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A.N.A. Bulletin, 01/07/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 925), July 1, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Costas Simitis elected new PASOK leader

  • [2] Simitis tells congress his proposal is the 'only solution'

  • [3] Arsenis

  • [4] Costas Simitis

  • [5] Charter changes

  • [6] Romeos in Sofia today for working visit

  • [7] Greece to participate in NATO Partnership for Peace exercise

  • [8] Ethnic Greek MPs divided over whether they will take up seats

  • [9] Evert comment on PASOK congress

  • [10] Samaras warns of dangers Erbakan Gov't brings

  • [11] Tarnoff meets with Vartholomeos

  • [12] Foul illegal immigrants killed after they stumble into border minefield

  • [13] German police officers confer with Kavalla counterparts

  • [14] Conference discusses impotency problems

  • [15] Athens walks on the wild side

  • [16] Festivals

  • [17] Addresses and Information:


  • [1] Costas Simitis elected new PASOK leader

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    The ruling PASOK party last night elected Prime Minister Costas Simitis the leader of the party, in what Mr. Simitis said was a common effort illustrating democratic processes and political maturity for the party.

    "We have all been jointly mobilized on a new course - unity, sobriety and a perspective for PASOK are imperative," he said.

    Simitis, 60, becomes PASOK's second president in its 22-year-history, replacing party founder and three-time premier Andreas Papandreou, who died last Sunday at the age of 77.

    Andreas Papandreou's memory had been honored politically in the best possible way, Mr. Simitis said: PASOK was emerging unified, united and strong from the congress and would determine political developments in Greece.

    Mr. Simitis' election was the climax to an often rowdy four-day party congress attended by approximately 5,200 PASOK delegates from all over the country.

    He won the party leadership with 2,732 votes (53.5 per cent) against 2,324 votes for his challenger, Interior Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, 57.

    From "charismatic leadership", the party was going to the "charisma of collective leadership", Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said in his concession speech.

    Some 5,111 delegates participated in the ballot. There were 28 blank votes cast and 27 invalid.

    Mr. Simitis had proposed to the congress that the party president and the prime minister should be the same president, insisting on the "necessity of uniform expression of the government and the party," but had threatened to resign as premier if the party congress did not elect him leader.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos had supported the separation of roles, advocating one person to hold the party presidency and another to hold the premiership.

    Both candidates vowed before the vote to keep the party united, irrespective of the results.

    Voting ended at 7pm. Delegates cast ballots for a new president and a new central committee, the results of which were expected early this morning.

    Speaking after the announcement of the results, Mr. Simitis said that he and Mr. Tsohatzopoulos were not duelers, as some wanted to portray them, adding that there were no victors and vanquished and calling for whatever bitterness created during the four-day congress to be forgotten.

    Taking the floor afterwards, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos wished Mr. Simitis every success, adding that decisions taken by the congress were binding for all and the first great step towards emancipating PASOK had been made with them.

    Outgoing Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis said "Costas Simitis did not win tonight. Akis Tsohatzopoulos did not lose. PASOK won, the democratic side, and we hope Greece will primarily win with us."

    Mr. Skandalidis expressed optimism over the future of PASOK, a "spirited movement, as expressed in the person of its new president Costas Simitis", and in the "great man who continues its tradition, Akis Tsohatzopoulos."

    [2] Simitis tells congress his proposal is the 'only solution'

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis remained steadfast Saturday night in his decision to resign from the premiership in the event he was not elected president of the ruling PASOK party, insisting that the party's president and the prime minister should be the same person. In his final address to the delegates, Mr. Simitis said that this was the "only solution which shows public opinion that PASOK is advancing with a uniform (political) line".

    He also proposed the creation of three party vice-presidency posts with different responsibilities.

    He said his propositions for "clear and long-term solutions" were a necessity not only for PASOK but for the entire Greek society and for the country's future.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Mr. Simitis' challenger for the party's leadership, also insisted on his bid, calling for a collective leadership and deploring Mr. Simitis' decision to resign from the premiership if not elected. In his final speech to the congress, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said: "I hoped that intransigence and division would have been overcome and that the prime minister would have made a small step so that PASOK comes out (of the congress) united." Earlier, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis proposed that Costas Simitis remain at his post of prime minister and Akis Tsohatzopoulos be elected PASOK president.

    He also proposed the creation of a party vice-presidency post and called on Mr. Simitis to revoke his decision to resign from the premiership in the event he was not elected party president.

