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A.N.A. Bulletin, 30/08/96

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

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 976), August 30, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Greece condemns Ciller statements

  • [2] Opposition reaction

  • [3] Pangalos to visit Lisbon

  • [4] Evert strikes back at PASOK criticism, expands on ND's economic program

  • [5] PASOK reply

  • [6] Mitsotakis

  • [7] Arsenis arrives on Cyprus this Sunday

  • [8] Dukakis gets University of Crete honor

  • [9] Several foreign government officials expected at this year's Thessaloniki trade exhibition

  • [10] Report submitted on the issue of sexual exploitation of children in Greece

  • [11] Macedonia-Thrace minister lauds Thessaloniki trade fair as opportunity for development

  • [12] No ease up in Greece's diplomatic efforts due to elections, Romeos says

  • [13] Albanians point finger at Islamic fundamentalists for recent church vandalism

  • [14] Time for efforts to end Cyprus division to enter new phase, Greece says

  • [15] Consumer group calls on parties to aid movement

  • [16] Commercial lease deregulation criticized

  • [17] 800 billion drachmas allocated for housing loans

  • [18] Ministry mediates in dispute over Metro construction work

  • [19] Thessaloniki workers protest closure of Goodyear plant

  • [20] Industrial systems institute being founded

  • [21] News in Brief


  • [1] Greece condemns Ciller statements

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that the stance adopted by Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller should set alarm bells ringing among the international community "since it illustrates the irresponsible and rash way in which Turkey exercises its foreign policy."

    "This policy creates tension and instability in the region," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, adding that Ms Ciller was "systematically indulging, for reasons of expediency, in a defamatory campaign against Greece in order to prove that she is a good politician for Turkey."

    Mr. Reppas made the statements when asked to comment on remarks by Ms Ciller on the Moslem minority in Thrace, northeast Greece.

    Ms Ciller said in Ankara on Wednesday that "Turkey has a common religion, language, civilization and origin with the 'Turks' of western Thrace", pledging that the Turkish foreign ministry and "citizen organizations" would make every effort to help the "Turks of western Thrace" overcome their problems.

    Commenting on Ms Ciller's recent term as Turkey's prime minister. Mr. Reppas said she had proven to be a "harmful" politician for the neighboring country.

    Replying to other questions, Mr. Reppas said Athens was not considering the possibility of dialogue with Turkey. On the possibility that Ms Ciller was making such statements in an effort to exploit the pre-election period in Greece, the spokesman said "what is important is that we do our job properly."

    Asked whether Ms Ciller's statements might be explained by Greek efforts in Brussels to exclude Turkey from MEDA program funds under the new European Union budget, Mr. Reppas replied:

    "As a member of the EU, Greece will exercise its influence in order to defend its national interests and will do so in a manner which is compatible with the operation of the Community."

    Meanwhile, foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas refrained from commenting on the Turkish foreign minister's statements calling the Moslem minority of Thrace "Turkish."

    Reiterating that Athens' positions regarding the Thracian Moslem minority remained firm and unchanged, Mr. Bikas stressed that the minority members enjoyed all due rights, adding that Greece respects and adheres to all international laws and regulations on minority rights.

    The spokesman also refrained from commenting on fresh Turkish provocations on the dividing line in Cyprus, saying this was a domestic issue and a concern of the Cypriot government.

    Earlier this month, Turkish occupation forces and a mob of Turkish extremists killed two unarmed young Greek Cypriots protesting the Turkish occupation on the UN-patrolled zone of the divided island republic.

    Following the incidents, the Turkish occupation forces in northern Cyprus have placed barbed wire at a sea region between the free and occupied areas of Famagusta.

    [2] Opposition reaction

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Responding to Mr. Reppas' statements, Political Spring party spokesman Notis Martakis said, "it is of no interest to the Greek people whether Ms Ciller has harmed Turkey with her actions."

    "Although Mr. Reppas did not mention it, what is of interest to the Greek people is whether the Greek government resolutely defends our national interests".

    [3] Pangalos to visit Lisbon

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Turning to other issues, Mr. Bikas said Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos was due to visit Lisbon on Sept. 6, before flying to Dublin on the following day for a two-day unofficial EU Ministers' Council.

