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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-08-21

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 1268), August 21, 1997

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


  • [01] Gov't dismisses provocative Ecevit statements
  • [02] ND criticizes policy vis-a-vis Turkey
  • [03] Pol.An
  • [04] UN Security Council chairman disappointed with Montreux talks
  • [05] Gov't on Aegean moratorium
  • [06] Busy autumn scheduled for Simitis
  • [07] VAN system being used in Japan
  • [08] Active seismic fault found off Pelion
  • [09] Protest outside education ministry
  • [10] Speedboat race to commemorate killed Cypriot peace activists
  • [11] Parliament Speaker denounces bomb blast
  • [12] Fake deutschmarks, dollars appear in Kavala
  • [13] New president for AHEPA
  • [14] Leaflet on Parthenon friezes
  • [15] Balkan cultural events
  • [16] Educational-cultural networks
  • [17] Culture Minister to visit Japan
  • [18] IOC member from Algeria
  • [19] US-Greek cultural capital
  • [20] FYROM expresses reservations over Greek road loan to Yugoslavia
  • [21] Discussion begins on draft bill for Elefsis shipyards
  • [22] Greek stocks edge up in technical rebound
  • [23] Greece says 1997 tax revenue targets still feasible

  • [01] Gov't dismisses provocative Ecevit statements

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday dismissed statements by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit earlier this week as aimed toward domestic consumption, stressing that they made implementation of last month's Madrid joint communiqui on principles for smoothing relations much more difficult.

    In statements published in Monday's edition of the Turkish daily "Hurriyet", Mr. Ecevit said Turkey could have taken all the Aegean islands during the Second World War and all of Cyprus in 1974, the year of Ankara's invasion of the island republic.

    Mr. Ecevit also expressed displeasure with the European Union for what he called "excluding" Turkey and accepting Cyprus for membership negotiations.

    "The world neither begins nor ends with the EU," he reportedly told the paper.

    Mr. Ecevit also rejected as "ridiculous" the possibility of Turkey having recourse to the International Court at The Hague over its territorial claims on the Greek islets of Imia.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas noted that for Turkey to reject recourse to The Hague, while at the same time refusing to drop its claim, ran completely contrary to the letter and the spirit of the joint communiqui signed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel in Madrid.

    Mr. Reppas warned that such a policy by Turkey "leaves no room for an improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, or for progress in Ankara's relations with the EU". The spokesman dismissed Mr. Ecevit's statements and claims as "lacking seriousness and responsibility".

    Referring to comments by the Turkish deputy premier regarding Greece's liberation from Ottoman rule and the foundation of the modern Greek state, Mr. Reppas said Mr. Ecevit "appeared to be calling into doubt the borders of all Balkan and Middle Eastern states that emerged after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

    "Such a position in our time is illogical, extremely dangerous and criminal," said the government spokesman.

    With regard to the Cyprus issue, Mr. Reppas added:

    "If these (statements) reflect official Turkish policy, then they make any continuation of talks to resolve the Cyprus issue meaningless."

    Mr. Reppas attributed Mr. Ecevit's statements to an attempt to promote himself on the political scene, seeking to attract followers from other political parties that were in crisis.

    "At the same time," he continued, "as long as these (statements) are not denounced by Turkey's leadership, they indicate just how far Turkey is from conforming to international law and order and from joining the modern world. It is up to Turkey itself t o choose what future it wants, either recognizing and respecting reality, or persisting with ideas and fantasies that will keep it on the fringe of international developments."

    [02] ND criticizes policy vis-a-vis Turkey

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party lashed out against the government yesterday over its policy on Greek-Turkish relations, accusing it of "persisting with a policy which causes the neighboring country to grow insolent."

    "What still continues to surprise us is the Greek government's stance. After the boasting that followed the Madrid summit and the alleged benefits for our country, it was forced to tone down due to continued Turkish provocations, yet persists with a policy which makes the neighboring country grow insolent," New Democracy spokesperson Aris Spiliotopoulos said in a statement yesterday.

