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A.N.A. Bulletin, 09/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 959), August 9, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] EU welcomes Vouliagmeni accord, Greece's mediation

  • [2] President visits quake-stricken zone of Konitsa today

  • [3] Benos calls for UNESCO intervention to protect Agia Sofia

  • [4] Arsenis says strong military best reply to Turkish claims on Greek isles

  • [5] Turkish students visit Kozani

  • [6] Evert calls for EU assistance to tackle foot-and-mouth disease

  • [7] 21.1 million ECU approved for environmental projects

  • [8] Brown & Root takes over administration, management of Hellenic Shipyards

  • [9] Tzoumakas' allegations of irregularities in cotton, tobacco boards to be investigated

  • [10] Finance ministry sets up new body for fiscal policy


  • [1] EU welcomes Vouliagmeni accord, Greece's mediation

    Brussels, 09/08/1996 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission yesterday hailed the Vouliagmeni agreement for mutual recognition between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia as well as Greece's mediation towards the accord, as a "very important development".

    An EU Commission spokesman told the ANA that the agreement "is very important for stability in the region and supports the peace process as defined by the Dayton accord."

    The establishment of diplomatic relations between these two countries is a precondition for the normalization of relations between the European Union and Yugoslavia, the spokesman added.

    "We hope that mutual recognition will be completed after the meeting scheduled for the end of the month between the two countries' foreign ministers," the spokesman concluded.

    Following talks hosted by the Greek government on Wednesday, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman concluded an agreement providing for mutual recognition and promoting solutions to a series of problems between Yugoslavia and Croatia.

    The two presidents had met for several hours of negotiations at the Athens seaside resort of Vouliagmeni.

    According to the agreement, the two countries' foreign ministers would meet in Belgrade at the end of this month to finalize the agreement.

    Both Mr. Tudjman and Mr. Milosevic thanked Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the Greek government for their hospitality.

    On Wednesday, sources said the meeting between the two was made possible after protracted diplomatic consultations, which began about 25 days ago, involving Prime Minister Simitis, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and the ambassadors of Yugoslavia an d Croatia in Athens.

    Mr. Simitis played an active role during Croatian-Yugoslav consultations.

    [2] President visits quake-stricken zone of Konitsa today

    Athens, 09/08/1996 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to visit the quake-stricken region of Konitsa today in order to be briefed on problems faced by the area.

    The government declared Konitsa a quake-stricken zone on Wednesday, after two strong tremors measuring 5.6 and 5.2 on the Richter scale shook the area on Tuesday and twelve days ago, respectively, causing damage to hundreds of buildings. No injuries were reported from the quakes.

    [3] Benos calls for UNESCO intervention to protect Agia Sofia

    Athens, 09/08/1996 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Stavros Benos has requested the effective intervention of UNESCO to protect the Byzantine church of Agia Sofia in Istanbul against Ankara's reported intention of converting it into a mosque.

    In a letter sent yesterday to UNESCO General Director Federico Mayor, Mr. Benos stresses that Agia Sofia is "in danger of losing its character as a monument and museum if it is converted into a mosque".

    He also notes the threat to Agia Sofia posed by any possible interruption of restoration work, which is essential to the monument's preservation.

    In addition, Mr. Benos underlines that the church's conversion into a mosque would necessitate the covering up of Christian mosaic work "which will violate substantial regulations of the convention for the protection of world cultural heritage".

    According to Turkish press reports, Turkey's Minister to the Prime Minister, Jemil Tudc, has initiated legal proceedings to convert Agia Sofia, currently a museum, into a mosque.

    The Greek government and opposition parties have strongly protested Ankara's plans, saying that any conversion of Agia Sofia would be an unprecedented international provocation and a major problem in Turkey's relations with the western world.

    [4] Arsenis says strong military best reply to Turkish claims on Greek isles

    Athens, 09/08/1996 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis yesterday responded to a Turkish military report disputing Greek sovereignty of about 100 Aegean islands, by saying that the maintenance of a strong and effective deterrent force was the best answer.

    The report, said to have been drawn up after the Greek-Turkish stand-off in the Aegean over the Imia islets in late January, was published in the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet on Tuesday.

    "The best answer we can give is the steadiness in our positions, powerful armed forces which can operate as a strong deterrent force, and function in a way that this message is passed on to the other side," he said.

    The report claimed that "the Aegean islands not referred to in any treaty, and which were not taken by Greece during the Balkan Wars, as well as the islands, islets and rocks lying less than six miles from the Turkish coast, legally belong to Turkey, the state which succeeded the Ottoman Empire."

