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A.N.A. Bulletin, 02/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 953), August 2, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Evert deplores government's economic performance

  • [2] Evert schedules tour of 3 eastern Aegean islands

  • [3] Athens rejects latest claims by Skopje's foreign ministry

  • [4] Gov't: Demirel's comments on Thrace an attempt to divert attention from Turkish jail conditions

  • [5] Parliament president sends congratulations to Spyridon

  • [6] Israeli ambassador set to leave post this month

  • [7] Yiannopoulos responds to OECD recommendations on insurance problem, employee dismissals

  • [8] Public sector hirings scheduled

  • [9] Cyprus-Hania-Marseille fiber optic link operational

  • [10] Archbishop Anastasios urges dialogue with Tirana

  • [11] Former bishop of Larissa Theologos dies

  • [12] Bomb hoax delays Greek plane at Rome airport

  • [13] EU's veterinary committee decision on quarantine expected today

  • [14] Draft bill foresees harsh penalties for building on torched forest land

  • [15] Three Greek athletes qualify for finals in Atlanta Olympics

  • [16] Youth groups call for changes on draft bill concerning conscription

  • [17] Gov't says youth groups briefed on bill

  • [18] Makvel in joint venture with Italian pasta giant


  • [1] Evert deplores government's economic performance

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday launched a scathing attack on the government on its economic policy, referring to a "government of vacations."

    "The people are suffering, the provinces have been abandoned, public administration is non-existent and from Athens, the government of vacations and ascertainments does nothing," Mr. Evert told a meeting of financial advisers that focused on the course of the economy.

    "People are disappointed and desperate. Nothing is moving, especially in the provinces, where the situation is unacceptable," he said shortly after returning from a tour of several Aegean islands.

    "One is overcome by sadness when one thinks about where they (the government) have led Greece. It's as though there is a disease of inaction," he added.

    The ND leader claimed that in some areas of the country, tourism was down by as much as 45 per cent, with many hotels on the verge of closing down. There is concern, he added, that foreign interests may purchase hotels "with many questions as to who is behind" such moves.

    Mr. Evert maintained that the country was undergoing a process of de-industrialization, claiming that 75,000 jobs had been lost in the industrial sector during the last 15 years. The situation with regard to small- and medium-size companies (SMEs), he added, was even worse. He also maintained that on the inflation front there has been no improvement, with a current annual inflation rate of 8.7 per cent and the target of 7.5 per cent appearing especially difficult, the result being an overturning of the incomes policy that would not allow a drastic reduction in treasury bill rates.

    Mr. Evert said there were "huge problems" with the balance of payments, where the deficit in the first four months of the year had reached US 2 billion dollars. He warned that if the inflow of European Union funds was further delayed the deficit would acquire " explosive dimensions," charging that only 24 per cent of available funds had been absorbed in the first half of 1996.

    Regarding the fiscal situation, he said that revenues were in accordance with budget aims, but expenses were up due to the government's "irresponsible spending and consumption expenditure."

    [2] Evert schedules tour of 3 eastern Aegean islands

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Mr. Evert will embark on a three-day tour of the eastern Aegean islands of Samos, Ikaria and Fournoi this Sunday.

    Mr. Evert will begin his tour on Ikaria, where he will meet with local officials, including the mayor, members of the municipal council and representatives of local bodies.

    The ND leader will then travel to Fournoi and Samos. On Monday, he is scheduled to meet with the island's metropolitan, the prefect, military leadership and the mayor and municipal council, among others.

    He returns to Athens Tuesday afternoon.

    [3] Athens rejects latest claims by Skopje's foreign ministry

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday rejected claims by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) foreign ministry that Athens had behaved "improperly" towards Skopje with respect to provisions in an interim agreement signed by the two countries last September.

    The foreign ministry at the same time rejected as "groundless" statements by FYROM Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski, who recently resurrected the issue of a so-called Macedonian minority and their "property" in neighboring countries.

    "The foreign ministry of FYROM, instead of putting forward groundless arguments, which in no way contribute to the promotion of relations of good-neighbourliness and stability in the Balkans, which constitute the targets of all recent international initiatives for consolidating peace and security in the region, should make every effort towards attaining a successful outcome of the talks in New York concerning the name of the republic in question," the foreign ministry stated.

    "Greece will continue, also with respect to FYROM, its standing policy of developing relations of good-neighbourliness with the countries on its borders," the ministry added. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Wednesday that Athens rejected al legations contained in a demarche lodged by FYROM, which claimed that Greece was creating obstacles to the implementation of the interim agreement.

