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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-21

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

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 1191), May 21, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Tsohatzopoulos says confronting Turkish threats a crucial priority
  • [02] Netanyahu: Turkish-Israeli military co-operation shouldn't alarm Athens
  • [03] Defense minister condemns Turkish invasion of northern Iraq
  • [04] Tsohatzopoulos says fortifying national defense a priority
  • [05] Greece to send Dutch EU presidency memo on Greek-Turkish differences
  • [06] Greece comments on new NATO structures
  • [07] Simitis, Tsohatzopoulos confer on defense policy issues
  • [08] Athens concerned with military contingent's status in case of electoral impasse
  • [09] Gov't spokesman
  • [10] Greek policeman accidentally kills himself in Gjirokaster consulate
  • [11] Pangalos sends condolences
  • [12] G. Papandreou calls for special EU support of Union's island regions
  • [13] WEU, shipping
  • [14] Tsohatzopoulos visit to Yugoslavia
  • [15] Serbian PM meets with Greek ambassador to Belgrade
  • [16] Karamanlis to travel to Sofia
  • [17] Romanian president to visit Greece this week
  • [18] Gov't lauds calm holding of joint concert in Nicosia
  • [19] Proportional representation system rejected by PASOK, ND
  • [20] Balkan chambers meet in Athens to focus on further co-operation
  • [21] Summer store hours announced
  • [22] Inflation below 5.0 percent by end-1997, Papantoniou says
  • [23] DEKOs
  • [24] Cleanest waters found in Greece, Commission report states
  • [25] Mykonos launches new runway
  • [26] New credits for infrastructure projects
  • [27] Mitsotakis-Iacovos meeting
  • [28] Karamanlis meets with Serapheim
  • [29] Int'l sports media events in Olympia

  • [01] Tsohatzopoulos says confronting Turkish threats a crucial priority

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday said that confronting the Turkish threat was a crucial national priority for Greece.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that Ankara has recently shown a more "aggressive orientation" against Greece, adding that this orientation included "territorial claims."

    Greece, however, "has a stabilizing role in the region contrary to Turkey, the role of which is destabilizing and perilous," he said.

    He said the sea delineation between Greece and Turkey was clearly defined in the treaties of Lausanne and Paris.

    Regarding Greece's sovereign rights to extend its territorial sea waters to 12 nautical miles, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said: "It is Greece's inalienable right. It is a matter of tactics, timing and circumstances to make such a decision."

    Referring to recent press speculation about the rumored creation of air corridors in Greek airspace over the Aegean in order to facilitate Turkish military training flights, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that Greece is in a position to secure corridors for safe passage on the sea, under the sea and in the air, but with a simultaneous extension of territorial waters to 12 nautical miles.

    Regarding the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR), he said the same rules apply for the aircraft of all countries, and there will be no special exceptions.

    Responding to a question on confidence-building measures in the Aegean, he said there has been no relevant negotiations with Turkey, and there is no need for additional measures to those envisaged under the 1988 Papoulias-Yilmaz agreement.

    He also referred to the Greek proposal for extending the moratorium of flights over the Aegean from two to three summer months, stressing that it was a goodwill move on the part of Greece.

    The defense minister also reiterated that for Greece there is no issue regarding the sovereignty of uninhabited islets in the Aegean, as there is clear mention of them in the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, and that any disputing of their status should be referred to the International Court at The Hague.

    Regarding the agreement for military co-operation between Turkey and Israel, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it was every country's inalienable right to select alliances and co-operation, but what was of interest to Greece was whether these promoted peace and security, or held the prospect of undermining them. He added that the peace process in the Middle East should not be undermined.

    He described the Cyprus issue as a vital national problem for Greece, adding that the strengthening of Cyprus in combination with the prospect of its EU membership constituted two basic factors for positive developments on the issue.

    Regarding the order of Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missiles by Cyprus, he said it exclusively concerned the right of a threatened small country to defend itself. The missiles are intended to protect the new airport at Paphos, which is expected to be ready at the beginning of 1998.

