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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-27

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] Greek committee of experts conveys preliminary texts to Dutch EU presidency
  • [02] Pangalos
  • [03] Karamanlis briefed by defense ministry leadership
  • [04] Greek, Cypriot defense ministers confer on co-operation
  • [05] Greece, Turkey elaborate on details of bilateral differences
  • [06] US House Committee calls for compliance with int'l-accepted borders
  • [07] Tsohatzopoulos warns Turkey of Pandora's box in case of change in Aegean status
  • [08] ND comments on latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations
  • [09] Int'l meeting examines crisis in Albania
  • [10] Italian envoy to be replaced
  • [11] Kaklamanis welcomes delegation from six Balkan nations
  • [12] Conference on Europe's role in globalized economy slated
  • [13] Draft bill on Schengen tabled in Parliament
  • [14] Constantopoulos, Skandalidis meeting
  • [15] Conference on private, public TV held in Thessaloniki
  • [16] OECD ministerial meeting concentrates on economic issues
  • [17] Greece welcomes French left's good showing
  • [18] Montenegrin PM in Athens
  • [19] Athens hosts UN conference on Mideast peace process
  • [20] IOC members visit Athens sports venues
  • [21] Opposition to Athens' bid
  • [22] Shipowners' council meets with PNO concerning competitiveness issue
  • [23] Serious 'social dialogue' phase begins today
  • [24] Israeli business delegation to visit Athens in June
  • [25] Greek-Turkish business meeting
  • [26] SME seminar
  • [27] Greek-Turkish trade needs improvement
  • [28] Construction activity surges
  • [29] Athens Bourse suspends trading
  • [30] Humanitarian aid to Bulgaria
  • [31] Greek participation in Phare program
  • [32] Textile industry hit by computer thieves
  • [33] Policeman confesses he shot colleague
  • [34] US officials hopes to see Halki Academy open soon

  • [01] Greek committee of experts conveys preliminary texts to Dutch EU presidency

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    The two members of the Greek "committee of experts" set up to discuss Greek-Turkish relations yesterday conveyed the preliminary text with Greece's positions on the issues to the Dutch EU presidency.

    Argyris Fatouros and Krateros Ioannou handed the text, outlining Greece's conditions for the exchange of views with the two Turkish experts on the corresponding committee from the neighboring country, to the Dutch ambassador to Athens.

    According to sources, the conditions include the avoidance of the use of force or the threat to use force by Turkey;

    - recognition by Ankara of the international legal framework determining its relations with Greece, the existing borders (as set out in the treaties of Lausanne and Paris, and the Italian-Turkish and Greek-Italian pacts);

    - recognition of international accords (such as the International Law of the Sea) and recognition of the procedure for settling differences through the International Court at The Hague;

    - the seeking of manners of rapprochement on a procedural side of issues projected by the two parties.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas had earlier announced that the Greek committee of experts would send its findings yesterday.

    He said the contents of the report would not be made public. The Turkish side is also to present its own conclusions to the Dutch EU presidency.

    Mr. Reppas contended that statements made over the last few days by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and Turkish Foreign Under-secretary Onur Oymen "detracted from the rapprochement process" begun with the respective committees of experts.

    This process, he added, was aimed at showing that the only way to co-exist was by adhering to international law and treaties.

    [02] Pangalos

    Paris, 27/05/1997 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    On his part, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday accused Turkish Foreign Under-secretary Onur Oymen of lacking seriousness, adding that he contradicted and exposed his President Suleyman Demirel with his recent statements concerning documents on the Aegean.

    "If he has papers and documents, as Mr. Oymen claims, which dispute the status quo in the Aegean let him bring them before the relevant bodies," Mr. Pangalos said, reminding that Turkey is the only country which has not signed the accord on the law of the sea and the only one in Europe which raises an issue of borders and border differences. He also called on Turkey to have an end put to this issue.

    "Greece is ready to sign a non-aggression pact with Turkey (and not one of friendship and co-operation which requires other preconditions) and this would eliminate the notorious casus belli brandished by Turkey against us," he said, adding that "I listened to Mr. Demirel who said he accepts the Treaty of Lausanne and the treaties determining the status of the Dodecannese. And 24 hours afterwards Mr. Oymen disputed them. I call on them to consult each other because an understanding with them becomes even more difficult when they do not constitute a reliable interlocutor."

    Mr. Pangalos and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou participated in the annual ministerial session of the OECD, which will come to a close at the organization's headquarters in Paris today.

