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A.N.A. Bulletin, 22/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 969), August 22, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Decision on early elections to be taken by Cabinet meeting today

  • [2] Pangalos to brief EU counterparts on Tehran visit

  • [3] Final ratification for Athens-Stavros-Spata highway after elections

  • [4] Australian-Greeks' outcry over PM's "Macedonia" statements

  • [5] Evert says Santer condemned violence on Cyprus

  • [6] Benos announces new measures to decentralize services

  • [7] Geitonas offers Thessaloniki to host Interpol meeting

  • [8] ND deputy tables question on threat to citrus fruit cultivation

  • [9] 30-year-old Yiannitsa woman wins 700 million drachmas in lottery

  • [10] Alavanos calls for protection of minors to be included in Maastricht treaty

  • [11] Greece wins second bronze at para-Olympiad

  • [12] Italian arrested for robbery of jewelry store

  • [13] Gov't to promote computerized commerce

  • [14] Ioannidis meets with laid-off Goodyear workers

  • [15] Reduction in power rates for SMEs announced

  • [16] Operational energy program

  • [17] Opposition reaction


  • [1] Decision on early elections to be taken by Cabinet meeting today

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    The Cabinet will meet this afternoon to take a decision on the holding of early general elections, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    "If the Cabinet decides in favor of early elections, Prime Minister Costas Simitis will visit President Kostis Stephanopoulos at the earliest," the spokesman added, without clarifying whether this would take place tonight or tomorrow.

    However, after meeting the premier last night, National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis said Mr. Simitis would announce his decision today.

    Mr. Arsenis expressed confidence that PASOK would win the elections whenever they were held, adding that the important thing was the conditions under which the government could best carry out its tasks.

    Earlier, the prime minister had successive meetings with ministers and close associates, which reportedly focused on the issue of early elections.

    Speaking to reporters after meeting with Mr. Simitis, Health Minister Anastasios Peponis said he had "clearly" set out his positions on the issue to the premier.

    "I am convinced that the prime minister has weighed all the factors and all eventualities in coming to the decision about the elections. I believe that the decision is correct and I shall lend my support so that it is unanimous," Mr. Peponis said.

    Following a second meeting with Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, the latter told reporters:

    "I am afraid I shall disappoint you. The issue which you are expecting is within the exclusive competence of the prime minister. Therefore, you will have to wait for the relevant official announcements."

    Shortly afterwards, Mr. Simitis had separate meetings with Development Minister Vasso Papandreou and Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, both of whom departed without making statements.

    After meeting later with Mr. Simitis, Education Minister George Papandreou declined to make any statement apart from remarking that the prime minister was the only one competent to say anything that needed to be said about the issue of elections.

    Mr. Simitis also had talks with Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis and was expected to continue his meetings with government officials later in the evening.

    Meanwhile, Labor Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos told reporters he considered Sept. 29 to be the best date for elections, adding that if elections are set for the 22nd of next month, this would seriously restrict the necessary time for party preparation.

    Mr. Yiannopoulos, who until recently disagreed with the holding of early elections, said he changed his mind after recent developments on national issues

    In Thessaloniki, main opposition New Democracy deputy and former minister Sotiris Kouvelas predicted an election win for New Democracy "if we work with enthusiasm and unity."

    Mr. Kouvelas said he was determined to take on a very active role during the run-up to elections, pledging to "give everything in order to further consolidate unity in the party".

    Meanwhile, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga yesterday said elections would give the opportunity to the Greek people to use their vote in order to open new routes, but said the reasons quoted by the government as urging to early elections were not endorsed by the party.

    Ms Papariga ruled out the possibility of co-operation between KKE and the other parties.

    In another development, the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) issued an announcement yesterday calling for a moderate pre-election climate in view of this year's problems in tourism.

    "A prolonged pre-election period would have detrimental results on tourism as well as the broader economy," the announcement said, adding that it would also cause huge delays in a modernization process for the board of the National Tourism Organization (EOT), which SETE has requested be realized with an inter-party agreement.

    [2] Pangalos to brief EU counterparts on Tehran visit

    Tehran, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Greece showed "particular understanding" for Iran's place in the world and sought its "greatest possible incorporation in the world scene."

    Mr. Pangalos was speaking after talks with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Velayiati, contacts he described as "very useful" and which focused on the further improvement of bilateral relations, the strengthening of regional co-operation, Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem.

    The Greek foreign minister arrived in Tehran yesterday for a two-day official visit.

    Mr. Pangalos said he would brief his European Union counterparts on his visit to Iran during the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Dublin on September 5.