    In this context, he added, there will be military exchanges between Greece and Cyprus, which is perfectly acceptable by two sovereign member-states of the United Nations.

    [02] Netanyahu: Turkish-Israeli military co-operation shouldn't alarm Athens

    Jerusalem, 21/5/1997 (ANA/S. Sideris)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday that military co-operation between Israel and Turkey should in no way alarm Greece.

    The meeting concluded Mr. Pangalos' visit to Israel.

    Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Pangalos said an overall issue exists with the exercises between Israel and Turkey and Greece and Israel.

    "If Turkey accepts the proposal for a four-month moratorium then there will be no exercises in the Aegean," Mr. Pangalos said. Referring in particular to the military exercise between Greece and Israel, Mr. Pangalos said on the one hand there is an issue concerning the date it will be conducted and on the other it is exclusively a sea-rescue exercise.

    Moreover, Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy assured Mr. Pangalos that his country is not doing anything behind the back of Greece, referring to military co-operation between Israel and Turkey.

    In a statement immediately after his meeting with Mr. Pangalos, Mr. Levy said relations between Israel and Greece are very good and that the agreement his country has signed with Turkey is not directed against other countries.

    On his part, Mr. Pangalos said he "took note" of what his Israeli counterpart said.

    On the question of the peace process in the Middle East, Mr. Pangalos confirmed the deadlock created and said that during his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister strongly supported his positions.

    Mr. Pangalos said the European Union must assume its responsibilities on this issue and must have a more active participation in the peace process. He added that Greece will raise the issue at the next Council of EU Foreign Ministers and will brief his counterparts on his contacts in Gaza and Jerusalem. Additionally, Mr. Pangalos said he discussed the situation in the region with Mr. Levy, the course of the peace process and bilateral relations between Greece and Israel. The two ministers decided to establish a Greek-Israeli committee to probe possibilities of joint investments in the Balkans.

    Mr. Pangalos announced that he extended an invitation to the President of Israel Ezer Weizman to inaugurate a Holocaust monument to be built in Thessaloniki together with his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Referring to the discussion held on the situation in the region, Mr. Pangalos said it is necessary to find ways to peacefully resolve problems in the southeastern Mediterranean.

    After meeting with the Israeli president and before meeting with that country's prime minister, Mr. Pangalos paid tribute to the memory of victims of the World War II Holocaust by visiting the Yad Vashem Memorial and Museum.

    Mr. Pangalos received a guided tour of the museum and later visited the memorial, which commemorates the millions of children killed during the Holocaust.

    "For the most innocent of the innocent and in their memory, let us bring peace and understanding," Mr. Pangalos wrote in the visitors' book.

    [03] Defense minister condemns Turkish invasion of northern Iraq

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday condemned Ankara's cross-border thrust into northern Iraq against Kurdish guerrillas, saying it was unprecedented for a country to claim it was solving its domestic problems by invading another state.

    "Turkey must provide explanations about its action," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Commenting on the Kurdish problem, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it required a political, not a military solution.

    "In such cases, whoever opts for a military solution bears full responsibility for the cost as well as for the condemnation from international public opinion," he said.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added that any country aspiring to join the European Union should respect the principles of international law.

    [04] Tsohatzopoulos says fortifying national defense a priority

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Fortifying Greece's defense is a national priority, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday, adding that the country's developmental course is compatible with its defense capabilities.

    Replying to questions, he referred to the armed forces' armaments' program and to efforts to upgrade the Greek military industry as well as its participation in providing weapon systems to the armed forces.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added that the armaments program is in progress and aims to be completed within the next seven years.

    He said that a contract is in the process of being signed for the purchase of one S-type frigate from the Netherlands, while procedures for the evaluation of two offers are taking place for the modernization of the F-4 "Phantom" fleet of warplanes.

    Replying to a question, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the future of Greece's domestic arms industry is bright, as it currently makes up only 4 per cent of the armed forces' supplies, compared to 30 per cent for Turkey's domestic industry.

    Measures are to be announced soon regarding the weapons industry.