    [4] Evert strikes back at PASOK criticism, expands on ND's economic program

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert yesterday struck back at charges leveled by government ministers that his proposals for merchants, farmers and border regions, contained in ND's pre-election economic program, implied an extra cost o f 600 billion drachmas.

    Speaking during a press conference yesterday, Mr. Evert said the cost is more in the region of 290 billion drachmas, "give or take 10 per cent". The program was announced by Mr. Evert himself on Tuesday.

    The ND president said that when ND has submitted two relevant proposals to Parliament, the state General Accounting Office had said it is not possible to estimate the cost, while now "in 12 hours it says the cost exceeds 600 billion drachmas."

    "Either the government deceived Parliament then, or it is deceiving the Greek people now," he said.

    Mr. Evert stressed that his proposals will be implemented and that "I will not say on the day after elections that I have received chaos (in the public sector) and that I can not fulfill my announcements."

    He replied negatively to a question on whether it is possible for the Maastricht Treaty to be revised, although he added that "no-one can dictate which methods we will use in order for us to achieve the aims of the Convergence program, or else we will have surrendered our national rights."

    The opposition leader asked for "work and effectiveness" in order that the country can exit what he called a vicious circle of austerity, defending the work carried out by former prime minister and ND honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis.

    In addition, Mr. Evert accused PASOK of having done an "about-face" on the issue of privatization, saying it is trying to change face with the name "new PASOK".

    On other issues, the ND president said the privatization of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and of the Public Power Corp. (DEH) could reach 49 per cent of shares and that his government would proceed with privatizations of the National and Commercial Banks' subsidiaries.

    Answering a question on what his and Prime Minister Costas Simitis' advantages are, he said the prime minister will speak of his advantages, and added that he himself has worked as a bank employee, financial director at the head of a computer applications firm and has also had a successful term as Athens mayor and as a minister.

    [5] PASOK reply

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Responding to Mr. Evert's statements, PASOK central committee secretary Costas Skandalidis accused the main opposition leader of "lying" and charged that application of ND's proposals would spell economic collapse for the country.

    He reiterated that the cost of the proposals would amount to 600 billion drachmas, and not 270, saying the opposition leader had forgotten to cost half the proposed measures, such as abolition of the objective taxation criteria system, measures for the farming sector, abolition of the 35 per cent company tax as well as the automatic amortization of investments.

    Mr. Skandalidis also referred to Mr. Evert's term in the finance ministry in 1980-81, which, he said, witnessed the first major fiscal collapse after 1974.

    Finally, he described the ND leader as the inspirer of his party's "gray propaganda".

    Meanwhile, the head of the Political Spring party's electoral campaign, Nikitas Kaklamanis, described Mr. Evert's statements as "lacking in substance," noting that the two large parties (PASOK and ND) were raising the stakes of pre-election promises each day, thereby destroying the last remaining vestiges of political credibility and integrity.

    [6] Mitsotakis

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    In a related development, former New Democracy prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis launched ND's election campaign in Irakleio, Crete, yesterday, accusing the government of total failure and untrustworthiness, as well as criticizing the prime minister personally, saying that "in the seven months he has been in office, he has dealt only with his party and has voted through bills of electoral nature only."

    He added that PASOK's failure had vindicated his government's policy.

    [7] Arsenis arrives on Cyprus this Sunday

    Nicosia, 30/08/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis is due to arrive in Cyprus on Sunday for a brief visit.

    Mr. Arsenis will call on President Glafcos Clerides on Monday and address the opening ceremony of the bi-annual meeting of the central councils of overseas Cypriot organizations.

    After arriving on a special flight, Mr. Arsenis will head for the eastern town of Paralimni to visit the bereaved families of two Greek Cypriots brutally killed by Turkish occupation troops and extremists during anti-occupation demonstrations in the UN buffer zone.

    He will also lay wreaths at their graves in the community cemetery and visit the demarcation line in Dherynia, where the two men, both in their 20s, were murdered.

    Paralimni was a port of call for Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition leader Miltiades Evert, shortly after the killings.

    Mr. Arsenis, accompanied by his Cypriot counterpart Costas Eliades and the commander of the Cypriot National Guard, Nikolaos Vorvolakos, will welcome the Hellenic Navy landing craft "Samos" on Sunday afternoon.

