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A.N.A. Bulletin, 07/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 957), August 7, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece's Olympic champions receive heroes' welcome upon return

  • [2] Milosevic, Tudjman to meet with Simitis today in Vouliagmeni

  • [3] Greek, German defense ministers tour Crete

  • [4] Athens praises Tirana decision on ethnic minority students' schooling

  • [5] Evert ends tour of Samos, promises election victory

  • [6] Arsenis to attend Samothrace events as part of the "Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus" program

  • [7] Investigation into Marinos' death continues

  • [8] Another quake reported in the Konitsa area

  • [9] Turkish stockbreeders attempt to take advantage of animal disease outbreaks

  • [10] Papoutsis: US law targeting oil industry in Libya, Iran will create severe problems for Europe

  • [11] Simitis, Yiannopoulos discuss absorption of EU funds

  • [12] Arrivals fall by 30 per cent at spa resorts this year


  • [1] Greece's Olympic champions receive heroes' welcome upon return

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    Fresh from its best performance in 100 years, most of the Greek Olympic team arrived in Athens yesterday afternoon greeted by tens of thousands of Athenians, who lined a route from the airport to the central Panathenian Stadium, where celebrations in their honor were held well into the evening.

    Flag-waving crowds cheered the athletes, who displayed their medals to adoring fans while riding atop military jeeps.

    The 46 athletes, including four gold and four silver medal winners, arrived at Athens airport at roughly 6:30 yesterday afternoon to be greeted by relatives, politicians and the public.

    The 46-strong group of Olympic finalists were driven to the Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern Olympic Games were held 100 years ago - the four gold medalists in the first jeep. The procession stopped at various municipalities before arriving at the stadium, with the athletes honored with various awards.

    The motorcade ended at the Temple of Zeus, where the eight Olympic gold and silver medalists were awarded the "gold medal of honor" by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    "Today Athens, the cradle of civilization, opens its gate for you. It honors you and it is being honored," Mr. Avramopoulos said.

    All 46 Olympic finalists, in the first eight positions in their respective events, then proceeded to the packed 80,000-seat Panathenian Stadium on foot.

    Fireworks subsequently lit up the warm Athenian sky, as the athletes entered the marble stadium, greeted by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, most of the cabinet and all of the nation's political leadership.

    The president awarded laurel wreaths to the four gold-medal winners.

    "We did it for Greece," weightlifter Pyrros Dimas said.

    Dimas won his second gold medal in Atlanta after picking up a gold four years ago in Barcelona. Besides Dimas, fellow weightlifter Akakios Kakhiashvilis won a gold medal, along with Yiannis Melissanidis in gymnastics and Nikos Kaklamanakis in windsurfing (mistral board). Three other weightlifters won silver medals, as did high-jumper Niki Bakoyianni. Five other athletes placed fourth. The men's basketball team finished in fifth place, while the men's water polo team placed sixth.

    "We thank everyone for this warm welcome," Dimas added.

    In a speech addressed to the Olympic athletes, Mr. Simitis said "we feel especially proud, because your medals reflect the Greece of the future, the Greece of creation.

    "Your victory for all of us is a great lesson, showing that nothing is conquered without toil. That nothing is won without sacrifices. That nothing is consolidated without effort. That nothing is ensured without outdoing ourselves.

    "For us, who are fighting for a strong Greece, your effort was an important and pleasant message, that Hellenism has the strength to create a powerful Greece on all levels. And we thank you for that.

    "We thank you. Because at a time in which many speak of signs of decline, you showed the existence of a Greece of creation, of effort, of dynamism," the prime minister said.

    "Today, in the era of spectacle and extreme commercialism, there is a need to give a new universal substance to the 'Olympic spirit' and this substance can be none other than ethos, friendship, brotherhood and communication.

    "With this cooperative and universal spirit, we will bid for the 2004 Olympic Games. We wish to host the Olympics of co-operation, solidarity, of inter-cultural co-operation, of the idea of protecting our common home, earth - namely, the ecological idea.

    "We all have the capabilities to undertake the organization of those Olympic Games, which will not be a mere struggle for money, but a gathering of all nations in the country where the idea of fair competition and measuring one's worth was born."

    Athens will officially bid for the 2004 Olympics. The next games will be held in Sydney.

