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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-08-18

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

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1265), August 18, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece and Cyprus accuse Turkish side of blackmailing EU
  • [02] Clerides: Denktash exclusively at fault for talks' failure
  • [03] Party leaders say near future most critical time for Cyprus
  • [04] US emissary Holbrooke will not visit Cyprus in autumn
  • [05] Ecumenical Patriarch visits Chios
  • [06] British emissary rejects Denktash's threat
  • [07] Turkey's Batu plays down impasse at Cyprus talks
  • [08] Princess Diana eludes reporters
  • [09] Mornos dam protesters demand percentage of water company's profits
  • [10] Albania's parliament president to visit Athens in September
  • [11] Albanian Foreign Ministry appeals to Greece after Grammos incident
  • [12] Holiday weekend road toll
  • [13] Eight companies reported showing interest in 'Elefsina Bauxite'
  • [14] DIS applies for ASE listing

  • [01] Greece and Cyprus accuse Turkish side of blackmailing EU

    Athens, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greece and Cyprus on Saturday blamed Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot side for the deadlock in a five-day UN-led second round of direct talks in Switzerland, saying the Turkish side was "black-mailing the European Union".

    In Athens, the Greek government described Ankara's and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's stand in the fruitless talks on Cyprus which ended in Glion-sur-Montreux, Switzerland, on Friday, as "intransigent", and "blackmail".

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides said Saturday at Larnaca airport, on his arrival from Montreux, that Mr. Denktash "did not go there to negotiate, but to try to impede our course towards Europe," adding that "this did not succeed."

    Greece's Press Ministry secretary general Yiannis Nikolaou said on Saturday that Mr. Denktash, "guided by Ankara, not only refused to discuss substantial documents submitted by the United Nations, not only did he repeat his partitioning views on Cyprus, but attempted to intervene in a crude and flagrant way in the internal affairs of the European Union, trying to dictate his position on the course of Cyprus towards membership".

    He added that the Greek government condemned Turkish intransigence, and expected the same reaction from the international community.

    Finally, he stressed that Cyprus' course towards Europe "is irrevocably secured, and will continue on the basis of commitments undertaken by the European Union itself".

    The main opposition New Democracy party said in a statement the "complete impasse" in the talks showed that the Turkish side "does not want a sincere dialogue leading to a just and viable solution but comes to the negotiating table without changing its intransigence position".

    The ND attributed Mr. Denktash's provocative stance to the Greek government "continuously backing down".

    The Communist Party (KKE) in a statement said Mr. Denktash's intransigence and the failure of the talks presented "new dangers for the 'de-internationalization' of the Cyprus problem, and its conversion into a bilateral issue".

    "It undermines the solution of the problem in the framework of UN resolutions, and facilitates the involvement of US emissary Richard Holbrooke," it said.

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) said in its statement "responsibility for the failure of the talks rested entirely on the Turkish side", stressing the need for Greek Cypriots "not to budge from their insistence on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, which boosted their negotiating position.

    The Democratic Social Movement (DIKKI) said in a statement that Mr. Denktash's intransigence was the result of Greece's Madrid joint communiqui with Turkey.

    [02] Clerides: Denktash exclusively at fault for talks' failure

    Larnaca, 18/08/1997 (CNA/ANA)

    It is generally accepted by the UN and all those envoys on the wings of the Glion direct talks that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash is exclusively at fault for the collapse of negotiations aimed at reaching a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem, President Clerides said.

    In statements on his return to Cyprus on Saturday afternoon from Glion-sur-Montreux, Switzerland, where the UN-led five-day talks were held, President Clerides said Mr. Denktash's threats that Cyprus' partition would be finalized if the European Union (EU) starts accession talks with the Cyprus government, early next year, have failed because the EU will not change its decisions.

    "Denktash did not go there to negotiate, but to try to impede our course towards Europe," the President said, adding that "this did not succeed."

    President Clerides stressed that Mr. Denktash's recalcitrant tactics at the talks have elicited "strong international reaction" and that the international community has come to the realization that the Turkish side's decision-making center does not rest in Cyprus, but in Ankara.

    Mr. Clerides expressed the conviction that the UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor for the Cyprus problem, Diego Cordovez, will "call things by their true name" in his report to the UN Security Council on Wednesday and will apportion blame for the failure of the talks where it is due.

