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A.N.A. Bulletin, 22/03/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 844), March 22, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece, Albania's new friendship co-operation agreement marks 'a new chapter in relations'

  • [2] Address to Albanian Parliament

  • [3] Simitis tells EU presidency that funds for Turkey depend on joint statement

  • [4] Feverish activity in Brussels

  • [5] Turks refuse to budge, say Italian EU presidency to blame

  • [6] Turkish infringements of FIR

  • [7] Yilmaz tells Simitis of hopes for 'new era'

  • [8] Date not yet set for FYROM foreign minister's visit

  • [9] PASOK prepares for party congress

  • [10] Hundreds gather to cheer Papandreou as he finally leaves hospital

  • [11] US not ready to take new initiative on Imia, White House says

  • [12] US senators call for clarification of policy

  • [13] Arsonists set 4,000 fires in 1980-1990, ministry figures show

  • [14] Cyprus settlement, EU accession crucial to region, Constantopoulos says

  • [15] Constitutional revisions set to be debated in three weeks' time

  • [16] Participation high in DEH's 48-hour strike

  • [17] Greece bans import of British beef

  • [18] Commissioner Cresson in Thessaloniki

  • [19] Experts look at Thessaloniki, Piraeus as potential transit hubs

  • [20] Inquiry requested into excessive prices for recycled paper

  • [21] Mutual funds mark healthy growth

  • [22] Government not considering privatizing DEH, Papantoniou says

  • [23] Patoulidou to carry Olympic flame at centenary celebrations

  • [24] President to open stamp exhibition


  • [1] Greece, Albania's new friendship co-operation agreement marks 'a new chapter in relations'

    Tirana, 22/03/1996 (ANA - S. Tzimas, P. Dimitropoulos)

    Albania and Greece turned a new page in their bilateral relations last night when they signed a friendship, co-operation, good neighborliness and security agreement.

    The agreement was signed by the foreign ministers of the two countries, Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his Albanian counterpart Alfred Serreqi, in the presence of their respective presidents.

    Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos and his Albanian counterpart Sali Berisha termed the signing of the agreement "historic", offering assurances that the agreement would have a continuation and would be followed through.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos was greeted by Mr. Berisha on his arrival yesterday for a two-day official visit. The Albanian president described the visit as "important and historic, opening a new chapter, a very important one, in Greek-Albanian relations."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos is accompanied by Mr. Pangalos, Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, Education Minister George Papandreou and National Economy Minister Under-secretary Manolis Beteniotis.

    In the agreement, the two sides proclaimed their adherence to the principle of the inviolability of the existing internationally-recognized borders, according to the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris, stressing that the border between the two countries would be "a border of peace and friendship".

    They reaffirmed their common opposition to the use of force and the threat of the use of force in international relations and stated that they encouraged exchanges in the military sector as well as contacts and periodic consultations between military agencies at the levels agreed.

    The agreement's prelude refers to the contribution of the Greek minority to Albania's social life and terms the Greek element "a factor of friendship" between the two countries, while taking into consideration "the contribution by Albanian working people in Greece in its economic and social life."

    Speaking immediately afterwards, President Stephanopoulos said that with the signing of the agreement "a new chapter" in relations had begun, "in which there would be no differences and bitterness but only sincere co-operation".

    During preceding talks, Mr. Berisha announced, the Albanian side made commitments to safeguard the rights of the Greek minority living in the neighboring state.

    "I assured the president that the Greek minority is guaranteed all freedoms and rights that belong to it and that there will be no restriction in the direction of public education and private schools, of religious freedom and rights," said Mr. Berisha.

    According to press sources, the Greek side is satisfied by the education matter, as the Albanian side promised there will be minority classes in the state schools of Delvino, Ayioi Saranta and Argyrokastro, as well as in private schools in Tirana and Koritsa.

    Mr. Berisha also appeared to have no objection to minority classes operating in schools in other areas of Albania, on the condition that there be a minimum of 25 children in each class.

    Speaking on the subject of Albanian illegal immigrants, the Greek side stated its intention to legalize those Albanians who meet the necessary criteria, and to accept seasonal workers. Mr. Berisha added that discussions were also conducted on the possibility of opening a Greek consulate in Koritsa, as well as the setting up of another two crossings on the Greek-Albanian border. During Mr. Stephanopoulos' visit to the Albanian Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios wished the president every success in his meetings with the Albanian leadership "for the good of all the citizens of both countries."

