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A.N.A. Bulletin, 24/02/96
From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <email@example.com>
Athens News Agency Directory
ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 822), February 24, 1996
Greek Press & Information Office
E-Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Prime minister satisfied with outcome of European tour, Paris agrees question of external borders should be examined at IGC
 Kohl-Simitis meeting 'a positive step'
 Evert: Greece will not negotiate national rights
 Meeting with Clerides
 Constantopoulos stresses Turkey's violation of EU customs union
 Greek MPs meet with Swedish parliamentary committee
 Italian representative comments on Council of Ministers agenda
 KKE critical of results of premier's tour
 Major pledges to work for common defense, foreign policy
 London suggests Athens, Ankara 'intensify' talks on all issues
 Defense ministry denies press reports of foreknowledge of Turkish landing
 Greece, Bulgaria sign police co-operation protocol
 Mutual recognition of Belgrade-Skopje only days away, Montenegrin speaker says
 Polish defense minister due in Greece Monday
 Estonian church comes under Constantinople's jurisdiction
 Doctors to decide on discharge date for Papandreou by next week
 Investigation into Thessaloniki train blast continues
 Scholars, diplomats agree to help search for peace in Balkans
 Increasing unemployment must be battled on national, EU front
 Samaras calls for debate on economic policy
 OKE discusses economy ministry's public utilities bill
 Prime minister satisfied with outcome of European tour, Paris agrees question of external borders should be examined at IGCParis, 24/02/1996 (ANA - J. Zitouniati)
At the end of his brief European tour yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis described the results as positive, stressing that up until recently European leaders proposed bilateral talks between the two countries on Greek-Turkish differences, and particularly the Imia islets issue.
"Now, everyone accepts referring the issue to the International Court at The Hague and the application of rules of international law as self-evident, while stating, at the same time, that any change of borders for the countries of the European Union is inconceivable," he said, after talks with French President Jacques Chirac.
Mr. Simitis held talks with EU Commission President Jacques Santer and Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene in Brussles on Wednesday and with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn on Thursday.
The Greek premier said that in his talks with president Chirac they discussed developments and prospects in the European Union, including the recent Greek-Turkish crisis in the context of issues to be tackled during the inter-governmental conference (IGC) in Turin next month.
"Both France and Greece are interested in establishing Community solidarity and guaranteeing European Union's external borders, issues which will be discussed during the IGC," he said.
French sources did not rule out the assumption of a French initiative for the settlement of Greek-Turkish differences after the formation of a government in Turkey. France, they said, being anxious about the deterioration of relations between the two countries, the threat of confrontation in the Aegean, and the delay in the implementation of Turkey's customs union with the Community due to Greek reactions, intends to undertake such an initiative in co-operation with Germany.
The official statement of the French presidency on the Chirac - Simitis talks recognizes that territorial differences must be settled through peaceful means and respect for rules of international law, including a referral to the International Court if necessary, but also expresses the desire "that the defusion of the Greek-Turkish dispute does not create problems in the relations between Turkey and the EU".
Spokeswoman Catherine Colonna said that "France would be more likely to show its solidarity with Greece, the fewer new problems it created".
The French president also expressed his anxiety over the growth of Islam in Turkey, adding that it ought to be helped to avert this danger.
Mr. Simitis also said that Paris and Athens hoped that the IGC would achieve results before the end of next year.
"We agreed this (conference) should not last too long. It should arrive at some final results by the first half of 1997 or the second half of 1997 at the latest," he said.
Mr. Simitis said the two leaders also agreed that a central core of EU states could proceed to monetary union from 1999 if all states failed to meet the rigid criteria from the start, so long as non-qualifying states were not left behind in the process.
He said this meant that those countries not included in the central core should nonetheless abide by the monetary union requirements.
The EU should then try to ensure that these states were able to join the single currency system as quickly as possible, he added. ANA
 Kohl-Simitis meeting 'a positive step'Bonn, 24/02/1996 (ANA - P. Stangos)
Diplomatic sources yesterday were expressing concern over the further course of Greek-Turkish relations, following Ankara's recall of the Turkish ambassador in Athens for consultations, and the announcement by Prime Minister Cost as Simitis that Greece cannot be cooperative in the promotion of Turkey's customs union with the European Union as long as Ankara continues its provocations.