    [03] Karamanlis briefed by defense ministry leadership

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    A main opposition New Democracy party delegation, headed by ND leader Costas Karamanlis, was briefed for three hours yesterday by the political and military leadership of the national defense ministry.

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said afterwards that the briefing centered on the strategic priorities of national defense, and the particular aims of the separate branches of the armed forces.

    On his part, Mr. Karamanlis stressed the importance his party ascribes to the battle worthiness and deterrent capability necessary to secure the inviolability of the country's sovereign rights at a time when Turkey is escalating pressures, even through statements of its top state officials.

    These requirements, Mr. Karamanlis said, presuppose, first, substantive and speedy modernization that will ensure qualitative superiority, and secondly, an upgrading of morale and equipment.

    [04] Greek, Cypriot defense ministers confer on co-operation

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Cypriot counterpart Costas Eliades discussed bilateral defense co-operation in a meeting in Athens yesterday morning.

    "We also had the opportunity to examine interpretations and options which need to be clarified in order to help implement national strategy in the event of any threat to Greece or Cyprus," said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.

    The Cypriot minister said there was complete agreement between Athens and Nicosia on all issues irrespective of developments. "Everything that has been planned is in progress," he concluded.

    [05] Greece, Turkey elaborate on details of bilateral differences

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Turkish Foreign Under-secretary Onur Oymen yesterday elaborated on the positions of their two governments on nearly all issues related to the Greek-Turkish relations, during a discussion organized by the Center of Political Research and Information (CPRI).

    Keeping mild tones throughout the discussion, both parties in essence reiterated the already known, yet firm positions, expanding on all the issues.

    During his address, Mr. Papandreou said such discussions were useful because they helped both parties to have their positions better clarified and understood.

    Welcoming his Turkish counterpart to Athens, Mr. Papandreou referred to recent successive meetings between the two men.

    Describing those meetings as "sincere discussions," Mr. Papandreou said that although they did not lead to agreement on many issues, they helped establish honest and good relations.

    Mr. Papandreou said it was too early to say whether Greek-Turkish relations had entered a new era, where peaceful solutions could be found without the sovereign rights of each being given up, but stressed "there are reasons to believe that we should try ", because times have greatly changed.

    "After the Cold War we are moving to a new political reality which is now shaping up...

    "It is within this context we should see the developing new relations between the EU and Turkey, and, of course, between Turkey and Greece.

    "It is this new context, I believe, which allows us after many decades of animosity, to rethink and redesign our relationship. Greece has important political and economic reasons in seeking a strengthening of Turkey's European orientation. We have no dogmatic opposition to its future full accession to the EU. Positions of the nature that 'Turkey will never fully join the EU', or, more coarsely inferred that 'Turkey does not belong in Europe,' are not only unrealistic, but are also insupportable...

    "Opinions that have circulated in Europe, that in the case of Turkey, cultural and religious criteria should be applied, find us completely and emphatically opposed," he said.

    Reflecting known Greek positions, Mr. Papandreou reiterated that in order to have dialogue with Turkey the neighboring country should renounce the threat of the use of violence, respect the international legal framework that governs relations and delineates borders between the two countries, and acknowledge that the International Court at The Hague constitutes one of the appropriate means for the resolution of problems.

    On his part, the Turkish foreign under-secretary accepted the need for respect to international treaties and the status quo in the Aegean, but also repeatedly referred to the need for bilateral dialogue on all existing issues:

    "Both countries should respect and observe the stipulations of the Lausanne treaty which was the basis of our relations in the last 70 years.

    "We should also observe other relevant treaties and agreements signed and duly ratified and registered by the two countries.

    "We should observe the status quo in the Aegean sea and should refrain from any action which might create faits accomplis and change the status quo in the Aegean...

    "We should resume the talks started in the late 1970s between the undersecretaries of the two countries, with a view to explore the possibilities of achieving an agreement on the continental shelf and other Aegean problems.

    "We should also support the efforts of the secretary general of NATO with a view to implementing comprehensive confidence building arrangements".

    He said, but did not elaborate, that during an official dinner on Sunday night with Mr. Papandreou and Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Krandiotis, (both parties) concluded that there were a number of issues on which progress could be achieved.

    Mr. Oymen alleged that his country respected those agreements which it had signed and ratified (in the past), thus, indirectly yet clearly resurfacing the issue of recognition on the part of Turkey of those agreements which the country had not signed.

