital only after exhaustive breathing and cardiac tests, as well as a fistula test to facilitate dialysis

    [23] Skandalidis confers with Papandreou on party congress

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK secretary Costas Skandalidis told a radio interview on Wednesday that he was in consultations with party president Andreas Papandreou and other senior party members over preparations for the 3rd party congress in July.

    He said it was possible that the congress would not elect a Vice-President, and if it did, it was not certain whether he would lead the party's election campaign.

    He added that the prime minister and the government would stay out of internal party differences in view of the congress.

    [24] Three separate devices responsible for Thessaloniki train blast

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Three explosive devices using TNT, connected with a watch and activated by a quick-burning fuse were used in the blast Wednesday that severely damaged a train coach parked in the Thessaloniki train station.

    Authorities came to the conclusion after discovering three separate holes in a coach bathroom they believe the bombs were planted. They also said the bombs were placed on the train after its arrival in Thessaloniki.

    However, police officials stated that evidence gathered so far is still insufficient to lead to the perpetrators.

    Anti-terrorist police specialists spent the better part of the day yesterday investigating the coach.

    No group has claimed responsibility for the incident, which was reported at 5:15pm Wednesday in one of the two coaches that arrived from Sofia. No injuries occurred in the blast, which severely damaged the train coach.

    According to reports, investigations are focusing on the possibility that organized crime elements in Bulgaria and active in Greece are behind the incident.

    Evidence gathered at the site has been sent to criminology labs for further study.

    [25] Greek UNHCR representative thanks Greeks for support of Krajina refugees

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    The education ministry and the Greek Red Cross, as well as a number of organizations and municipalities, have collected more than 1,260 new blankets and 47,920,000 drachmas to buy 36,000 more blankets for refugees in the Krajina region.

    The Greek representation of the UN High Commission for Refugees said the campaign to collect blankets or money to buy them had met with a great response. The blankets started being sent to Belgrade and Banja Luka on February 19 and the process will be completed by the end of the month.

    The High Commission's representative in Greece Janvier de Riedmatten expressed his gratitude and satisfaction over the Greek people's generous support for suffering refugees in Krajina.

    [26] 'Shocking living conditions' revealed in study on Gypsy community

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    A Greek Centre for Cross-cultural Psychiatry and Care investigation into the situation of Gypsies living in Greece has revealed shocking facts about the Gypsy community of Zefyri, where the investigation was conducted.

    According to the investigation, at least one person in over half of the Gypsy families is in prison, while three out of four state they would rather die than ask for medical help, as they claim that the help available to them is substandard. Six out of ten Gypsies are unemployed, and an equal number are illiterate.

    Only two per cent of Gypsy children complete their primary education, despite the fact that 99.5 per cent of Gypsy parents wish their children to attend school, which they consider as necessary. According to evidence revealed by the investigation, while roughly 280 Gypsy children are enrolled in their local primary schools each September, by October, their number has fallen to 100, and to even less by Christmas.

    Although most Gypsies stated they trust the course of justice, a very high percentage is involved in the justice system: one in three of those interviewed said they have attended court as a defendant, while only four per cent had attended court as the prosecuting party. Of the defendants, half have been able to take advantage of Greek law, which allows fines to be substituted for prison sentences. Only one in ten defendants was aquitted.

    Further finds by the investigation revealed that only six in ten Gypsies have steady and permanent employment, while over half are unemployed. An indication of their low economic status is that 67 per cent have never visited a bank, and only 16 per cent have ever submitted an income tax statement.

    The vast majority of Gypsies regard the state and the government with suspicion and fear. Beneficial intervention by the state is unknown to 75.5 per cent, while almost the same percentage speak of injustice at the hands of the state. Economic help from the government is expected by 62.2 per cent, while 21.9 per cent expects an upgrading of the area. Only 8.9 per cent have pinned their hopes on finding employment on the government.

    Doctors have failed to win the trust of Gypsies, who associate available medical services with money. Their general health is bad. During the investigation, roughly one in ten was hospitalized, while six in ten had a history of hospitalization. Four in ten consider illness a fate worst than death.

    The results of the investigation were presented yesterday afternoon during a press conference by the coordinator of the research group, Athens University professor K. Ballas, who also presented proposals on the improvement of Gypsies' living conditions.

    The proposals include a separate education policy for Gypsies, new health programmes, improvement in hygiene conditions, special vocational training programmes and the establishment and operation of special camping areas for Gypsies.

    [27] Quake registered in northern Greece

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the open-ended Richter scale struck the region of Ptolemaida early yesterday, the Athens Observatory said.

    The quake's epicenter was located some 340 kilometers northeast of Athens and 120 kilometers west of Thessaloniki.

    [28] Light plane crashes off Crete

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Three people escaped death when their light plane crashed into the sea two miles from the port of Iraklion, Crete, yesterday.

    According to reports, the pilot had taken off from Brindisi, Italy, and had planned an intermediate stop at Iraklion before flying on to Alexandria.

    The three Swedes aboard the aircraft were identified as Leif Hegelsen, 55, Kenneth Petersen, 51, and pilot Lars Walkagu, 58.

    Efforts will be made tomorrow to raise the aircraft which appears to have crashed due to either mechanical failure or lack of fuel.

    [29] Economy on the right road for growth, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 23/02/1996 (ANA)

    Trends in public and private investment show that the economy has entered into a course of growth, and 1996 will be the first year of substantial recovery, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    He said that private investment this year would show a 8.3 per cent increase compared to last year, and that 1,294 applications for new investments in the first half of the year, totaling 714.5 billion drachmas, had been submitted.

    This increased investment interest would contribute to the stabilization of the rate of unemployment this year.

    Mr. Papantoniou expressed optimism that inflation will continue on a downward course, and will likely be around the 5 per cent mark, if the economy moves within the targets set.

    He predicted that 1996 would be the first year of full absorption of European Union funds, and said that the government does not intervene in collective bargaining negotiations between unions and employers.

    End of English language section.

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