    [05] Greece to send Dutch EU presidency memo on Greek-Turkish differences

    The Hague, 21/5/1997 (ANA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Greece is to send a memorandum outlining its positions on Greek-Turkish differences to the Dutch European Union presidency soon, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said here yesterday.

    Greece is also expecting a memorandum from Turkey in order to be able to decide on procedures which must be followed in relation to the "committees of experts".

    On the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers' council for the Intergovernmental Conference, Mr. Papandreou met yesterday with members of the Dutch foreign ministry dealing with Greek-Turkish issues.

    Speaking to the press, he said the Dutch EU presidency is aiming for an interim report on Greek-Turkish differences to be issued by mid-June, underlining that Greece has no objections, although he clarified that "everything will depend on the content of the Turkish memorandum."

    [06] Greece comments on new NATO structures

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Greece is determined to block procedures for NATO's new structural reorganization if the same terms and conditions are not applicable to all member-states, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday.

    Elaborating on Greece's positions, the minister spoke of the regime after the country's return to NATO during the New Democracy government in the late 1970s.

    For 15 years, he said, Greece was a second-class member, as NATO's old structure allowed Turkey to use a veto on a series of important issues, such as the founding of the Larisa headquarters and the installation of a joint rapid defense force in Thessaloniki.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said NATO's new structure is simpler and has been adapted to the new state of events.

    In a related development, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos held a meeting yesterday with outgoing NATO Commander-in-Chief for Europe, US Army Gen. George Julland.

    The NATO commander was also received by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    [07] Simitis, Tsohatzopoulos confer on defense policy issues

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos had talks yesterday on the new structure of Greece's armed forces and the country's new national defense policy.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Tsohatzopoulos said the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) would meet next month to approve the national defense ministry's proposal concerning the new structure of the armed forces and give the green light for the new national defense policy.

    Also discussed during the meeting were procedures for advancing the armed forces' armaments and training programs, both of which are top priorities for the national defense ministry for the immediate future.

    Replying meanwhile to reporters' questions on statements by US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on proposed confidence-building measures (CBMs) between Greece and Turkey, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that the Papoulias-Yilmaz agreement constituted "the realistic basis for clearing up any outstanding issues in the Aegean regarding (military) flights and exercises". He was referring to the memorandum agreement reached in 1988 by the then Greek and Turkish foreign ministers Karolos Papoulias and Mesut Yilmaz respectively in the Athens seaside resort of Vouliagmeni.

    Mr. Papoulias and Mr. Yilmaz agreed in Vouliagmeni that Greece and Turkey should promote CBMs based on the principle of good-neighbourliness.

    "Whoever has a problem has only to implement what is provided in that agreement," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    [08] Athens concerned with military contingent's status in case of electoral impasse

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Athens intends to raise the issue of whether its military contingent should remain in Albania in the event that political parties of the neighboring country fail to reach agreement on the electoral law and the terms under which elections scheduled for next month will be held, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday.

    "We went to Albania to support the agreement and not to be used by one side or the other," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, replying to questions at a dinner given in his honor by the Foreign Press Association.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos criticized Albanian President Sali Berisha with regard to the new election law passed by the Albanian parliament last week, saying he had jeopardized "the safe course towards elections."

    Asked whether Greek forces participating in the multinational protection force in Albania might be sent to the south of the country near the border with Greece prior to elections, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said there was "tremendous pressure for the opening of the customs posts at Kakavia and Krystallopigi with the responsibility of the Greek armed forces."

    The issue is being discussed, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, adding that Greece will help in any way it can, just like the other countries participating in the multinational force, to safeguard both the distribution of humanitarian aid in Albania and the movement of citizens.

    "There will be important decisions in this respect in the next few days," he said.

    [09] Gov't spokesman

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    In a related development, the government announced that it was the duty of all Albanian political parties to agree on an electoral system and the conditions under which elections will be held in June.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas made the statement when asked to comment on the electoral law recently passed by only the majority Democratic Party of President Berisha.

    Mr. Reppas said Greece would do what it could to ensure that the electoral system was acceptable to the entire political spectrum in neighboring Albania.