    President Clerides will also be at Limassol port to welcome the "Samos", which arrives here as part of the cultural program "Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus". The vessel will carry a 30-member theater company from Greece to Cyprus.

    Mr. Arsenis will hold a press conference in Nicosia on Monday, before leaving the island republic.

    [8] Dukakis gets University of Crete honor

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    The University of Crete has unanimously decided to bestow its golden medallion on professor of political science and former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis.

    The ceremony will be held on September 13 at the Medical School's amphitheater.

    [9] Several foreign government officials expected at this year's Thessaloniki trade exhibition

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    The official opening of the 61st Thessaloniki International Trade Exhibition on Sept. 6 will be attended by several foreign high-ranking government officials.

    Among the dignitaries due to visit the trade fair are the premier of South Australia Dean Brown, Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Commerce Athanas Paparizov, Cypriot Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Kyriakos Christofis and Romanian Commerce Undersecretary Mihai Berinde.

    Mr. Brown will be heading the largest Australian delegation to have ever visited the fair, seen as indicative of the economic interest the Thessaloniki fair is gaining for Australian businesses.

    The exhibition will also be visited by expatriate Greek deputies and ministers from around the world, following an initiative taken by Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Romeos, who is also responsible for European and expatriate Greek affairs.

    [10] Report submitted on the issue of sexual exploitation of children in Greece

    Stockholm, 30/08/1996 (ANA - N. Servetas)

    A report outlining the situation on the sexual exploitation of children in Greece was submitted by child psychologist Ioannis Tsiantis during an international conference held here yesterday.

    The report expressed Greece's wish to co-operate on an international level in order to combat the sexual exploitation of children and to examine issues dealing with the problem, such as the nature of pedophilia and examination of relations between the family and prostitution, as well as examination of the issue of the exploitation of children from a cultural viewpoint.

    The report noted the absence of adequate official statistics on the issue, while it stated that one of the reasons for the recent increase in this phenomenon is illegal immigration.

    Speaking to ANA, Mr. Tsiantis said that while there is legislation governing this area, present statistics are not adequate for a study of the issue. He added that he is currently carrying out research to record the frequency of incidents reported to police and the courts.

    Mr. Tsiantis said that his research revealed that during 1995, 238 cases of sexual abuse of children and young people up to the age of 18 were reported in Greece.

    Of these, 113 cases involved girls between the ages of 13 and 18, while 30 children of both sexes were under six years of age. Mr. Tsiantis said there is a great need for police and individuals working in courts and schools to be educated on the issue.

    [11] Macedonia-Thrace minister lauds Thessaloniki trade fair as opportunity for development

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    The Thessaloniki International Trade Fair "offers us the opportunity to develop our relations with the Balkan countries, the countries of eastern Europe and the Black Sea, but also to benefit from the opening of the economies of these countries, and, additionally, to transfer and utilize our European experience, which the participation in the European Union provides us," Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos writes in the album to be issued Sept. 6, opening day of the exhibition.

    "In a continuously changing world, characterized by very fast development rates, competition, and the globalization of the market, Thessaloniki, with its international trade fair, can constitute a pole of dynamic development, utilizing the new geopolitical and economic facts," he adds.

    [12] No ease up in Greece's diplomatic efforts due to elections, Romeos says

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Next month's early general elections will in no way suspend Greece's diplomatic efforts on the Cyprus problem and other national issues, Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Romeos said yesterday.

    In an exclusive interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA), Mr. Romeos also stressed that Athens must intensify its efforts to follow European developments and adhere strictly to the program for convergence with the European economies.

    National issues, economic reforms and keeping pace with developments in the European Union (EU) were among the reasons cited by Prime Minister Costas Simitis as necessitating general elections 13 months before the expiry of the present four-year term.

    Asked how the election campaign would affect a diplomatic campaign announced earlier by the premier on the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Romeos replied that national elections "in no instance suspend the nation's efforts for completion of national aspirations and goals."

    He said approximately 30 government officials and parliamentarians of Greek descent from all over the world had been invited to Athens at the end of the week to be briefed on Greek national positions.

