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A.N.A. Bulletin, 20/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 967), August 20, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Simitis calls on Ankara to work for peace in the region

  • [2] Tsovolas comments

  • [3] Gov't: Premier will soon decide whether to hold early elections

  • [4] Reactions

  • [5] 'Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus' programme inaugurated

  • [6] Turkey to ask Greece to cover damage to diplomatic missions

  • [7] Five charged with Komotini disturbances

  • [8] World premiere of 'Cavafy' set for Toronto Festival

  • [9] Laid-off Goodyear workers close industrial zone

  • [10] Retail sales value up in May

  • [11] Clean-up operation in Saronic gulf nears end

  • [12] Political Spring, Tsovolas criticize oil tax on fishermen

  • [13] OTE's solidarity with stock-breeders


  • [1] Simitis calls on Ankara to work for peace in the region

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday called on Ankara to "stop its theatrics" and take actions to advance peace and co-operation in the area.

    "It would be best for the Turkish leadership to put aside the theatrics and take substantive steps which will promote peace and co-operation in the region," Mr. Simitis said after a one-hour meeting with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, whom he briefed on his consultations Saturday while in Cyprus.

    Mr. Simitis paid a nine-hour working visit to Nicosia on Saturday for talks with the Cypriot leadership on methods to intensify diplomatic activity internationally for condemnation of recent Turkish provocations and the killing by Turkish troops and a mob of two unarmed Greek Cypriot demonstrators in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    During his visit to Nicosia, Mr. Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos attended a meeting of the Cyprus National Council, the island republic's top advisory body to the Cypriot president on the handling of the Cyprus problem.

    "Greece will unwaveringly continue its policy of reinforcing its armed forces, international alliances and supports, in order to give a decisive response to any Turkish designs," Mr. Simitis told reporters after his meeting with Mr. Stephanopoulos. Meanwhile, the Cyprus National Council is due to convene today in order to reach a final decision as to whether a meeting should take place between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the issuing of a joint statement aimed at defusing tension, as it has been proposed by UN chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

    The National Council is also due to discuss a US proposal for a "military dialogue" with Turkey.

    President Clerides last night upon his arrival at Larnaca Airport from Greece revealed that the proposal for a meeting between himself and Mr. Denktash was put forward by Mr. Boutros-Ghali during a telephone conversation last Friday.

    He said the UN chief had "suggested a meeting with Denktash and the issuing of a joint statement to defuse the tension. I have answered that it is very early for such a meeting."

    Earlier while in Greece, Mr. Clerides said he did not wish for a perpetuated dialogue with Mr. Denktash, which could be exploited to show that Greek and Turkish Cypriots cannot find a solution to the island's political problem.

    The Cypriot president made the statement in response to press questions while on the northeastern Aegean island of Samothrace for the opening of a series of events with the theme "Thrace-the Aegean-Cyprus: United Area of Defense and Culture."

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis was also present at the opening.

    President Clerides said the National Council has agreed to that there can be talks with Mr. Denktash "only when common ground is reached on the basic principles of the Cyprus problem."

    He stressed that Greek Cypriots "do not wish for the perpetuation of a dialogue which Denktash uses as a way not to solve the Cyprus problem, but to show that the two communities cannot find a solution."

    Back in Athens, President Stephanopoulos also held a meeting with Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras, who reiterated his proposal for a political leaders council meeting to deal with Turkish provocations as well as the convening of a conference on Cyprus.

    "At a time when Turkey employs all means to overturn the unfavorable climate caused by its unacceptable and inhuman behavior we unfortunately continue to act spasmodically," Mr. Samaras said after his meeting with the president.

    "Based on the fact that new tension is to be expected in the next months caused by Turkey's behavior, it is time, at last, to coordinate our actions," he added.

    Mr. Samaras criticized both the government and the main opposition New Democracy party for not proceeding with the convening of a political leaders council meeting, saying that "by accepting it at times and denying it at others they have achieved that such a meeting has never materialized."

    The Political Spring leader also called on Mr. Stephanopoulos to try and achieve the convening of a Panhellenic conference together with Cyprus' political leadership with the aim, at this stage, of coordinating action in the political, economic and defense areas.

    He noted that refusal on the part of the government would be translated as "party dogmatism, fanaticism and short-sightedness."