The same sources said that Chancellor Helmut Kohl's statement on Thursday, stressing that the "peaceful road" to the settlement of differences through "the use of means of international law" constitutes an undoubted turn in the way things are viewed by the German political leadership, but this was "not tantamount to the adoption of all Greek views". It was further pointed out that Chancellor Kohl provided no answer to the Greek premier's question on what Germany would do if Turkey continued violating international law, particularly in relation to the relevant provision in the customs union agreement.
The German side, added the same sources, may be showing understanding to the Greek rationale for not approving financial aid to Turkey, but is not averse to pointing out that this stand is contrary to Germany's wish for no further obstacles to the smooth development of relations between Turkey and the EU.
On the whole, the Greek premier's first meeting with the German Chancellor was evaluated as a "positive step" and it is being pointed out that the atmosphere was "particularly friendly", with the 'chemistry' between the two men assisting greatly in this .
It may be noted that the German side remained adamant in its refusal to enter into a dialogue over the issue of repayment of the wartime compulsory occupation loan and war reparations.
"The request for reparations has lost its justifying base, and so Athens must not expect that the German government will agree to enter into dialogue on the subject," a German foreign ministry statement said.
 Evert: Greece will not negotiate national rightsNicosia, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday underlined that Greece will under no circumstances accept being blackmailed over its national rights, and that it has the strength to overcome any Turkish pressure.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Cyprus Democratic Rally (DHSY) party leader Yiannakis Matsis, who invited Mr. Evert on this official visit to Cyprus, the New Democracy president stressed that relations between Greece and Turkey bear no relation to the problem faced by the Cyprus Republic.
"At the moment Turkey is facing great internal problems in the Kurdish issue, the economy, Islamic fundamentalism, lack of government.
"It is well-known that Turkey always exports its domestic problems abroad. I believe pressure will be put on Greece, not only by Turkey, but possibly also by other countries, under the simplistic view of 'solve your own problems'," he said.
Mr. Evert stressed that it must be understood that matters of national rights, independence and integrity are non-negotiable for Greece.
The New Democracy leader added that it must be made clear that in the "triangle of relations: Cyprus-Greece-Turkey", Greece must make efforts to help Cyprus whenever it faces problems with Turkey, without the same having to happen in return, as it is no t possible for Cyprus to become involved every time there is a problem in Greek-Turkish relations. He added that for this reason, he will not discuss Greek-Turkish relations while on his Cyprus visit. Mr. Evert also said Turkey's customs union with the EU must not be connected to Cyprus's accession to the EU, and added that the finding of a solution to the Cyprus problem should not be a prerequisite for the island republic's accession to the EU. He said a definite date ought to be set for the accession, and, within that framework, Turkey be obliged to enter into dialogue with Cyprus in order to find a just and viable solution.
 Meeting with CleridesNicosia, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
After meeting with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides yesterday, Mr. Evert noted that "there have been many opportunities for an exchange of views on national matters with President Clerides and there is always an agreement of opinions, as there is now a common view of how national issues ought to be dealt with."
Mr. Evert also met with Socialist EDEK party leader Vassos Lyssarides. After the meeting, Mr. Evert expressed his belief that it is possible for a national conference of all Greek and Cypriot parties to be held. Mr. Lyssarides agreed, and said that Cyprus must assume its responsibilities for a very specific proposal on the matter.
Later in the evening, Mr. Evert met with Left wing AKEL party leader Dimitris Christofias and Democratic Party (DIKO) leader and former president Spyros Kyprianou.
 Constantopoulos stresses Turkey's violation of EU customs unionAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday stressed that Turkey's threat against Greek sovereignty, borders and security in the greater region was a violation of all the principles and guarantees of the European Union and recently approved customs union.
Mr. Constantopoulos made the statement in Lamia.
"Instead of making Turkey conform with international legality, the United States and EU member-states are providing it with political immunity. Instead of bringing Turkey to order, they are transforming (Turkish) provocations into blackmailing pressures toward Greece," he said.
Mr. Constantopoulos also reiterated his call for a council of political leaders meeting to decide national strategy on foreign policy issues.
 Greek MPs meet with Swedish parliamentary committeeStockholm, 24/02/1996 (ANA- N. Servetas)
A five-member parliamentary delegation, headed by Second Parliament Vice-President Pafsanias Zakolikos, yesterday met with members of the Swedish Parliamentary Committee for European Affairs, and briefed them on Greek positions regarding the recent crisis in the Aegean and the upcoming inter-governmental conference. "We are not seeking to obtain statements from our interlocutors, simply to make them understand the issue," delegation member Calliope Bourdara told ANA. The delegation will meet with members of the Greek community here, and will depart for Germany on Monday.