    Meanwhile, an ANA dispatch from Skopje yesterday evening said the Greek liaison office there submitted a verbal protest to FYROM's foreign ministry over Mr. Frckovski's statement, which it said, constituted interference in Greece's internal affairs.

    The relevant FYROM foreign ministry statement stated that under-secretary Ognem Malevski rejected Athens' protest, claiming that FYROM's interest in the rights of its citizens abroad and of a minority in a foreign country cannot be considered interference, because it is based on European Law and international practice.

    Commenting on the matter, Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis said yesterday that "Skopje's outrageous provocations, going as far to dispute Greek properties, and even audaciously raising an issue of a supposed 'Macedonian' minority in Greece," are the natural outcome of the interim accord.

    "The worst thing is that the government shows an inertia ranging from the outrageous to the suspect," he added.

    [4] Gov't: Demirel's comments on Thrace an attempt to divert attention from Turkish jail conditions

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    The government yesterday criticized recent statements by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel concerning the Moslem minority in western Thrace as an effort to deflect attention from its own domestic troubles.

    "Such statements are part of efforts by Turkey to extricate itself from the position of the accused, in which it has found itself following recent events in Turkish prisons," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said when asked to comment on the Turkish president's remarks.

    Twelve leftist political prisoners recently died in Turkish prisons during a two-month hunger strike to demand better conditions.

    Mr. Demirel reportedly claimed on Tuesday that Athens was not respecting the rights of the Moslem minority in Thrace, and that this had "adulterated" the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.

    [5] Parliament president sends congratulations to Spyridon

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday sent a congratulatory cable to new Archbishop of America Spyridon, who was elected by the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Holy Synod on Tuesday.

    "You are succeeding a great personality, Archbishop Iakovos. I express the certainty that with inspiration and strength of soul you will continue to fight, as he did for the interests of expatriate Greeks and for the nation," the telegram read.

    The qualities and abilities which you have shown during your clerical career until now constitute a guarantee for the success of the great mission you are undertaking, he added.

    [6] Israeli ambassador set to leave post this month

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Israel's ambassador to Athens David Sasson is leaving his position at the end of the month after six years at the post, it was announced yesterday.

    Mr. Sasson was Israel's first ambassador in Greece since the two nations upgraded diplomatic relations in 1990.

    During his tenure in Athens, the first visit by a Greek prime minister was paid to Israel - Constantine Mitsotakis in 1993 - as well as visits by the foreign, defense, health, tourism and agriculture ministers.

    On the part of Israel, visits were paid to Athens by Israeli foreign affairs, public order and agriculture ministers.

    According to an announcement by the Israeli embassy, relations between Greece and Israel were not merely upgraded at a diplomatic level "but the two countries developed substantive and friendly relations," and cited 13 signed bilateral agreements in addition to flourishing cultural exchange programs.

    [7] Yiannopoulos responds to OECD recommendations on insurance problem, employee dismissals

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Labor Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos will table two new bills in Parliament this month on converting the Farmers Pension Fund (OGA) and settling various insurance issues.

    Referring to a report by the OECD, which among other proposals, cites the need to tackle the pension insurance problem and lift ceilings on the number of possible employee dismissals, Mr. Yiannopoulos said "the insurance issue has problems which we will tackle," making no mention of a specific timetable.

    On the question of possible employee dismissals, he said there was no such question for the government, adding that an amendment would be tabled soon on working hours for petrol stations.

    Mr. Yiannopoulos also appeared optimistic on the course of absorption of Community funds and blamed his predecessors for delays.

    [8] Public sector hirings scheduled

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday announced the hiring of what he called "specialized scientific staff according to qualifications."

    The Supreme Council for Staff Selection (ASEP) will activate procedures this autumn to fill 20 posts in each region in accordance with article 18 of law 21/90, it was announced. The hirings will take place independently of those to take place through a test at the end of November for general duty staff.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said claims by social agencies on specialized staff positions should be submitted to ASEP by Aug. 15.

    He also said an amendment on individuals with special needs would be submitted in Parliament after the summer holidays, while he was still awaiting views by relevant ministers on the way with which handicapped people will be hired in the future.

    Moreover, a draft law on a National Equality Committee will be tabled in Parliament on Monday, which will be an advisory body composed of representatives of social agencies, women's organizations and personalities of nationwide prestige.