    Mr. Oymen said that based on recent discussions with Greek officials "I concluded that problems are no so big as we believed," and repeated at frequent intervals that the Turkish people had friendly sentiments for the Greeks.

    The Turkish minister did not make use of the term "casus belli," but stressed that if Greece ever wished to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, then Turkey would have to react because then the Aegean would be turned into a Greek lake and this "strangulation" could not be overlooked by any national assembly or government in Turkey.

    The Turkish diplomat repeatedly stressed that Turkey's foreign policy was firm, that it did not become entangled with domestic political issues and was never altered as a result of governmental changes.

    He cited many examples from international relations to stress that dialogue was the only way for a resolution of problems and differences, and wondered why Greece and Turkey should be the exception. He stressed that neither country ever lost something a s a result of dialogue.

    "Our job and historic mission now is to close the gap between Greece and Turkey and restart a new page in our relations, a page of friendship, mutual trust and co-operation.

    "Turkey and Greece are among the leading countries in the world concerning military expenditures in terms of percentage of GNP. What did we gain so far from this policy of confrontation? The Aegean remains as it was many decades ago. In practice, the for mer status quo prevailed in the Aegean. But because of accusations and tensions, we have lost invaluable benefits," he said.

    Replying to relevant questions, Mr. Oymen said Turkey would be ready to discuss all the issues, such as the issue of the now tiny Greek community in Istanbul, the issues of Imvros and Tenedos or the issue of determining sovereignty of certain isles and rocky islets which "have not been ceded to Greece by international agreements and treaties."

    Mr. Oymen said Turkey had in its possession "strong legal documents and maps on the issue of Imia (Kardak)," adding that the two countries should compare documents.

    "Greece is asking Turkey to refer the Imia issue to The Hague, but when Turkey calls on Greece to refer to the International Court other issues as well, such as the militarization of the islands, then Greece refuses, invoking the issue of national security and defense," Mr. Oymen said.

    He said Turkey began territorial claims in the Aegean as a result of the handling of the issue of Imia, and Greek efforts to settle or/and militarize rocky islets of "open" ownership.

    In reference to the Cyprus problem, the Turkish foreign under-secretary said that Cyprus could not gain accession to the European Union except simultaneously with Turkey and on the condition that the political problem had first been resolved.

    He said that Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash should work out a solution between them and that the international community should stop pressuring Turkey, "something which is of no use."

    "On the other hand," he added, "improvement in Greek-Turkish relations will be significantly useful to procedures for the resolution of the Cyprus problem."

    Mr. Oymen, explaining his position for the simultaneous accession of Turkey and Cyprus to the European Union, referred to the London-Zurich agreements establishing Cypriot independence. In accordance to these agreements, he claimed, Cyprus cannot enter any international organizations without approval from the guarantor powers.

    He did not answer, however, when asked why Turkey did not react when Cyprus gained accession to the Non-aligned Movement and the British Commonwealth.

    He further refrained from commenting on the fact that the European Commission has already agreed to the EU pre-accession talks for Cyprus six months after the end of the IGC.

    [06] US House Committee calls for compliance with int'l-accepted borders

    Washington, 27/05/1997 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean can only be safeguarded by applying international treaties and respecting internationally accepted borders between countries in the area, the US House of Representatives said yesterday.

    In a report for foreign aid for 1998-9, the International Relations Committee said that "whoever doubts the application or interpretation of international treaties should take recourse to the proper bodies as provided by international legal practice", a n indirect reference to Turkish claims in the Aegean.

    Referring to the eastern Aegean area, the report said that it was very important that all countries in the area follow internationally accepted behavior.

    "The United States and other countries have publicly voiced their strong disagreement over the use of violence or threat of use of violence to solve such issues," it said.

    Referring to Cyprus, the report urged US President Bill Clinton to "take [an] immediate and serious initiative that [...] would aim at creating a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with a single sovereignty and international in nature, and a single citizenship, with a guaranteed independence and territorial integrity, consisting of two politically equal communities".

    It called for the demilitarization of Cyprus because its present situation "and the great number of Turkish occupation forces comprises a permanent source of tension and instability on the island and in the greater area".

    Solving the Cyprus issue would remove a source of friction between Greece and Turkey and would allow both countries to normalize their relations, improving stability in the area and supporting US interests in the area, the report said.

    [07] Tsohatzopoulos warns Turkey of Pandora's box in case of change in Aegean status

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greek National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday warned Ankara that a change in the status quo in the Aegean could open up "Pandora's box" and lead to a revision of the international status of the Bosporus Straits.