    Asked to state his views in the event of early elections, Mr. Samaras said that "at this hour I believe that our national causes are in a critical period and I do not wish to give any further meaning to my meeting with the president of the republic."

    [2] Tsovolas comments

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) President Dimitris Tsovolas yesterday stressed the need for a national strategy of unity and the redefinition of Greece's foreign policy, based on protection of territorial integrity and national rights.

    He further called for the exercise of Greece's rights in the European Union and other international bodies.

    "If the Greek and Greek Cypriot leadership actually believes that Turkey's plan of shrinking Hellenism can be overturned by 'friendship' and 'co-operation' (as this is dictated by) the great powers, then they are turning a blind eye (to developments)," he said.

    [3] Gov't: Premier will soon decide whether to hold early elections

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday left open the prospect of early general elections, saying that Premier Costas Simitis would weigh the various views and facts and "take his decisions and announce them as soon as possible, possibly within the week".

    Mr. Reppas said in reply to questions at his regular briefing that the "election-mongering" had taken on such an extent that "it cannot leave us indifferent and apathetic".

    Asked whether the government's commitment to exhaust the entire four-year term had ceased to apply, Mr. Reppas said the commitment had been made at a specific point in time.

    "We are at a different point in time, in which the conditions are different," he added.

    Meanwhile in Samothrace, former minister and PASOK deputy Stelios Papathemelis yesterday dismissed the likelihood of early elections.

    "I don't see early elections," he said "in view of the national issues especially that of Islamic Turkey."

    [4] Reactions

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos yesterday called on the government to decide on whether or not to hold early elections.

    He spoke of a wavering by the government, saying that certain ministers are talking of early elections while others are not.

    "ND has in due time specified the fate of this government. However, even now, the prime minister ought to comprehend that it must make decisions. Decisions as to whether early elections will be held, but particularly decisions on the country's true issues," Mr. Pavlopoulos said.

    "No matter how anxious the prime minister is regarding his political fate, it is not possible for the country's great problems - economic, social and particularly national - to remain abandoned to their fate," the ND spokesman added.

    Speaking from the eastern Aegean island of Ikaria yesterday, Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos accused the government of neglecting serious political and economic problems and concentrating on election and slander tactics.

    Mr. Constantopoulos called on the premier to clearly state under which electoral system the next general elections will be held, what guarantees would be in place for election spending control, what the limits will be for political advertising through t he media and how the constitution will be revised.

    [5] 'Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus' programme inaugurated

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Visiting Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis yesterday officially launched the cultural voyage of the Hellenic naval vessel "Samos" from Thrace to Cyprus within the context of the "Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus" programme.

    The programme, sponsored by the national defense ministry and the Panteion University of Athens, is designed to emphasize the cultural unity of the three regions through the symbolism of the travels of Homeric hero Ulysses and other legendary ancient he roes and figures. It involves a tour of the armored vehicle carrier through the Aegean to Cyprus, hosting plays and other events.

    Mr. Clerides said in a short address that his presence on the eastern Aegean island of Samothrace was to underline Hellenism's obligation to safeguard sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity. "Hellenism decides that it will not allow our national space to be reduced," Mr. Clerides said, adding that "if Cyprus is lost, then other parts of Greece will also be in danger".

    Mr. Arsenis said that, if necessary, Greece would fight for freedom and territorial integrity, adding that the meaning of the Samos' cultural voyage was to stress the inalienable cultural ties between Thrace, the Aegean and Cyprus.

    "We want to live in peace, to make Greece more powerful," Mr. Arsenis said. "We fought for our country in the past. If necessary we will fight again and win."

    [6] Turkey to ask Greece to cover damage to diplomatic missions

    Ankara, 20/08/1996 (ANA/DPA)

    Turkey will officially ask Greece to cover the cost of damage to diplomatic missions in several Greek cities incurred last week by hundreds of angry protesters, DPA quoted the semi-official Anatolia agency as saying yesterday.

    Anatolia quoted unidentified sources as saying Ankara would express dissatisfaction with the Greek government on the grounds that it failed to protect the Turkish missions as required by international agreements.

    Foreign ministry officials in Ankara said investigations were being made by Turkish authorities to determine the total damage to buildings.

    The protesters in Greece were angered with the killings of two Greek Cypriot demonstrators by Turkish occupation forces last week in the buffer zone dividing the island of Cyprus.

