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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-02

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>


Greek Press & Information Office
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  • [01] Pangalos says Greece, Turkey will manage to improve relations
  • [02] Opposition
  • [03] Solana
  • [04] May Day celebrated calmly throughout nation
  • [05] Kaklamanis
  • [06] Turkish trade unionist calls for support from Greek workers
  • [07] Theodorakis-Livanelli concerts to begin on Sunday
  • [08] Vranitzky-Tsohatzopoulos meeting focuses on Albanian crisis
  • [09] 'Social dialogue' to begin on May 14
  • [10] Santer to visit Athens, Mount Athos next week
  • [11] Visit to Mount Athos
  • [12] Harvard seminar to focus on IGC
  • [13] European Week in Berlin to begin
  • [14] String of traffic accidents claims 18 victims
  • [15] IOC member in Athens

  • [01] Pangalos says Greece, Turkey will manage to improve relations

    Istanbul, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Wednesday said he believes that Greece and Turkey would be able to improve relations, one day after telling an EU ministers meeting in Luxembourg that Athens would maintain its veto on EU aid to Turkey until Ankara stopped threatening Greek sovereignty in the Aegean.

    "We believe that the two countries will find the way to peaceful relations and co-operation, which will be to the benefit of both peoples," Mr. Pangalos said after talks with his Turkish counterpart Tansu Ciller soon after he arrived from Luxembourg to Istanbul Wednesday morning.

    The meeting, at an Istanbul hotel, was held on the sidelines of a Black Sea economic forum, the official reason for Mr. Pangalos' trip to Istanbul. While in the neighbouring country, Mr. Pangalos reiterated Greece's belief that Turkey's place is in Europe.

    Expressing her satisfaction over the meeting, Ms Ciller said that "we are making efforts to expand relations between the two countries".

    She also underlined the warm welcome reserved for Mr. Pangalos in Istanbul.

    Also present at the meeting were Greek ambassador Ilias Klis, and the Turkish Foreign Under-secretary Onur Oymer.

    The Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC) meeting was attended by foreign ministers or senior ministry officials from the organization's 11 member-states, namely Turkey, Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia and Greece.

    Before meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ciller in Istanbul, Mr. Pangalos told reporters that he had a "substantial" meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Luxembourg the previous evening.

    He added that discussion did not result in any progress towards satisfying conditions set by Mr. Pangalos for progress in Greek-Turkish relations.

    "While there is life there is hope," added the Greek minister, with regard to future prospects for talks with Turkey.

    Ms. Ciller, who arrived late Tuesday evening in Luxembourg, said Greece's move to continue blocking the aid, worth ECU 375 million, was disappointing.

    "We have missed an historic opportunity," she told reporters after the EU ministers' meeting.

    On her return to Istanbul from Luxembourg, the Turkish Foreign Minister said there was still some leeway for a step by step improvement in Greek-Turkish relations.

    In statements to the Turkish press, Ms. Ciller said Greece's veto continued to prevent the release of EU funds to Turkey, but that Turkey "could live without" the European aid package.

    The aid package has been promised to Ankara to help it meet increased competition posed by the customs union with the EU, which took effect on Jan. 1, 1996.

    Greece said it would not lift the veto unless Turkey withdrew its threat of war (casus belli) in the event Athens decided to legally extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles. Athens also demands that Ankara accept recourse to international arbitration to solve disputes between the two countries in the Aegean.

    [02] Opposition

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    In Athens, the government's stance over Greek-Turkish relations sparked a barrage of charges and counter-charges between the government and the main opposition New Democracy party. ND charged that the government was being enticed into a form of dialogue with Turkey without fulfillment of prerequisites which the main opposition has repeatedly urged.

    "Greek reservations concerning the release of EU funds to Turkey are being neutralized by the formation of the committee of experts," ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said.

    Greece and Turkey on Tuesday agreed to appoint two non-governmental personalities each to examine Greek-Turkish relations. The agreement was announced in Luxembourg at the end of the EU-Turkey Association Council meeting.

    "A serious dialogue presupposes a credible interlocutor," Mr. Spiliotopoulos said, adding that "the political instability and manifest confusion in Turkey point to the existence of many and conflicting (political) power centres in the neighbouring country."