    "We are at Iran's disposal for any contact it may want with the rest of the world," Mr. Pangalos said.

    During a meeting of the two countries' delegations, it was decided to further promote two frameworks of tripartite co-operation involving Greece, Armenia and Iran on the one hand and Greece, Bosnia and Iran on the other.

    "We are promoting two (frameworks) of tripartite co-operation, one with Armenia, which may also involve Georgia and other countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia, which think in a similar way to us, and also we have the co-operation with Bosnia and Iran, to which we shall try to attract Belgrade, so that Iran, as a friend of Bosnia, and we, as friends of Belgrade, might lead the two countries to greater rapprochement," Mr. Pangalos said.

    The talks between the two delegations also focused on Greek-Turkish relations and the recent murders of two unarmed Greek Cypriot protesters by Turkish occupation forces in the buffer zone on Cyprus.

    Mr. Velayiati said that "Iran is ready to undertake some form of mediation between Greece and Turkey in order to reduce the tension existing in relations between the two countries."

    He added that he would be in contact with Turkey and would do "everything possible to achieve a positive outcome."

    On the Cyprus problem, Mr. Velayiati reiterated Iran's official position that "one cannot possibly ignore the Cyprus problem with respect to bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey."

    Commenting on the murders of the two Greek Cypriots in Cyprus, the Iranian foreign minister said that Teheran was "very concerned about recent developments."

    During his talks in Teheran, Mr. Pangalos said he had stressed that "what we want is a basis for our relations with Turkey, in accordance with international law, without the use of threats, with each country refraining from trying to prevail over the other, and that disputes be settled according to international practice."

    "When I read about the positions of Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, about his intention to improve the standard of living of the Turkish people, (I felt) that I can see no other way than to cut military spending which is very high, partly because of the tension with Greece," Mr. Pangalos said. "We are willing to contribute to this effort and I should like to underline that military spending is not only directed against the people of a country, but also affects the political dependence and political decisions of a country, because you are forced to buy arms from those countries which produce them and those countries dictate their will on you. Consequently, if you want prosperity for your people and independence, you must have peaceful relations with your neighboring countries," Mr. Pangalos said in remarks directed to Ankara.

    The talks also focused on the threat of US sanctions on countries which carry out investments of over $40 million in Iran and Libya. In effect, Mr. Pangalos said, the issue does not affect Greece because the country does not have undertakings which would make such large-scale investments in Iran for example. He added however that "we do not believe that anyone is authorized to decide unilaterally about the conditions under which international trade is conducted."

    Mr. Velayiati agreed with Mr. Pangalos, adding that Tehran was opposed to "all forms of terrorism."

    Mr. Pangalos also discussed with Mr. Velayiati possibilities for increasing Greek exports to Iran in order to restore some balance in bilateral trade relations which remains in Iran's favor.

    He returns to Athens today.

    [3] Final ratification for Athens-Stavros-Spata highway after elections

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    A contract for construction of a tollway north of Athens, connecting Elefsina with the under construction international airport at Spata, will probably be considered for ratification by Parliament after expected early general elections next month.

    Parliament approved a proposal by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis for an unscheduled session on the issue today, but after a statement by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis that the government does not intend to make use of it, it appears that the matter will not be discussed until the end of the week, at least.

    [4] Australian-Greeks' outcry over PM's "Macedonia" statements

    Melbourne, 22/08/1996 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    The Greek community of Australia is up in arms over recent statements by Prime Minister John Howard to the capital city's Skopjan community, in which he called them "Macedonians".

    The use of the term runs contrary to the official position on the issue adopted by the Australian government. Australia's former Labor government had officially recognized the Skopjan community as "Slavo-Macedonians". Mr. Howard had made pre-election pledges that he would maintain the same policy.

    Meanwhile, the Panmacedonian Union of Australia's recent 10th congress in Melbourne called on the federal government and Athens to sign no agreement recognizing Skopje under any name that includes the term "Macedonia".

    The congress also called for the immediate convening of a Greek political leaders council under the aegis of President Kostis Stephanopoulos to draft a joint long-term policy on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    They also call for the creation of a "National Foreign Policy Council" in which all political leaders could develop long-term goals on issues of foreign policy.

    The congress also condemned Turkey's expansionist policy.

    [5] Evert says Santer condemned violence on Cyprus

    Paralimni, Cyprus, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert said yesterday that European Commission President Jacques Santer had condemned the recent killings of two unarmed Greek Cypriot protesters on Cyprus in the strongest possible terms, describing them as "acts of barbarity".