    The President noted that although Mr. Denktash rejected outright the Cordovez non-papers as a whole, the Cyprus government believes they remain up for discussion.

    He added that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will work to set up another face-to-face meeting between the two leaders, but the President reiterated he would not attend such a meeting if Mr. Denktash refuses to discuss substantial aspects of the Cyprus problem. "I have clearly stated that I do not intend to attend further talks, if Denktash will not discuss the substance of the Cyprus problem and goes on claiming he will not do so because of Cyprus' EU accession course," the President said.

    He also left the door open for further meetings between himself and Mr. Denktash in Cyprus to discuss humanitarian issues, saying that they "may still be possible".

    [03] Party leaders say near future most critical time for Cyprus

    Montreux, 18/08/1997 (ANA-D. Konstantakopoulos)

    Greek Cypriot party leaders have warned that the near future may be the most critical time for Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Speaking to the Athens News Agency, the political leaders also said the partition of the island republic was "imminent", accusing Mr. Denktash for his intransigence.

    Ruling Democratic Rally (DISY) party President Nicos Anastasiades heaped the blame on Mr. Denktash's intractable stance for the talks' failure and noted that the countries which can influence Turkey, that is the US, Britain and the EU, should pressure Ankara for the resumption of talks, even after Cyprus' presidential elections next February.

    The DISY leader said the documents put forth by the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, have "overturned substantially negative aspects" concerning the Cyprus problem including the sovereignty issue, the residual powers of the proposed new federal state and human rights.

    Main opposition left-wing AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias said he cannot hide his disappointment from the outcome of the talks and warned that "we are very close to partition".

    He noted that instead of discussing the Cordovez documents, the island's political leaders must devote their attention to the difficult situation created after the talks and study the Turkish strategy, particularly as it pertains to threats regarding the start of European Union (EU) accession negotiations with the Cyprus government, early next year.

    The governments of Cyprus and Greece should jointly find strategic options and proceed to tactical moves in order to face the new situation, Mr. Chrisofias said.

    He expressed the hope that those who prepared the Glion talks, especially Britain and the US, will assume some of the responsibility for the Turkish side's negative attitude and noted the UN Security Council must act to counter Mr. Denktash's recalcitrance so that a resolution of the Cyprus problem comes about.

    Democratic Party (DIKO) President and House of Representatives Speaker Spyros Kyprianou stressed that the new developments forced Cyprus to re-examine its strategy.

    "This is a responsibility shared also by the United States, the United Nations and the European Union, given the fact that they 'pushed' Nicosia to the direct talks without there being proper preparation and prospects for success," he added.

    Socialist EDEK party leader Vassos Lyssarides stressed that the situation for Cyprus is "dire" and that no one should be under any false pretenses as far as that is concerned.

    He said the Montreux experience was "rather traumatic". He said that Mr. Denktash's demands were "completely unacceptable" concerning sovereignty.

    United Democrats President George Vassiliou expressed pessimism over Turkish intransigence "although this was not surprising". He said that the Montreux talks "were worthwhile", despite the negative outcome.

    [04] US emissary Holbrooke will not visit Cyprus in autumn

    Athens, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    American presidential emissary for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, will not pay a visit to Cyprus this autumn, even though he believes the UN-led negotiations between the two sides managed to break the ice. According to a report yesterday in the Greek "Sun day Kathimerini" and Cypriot "Fileleftheros" newspapers, Mr. Holbrooke said he will not visit Athens, Ankara and Nicosia in September, as he was initially planning to do.

    In a telephone conversation with "Kathimerini", Mr. Holbrooke said the new American Cyprus coordinator, Thomas Miller, will visit the region next month.

    He noted that conditions for his efforts to break the deadlock in the 23-year-long Cyprus problem are not yet ripe.

    During his regular briefing on Friday, State Department spokesman James Rubin had said Mr. Holbrooke will visit the region in autumn.

    Commenting on the deadlock in the five-day talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which ended on Friday in Switzerland, the American emissary did not seem disappointed.

    He said the UN Secretary General's special advisor on the Cyprus problem, Diego Cordovez, who carried out the talks, managed to break the ice and bring the two leaders in direct contact even if none of the problems were solved. Mr. Holbrooke, who brokered the Bosnian agreement, pointed out that President Clerides and Mr. Denktash are very difficult negotiators as they both fervently support their interests.