    As a result, Mr. Spiliotopoulos said, the Greek government did not know which centre would guarantee Ankara's adherence to any obligations it might undertake.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas countered, saying it was "ridiculous" for ND to play the role of accuser, because "when it was in power (1990-1993), its leadership and cadres proclaimed the need for Greek-Turkish dialogue without any terms and prerequisites."

    The government spokesman clarified that the "committee of experts" to be formed would deal only with procedural matters and its findings would not be binding on either side.

    "The operation of the committee does not constitute political dialogue, nor any kind of negotiation whatsoever. On the contrary, it constitutes an effective way to reveal Turkey's policy and confront it in a determined and substantiated manner," Mr. Reppas said.

    "We hope, however, that the process will prove beneficial for both countries, provided Turkey adapts itself to the principles of the EU and international law and order," he added.

    In further reply to ND criticism, Mr. Reppas said that "Turkey's inability to respond to Greece's proposal for a dialogue subject to conditions, illustrates the groundlessness of its claims and the aggressive nature of Ankara's foreign policy."

    Mr. Reppas reiterated the prerequisites set by Athens for a Greek-Turkish dialogue, namely that Ankara rejects the use and threat of force, respect for international law and international treaties and uses the procedures of the International Court at The Hague for the settlement of any differences.

    On his part, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas also criticized the government for its stance in Greek-Turkish relations, charging the government with "proceeding with an unacceptable and nationally perilous substantial dialogue with Turkey, thus encouraging Ankara's territorial claims against the Aegean and Cyprus."

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said the government should pursue a fresh national policy as well as a change of scenery in relations between the two countries based on three axes: Non-negotiability of Greece's sovereign rights; the use of all international organizations and implementation of international laws and treaties.

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras said Ankara should publicly commit itself with meeting three conditions before a substantial Greek-Turkish dialogue begins. The conditions, according to Mr. Samaras, should be Ankara's official and public declaration of respect of Greece's territorial integrity, abandoning its habit of threats, provocations and disputes, and recognizing the International Law and international treaties.

    [03] Solana

    Brussels, 02/05/1997 (ANA/G. Daratos)

    NATO Secretary General Xavier Solana on Wednesday expressed his satisfaction over "the agreement reached between Greece and Turkey, whereby each country will appoint at least two personalities who will jointly study the positions and documents ... to be submitted by the two governments."

    Mr. Solana said he believed the agreement will facilitate the examination of certain problems in bilateral relations, aiming to result in the drawing up of non-binding proposals, regarding procedures which must be followed for problems to be solved.

    The NATO secretary general expressed satisfaction over the role to be played by the EU's Dutch presidency in this procedure.

    [04] May Day celebrated calmly throughout nation

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    Heavy rain washed out a May Day concert and parade in Athens planned to follow a rally outside the General Confederation of Trade Unions (GSEE) headquarters, while a separate rally held by ESAK, the union affiliated to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) took place in Syntagma Square, followed by a march to the labour ministry.

    The GSEE rally, with the participation of the civil service union (ADEDY) and the Athens Labour Centre (EKA), was addressed by GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos and PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis, who expressed regret over the separate celebrations, as did Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou.

    KKE leader Aleka Papariga said the "division" of this year's May Day events was unavoidable, saying that unions should express the needs of the working class and "not mince their words".

    "Workers remain united at grass-roots level and they should repel attacks, even those aimed at them via social dialogue," said Ms. Papariga.

    Heavy rain also dampened celebrations in Thessaloniki but did not prevent 3,000 people from parading in the streets of this northern Greek port city.

    In Piraeus, a group of shipyard workers gathered in a central square to protest unemployment.

    Addressing the crowd, Piraeus Labour Centre President Yiannis Mihas called on Prime Minister Costas Simitis to take direct measures to put an end to the wave of closures of shipyards.

    In hailing May Day celebrations, PASOK's executive bureau said in an announcement that the "constructive co-operation between the government and the unions constitutes a key point for the country's growth."

    Main opposition New Democracy's May Day message focused on the "need for the country to adjust to the new order through dialogue and understanding between the social partners."

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) called for "organized struggle" as the only answer to the "storm of the government's anti-popular policies."