    The Archbishop stated that the Albanian church has taken its place in society, and that it continues the fight for human rights and the peaceful co-operation of Balkan states.

    [2] Address to Albanian Parliament

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Earlier, in an address to the Albanian Parliament, Mr. Stephanopoulos called for the establishment of friendly relations between the Greek and Albanian peoples.

    The Greek president described the treaty as "a milestone in our bilateral relations and a starting point for further reinforcement."

    "The problems and tensions of the past can be overcome in view of a sincere desire for dialogue, co-operation, confidence and good faith," he said.

    Greece's policy towards Albania, Mr. Stephanopoulos said, is one of "good neighborliness, acceptance of the territorial status quo, inviolability of borders, mutual respect, peaceful co-operation and respect of human rights including minority rights."

    "Greece is improving its relations with Albania," Mr. Stephanopoulos said, "in the hope that all parties will have the same intentions towards Greece."

    The president also referred to Albanian citizens residing and working in Greece saying that "Greece exercises a liberal visa policy towards Albanian citizens."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos described the Greek minority as "a bridge of friendship and co-operation between the two countries, the strongest link in the long chain of everything that unites us".

    He further expressed hope that "within the new environment of your country and in view of the new opportunities that are being formulated the minority will fully secure its rights and claim an equal presence in all fields of national, political, social and economic life."

    "Allow me to add that I personally attribute the establishment and development of friendship between our countries to the relevant agreements signed between the two governments and the unhindered exercise of all minority rights on behalf of the Greek ethnic minority."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos emphasized Greece's support for Albania's accession to international organizations adding that "my country wishes to become within the framework of its ability, the interpreter of Albanian pursuits in this direction."

    "Greece does not threaten anyone and does injustice to no one," Mr. Stephanopoulos said noting, however, that Greece is frequently subject to threats and injustice.

    Greece, the Greek president added, "firmly opposes the use of violence and the threat of use of violence as a means to solve bilateral differences.

    Greece is Albania's second biggest investor after Italy, while major Greek technical firms are involved in Albanian infrastructure projects.

    [3] Simitis tells EU presidency that funds for Turkey depend on joint statement

    Rome, 22/03/1996 (ANA - V.Mourtis)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday said the possibility of Greece vetoing EU financial aid to Turkey remained open.

    The issue is scheduled to be discussed at the forthcoming Turkey-EU Association Council on March 26.

    Mr. Simitis said Greece's stance depended on whether its EU partners will sign a joint statement and whether Turkey will react positively to this statement.

    He added that the statement should include avoidance of the use of violence or threat of the use of violence in bilateral relations, respect for international law and treaties, and referral of differences concerning international treaties to international courts.

    Accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos and Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas, Mr. Simitis left yesterday morning for a one-day lightning visit to Italy, current holder of the rotating EU presidency.

    He held talks with Italian Premier Lamberto Dini at which he brought up the issue of Turkish disputes and demands in the Aegean as part of talks on the common foreign and security policy.

    During the meeting, Mr. Simitis said Turkish claims on Imia "are unacceptable and not in line with international law".

    The prime minister said Greece would not be able to co-operate on the further application of the EU-Turkey customs union, "as long as Turkey retains its positions and no measures have been taken leading to the solution of the problem."

    Concerning the common foreign and security policy, Mr. Simitis stressed the need for acknowledgment of the external borders of each EU member-state as external borders of the Community and called for the application of the Community solidarity principle.

    Mr. Simitis said that progress in the field of a common foreign policy would give a new dimension to European unification efforts.

    He described the meeting with the Italian premier as "very positive," saying it focused on bilateral issues and the inter-governmental conference (IGC).

    Concerning the IGC, the prime minister said that the Italian and Greek governments shared the same views on the majority of issues, stressing that the unanimity principle, although not helpful, should still apply to issues of national interest and foreign policy.

    Mr. Simitis and Mr. Dini also agreed that the status of relations between member-states that will not participate in the next phase of economic and monetary union, after the establishment of a common currency, should be made "clear."