    According to ND, the government will soon be forced to come to grips with reality.

    "Turkish provocations and intransigence will not give way to agreements of dubious effectiveness and as long as the Greek side continues to stand by as a passive spectator of those provocations," the statement added.

    "The desired normalization of Greek-Turkish relations can only be achieved through ensuring equality between the two countries based on international law," the statement said.

    ND also referred to comments by Mr. Ecevit, noting that his "renewed anti-Greek delirium that opposes the European Union's intention to include Cyprus, comes as no surprise".

    [03] Pol.An

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Commenting on Mr. Ecevit's statements, Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras criticized the government for not denouncing Ankara's "extreme aggressiveness," adding that the government remains hostage "to the riddled Madrid communiqui."

    Mr. Samaras called on Prime Minister Costas Simitis to "realize that such provocative Turkish statements could be a powerful gun in the hands of Greek diplomacy."

    [04] UN Security Council chairman disappointed with Montreux talks

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    The current UN Security Council chairman yesterday expressed the five-member body's "concern and disappointment" over the lack of progress achieved at last week's direct talks on the Cyprus issue, and particularly with the Turkish Cypriot stance.

    By contrast, the chairman, Briton John Weston, lauded Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides' stance during the talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which were held near the Swiss resort town of Montreux.

    Mr. Weston made the statements after a scheduled Security Council briefing in New York by the UN Secretary General's special adviser on the Cyprus issue, Diego Cordovez. Mr. Weston noted that it was important that the two parties remain committed to the process of negotiations in the future, adding that although progress was noted on humanitarian issues, the Security Council expects even more headway to be made.

    The British diplomat also said the current status quo on the island republic was unacceptable, while a comprehensive solution must be found.

    "The next step will be difficult," he added.

    Finally, Mr. Weston said he does not know when the next round of talks will take place.

    Ankara should realize that staking the commencement of accession talks for Cyprus will cause a European Union member-state to toughen its stance regarding progress in the EU-Turkey customs union, a source in the European Commission stated here yesterday.

    "Both decisions had been taken simultaneously and should proceed in parallel," the same source said.

    [05] Gov't on Aegean moratorium

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Commenting on Ankara's unilateral decision to end a military exercise moratorium in the Aegean on August 15, the foreign ministry issued an announcement saying that the decision was part of Turkey's "misinformation tactics."

    "Ankara did not take into consideration Greece's honest will to establish confidence-building measures in the Aegean," the statement said.

    It added that "although it is forced to note this unilateral action, Greece has respected the moratorium and will continue to fulfill its obligations..."

    [06] Busy autumn scheduled for Simitis

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to intensify efforts on the economy and on Greek-Turkish relations once he returns to Athens today from a 20-day vacation.

    The prime minister is faced with work to draft the 1998 budget and prepare his annual policy speech on the economy, which is traditionally delivered at the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair, the first weekend in September.

    At the end of August Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will visit Athens and starting in September Mr. Simitis is expected to intensify efforts in the European Union (EU) towards a contribution to the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Turkey's stance on the issue will be brought up by Greece during the EU Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels on Sept. 15. The Greek government has notified the United States and the EU that it plans to take a tougher stance against Turkey, in bilateral relations and the Cyprus issue, following Turkish intransigence directly after the communiqui signed between Greece and Turkey in Madrid last month.

    Regarding Balkan relations, Mr. Simitis is expected to visit Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia in the autumn to promote Balkan co-operation and Greece's role as a stabilizing factor in the area.

    [07] VAN system being used in Japan

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    The VAN earthquake early warning system developed by Greek seismologists is being used in a Japanese government research program aimed at elaborating methods for predicting earth tremors.

    The announcement was made by Japanese scientists yesterday at the 29th World Seismology Conference being attended by 1,000 seismology experts from around the world.

    The ten-day conference opened in Thessaloniki on Monday.

    Other quake-prediction systems, all of which are based on electromagnetism, are being tested in the four-year program. Whichever is found by the Japanese government to be the most reliable will be used in a subsequent applied stage, which will also be of four years' duration.

    Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the conference, Japanese academic Seiya Uyeda, who is in charge of monitoring the VAN system in the program, said the method was "very useful" for predicting quakes.

    He added that the VAN system had been chosen for the program on the basis of measurements in Greece over the past decade.

    Mr. Uyeda said the program began in Japan last October but so far had not provided any "positive data" with respect to quake prediction.

    Asked by reporters whether quake predictions should be made public, Mr. Uyeda replied "only if the system producing the predictions has proven to be reliable", noting that this was indeed the case regarding the data given by the VAN method in Greece.

    [08] Active seismic fault found off Pelion

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    A team of seismologists from the Geophysics Laboratory of Athens Observatory have discovered an active seismic fault along the sea bed off Pelion on the east coast of mainland Greece which, they believe, could generate powerful, destructive earthquakes in the future.

    The same team, which is using new investigative methods, also located the Amorgos fault which produced the powerful 1956 quake. According to the seismologists, the fault remains active and it too was capable of generating strong tremors.

    The team's findings were announced yesterday by Athens Observatory seismologist Maria Sachpatzi, who is heading the research program.

    She was speaking at the 29th World Seismology Conference which opened in Thessaloniki on Monday. The conference, which is being attended by 1,000 eminent scientists from all over the world, will run for ten days. Speaking later to reporters on the sidelines of the conference, Ms. Sachpatzi said that the Pelion fault ran in a west-northwesterly direction. The section located by her team stretches for 50 kilometers at depths of between eight and twelve kilometers.

    According to Ms. Sachpatzi, the fault was responsible for a major earthquake in 1930.

    The great depth of the fault, combined with the fact that it reaches the earth's surface has led the research team to believe that it could generate destructive earthquakes in the future, stronger than six on the Richter scale.

    The existence of the Amorgos fault, Ms. Sachpatzi said, had been assumed by seismologists because of seismic activity in the past, adding that her team had now located it between the Aegean islands of Amorgos and Santorini.

    It was a surface fault, she said, with a great depth and was also capable of generating strong quakes.

    Ms. Sachpatzi expressed the view that a strong earthquake in the region could trigger volcanic eruptions on Santorini.

    Asked by reporters whether quakes were expected in the region in the next few months, Ms. Sachpatzi said she was unable to answer but underlined that the announcements made at the ongoing conference should be taken into consideration with respect to the construction of new buildings.

    New constructions should be quake-resistant, she said, indicating also that old buildings should perhaps be reinforced structurally.

    The Athens Observatory's research program is being conducted in co-operation with the University of Paris, employing a new method which is used for locating oil deposits under the sea.

    The research team headed by Ms. Sachpatzi, which will continue its program in other parts of Greece, was made up of seismologists Gerassimos Houliaras, George Drakatos and Gerassimos Papadopoulos.

    [09] Protest outside education ministry

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    About 400 unemployed teachers yesterday held a rally outside the education ministry, protesting proposed changes in high school education and in the manner of teaching appointments on the basis of seniority in graduation.

    Minor scuffles broke out with police when the protesters tried to break through into the building. The rally was then moved outside Parliament and to Omonoia Square.

    The protest organizers said more mobilizations should be expected before the start to the school year.

    [10] Speedboat race to commemorate killed Cypriot peace activists

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    "Cyprus is Near" is the slogan of a speedboat race from Athens to Cyprus, which began yesterday, to commemorate the deaths of Greek Cypriots Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, who were killed by a Turkish mob and Turkish occupation authorities in the neutral zone dividing the island last August.

    The event, entitled "Kimon '97", was inaugurated by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who symbolically handed crews the "Athenian flame" from the Acropolis and soil from the nearby Pnyx Hill.

    The first stop of participants will be the port of Paphos, where they are expected to arrive tomorrow, with further stops at Limassol and Larnaca on Sunday, before they end their journey at Paralimni, where the two activists are buried. There they will light the candles on their graves with the flame.