    "These elections must be democratic and not a parody. The Albanian people have already paid dearly for the way in which the Albanian leadership has to date handled matters pertaining to the democratic functioning of the country," the spokesman said.

    [10] Greek policeman accidentally kills himself in Gjirokaster consulate

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    A Greek policeman stationed at the Greek consulate in the Albanian town of Gjirokaster accidentally shot himself dead in the consulate building yesterday morning.

    Police Lieutenant Nikos Markakis, 33, shot himself in the face after becoming entangled with his glasses while cleaning his gun, according to consular staff present on the first floor of the building where the accident took place.

    Markakis's body was taken to a hospital in the Greek town of Ioannina.

    The government later expressed its deep regret over the death of Markakis.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas described the police officer's death as an accident, saying there was no evidence to confirm reports that Markakis had been shot by a sniper.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Reppas said he did not know whether Markakis had asked to be transferred, adding that speculation that Markakis committed suicide was "hazardous".

    Citing the officer's colleagues, Mr. Reppas described Markakis as logical, cool-headed and impeccable in his duties. Commenting on the pressure put on the Greek consulate to issue visas, Mr. Reppas said that security measures at the consulate were satisfactory but when the pressure increased it temporarily shut down.

    [11] Pangalos sends condolences

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    The news of Markakis's death prompted a message of condolences from Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who is currently on a two-day visit to Israel. "I would like to express my deep condolences for the death of Police Lieutenant Nikos Markakis, the head of the security force at our general consulate in Gjirokaster. The reasons for his death are already the focus of an administrative inquiry," Mr. Pangalos said.

    [12] G. Papandreou calls for special EU support of Union's island regions

    The Hague, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday called for special care by the European Union for its island regions, which face many and varied structural problems impeding their development.

    Mr. Papandreou made the call during a working lunch at the end of the last foreign ministers' session and before the opening of the EU summit, scheduled to open at Nordwjiik tomorrow.

    "Special measures must be adopted in favor of these areas, and this can be done even without additional Community funds," he said.

    The Council focused discussion on European Union common foreign and security policy in the framework of the revision of the Maastricht Treaty.

    [13] WEU, shipping

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Speaking to the press later, Mr. Papandreou stressed there had been relative progress on issues of foreign policy, particularly regarding strategic decisions, and expressed Greece's satisfaction over the fact that whenever a member-state invokes a vital national interest, it is discussed at the Summit Council, where decisions are reached unanimously.

    He also stressed that Greece is in favor of a gradual incorporation of the Western European Union in the EU, emphasizing that it would be appropriate to clearly define the rights and obligations of associate members and WEU partners in a way that does not violate its institutional autonomy and unity in the decision-making process.

    Finally, the Greek side reiterated that the new treaty must ensure that the aim of the EU is the safeguarding of its common values, fundamental interests, independence and territorial integrity, according to the Charter of the UN. It also stressed that the "mutual assistance clause" of the WEU must be embedded in the new treaty.

    In another issue, the Greek minister asked for the exemption of shipping from Article 113 of the Maastricht Treaty, which gives the European Commission the right to negotiate commercial agreements with states or with international organizations.

    Mr. Papandreou made the request during the EU foreign ministers' council, meeting in order to discuss the Intergovernmental Conference.

    The minister explained that the shipping sector is of particular importance to Greece, given the size of Greek shipping.

    [14] Tsohatzopoulos visit to Yugoslavia

    Belgrade, 21/5/1997 (ANA/M. Mouratidis)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is scheduled to begin a two-day working visit to Yugoslavia today at the invitation of his counterpart Pavle Bulatovic.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos will today visit the Yugoslav army's Institute of Technological Studies and tomorrow have talks with Mr. Bulatovic, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and other high-ranking government officials.

    His talks are expected to focus on the peace process in former Yugoslavia as well as peace and stability in the Balkans in general.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos may also discuss bilateral co-operation in the defense sector, particularly regarding training issues.