    A Reuters report later quoted a Turkish foreign ministry official saying that it was normal for Turkey to demand damages.

    "The responsibility for the security of foreign representations in a country belongs to the official bodies of that country," he was quoted as saying.

    [7] Five charged with Komotini disturbances

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Five people will face charges of damaging property and disturbing the peace following rowdy scenes in Komotini on Friday night at the end of a rally to protest plans by Turkish authorities to convert the Ayia Sophia church in Istanbul into a mosque.

    The five are Kostas Kozokas, 20, Chrysostomos Karafidis, 21, Nazif Ferit, 20, and two youths who have not been identified because of their age.

    Another two youths have been charged with theft and looting.

    [8] World premiere of 'Cavafy' set for Toronto Festival

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    The world premiere of the film "Cavafy" by director Yiannis Smaragdis will be held at the Toronto Festival in Canada on September 10, it was announced yesterday.

    The film will be Greece's official contribution to the festival, which will run from September 5-15.

    Dimitris Kataleifou, who stars in the film, will also be present at the premiere.

    The score to the film has been composed by internationally renowned Greek composer Vangelis Papathanasiou.

    The film was produced by the Greek Film Center, ET1 and Mr. Smaragdis.

    [9] Laid-off Goodyear workers close industrial zone

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Workers laid off from Goodyear's Thessaloniki plant blockaded the northern city's industrial zone yesterday morning, calling for the factory's re-opening.

    The blockade was scheduled to be followed by a meeting at the Thessaloniki Labor Center at midday to decide further action.

    Goodyear announced it was closing the plant late last month, leaving 350 people out of a job, as part of a company restructuring effort and plans to transfer operations to Slovenia.

    Representatives of the sacked workers are expected in Athens this morning to meet with officials at the development ministry. Reports said the protesters were also planning to blockade border posts in northern Greece.

    Workers said that their call for a boycott on Goodyear tires had already begun to show results, claiming that sales in northern Greece were down by 5 per cent.

    [10] Retail sales value up in May

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Retail sales in stores rose by 16.7 per cent in value in May against the same month in 1995, the National Statistics Service of Greece (ESYE) announced yesterday.

    If inflation, which was running at an annualized rate of 9.1 per cent in May, is deducted from the value (which represents revenues), the real increase (representing the volume of retail sales) is 6.97 per cent against May 1995.

    ESYE attributed the increase in May from rises in the turnover in foodstuffs, clothing, footwear, furniture, household furnishings and other consumer goods.

    [11] Clean-up operation in Saronic gulf nears end

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    The merchant marine ministry yesterday announced the conclusion of work to disperse pollution in the Saronic gulf, caused when lightning struck the Motor Oil company installations at Agioi Theodoroi.

    The slick is believed to be the worst pollution ever in the region and stretched from the western shores of Salamina to the shores of Souvala on Aegina.

    The announcement said dispersion of the pollution in the most inaccessible beaches of the Saronikos region is expected to take place in the next days.

    [12] Political Spring, Tsovolas criticize oil tax on fishermen

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    Political Spring party spokesperson Notis Martakis yesterday lashed out against the government, accusing it of trying to "exter-minate" fishermen, following changes in the taxation of oil distributed to fishermen.

    Referring to the Aegean fishermen's protests against government changes in oil pricing policy, Mr. Martakis said that just weeks after the government's pledge to give a series of financial incentives to fishermen in the border islands of the Aegean aimed at developing the region, "the government has set on a course of exterminating them."

    "We call on the government to immediately withdraw this measure of economic drainage of Greek fishermen and adopt Political Spring's proposal to distribute oil in transit prices to the entire farming population of our country."

    President of the Democratic Social Movement (DIKI), Dimitris Tsovolas called changes in oil pricing "a blow against fishing and the poor fishermen of Kalymnos and the rest of the country's islands."

    [13] OTE's solidarity with stock-breeders

    Athens, 20/08/1996 (ANA)

    In a gesture of solidarity with those stock-breeders whose herds have been affected by foot-and-mouth disease, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) has decided to extend pay-by dates for telephone bills until December 31 to avert unnecessary disconnections.

    OTE has also decided to waive penalties for non-payment of bills dating from July until the end of the year.

    End of English language section.

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