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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-19

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] PM Simitis and new opposition leader to meet in parliamentary debate today
  • [02] Reppas comments
  • [03] Kranidiotis, Prendergast meet on Cyprus problem
  • [04] Annan invitation to Clerides, Denktash
  • [05] Karamanlis calls on supporters to rally to the party
  • [06] Venizelos confident that Parthenon friezes will return to Greece
  • [07] Greeks remember genocide of Black Sea Greeks
  • [08] Preliminary IGC meeting held
  • [09] Tsohatzopoulos
  • [10] Coalition supports an effective new local government system
  • [11] Athenians remember Lambrakis
  • [12] Development minister up beat on results so far
  • [13] Laliotis offers support for Thessaloniki's parking problem
  • [14] Eurobanking congress begins in Athens
  • [15] 14th DETROP exhibition draws interest from around the world
  • [16] Rescue teams find body of refuse worker
  • [17] Greek, Turkish pop idols to perform today amidst criticism

  • [01] PM Simitis and new opposition leader to meet in parliamentary debate today

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will have his first confrontation today with the main opposition New Democracy party's new leader Costas Karamanlis in an off-the-agenda Parliamentary debate on the economy sought by Mr. Karamanlis.

    According to reports from both sides, Mr. Karamanlis intends to strongly criticize the government's economic policy. Reports from Mr. Simitis' close associates say that the prime minister will avoid a confrontation, in the belief that the economy must not constitute a topic of party confrontation.

    Mr. Simitis is reported to be preparing to focus on the fact that there must and can be a fertile and substantive dialogue between parties on major problems faced by the economy for participation in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    Mr. Simitis will refer to the government's policy on all sectors of the economy and will stress that the policy being applied has already produced results. He will further say that the policy being applied is the sole one which can prepare the groundwork for Greece's participation in EMU.

    He will also insist on the economic policy it is implementing and will stress that despite the fact that a fiscal restructuring program is under way, the country is not faced with considerable side-effects as is the case in other countries.

    Reports said that Mr. Karamanlis will accuse the government of "lacking the will and resolution" to restructure the state to facilitate a structured development policy.

    Mr. Karamanlis, although he recognizes that the economy is presenting positive results in certain sectors, primarily in the figures sector, maintains that necessary policies have not been developed to enable convergence with European countries.

    Mr. Karamanlis, the sources said, will refer to specific examples and will call on the prime minister to provide answers on the reasons why certain sectors of economic activity are developing unsatisfactorily.

    Lastly, Mr. Karamanlis will make it clear that "the wasteful state is a tyrant for the citizen and an obstacle to economic development."

    [02] Reppas comments

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Speaking in Xanthi yesterday on today's Parliamentary debate on the economy, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said "the country's prime minister does not preoccupy himself with confrontations but with the people's problems.

    "What is of interest to the government is an end to lies and hypocrisy," he added.

    Called on to comment on a report in the newspaper "To Vima" yesterday concerning government plans to change the procedure to elect the president of the republic, Mr. Reppas said "the government is examining all eventualities for a smoother functioning of the constitution."

    [03] Kranidiotis, Prendergast meet on Cyprus problem

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and UN Under-secretary-General Sir Kieran Prendergast met yesterday and discussed the possibility of success in talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash under UN auspices.

    Mr. Kranidiotis underlined the negative stance of the Turkish Cypriot leadership resulting in a discontinuation of proximity inter-communal talks, since it was not possible to find common ground for negotiations.

    Under the circumstances, the holding and success of direct talks on the Cyprus issue is the exclusive responsibility of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is inviting President Clerides and Mr. Denktash to New York in early June.

    Sir Kieran referred to efforts being made by Mr. Annan and the UN for negotiations to go ahead with the purpose of finding a solution.

    Mr. Kranidiotis will meet Mr. Annan in New York on May 26 with whom he will primarily discuss the Cyprus issue, as well as Greece's candidacy for the Security Council after 1998.

    [04] Annan invitation to Clerides, Denktash

    Moscow, 19/5/1997 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    Replying to a question from the Athens News Agency (ANA) on Saturday, Mr. Annan reiterated his intention to invite Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash to "face-to-face" negotiations in New York.

    Mr. Annan explained that both sides have already expressed their willingness to his envoy to come to these negotiations in New York and he estimates that the talks will be held in the second half of June.

    Mr. Annan said that he has appointed Mr. Cordobes as coordinator in the Clerides-Denktash talks and praised his experience and the abilities he showed in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

    [05] Karamanlis calls on supporters to rally to the party

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Leader of the main opposition New Democracy party Costas Karamanlis called his members on Saturday for "a great crusade" to confront the government, speaking at a party meeting in the Macedonian town of Kastoria.

    The opposition leader stressed the need for collective action for the party to achieve its objectives and spoke of individual responsibility for the results of this effort.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that, even under the assumption that the government wanted to, "it still is unable to find solutions to the country's major problems and lead into the future", because "it is dragged down by the curse of all those that brought us to this state".

    He stressed that ND has an important role to play in all developments and called supporters to join the party and assume their responsibilities.

