|Friday, 15 November 2019|
A.N.A. Bulletin, 03/08/96
From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Athens News Agency Directory
ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 954), August 3, 1996
Greek Press & Information Office
E-Mail Address: email@example.com
 Greece calls new EU ban due to foot-and-mouth disease unfair
 Opposition parties comment on decision
 Gov't warns Ankara about attempt to convert Agia Sofia into a mosque
 Nicosia, Greek embassy protests abduction of two Greek citizens by occupation forces
 Irish EU presidency rep due to visit Athens
 EU citizens to be allowed rights in local elections
 Assistance to Konitsa area earthquake stricken to intensify
 Parliament to promote special edition of Thucidides' text
 Mitsotakis says FYROM issue stagnant
 Tirana says it won't allow ordained metropolitans to assume posts
 "Greek javelin thrower qualifies for final with Herculean effort
 Man charged with illegal possession of prehistoric animal remains
 Study to cover employment situation, prospects of repatriated Greeks
 Reforms for Athens area mass transportation to be quickly implemented
 Gov't: Health ministry did communicate with development ministry on new drug prices
 Reshuffle of several state-controlled bank directors announced
 Papantoniou responds to Coalition criticism on rate of EU funds absorption
 Plan to reorganize postal service unveiled
 New code for public procurements sent to Council of State for approval
 Greece calls new EU ban due to foot-and-mouth disease unfairBrussels, 3/8/1996 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)
The European Union's Standing Veterinary Committee decided yesterday to extend restrictive measures for at least a month on Greek exports of live animals, meats and unpasteurized dairy products due to recent outbreaks o f foot-and-mouth disease in the Evros Delta area.
The Greek representation expressed its complete disagreement with the Committee's decision and issued an announcement stating its regret over the fact that its proposal concerning the lifting of restrictive measures for the entire country, with the exception of the Evros prefecture, was not accepted.
The quarantine was adopted on July 12 by the European Union.
"There is no longer any reason for continuing implementation of the measures in areas outside Evros, neither from a point of view of hygiene, since the maximum limit of 21 days passed, which must lapse for the possibility of the disease spreading to be ascertained," the representation said, adding:
"nor from the point of view of additional measures being taken, since the observations of the Veterinary Committee's first mission to Greece were all taken into consideration and a large part of them is already being applied.
"Unfortunately, we were not able to reach any result today because the Committee wants to link the existing situation prevailing in the other Balkan countries with the limited situation existing at Evros at the present moment."
The Greek representation also did not accept what it called "fragmentary solutions" of lifting restrictive measures for the islands and the Peloponnese, "because they lack any logical basis and because they would be at the expense of the national economy and trade."
In addition, Athens' representation expressed its regret over the fact that "the Committee accepted proposals for implementation of targets which could not possibly be linked to the case in Evros," adding in the announcement: "we would like to believe that the Committee will change its mind soon and for this reason it would be better if we made no comments."
Concluding its announcement, the Greek representation stressed that "on the basis of excellent co-operation to date, we stated that if the Committee really wants to show equal treatment between small and large member-states it should treat them on an equal basis, to separate the limited case of foot-and-mouth disease in Greece from the wider problem of Balkan countries and propose the lifting of restrictions today and the taking of regional measures, because in this way it will contribute to restoring a climate of co-operation and mutual confidence which existed until now.
"Additionally, we reiterated that Greece is willing to continue its co-operation with the Committee to have the general problem of foot-and-mouth disease in Balkan countries (Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and primarily Turkey) tackled, but in no case should it be expected of us to accept whatever linking of the two issues, foot-and-mouth disease in the Balkans and foot-and-mouth disease in Greece, which are completely different and require different handling, not only for reasons of expediency but also because Community legislation does not anticipate the taking of pre-emptive measures against a member-state on the occasion of events presenting themselves in third countries," it concluded.
The Committee's final decision was taken early yesterday afternoon when briefings by veterinarian-members of the Standing Veterinary Committee made it clear that the majority favored an extension of quarantine on Greece.
