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A.N.A. Bulletin, 06/08/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 956), August 6, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address:


  • [1] Annualized inflation rate recorded at 8.6 per cent last month

  • [2] Pangalos meets with EU rep for Cyprus problem

  • [3] Athens prepares to welcome back nation's Olympic team today

  • [4] Evert cites 'abandonment' of Samos during visit

  • [5] Pangalos: Conversion of Agia Sofia is a major issue

  • [6] Other condemnations issued

  • [7] Pangalos: Interim agreement also means 'jointly acceptable name'

  • [8] 3 leading ministers decline comment on prospect of early elections

  • [9] Simitis meets with PASOK Parliamentary group's presidium

  • [10] Gov't considers closing loophole in law concerning extradition of alleged war criminals

  • [11] Greek military delegation to visit Gjirokaster

  • [12] Anastasios had warned Fanar over Tirana's reaction regarding Metropolitans' ordination issue

  • [13] Greek-language schools in 3 Albanian cities approved

  • [14] EOMMEX programme to fund new small, medium-sized businesses

  • [15] Laid off Goodyear workers announce boycott if plant isn't reopened

  • [16] Kastanidis sees recent improvement in Olympic's services

  • [1] Annualized inflation rate recorded at 8.6 per cent last month

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Inflation posted an annualized rate of 8.6 per cent in July, down from 8.8 per cent in June, the National Statistics Bureau of Greece (ESYE) announced yesterday, predicting a further drop in August.

    According to figures released by ESYE, the cost-of-living index in July fell by 2.5 per cent against a 2.3 per cent drop in the July 1995 index over the preceding month.

    The decline was attributed to a drop in the prices of fruits and fresh vegetables, clothing, footwear, household and entertainment goods as well as athletic and outdoor gear, despite increases in the prices of pork, lamb, goat meat, fish, hotel foods and rates and detergents.

    July also saw increases in rents and the prices of building maintenance goods and heating oil.

    After meeting the prime minister yesterday, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said economic policy would remain steady and unchanged, adding that his optimism regarding further decreases in inflation and interest rates had been vindicated.

    "It has been proven that the increase in inflation in the first half was conjectural," he added.

    [2] Pangalos meets with EU rep for Cyprus problem

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and the European Union's Irish presidency representative for the Cyprus issue, Kester Heaslip, yesterday discussed the possibility of a systematic intervention on the part of the Union for a solution, as well as prospects of Cyprus' full EU membership.

    Mr. Heaslip arrived from Ankara, and according to the foreign minister, Turkish views expressed to him were within the "usual context".

    The Irish envoy leaves for Nicosia after Athens, where he reportedly intends to remain for a relatively longer period of time in order to monitor "the situation on the spot," as he noted.

    He added that all sides interested in the issue realize the importance of recording progress on the issue in the "limited time" of 18 months remaining until the start of negotiations for Cyprus' EU membership.

    On his part, Mr. Pangalos said they discussed relations between Turkey and the EU, given, as he said, that "the Turks attempt to use Cyprus as a hostage in order to blackmail their way through to obtaining concessions, either in Greek-Turkish relations or in their relations with the EU."

    Regarding conditions set by the 15 regarding disbursement of financial assistance through the MEDA programme, Mr. Pangalos expressed a hope that Ankara will have studied them and replied positively by autumn.

    [3] Athens prepares to welcome back nation's Olympic team today

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    A celebration will be held in Athens today to mark the return of the Greek Olympic team, due to arrive at Athens airport at around 6 p.m.

    Sports Under-secretary Andreas Fouras announced that events, scheduled to be held in the Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896, will be attended by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Cost as Simitis, the cabinet, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and many deputies.

    Mr. Fouras also called on the public to attend the ceremony and welcome returning athletes.

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos said the city's municipal council has taken a unanimous decision to award athletes with the "gold medal of honor".

    The council also decided to rename Kallirois Avenue as "Avenue of Greek Olympic Champions", while a plaque with the names of the eight Atlanta medalists will be erected beside a plaque of past Olympic medalists in the Panathenian Stadium.

