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A.N.A. Bulletin, 21/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 968), August 21, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Decision on early elections will be made by the end of the week, Reppas says

  • [2] Santer reconfirms timetable for Cyprus' EU accession after meeting Evert

  • [3] Evert to brief Clerides in Cyprus

  • [4] Pangalos leaves for official visit to Iran

  • [5] Turkish fighter planes infringe Greek air space

  • [6] Athens expresses reservations over possible military meeting in Cyprus

  • [7] Kaklamanis addresses letter to counterparts on tragic incidents in Cyprus

  • [8] Bar Association presidents to visit Cyprus for consultations

  • [9] New NATO southeastern wing commander to visit Greece

  • [10] Pangalos visit to Gjirokaster, Avlona

  • [11] KKE protest outside US, Turkish embassies over latest incidents in Cyprus

  • [12] Simitis meets with Skandalidis

  • [13] ND deputies table question over Turkish frigate's grounding off Kos

  • [14] Onassis Foundation refutes allegations of mismanagement of funds

  • [15] Piraeus prefect requests highest possible fine for Motor Oil's pollution

  • [16] Initial approval given for Elefsina-Stavros-Spata highway contract

  • [17] Siemens considering closure of Thessaloniki plant

  • [18] Minor quakes shake Northern Greece


  • [1] Decision on early elections will be made by the end of the week, Reppas says

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    The government will make its final decision within the week on whether to call early elections, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    The government spokesman added that "such announcements are never made without a date having been set". He reiterated that "announcements regarding this matter will be made within the week, after the prime minister has weighed the various views and fact s."

    Asked whether a diplomatic campaign to brief international public opinion on the Cyprus problem would be put back in case of early elections, Mr. Reppas replied that the government would take its decision on the basis of national interests "but if there is an election period, the government will continue to work on national issues."

    Responding to press questions on the likelihood of early elections, Health Minister Anastasios Peponis said that "nobody has the right to restrict the prime minister's discretion in formulating the ultimate opinion and making the final decision (to proceed with early elections.)"

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert said "what comes first for us are the national issues and not election-mongering. We shall wait for the government to make its position clear".

    Speaking to reporters in Hania, former prime minister and ND honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis said that in view of the recent crisis in relations between Athens and Ankara, the country should not be led to early elections, but added that the ma in opposition was ready to face elections whenever they took place. Mr. Mitsotakis warned against the exploitation of the Cyprus problem for party purposes in view of early elections.

    In a related development, Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras warned Prime Minister Costas Simitis not to embroil national issues in a "vortex" of the "pre-election battle."

    "Invoking the latest developments in our relations with Turkey as a reason for early elections is not only dangerous, but false," Mr. Samaras said, adding that "everyone remembers that the premier's intentions concerning early elections were manifested a month ago, before the recent incidents in Cyprus". Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga accused the Simitis government of using the Cyprus problem and the problems in Greek-Turkish relations to cultivate a climate of danger -mongering with a view to winning early election votes.

    Stressing that the party was ready to face elections, Ms Papariga said the government counted on an early election win to open the route "for imposing tough economic measures against the people and consolidate in Greece a mentality of subjugation to the 'new world order'.

    President of the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) Dimitris Tsovolas accused the government of using the recent events in Cyprus "to create a climate of election-mongering aiming at misleading the Greek people," following the "failure of its economic policy and its upcoming tough and anti-popular policy."

    "The government and the prime minister have been manufacturing an election-mongering climate in past weeks, something which is seriously hazardous for the economy," Mr. Tsovolas told a press conference yesterday.

    Referring to developments in Cyprus, Mr. Tsovolas said a confederation-kind of settlement was being promoted by the west and international organizations adding that "unless we dynamically react to it then this will constitute a great national crime followed by the 'Cypriotization' of Thrace and the joint exploitation of the Aegean by Greece and Turkey." He further said that Athens should not refer the Imia case to the International Court of Justice at the Hague without first reaching a settlement to the issue of the continental shelf.

    [2] Santer reconfirms timetable for Cyprus' EU accession after meeting Evert

    Brussels, 21/08/1996 (ANA-M. Spinthourakis)

    European Commission President Jacques Santer reconfirmed yesterday a timetable set for negotiations for Cyprus' accession into the European Union.

    "We will do everything so that the commitments we undertook on March 6, and which concern Cyprus' accession to the EU will be carried out. We have said, and it has been agreed, that negotiations for the accession of Cyprus will begin six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference. We abide by these commitments and there is no reason to doubt this," Mr. Santer said after a meeting with main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert, who visited Brussels yesterday.

    Following his meeting with Mr. Santer, Mr. Evert expressed satisfaction from the results of his lightning visit, which he said confirmed that negotiations for Cyprus' accession into the EU will begin six months after the conclusion of the on-going Inter governmental Conference, as initially planned.