    [9] Cyprus-Hania-Marseille fiber optic link operational

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    A 280-km-long optical fiber cable linking Hania, Crete with the islet of Lagonisi was put into operation by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) yesterday.

    The link is a branch of the Cyprus-Hania-Marseille connection, which links the Middle East and southern Europe with Greece and the Balkans.

    According to OTE, the link is a worldwide first in underwater optical fiber connections, as it uses no intermediate rechargers.

    [10] Archbishop Anastasios urges dialogue with Tirana

    Tirana, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Referring to the issue of three Metropolitans recently ordained bishops by the Ecumenical Patriarchate for corresponding Orthodox Church Metropolitan centers in Albania, sources close to the Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios s aid he communicated that "the most indicated action is continuation of dialogue with the Albanian authorities and not a surprise move."

    A statement added that "hurried actions and faits accomplis will lead in many ways to inconvenience not only for the Orthodox people of Albania but also for the Orthodox Church in general."

    In two letters he addressed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate on July 22 and 25, Anastasios insists on the principle of dialogue with Albanian authorities and proposes that "a representation of the Holy Synod clerics should come to Albania to tackle the problem in co-operation with indigenous Orthodox officials in the country who have an in-depth knowledge of matters and, of course, with Albanian authorities, because surprise moves create reactions which cannot be controlled afterwards."

    Sources denied reports citing of a rift between the Archbishop of Albania and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, despite the fact that the Archbishop failed to respond to an invitation by the Patriarchate to attend an ordination ceremony for the three Metropolitans.

    The Ecumenical Patriarchate last weekend ordained Christodoulos as Metropolitan of Korce, Ignatios as Metropolitan of Verati, Avlon and Kanini and Alexandros as Metropolitan of Gjirokaster.

    The three Metropolitans had been elected by the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Synod in June 1992, together with the elected incumbent Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios.

    After they were elected, a Synod of the Autocephalus Church of Albania was created which had no living bishops left following relentless persecution experienced by the Church during the previous regime.

    Ecclesiastical circles in Istanbul had expressed the hope that current political conditions would allow implementation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's decision, which was delayed for four years.

    Sources said there could be no Orthodox Church without a Synod, adding that all limits of patience had been exhausted in tackling difficult political conditions characterizing the first years of post-communist Albania.

    [11] Former bishop of Larissa Theologos dies

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Former bishop of Larissa Theologos, whose appointment during the seven-year military junta 28 years ago caused a prolonged controversy as well as recent clashes among laymen in the central Greece district, died yesterday at the age of 80.

    Having being deposed in 1974 by the Holy Synod as illegally appointed in 1968, he was reinstated by a decision of the Council of State in 1990, but Orthodox hierarchy refused to accept the ruling and elected a replacement.

    He again sought recourse in the Council of State, which upheld his replacement in March. Bomb hoax delays Greek plane at Rome airport

    [12] Bomb hoax delays Greek plane at Rome airport

    Rome, 2/8/1996 (Reuter)

    An anonymous caller telephoned Rome's Fiumicino airport yesterday to say a bomb had been planted aboard a Greek airliner but airport officials said it was a hoax and the plane took off after a three-hour search.

    The official said the phone call was made 40 minutes before the Olympic Airways Airbus A-300 was due to take off for Athens. The 233 passengers had checked in but had not yet boarded.

    Police with sniffer dogs searched the plane and luggage but no bomb was found, airport officials said. The plane left for Athens at 5:30 p.m. (1530 GMT), they said.

    An Olympic Airways Boeing 747 made an unscheduled stop in Rome two days ago after an anonymous caller said a bomb was on board. That also turned out to be a hoax.

    [13] EU's veterinary committee decision on quarantine expected today

    Brussels, 2/8/1996 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Union's Standing Veterinary Committee is expected to reach a decision today on the issue of extending or lifting a quarantine imposed since July 12 on Greek exports of living animals, meat and unpasteurized dairy products due to a recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

    According to diplomatic sources, Athens is making efforts to have the ban on exports restricted to the Evros region and not for the entire country.

    Meanwhile, the Evros prefecture announced a new package of tough measures yesterday in a last-ditch effort to curb foot-and-mouth disease among animals and minimize possibilities of the disease spreading to the other two prefectures in Thrace.

    Within this context, disinfected ditches were dug at the entrances to all regions where cases of foot-and-mouth disease have been reported, as well as along the Evros-Rodopi highway network.

    A ban was also imposed on collecting sheep and goat milk at cooperatives and private industries in the prefecture over a five-day period.