    Mr. Evert was speaking in Paralimni, where two young Greek Cypriots, Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, were buried last week after being murdered in separate incidents by Turkish occupation forces in the UN-controlled buffer zone at nearby Dherynia.

    The ND leader visiting Cyprus after meeting with Mr. Santer in Brussels Tuesday.

    "We must ensure one thing in particular, namely that Turkish provocativeness does not attain its aim, which is one. (Ankara) wants to create a conviction that the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities cannot live together so that there would be no other solution other than the partitioning of Cyprus," Mr. Evert said.

    "And on our part, we must make it quite clear that it is not the Turkish Cypriots who are to blame, it is Ankara's expansionist policy," he added.

    In statements earlier in the day, Mr. Evert said the Cyprus problem was beyond party interests, stressing that "national interest calls for a joint defense and foreign policy" with the participation of all political parties.

    "The time has come to reach clear decisions and plan a long-term strategic policy aimed at facing Turkish provocativeness," Mr. Evert said.

    He said the best answer to Turkish provocations was Greece's response to the incidents that any further invasion to Cyprus would constitute a cause for war.

    Mr. Evert further called on the Greek government to request the convening of the EU Council to protest and issue a joint position on the recent acts by Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, adding that the recent incidents should not be allowed to create the impression that Cyprus' accession to the 15-member Union could not be completed within the set time limits.

    Commenting on the murders of the two Greek Cypriots, after meeting with Mr. Evert on Tuesday, Mr. Santer said "such violent acts do not have any place in a democratic and just society."

    He stressed that although Turkey had signed a customs union with the EU, "which means that our countries (EU) should feel as partners, these actions (by Turkey) do not constitute correct behavior by partners."

    [6] Benos announces new measures to decentralize services

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Each prefecture in the country will now have a central archaeological service, led by senior archaeologists, according to Culture Minister Stavros Benos yesterday.

    The latest efforts are part of plans by the government decentralize services at the culture ministry and bolster state funding for cultural issues.

    Mr. Benos said the moves were part of "PASOK's pre-election programme for culture".

    All the new services will come under the aegis of the culture ministry, Mr. Benos said. He stressed that "the new measures to decentralize ministry services were in complete harmony with the philosophy behind the draft bill for cultural heritage".

    Referring to infrastructure works, he said both the ministry and the state, under the new development law, would guarantee money.

    The amount, he added, would increase four-fold, due to revenues from local government, admission fees and sponsorship.

    [7] Geitonas offers Thessaloniki to host Interpol meeting

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister Costas Geitonas has undertaken an initiative to organize the 9th meeting of Interpol liaison officers for the protection of minors in Thessaloniki, on the occasion of the city's being Cultural Capital of Europe for 1997.

    This year's meeting will be held in the city of Stockholm from August 28-30, at the same time as a world conference on the commercial and sexual exploitation of minors. Greece is represented at the conference by Officer Ioanna Bekiari from the minors protection subdirectorate, who is also liaison officer with Interpol.

    [8] ND deputy tables question on threat to citrus fruit cultivation

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    A threat to citrus fruit cultivation throughout the country and the danger to consumers' health due to the illegal importing of oranges and lemons with the tristessa virus was raised in Parliament yesterday with a question directed at Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas by main opposition New Democracy deputy Stavros Dimas.

    Mr. Dimas called on the government to take immediate measures to prevent the spread of the virus in Greece.

    [9] 30-year-old Yiannitsa woman wins 700 million drachmas in lottery

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    A 30-year-old singer from Yiannitsa in northern Greece won 700 million drachmas yesterday in the national lottery. Her mother and younger brother said the woman, along with her husband and six-year-old son, left for an unknown destination after hearing of her good fortune.

    [10] Alavanos calls for protection of minors to be included in Maastricht treaty

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos yesterday asked the European Commission to incorporate provisions on the rights of children and their protection from abuse and sexual violence in the revision of the Maastricht treaty.

    Mr. Alavanos has raised the issue with the Commission in the past, which has said it is not competent to address the matter. The Greek Eurodeputy asked to be informed as to whether the Commission, following the latest developments in Belgium, would include the provisions.

    [11] Greece wins second bronze at para-Olympiad

    Atlanta, 22/08/1996 (ANA/AFP)

    Greece has won its second bronze medal in the 10th para-Olympiad, currently being held in Atlanta.

    Stephanos Anargyrou finished third in the shot put, after Arnold Astrada of the US and David Dunley of Britain, who won gold and silver respectively.

    Greece's first bronze medal in this year's para-Olympics was won by Antonis Yiapountzis in swimming.