    Referring to last week's incidents in Cyprus, during which two Greek Cypriots were killed by Turks on the UN-controlled buffer in Cyprus, Mr. Santer said "such violent acts do not have any place in a democratic and just society." He added that although Turkey has signed a customs union with the European Union, "which means that our countries (EU) should feel as partners. These (Turkey's) actions, however, do not constitute a correct behavior by partners."

    Mr. Santer said the European Union would support all United Nations efforts in finding a political settlement to the Cyprus problem based on respect of UN resolutions concerning the island republic.

    "I believe that escalation of tension serves no party's interests. We try to behave as true partners and request that the other party (Turkey) behave accordingly," Mr. Santer added.

    [3] Evert to brief Clerides in Cyprus

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Following his meeting with the Commission president, Mr. Evert arrived last night in the island republic to brief Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides on the EU's views concerning the Cyprus problem. He is also scheduled to visit Paralimni, the site near the buffer zone where two unarmed Greek Cypriot protesters were killed by Turkish occupation forces and a mob last week.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the ND political council yesterday morning, Mr. Evert stressed the need for formulation of a single foreign and defense policy, as well as the undertaking of initiatives at an international level.

    "Immediate action is necessary. Immediate decisions and initiatives are required at an international level, in order to prevent the Cyprus problem from getting bogged down again," Mr. Evert said.

    "The Cyprus problem has been bogged down for many years and it took the sacrifice of two young men for it to come to the surface again. There were strong reactions and this was positive. But experience states that reactions do not last long and this is why immediate action and initiatives are necessary," the ND leader said.

    [4] Pangalos leaves for official visit to Iran

    Tehran, 21/08/1996 (ANA/IRNA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos left for Tehran yesterday to begin a two-day official visit, during which he is to meet with Iranian officials for talks on bilateral and regional issues.

    "Greece and Iran are connected by a long friendship and enjoy intensive co-operation in all sectors. Economic relations are substantial. Iran contributes significantly to our energy supplies," Mr. Pangalos told the Iranian News Agency (IRNA) before departing for Tehran.

    "We will also discuss the political situation in the region. Both our countries are interested in an independent foreign policy. We both have interests to maintain peace and to avoid hegemonistic policies, which use violence or military threat, and so we can find common ground," the foreign minister said.

    Mr. Pangalos said he is looking forward to his meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayiati, and other high-ranking Iranian officials.

    He added that he first met with Mr. Velayiati in June when the latter visited Athens in order to attend the funeral of former prime minister Andreas Papandreou.

    The foreign minister expressed a hope that his meeting with Mr. Velayiati will be "fruitful", adding he is very interested in hearing the views of Tehran on the situation in the area.

    "Iran is a significant country. It plays a very decisive role in a very important area," the Greek foreign minister said. "We have certain plans for regional co-operation, which include Greece, Iran, Armenia, Georgia and other countries in Central Asia with similar interests," he added.

    "They would offer good ground for promotion of our future co-operation," Mr. Pangalos concluded.

    [5] Turkish fighter planes infringe Greek air space

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    A squadron of Turkish F-16 fighter planes yesterday violated Greek air space south of Crete while refuelling in mid-air.

    National defense ministry sources said the Turkish air force had submitted a relevant flight plan but that it was incomplete.

    Greek aircraft flew to the area within the framework of the usual recognition procedure. Shortly afterwards, US fighter jets refueled in mid-air in the same region. The same sources said a complete flight plan had been submitted but no NOTAM had been issued.

    The government will lodge protests concerning both incidents.

    [6] Athens expresses reservations over possible military meeting in Cyprus

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that Greece had "certain reservations" about the possibility of a meeting between the military commanders of the Greek Cypriot forces and the Turkish occupation army.

    "It is an option which the Cyprus Republic has accepted. Now the issue is being aired again and it may have a positive outcome. However, the Greek government has certain reservations, because according to our information, participating on the other side will be the military chief of the so-called Turkish Cypriot republic of northern Cyprus.

    "The Greek government considers that this participation would be a negative factor, because if someone participates bearing the insignia of the self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot republic of northern Cyprus and that person speaks, in effect this legalizes the faits accomplis. We consider this to be detrimental," he said.

    Replying to questions on Turkey's intention to claim compensation from Greece to cover the cost of damage to diplomatic missions in several Greek cities incurred last week by hundreds of angry protesters, Mr. Reppas said Ankara should be "more serious".

    "If the Turkish government believes that it is defending a moral case, a case involving rights, it must find serious arguments. The side which is responsible for two murders, for a policy of aggression and in general the side which plays the role of troublemaker in the region cannot possibly seek compensation for material damage. More seriousness is required," he said.