    They further agreed that procedures should aim at the convergence of the economies of the member-states to the economies in the core of the monetary union.

    Concerning bilateral relations, both men agreed that these developed smoothly, adding that they would aim at closer co-operation.

    Mr. Simitis also held talks with Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro.

    [4] Feverish activity in Brussels

    Brussels, 22/03/1996 (ANA - F. Stangos)

    The Italian European Union presidency decided to call an extraordinary meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) today to examine the possibility of adopting a common position on the EU-Turkey Association Council meeting on Tuesday, based on talks Mr. Simitis had in Rome with his Italian counterpart yesterday.

    The Italian presidency has not abandoned efforts to find a "consenting formula" satisfying, on the one hand, Greece's claim for an inclusion in the joint EU text of reference to the need for respect for international law (namely, the denunciation of the threat of the use of force, observance of international agreements and recourse to the International Court at The Hague to resolve differences) and, on the other, providing a breakthrough to the issue of financial co-operation between Turkey and the Community.

    [5] Turks refuse to budge, say Italian EU presidency to blame

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    At the same time, the Italian presidency is continuing its discreet contacts with Turkish diplomats in Brussels aimed at securing Ankara's agreement on a common position the EU will present at the Association Council on Tuesday.

    Italy's permanent representative at the EU Luigi Cavalchini met Turkish Ambassador Uluk Uzulker in Brussels yesterday morning, conveying to him the "climate" prevailing at Wednesday's COREPER discussion and calling on Ankara to make some "steps" in the direction of a "compromise."

    According to Turkish diplomatic sources, the Turkish ambassador refused to budge from positions set out in Ankara last week, which Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos denounced on Wednesday, by which Turkey only recognized the international agreements and treaties which it has signed itself.

    The sources reiterated the Turkish position that the issue of deregulating the financial regulation constituted an "internal Community problem", attributing failure in finding a solution to "the Italian presidency's lack of dynamism."

    Meanwhile, in response to a question by PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannos Kranidiotis, the European Commission has replied that it has not yet determined the amount to be disbursed to Turkey through the MEDA programme.

    It adds that the criteria for disbursing the amount will include parameters such as population, GDP per head, the capacity for absorption of funds, the degree of 'opening up' to the Community, and efforts for structural reform.

    Reacting to the reply, Mr. Kranidiotis said yesterday that the matter is also related to the obligations Turkey has undertaken in the context of its customs union with the EU, which provide for respect for international law, human rights, democracy, good neighborly relations, and the need for progress on the Cyprus issue.

    "As long as Turkey does not show the appropriate behavior, it cannot be financed by the European Union... this is also the position of the European Parliament. As regards the Commission, greater transparency and information is needed concerning the way it will manage funds to Turkey," he said.

    In Athens, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Vassilis Manginas condemned Turkish provocativeness and aggressiveness which, he said, had "come up with a new-fangled theory, which in effect abolishes international law."

    Turkey said Wednesday that it only recognized those international agreements which it had signed, indirectly laying claim to the entire Dodecanese group of islands in the Aegean.

    Mr. Manginas said the European Union must understand that it is not possible to advance relations with Turkey as long as Ankara disputes Greek sovereignty and, by extension, Europe's present borders.

    "Whatever the case," Mr. Manginas said, "it is certain that there will never be a Greek government which accepts such tactics, because the Greek people do not accept it."

    [6] Turkish infringements of FIR

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Turkish infringements of Greek air space over the past few days were the focus of reporters' questions at a foreign ministry press briefing yesterday.

    "Turkey must respect international law and international treaties," foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas told reporters when asked how Greece viewed the latest infringements of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and national air space by Turkish warplanes.

    "Our air force always responds as is appropriate to violations of national air space," Mr. Bikas said. "Such actions by Turkey do not contribute to the creation of a better climate between the two countries."

    [7] Yilmaz tells Simitis of hopes for 'new era'

    Istanbul, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz expressed his desire for "the commencement of a new era" in Greek-Turkish relations, in a reply letter to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Mr. Simitis had sent a congratulatory note to Mr. Yilmaz, congratulating him on assuming his post.