Extension of quarantine will last at least until the Committee's next meeting, expected either at the end of August or in early September. In the meantime - August 12-19 - a group of Community experts will visit the Evros area for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
Meanwhile, another case of foot-and-mouth disease appeared in the Petalo Peplou location in Evros, with officials slaughtering a total of 1,000 sheep and goats as well as 120 cattle. In addition, disinfection of stockbreeding units in the region is continuing as are investigations to locate possible new cases of the disease.
According to data provided by the Evros veterinary department, a total of 4,600 sheep and goats and 3,800 cattle had been slaughtered by Thursday.
However, stockbreeders whose herds have been affected by the foot-and-mouth disease want a meeting with Agriculture Under-secretary Apostolos Fotiadis in order to renew assurances on the amount of compensation to be paid to them for the slaughter of their animals.
In another development, a four-member delegation of experts from the European Commission will visit the Evros prefecture again next week to examine measures taken to combat foot-and-mouth disease, as well as the situation in which stockbreeding in the region has found itself in after the outbreak of the disease.
Mr. Fotiadis has confirmed the development.
Lastly, additional strict measures to combat foot-and-mouth disease announced by Evros Prefect Giorgos Dolios with the consent of Mr. Fotiadis have been put into effect.
A ban has been imposed on the transfer of animals; on sheep and goats' milk being collected by cooperatives and private industries for five days and on fishing and hunting as well as a prohibition on the presence of herds at a distance of less than 500 meters from the banks of the Evros River.
 Opposition parties comment on decisionAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Reacting to the extension of a ban imposed on Greece by the EU, the Political Spring party criticized the government for failing to convince the Union.
"The country is called on once again to pay the government's failure to convince the European Union that foot-and-mouth disease is a problem for the EU's neighbors in the east and not for Greece," Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis said.
In a similar statement, the Coalition of the Left and Progress said the Veterinary Committee's decision was excessively strict and unfair and "deals a direct blow at Greek exports, particularly feta cheese, and has wide repercussions not only for stockbreeding but for the country's overall image as well."
 Gov't warns Ankara about attempt to convert Agia Sofia into a mosqueAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Greece yesterday warned Ankara not to proceed with the conversion of the Christian Orthodox church monument of Agia Sofia into a mosque.
An ANA dispatch from Istanbul yesterday, citing a report in the Turkish publication "Aksam", stated that the Turkish Minister to the Prime Minister, Jemil Tudc, has initiated preliminary legal procedures to convert Agia Sofia, currently a museum, into a mosque.
"We believe that the government of Turkey will not dare to convert Agia Sofia into a mosque. If this happens, then it will be an unprecedented international provocation and a major problem in Turkey's relations with the western world," government spokes man Dimitris Reppas said.
"The position for the conversion of Agia Sofia into a mosque was announced during the election campaign by (current Turkish prime minister) Mr. Erbakan and was formulated from time to time by various Turkish figures," he added.
"Agia Sofia is one of the leading monuments that constitute world history. It is part of a common cultural heritage. All civilized nations have a debt to protect and safeguard its character," Mr. Reppas said.
"We hope that press publications do not echo Turkey's official policy" in this matter, the government spokesman concluded.
Mr. Tudc, who belongs to the Islamic Welfare Party and is responsible for overseeing charitable institutions, told the newspaper that a committee had been created to make an inventory of such institutions, which were being used for different purposes than those they had been founded for.
"The work we will do concerns the use of such organizations in accordance with their purpose. A necessary change in legislation will be made for this issue and we will not allow any discussion," he said.
Agia Sofia, in present-day Istanbul, was one of the most celebrated and beautiful Christian cathedrals for 921 years. It was converted into a mosque after the fall of Constantinople in May 1453 and turned into a museum on Oct. 24, 1934 by decision of the Turkish cabinet.
The reopening of Agia Sofia as a mosque is one of the targets set by the Islamic movement in Turkey. The Islamic movement's efforts in this direction had so far been blocked by the Turkish state, which considered the conversion of Agia Sofia into a museum part of the legacy of the founder of secular Turkey, Kemal Ataturk.
In an announcement on the issue, the main opposition New Democracy party denounced what it called the "silence" and "absence" of Costas Simitis' government.