    Mr. Romeos, who will be the government's liaison with the visiting dignitaries during their week-long stay in Greece, said the aim was to set up a worldwide network to further Greek interests abroad, not only national issues, but other matters as well concerning the country, such as language, culture and tourism.

    Turning to European Union issues, Mr. Romeos said that for a small country such as Greece to be able to take part equally in European developments, it needed to intensify its efforts, particularly in the economic sector, with strict adherence to the convergence program so as to enable its accession to the single currency - "the Union's great challenge of the year 2000" - in a reasonable length of time.

    But, Mr. Romeos continued, it was also necessary for the more developed EU member-states "to respect the principles on which the Community was founded, namely, solidarity and economic and social cohesion, so as to ensure the balanced development of the entire Community."

    Asked where the resources would be found to finance an armed forces armaments program expected to be approved after the elections, and how this would affect adherence to the convergence program, Mr. Romeos pointed out that financing the armaments program did not necessarily have to create problems.

    Greece, he said, putting forward the principles of good neighborliness and co-operation with countries with which it shares borders, did not intend to adopt a huge program of militarization of the national economy but rather, "a rational increase in our defense expenditures which would reinforce our deterrent capability against neighboring Turkey's hostile intentions."

    He said financing additional needs of national defense would be facilitated by development of the economy itself, "in which a positive performance has already been marked, which has been internationally recognized as the result of implementation of the convergence program over the past two years."

    In tandem, he added that "Greece aspires to the development of an EU defense strategy, in the context of which the relevant problems could be tackled." Greece's position, as expressed yesterday by the government of Premier Simitis, was the country's full and active participation in the developments in the European Union, and the government's goal was the country's equal participation in the Union, with the equal participation of its citizens but also preservation and increase of social solidarity. On Sept. 22, he added, the Greek people will be called on to choose whether they preferred a steady, long-term economic policy and equal participation in the EU, or petty grants which would soon be exhausted if the targets of the convergence program are not adhered to.

    [13] Albanians point finger at Islamic fundamentalists for recent church vandalism

    Gjirokaster, Albania, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Despite efforts by Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania Anastasios to associate recent vandalism at the Agios Michail Church in Moshopolis, Korytsa, with a lack of appropriate legislation rather than religious fundamentalism, the issue is assuming political dimensions, with Albanian political leaders claiming the vandalism is the work of Islamic fundamentalists.

    Earlier this month, vandals destroyed 24 17th and 18th century frescos, 15 completely, in addition to carving slogans on them, such as "Allah is great."

    "It is the work of Islamic fundamentalists," the president of the Democratic Alliance, Nerittan Cheka, and Vice-President of the Social Democratic Party, Pascal Milio, said.

    Mr. Milio pointed to an increase in fundamentalist tendencies in the country, which seems to coincide with Albania's accession to the Islamic Convention.

    The Helsinki human rights group committee in Albania has stated that fundamentalism was now a growing concern "in view of the fact that the vandals are young people driven by Arabic religious sects," while Anastasios warned that religious fanaticism could make a dangerous appearance in Albania.

    The Moslem community, however, ruled out any participation by Albanian nationals in the recent vandalism, calling the incident "the work of those aiming at destroying religious tolerance."

    [14] Time for efforts to end Cyprus division to enter new phase, Greece says

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Greece said yesterday that it welcomed the interest displayed by the United States in finding a solution to the Cyprus problem but stressed that it was time "to enter a new phase" in order for there to be "the results in practice for a just settlement."

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statements when asked to comment on a remark by George Stephanopoulos, adviser to US President Bill Clinton, that "there will be a genuine finding of a solution to the division of Cyprus."

    [15] Consumer group calls on parties to aid movement

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    One of Greece's leading consumer unions, EKPOIZO, yesterday called on all political parties to endorse specific measures to aid the development of the consumer movement in Greece. Such measures, according to EKPOIZO, include the upgrading of the Consumer Service into a General Secretariat, the initiation of systematic control of production and product distribution and marketing, as well as the creation of a food administration service.

    Furthermore, EKPOIZO believes that lessons on consumer education should be included in school curricula, while requesting that free television and radio time be granted to legal consumer unions for presentation of consumer-related issues.