    At the same time, veterinary services are slaughtering all infected animals without delay, while livestock is prohibited from being moved in areas under protection and surveillance over a period of 20 days.

    Until further notice, fishing and hunting in and near the Evros River and the marshy delta region is forbidden, while stockbreeders have to keep their herds at least 500 meters away from the river's banks.

    Lastly, another 200 sheep and goats were slaughtered in the Alexandroupoli region yesterday after cases of foot-and-mouth disease were suspected.

    Meanwhile, Macedonia and Thrace Minister Filippos Petsalnikos was briefed yesterday on the problem created in the area by foot-and-mouth disease and on measures taken to confront it.

    [14] Draft bill foresees harsh penalties for building on torched forest land

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK deputy and former minister George Mangakis tabled a draft bill in Parliament yesterday anticipating stiff penalties for individuals purposely torching forests and for squatters building or attempting to build on destroyed forest land.

    According to the draft law, building on burnt forest land will be punishable with 10 years in prison and a fine ranging between five and 50 million drachmas.

    [15] Three Greek athletes qualify for finals in Atlanta Olympics

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Three Greek athletes qualified for the finals in their respective events yesterday, two in the women's' long jump and one in the women's high jump.

    Niki Xanthou was in 11th position in the long jump, with a leap of 6 meters 60 on her third attempt, after two red flags, while Voula Patoulidou, who won the 110m hurdles gold medal in Barcelona four years ago, was in 12th position with 6.58m in her first attempt.

    The women's long jump final was scheduled to be held in the early morning hours this morning (Athens time).

    Niki Bakoyianni was one of 14 athletes qualifying for the women's high jump final, sailing over the qualifying height of 1 meter 93 on the first attempt. She will face stiff opposition in the form of Bulgaria's Stefka Konstantinova and Germany's Alina Astafei during the final.

    Meanwhile in basketball, the men's team has secured a place in the first six after beating China by 115 to 75. The Greek team was ahead by 50-24 at half time.

    Today, the men's basketball team will play for fifth position overall when it faces Brazil.

    [16] Youth groups call for changes on draft bill concerning conscription

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Youth organizations of all political parties issued a joint announcement yesterday calling on the national defense ministry not to reduce conscription deferral periods.

    In the announcement issued in response to the ministry's new draft bill on the issue, the youth organizations called on the ministry to maintain conscription age at 20 in order to facilitate entrance into higher education establishments and to clarify certain points in the draft bill.

    The announcement said the draft bill was positive in regards to draft evaders and conscientious objectors. However, the youth movement of the Coalition of the Left and Progress party said the regulations for the latter was insufficient, claiming it does not consider implementation of the "unarmed, but not social alternative service" as conforming to other west European nations' legislation.

    The parties' youth movements called on the national defense minister to have "sincere dialogue" with them beginning next week in order to cover issues concerning the living conditions of conscripts and the upgrading of the armed forces.

    [17] Gov't says youth groups briefed on bill

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said there was still time for political youth organizations to submit their proposals to the national defense ministry on a draft bill concerning military service.

    He said that ministry officials and youth organization representatives held four-hour talks before the bill was prepared and their proposals were taken into consideration.

    Mr. Reppas said the ministry then requested specific proposals which, however, it had not received so far, but there was still time.

    An announcement by the national defense ministry yesterday said a timely dialogue was held with youth organizations on the bill on "recruitment for the Greeks" and their representatives' views were taken into consideration. It added that their proposals in writing were also requested, which they did not make.

    The announcement contradicts allegations by certain youth organizations about a surprise, adding that "there is always ground for dialogue with the youth organizations on issues concerning them."

    [18] Makvel in joint venture with Italian pasta giant

    Athens, 2/8/1996 (ANA)

    Greek pasta manufacturer Makvel announced yesterday that it is investing 2.5 billion drachmas in the Kilkis prefecture as part of a joint venture with Italian giant Euricom SpA.

    Thessaloniki-based Makvel produces more than 5,000 tons of pasta products annually in Greece and another 10,000 tons abroad.

    Euricom accounts for 45 per cent of pasta and rice production and trade in Europe, with an annual turnover of 800 billion Italian lire, or 130 billion drachmas.

    The two firms will have a 50 per cent stake each in the new company, to be called Eurimac SA, which will have a production capacity of 30,000 tons of pasta products per year.

    Makvel executives said the new venture has already pre-sold 60 per cent of its production, a significant portion of which will be exported to eastern Europe.

    End of English language section.

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