    [15] Serbian PM meets with Greek ambassador to Belgrade

    Belgrade, 21/5/1997 (ANA/M. Mouratidis)

    Greece's ambassador to Belgrade, Panayiotis Vlassopoulos, met Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marianovic on Monday for talks on issues concerning the development of economic relations between the two countries and the promotion of overall relations between Greece and Yugoslavia.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos said Greek businessmen and Greek banks are interested in participating in the implementation of many important development programs in Serbia, particularly in the infrastructure and transport sector.

    On his part, Mr. Marianovic expressed satisfaction over the development of Greek-Yugoslav co-operation in the spirit of traditionally good relations between the two countries.

    The Serbian prime minister briefed the Greek ambassador on his government's program and activities in the economic sector and particularly on reforms it has started, and which aim at developing the economic system and strengthening the free market economy.

    [16] Karamanlis to travel to Sofia

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis will visit Sofia on May 30 at the invitation of Bulgaria's Prime Minister-designate Ivan Kostov, it was announced yesterday.

    [17] Romanian president to visit Greece this week

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Romanian President Emil Constantinescu is scheduled to begin an official three-day visit to Greece on Thursday at the invitation of his Greek counterpart, Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Mr. Constantinescu will have private talks with both Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis expected to focus on bilateral relations and the situation in the Balkans.

    Romania, which has traditionally close ties with Greece, has requested and received support from Athens for its bid to join the European Union and NATO.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos visited Bucharest in November 1995 and Simitis last March. Early this year, Romania's Foreign Minister Adrian Severin visited Athens, while on April 24 National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos paid a visit to the Romanian capital and had talks with Constantinescu.

    [18] Gov't lauds calm holding of joint concert in Nicosia

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    The government yesterday expressed a hope that the aims of the organizers of a joint concert by a Greek and a Turkish singer at a stadium in Nicosia's buffer zone had been attained concerning the need for rapprochement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

    "The concert was held in a civilized and calm atmosphere," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    However, he condemned incidents which took place away from the stadium, noting that "in free states, all activities must be able to develop freely."

    Police used tear gas to break up groups of young Greek Cypriots in the free part of the Cypriot capital. The youths threw firebombs to protest the concert by Greek and Turkish singers Sakis Rouvas and Burat Kut, respectively.

    The concert, organized under the auspices of the United Nations, was held at the Taxim Stadium in the buffer zone, which has divided the island republic since the 1974 Turkish invasion and subsequent occupation of one third of Cyprus.

    [19] Proportional representation system rejected by PASOK, ND

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Parliament yesterday rejected a proposal by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) for the implementation of proportional representation as Greece's electoral system.

    The proposal was rejected both by the ruling PASOK party and by the main opposition New Democracy party.

    The motion was supported, however, by deputies of the Coalition of the Left and Progress party (Synaspismos) and of the Democratic Social Movement, as well as by one PASOK deputy, Georgios Katsibardis, who criticized the government for rejecting it.

    During his speech, Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said the electoral law will be discussed within the framework of reviewing the Constitution, although he reiterated that the government will not be concerned with changing the electoral system.

    [20] Balkan chambers meet in Athens to focus on further co-operation

    Athens, 21/5/1995 (ANA)

    The first results of Greece's initiative to attract foreign capital to finance infrastructure projects in Balkan countries will be apparent within the year, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told representatives of several Balkan chambers of commerce yesterday.

    Greece has been in the forefront of efforts to rally the European Union, United States and international economic organizations in order to support major foreign investment in infrastructure throughout the Balkan region.

    Mr. Papantoniou was speaking to the general assembly of the Union of Balkan Chambers of Commerce.

    Chamber representatives from Albania, Romania, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece are participating.

    "Greece, with its comparative advantage of membership in the EU and other international organizations as well as its stable economy," Mr. Papantoniou said, "can contribute decisively to the general development of the Balkans."

    The activity of many Greek firms in Balkan countries has been significant in assisting those economies to move to free market economies, he said.

    Although economic relations between Balkan states over the past few years have developed dramatically, there were still substantial margins for further co-operation in a variety of sectors, the minister said.