    Joking with the "Kathimerini" correspondent, the American envoy said that, compared to Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash, he looks like a child lost in the forest.

    He said one of the most difficult problems in solving the Cyprus question is the connection between Cyprus' European Union (EU) accession with an overall settlement, but refrained from elaborating on his views.

    The Turkish side has stepped up its intransigence over Cyprus' EU bid after last month's reconfirmation, in a Union report named "Agenda 2000", that accession talks with Cyprus will begin next year, as scheduled.

    Mr. Holbrooke revealed that last Friday he had a brief conversation with US President Bill Clinton on the Cyprus problem, on the sidelines of a meeting dealing with the situation in Bosnia.

    He added that the American president wanted everyone in the region to understand that he actively supports a bizonal, bicommunal solution in Cyprus.

    [05] Ecumenical Patriarch visits Chios

    Athens, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Vartholomeos I yesterday expressed the hope that the current ditente in relations between the peoples of Greece and Turkey would stabilize into a permanent situation of peace and mutual trust.

    The Patriarch was speaking during a tour of villages on the eastern Aegean island of Chios where he arrived on Saturday and was given a rousing welcome by the local inhabitants, government officials, Chios authorities and church prelates.

    The Patriarch, who is the guest of the island's Gum Mastic Growers' Association, was greeted on arrival by Ministers of the Aegean Elisabeth Papazoi and of Merchant Marine Stavros Soumakis.

    On arrival at the airport, the Patriarch inspected a military contingent and was later given the gold medal and the keys of the city of Chios by the island's mayor.

    Later he officiated at a service in the cathedral of Saints Minas, Victor and Vicentius.

    In statements made during a tour of Chios' villages on Saturday and yesterday, the Patriarch expressed the hope that the current ditente in relations between the peoples of Greece and Turkey would stabilize into a permanent situation of peace and mutual trust, for the good of both peoples.

    This is the third visit by Patriarch Vartholomeos to Greece since he assumed office in October 1992. However, he has only visited those areas that come under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avrampoulos, who met with him on Saturday, extended an invitation for the Patriarch to visit the capital. The Patriarch hoped he would be able to do so "when conditions are appropriate".

    [06] British emissary rejects Denktash's threat

    Nicosia, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    Britain's special emissary for the Cyprus issue Sir David Hannay has rejected Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's threat that he will not participate in further talks if the EU initiates membership negotiations with Cyprus.

    "The Turkish side can say what it likes, but has no right to tell the European Union, of which it is not a member, what to do," he said.

    The British official also categorically confirmed that the EU decision to begin negotiations with Cyprus will stand.

    [07] Turkey's Batu plays down impasse at Cyprus talks

    Montreux, 18/08/1997 Switzerland (ANA - D. Constantakopoulos)

    Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Inal Batu yesterday played down the weight of the fruitless outcome of the bi-communal Cyprus talks, and Mr. Denktash's threat of a permanent partition if the EU starts en try negotiations.

    "I do not think that Mr. Denktash was asking for anything to be revoked. This is a dynamic process ...We could have progress in Turkish-Greek relations, or in the relations between the European Union and Mr. Denktash's 'government'. Let us not be very categorical, let us see the immediate future now, and hope things will improve," he said in an exclusive interview to ANA.

    He expressed satisfaction with the results of the second round of talks.

    "We are very satisfied with this round. The more the two leaders meet, the better the prospects for a political solution of the problem ... because they can see what is and what is not possible for the future. Do not forget that they had not met for almost three years, and now they are seeing each other quite often," he said.

    He expressed the view that US President Bill Clinton's special emissary, Richard Holbrooke, should act as a catalyst in the process, rather than come forward with a specific plan.

    "His aim should be to work as a catalyst, not come with a plan and attempt to impose it on the two communities, but bring the two sides closer. Ultimately, only these two communities will find a solution for the island," he explained.

    Mr. Batu also set as conditions for discussion of the security aspect of the Cyprus problem (including President Clerides's proposals for demilitarization), the prior reaching of agreement on the constitutional and territorial aspects, and the involvement of guarantor powers.

    [08] Princess Diana eludes reporters

    Athens, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    Britain's Princess Diana has sent photographers and reporters scurrying for her whereabouts around the Aegean.

    Unconfirmed reports yesterday said that the princess, who arrived on a private jet in Athens on Friday, was sighted on a yacht off the island of Kythira, south of the Peloponnese.