    Well-known Greek singer Giorgos Dalaras will perform a concert as part of commemorative events, which Mr. Avramopoulos will attend.

    [11] Parliament Speaker denounces bomb blast

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday denounced the bomb explosion which wrecked the offices of former minister and PASOK deputy Stelios Papathemelis on Monday afternoon.

    Mr. Kaklamanis said that "an act of terrorism against a member of Parliament constitutes an act of aggression against Parliament itself."

    The bomb exploded outside the entrance of the fifth-floor office but no one was injured since an anonymous caller had previously telephoned police to warn of the bomb, after which the building was evacuated.

    Two Athens newspapers said they had received telephone calls from unknown callers saying they represented the "Revolutionary Nuclei" urban guerrilla group and warning that the bomb would explode in minutes.

    [12] Fake deutschmarks, dollars appear in Kavala

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Three counterfeit 100-deutschmark bank notes and one US 100-dollar bill were found at the National Bank branch in Kavala.

    Police have been checking other banks in the area, foreign exchange booths and stores.

    Authorities said the bogus bills were either used by tourists vacationing in the area or by forgers that were testing the ground for future expanded use of such counterfeit money.

    [13] New president for AHEPA

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Mr. Steve A. Manta, of Chicago, was unanimously elected Supreme President of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) last week.

    Mr. Manta has served as Supreme Vice President for the past two years, traveling across the United States as well as to Greece and Cyprus.

    AHEPA is the largest Greek heritage organization in the world and a major community service organization in North America.

    In a message to Mr. Manta, the President of the World Hellenism Council (SAE), Mr. Andrew Athens, said:

    "We will be able to coordinate our actions and deal with the provocations against Hellenism and Greece only if we stay united."

    Mr. Athens assured Mr. Manta of the SAE's continued support for AHEPA.

    [14] Leaflet on Parthenon friezes

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    A leaflet explaining the history of the Parthenon's marble friezes has been issued by the Culture Ministry in both Greek and English.

    Greece has mounted a campaign for the return of the friezes from the British Museum, where they have been kept since being removed from Greece by Lord Elgin early last century.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking at a press conference yesterday, explained that the leaflet would be distributed abroad and as of September in the country's schools.

    He also said that a call for tenders for the construction of the Acropolis Museum would be made by October.

    [15] Balkan cultural events

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    The Minister announced that his counterparts from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania have been invited to the "Prespes '97" events.

    The Prespes Lakes are situated at the conjunction of the borders of the three countries. The smaller lake is shared by Greece and Albania, the larger by all three states.

    Meanwhile, the "Orchestra of the Hellenes" will be touring Balkan and Black Sea states between 23 August and 4 September, according to an announcement by its organizer, Mr. Stelios Elliniadis. The orchestra comprises distinguished musicians from various regions of Greece. The concerts will be accompanied by a book and photograph exhibition.

    [16] Educational-cultural networks

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    The Culture Ministry yesterday announced plans to launch a system of "educational and cultural networks."

    The network will provide schools throughout the country with access to all cultural institutions in Greece, including theaters and cinemas, museums and departments of antiquities.

    [17] Culture Minister to visit Japan

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos will visit Tokyo from August 28 to September 1 for talks with the Greek-Japanese parliamentary friendship committee. During his stay, Mr. Venizelos will also meet with the organizers of the Cultural Olympiad to be held in Japan in 1998.

    Mr. Venizelos said the artistic director for the event would be appointed on September 2 from among the candidates who have expressed interest.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Venizelos will host a reception in Thessaloniki for six members of US Congress due to arrive in the city on 24 August.

    The US Congressmen are to visit Greece at the invitation of the Greek-American Institute of the United States and the Panhellenic Organization of Greek-American Friendship.

    The will stay in Greece for seven days.

    [18] IOC member from Algeria

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Another member of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Mustafa Larfaoui of Algeria, who is also president of the International Amateur Swimming Federation, visited the Athens 2004 Bid Committee headquarters yesterday.