    He pointed to the activity of the banking sector which, with the establishment of new branches as well as the operation of the Black Sea Co-operation and Development Bank in Thessaloniki, could substantially contribute to further co-operation.

    Mr. Papantoniou said Greece fully supported the efforts of Balkan countries to participate in the process of European unification and their applications for inclusion in next phase of enlargement of the European Union after 2000.

    The presidents of the Balkan chambers of commerce expressed satisfaction at their meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Athens' initiatives for the development of the broader Balkan region, during a joint press conference yesterday.

    The president of Albania's Industrial and Commerce Chambers Union, Mehmet Shijaku, referred to Greece's significant aid to his country and to the Greek government's positive attitude during the recent Albanian crisis.

    The deputy president of the Bulgarian Industry and Commerce Chamber, Ivan Minev, stressed the importance of Balkan development plans for improvement of Bulgaria's economic improvement.

    "Greece's position for close economic cooperation and support of business activities in Bulgaria is very important," he said.

    The president of Yugoslavia's Industry and Commerce Chamber, Michailo Milosevic, stressed the positive contribution of the press in the direction of closer co-operation in the Balkan countries, while the president of the Cypriot Commerce and Industry Chamber, Vassilis Rologis, said Cyprus desired to play a leading role in the field of investment in the Balkans prior to its accession to the European Union.

    The president of FYROM's Economic Chamber, Dusan Petreski, said Balkan chambers were expected to further contribute to inter-Balkan co-operation, while Romanian Commerce and Industry Chamber's president George Cojocaru said it was important to develop relations among the Balkan peoples.

    Mr. Cojocaru also referred to the positive relations between Romania and Greece.

    Ankara' Commerce Chamber president Niyazi Akdas said Turkey, with a population expected to exceed 100 million people by the year 2010, was an important market and, therefore, its co-operation with the remaining Balkan states should be deemed "substantive ."

    Turkey's business community, Mr. Akdas said, "praises efforts on the part of Athens to improve Greek-Turkish relations," adding that "Greece may contribute significantly to the development of the broader region."

    The sessions of the general assembly were expected to end in the afternoon following discussion on co-operation in the banking sector, insurance of trade transactions, and issues related to the Community-backed PHARE program.

    [21] Summer store hours announced

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    The system of varied working hours will be implemented again in the Attica prefecture this year from June 2 to Sept. 30.

    A meeting chaired by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis with corresponding agencies at the environment ministry yesterday reached an agreement that individuals employed by public and local government organizations will s tart work at 7 a.m., while bank and insurance company employees at 7:45 a.m.

    Stores, supermarkets and department stores will open at 9 a.m. The measure, aimed at combating air pollution and traffic problems, also anticipates a ban on supplying outlets in downtown Athens from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

    The restricted traffic zone will be in force throughout the summer with the exception of the period from Aug. 1-20.

    Mr. Laliotis proposed to the agencies to discuss the possible expansion of the varied working hours system throughout the entire year. Decisions will be taken on the issue at a later date.

    [22] Inflation below 5.0 percent by end-1997, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's inflation rate will be below 5.0 percent by the end of the year and will range between 2.5-3.0 percent by the end of 1998, National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou told Parliament yesterday.

    Speaking during Monday night's parliamentary debate on the economy, which lasted into the early hours of yesterday morning, Mr. Papantoniou was confident that Greece would be able to participate in economic and monetary union and the single currency by 2001. "In 2001, the drachma will have been abolished and replaced by the Euro and the country will be fully participating in EMU (European economic and monetary union)," he said. Greece's inclusion in EMU, which will ensure increased national security, w ill also allow a decrease in defense spending, he added. Mr. Papantoniou was critical of the policies of previous governments - both ruling PASOK and opposition New Democracy -saying that they had failed the economy because of the importance they placed on the "political cost".

    "That is no longer the case," he said.

    'Social dialogue' between the government, unions and employers, designed to carve out consensus on changes to the job market and, later, to the social security and pensions system must go ahead. "It would be a crime for us to proceed without exhausting the limits of dialogue," Mr. Papantoniou said. "We (the government) do not believe in the logic of 'we decide and we execute': We cannot go against the will of the people, but we must show greater courage and decisiveness".