    Other reports said she and her latest Egyptian companion, Dodi Al Fayed, are being entertained on a yacht belonging to Greek shipowner Panagiotis Laimos.

    Mr. Laimos, however, denied any knowledge of the princess's whereabouts.

    [09] Mornos dam protesters demand percentage of water company's profits

    Athens, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    About 3,000 people staged a demonstration at the Mornos dam in the prefecture of Fokida yesterday morning, demanding a percentage of profits from the Athens-Piraeus Water and Sewerage Company (EYDAP) in compensation for losses sustained by residents of villages around the dam.

    They are demanding that 6 per cent of the company's profits from Mornos River water be allocated to the prefecture's coffers. The Mornos dam supplies water to the greater Athens area.

    Fokida's prefect, Mr. Karahalios, said that villages around the dam had been all but deserted.

    "We are asking for nothing more than what is given to the residents of Megalopolis and Ptolemaida, who receive 6 per cent of the lignite production profits from the local DEH (Public Power Corporation) power plants," he said.

    [10] Albania's parliament president to visit Athens in September

    Gjirokaster, 18/08/1997 (ANA - P. Barkas)

    Greece and Italy are Albania's gateways to Europe, Albanian Parliament President Skender Ginousi said yesterday while on a tour of the south of the country, which has a large ethnic Greek population.

    "It is no coincidence that my first visit abroad will be to Athens (September 7-9)," he said.

    Referring to the situation in his country after the recent elections, Mr. Ginousi said, "there are reasons for optimism, but we must be careful not to repeat the mistakes of the Berisha regime". ANA

    [11] Albanian Foreign Ministry appeals to Greece after Grammos incident

    Gjirokaster, 18/08/1997 (ANA-P. Barkas)

    The Albanian Foreign Ministry on Saturday asked for closer co-operation with Greece in order to avoid incidents such as that which occurred last week when an Albanian was killed in a skirmish between a Greek army patrol and a group of armed Albanian shepherds on Greek territory (the Grammos mountains).

    According to the report, Greece's Ambassador in Tirana Constantine Kolias was called to the ministry to discuss the issue. A Foreign Ministry statement stressed that Albania is determined to maintain "relations of co-operation and understanding" with the Greek government. It asks the Greek authorities to "make a distinction between criminals and poor, honest citizens, so that the latter will not become victims of an out-of-date mentality".

    The statement also asks Greece to establish regular meetings of the joint committee on the border region as soon as possible in order to avert further incidents.

    [12] Holiday weekend road toll

    Athens, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    Slightly fewer car accidents occurred this last holiday weekend, the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin, compared to the same time last year.

    From Thursday afternoon until early Sunday afternoon, 231 accidents were recorded, in which 18 people were killed and 350 injured, 27 of which were listed as serious. Traffic police were out in force to facilitate the return of holiday-makers to urban centers, providing extra lanes for incoming traffic. It is estimated that over 150,000 vehicles left Athens for the weekend and were to return yesterday.

    [13] Eight companies reported showing interest in 'Elefsina Bauxite'

    Athens, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    Eight companies, two of which are listed in the Athens Stock Exchange, and one of which belongs to the Vardinoyiannis Group, are reported to be showing interest in the acquisition of 'Elefsina Bauxite' (EB), which is administered by the government's Enterprise Restructuring Organization (OAE).

    Reliable business circles estimate EB's market value between 500 million and 1 billion drachmas.

    OAE is hoping to write off EB's debts, amounting to about 2.1 billion drachmas, to facilitate the sale. However, the National Bank of Greece, EB's main creditor, is opposing such a move, arguing for a liquidation.

    Among the interested companies are 'Argyromettalevmaton and Varytinis', 'Aluminium de Grece', 'Varmin SA', and 'Zaporozhye Aluminum Combinat of Ukraine'.

    [14] DIS applies for ASE listing

    Athens, 18/08/1997 (ANA)

    Date Information Systems (DIS) is the seventh company of the sector which has applied for listing in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    DIS will issue 360,000 shares, hoping to raise 500 million drachmas.

    The company, which is one of IBM's main trading partners, is aiming to expand into new markets and introduce new software products.

    Turnover is projected to reach 1.2 billion drachmas, while pre-tax profits last year were 445 million.

    End of English language section.


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