    [7] Kaklamanis addresses letter to counterparts on tragic incidents in Cyprus

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis denounced what he called incidents of "Turkish barbarity" in occupied Cyprus, detailing his views in a letter to his European Union member-state counterparts, the United States, Canada and Russia, as well as to the presidents of the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the Western European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the North Atlantic Assembly.

    In his letter, Mr. Kaklamanis refers to last week's events in the buffer zone dividing the island republic, during which two unarmed protesters were killed and dozens injured, and points out that "unfortunately, these barbaric acts took place under the eyes of UN forces."

    The letter is accompanied by photographic documentation.

    [8] Bar Association presidents to visit Cyprus for consultations

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    The coordinating committee of the nation's Bar Association presidents will visit Cyprus at the end of the week for consultations with their counterparts on the island republic.

    The committee, headed by Athens Bar Association president Antonis Roupakiotis will also meet Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides, Archbishop Chrysostomos, Cyprus' attorney general, as well as the leaders of political parties.

    The aim of the consultations is to explore the legal dimensions of the latest events, and ways of internationally projecting the necessity of respecting rules of international law and the indivisibility of the Cypriot state.

    The Athens Bar Association yesterday also decided to organize in Athens a forum of European jurists on the topic of "Nicosia: The Divided Capital of Europe".

    Referring to the renewed tension in the prolonged Cyprus dispute, Mr. Roupakiotis called for "unyielding resolve in demanding an immediate solution of the dispute on the basis of the application of permanent rules of international law and full respect for human rights".

    "Declarations do not produce results and international organizations proved unreliable in restoring the indivisibility of the Cypriot state. The briefing and mobilization of the European and international public opinion is considered absolutely necessary ," he said.

    A relevant memorandum had been sent to the Union of Bar Associations of the European Union's member-states (CCBE) and other international organizations of jurists.

    [9] New NATO southeastern wing commander to visit Greece

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    The commander of NATO's southeastern wing, Adm. Joseph Lopez, will conduct a courtesy visit to Greece tomorrow, following an invitation by the National Defense General Staff Chief (GEETHA), Hellenic Air Force Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis.

    Adm. Lopez assumed his duties as commander of NATO's southeastern wing on July 31, replacing US Adm. Layton Smith.

    [10] Pangalos visit to Gjirokaster, Avlona

    Gjirokaster, 21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is due to visit the Albanian city of Gjirokaster, site of a large ethnic Greek population, during his two-day unofficial visit at the end of the month in order to attend the inauguration of the renovated premises of Athens' general consulate.

    The Greek foreign minister's visit is regarded as signifying an upgrading of the consulate's role.

    Mr. Pangalos is also due to visit Avlona, where, according to reports, he will have a meeting with Albanian President Sali Berisha.

    During his visit to Gjirokaster, Mr. Pangalos will be accompanied by his Albanian counterpart and president of the Democratic Party, Tritan Siehou.

    Mr. Pangalos' visit, the first by a Greek foreign minister to an Albanian city with a large ethnic Greek population, is seen as adding further momentum to two events planned to create "routes of understanding" between the two countries.

    The first will bring Greek and Albanian reporters together, while the second, sponsored by Greece's consulate and the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and Communities (KEDKE), will be the opening of a "Quality Upgrading of the Town of Gjirokaster Week."

    The event has been organized at the initiative of newly appointed Consul General Nikos Kanellos.

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos is also due to visit the city to attend the events.

    Meanwhile, according to Albanian media reports, Mr. Pangalos is visiting Albania in order to prepare Prime Minister Costas Simitis' visit to the country, and also to put the final touches to an agreement between the two countries for legalization of Albanian seasonal workers in Greece.

    [11] KKE protest outside US, Turkish embassies over latest incidents in Cyprus

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Hundreds of Communist Party of Greece (KKE) members staged a demonstration in Athens last night, marching to the Turkish and US embassies to protest recent events in Cyprus and against US and European Union policies on the Cyprus issue.

    The march began in Kannigos Square in central Athens and ended at the US embassy, after passing by the Turkish embassy. The demonstrators submitted a petition to the US embassy, condemning what they called the encouragement of Ankara's "militarists".

    [12] Simitis meets with Skandalidis

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    After meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis for an-hour-and-a-half last night, PASOK central committee secretary Costas Skandalidis declined to directly comment on the possibility of early elections, referring reporters instead to scheduled meetings of the party's executive bureau and Parliamentary group tomorrow and on Friday.

    "I have repeatedly said that PASOK's decisions and the prime minister's initiatives are decisions that always stand and are made on the criterion of the country's national interest," he added.

    Questioned on when the premier will meet with the president of the republic, Mr. Skandalidis replied:

    "Surely you don't expect to hear from me what the prime minister will do."