 Italian representative comments on Council of Ministers agendaBrussels, 24/02/1996 (ANA - G. Daratos)
The Italian permanent Community diplomatic representative said here yesterday that Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is expected to "confirm Greece's will to have a solution found to the Greek-Turkish crisis by an international arbitration agency".
The Italian representative, whose country currently holds the European Union's rotating six-month presidency, was speaking to reporters yesterday regarding the agenda of Monday's Council of Foreign Ministers session.
On the possibility of the "15" making a joint statement of solidarity with Greece on Monday, along the lines of the one issued by the Commission recently, the Italian representative said he could make no forecasts on such an eventuality.
"This will depend on the briefing Mr. Pangalos will make and on the positions of the other foreign ministers who will be taking the floor afterwards," he said.
Replying to a questioner on why the financing regulation anticipating free Community economic aid to Turkey amounting to 375 million ECU was removed from the Council's agenda, the Italian representative said "we took Greece's objections into consideration. In any case it is an issue the Council of Ministers will discuss and we could give the go-ahead (our approval), resolving this problem in retrospect."
The Italian representative expressed optimism that the problem of Turkish-EU relations would meet with a "positive breakthrough", adding that "we must take the internal situation in certain countries into consideration, and in particular that prevailing in Turkey."
He also said the EU-Turkey Association Council would take place on March 26 but did not specify what it would discuss.
On the question of whether a possible suspension of the decision on economic aid to Turkey would have unfavorable repercussions on the development of relations between Cyprus and the Community, a source close to External Relations Commissioner Hans van den Broek said that on March 6, 1995 the Community's foreign ministers endorsed a package with the following three issues: customs union with Turkey, the preparation of a financing regulation for free economic aid to this country amounting to 375 million ECU; and a start to accession negotiations for Cyprus and Malta six months after the inter-governmental conference on revising the Maastricht Treaty and taking its results into consideration.
The same source said, naturally, there was no legal interrelation and inter-dependence between these three issues, but that there was a direct political relation, namely that no development over the one would negatively affect the smooth development of the remaining two issues included in the "political package."
The statement constitutes an indirect but clear warning that the Greek-Turkish crisis, combined with Greece's opposition to the promotion of Turkish-Community relations, would certainly have an adverse effect on this preparatory stage to Cyprus' accession negotiations. The implementation of all the decisions in the "political package" could contribute to stability in the entire region, the source said.
On the question of the "15" foreign ministers preparing a statement of solidarity with Greece on Monday, the source said Mr. van den Broek would explain to the foreign ministers the reasons and the content of the written announcement by the European Commission with which it expresses solidarity with Greece, an EU member-state, and assured that the Commission favored a similar statement by the "15" foreign ministers.
 KKE critical of results of premier's tourAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said talk of successes achieved by Prime Minister Costas Simitis during his talks with European leaders was "an effort to mislead".
In an announcement yesterday, the KKE said the prime minister's meetings confirmed what was self-evident, namely that the European Union and the Western European Union do not safeguard the interests of the country and the people in the least and that "o n the contrary they constitute a great threat since they take care to consolidate with all means the strong interests of the multinationals and their industrialists in the Balkans and in the Greece-Turkey-Cyprus 'triangle'." The KKE also believes that in past days the Greek government has experienced new direct and indirect extortion which it is hiding from the Greek people.
 Major pledges to work for common defense, foreign policyLondon, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
British Prime Minister John Major yesterday said the recent incident over Imia islets was "a case for diplomatic rather than military intervention" and said the United Kingdom would work "to improve co-operation among European partners and to draft a common policy on issues of security, foreign policy and defense."
The British prime minister made the statement in reply to a question by Greek New Democracy deputy Aristotelis Pavlidis during the extraordinary session of the Western European Union in London.
The WEU's Parliamentary Assembly yesterday endorsed a resolution adopting all decisions and resolutions which have been agreed by European Union institutional organizations on the recent crisis in the Aegean.
 London suggests Athens, Ankara 'intensify' talks on all issuesLondon, 24/02/1996 (ANA/AFP)
The British government yesterday called on Athens and Ankara to "intensify" their talks at a time when relations between the two east Mediterranean neighbors have deteriorated.