    He visited Athens' athletics facilities and was briefed by Athens 2004 committee president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. He also planted an olive tree in the IOC members' park.

    [19] US-Greek cultural capital

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Boston has been officially declared as the "Greek Cultural Capital of the United States," under the auspices of the city's municipal authorities.

    The institution was introduced by the culture ministry in co-operation with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE).

    Events, held in the framework of the institution, will include Greek theatrical performances and various exhibitions.

    [20] FYROM expresses reservations over Greek road loan to Yugoslavia

    Belgrade, 21/08/1997 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) expressed objections to a Greek loan to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for construction of the national highway linking Belgrade and Skopje.

    The US100-million loan had been announced by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos during a recent visit to Athens by Yugoslav Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic.

    In an interview to the Belgrade daily "Nasa Borba", FYROM Transport and Communications Minister Abdulmedaf Bedjeti was quoted as saying that Greece should not have approved of this loan because the problem of the highway's construction is not bilateral, but regional.

    Mr. Bedjeti was also quoted as saying that the approach in such construction projects would be feasible only within the framework of the US initiative SECI, in which FYROM was actively involved.

    Financial officials in Skopje expressed a hope that this loan would not be as problematic as a year and a half ago, when Greece promised a loan of nearly 150 million dollars for the purchase of Greek consumer products. Greece did not provide the loan because the Yugoslav government had failed to provide the necessary guarantees.

    The daily "Blic" questioned whether Greece agreed on the loan following guarantees by Mr. Milutinovic that in the future Greek transport companies would be more easily granted transit visas for trucks carrying goods to European Union markets via Yugoslavia.

    [21] Discussion begins on draft bill for Elefsis shipyards

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    A Parliamentary committee yesterday began discussion of a draft bill for the transfer of the debt-ridden Elefsis shipyards. The ruling PASOK and the main opposition New Democracy parties support the transfer, while the Coalition of the Left reserved judgment. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) oppose the measure.

    The same bill includes an amendment expediting procedures for the establishment of natural gas supply companies in the Thessaloniki and Thessaly regions, introducing tax breaks for these companies, and setting out procedures for the establishment of an energy control authority.

    [22] Greek stocks edge up in technical rebound

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greek equity prices changed direction yesterday after a two-day decline to end moderately higher in what traders described as a technical rebound.

    Construction shares were the focus of attention. Market participants said, however, that thin volume would stand in the way of further advance. The general index closed 0.44 percent higher at 1,620.09 points.

    Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 0.56 percent, Leasing increased 0.20 percent, Insurance was 0.74 percent up, Investment rose 0.21 percent, Industrials were 0.35 percent higher, Construction soared 4.60 percent, Miscellaneous rose 0.21 percent an d Holding increased 1.12 percent.

    The parallel market for small cap companies jumped 1.41 percent.

    Broadly, advancing issues led declining ones by 117 to 81 with another 26 issues unchanged.

    Elve, Heliofin, Corinth Mills and Demetriadis scored the biggest percentage gains, while Ermis, Chalyps Cement and Remek suffered the heaviest losses of the day.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 37,060 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,900, Alpha Credit Bank at 19,700, Delta Dairy at 4,295, Titan Cement at 14,900, Intracom at 13,000 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 6,520.

    In the domestic foreign exchange market the dollar rebounded further against the drachma.

    [23] Greece says 1997 tax revenue targets still feasible

    Athens, 21/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greece is running behind schedule in its tax revenue target for January-July but the roughly two percent shortfall should be made up in coming months, Finance Under-secretary George Drys said yesterday.

    Mr. Drys told parliament late on Tuesday the socialist government's target of a 14.6 percent growth rate in tax collection, which is contained in its 1997 budget, was still feasible this year.

    The current 12.72 percent growth rate would rise in coming months due to revenue from another 1.3 million tax returns, payments on video games, fines for fake invoices, and property tax payments, Mr. Drys said during debate of a bill on penalties for tax evaders.

    Left and right opposition deputies claimed the government was about to introduce new taxes to cover a budgetary shortfall.

    End of English language section.

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