    In his reply, yesterday, the Turkish prime minister writes that "peaceful relations between the two countries will contribute to peace and stability in the region."

    "We should explore the possibilities together for a new period based on mutual trust," it adds.

    Meanwhile, Ankara believes that the issue of goats being fed on the islets of Imia has been "exploited" by the Greek press.

    An announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry said that on March 15 a group of Greeks wanted to reach the island to feed the goats.

    The Turkish side believes that if feeding the goats is indeed necessary it should be done by both sides.

    The Greek side did not reply to this position, the announcement said.

    "Finding a radical solution to the issue is feasible with the removal of the goats from the islets. Our view on the issue was conveyed to the Greek side," the announcement added.

    [8] Date not yet set for FYROM foreign minister's visit

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry said yesterday that the date of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski's visit to Greece had not yet been finalized.

    Foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas reiterated that Mr. Frckovski had accepted the invitation from his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos, adding that the exact date of the visit would be set through diplomatic channels.

    [9] PASOK prepares for party congress

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK's Executive Bureau dealt with preparations for the party's congress at last night's meeting. Party Secretary Costas Skandalidis stated that, despite this, the main issue of the day for everyone was party president Andreas Papandreou's exit from hospital yesterday afternoon.

    Mr. Skandalidis said that Mr. Papandreou has proved that he is both a great politician and a strong person, and he wished him a speedy recovery, in order for him to contribute to the course of PASOK's development.

    [10] Hundreds gather to cheer Papandreou as he finally leaves hospital

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Hundreds of Greeks lined the streets and cheered yesterday as ruling PASOK party president and former premier Andreas Papandreou left the Onassion Hospital, 124 days after being admitted with a serious respiratory problem.

    The large number of well-wishers who had begun to gather outside the hospital yesterday morning cheered, waved and held poster-size photographs of Mr. Papandreou as the limousine taking him to his Ekali residence left the hospital.

    According to physicians treating the 77-year-old former premier, Mr. Papandreou's clinical condition is "very good", allowing him to be treated on an out-patients basis.

    Initially suffering from a lung infection, Mr. Papandreou was subsequently diagnosed as having pneumonia which adversely affected his cardiac and kidney function.

    His condition worsened up until Christmas Day when there was a great improvement which has continued until today, supported by intensive physiotherapy, kinesiotherapy and kidney dialysis.

    Mr. Papandreou resigned as prime minister on January 15 due to his health but retained the presidency of the ruling PASOK party.

    Doctors treating Mr. Papandreou have said he should refrain from active participation in politics during the first month of his recuperation at home.

    They said however that he would be able to be briefed on political developments and receive visitors at his north Athens villa.

    His personal physician and former health minister Dimitris Kremastinos said Mr. Papandreou's health was constantly improving, and he had a long period of recuperation ahead.

    Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos stated that Mr. Papandreou, as founder and president of PASOK, was a symbol of its political unity and a guarantor of its ideological identity.

    Asked if and what political role Mr. Papandreou would play from now on, Mr. Venizelos said "we would be doing injustice to the political dimension of a personality such as the former premier if we classified him on the basis of the criteria of present political circumstances".

    Responding to a question whether there would be a problem of co-existence with incumbent prime minister Costas Simitis, Mr. Venizelos said there was no such issue.

    "The prime minister has all the responsibilities and powers provided for. Any prime minister would like to have beside him a political personality with the stature of Andreas Papandreou. The Simitis government is a PASOK government, and is trying, with its choices and action, to honor the mandate given by the Greek people to Andreas Papandreou and PASOK in October 1993," he said.

    Interior and Public Administration Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said he did not expect many things to change in the country's political life after Mr. Papandreou's departure from hospital.

    "Changes in Greece require consistency, stability, and depth in time to bear results," he said.

    In comments to a radio station, Transport Under-secretary George Daskalakis said Mr. Papandreou could play the role of a unifying link and a catalyst in political developments, adding that, "being still an active politician, Andreas Papandreou is invaluable capital we must all utilize".

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert sent a message to Mr. Papandreou expressing his best wishes for "a speedy and complete recovery" as did Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras.