    In an interview with the Athens daily 'Ta Nea', the minister stressed that Greece will decisively answer any military attempt to change the status quo in the Aegean and defend its national sovereignty. "Ankara should be made aware of the fact that its pursuit to revise the status quo in the Aegean could boomerang and open up Pandoras' box for a revision of the international status quo of the Bosphorus Straits - not necessarily by Greece," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos rejected Ankara's allegation that Greece considers the Aegean "a Greek lake," saying that "Greece will never impose restrictions - economic, legal, political - on the sea routes or straits, even when it exercises its inalienable right to expand, in accordance with international law, its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles." The implementation of the Law of the Sea and extension of territorial waters to 12 miles would ensure passage in the Aegean and would consolidate channels of free trade by sea and air, he said.

    He branded a Turkish military textbook's claims to 130 Greek islands in the Aegean as 'a midsummer night's dream', saying Greece would decisively respond to any military attempt to change the status quo in the Aegean. "The legal status of all the islands, isles and rocky islets which are under Greek sovereignty in the Aegean and southeastern Mediterranean, is indisputable," he said. Turning to the Cyprus issue, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos described as "inconceivable" Turkish President Suleyman Demirel's statement during a Greek television interview that Cyprus does not have the right for free accession to the European Union.

    Regarding the experts' committee, a Dutch EU Presidency initiative to bring experts from Turkey and Greece to consider problems between the two countries and try to find common ground for dialogue, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said:

    "It will contribute to the choice of procedures establishing which party is right, as well as which party accepts international law and which violates it."

    "The epicenter of a Greek-Turkish rapprochement," the minister said, "should be the shared conviction that military ultimata and armed conflict constitute an utterly absurd and inconceivable order of things."

    "Differences," he added, "must be resolved through dialogue, on the basis of international legality and relevant laws governing independent, sovereign states."

    [08] ND comments on latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said that "although the government spokesman has attempted to reassure us that Greece is not in a process of dialogue, the alternate foreign minister rushed to applaud the opening of the procedure with the forming of the committee of experts and the sending of a memorandum to the Dutch (EU) presidency.

    "Today's (yesterday's) statements by the Turkish foreign under-secretary, his insistence on Ankara's steadfast provocative positions, which is confirmed by the referral to international documents, which, however, have not been named and which they claim legalize the Turkish claim on Imia, confirm the serious reserves that New Democracy has expressed.

    Meanwhile, former main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert expressed support for the signing of an agreement with Turkey on the avoidance of the use of force, aimed at releasing Greece from the committee of experts process.

    In an exclusive interview with an Athens radio station, and commenting on the proposal by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, Mr. Evert said "Greece always wanted dialogue with Turkey on condition that the neighboring country would accept the three steadfast preconditions set out by our country."

    [09] Int'l meeting examines crisis in Albania

    Rome, 27/05/1997 (ANA/Reuter)

    Athens' ambassador to Tirana, Constantine Prevedourakis, represented Greece at an international meeting here yesterday on the crisis in Albania and long-term financial aid to that country.

    The one-day meeting was attended by Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mediator Franz Vranitzky, US Assistant Secretary of State for Canada and Europe John Kornblum, as well as senior officials from the European Union, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

    It was also attended by Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino.

    Mr. Prevedourakis told ANA that the meeting "gave the opportunity to register the moods of the main parties involved in the Albanian issue". He said that Albania had reiterated its request for "strong involvement in the election procedure on the part of the OSCE and for greater help from the multi-national forces during elections".

    "What takes priority is of course the elections, and for there to be a condition of legality in Albania, and that is where all effort is concentrated by those attending the meeting," the ambassador said.

    Mr. Prevedourakis also reiterated that National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou had "announced Greece's intention to offer a long-term loan to Albania with very favorable terms," and to help in other sectors as well.

    The meeting was to have paved the way for a ministerial conference on Albania in mid-June. The conference will be now held in July, following Albanian elections on June 29 and the installation of a new government.

    [10] Italian envoy to be replaced

    Rome, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, the Italian government has decided to replace its ambassador in Tirana, Paolo Foresti, following an uproar over allegations that he had tried to make a deal with the Albanian opposition in favor of Albanian President Sali Berisha.

    The allegations, made last week by the Albanian opposition newspaper "Indipendent", led residents of Vlore to issue a statement on Saturday charging Mr. Foresti with supporting the Berisha regime, spreading misinformation about Vlore and preventing Mr. Vranitzky from visiting the southern Albanian port town.