"They must intensify their dialogue in all levels of bilateral relations," a Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday, adding that British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind made the issue clear during his visit this past week to Athens.
The spokesman said that even if the British government could understand the reasons behind a Greek decision to block European Union economic aid toward Turkey, London believes that "to block this assistance now would be an action that sends the wrong message. The economic aid has been approved by all the members of the EU since March 1995.
 Defense ministry denies press reports of foreknowledge of Turkish landingAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
"The national defense ministry yesterday denied that the Navy General Staff or any ministry service had received advance warning of the January 31 landing by Turkish commandos on the Imia islet.
In an announcement, the ministry denied a report in a monthly periodical that the National Intelligence Service (EYP) had warned the Greek Pentagon on the night of January 29 - 30 hours before the Turkish landing on Imia - of the Turkish plans.
The ministry further said that EYP had also confirmed that no such document had been sent to the ministry.
"An EYP signal, protocol number 155/24/40 of January 29, 1996 or any other date has not entered the Navy General Staff or other national defense ministry service, and as EYP confirms, no such document has been sent to the ministry," the announcement said.
It said that during the Imia crisis there had been a "flow of information as to the activities of the Turkish forces. Analysis of the information did not give rise to indications of Ankara's intentions. This was also confirmed by a recent re-examination of the contents of the information supplied by the authoritative state agency (EYP) to the Navy General Staff."
If information of such import had existed, the announcement added, "naturally it would have been conveyed... to the prime minister, the relevant ministers and the military leadership."
The announcement further stressed the need to "protect the national interests and Armed Forces from 'leaks' and misinformation that obviously serve other expediencies."
 Greece, Bulgaria sign police co-operation protocolSofia, 24/02/1996 (ANA-N. Hios)
Greek Public Order Minister Costas Geitonas yesterday said a police co-operation protocol signed with Bulgaria was "a major step which will bear fruit regarding improvements in security conditions between the two peoples."
The protocol includes practical co-operation in the fields of organized crime, terrorism, drug smuggling and arms smuggling.
Asked whether Bulgarian illegal immigrants caused problems in Greece, Mr. Geitonas said "problems were caused by other countries."
"There are no major problems in Greece due to the Bulgarians," he said, adding that Greece, however, was obliged to take measures against entry of illegal immigrants to Greece.
Bulgarian Public Order Minister Lyubomir Nachev said the Bulgarian authorities had information concerning the November 17 terrorist group, adding that recent Bulgarian press reports were merely "operational, unconfirmed news that were not verified."
Mr. Geitonas also held a meeting with Prime Minister Zhan Videnov. ANA
 Mutual recognition of Belgrade-Skopje only days away, Montenegrin speaker saysBelgrade, 24/02/1996 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)
A mutual recognition agreement between Belgrade and Skopje is only a few days away, Montenegrin Parliament President Sventozar Marovic said Thursday after a visit to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Mr. Marovic said there is no obstacle in a mutual recognition agreement between the two ex-partners of the former Yugoslav republic, adding that the decision does not harm any neighboring nations.
"We must be realists and recognize that on the one hand there is a new 'Macedonian' nation, and on the other side Yugoslavia," the Montenegrin parliament president said.
Mr. Markovic met with FYROM President Kiro Gligorov and Parliament President Stojan Antov.
Meanwhile, according to reliable sources, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic remained in Belgrade yesterday and was not scheduled to depart for Skopje.
A dispatch by the Belgrade-based news agency Beta had reported that the Yugoslav foreign minister was in FYROM's capital for talks with President Kiro Gligorov, adding that he would also sign an agreement commencing full diplomatic relations between Yugoslavia and FYROM. Beta announced that Belgrade would recognize the landlocked republic as "Republic of Macedonia."
A possible visit by Mr. Milutinovic to Skopje today to sign a mutual recognition agreement was neither confirmed or denied in Belgrade yesterday. Political observers in the Yugoslav capital estimate that Mr. Milutinovic is waiting for a confidence vote in Skopje parliament yesterday for a new government, before meeting with his FYROM counterpart.
 Polish defense minister due in Greece MondayAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
Poland's Alternate Defense Minister Andrej Karkozka will pay a three-day official visit to Greece beginning on Monday, it was announced yesterday.
During his stay, Mr. Karkozka will have talks with National Defense Under-secretary Nikos Kouris on defense co-operation issues and meet with National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis.