    [23] DEKOs

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Mr. Papantoniou said the government would go ahead with the abolition and merger of dozens of public organizations and businesses (DEKOs) over the summer, saying the government would not shirk from its attempts to contain the public sector, which had become "a sluggish monster". Mr. Papantoniou said he had no qualms about paying private sector managers well to manage DEKOs. The government has previously announced that it would recruit career business managers to handle chronically ailing DEKOs. Turning to specifics, Mr. Papantoniou said DEH, Greece's state electricity supplier, had to have "its monopoly broken" and that private investment had to enter the scene, to force down the cost of electrical power.

    [24] Cleanest waters found in Greece, Commission report states

    Brussels, 21/5/1997 (ANA/G. Daratos)

    Greece has the cleanest shores for bathing among all European Union member-states, according to the latest European Commission report on the condition of Community coastlines and beaches.

    According to a report's findings, Greece got an outstanding 99.9 per cent "clean bill" from measurements carried out at a total of 1,690 beaches and stretches of coastline.

    In contrast to the tiny 0.1 per cent of Greek beaches which failed to comply with EU cleanliness specifications, the corresponding percentages for other member-states such as Britain (46.8 per cent), France (24.6 per cent), Spain (18.8 per cent) and Belgium (33.3 per cent) were extremely high.

    The European Commission said its report on water quality covered a total of 13,000 coastal expanses and beaches and 6,000 bathing areas in (fresh water) rivers and lakes.

    [25] Mykonos launches new runway

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    The island of Mykonos, Greece's most famous tourist resort, has upgraded its airport facilities by introducing a new runway. According to a statement by the Greek Civil Aviation Authority, the new runway has a length of 2,020 meters and a lighting system capable to service night flights. The new runway can be used by medium-sized aircraft, such as Boeing 737s, Airbus 320s and MD-80s.

    [26] New credits for infrastructure projects

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek government has approved credits totaling 640 million drachmas to carry out infrastructure projects around the country. The works are as follows: - Road-building in the Limnos prefecture (254 million drachmas) - Construction of a new section of the Arta-Karditsa highway (127 million drachmas) - Road improvements in the Hios prefecture (100 million drachmas) - Reconstruction of drainage ditches in the Corinthia prefecture following flood damage (100 million drachmas) - Repairs around Itea port (30 million drachmas) - Construction work on Delvinaki heliport in the Ioannina prefecture (15 million drachmas) - Construction work on Konitsa heliport in the Ioannina prefecture (14 million drachmas).

    [27] Mitsotakis-Iacovos meeting

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    New Democracy honorary president and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis met yesterday morning in Athens with the former Archbishop of North and South America Iacovos.

    The meeting focused on the latest developments on Greece's national issues, while both men concluded that they shared the same views, Mr. Mitsotakis said.

    Commenting on the government's policy, the former premier said it was "reluctant and not clear."

    "(The government) does not have the courage to say what it pursues and what it believes," he said.

    Mr. Mitsotakis added, however, that the government's policy was "on the right path."

    "We've got to help," he said, "those issues which relate to Hellenism, especially the Cyprus issue, which I think will enter a difficult stage next year."

    Iacovos said Mr. Mitsotakis constituted hope and guarantee for Greece's political life.

    [28] Karamanlis meets with Serapheim

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis met yesterday with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim.

    Mr. Karamanlis said he visited the ecclesiastical leader to pay his respects and express conviction that faith and values should be reinforced during "these difficult times."

    The ND president said religion could play a leading and active part in the Balkans.

    [29] Int'l sports media events in Olympia

    Athens, 21/5/1997 (ANA)

    An international conference entitled "The Atlanta Olympic Games and Mass Media" is currently being held in ancient Olympia, organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the participation of 53 countries.

    In another event, a nation-wide conference of sports writers, dedicated to track and field due to cover the upcoming IAAF World Championships, is also to be held at the site.

    End of English language section.

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