    According to an ANA dispatch from Rome quoting the Italian daily "Republica", Mr. Foresti will be replaced by Manfredo Camerana, a veteran diplomat.

    [11] Kaklamanis welcomes delegation from six Balkan nations

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday stressed Greece's stabilizing role in the Balkans as well as Athens' dedication to the principles of peace and security in the region while welcoming 35 representatives from six Balkan countries participating in a seminar in Thessaloniki.

    The seminar is being organized by UNESCO in co-operation with the Interbalkan Women's Co-operation Society and Macedonia University.

    "When we say we desire peace, we mean that one country respects another's borders that a country respects the rights of its minorities and that a country does not blackmail another with the threat of violence but all issues are confronted through peaceful means and through implementation of the international law and treaties," Mr. Kaklamanis said.

    [12] Conference on Europe's role in globalized economy slated

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    For the third successive year and with the support of the European Parliament, European Commission President Jacques Santer as well as with the co-operation of the "European" newspaper, the Athens Metsovion Polytechnic is organizing the "Athens Meeting '97 " on Aug. 29, 30 and 31, on the subject of "Democracy and Development. The Role of Europe in the Globalization of the Economy".

    The event will again officially open at Pnyx Hill adjacent to the Acropolis on Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. The topic of the public debate will be: "Democracy as a Continuous Process of Democratization".

    Conference sessions will take place on Aug. 30 and 31 at the Vouliagmeni Astir Palace Hotel.

    Those invited to attend the official opening include Roman Herzog, the president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Jose Maria Gil Robles Delgado, the president of the European Parliament and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    The topics of the conference will focus on the problems and relations of the countries of central and eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Black Sea and the Middle East, as well as with Greece and the European Union.

    The cost for anyone wishing to attend the conference is 180,000 drachmas plus VAT, and covers the inaugural ceremony on Aug. 29 and the sessions of the conference on Aug. 30 and 31. More information, call Maria Frezadou at the Forum International Communications, 439 Mesogeion Ave., 153 43 Agia Paraskevi. Tel: 01-60.80.065, 60.04.051, 60.08.165, Fax: 01-63.95.539.

    [13] Draft bill on Schengen tabled in Parliament

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    A draft bill ratifying the Schengen Accord on free movement of people between European Union members was tabled in Parliament late yesterday.

    The treaty calls for a progressive end of border controls between countries that have ratified the accord, and the founding of a database that allows police and customs officials to monitor violations relating to arms or drug smuggling, use of false passports and movement of stolen vehicles.

    The Schengen Accord has already been ratified by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

    In its final form it is expected to have computerized listings of a million people with a criminal record.

    Premier Costas Simitis had mentioned weeks ago that the bill would be voted on by June, before Parliament breaks for its summer recess.

    [14] Constantopoulos, Skandalidis meeting

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos met ruling PASOK party Secretary Costas Skandalidis yesterday for talks on local administration issues and the country's new administrative and town planning charter.

    Both termed their meeting "cordial."

    The meeting was held at Synaspismos' request and as Mr. Constantopoulos said later, it raised issues concerning the creation of a strong and elected local government at all levels. He also requested the establishment of the simple proportional electoral system in municipal elections to be held in 1998.

    Mr. Skandalidis said it was ascertained that there is a wider coincidence of views for necessary reforms, despite disagreements existing on certain issues.

    The disagreements concerned the coalition's proposal for the establishment of elected third stage self-administration and the changing of the electoral law, a proposal with which PASOK disagrees.

    According to statements by both, issues concerning possible co-operation between the two parties in elections for local self-administration were not discussed.

    [15] Conference on private, public TV held in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    The need for direct and honest dialogue concerning the operation and prospects of Greece's private and state-run television was highlighted yesterday during the second day of the second international conference on television, organized in Thessaloniki by the private Greek channel Mega.

    The conference, entitled "Television-Society-Politics", focused on the seven years of private broadcasting stations in Greece, news on television channels, reality shows and the commercial dimension of television.

    According to research conducted by students of Thessaloniki University's journalism course, newscasts on the private television channels Mega, Antenna and SKAI contain some elements of racism, xenophobia, nationalism and insults to individuals.

    According to the same research, the state-run and entirely state-funded channels (ET 1, 2 and 3), do not have elements of violence, racism, nationalism or elements of the gutter press.