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party spoke of a "harsh, unilateral austerity measures policy," that has lead to "the increase of unemployment, reduction of incomes and poverty."

    Synaspismos leader Nikos Constantopoulos, who attended the rally organized by GSEE at the Pedion tou Areos Square, stressed the need for the greatest possible unity and solidarity in confronting unemployment, poverty, inequalities and social exclusions.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said the government's aim was to "retrieve more insurance, pension and labour rights" from the people.

    The Political Spring party announced that this year's May Day finds Greece "hard hit by unemployment, zones of poverty and social inequalities."

    [05] Kaklamanis

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    On his part, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis held talks with representatives of GSEE, ADEDY and the Athens Labour Centre after May Day celebrations yesterday, saying Greece has an advantage over all the other countries in the wider geographical region thanks to political stability and its positive prospects.

    "Our domestic problems, economic and social, can and must be discussed with processes of a substantive dialogue, a fact meaning that decisions will neither be taken beforehand," he said.

    Mr. Kaklamanis promised that resolutions delivered to him by the three committees will be announced in Parliament.

    [06] Turkish trade unionist calls for support from Greek workers

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    The leader of the Turkish trade union "TURK-IS", Mustafa Kadakci, yesterday called on Greek workers to support what he called the struggling Turkish working class.

    Mr. Kadakci made the statement while attending May Day events on the eastern Aegean island of Hios, where he also called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus.

    "Greek and Turkish workers have nothing to separate them," he said, adding that in Turkey "we say we have a democracy, but we are significantly far from gaining rights which in Greece are a given."

    Mr. Kadakci also referred to the recent visit to Izmir by members of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and announced a joint cultural event to be held on an island this summer by GSEE and TURK-IS.

    [07] Theodorakis-Livanelli concerts to begin on Sunday

    Bonn, 02/05/1997 (ANA/P. Stangos)

    An official dinner held on Tuesday in honour of Greek and Turkish composers Mikis Theodorakis and Zulfi Livanelli, respectively, by German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel was seen by many as "a significant political gesture".

    The two composers are to begin a joint European tour on Sunday.

    Mr. Kinkel underlined his wish "to become involved and to help so that what was started by Theodorakis and Livanelli can become a broad movement which will bring Greeks and Turks together."

    During a joint press conference in Bonn, Mr. Theodorakis and Mr. Livanelli noted the new, positive climate which is developing between Greece and Turkey. They added that the effort they undertook in 1987 with the creation of the Greek-Turkish friendship group has begun to bear fruit.

    "This is independent of what is happening at the summit of politics and of what arms dealers, who are draining the blood of the two peoples, are doing," Mr. Theodorakis said, and accused the major European countries and the United States of hypocrisy.

    "Politicians of both countries are stirring nationalism and then become its hostages, and when at some time they want peace, it is too late because they are under the pressure of the media and the public opinion they themselves created," Mr. Livanelli said.

    [08] Vranitzky-Tsohatzopoulos meeting focuses on Albanian crisis

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos met on Wednesday in Vienna with the Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) special envoy for Albania, Franz Vranitzky.

    The meeting centred on the Albanian crisis in relation to pending elections in the neighbouring country.

    "The sooner the elections are held the more we will be able to say that we have fulfilled our duties efficiently," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    The date for elections in Albania is expected to be set in the following 10 days.

    [09] 'Social dialogue' to begin on May 14

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    The government decided yesterday to officially initiate "social dialogue" on May 14, with a meeting of ministers and government officials and the participation of representatives from several social groups.

    The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    In announcing the decision, which was taken at a meeting on Wednesday morning, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou declined to elaborate on the content of the government's views on the social dialogue.

    Attending the meeting, which lasted 90 minutes, were PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis, Under-secretary to the Prime Minister's Office, George Paschalidis and Labour Under-secretary Christos Protopapas.

    [10] Santer to visit Athens, Mount Athos next week

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    European Commission President Jacques Santer will pay an official visit to Greece between May 8-11 and is expected to discuss current European developments, all major issues concerning the European Union and issues of particular Greek interest with the nation's leadership.

    Mr. Santer will meet President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis.

