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A.N.A. Bulletin, 26/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 972), August 26, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Political parties begin preparations for next month's elections

  • [2] Main opposition gears up for campaign

  • [3] Other parties

  • [4] High ranking CoE official calls status quo on Cyprus 'unacceptable'

  • [5] Figaro criticizes Turkish occupation forces

  • [6] Athens applauds Belgrade-Zagreb agreement

  • [7] Australian politicians of Greek descent to visit this week

  • [8] Symposium on oral history of Greek-Australians held

  • [9] Athens Bar Association delegation arrives in Cyprus for consultations

  • [10] Athens mayor praises Greek winner at Paraolympics

  • [11] Alan Howard to play Oedipus at Epidaurus


  • [1] Political parties begin preparations for next month's elections

    Athens, 26/08/1996 (ANA)

    Political parties are gearing up for a month-long election campaign after Prime Minister Costas Simitis called for early elections last week and after President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos dissolved Parliament on Friday.

    Mr. Simitis has said he decided to lead the country to early elections to win approval for critical decisions in the country's national issues and proceed with reforms.

    His decision has triggered criticism from the main opposition, claiming that the premier sought to renew the party's mandate in order to push through tough economic measures.

    The early election, scheduled of Sept. 22, comes two months before presentation of next year's budget. Mr. Simitis wants to cut spending by 1.2 trillion drachmas to trim the public debt and persistently high inflation.

    Pollsters have also been caught off guard by Mr. Simitis' early poll decision, while the first nationwide opinion surveys cannot be expected before the first week of September.

    A low-key style is estimated to be prevail during the pre-election period with discussions of political and economic issues on television dominating the campaign, in striking contrast with mass rallies and long nationwide tours of previous campaigns.

    Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos said mass political rallies, a traditional feature of election campaigns in Greece, will not mark this year's pre-election period, adding that dialogue responds better to today's climate.

    Mr. Simitis on Saturday chaired a meeting of PASOK's executive bureau focusing on the party's campaign strategy in the month-long run-up to elections.

    He also chaired a meeting of the party's communication committee to examine details of the campaign.

    The prime minister is expected to elaborate on the party's election declarations in statements to the press today.

    Mr. Simitis took over as prime minister from PASOK founder and three-time prime minister Andreas Papandreou in January and was subsequently elected PASOK president at a congress in June, a week after Papandreou's death at the age of 77.

    Meanwhile, in speaking to reporters in Thessaloniki, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday said he hoped next month's elections will mark "the beginning of a new era for Greece."

    "Based on the unanimous decisions reached in the recent PASOK congress we have formulated a positive framework on which we can rely on to create for Greece a driving force that will successfully lead to the year 2000 all social, economic and national is sues," he said.

    [2] Main opposition gears up for campaign

    Athens, 26/08/1996 (ANA)

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert called on ND officials and members to rally around the party, stressing that "the certainty of winning does not allow us to rest."

    Mr. Evert reiterated criticism against Mr. Simitis' decision to hold early elections, saying it reveals the prime minister's "untrustworthiness."

    "In less than eight months the prime minister and the government were forced to confess that they are unable to face the country's explosive problems, which they themselves have created," Mr. Evert states in a memorandum.

    "We have long warned Mr. Simitis about the tragic impasses in the economy and negative developments in our national issues, but he has preferred to deceive the Greek people, proving that the 'new' PASOK is always PASOK," Mr. Evert said, adding that the upcoming election outcome will determine whether Greece will emerge from what he called the current "multi-faceted" crisis.

    Concluding, Mr. Evert expressed certainty that ND will win the elections, adding that when in office, the party will implement a realistic and effective programme that "will offer the long-suffering Greek citizen a way out from the impasse."

    In addition, Mr. Evert chaired a meeting on Saturday of ND's political bureau, which convened with the participation of ND honorary president and former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis. The latter is expected to undertake a very active role in the party's campaign.

    The meeting centered around the party's campaign in the run-up to elections.

    Following the meeting, Mr. Mitsotakis told the press that "New Democracy is going to elections united and with the certainty that it is going to win."

    ND Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis said he was optimistic over the outcome of elections for the main opposition party, while ND Parliamentary group secretary general Stavros Dimas said the meeting was held in a climate of optimism.

    ND spokesperson Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the party was fully prepared to go to the polls, stressing that Mr. Mitsotakis' presence in the run-up to elections "will be marked."

    [3] Other parties

    Athens, 26/08/1996 (ANA)

    In a related election matter, the recently re-established Democratic Renewal party (DHANA) announced its accession to the Political Spring (Pol.An) party, DHANA's President Dimitris Vrettakos said Saturday. He DHANA's leadership took the decision due to similarity of views and positions the party held with Pol.An rather than any other of the political parties.

    "Exclusion from political dialogue and critical decision-making of any other party formation has resulted over the past 15 years in populism, demagogy, fanaticism, favoritism, in other words corruption," said DHANA's leader, accusing "interwoven interests" of desiring a perpetuation of the two-party system and subjugation of the Greek people.

    The central committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also held a meeting yesterday evening centering on the party's campaign strategy.