    [5] Turkish students visit Kozani

    Athens, 09/08/1996 (ANA)

    Eleven Turkish students in Ankara University's Modern Greek Language and Literature Department are currently staying in Kozani, northern Greece, where they are attending lessons in modern Greek and Greek literature.

    The Turkish students, who are being hosted following an initiative taken by their professor, Stavros Yiolitzoglu, arrived in Kozani last week and will remain there until August 31. Their stay will also include visits to archeological sites and museums.

    Ankara University's Modern Greek Language and Literature Department has been operating successfully for some years now.

    [6] Evert calls for EU assistance to tackle foot-and-mouth disease

    Athens, 09/08/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert said yesterday the European Union should exert pressure on Turkey in order to contain the spread of foot-and-mouth disease across the border via the Evros river in Greece's northeastern province of Thrace.

    The disease has already forced authorities to destroy thousands of animals.

    During a tour of the region at the head of a delegation of ND deputies, Mr. Evert said ensuring that livestock farmers remain in the area and continue their activity was of great importance.

    "The short-term aim is to tackle the disease which has caused this tragedy, and salvage as large a part of the animal capital as possible, but the measures to be adopted for the development of stockbreeding anew are of greater importance," he said.

    "We must armor Evros. And this armoring is not only military, it is it mainly developmental. For us the problem of agriculture and stockbreeding is not merely economic. It is national par excellence, because we want citizens to remain in their communi ties, near the land, and not in the big urban centers...

    The danger from the east is not only military, it is also represented by the abandonment of the border region," Mr. Evert added.

    He stressed that problems should be tackled on a regional basis: "I deeply believe that a government must tackle problems where they arise, and not in Athens. No matter how well it may be informed, it cannot have a comprehensive view if it does not live through the problem as we are experiencing it today," he said.

    Evros prefect Giorgos Dolios called for the issue of the disease to be discussed in Parliament.

    The New Democracy party delegation visiting the region last night issued a text of proposals for the revitalization of agriculture in general and the tackling of the consequences of foot-and-mouth disease in particular.

    It called on the agriculture ministry to seek the co-operation of its Turkish counterpart ministry and to seek assistance from the European Union, pointing out the attention which Britain, employing a smaller percentage of its population in stockbreeding, had managed to gain at European Union level on the issue of mad cow disease.

    [7] 21.1 million ECU approved for environmental projects

    Brussels, 09/08/1996 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission yesterday announced the approval of 21.1 million ECU in financial assistance, to be disbursed from the Cohesion Fund, for the construction of six environmental projects in Greece.

    These include biological treatment plants, and sewage and water supply networks in Hania, Metsovo in Epeiros, Florina in western Macedonia, Halkida and Mytilini, as well as supplementary work in the Mornos river reservoir, which supplies Athens with much of its water.

    [8] Brown & Root takes over administration, management of Hellenic Shipyards

    Athens, 09/08/1996 (ANA)

    Hellenic Shipyards (HS) yesterday reached an agreement after protracted negotiations with the Brown & Root company, for the assumption by the latter of its administration and management.

    An HS statement said the composition of the management team would be determined by Brown & Root. It also said the arrangement, coupled with a 12 billion drachma investment plan over the next five years, created the best conditions for the company's favorable course under the new ownership scheme, which gives 49 per cent of shares to employees, with the rest being controlled by the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA).

    [9] Tzoumakas' allegations of irregularities in cotton, tobacco boards to be investigated

    Athens, 09/08/1996 (ANA)

    A public prosecutor is to conduct a preliminary investigation into allegations of financial and managerial irregularities in the agriculture ministry-supervised cotton and tobacco boards. The allegations were made last week by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas.

    The minister has already replaced the heads of the two organizations, and is pushing for a restructuring of the department which manages EU funds.

    [10] Finance ministry sets up new body for fiscal policy

    Athens, 09/08/1996 (ANA)

    The finance ministry has prepared a draft presidential decree providing for the setting up of a General Secretariat for Fiscal Policy (GGDP), which will be responsible for the drawing up and execution of the state budget and the study, formulation and monitoring of taxation and fiscal policies.

    GGDP will also be responsible for financial planning, the utilization and management of state reserves, the exercise of borrowing policy and the management of public debt, as well as for the control of state financial management and supervision of public utilities.

    Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said the decree completes the institutional reforms in the state's General Accounting Office.

    End of English language section.

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