    [2] Milosevic, Tudjman to meet with Simitis today in Vouliagmeni

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will meet with the presidents of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, and of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, at the Astir Palace Hotel in the Athens seaside resort of Vouliagmeni this morning, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced last night.

    "At the invitation of Prime Minister Costas Simitis, the presidents of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, and of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, will meet in Athens today for talks concerning the further improvement of bilateral relations between Yugoslavia and Croatia ," he said.

    Sources said the purpose of the meeting is to discuss outstanding issues in the implementation of the Dayton peace accord.

    The prime minister will initially confer with his two guests for about half-an-hour, and will host a working lunch after their discussions have progressed, the same sources said.

    A Reuter dispatch from Belgrade last night reported that Mr. Tudjman's office in Zagreb stated that the meeting had been organized by the Greek premier.

    The meeting is believed to be the first face-to-face encounter of the two men outside international conferences related to the Dayton peace accord.

    A Croatian official, who declined to be named, could not say if a long-awaited mutual recognition agreement with Yugoslavia would be sealed today, Reuter added.

    [3] Greek, German defense ministers tour Crete

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis and his German counterpart Volker Ruehe visited the famous Samaria Canyon in Crete yesterday.

    Mr. Ruehe is currently on a private visit to Crete.

    [4] Athens praises Tirana decision on ethnic minority students' schooling

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    Greece today welcomed a decision by the Albanian government to amend a law on the education of ethnic minorities, which will pave the way for the operation of Greek-language schools in Gjirokaster, Delvino and Sarande.

    "The Greek government considers that this decision will contribute to the further improvement of bilateral relations, relations which are on a continuously upward course, to the benefit of progress of the two peoples but also of stability, peace and mutual co-operation in the Balkans," a foreign ministry announcement read.

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

    [5] Evert ends tour of Samos, promises election victory

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    At the end of his tour of the eastern Aegean island of Samos yesterday, main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert reiterated his conviction that ND will win the next general elections.

    "Be sure that I will soon come and visit you as prime minister," he said.

    Mr. Evert welcomed the government's announced plan to grant tax incentives to islands with a population under 3,000 residents, but called on the PASOK government to abolish the so-called objective tax criteria.

    [6] Arsenis to attend Samothrace events as part of the "Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus" program

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis will attend the official opening of events entitled "The Journey of Hellenism", held on the island of Samothrace on August 19 within the framework of the recently announced "Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus" program.

    The programme, organized by the national defense ministry in co-operation with the ministries of the Aegean and Macedonia-Thrace, aims to reinforce the national identity of those regions.

    It involves a series of cultural events organized around the journey of a vessel from Thrace to Cyprus, with intermediate stops on the islands of Samothrace, Limnos, Hios, Samos and Kalymnos.

    According to the program's organizers, the journey symbolizes the voyages of legendary Greek heroes, such as Odysseus.

    In Kalymnos, a round-table discussion will be held on the subject of "The Strategy of Hellenism on the Threshold of the Year 2000".

    Events included within the overall programme are an art exhibition in the Evros prefecture by School of Fine Arts graduates, as well as various theatrical and musical productions in the other sites included in the programme.

    [7] Investigation into Marinos' death continues

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    Continuation of a preliminary investigation into the death of Christophoros Marinos, a controversial self-styled anarchist figure found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in a ferry boat cabin last month, has been requested by the head of the Piraeus prosecuting department.

    Further investigation into the incident has been undertaken by another prosecutor, who is expected to recall some of the original 30 witnesses for additional statements.

    According to reports, Marinos' parents will be included in those requested for further statements.

    In their original statement, they claimed their son had been killed by members of a special police squad (EKAM), while they also hold the captain of the ferry boat "Pegasus" responsible.

    [8] Another quake reported in the Konitsa area

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    Seismology experts were cautious in predictions yesterday after a 5.6 on the Richter scale earthquake struck the Konitsa area early yesterday morning - one week after a 5.2 on the Richter scale tremor hit the same region. Yesterday's quake, centered near the Greek-Albanian border, caused damage to hundreds of buildings, but no injuries. Many residents were already camped in tents following the previous earthquake 10 days ago.

    Thessaloniki University Seismology Professor Vassilis Karakostas told ANA that the quake was most likely the "main tremor" but did not rule out "some abnormal development".

    The area itself does not have a history of particularly destructive seismic activity, despite a series of faults across the Greek - Albanian border and along the Ionian coast. The biggest quake to have been recorded was one measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale back in 1860.