    The meeting was expected to end at around midnight.

    According to reports, KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga is due to present the party's election declaration in a press conference today.

    On Saturday the party appealed to supporters for financial contributions to the party's campaign and called on them to "devote all our strength for the success of the party goals, for its political and financial (Continued on page 3) (Continued from page 2) reinforcement, for the reinforcement of resistance and a counter-attack of the popular forces."

    Meanwhile, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos lashed out against the government Saturday, saying that "strides into the future cannot be achieved with leaps into the void."

    He was speaking to the press from Aitoloakarnania, the first stop of the party's official campaign in the month-long pre-election period.

    In a climate of anticipation that the party will once again be represented in Parliament, Synaspismos' central committee held a meeting yesterday morning.

    During the meeting, Mr. Constantopoulos criticized the prime minister for rushing to elections before implementation of his "alleged modernization programme," adding that the real reasons for going to the polls "are dictated by internal party calculations and expediencies."

    Calling on the prime minister and the other political leaders to dialogue in a joint press conference on Greece's national issues and major concerns, Mr. Constantopoulos said the real question was whether political bi-polarism would continue in Greece.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said the real question raised in these elections is whether Greek politics will continue to be dominated by the two major parties or whether new party formations will come into the political scene.

    Speaking to party supporters on the island of Syros Saturday, the president of the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI), Dimitris Tsovolas, said the government's decision to hold early elections revealed its "true anachronistic and anti-democratic face."

    Criticizing both ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy for their economic policy over the past years, Mr. Tsovolas said their policies resulted in a shrinking of production and caused enormous social problems.

    Turning to other issues, Mr. Tsovolas said late January's Imia issue should not be referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, which he said would lead to a change of the legal status quo in the Aegean.

    Addressing the party's central committee, Mr. Tsovolas continued his criticism of Mr. Simitis' decision for early elections, saying it "undermines the foundations of democratic institutions."

    "The real reason for early elections is the government's weakness to table the 1997 budget, revealing the blunt failure of the government's economic policy," Mr. Tsovolas said.

    Elaborating on Greek-Turkish relations, he opposed the possibility of dialogue with Turkey, except on the issue of the Aegean continental shelf.

    [4] High ranking CoE official calls status quo on Cyprus 'unacceptable'

    Strasbourg, 26/08/1996 (ANA/AFP)

    The president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (CoE), Lenni Fischer, on Saturday strongly condemned the murder of two Greek Cypriot protesters by Turkish occupation troops and a mob in the UN-patrolled zone on Cyprus earlier this month.

    I most categorically condemn the murders," Ms Fischer told the newspaper "Les Dernieres Nouvelles d' Alsace," adding that perpetuation of the current status quo on the island republic was "unacceptable."

    A Greek Cypriot demonstrator was beaten to death during a protest of Turkey's continuing occupation of 37 per cent of the island by a mob of Turkish extremists. His funeral a few days later sparked further violence as Turkish occupation forces fatally s hot another Greek Cypriot demonstrator as he climbed a flagpole in the buffer zone to pull down the Turkish flag.

    The cold-blooded killings sent the international community an alarming reminder of the explosive situation in Cyprus 22 years after Turkey's invasion of the island in 1974, and the continued occupation of one third of Cyprus' territory.

    "The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe supports the UN-proposed settlement to the Cyprus issue," Ms Fischer was quoted as telling Les Dernieres Nouvelle d' Alsace.

    A settlement, she added, "allowing both communities to co-exist in the framework of a federal bi-zonal state freely comprised by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and one which will be constituted by two federal states, politically equal."

    Meanwhile, the president of a Turkish nationalist organization, Azmi Karamahmutoglu, confirmed participation of mainland Turkish extremists in the violence, a Cyprus News Agency dispatch stated Saturday.

    The dispatch reported that Mr. Karamahmutoglu told the Turkish magazine "Tempo" that around 3,000 members of extremist Turkish nationalist organizations arrived in occupied Cyprus to confront Greek Cypriots, who were to take part in a motorcycle protest ride on Sunday, Aug. 11.

    According to CNA, Mr. Karamahmutoglu claimed that the Turkish nationalists "acted on their own free will and did not receive instructions from anyone."

    The protest ride, organized by the Cyprus Motorcyclists Federation and supported by the European Federation, began in Berlin on Aug. 2 and was to end in Turkish-occupied Kyrenia.

    [5] Figaro criticizes Turkish occupation forces

    Paris, 26/08/1996 (ANA)

    "The murder of the two unarmed young Greek Cypriots was committed in cold blood on the Attila zone by the Turks, namely, the 'Gray Wolves,' those professionals of violence who were ordered by Turkey to come to Cyprus in order to commit this shameful act," the French daily "Figaro" wrote in an extensive feature in its Sunday edition.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's claims, that the events were caused by "a mistake of the Greeks are unfounded, since Mr. Denktash does not explain the role of the 'Gray Wolves', who came from Turkey for this purpose, or why the Turkish army al lowed the 'Gray Wolves' to take up battle position in the no-trespassing zone," the newspaper states.