ND said it was inconceivable that a change should be attempted in the nature of Agia Sofia, which had been the greatest temple of Christianity for centuries, calling on the government to take necessary steps at international organizations and undertake initiatives to ensure that the issue be brought to the attention of the World Council of Churches. It also called for the government to lead an international campaign together with the Orthodox Patriarchates and expatriate Hellenism.
In a similar development, Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis said "Turkey's intention to convert Agia Sofia into a mosque once again proves its true nature."
"The government and our allies should realize that goodwill gestures, such as lifting the veto on Turkey's undemocratic regime, lead it to audacity and create pre-conditions for instability in the sensitive Balkan region," he added.
 Nicosia, Greek embassy protests abduction of two Greek citizens by occupation forcesAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
The Cyprus government and the Greek embassy in Nicosia have lodged protests with the United Nations peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) on the divided island to press for the release of two Greek citizens abducted by Turkish occupation forces in the sea region off Kokkina yesterday.
An ANA dispatch from Nicosia yesterday quoted Cyprus government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides as saying that the protests were lodged as soon as news of the abduction became known.
The two men, Athanasios Stalikas, 48, and Dimitris Gotsis, 35, both residents of France, were abducted while piloting a rented speedboat near Kokkina in the occupied northern part of Cyprus and after getting lost, the spokesman added.
He said both Nicosia and the Greek embassy were in continuous contact with UNFICYP and efforts were being made to secure the immediate release of the two men.
Replying to questions, Mr. Cassoulides said that "we cannot expect people living in Paris to know the area of Kokkina which has certain particularities".
A Cyprus News Agency (CNA) report quoted a UN spokesman Waldemar Rockozewski as saying that "UNFICYP's mandate does not extend to third nationals other than Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and we don't know how the Turkish Cypriots are going to treat the case."
According to a Reuter dispatch, the two Greeks were remanded in "custody" by a pseudo-court of the Denktash regime for three days.
 Irish EU presidency rep due to visit AthensAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
A representative of the Irish presidency of the European Union, Kestler Heaslip, will visit Greece on Monday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced yesterday.
The spokesman added that Mr. Heaslip earlier this week visited Cyprus, where he discussed matters concerning the process for the island republic's accession to the EU, noting that the issue would also be discussed in Athens.
 EU citizens to be allowed rights in local electionsAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Citizens of other EU member-states will have the right to elect and be elected during municipal and community elections in Greece.
According to reports, these rights are granted by a foreign ministry draft bill which is expected to be submitted to Parliament at the beginning of September. EU citizens will have the right to elect and be elected during local elections (except to the positions of mayor or community president) in the same manner as Greek citizens, but under two conditions.
Those wishing to take advantage of these rights must have a certifiable knowledge of Greek; must be on an electoral register and must have resided permanently in the municipality or community in which they wish to exercise these rights for the last two years.
Prospective EU candidates also must not have been denied the right to vote in their home country, according to legislation for the election of deputies and laws of that country.
All interested individuals wishing to vote must submit applications with evidence that they fulfill all the necessary requirements.
 Assistance to Konitsa area earthquake stricken to intensifyAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Measures to deal with problems faced by victims of last week's earthquake in Konitsa will intensify next week, Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said yesterday.
Following a meeting in the Konitsa prefectural offices, Mr. Papadopoulos visited the areas affected by the earthquake.
He said that all debt payments of area residents is postponed until Dec. 31, while beginning Monday the local tax office will operate from another building, as the present one has been deemed unsafe.
Mr. Papadopoulos said the earthquake had revealed other problems in the region, which could be dealt with.
In an unrelated matter, and commenting on checks by the Service for the Movement and Control of Goods (YPEDA), Mr. Papadopoulos said "the finance ministry is not on holiday during August. YPEDA controls, not only on the islands but all over the country, were scheduled two months ago."
 Parliament to promote special edition of Thucidides' textAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Parliament is promoting a special edition of Pericles' "Funeral Oration", a chapter in Thucidides' "History of the Peloponnesian War", in modern Greek, English, French and German.
The new editions will be mainly distributed to foreign parliaments, while a total of 54,000 copies will be issued. Each copy will contain the text in ancient Greek and in translation.
In order to ensure the highest publication quality, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis announced that he will assign the project to the Athens University's school of fine arts. It is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
 Mitsotakis says FYROM issue stagnantAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Main opposition New Democracy honorary president and former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis said the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was completely stagnant.