    The events are being organized jointly by the Greek Olympic Committee, the sports general secretariat and the Athens municipality.

    After the team's arrival, a procession will be formed with the athletes being driven up Posidonos and Syngrou Avenues to the Temple of Zeus archeological site through Hadrian's Gate, where they will be received by the Athens mayor and the municipal council at 8:30 p.m.

    Following a short ceremony, where the champions will be awarded with the medals, they will proceed on foot to the Panathenian Stadium for the celebration, which will include a concert.

    Events are expected to end at 11:15 p.m. with a fireworks display.

    In a related development, the newly elected Archbishop of America Spyridon sent a congratulatory message to the Greek team, saying they "held the Greek name high before the whole world."

    [4] Evert cites 'abandonment' of Samos during visit

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert yesterday continued his tour of border regions with a visit to the island of Samos in the eastern Aegean.

    During his visit, he harshly criticized what he said was an "abandonment of the island, a minimal absorption rate of EU funds and the government's 'criminal' inertia."

    He accused the government of not producing work, and of not being able to face economic and national problems.

    "People want to see the job done, they want to see the contractor laying the foundations. There are certain limits to this affair," he said.

    He also called for the establishment of strong tax incentives for the development of the primary and tourism sector on the islands.

    Mr. Evert pledged that ND will support cooperatives with private enterprise criteria as well as reduce the cost of agricultural produce in the short-run through cheaper electrical rates and petrol, until appropriate infrastructure is created, he said.

    Later in the evening, Mr. Evert proposed that some of the nation's military academies and schools be transferred to border regions.

    [5] Pangalos: Conversion of Agia Sofia is a major issue

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that the new Islamist-led Turkish government's reported intention to convert the Byzantine church of Agia Sofia in Istanbul into a mosque would not be treated by Athens as a mere bilateral issue.

    "Such an action would constitute a serious retrogression for the Turkish people itself and the international community. We shall not consider it a mere bilateral issue, but a major one, concerning world civilization," he said.

    Commenting on the same issue, Academy of Athens President Ioannis Pesmatzoglou said the threat of Agia Sofia's conversion was directed against all Christians, irrespective of church or denomination.

    He added that respect for this monument of "universal cultural value" was a duty of all peoples, and a requirement by all international organizations.

    Turkish press reports on Friday stated that Turkey's Minister to the Prime Minister, Jemil Tudc, had initiated preliminary legal procedures to convert Agia Sofia, currently a museum, into a mosque.

    [6] Other condemnations issued

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, the secretariat of the executive committee of the European Orthodox Parliamentary Assembly yesterday issued a statement condemning Ankara's reported intentions.

    "The Turkish government's intention to convert Agia Sofia, a historic and international symbol of the Orthodox faith into a Moslem place of worship is condemned with indignation," the statement of the Orthodox Parliamentary Assembly, which represents 18 countries from the Balkan region and the former Soviet Union, read.

    "We call on the Council of Europe, the European Union, UNESCO as well as on the World Council of Churches, in the face of this provocation against hundreds of millions of Christian Orthodox believers, to take a position immediately in order to avert this historically ignorant and sacrilegious act," the statement read.

    Greece's Parliamentary Orthodox Committee also condemned the conversion possibility. An announcement issued said the Committee calls on European and international organizations and on the Geneva-based World Council of Churches to intervene against this "new Turkish provocation against not only millions of Orthodox faithful, but also against the Greek nation."

    [7] Pangalos: Interim agreement also means 'jointly acceptable name'

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday reiterated that the most appropriate way of dealing with the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was implementation of an interim accord reached in New York last September, which "means the finding of a jointly acceptable name."

    "I have been criticized by the opposition for not declaring war on Skopje, and at the same time for not compromising with Skopje. Neither of the two criticisms is correct," he said.