    [16] Commercial lease deregulation criticized

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Deregulation of commercial leases which completed their 20th year in 1992 comes into effect at the end of the month, a development sparking criticism by the Panhellenic Federation of Shopowners. The law sets such strict provisions that it makes it difficult for merchants to find a new lease, the federation said in a statement yesterday.

    [17] 800 billion drachmas allocated for housing loans

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    More than 800 billion drachmas are to be spent by the Labor Guild/Workers' Housing Organization (OEK) on a housing program for 1996-97, according to an announcement yesterday by Labor and Social Security Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos and OEK President Thanasis Hanakoulas. Mr. Yiannopoulos will sign the orders putting the program into effect today.

    The program is expected to introduce low-interest loans for the construction of primary dwellings, more generous conditions for the allocation of ready-built homes, with emphasis on helping large families, loans for home-repairs and the completion of residences under construction as well as, for the first time, state-provided apartment for rent.

    [18] Ministry mediates in dispute over Metro construction work

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    Meetings between representatives of the "Olympic Metro" construction company, unions and workers and the labor ministry over the past three days have been led to a deadlock, following the company's refusal to recall 20 dismissed workers and 130 redundancies and to commit itself to increasing the pace of work on certain sites.

    Workers claim that the firm is using "blackmail", on the pretext of "unforeseen technical difficulties", to increase the cost of the work, using workers as "hostages" under the threat of sacking and redundancy. They also criticize the US firm Bechtel, the technical consultant to the Metro project, for not doing its job.

    Union representatives warned that the matter threatened not only the construction work on the Metro but that the company aimed at increasing the cost of the project, which will be paid in the final analysis by the taxpayer.

    They are requesting an inter-ministerial committee (labor and environment, town planing and public works) to work with representatives of the workers and company to find a solution to the impasse.

    Following Labor Under-secretary Lambros Kanellopoulos' intercession, the company has pledged to refrain from any further sacking or redundancies until after the Sept. 22 poll.

    [19] Thessaloniki workers protest closure of Goodyear plant

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    The Thessaloniki Labor Center held a four-hour general work stoppage in the city yesterday to protest the closure of the Goodyear plant and press for its reopening.

    Workers held a rally and march to the Macedonia-Thrace ministry where representatives handed ministry Secretary-General Chrisos Kamenidis a resolution, which called for the government to reopen the enterprise "with whatever means", the taking of immediate measures to battle unemployment, the upgrading of productivity in the city and the immediate implementation of development projects for the city.

    A meeting at the Labor Center in the morning, with the participation of Labor Center officials, representatives of the laid-off workers, and representatives of the city's industrial chamber, the proposal to postpone the 24-hour strike called for next week to after the Sept. 22 poll was discussed.

    Goodyear workers also met with workers at the city's Siemens factory, who fear imminent lay-offs.

    Goodyear's laid-off workers have also requested to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis during his forthcoming visit to the city, to address the Thessaloniki International Fair.

    According to reports, meetings with the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, Miltiades Evert, the Secretary-General of the Communist Party of Greece Aleka Papariga, and the president of the Coalition of the Left and Progress Nikos Constantopoulos - all due in Thessaloniki for the opening of the fair - have already been set.

    [20] Industrial systems institute being founded

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    An institute of Industrial Systems (INVIS), based in Patra, is being founded, according to the draft of a presidential decree drawn up by the development, finance and interior ministries. The draft has been submitted to the Council of State.

    According to the draft of the presidential decree, INVIS, which will be supervised by the development minister, aims to carry out applied and technological research as well as development of industrial products.

    INVIS will also aim to provide services in the sectors of automated industrial procedures, electronics, computer and construction systems for production and the directing and planning of production.

    [21] News in Brief

    Athens, 30/08/1996 (ANA)

    - Environment, Town Planning and Public Workers Under-secretary Emmanuel Loukakis has decided to extend rental assistance to victims of this year's earthquake in Konitsa The amount will be between 40,000 and 60,000 drachmas, based on the number of family members.

    - President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will visit the island of Kos on the weekend to inaugurate the sessions of the 1st International Medical Olympiad. Mr. Stephanopoulos will be accompanied by Health and Welfare Under-secretary Theodoros Kotsonis.

    End of English language section.

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