    [11] US not ready to take new initiative on Imia, White House says

    Washington, 22/03/1996 (ANA - A. Ellis)

    The United States is not ready to take any new initiative on improvement of the situation in the Aegean after the recent Imia incident, a White House spokesman said yesterday.

    In response to reporters' questions at a press conference, White House assistant for national security issues David Johnson said the United States continues to view with concern the situation in the region, but added that differences should be resolved peacefully. He also reiterated Washington's position that a recourse to a neutral body was the best method for solving the problem.

    The statements came shortly before scheduled visits to the US capital by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Asked about the upcoming visit of Premier Simitis on April 9, Mr. Johnson said US President Bill Clinton would listen carefully to the positions Mr. Simitis presents, adding that the meeting will center on issues related to the Aegean and Cyprus.

    Finally, in reference to a visit by US first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to Ankara and Athens at the end of the month, he said the goal of the visit is to convey to both countries Washington's continuous interest for these "friends and allies of the United States." Ms Clinton will attend events in Athens marking the lighting of the Olympic flame.

    [12] US senators call for clarification of policy

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    In a petition to President Clinton, 10 US senators called on him to clarify US foreign policy, explicitly recognizing the Imia islet as an inseparable part of Greek sovereignty, in accordance with international law.

    The 10 senators also warned of the possibility of further tensions in the Aegean if the US government does not deal with the situation immediately.

    Seven Democrats and three Republicans signed the document.

    [13] Arsonists set 4,000 fires in 1980-1990, ministry figures show

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    On the occasion of World Forestry Day yesterday, the agriculture ministry's General Secretariat for Forests and Natural Environment spoke of the disastrous consequences of the hundreds of forest fires that destroy huge areas every year in Greece.

    According to agriculture ministry statistics, in the period from 1962 to 1991, Greece has suffered a total of 14,998 forest fires that have burnt 5,864,340 stremmata. The worst year was 1988, during which there were 1,818 fires destroying a total of 1,1 05,011 stremmata.

    According to the ministry, forest fires caused by arson in the period 1980-1990 amounted to roughly 4,000, compared to roughly 3,000 caused by negligence and 6,000 by unknown causes, while 400 were sparked off by lightning.

    The agriculture ministry stressed the dire social and cultural consequences of these fires, which damage the economy, destroy the environment and lead to floods, as well as damaging livestock breeding, affecting the climate and destroying wildlife.

    The ministry added that everyone should contribute to the prevention of forest fires, and call emergency services immediately when they discover a fire.

    The main opposition New Democracy party issued a statement underlining the necessity for the relevant bodies to give priority to the creation of a modern and effective forestry policy.

    The agricultural sector of the Communist Party of Greece issued a statement blaming the government for the aggravation of forestry problems, and called on the people to fight for a policy that would truly benefit forests.

    [14] Cyprus settlement, EU accession crucial to region,

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday stressed the importance of a settlement of the Cyprus problem and the island republic's accession to the EU for the Mediterranean region.

    Addressing an international conference on co-operation and development in the Mediterranean, being held in Kalamata, Mr. Constantopoulos said "a solution to the Cyprus problem, based on UN resolutions," as well as EU accession, was crucial for the Mediterranean.

    He noted that arms acquisitions were on the rise in the region and surpassed that of European countries.

    "The Mediterranean remains a region of turmoil and wounds," he said.

    Constant environmental destruction threatened to turn the Mediterranean into a "dead sea" instead of a peace, security and co-operation zone, he said.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said, however, that if Euro-Mediterranean co-operation worked it would constitute a model for bridging the gap between North and South.

    One of the main items discussed during the first two days of the conference was the need to develop a framework in order for small-to-medium size businesses in the Mediterranean basis to contribute to future co-operation among Mediterranean member-states and for their own development.

    One of the delegates at the conference, the Cyprus Embassy in Athens' trade attachi, Andreas Nikolaou, referred to the business situation which exists on the island republic, noting a significant market opening of Cypriot firms in the Middle East.

    The president of the Arab-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Ioannis Kassimatis, expressed the hope that conference conclusions be turned into actions, citing the importance of trade transactions.

    The president of the federation of Jordanian chamber of commerce, Haidar Murad, promoted economic and business ties between his nation and Mediterranean countries.