    [9] Turkish stockbreeders attempt to take advantage of animal disease outbreaks

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    Authorities in the Evros border region cited reports yesterday that Turkish stockbreeders on the eastern bank of the Evros River are exploiting recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in the area and are driving a large herd of cattle westwards to take advantage of now unused pastureland in the marshy Evros River Delta.

    The Evros River marks the border between Greece and Turkey in Thrace.

    Following the reports, it is expected that representations will be made to the European Union in the next few days, aimed at exerting pressure on Ankara to ensure the removal of the Turkish herds - considered responsible for the transmission of the disease across the river into the Evros Delta - from the border.

    Meanwhile, Greek veterinary services are considering submitting a proposal to the European Commission for the slaughter of all animals within a zone of eight to 10 kilometers west of the river, in an attempt to eradicate both the foot-and-mouth disease and variola, which have appeared recently. Already some 3,500 cattle as well as 2,500 sheep and goats have been slaughtered.

    Sources said the proposal will officially be submitted to four Community experts who will visit the region August 15-19 in order to check on measures adopted against the diseases.

    In a related development, the issues arising from the recent appearance of the animal diseases were discussed at a meeting of Greek and Bulgarian officials at a border checkpoint yesterday.

    The Bulgarian side acknowledged that variola is notably present on their side of the border.

    [10] Papoutsis: US law targeting oil industry in Libya, Iran will create severe problems for Europe

    Brussels, 07/08/1996 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    European Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis expressed "deep concern" over US legislation signed by US President Bill Clinton yesterday, which calls for sanctions by Washington on foreign companies investing in energy projects in Libya or Iran.

    "I should like to express my deep concern over the D'Amato law. When it comes into force, it will create major problems for the European oil industry," he said.

    "According to the information we have business transactions in oil are not included in the list of sanctions and so there will not be any direct consequences on trade. However, (the sanctions) include new investments and the supply of technical equipment. This means that, in the long-term, the further development and exploitation of oil and natural gas reserves will be affected," he said.

    Mr. Papoutsis pointed out that the European Union imported 80 per cent of its crude oil, of which 20 per cent from Libya and Iran, while oil imports covered only 50 per cent of US requirements, supplied mainly by Venezuela, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Norway.

    "We must not forget that the oil market is a world market. Consequently, any action which affects the market should be taken after international consultations. Any interruption of the volumes of oil being imported in the world market from Libya and Iran would have a backlash not only on prices but also on the volumes being transacted, since these two countries account for 10 per cent of the world oil market," he said.

    Mr. Papoutsis stressed that the European Commission was in favor of structured dialogue rather than trade "reprisals", particularly when the latter were foreseen by national legislation with international repercussions and application.

    [11] Simitis, Yiannopoulos discuss absorption of EU funds

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Labor Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos yesterday discussed the course of the absorption of European Union funds for training programs geared toward workers and the unemployed, as well as measures to combat instances of "social exclusion."

    Sources said the labor minister told the premier that the National Certification Center is proceeding smoothly with approval of vocational training centers that will undertake implementation of programs starting this autumn.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Yiannopoulos said he was optimistic regarding the speedy absorption of EU funds, particularly for social programs, so as to cover lost ground due to past delays.

    [12] Arrivals fall by 30 per cent at spa resorts this year

    Athens, 07/08/1996 (ANA)

    A lack of a suitable hotel infrastructure is the primary reason stayovers at the nation's spa resorts this summer marked a 30 per cent decrease compared to last summer, the president of the Association of Municipal and Community Spa Resorts of Greece told a press conference in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    Apart from the hotel infrastructure problem, association president Anestis Anastasiadis said there was also a need to properly landscape areas surrounding spa resorts.

    At the same time, he reiterated a standing association proposal for spa resorts to be controlled and operated by local government organizations.

    The press conference was given on the occasion of a visit to Thessaloniki by the general secretary of the European Association of Spa Resorts, Johann Libher.

    At present, a total of 30 spa resorts operate throughout Greece, while according to Mr. Anastasiadis, at least 300 billion drachmas is needed to further develop these resorts. The association hopes to secure some of the funds from European Union programs such as "Philoxenia", which has a total budget of ECU 30 million. The programme has already been approved by the European Commission and is expected to be passed shortly by the European Parliament.

    End of English language section.

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