    Proposing Mr. Tsohatzopoulos for the post of party president, Mr. Laliotis also said that the congress should decide that "the elections will take place in October, 1997, and that Costas Simitis will be the prime minister having the absolute responsibility for government work and pre-election planning and be the prime minister for the next four years."

    Mr. Laliotis also said the congress should decide that the post of prime minister and that of president were not incompatible and that it was up to the discretion of each one to be a candidate or not.

    He praised both candidates, but also distanced himself, insisting that PASOK did not have the luxury of polarization and dissension. Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis called on the contestants to give a "solution of unity" through a private meeting, calling on Mr. Simitis to reconsider his intention to resign from the premiership.

    Late PASOK founder and leader Andreas Papandreou's son, Education Minister George Papandreou, backed Mr. Simitis for both the posts of party president and prime minister and called on all members to respect the final resolutions of the congress.

    [3] Arsenis

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    In his address on Saturday, Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis said he understood the logic of, and was not in principle opposed to the same person holding the posts of party president and prime minister, but under the present circumstances "it would sharpen differences and be ineffective".

    He added that the role of the present congress was not to elect a successor-leader but "a scheme for a successor".

    "Leaders emerge from social struggles, and are first acknowledged by the people," he said, adding that the establishment of the post of Vice-President was unnecessary.

    Mr. Arsenis called on all to comply with the decisions of the congress, and appealed to Mr. Simitis to reconsider his warning that he would resign if not elected party leader.

    He also asked for a reconfirmation of the party's ideological and political identity, and spoke at length on the topic of national strategy. He described as an inexcusable illusion the view that Turkish expansionism is a circumstantial phenomenon, because it can be ameliorated neither through dialogue nor the adoption of a moderate stand, adding that he was especially opposed to dialogue with a country that does not respect international law.

    Finally, he stressed the importance of ensuring the existence of a strong deterrent force on the basis of the single defense doctrine for Thrace, the Aegean, and Cyprus, and called for defense co-operation agreements with countries in the broader region.

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said that the prime minister had no option but to resign if not elected party leader, because the question was what society accepted, and not the party.

    "Let's speak with clear words, with the words of the heart and the soul, and listen to the voice of logic, the voice of society," she said.

    She stressed the need for collectivity and a single expression in government and party with the election of Costas Simitis.

    Ms Papandreou said all the organizational and political preconditions for an electoral victory next year were in place, and expressed the hope that, despite disagreements, the party would still be united on Monday.

    Executive Bureau member and former interior under-secretary Miltiades Papaioannou spoke in favor of Mr. Simitis' candidacy for the presidency of the party, stressing that "from the start, this congress was about the succession," and that this was what those who had proposed the post of vice president had in mind.

    He claimed that the multiple-tier system in the leadership structure of socialist and social democratic parties in other European countries had proved electorally ineffective and was not compatible with the Greek constitution and political culture.

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas asked that the prime minister be offered the possibility of being responsible for the party's strategic aims.

    He acknowledged Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' great contribution to the party, and said he would have supported him in his candidacy for the post of party president if he were prime minister. He stressed Mr. Simitis had enjoyed large acceptance as prime minister by the people and the base of the party.

    Minister for the Aegean Antonis Kotsakas said in his speech that there was an attempt at wholesale disorientation of the congress, comprising an attempt to center interest on individuals and roles, and not on policies.

    He claimed that the clashes between individuals reflected ideological and political differences which extended into society, and called on delegates not to fall for the disorientation being attempted. "We should not be thinking of today, but of tomorrow, the elections, and a precondition for victory is that PASOK is united, without exclusions of any of its members," Mr. Kotsakas said.

    Referring to Prime Minister Costas Simitis' phrase of a "reconstitution of political forces," he said the premier had not clarified what he meant, and warned that such an operation was being promoted by certain "bosses" and media, through an electoral defeat of the ruling party.

    [4] Costas Simitis

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Born in Piraeus in 1936, Mr. Simitis followed the family law tradition by studying law in Germany. He went on to study economics at the London School of Economics before returning to Greece in 1965, and was one of the founders of the Papanastasiou Group, a political research group.

    Following the military take-over in 1967, Mr. Simitis and others quickly founded the "Democratic Defense" organization to fight the colonels.

    He was persecuted by the junta for, among other things, planting bombs, and escaped abroad where he joined Andreas Papandreou's Panhellenic Liberation Movement (PAK) as a member of its National Council. He subsequently followed another family tradition in becoming a university lecturer in Germany.

    He returned to Athens in 1974 and was a co-founder of PASOK, cooperating both in setting out the Proclamation of the 3rd of September and the party's charter.