    Morocco's ambassador to Athens, Abdelaziz Laabi, also spoke at the conference, saying the North African kingdom is a developing market with numerous prospects for growth. Mr. Abdelaziz Laabi also noted that Rabat recently signed a co-operation agreement with the European Union covering political, economic, scientific, cultural and social sectors.

    Meanwhile, the ambassadors of Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Libya, and Morocco, Amar Amba, Samir Seif Al Gazal, Youssef Barkett, Amjad Al Matzal, and Ayad Tayari, respectively, as well as the diplomatic representative of the Palestinian self-rule areas, Abdullah Abdullah, officially visited the mayor of Kalamata, Christos Malapanis.

    [15] Constitutional revisions set to be debated in three weeks' time

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Justice Minister Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters yesterday the constitutional revision committee would complete its task in three weeks' time, and the revised draft would then be debated in the plenum of Parliament.

    He said the main points in the revised draft included the following: -Abolition of the death penalty and clarifications of the constitutionality of detention. -Fuller protection of family and private rights. -According the National Radio and Television Council constitutional status. -The possibility of collective bargaining in the public sector, as provided for in an international agreement. -Provisions relating to the country's participation in European integration. -The equation of the sexes in parenthood, for the purposes of the acquisition of citizenship by the offspring. -A provision settling the issue of the property of the former royal family.

    Mr. Venizelos added that PASOK has not accepted the idea of the establishment of private universities.

    Regarding radio and television, he said the draft includes a provision requiring a license for the installation and operation of stations. With a consensus of all parties, provisions already in force are clarified, and are accompanied by a prohibition o f the concentration of ownership in the media sector and financial transparency in the concerns involved.

    He noted that there was a broad consensus among parties concerning the revision, and cited as an example the New Democracy party's non-insistence on the reintroduction of increased powers for the president of the republic.

    Broad consensus was also attained in the articles regarding civic rights, unlike those regarding the necessary parliamentary majority for the investigation of possible penal responsibility on the part of ministers, and the establishment of a stable electoral system.

    The ruling party has accepted the main opposition's proposal envisaging the convening of parliament within a month in the case of the prime minister's prolonged illness.

    [16] Participation high in DEH's 48-hour strike

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Power workers yesterday began a 48-hour strike to press demands concerning the Public Power Corporation's (DEH) rates policy, salary increases and social security issues.

    According to union sources, participation in the strike is high, with 100 per cent of technicians and 70 per cent of the corporation's administrative personnel taking part.

    DEH Assistant General Director Raphael Maiopoulos said that three thermoelectric facilities had been shut down today along with four hydroelectric stations, resulting in a power loss of 1250 megawatts.

    The present capacity of the power network is 5300 megawatts and the maximum anticipated demand is expected to reach 5200-5400 megawatts later in the day. Mr. Maiopoulos said this meant the risk of a blackout yesterday would probably be averted.

    After a protest rally, striking power workers marched to the labor ministry building where a delegation met with Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos.

    The DEH workers are demanding salary increases of 10 per cent for 1996 and have already proposed a new rates policy which they say would protect low income earners and serve the utility's interests in general.

    [17] Greece bans import of British beef

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas has ordered a ban on the import of beef from Britain due to cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), more commonly known as "mad cow disease".

    The British government announced for the first time on Wednesday that BSE may cause the fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans.

    The positions of European Union member-states on the issue is to be decided on during a meeting of EU public health veterinarians due to be held on March 25.

    [18] Commissioner Cresson in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    European Commissioner for science and research, training and competitiveness Edith Cresson arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday for a conference of the European Center for Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP).

    In remarks to the press, the French commissioner cited the significance of the selection of Thessaloniki for CEDEFOP's headquarters, the only European Union institution based in Greece.

    CEDEFOP's board of directors met yesterday in a meeting chaired by Ms Cresson to consider its transfer to Greece's second largest city, incorporation of the new EU member-states (Austria, Finland and Sweden) in its vocational programs as well as CEDEF OP co-operation with Malta and Cyprus.

    In addition, CEDEFOP delegates discussed possible co-operation with countries in central and eastern Europe.

    [19] Experts look at Thessaloniki, Piraeus as potential transit hubs

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Speakers at a conference on combined transports in southeastern Europe yesterday cited Thessaloniki and Piraeus as potential major transportation hubs because of their location and facilities.