    Peter Arnett, a highly respected television correspondent for the US cable news network CNN and an author, spoke during the conference on Greek private television's need for reliability and objectivity.

    Speaking on the presence of private television in the country over the past seven years, main opposition New Democracy deputy Prokopis Pavlopoulos said "the problem is that private television was created first and then legalized. It happened in an illegal sort of way."

    The conference is due to end today.

    [16] OECD ministerial meeting concentrates on economic issues

    Paris, 27/05/1997 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    Results of the first round of the French general elections were already imprinted on the OECD's annual ministerial session, which started here yesterday and was attended by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    Yesterday's session focused primarily on economic issues and Mr. Papantoniou said greater rapprochement was reached with Greek positions by the British, French and German delegations concerning state protection to offset structural changes.

    The structural changes, together with social cohesion and the greatest possible consensus, reflect the prevailing spirit in the organization, Mr. Papantoniou said, while earlier the view to impose structural changes despite possible repercussions was stronger.

    Mr. Papantoniou said the Greek position always gave priority to social protection, but yesterday this position was also approached by the German delegation, proposing that structural changes and social cohesion go together.

    A joint meeting of member-state foreign ministers with the Russian finance minister will also take place during today's session which will primarily examine political issues. A protocol will be signed on the creation of an association committee with Russia, while the OECD's future role will be another issue to be examined.

    Referring to the enlargement of the NATO alliance and the organization's work in this direction, Mr. Pangalos said an important factor is not solely the major countries (Russia and China), since Greece was never in favor of a closed club for rich countries, but smaller countries as well, such as Cyprus, which could play a particular role due to specific weight or conditions.

    [17] Greece welcomes French left's good showing

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday hailed the left-wing victory in the first round of France's parliamentary elections saying that the left now constitutes a great political and driving force in Europe.

    In reply to a press remark that there are differences regarding the revision of the Maastricht Treaty between the Greek and French Socialists, Mr. Reppas admitted that there was no absolute coincidence of views, but that the two parties shared common views.

    Meanwhile, Coalition of the Left and Progress president Nikos Constantopoulos sent congratulatory notes to the President of the French Socialists Lionel Jospin, Secretary of the French Communist Party Robert Hue and the Greens' representative Dominique Voynet.

    [18] Montenegrin PM in Athens

    Belgrade, 27/05/1997 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djuganovic conducted a two-day visit to Athens over the weekend.

    According to the Montenegrin news agency Montena Fax, the visit was connected to credit due to be granted by Greek-based banks for the Balkan nation.

    The Central Bank of Yugoslavia will be informed if the parliament approves the credits.

    [19] Athens hosts UN conference on Mideast peace process

    Athens, 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday inaugurated a two-day UN-sponsored international conference on the Mideast peace process and the challenges it faces.

    "Greece's concern is the implementation of peace in the Middle East," Mr. Papandreou said. "This has been the steady and clear aim during the past few years... We are convinced that there is no other solution for the peoples of the region apart from the peace process." Greece has traditional ties of friendship and co-operation with both Arab countries and with Israel, he said, and has supported the peace process from the outset both unilaterally and at forums such as the European Union.

    As the closest European Union member to the Middle East, Greece could host similar events which could facilitate in-depth discussions addressing some of the most difficult issues and points of conflict, Mr. Papandreou said in reference to the conference .

    These activities, he added, could be fully supported by the European Union.

    The conference, which is taking place with the participation of pre-eminent international figures, members of the PLO's Executive Committee and journalists from the Middle East, yesterday focused on the issues of the occupied territories, peace procedures, the Oslo agreements and future prospects.

    [20] IOC members visit Athens sports venues

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) members Asvini Kumar, from India, and Tan Seri Hamza, from Malaysia, who yesterday ended their visit to Greece, praised what they called the outstanding athletic facilities available in Athens.

    During their stay in the Greek capital, the two IOC members attended a presentation in Zappeion Hall of the city's candidacy to host the 2004 Olympic Games, and also planted an olive tree each at the Olympic park.

    Swedish IOC permanent member Arne Ljungqvist is due to arrive in Greece on a four-day visit today, and will visit the Athens Olympic stadium facilities, the Peace and Friendship Stadium and ancient Olympia. He will also attend the water-polo match between Greece and Italy this evening for the Fina Cup world championships.

    Mr. Ljungqvist represented Sweden in the high jump in the 1952 Helsinki Games.