    Commenting on statements by FYROM Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frckovski last week concerning issues of "minority property" in Greece, Mr. Pangalos said Athens had drawn Skopje's attention to the fact that Mr. Frckovski, obviously in the context of a more general political activity, was trying to satisfy extremist elements of public opinion with irresponsible and provocative statements.

    [8] 3 leading ministers decline comment on prospect of early elections

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Three of the government's top cabinet members, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis and Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis, yesterday declined to comment on increasing speculation regarding early elections, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Mr. Papantoniou referred reporters to the prime minister's previous statements, reiterating the government's intention to exhaust its four-year term, while Mr. Arsenis, commenting on reports that economic ministers especially were favorably disposed to an early recourse to the polls, said he had not discussed the matter with them.

    "What we had to say, we said it at the (last fourth party) convention," he said.

    Mr. Kastanidis categorically denied that the subject of his meeting with the premier had been early elections.

    "Who says such things?", he asked.

    [9] Simitis meets with PASOK Parliamentary group's presidium

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with the presidium of PASOK's Parliamentary group yesterday and discussed all unresolved issues regarding the group, as it was its first meeting after the party convention, Parliamentary group President Nikos Akritidis said.

    Mr. Akritidis said the premier repeated his commitment for the upgrading of the Parliamentary group's role, among others.

    Replying to a relevant question, Mr. Akritidis said there was no discussion of possible early elections.

    [10] Gov't considers closing loophole in law concerning extradition of alleged war criminals

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    The government is reportedly working to cover loopholes in the law currently not providing extradition possibilities for individuals in Greece accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, following a recent visit paid to Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos by an International Criminal Court delegation.

    The meeting was held to discuss implementation of decisions taken by the UN Security Council and co-operation of Greek courts with the International Court.

    Mr. Venizelos had said during the meeting that within the framework of the Constitution, co-operation with the International Criminal Court at The Hague, which had been formed to deal with alleged war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, could only occur on the condition of a special law being passed.

    The government is attempting to cover this legal loophole by forming a committee which will draw up a relevant draft bill. A presidential decree creating this committee is currently awaiting publication in the Government Gazette.

    The committee plans to study problems arising from the transfer of the UN Security Council's decisions to Greek law.

    [11] Greek military delegation to visit Gjirokaster

    Gjirokaster, 06/08/1996 (ANA - P. Barkas)

    A three-member military delegation from the Hellenic Army's Ioannina Division, headed by Lt. Gen. Roubis, began a two-day visit to the Gjirokaster Division in Albania yesterday.

    The Greek delegation will hold talks with Division Commander Liatsi on issues concerning a recently signed bilateral defense co-operation agreement.

    This is the first time after the Second World War that a Greek lieutenant general commanding the Eighth Ioannina Division has visited Gjirokaster.

    [12] Anastasios had warned Fanar over Tirana's reaction regarding Metropolitans' ordination issue

    Tirana, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios had reportedly warned the Ecumenical Patriarchate of what Tirana's reaction would be to an appointment of Greek clerics to the Albanian Orthodox Church, reliable sources told ANA.

    Anastasios suggested to the Fanar that talks begin with the Albanian authorities, and cautioned against any other surprise moves following the Patriarchate's ordination of three Greek clerics as Metropolitans of the Albanian Orthodox Church.

    A representative of the Albanian government sent a letter to Anastasios last Friday over what it considers the controversial ordinations.

    "We learned of the event through the press," the letter stated, adding:

    "We were surprised by the fact that the Patriarchate, without having discussed beforehand with representatives of the Albanian government, takes a decision so that the whole of the (Holy) Synod in Albania is made up of Greek nationals. Not only does this go against all ethics in relations between the two sides, but at the same time insults the national consciousness of our people, including that of the Albanian Orthodox.

    "We ask you, Your Grace, to convey to the Patriarchate our known position not to allow any foreign cleric to direct religious affairs in Albania. This position has nothing to do with the friendship of our people with the Greek people."