    [13] ND deputies table question over Turkish frigate's grounding off Kos

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Twenty-four main opposition New Democracy deputies yesterday submitted a question in Parliament concerning the incident in which the Turkish navy frigate "Yavuz" ran aground near the eastern Aegean island of Kos last week.

    The 24 deputies are asking that all documents exchanged between the two governments concerning the incident be submitted to Parliament for deputies' consideration.

    [14] Onassis Foundation refutes allegations of mismanagement of funds

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    The board of directors of the Onassis Foundation yesterday submitted a memorandum to just ice refuting allegations of breach of trust and intimations of embezzlement contained in a lawsuit brought against them by Thierry Roussel, the former husband of the late Greek shipping heiress Christina Onassis.

    In the lengthy memorandum submitted to a magistrate within the framework of an ongoing preliminary investigation, board chairman Stelios Papadimitriou and directors Pavlos Ioannidis, Apostolos Zambelis and Theodoros Gavrilidis present a detailed account of their long-running battle with Mr. Roussel while questioning his credibility.

    The memorandum also contains accounting data and documentary evidence, according to which Mr. Roussel receives enormous sums of money annually on the sole pretext of educating his 12-year-old daughter Athina.

    After Christina's death, Mr. Roussel remarried. Apart from Athina, he has another three children.

    Among the evidence cited by the board members is a letter to Mr. Papadimitriou handwritten by Christina, shortly before she died in 1987. In the letter, Christina expresses her full confidence in the board of the public benefit foundation and her gratitude for protecting her vast fortune.

    At the same time, she also expresses doubts about Mr. Roussel's credibility, saying that he was blackmailing her by threatening to leave her if she failed to force Mr. Papadimitiriou to resign.

    "...I don't agree with what Thierry is asking - But I live with him, from time to time, and he is posing your resignation as an ultimatum to go on living with me. This puts me in a very difficult position - one, because, I don't like blackmail - I never did - two, because I have absolutely nothing against you...," Christina wrote in the letter.

    At another point in the letter, Christina tells Mr. Papadimitriou: "... It is because you protected (word underlined) my fortune and defended me, on every possible occasion, that Thierry started to dislike you...".

    Stressing that Mr. Roussel had not produced the slightest evidence to support his allegations against them, the board members maintain in the memorandum that their administration of the foundation had been "profitable, meticulous and impeccable".

    [15] Piraeus prefect requests highest possible fine for Motor Oil's pollution

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Piraeus Prefect Christos Fotiou has requested from Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis to impose the highest possible fine on the Motor Oil petroleum company for a large oil slick spotted in the Saronic Gulf on August 9.

    In a lawsuit filed against the company, Mr. Fotiou states that the pollution, caused when a lightning bolt struck the Motor Oil refinery at Agioi Theodoroi, caused serious damage to at least 40 fish farms on the nearby islands of Aegina and Salamina.

    In addition, the Greenpeace environmental organization has accused Motor Oil of "a tragic record of accidents and oil leaks compared with the country's other refineries," alleging that loading and unloading operations are carried out irrespective of weather conditions.

    [16] Initial approval given for Elefsina-Stavros-Spata highway contract

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    A Parliamentary committee yesterday overwhelmingly voted to initially approve a contract for construction of a tollway connecting Elefsina with the Stavros intersection and on to the new Spata Airport.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said yesterday that the project will cost an estimated 315 billion drachmas and is expected to be completed in five years.

    Mr. Laliotis spoke of the project's importance residents of the greater Athens area, saying it will "seal the upgrading of quality of life in Attica and will constitute a link between Patra, Athens, Thessaloniki and Evzonoi (border post)."

    He said construction is being jointly funded by the state, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a consortium undertaking the project.

    Although opposition parties agree with the construction of the ambitious highway, they expressed reservations for certain clauses in the contract.

    [17] Siemens considering closure of Thessaloniki plant

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Workers at Siemens' Thessaloniki plant have expressed fears that the company is ready to shut it down, following recent moves by management.

    Workers' concerns were heightened after they were obliged to take a fortnight's leave without pay in addition to their summer leave. Workers have agreed to work a four-day week, with a reduction in pay to avert the possibility of a closure.

    Siemens has told workers that if the contract with the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) for the supply of 360,000 digital switches is not signed by September, then it will suspend the Thessaloniki plant's operations.

    If Siemens does decide to close the plant, it will be the second major foreign investor in less than two weeks to do so, following Goodyear's decision to shut its Thessaloniki plant and move operations to Slovenia.

    [18] Minor quakes shake Northern Greece

    Athens,21/08/1996 (ANA)

    Two earth tremors shook the regions of western Macedonia and Konitsa, northern Greece, it was reported yesterday.

    The quakes registering on 3.6 and 4.8 on the open ended Richter scale, respectively, were not reported to have caused any damage or casualties.

    End of English language section.

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