    Meanwhile, the leader of the Political Spring party Antonis Samaras attacked both the government and ND over the weekend, saying that the country was under a "two-headed power arrangement" and that in the main opposition party, things were "abnormal and blurred".

    [06] Venizelos confident that Parthenon friezes will return to Greece

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said yesterday that he was optimistic that Greece's efforts to win back the Parthenon marbles would eventually succeed.

    "I believe that under the pressure of public opinion, international and British, but also with the help of British parliamentarians, we shall attain a happy end. We need coolheadedness and planning. The repatriation of the Parthenon marbles remains our permanent goal," Mr. Venizelos said on the occasion of World Museums Day yesterday in which all museums in Greece were free to the public.

    The theme for this year's celebration of World Museums Day is "the struggle against the illegal trade of our cultural heritage", addressing a major problem for most countries that have a long history of civilization to exhibit.

    With the advent of the British Labor Party to government, Greece has recently brought up the issue of a return of the Marbles.

    Mr. Venizelos added that the culture ministry's goal was "to overcome the static conventional view of museums, and arrive at a modern one. Museums are the most modern form of culture. It is the sector which vindicates our cultural heritage in the consciousness of Greeks and foreigners alike".

    He said his ministry was already following a new policy with regard to museums and had set in motion a new pilot program involving the country's 12 most prominent museums. The program involves making museums more vital and visitor-friendly through t he introduction of various services beyond the dry exhibition of artifacts.

    [07] Greeks remember genocide of Black Sea Greeks

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    A memorial service was held in Athens yesterday for the estimated 353,000 Black Sea Greeks who perished in the course of a campaign launched in 1919 by the subsequent founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk.

    May 19, today, has been designated as Memorial Day for the Genocide of Pontian Hellenism.

    In a message on the anniversary, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said "the memory is still alive. Turkey today is perpetuating the crime of invasion and occupation of Cyprus. It is continuing to threaten in the Aegean, with illegal, illogical, and historically groundless claims...

    "Vis-a-vis this reality, we have the duty to maintain our resolute stand. No sovereign right of Greece is negotiable, and we are ready to support this decision of ours by every possible means...

    "At the same time, we are not abandoning the effort for a peaceful rapprochement of the two peoples, which will blunt the very negative climate," he said.

    In a message marking today's anniversary, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis stressed the state's duty to stand by "our Black Sea brothers who are being repatriated as well as those who are still living in countries of the former Soviet Union".

    [08] Preliminary IGC meeting held

    Houpten, The Netherlands, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    The extraordinary meeting of European Union foreign ministers representatives on the Intergovernmental Conference ended in Houpten yesterday.

    Greece was represented by Foreign Ministry Community Affairs Secretary-General Stelios Perrakis.

    The meeting was of a substantive nature given that it was held in this small Dutch town 48 hours before the conclave due to convene at The Hague tomorrow and a few days before the European summit in Amsterdam on May 23.

    Speaking to the Athens News Agency (ANA), Mr. Perrakis said the Dutch EU presidency has brought a "collection of documents" for discussion containing new formulations on issues concerning EU citizens (freedom, security and justice).

    Issues were also discussed which concern the incorporation of the protocol for the Schengen agreement (an agreement on the free movement of people and services inside the borders of the EU) and the EU's legal status.

    [09] Tsohatzopoulos

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Speaking at a party meeting in Thessaloniki on Saturday, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that there was nothing to negotiate in Greek-Turkish relations.

    Referring to reports on Greek-Turkish dialogue, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said:

    "There is nothing to negotiate. Don't worry. We are ready to talk, but not (on) Greece's sovereign issues."

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said Greece has the strength to say "no" to Turkey over "air corridors" and "gray zones" and warned that "the Greek armed forces will give a 'flexible' reply to whoever makes aggressive actions which it will remember for decades."

    [10] Coalition supports an effective new local government system

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress said yesterday it would support the merger of local government organizations on the condition that incentives for their development were provided.

    Coalition president Nikos Constantopoulos told a meeting in Patras yesterday that local government organizations were suffering from a lack of technical infrastructure and personnel and needed "bold financing".

    "The proposal of hope for the future of Greece is for the Coalition a proposal for institutional and political reform and for decentralization of self-administration," he said.

    "We say yes to a policy of merger of communities which must be pursued with substantial procedures which will not allow a repeat of negative phenomena which we have seen," he said.

    [11] Athenians remember Lambrakis

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Athenians yesterday marched from Marathon to the city center to mark the 34th anniversary of the assassination of leftist deputy and pacifist Grigoris Lambrakis.

    The march ended with a rally last night at the Pedion tou Areos park in downtown Athens, addressed by the daughter of Che Guevara, Aleida. A cultural festival followed.

    Grigoris Lambrakis was murdered in Thessaloniki in 1963 by extreme rightist elements. His story later became the focus of the bestseller "Z" by Vassilis Vassilikos and later popularized in the film of the same name, directed by Costa-Gavras.