    He will participate for the first time in events to be organized in Greece on the occasion of "Europe Day" on May 9. He will also address the message of the day to the citizens of Europe from Athens in the framework of a special ceremony to be held at t he Herod Atticus Theatre. The ceremony will be organized with the co-operation of the Athens municipality and the education ministry.

    On Friday morning, Mr. Santer and Mr. Simitis will address a special event at the Old Parliament building on the future of the EU in the light of developments at the Intergovernmental Conference.

    Mr. Kaklamanis and the European Parliament's vice president, George Anastasopoulos, will declare the opening of public dialogue on Europe.

    Addresses will also be made by European Commissioner Christos Papoutsis and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, as well as by social partner representatives on issues concerning the Intergovernmental Conference on revising the Maastricht Treat y, expected to be concluded in June.

    Mr. Santer will leave for Thessaloniki on the evening of May 9 to address the business community in northern Greece on economic issues in the framework of the Federation of Northern Greece's Industries annual general assembly.

    [11] Visit to Mount Athos

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    The European Commission president is to also visit the monastic community of Mount Athos at the end of next week.

    Mr. Santer is to fly to Karyes by helicopter on May 10, accompanied by National Economy Under-secretary Christos Pachtas.

    There are currently three EU-funded programs in progress in Mount Athos for the maintenance and repair of several historic monasteries. An unofficial itinerary for Mr. Santer's visit includes a meeting with members of the monastic community and a tour of the Megisti Lavra and Vatopedio Monasteries.

    [12] Harvard seminar to focus on IGC

    Boston, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    A seminar on the Intergovernmental Conference, and relations between European Union member-countries is to be held today at Harvard, with the participation of distinguished lecturers of US universities.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who arrived in Boston last night, has been invited to speak at the seminar. He is also scheduled to participate in today's round-table discussion on "The Balkans: From Conflict to Co-operation".

    The heads of Balkan diplomatic representations to the US are to participate in the round-table discussion.

    Speeches on Greek-Turkish relations have also been included in the seminar's program.

    [13] European Week in Berlin to begin

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    European Week kicks off in Berlin for the third consecutive year tomorrow until next week, under the aegis of European Commission President Jacques Santer, Europarliament President Jose Maria Gil Robles Delgado, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and the prime ministers of the German states.

    Greece will be participating with the theme of "rapprochement of peoples and the spirit of a citizen's Europe".

    Greece's program is due to begin on Sunday with the joint concert by Greek and Turkish composers Mikis Theodorakis and Zulfi Livanelli, respectively, with the participation of the Berlin Orchestra's choir.

    The exhibition "Spree- Athens: Greeks Live in Berlin" is being organized by the Berlin branch of the Foundation for Hellenic Culture (IEP) for May 10-June 20.

    [14] String of traffic accidents claims 18 victims

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    A total of 18 people were killed in traffic accidents around the nation over the past two days.

    Six people were killed, among them two soldiers, and at least 14 injured in a traffic accident on the Athens-Lamia highway Wednesday afternoon. According to reports, a truck crashed into a bus carrying 50 soldiers in the Kastro region of Viotia prefecture where road works are being conducted. The rented bus was taking the soldiers to Thessaloniki from Gytheio, Laconia prefecture.

    In one fatal accident, two people died yesterday when their car fell into a ditch near the town of Mavrolefki, Drama prefecture.

    The bodies of the driver, Georgios Papadopoulos, 23, and the passenger, Ioanna Baltoglou, both from Drama, were retrieved from the wreckage by police.

    In another accident, a car overturned in Xanthi, killing the driver, 48-year-old Thomas Batzakidis, from Hrysa, Xanthi prefecture.

    [15] IOC member in Athens

    Athens, 02/05/1997 (ANA)

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Flor Isava of Venezuela is currently visiting Athens, one of the five candidate cities for the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Also on an official visit is Juan Angel Caldazo, from Spain, the president of the World Field Hockey Federation.

    Ms. Isava is the third IOC member to visit Athens since the Greek capital was declared one of the five finalists cities.

    She arrived in Athens on Tuesday and visited the National Archaeological Museum, the Panathenian Stadium, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896, and was briefed by Athens' 2004 candidacy committee.

    Mr. Calzado attended the opening yesterday of the first field hockey championships of southeastern Europe at Vari, near Attica's south coast.

    End of English language section.

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