    The ongoing conference is taking place in Thessaloniki at the HELEXPO Convention Center with the participation of delegates from several countries.

    Speakers especially noted that Thessaloniki will benefit from the construction of the Egnatia Highway and other variables.

    According to figures released at the conference, 33 Mediterranean ports handled some nine million containers in 1994, with projections calling for volume to double by the year 2005. With the Thessaloniki port's upgrading it was also stated that the northern Greek port will be able to handle cargo destined for eastern Europe now unloaded at Turkish or Black Sea ports.

    [20] Inquiry requested into excessive prices for recycled paper

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    The trade department at the development ministry has asked the competition commission to investigate recent excessive increases in the prices for recycled paper products for domestic use charged by the Thrace Paper Mill.

    In a statement yesterday, the ministry said that the increases were effected despite the fact that prices for used paper have recently tumbled in markets abroad.

    Thrace Paper Mill is the only producer of this type of paper in Greece.

    [21] Mutual funds mark healthy growth

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    The mutual funds market in Greece exhibited healthy growth in 1995 over the previous year, according to the Federation of Institutional Investors.

    Specifically, an additional 22 mutual funds were offered by 27 authorized stock brokers in 1995, totaling 119 mutual funds available, while total assets reached 2.5 trillion drachmas, or an increase of 81 per cent.

    Mutual funds have been available in Greece for 24 years but took off during the 1990-95 period. In 1990, trading firms offered only seven mutual funds with total assets listed at 147 billion drachmas.

    The steady decrease in inflation, combined with steady monetary and foreign exchange policy, led to a decrease in nominal interest rates, a development which contributed to the spectacular growth of certain types of mutual funds, such as of fixed income , during 1995. On the other hand, growth funds, and foreign investment funds eased.

    [22] Government not considering privatizing DEH, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told Parliament yesterday there was no intention of privatizing the Public Power Corporation (DEH).

    During the discussion on the bill on investment services, Mr. Papantoniou said the sole privatizations concerned the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and the Public Petroleum Corporation (DEP).

    Mr. Papantoniou also predicted that 1996 would be a very favorable year for the stock exchange.

    [23] Patoulidou to carry Olympic flame at centenary celebrations

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    Olympic gold medalist Voula Patoulidou will carry the Olympic flame around the Panathinaikos Stadium in Athens on April 6 when the flame arrives in Athens, Greek Olympic Committee (EOA) member Yiannis Economou told a press conference yesterday.

    The stadium will be the site of a re-enactment of the 1896 Games, marking the centenary of the first modern Olympic Games this year. Ms Patoulidou became the first Greek woman to win an Olympic gold medal when she won the 100 meters hurdles at the 1992 Barcelona games.

    Runners representing cities which have hosted Olympic games in the past will complete the relay inside the stadium. The Olympic flame will be lit at ancient Olympia on March 31, in a ceremony that will also be attended by US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and will be the prelude to a 2,500 kilometer torch relay through most Greek regions involving 850 athletes.

    The flame will leave Greece on April 7 for cities that have hosted Olympic Games since 1896. It will remain alight in these cities until the end of the Atlanta games.

    After arriving in Los Angeles on April 25 or 26, it will be taken on a 24,000-kilometre journey through the United States to Atlanta, arriving there on July 19.

    Mr. Economou added that an agreement, guaranteed by the IOC, had been reached with the American organizers of the Atlanta games to ensure that the Olympic flame would not be used for commercial purposes, as in the past.

    [24] President to open stamp exhibition

    Athens, 22/03/1996 (ANA)

    The international Olympic philatelic and memorabilia exhibition is to be officially opened on March 25 at the Zappeion Hall in Athens by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    The exhibition, which will run until April 6, has been jointly organized by the transport and communications ministry, Greek Post Offices, the Olympic Committee, the Greek Philatelic Federation and the Greek Society of Olympic Sports Philotelism.

    Until now, 110 collectors from 25 countries have stated they will participate in the exhibition, which will display sports stamps and memorabilia such as Olympic medals and diplomas from 1896 until now. Entry to the exhibition is free.

    End of English language section.

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