Speaking to reporters in Hania yesterday, Mr. Mitsotakis said the government's policy had failed and called on it "to tell the truth to the Greek people at last and act accordingly."
 Tirana says it won't allow ordained metropolitans to assume postsGjirokaster, 3/8/1996 (ANA)
The Albanian government reacted yesterday against a decision by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to send three Greek Metropolitans to head the dioceses of Gjirokaster, Avlona and Korce.
In a message sent to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Tirana said it will not allow three Greek clerics to the leadership of the Autocephalus Albanian Orthodox Church.
The report was confirmed by the BBC's Albanian service.
The religious affairs secretary of the Albanian culture ministry added that the three Metropolitans will not be allowed to enter the country under their religious titles, although they may visit Albania as citizens.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate last weekend ordained three Metropolitans for the three Albanian dioceses after being elected by the Patriarchate's Synod in June 1992.
On Thursday, sources close to Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios said that he communicated to the Ecumenical Patriarchate that "the most indicated action is the continuation of dialogue with 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.
 "Greek javelin thrower qualifies for final with Herculean effortAtlanta, 3/8/1996 (ANA/Reuter)
Greece's javelin national champion Costas Gatsioudis qualified for the finals yesterday, breaking his own national record in the process with a throw of 87.12m, notably further than any of the other competitors.
The other Greek javelin thrower, Dimitris Polymerou, failed to qualify with a throw of 77.82m, placing him in ninth position in his qualifying group.
In rhythmic gymnastics, Maria Pagalou qualified for the semi-finals after gaining 37.983 points, placing her in eighth place out of 38 in the second heats.
Evagelia Sotiriou did not qualify for the rhythmic gymnastics semi-finals, after placing 26th with 36.698 points.
 Man charged with illegal possession of prehistoric animal remainsAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Police said yesterday they arrested a 49-year-old stockbreeder in Athens for being in possession of two prehistoric tusks and sizable parts of the jaws as well as the skeleton of a mammoth, believed to be one million years old.
The findings are reportedly the product of illegal excavations in the Peloponnese.
The man, identified as Georgios Alexopoulos, is due to appear before a public prosecutor.
 Study to cover employment situation, prospects of repatriated GreeksAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
A study for the promotion of employment of repatriated Black Sea Greeks is being conducted by the National Foundation for Welcoming and Reinstatement of Expatriate and Repatriated Greeks (EIYAPOE).
The foundation has undertaken responsibility for helping facilitate the repatriation of Black Sea region Greeks from countries of the former Soviet Union, and also deals with their employment, although the latter is the responsibility of other state agencies.
It is conducting a study on the problems faced in the employment sector by returning ethnic Greeks.
The study, which is to be submitted in four months, aims to explore the characteristics of the supply and demand of employment for those individuals in Thrace by sector; to examine the experiences of other countries, such as Israel, with employment policy for those repatriated persons and to locate national and EU funding sources for financing.
 Reforms for Athens area mass transportation to be quickly implementedAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis has given his consent for prompt implementation of measures aimed at modernizing urban transport in the greater Athens area, during a recent meeting with the transport and communications minister.
The cabinet is expected to take a relevant decision at its next meeting.
A committee already created by the finance ministry - composed of representatives of the national economy, finance and transport ministries as well as the prime minister's office - has ratified a package of measures proposed by Transport Under-secretary Giorgos Daskalakis.
The committee's report anticipates that for the ETHEL company (blue buses) the amount of 90 billion drachmas will be converted into shares to cover its deficits and the cost of the company's tickets will be reduced from 150 drachmas to 135 drachmas, which will be achieved with the removal of loan and interest installments due to the conversion of the deficit into shares and a redistribution of staff to cover vacancies.
 Gov't: Health ministry did communicate with development ministry on new drug pricesAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, replying to questions regarding statements by Health Secretary Anastasios Peponis on Thursday concerning new pharmaceutical prices, said Mr. Peponis had communicated with Development Ministry Under-secretary Michalis Chrysochoidis on the issue.