    [12] Development minister up beat on results so far

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Speaking in Thessaloniki on Saturday, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said results of the government's development policy are "very positive and in certain cases unexpected."

    "We have development rates which are higher than those we had hoped for," Ms Papandreou said at a conference on economic development organized by local PASOK party officials.

    Ms Papandreou said interrelated convergence and development programs are being consistently implemented, adding that this was taking place for the first time in Greece. She further said that preparations have also started for the implementation of the Third Convergence Program.

    [13] Laliotis offers support for Thessaloniki's parking problem

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said in Thessaloniki on Saturday the ministry would provide 1.5 billion drachmas for the construction of parking areas in the Thessaloniki municipality, adding that the creation of every new parking place would be subsidized with 600,000 drachmas.

    Mr. Laliotis attended an extraordinary session of Thessaloniki's municipal council which focused on "the unified parking plan", which includes the research report and the proposals by experts from the Aristotelion University on tackling Thessaloniki's traffic problem.

    The plan's initial stage provides 3,000-4,000 parking spaces in the center of the city with the creation of underground and surface parking lots. The municipal council expressed support for an immediate implementation of studies.

    An appeal was also made to Mr. Laliotis during the municipal council's meeting to contribute to the resolution of two problems concerning the co-existence of parking space and archaeological sites in Dikastiriou Square and the offering of the building housing the old customs offices at the port to facilitate the relocation of the municipal mansion.

    [14] Eurobanking congress begins in Athens

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    The 25th Eurobanking congress, organized by the National Bank of Greece from May 18-21, began yesterday at the Astir hotel in Vouliagmeni.

    The congress of the European Working Group on Operational Research in Banking was addressed by Eurobanking's general secretary Frederick Ridgeway from the Bank of Ireland.

    National Bank of Greece's deputy governor Andreas Vranas, in his speech, referred to the trends and prospects of financial services in Greece, while Ioannis Manos, general secretary at the Union of Greek Banks spoke on economic and monetary union, the single currency and financial services and timetable and preparation by member-states.

    Mr. Ridgeway underlined the role of Eurobanking - a broad and dynamically evolving group of European bank officials, specialized in banking and financial services research - that gathers annually to criticize and review techniques, experiences and methods of operations research, as well as other problems facing banking administration.

    [15] 14th DETROP exhibition draws interest from around the world

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    The 14th DETROP exhibition has drawn commercial visitors from all over the world, and the important economic agreements concluded so far have proved the important role the major exhibition is playing for the Greek economy and the foodstuffs and beverages sector.

    HELEXPO has registered arrivals of commercial visitors from 33 countries, including countries from the Far East, the Arab world, North America and the European north.

    Among the visitors is the foodstuffs market director of Israel's Supersol company, which is the biggest foodstuffs branch in the country, with a turnover of $672 million. Other companies such as Layam Co Ltd and Willy Food Ltd are also represented at DE TROP.

    Parallel exhibitions of the 14th DETROP, which are part of the program "Thessaloniki Cultural Capital of Europe 1997" and are hosted at HELEXPO's two big international convention centers also met with great success.

    The two-day conference "Oinoforos" ended yesterday with important addresses by special experts and wine producers.

    [16] Rescue teams find body of refuse worker

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    Rescue workers yesterday found the body of refuse collection worker George Drakides who disappeared on Saturday morning in the main Athens landfill in Ano Liossia.

    Drakides, 50, disappeared as garbage collectors began cleaning up the tons of refuse left on city streets during last week's six-day strike.

    Drakides, a member of the crew of an Agia Paraskevi municipality collection truck, was last seen when a colleague went off and left him alone in the vehicle at 4.30 a.m. The colleague went to get help to tow the truck which had become stuck on the soft landfill surface.

    Police and fire brigade crews with specially trained sniffer dogs searched the area throughout the day and found his body yesterday at midday.

    [17] Greek, Turkish pop idols to perform today amidst criticism

    Athens, 19/5/1997 (ANA)

    There were mixed reactions in Cyprus and Greece over the weekend as preparations got under way for a joint Greek-Turkish pop concert to be held today on the Cyprus buffer zone separating the island's free areas and the Turkish occupied northern part.

    The organizers of the concert by Greek pop idol Sakis Rouvas and his Turkish colleague Burat Cut expect to draw about 6,000 youths from both communities.

    The event has received the endorsement of the United Nations as well as the Cypriot government.

    However, some of the republic's political parties and at least one citizens' group have been critical of the initiative in the light of the occupation situation in northern Cyprus.

    Similarly in Greece a number of cultural figures have expressed their opposition to the concert.

    UN security is being stepped up around the area where the concert will be held in Cyprus' "no-man's-land", while the organization's spokesman and UN peacekeeping force spokesman Waldemar Rokoszewski denied recent press reports that the two communities i n the audience will be separated, saying that "there would be no reason to have this concert if we kept Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots apart".

    Meanwhile, the Athens secretariat of the Ipekci Award has decided to propose the two pop singers for its next "Special Peace and Friendship Award" in a statement expressing support for the concert.

    End of English language section.

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