    [21] Opposition to Athens' bid

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Green Eurodeputies group, the Green Policies of Greece group and the "Citizens Initiative Against the Holding of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004" held a press conference yesterday against Athens' candidacy to host the 2004 Games.

    The majority of speakers opposed Athens' candidacy due to concerns over possible consequences construction works will have on the Greek capital's environment. They also objected to the economic burdening of the budget and what they called the indifference of those responsible towards public opinion, stating that the citizens of the city were not asked their opinion through a referendum for hosting the 2004 Games.

    [22] Shipowners' council meets with PNO concerning competitiveness issue

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    The administrative councils of the Union of Greek Shipowners and the Panhellenic Seamen's Federation (PNO) held inconclusive talks yesterday to find ways of improving the competitiveness of Greece's ship registry.

    Reference was made to the Norwegian model, which anticipates the flexible manning of crews, apart from the captain.

    Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis chaired the meeting, which took place at the merchant marine ministry in Piraeus.

    Mr. Soumakis appealed to the interested parties to abandon extreme positions to enable the finding of a solution and the handling of considerable problems observed at present in the competitiveness of the Greek merchant navy. The meeting will be repeated.

    [23] Serious 'social dialogue' phase begins today

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    The first substantial phase of the government-promoted "social dialogue" on economic and labor issues is beginning at noon today, with the first session of the tripartite coordinating secretariat, comprising representatives of the government, trade unions, and employers.

    In a related development, Sunday's French election results, which favored the Socialist Party, drew comments from some of the participants.

    General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) president Christos Polyzogopoulos said the results of the French election sent a message which "must be taken into account by all, particularly by those attempting a full overthrow of labor relations and social protection".

    Labor Under-secretary Christos Protopapas noted that "the neo-conservative policy of the society of the two-thirds, of the Europe of numbers and uncontrollable market, is a thing of the past."

    "The aim of the dialogue must be the agreement between the active forces of production... the new model of work, which not only through flexibility, but also through security for the working people, will promote the aim of full employment," he added.

    [24] Israeli business delegation to visit Athens in June

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Israeli embassy in Athens yesterday announced a visit by Israeli business representatives to Athens on June 25 for meetings with Greek counterparts.

    Twenty businesses are participating in the delegation, organized by the Israeli Export Institute and the Israeli embassy in Athens, which include firms active in the foodstuffs, cosmetics and health products sector, air conditioning, detergents and toys , as well as companies preparing studies for ports, marinas, agricultural installations and companies providing medical services by phone.

    For more information, call the Israeli embassy's commercial department, tel.: 67.19.530-1 and 67.27.351.

    [25] Greek-Turkish business meeting

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    More than one hundred businessmen from Greece and Turkey began a two-day meeting in Istanbul to discuss bilateral economic relations. Turkey's State Secretary Abdullah Gyul said after a closed-door session that Greece and Turkey were two countries important for the region and that the development of their co-operation would benefit both.

    The Turkish minister noted that both governments supported the business meeting and expressed the hope that such initiatives would contribute to the resolution of differences between the two countries. The meeting was attended by a business delegation from Cyprus and from the Turkish-Cypriot community.

    [26] SME seminar

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou and National Economy Under-secretary Christos Pachtas will address an information seminar on small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) organized by the SME Development Network at the Athens Chamber of Handicrafts on Thursday.

    The SME Development Network serves as an intermediary for managing support programs for small and medium-sized enterprises in the regions of Attica and the north and south Aegean islands.

    The two ministers will outline the government's policy on SMEs and funding opportunities.

    [27] Greek-Turkish trade needs improvement

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Turkey's Foreign Under-secretary Onur Oymen, addressing a meeting on Greek-Turkish relations organized by the Center for Political Research and Information (CPRI) in Athens, stressed the need for an improvement in Greek-Turkish trade relations.

    The two countries had gained nothing from the policy of confrontation, and in fact Greece and Turkey had lost a lot in bilateral relations, Mr. Oymen said.

    Trade figures between Turkey and Greece were surprisingly low, he said. Greece was one of the lowest ranking trade partners of Turkey among OECD members.

    Bilateral imports and exports were respectively 210 and 201 million dollars in 1995, representing only 1.9 and 1.2 percent respectively of total trade with European Union countries.

    Bilateral trade reached only half of Turkey's trade volume with Israel, much lower than trade with other neighbors and even lower than trade with distant Australia, he said.

    Turkey's suggestion was for constructive behavior and a cool-headed approach. Turkey saw the European Union as the family to join in the foreseeable future.