    On December 28, 1974, he participated in the first 12-member Executive Bureau of PASOK. He also participated in the 75-member founding Central Committee of the party which Andreas Papandreou dissolved in January 1975.

    Mr. Simitis sided with those disagreeing but stayed on in the leading agencies. In this period, after the crisis breaking out in PASOK with many leading members being expelled, he stayed abroad for many months.

    In 1979, in a row over a poster "in favor of a Europe of the peoples", he resigned from the Executive Bureau, which he had been a member of since PASOK's founding.

    In 1977, Mr. Simitis took up a lecturer's post at the Panteion University.

    In 1981, in the first PASOK government, he was appointed agriculture minister, a post which he retained until 1985. Immediately afterwards, he became national economy minister, resigning his post in 1987 because he claimed his policies were being undermined. In 1993 he took over the commerce and industry portfolio, only to resign from the ministry and from PASOK's Executive Bureau on September 11, 1995, following a clash with the prime minister.

    In his letter of resignation to the prime minister explaining the reasons for his decision, Mr. Simitis said that both the government and Andreas Papandreou himself, in a speech at the Thessaloniki International Fair, had attributed responsibility to him for his handling of the privatization of shipyards, terming his policy inadequate.

    In October 1995, he became a founder member of the Group "George Yennimatas."

    On January 18, 1996, PASOK's Parliamentary Group proclaimed him the country's new prime minister after Andreas Papandreou quit the post for health reasons. Out of a total of 167 party deputies, he garnered 86 votes against 75 cast for Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who was his rival in the second round, while six blank ballots were also cast.

    The government of 40 members, one of the smallest governments in the post-junta era, was sworn in on January 22 in the presence of President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Mr. Simitis is known for his cool-headedness. He is married to Daphne Arcadiou and has two daughters.

    [5] Charter changes

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Voting at PASOK's congress in the early hours of Sunday morning proceeded speedily.

    The proposals to initiate a position for vice president or vice presidents were not put to the vote.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' proposal for the election of one deputy president and Mr. Simitis' for the election of three deputy presidents by the Central Committee were withdrawn and no voting was held.

    Meanwhile, certain changes in the charter were ratified with an overwhelming majority. These include: the establishment of a Political Secretariat to include the party's president, the prime minister, the Central Committee Secretary, the Parliament president and two or three members of the Executive Bureau; State and European Parliament tickets to be prepared by the president and the Executive Bureau and ratified by the Central Committee; candidates failing in their bid for the party's presidency will automatically become members of the Central Committee, provided they receive 20 per cent of the vote; the automatic participation of the members of the PASOK youth wing's Central Council as regular delegates in the party's congresses; and the participation of former deputies and Eurodeputies and former members of the Central Committee in the congress will be decided on each occasion after a proposal is made at the Central Committee.

    A Central Committee and economic report were ratified almost unanimously.

    [6] Romeos in Sofia today for working visit

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister responsible for European affairs George Romeos leaves today for Sofia for a two-day working visit.

    Mr. Romeos will hold talks with his Bulgarian counterpart Irina Bokova focusing on Bulgaria's European Union accession course as well as bilateral issues. The Greek minister is also to meet with Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, Foreign Minister Georgui Pirinski and Commerce Minister Paparzov.

    [7] Greece to participate in NATO Partnership for Peace exercise

    Naples, 01/07/1996 (ANA/AFP)

    Four "Partnership for Peace" countries - Bulgaria, Malta, Moldova and Romania - are to participate in NATO military exercises due to be held on July 4-12, a NATO communiqui issued in Naples said on Saturday.

    Greece, Turkey and the United States are also participating.

    The communiqui said the army exercises, named 'Cooperative Determination 96', will take place in the Belene training camp in Bulgaria and aim to train forces for peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster rescue missions. Operations of 'Cooperative Determination 96' will be commanded by United States Admiral Leighton Smith, who is the commander of allied forces of southern Europe, while the exercise will be coordinated by Greek General Dimitrios Spyridon.

    [8] Ethnic Greek MPs divided over whether they will take up seats

    Tirana, 01/07/1996 (ANA - P. Barka)

    Discussions held yesterday between the leaders of the ethnic Greek organization 'Omonia' and the opposition Human Rights Union Party (HRUP) on whether they will take up their seats in Parliament today did not lead to any decisions.

    HRUP President Vassilis Melios said that "the common belief of all those participating in the conference is the deputies' participation in Parliament."