 Estonian church comes under Constantinople's jurisdictionTallinn, 24/02/1996 (ANA/Reuter)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, the religious leader of about 300 million Orthodox Christians, officially placed the small Orthodox Church of Estonia under his jurisdiction, detaching it from the Patriarchate of Moscow, church officials announced yesterday.
Estonian-speaking believers want to belong to the Patriarchate of Istanbul and not the Patriarchate of Moscow, under whose jurisdiction this church was placed when Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. Russian-speaking believers remain loyal to Moscow.
Church officials said Patriarch Vartholomeos recognized the Orthodox Church of Estonia as being part of his jurisdiction.
 Doctors to decide on discharge date for Papandreou by next weekAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou is continuing to recover from his illness in hospital, while he continues to undergo daily intensive respiratory physiotherapy and kiniseotherapy, a medical bulletin issued yesterday said.
The doctors treating the former prime minister estimate that by the end of the month, they will be in a position to set a date for his discharge from hospital.
 Investigation into Thessaloniki train blast continuesThessaloniki, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
The anti-terrorist service is to complete its report during the next few days on the bomb that exploded in a railway carriage in Thessaloniki on Wednesday.
Laboratory tests are expected to shed light on the construction of the explosive device and the materials used, although officers involved in the investigation said this will not necessarily lead to a discovery of the identity of the culprit or the reasons behind the bomb attack.
Police are not taking seriously a phone call made to a local paper saying that responsibility for the attack was taken by an unknown organization, "Hatiki Pali", and are continuing their investigation.
 Scholars, diplomats agree to help search for peace in BalkansAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
A crusade for peace in the Balkans and the Middle East has been launched by scholars and diplomats which came together in Kavalla to attend a two-day international seminar organized by the Middle East Studies Institute (IMSAM) and the Kavalla prefecture.
Greek, Arab and Israeli IMSAM members said they would join efforts with academics and diplomats in the Balkans for peace and understanding.
Palestinian and Israeli diplomats and other scholars and diplomats from Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, Greece and the Balkans and the Arab countries also took part.
The seminar aims at establishing a better coordination mechanism to support IMSAM's already assumed initiatives as well as new ideas in regions of increased tension, such as the Balkans.
 Increasing unemployment must be battled on national, EU frontAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
Active employment policies and constantly updated vocational training is the solution to battling increasing unemployment, a seminar on "Structural Changes in the Labor Market - Employment Policies Efficiency Promotion" heard yesterday.
The seminar was organized by the National Labor Institute and the General Employment Directorate of the European Commission.
Labor Under-secretary Lambros Kanellopoulos said economic recovery was not enough to battle unemployment which was constantly rising.
Mr. Kanellopoulos said that in spite of forecast recovery in Europe, if the European GNP rose by 3.5 per cent by the year 2000 unemployment in Europe would still be at the 7 per cent mark.
Calling this "a harsh reality," Mr. Kanellopoulos stressed the need for convergence between national and community employment policies, and national economic and social policies on employment.
General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President, Christos Protopapas said unemployment in Greece was estimated at 10.5 per cent and expressed concern over the increasing demand for part-time rather than full-time jobs on the part of businesses.
Mr. Protopapas called on the government to implement quickly and boldly a series of measures which have been agreed at the Economic and Social Committee.
The seminar took place with the participation of EU officials. Samaras calls for debate on economic policy
 Samaras calls for debate on economic policyAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras yesterday called for a Parliament debate at political leaders' level of the government's economic policy as a whole.
"...recent mobilizations of the entirety of the productive forces in the country prove that government choices in the economy and the continued austerity measures policy have led the country to an impasse and the Greek people to despair," Mr. Samaras said in a letter to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.
 OKE discusses economy ministry's public utilities billAthens, 24/02/1996 (ANA)
The plenum of the Economic and Social Committee (OKE), a consultative body, yesterday discussed the national economy ministry's draft bill on the modernization of public utilities.
Sources said the 'social partners' were close to an agreement on asking for the abolition of the provision enabling the national economy minister to push for the partial privatization of public enterprises by a simple decision, and propose instead that any change in their property status be decided by law individually.
They were also reported to agree that bolder measures were required for giving the organizations and their managing boards a greater degree of autonomy and independence from the state and parties.
OKE is expected to release its recommendations next week.
End of English language section.