    [28] Construction activity surges

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    The volume of new construction rose by 8.9 percent from January to February this year, according to figures released by the National Statistics Service.

    The volume of new construction, which refers to buildings only, increased by 2.8 percent in February from the corresponding month last year.

    [29] Athens Bourse suspends trading

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Trading was suspended on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday due to unresolved technical problems facing the electronic trading system.

    Massive buying orders for Xiosbank shares due to the bank's debut on the market caused serious problems to the system, according to market sources. The Athens bourse ended on Friday at a new all-time high of 1,727.70 points on heavy turnover.

    [30] Humanitarian aid to Bulgaria

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Two trucks carrying 26 tons of humanitarian aid leave today from Thessaloniki, destined for Bulgaria.

    Collection of the aid, including mostly food and medicine, was organized by the "Medicins sans Frontieres" group, Greek Radio (ERA) and ERT's Macedonia radio station with the collaboration of the Thessaloniki Prefecture.

    The aid will be distributed to children, elderly, and disabled people in Bulgaria in co-operation with Bulgarian Radio and 26 medical institutions of the neighboring country.

    ERA's general manager Yiannis Tzanetakos, speaking during a press conference, said the idea of organizing and sending humanitarian aid was conceived from a recent survey by "Medecins sans Frontieres" on the situation in Bulgaria, and assessments made by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou after his recent visit to the country.

    Attending the news conference were the director of Bulgarian Radio Vietseslav Tunev and the general consulate of Bulgaria Ilko Sivatje, who thanked the Greek people for the action and said that Bulgarians would always remember it.

    [31] Greek participation in Phare program

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greek companies are strongly interested in participating in the Jop Phare-Tacis program of the European Union.

    The program addresses small and medium-size enterprises able to secure funding for the creation, in co-operation with local bodies, of joint ventures based in countries of central and eastern Europe and the Russian Federation.

    Projects to be funded, include all sectors of financial activity, commercial, manufacturing and services.

    The Bank of Macedonia-Thrace, which serves as a financial intermediary for the program, has already received the first applications from companies interested in the program, according to sources.

    [32] Textile industry hit by computer thieves

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Delegates at an international textiles conference in Thessaloniki on Monday debated the latest scam to hit the industry - theft by computer hacks of fashion designs via Internet sites.

    According to estimates released at the conference, Italy's Gucci reported higher sales in fakes than for its own originals, and Levi's of the US lost around 5-10 million dollars in revenue due to imitations.

    A British legal expert urged fashion houses and textile firms to resort to the courts to combat the phenomenon, citing successful legal action brought by Yves St. Laurent in France two years ago.

    Using the Internet to intercept designs at an early stage was just the latest ruse by racketeers specializing in making low-price imitations of brand products, the delegates said.

    [33] Policeman confesses he shot colleague

    Athens 27/05/1997 (ANA)

    Dimitris Tzavellas, the 28-year-old charged with murdering policeman Nikos Markakis in the Gjirokaster consulate last week, yesterday confessed to killing Markakis and was remanded in custody.

    In testimony to an investigating magistrate, Tzavellas retracted his previous denial of any involvement.

    Tzavellas' attorney said his client testified that he was friendly with Markakis and that the "unfortunate incident" had occurred when the two were playing around with their guns.

    He said his client was unaware that the gun was loaded.

    [34] US officials hopes to see Halki Academy open soon

    Istanbul, 27/05/1997 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Director of Southern European Affairs at the US State Department Carey Cavanaugh yesterday stressed the US government's interest in seeing the re-opening of the Halki Academy of Theology and the Ecumenical Patriarchate able to operate freely.

    Visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholoemos at the school's premises, Mr. Cavanaugh said he discussed the US's "undivided support for the Patriarchate and the significance of its mission, a part of which is education and the continuation of the Patriarchate's work."

    The Halki Academy of Theology was summarily shut down by Turkish authorities in 1971.

    "Now at a time when so many efforts for co-operation, co-existence of Greece and Turkey are being undertaken, the permission (to re-open the school) on the part of the Turkish government would be a tangible expression of good will which would be esteemed not only by us - the directly affected parties - but by all of the civilized world, not just Christian, but wider," Vartholomeos said.

    Mr. Cavanaugh, who was given a guided tour of the academy following his attendance at a mass, said: "We can see the Academy is ready for operation: I sincerely hope that the moment will come soon".

    End of English language section.

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