    Although deputy Thomas Mitsios agreed with Mr. Melios to begin with, he added that "our participation in Parliament tomorrow (today) constitutes a crime for the interests of the Greek minority, and therefore the decision regarding participation in Parliament must be judged by the responsible Omonia body, which is the general council."

    Answering journalists' questions, Omonia President Sotiris Kyriatatis said "a decision has been taken by the general council obliging deputies to participate in Parliament. The general council will be convened in the event that the deputies decide not t o participate in Parliament."

    Mr. Melios said that he will be in Parliament today, regardless of the decision which will have been taken by the other two party deputies.

    [9] Evert comment on PASOK congress

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Commenting on the outcome of the ruling socialist PASOK party's congress last night, main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert said "what took place at PASOK's congress is unprecedented as well as revealing. It disappointed Greeks and discredited our political life internationally."

    "And all this is taking place at a time when the country is facing great and crucial, internal and external, problems while at the same time political developments in Turkey are taking on a dangerous trend," he added.

    [10] Samaras warns of dangers Erbakan Gov't brings

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras, commenting on the forming of a government in Turkey by Islamic Welfare Party leader Necmettin Erbakan, warned of an escalation of tension in Greek-Turkish relations and an increase in Turkey's hostility in the Aegean, Thrace and in Cyprus.

    "I had stressed the danger of Islamism in Turkey a long time ago. Nobody listened to me then," Mr. Samaras said. "Today unfortunately my predictions and fears are proven to be true in the face of new Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan and the rise of the Islamic party in the government.

    "The new Turkish government of Erbakan and Ciller will certainly aim to escalate tension in Greek-Turkish relations with an increase in Turkey's aggressiveness both in the Aegean and in Thrace and Cyprus."

    Mr. Samaras called on the government to "wake up and warn both the US and the European Union of the dangers of a new escalation over the next few months," instead of "concerning itself with comrade backstabbings of its party congress."

    The Political Spring leader said "it is obvious that the policy of good will and pandering to Ankara which was promoted by our allies, has not only not reduced Islamism in Turkey, but, on the contrary, has strengthened it."

    [11] Tarnoff meets with Vartholomeos

    Istanbul, 01/07/1996 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos received US Under-secretary of State Peter Tarnoff at the Phanar yesterday.

    According to Phanar sources, Mr. Tarnoff showed his strong interest in the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the conditions under which it operates.

    [12] Foul illegal immigrants killed after they stumble into border minefield

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Four Iraqi illegal immigrants were killed and one was injured shortly after midnight on Saturday when a group of nine Iraqi nationals strayed into a minefield in the Kornofolia area of Soufli, northeastern Greece, in an attempt to enter the country from Turkey.

    A Greek army patrol recovered the injured man and the four bodies, and led the remaining four Iraqis out of the minefield.

    The injured man is being treated in hospital and is reported to be in a comfortable condition, while the remaining members of the group are being held in custody.

    In another incident involving the trade in illegal immigrants, one Albanian national was wounded and another two are being held in custody following a speed-boat chase off the coast of Corfu in the early hours of Sunday morning.

    A speed boat was spotted by a port police patrol at 2am traveling with no lights from Albania towards the island of Corfu with three people on board.

    Port police authorities said that despite repeated calls to stop, the boat sped off towards the Albanian coast. Port police officers then fired warning shots and the three Albanian nationals returned fire.

    The port police said that during the chase, the Albanian man driving the speed boat lost control and ran into the patrol boat. He was found to be wounded when port police officers boarded the vessel, while the two passengers were unharmed.

    The wounded man was transported to the Corfu General Hospital where he underwent an operation. Hospital officials said he is in no danger. The two passengers are being held by the Corfu Central Port Police.

    Another illegal immigrant was shot and slightly wounded in the Evros region early yesterday after a group of 11 illegal immigrants, evidently Iraqis, ignored repeated calls by a military patrol to stop.

    The illegal immigrants were spotted at 2.30am in the Playies Evrou region near the Greek-Turkish border after crossing from Turkey.

    An announcement by the Army General Staff said that the patrol was obliged to fire warning shots because the illegal immigrants ignored continuous calls to stop, while some of them showed a threatening attitude.

    A 30-year-old illegal immigrant named Faredoum Mahmut was slightly wounded in the calf from the shots, while the others were arrested.

    The wounded man was taken to the general state hospital in Alexandroupolis where doctors said his life was in no danger.

    [13] German police officers confer with Kavalla counterparts

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Senior German police officers conducted a two-day visit to Kavalla and met with associates within the framework of international police co-operation.