    According to the same sources, when Anastasios was urgently called upon last month to conduct ordinations in Istanbul, he analyzed the special conditions and difficulties still existing in Albania, saying that it would be a "blessing" for him if there w ere many Metropolitans and clerics to help him in efforts to rebuild the Albanian Orthodox Church.

    "However, the existing situation must be understood and dealt with seriously," he said at the time, declining to participate in the ordinations.

    "In Albania, fears and concerns have already been strengthened that the Greeks are attempting to permeate and carry out national plans through the Orthodox Autocephalus Church of Albania. Of course, these views held in Albania are unfair and unrealistic , nevertheless they are clearly manifested"

    The Archbishop had added that "the strong reaction of the President of the Albanian Republic, Sali Berisha, following the election of the Archbishop and Metropolitans is well-known. During his meeting with representatives of the Patriarchate, he had clearly stressed that the Albanian government will not accept another high-ranking Greek cleric. He had proposed that Metropolitans be ordained from other nationalities."

    [13] Greek-language schools in 3 Albanian cities approved

    Gjirokaster, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    An Albanian government spokesman yesterday announced that a cabinet meeting had decided to amend a law concerning the education of ethnic minorities in Albania.

    According to the spokesman, the amendment concerns the schooling of ethnic Greek students in Gjirokaster, Delvino and Sarande.

    The decision was part of a commitment Albanian President Sali Berisha made to visiting Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos during the latter's visit to Tirana last March.

    [14] EOMMEX programme to fund new small, medium-sized businesses

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    A consulting committee of the Hellenic Organization of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Handicrafts (EOMMEX) has approved almost 1.2 billion drachmas for the reinforcement of new enterprises interested in the sector of small and medium-sized enterprises in the central Macedonia region.

    The funds are to be provided through the fourth programme of the EU's industrial business programme. Other sectors to benefit from the funding will include handicrafts and sub-contracting, while technical aid will be provided to chambers of commerce, among others.

    The EOMMEX consulting committee for central Macedonia has examined 98 applications, 71 of which concerned the reinforcement of new businesses. Of these, 57 were approved, with a total budged to 1.187 billion drachmas.

    Most of the new businesses are interested in the sectors of baking, patisserie and food standardization, followed by the construction of doors and windows, and furniture-making.

    [15] Laid off Goodyear workers announce boycott if plant isn't reopened

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Workers at the Goodyear plant in Thessaloniki announced a boycott of the company's products next Tuesday if the multi-national company does not reverse its decision to close the plant.

    The boycott was decided on yesterday during a meeting held in the Thessaloniki Labor Center (EKTh), with the participation of the center's administration, the employees' union, deputies of the prefecture and representatives of Thessaloniki-area businesses.

    The president of the Goodyear workers' union, Sotiris Ainatzis, said efforts will be made for the boycott to take on international dimensions, adding that the European and International Federation of Workers in the Energy and Chemical Industry are supporting workers' demands.

    Union members and the president of EKTh, Ilias Kontopoulos, expressed their dissatisfaction, saying the government has not yet informed them on the results of meetings between the labor ministry and Goodyear.

    Trade union members announced that if they are not informed on the results of these meetings by August 13, they will hold a rally and a protest march to the Macedonia-Thrace ministry and demand to meet with members of the government.

    They also said other mobilizations will follow after August 15, such as the blocking of the Thessaloniki industrial area.

    [16] Kastanidis sees recent improvement in Olympic's services

    Athens, 06/08/1996 (ANA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis yesterday expressed satisfaction over what he called a "visible improvement" in services offered by Olympic Airways.

    In statements to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Mr. Kastanidis acknowledged, however, that the problems prevailing "have not found a solution."

    "An amazing effort is currently underway to remedy the existing state of things through managerial restructuring," he added.

    Early last month, Mr. Kastanidis criticized what he called the "tragic situation" prevailing with the national carrier, stressing his resolution to push for radical changes. He had also referred to unjustifiable delays in flights and lack of coordination between Olympic's various departments, blaming them on "indifference of executives and sectarian trade union interests."

    End of English language section.

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