    Under the general headline "To Cyprus, the island in mourning, Europe dreams of peace," the feature quotes a British analyst as wondering "how can it be that in Bosnia, Turkey appears to be a persecutor of ethnic cleansing and a protector of freedom of movement, while in Cyprus it accepts the preservation of a situations similar to that of Gen. Mladic."

    Figaro further criticizes Turkey of having not denounced the extremist organization.

    Instead, the newspaper says, "Tansu Ciller, the Turkish minister of Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, jumped in an airplane to go and express Ankara's 'full solidarity' to the Turks of Cyprus," stressing that before flying to Cyprus Ms Ciller declared in front of a 5,000-strong fanaticized audience that "we will break the hands of whoever touches the Turkish flag."

    According to Figaro, Washington's permanent representative to the United Nations, Madeleine Albright, and French envoy Michel Barnier went to Cyprus in order to "bring the Turkish Cypriots to their senses, that there can be no future without reconciliation and obviously there can be no reconciliation without federation."

    [6] Athens applauds Belgrade-Zagreb agreement

    Athens, 26/08/1996 (ANA)

    The foreign ministers of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia put the final touches on an agreement providing for normalization of relations and promotion of solutions to a series of problems between the two countries during a meeting Friday in Belgrade.

    The move was immediately hailed by the Greek government, which played an active role in the milestone agreement. The main points of the agreement were concluded in hosted talks at the Athens-area seaside resort of Vouliagmeni earlier this month between Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the agreement, providing for mutual recognition as well as establishment of diplomatic representations in both countries constituted "a major step towards consolidation of peace and stability in the former Yugoslavia."

    [7] Australian politicians of Greek descent to visit this week

    Melbourne, 26/08/1996 (ANA-S.Hatzimanolis)

    A group of 18 Australian federal and state senators as well as deputies of Greek descent have been invited to Greece and will arrive this week for talks with Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Romeos.

    Mr. Romeos has begun inviting expatriate Greek politicians and state officials from around the world. Some 40 politicians and state officials have been invited to attend a first round of meetings.

    During their visit, Greek-Australian politicians are also expected to hold meetings with government officials and political party leaders, in spite of the fact that their meetings will coincide with a pre-election period in Greece.

    They are also due to visit Cyprus at the invitation of the Cypriot government.

    US politicians of Greek origin have also been invited to attend the meeting in Greece but have turned down the invitation, reportedly due to the pre-election period in the United States. US politicians said they would visit Greece at a later date.

    [8] Symposium on oral history of Greek-Australians held

    Melbourne, 26/08/1996 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    The Modern Greek Studies Department of RMIT University yesterday held its 11th annual symposium on the oral history of Greek-Australian in honor of the first Greek immigrants to the country, who arrived on the continent on Aug. 27, 1829.

    The first Greeks were seven sailors from the island of Hydra, who had been exiled to Australia by British authorities, after having death sentences for piracy against a British commercial vessel commuted.

    The topic of this year's symposium was the evolution of Greek studies in the Australian state educational system.

    [9] Athens Bar Association delegation arrives in Cyprus for consultations

    Nicosia, 26/08/1996 (ANA)

    An Athens Bar Association delegation, headed by president Antonis Roupakiotis, arrived here yesterday to coordinate action before international organizations with the Cypriot Bar Association, in connection with the killing of two Greek Cypriot demonstrators by Turkish troops and extremists in the buffer zone two weeks ago.

    Both associations will hold a forum of European jurists on the events in Athens within the next two months.

    [10] Athens mayor praises Greek winner at Paraolympics

    Athens, 26/08/1996 (ANA)

    On the occasion of handicapped athlete Dimitris Konstantanias' winning the gold medal in shot-put at the Atlanta Paraolympics, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday issued a statement praising all Greek medallists.

    "Athens will honor the worthy Greek winners in the Paraolympics, who have sent a message of pride and optimism with their persistence, effort and victory.

    "Konstantanias' gold medal, and those of the other Olympic winners, have their own great value for Greece.

    "We are awaiting them with the honors befitting them."

    Konstantanias won the gold medal with a shot of 9.87 meters.

    [11] Alan Howard to play Oedipus at Epidaurus

    London, 26/08/1996 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Acclaimed Shakespearean actor Alan Howard will play the title roles in Sir Peter Hall's world premiere productions of Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex" and "Oedipus at Kolonos".

    Both productions will staged at the ancient theater of Epidaurus on Friday and Saturday.

    Before departing for Athens yesterday, the British director expressed a view that the two tragedies, performed for the first time consecutively, "present two different eras of Sophocles."

    "All Shakespeare's works have the central elements of the ancient Greek tragedy - destiny, the unexpected, suddenness, the tragic and inescapable surprise held in store by fate. The role of destiny and fate, which no-one can stop and avoid, and which constitute the decisive factor in ancient Greek drama, also form the basic course in all Shakespeare's texts," he added.

    Mr. Howard said he finds his role especially interesting and fascinating, and with many similarities with roles in Shakespearean plays.

    "I am sure Shakespeare had read the Greek classics," he added.

    End of English language section.

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