"The two ministers agreed that there is a need for regular communication and agreement between the two ministries, on a governmental level and not only on a ministerial one," Mr. Reppas said yesterday.
He clarified that the issue is not within the jurisdiction of the health ministry and said decisions regarding prices are taken by the development ministry.
The government spokesman said the National Pharmaceuticals Organization (EOF) has suggested a re-evaluation of prices for plasma products, vaccines and serum, adding there are new criteria so that pharmaceuticals prices do not increase by a large extent .
Mr. Reppas added that "for the first time, the lowest price for the equivalent drug in another European Union country was taken into account," and stressed that "there are new medicines with new qualities so it can be considered necessary for there to be a new price for each product."
 Reshuffle of several state-controlled bank directors announcedAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday announced changes in the management of public sector banks.
Haris Stamatopoulos, hitherto governor of the National Investment Bank for Industrial Development (ETEBA) will replace Panagiotis Korliras as head of the Ionian Bank. His post will be filled by Dimitris Pavlakis.
Spyros Kouniakis, hitherto deputy-governor of the National Bank will replace Andreas Boumis as head of Macedonia-Thrace Bank.
Finally, the deputy chairman of the Capital Market Commission, Nikolaos Bertsos, will fill the vacant post of deputy governor of the National Mortgage Bank of Greece.
Responding to the changes, a main opposition New Democracy statement said "internal PASOK quadrilles" were of no interest to the Greek people, who actually live the reality imposed on them by the government.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) described the changes as designed to promote the appropriate mechanisms of support for the new "hegemonic nucleus" in the ruling party. It added that despite his criticism of "phenomena of the past" in the recent PASO K fourth party congress, Prime Minister Costas Simitis "was continuing the same tactics."
 Papantoniou responds to Coalition criticism on rate of EU funds absorptionAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
"The Greek economy does not offer itself for danger-mongering and personal attacks," National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said in a statement yesterday replying to criticism by Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos.
In a radio interview, the Coalition leader strongly criticized the minister over what he claimed was the slow rate of absorption of European Union funds.
On Wednesday, Mr. Papantoniou noted progress in all programs falling under the Community Support Framework II (CSF) and expressed optimism that all 1996 targets would have been attained by the end of the year.
"Out of panic caused by (the ruling) PASOK's positive image among Coalition voters, Mr. Constantopoulos is resorting to cheap personal attacks in an effort to conceal his party's total lack of economic policy," Mr. Papantoniou said in the statement.
"The Greek economy has embarked on a steady course of development," Mr. Papantoniou stressed, adding that "absorption of Community funds in 1996 has marked a spectacular acceleration thanks to a series of government measures."
In a reply, the Coalition leader referred to "a spirit of petty-party politics" present in the minister's statement, in which, he added, there was a "guilty silence on the substance of the matter and a desperate attempt to shift the problem elsewhere."
 Plan to reorganize postal service unveiledAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
Transport and Communications Under-secretary Giorgos Daskalakis yesterday submitted a plan for revamping the Greek postal service (ELTA) to his fellow competent ministers.
Plans includes an increase in ELTA's share capital by 75 billion drachmas through a Greek state bond issue, and a package of rationalization measures, including a freeze on new appointments, and a stop to the use of seasonal workers.
Mr. Daskalakis said he believed ELTA's deficit would be zeroed by the end of 1998, as envisaged in a strategic study approved by the European Union.
He also announced the drawing up of a new regulation for postal services, both public and private, and that an open, international invitation to tender for a management consultant for the organization's operational programme, in force since May, would be advertised next week.
The two measures, he added, constituted prerequisites for a start to the absorption of ECU 117 million through the Community Support Framework II in mid-autumn, which will be devoted, among other things, to the installment of computerized systems, the modernization of sorting offices and the drawing up of a marketing plan.
 New code for public procurements sent to Council of State for approvalAthens, 03/08/1996 (ANA)
A draft presidential decree concerning a new code for state procurements has been sent to the Council of State for approval.
The new code includes provisions regarding conditions, procedures and criteria for participation in public procurement tenders; assessment criteria and suppliers' liability after the final delivery of the goods; ways of administrative resolution of differences occurring before delivery as well as financial and administrative sanctions in case of non-fulfillment of obligations.
End of English language section.