    [12] Italian arrested for robbery of jewelry store

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Police have arrested a 32-year-old Italian man in connection with yesterday's robbery of a jewelry store in Athens and are looking for two accomplices.

    The Italian was identified as Giovanni Kali, who has confessed to robbing the store but refused to name his accomplices.

    According to press sources, Kali was identified by the owner of the store who was on the premises at the time of the robbery, in which jewelry of great value was stolen.

    Under police questioning, Kali confessed to other crimes committed with the same two accomplices, including the theft of 800,000 drachmas from a car in Lavrion on August 17 and the theft of two gold lighters worth 280,000 drachmas from a store in downtown Athens two days later.

    [13] Gov't to promote computerized commerce

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    The development ministry yesterday announced it will promote a national Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) within the framework of the government's plans for modernization of commercial transactions.

    Computerized commerce has now become a necessary prerequisite for increased competitiveness, according to the ministry.

    EDI is the electronic transfer of data from one information system to another.

    [14] Ioannidis meets with laid-off Goodyear workers

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Development Under-secretary Fivos Ioannidis held a meeting yesterday with a delegation comprising recently laid-off workers at the Goodyear tire plant in Thessaloniki, the leadership of Thessaloniki's Labor Center and the General Confederation of Workers of Greece in an effort to find a solution leading to the re-opening of the plant.

    Mr. Ioannidis said Greece's Embassy in the US, where Goodyear is based, has also been notified of the situation adding that certain contacts had been made through the embassy.

    At the meeting Mr. Ioannidis briefed the workers on the content of his contacts with the director of the Goodyear company in Europe pledging his intention to make every possible effort to achieve a re-opening of the unit.

    The under-secretary said however that privatization remained the government's policy.

    "It is the government's policy to pursue new openings in the labor market but that does not mean that it will return to a policy of sustaining private enterprises under public control," he said.

    Workers at the plant, which closed down in July, have called for a boycott on Goodyear tires along with a series of other mobilizations aiming at the re-opening of the plant. The workers said the boycott had already begun to show results, claiming that sales in northern Greece were down by 5 per cent.

    [15] Reduction in power rates for SMEs announced

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday announced a reduction by 7 per cent in electricity rates for small and medium sized enterprises, shops and schools.

    The measure will be implemented from September 1 and concerns more than one million Public Power Corp. (DEH) customers.

    [16] Operational energy program

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    An operational energy program with a total budget of 283 billion drachmas that was approved in July 1994 and consists of four sections, with the one related to DEH was implemented.

    The absorption of funds during the past two years has amounted to 90 per cent, while absorption this year rose to 94.4 per cent, (ECU 98 million) according to statistics issued on July 31. This is expected to exceed Ecu 140 million by the end of the year.

    From the beginning of this year the development ministry has set an aim for the immediate promotion of the program's other sections regarding "energy saving" and renewable energy sources.

    In a related development, DEH and the Association of Investors in Wind Energy have agreed on terms for their co-operation in order to create wind parks.

    DEH's administrative council is due to convene today in order to ratify the agreement, paving the way for the contract's signing tomorrow and the beginning of investments.

    For the next four years the programme foresees the installation of power plants with a capacity of 300MW, corresponding to roughly 120 billion drachmas. This will save an estimated 30 billion drachmas per year.

    [17] Opposition reaction

    Athens, 22/08/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party said in a statement that the government's announcement constituted an outrageous pre-election attempt to deceive thousands of small businessmen.

    Responding, Ms Papandreou said it was not a surprise that New Democracy could not exercise opposition through concrete proposals.

    Commenting on the reduction in electricity rates, Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis accused Ms Papandreou of "base pre-election methods of the outdated petty party mentality of the supposedly modernizer Mr. Simitis.

    "Mr. Simitis is deluded if he thinks he and his government can deceive the Greek people with the false compassion they are displaying for clearly pre-electoral reasons," Mr. Martakis said.

    "This government will go down in history as a persecutor of small and medium sized enterprises, which it has essentially led to extermination," he concluded.

    Replying, Ms Papandreou said that "it is the opinions of those who believe this country's businessmen and shopowners will be driven to vote for one party or the other because the DEH rate is being reduced by 7 per cent in their shops that are base.

    "Greece's thousands of small and medium sized entrepreneurs and shopowners have sensibility, opinion and judgment and will speak for the good of the country and not as Mr. Samaras and others like him suggest," Ms Papandreou said.

    The development minister also noted that "the proposal for DEH to reduce these specific rates was made four months ago and the relevant decision was taken after the necessary studies a few days ago."

    End of English language section.

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