    An agreement was reached for constant co-operation in the fight against the traffic in narcotics and illegal immigrants. The agreement also included co-operation in the fight against car theft rings which steal luxury cars from Germany and import them into Greece to be used for spare parts.

    After the cars have been re-assembled in scrap yards in northern Greece, they are sold to the public, causing the Greek state to lose large amounts in evaded taxes. One such ring has already been uncovered in Kavalla.

    [14] Conference discusses impotency problems

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    More than 300,000 Greek men of all ages suffer from permanent or periodical impotence, while only about 0.6 per cent of them (about 5,000 men) consult a doctor and with an average two-year delay after the appearance of the problem.

    Moreover, only 20 per cent heed medical instructions at a time when science has succeeded in remedying the problem in 100 per cent of cases in the psychological sector and in 70 per cent of organic cases.

    The information was disclosed on Saturday by scientists attending the 5th international andrology symposium, organized under the aegis of the Andrological Institute. Discussions focused on a substance expected to change the method of therapy and to circulate as a pill in about two years' time.

    Scientists also referred to a dramatic increase in subfertility in apparently healthy men. It was assessed that at present 20 to 30 per cent of young couples were faced with subfertility and in half the cases men were responsible.

    Factors contributing to subfertility are the prolonged use of antibiotics, electromagnetic radiation (television sets, radios and computers), excessive alcohol consumption combined with smoking and caffeine consumption, and modern dietary habits having a damaging effect on sperm.

    [15] Athens walks on the wild side

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Gone are the days when the Rolling Stones, on their first visit to Greece back in the '60s, vowed never to return because their Greek audience sat politely through the entire show. Thousands of band-starved Greeks flocked to the first Rockin" Athens Festival last year, convincing the promoters that times had changed.

    In May, Sting played the Herod Atticus theater as the curtain raiser to the main event beginning tonight, when Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Lou Reed and David Bowie headline, to be followed tomorrow night by Simply Red, Pato Banton and the Reggae Revolution Band and the Cardigans.

    Ryuichi Sakamoto, the man who wrote the entrancing music for "The Last Emperor", "The Sheltering Sky" and "Little Buddha" amongst others, is on tonight for one night only at the Herod Atticus theater, on the same night that one-time collaborator David Bowie ("Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence") headlines across town. This sort of scheduling could only happen in the home of tragedy.

    [16] Festivals

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    In Athens itself, a number of municipalities have organized their own 'mini-festivals' for the summer period, with many offering Athenians a chance to see reruns of shows on at Herod Atticus and Epidavros. The Vyronas Festival kicks off tonight with Goran

    Bregovic and his Gypsy band, music and dancing from an Armenian troupe on the 3rd and the Black Sea Greeks theatrical troupe "Terza" on the 6th. A Yugoslav pop icon in the days before the war, Bregovic is now better known as the composer of the haunting Slavonic-Gypsy music that accompanies award-winning director Emir Kusturica's films. The performance at "Theatro Vrahon" - a former marble quarry completely renovated to house two open-air theaters -will be his second on Greek soil but most definitely not his last: he's working on a new album with George Dalaras, the last Greek troubadour.

    [17] Addresses and Information:

    Athens, 01/07/1996 (ANA)

    Second Rockin' Athens Festival Day passes 7,000-10,000 drachmas can be booked through Half-Note Promotions site on the Internet http://powernet.hol.gr/halfnote/

    More information: 652-4613 Venue: Panathinaikos Stadium

    Vyronas Festival All performances begin at 9.30pm. Tickets can be bought at the "Rex" box office at Panepistimiou 48, 381-4591, 383-5842 and at the door 7-10pm. Trolley No. 11 from Syntagma Square terminates at the entrance to the theater. Buses No. 203, 204, 214, from Akadimias Street also pass the theater. More information available on 752-6666

    Goran Bregovic July 1, 9.30 pm Theatro Vrahon, Vyronas Tickets 2,500-4,000 drachmas at Rex, Panepistimiou 48, 381-4591, 383-5842 July 7, 8.30pm Theatro Veakio, Piraeus Tickets 3,000-6,000 drachmas at Dimotiko Theatro, Plateia Korai, Piraeus 422-0483-5

    Ryuichi Sakamoto July 1 at the Herod Atticus Theatre Shows starts at 9pm Tickets 6,000-15,000 drachmas Tickets available at Athens Festival Box Office, Stadiou 4, 322-1459. Mon-Fri. 8am-1pm and 5pm-8pm, Sat-Sun. 8.30-2pm and 5-7pm. No credit cards.

    End of English language section.

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