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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-02

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. 1380), January 2, 1998

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


  • [01] PM stresses progress must include boosting social protection
  • [02] ... Stephanopoulos
  • [03] ... Karamanlis
  • [04] ... Papariga
  • [05] ... Konstantopoulos
  • [06] ... Tsovolas
  • [07] ... GSEE
  • [08] Athens meets New Year, boasting the tallest Christmas tree in Europe
  • [09] Civil aviation experts investigate Yakovlev crash
  • [10] Defense ministry denies Turkish news agency report
  • [11] Turkey urged to change behavior towards Greece
  • [12] President to bestow honorary titles
  • [13] Turkish smugglers disembark Iraqis
  • [14] Foreign Office documents shed light on 1967 Cyprus turmoil
  • [15] Fire on Turkish freighter off Skyros
  • [16] Weapons seized in Ioannina
  • [17] German found dead in car

  • [01] PM stresses progress must include boosting social protection

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Significant steps of progress in the economy and international relations, despite continuing tension with Turkey, allow for optimism that still further possibilities for creativity lie ahead, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in his New Year's message.

    "Thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of all, significant steps were made in the direction of a stronger Greece last year.

    Greater stability was achieved in the economy. Inflation was reduced to levels unknown for decades, and the same is the case with the public deficit. The rate of growth was one of the highest in Europe," he said.

    "The standard of living of most people improved. We apply modern policies against unemployment. Step-by-step, we are building a substantial web of social protection. We shall persist with this policy," he added.

    He cautioned, however, that a lot of work still had to be done.

    "We still have a considerable distance to cover to acquire an economy as strong as those of other European countries. An economy so competitive that will not be influenced by the upheavals of the international market," he said.

    "Our relations with neighboring Turkey are going through a period of tension. Turkey is trying to gain ground which it lost in the European Union. As far as we are concerned, we shall steadily follow a policy of peace. We refuse the escalation of tension.

    Solutions are available if international treaties and law are applied. At the same time we shall continue our efforts for a strong deterrent force," he continued.

    "Our role in the Balkans is becoming increasingly important. The (November) summit on Crete confirmed this. Delegates of countries with chronic conflicts and disputes agreed on closer cooperation. The arrangements we achieved in the European Union will secure the financing of our developmental efforts for years to come. In the Luxembourg summit, the Greek positions on relations with Turkey and Cypriot accession negotiations were accepted. Our voice is being heard more and more, suffice it that we continue our policy of cooperation and at the same time improve our economic and social performance," he added.

    "The year that passed showed that we can be optimistic. The assignment of the Olympic Games of 2004 to Athens was proof that we can succeed in international competition," the prime minister concluded.

    [02] ... Stephanopoulos

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos in his New Year's Day address said that there are solutions to the very real problems of the country.

    He explained that these solutions are hard and need conscientious work to be fulfilled.

    The president also commented on the difficulties on the national issues, but said that careful actions, unanimity and well prepared military forces with a high moral are adequate preconditions for Greece to achieve the defense of its national integrity and to secure peace.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said that the country has achieved its own momentum, despite the difficulties. Greek entrepreneurship is increasing fast both in an out of the country, the cultural affairs are increasing, Greek scientists are noted for their work here and abroad, Greek universities are becoming better, but still are in need of work. Greeks are not migrating, rather Greece has become a pole of immigration and finally the standard of living, although not yet at the levels of other member states in the European Union, it has maintained its upward move.

    "To our Cypriot brethren I am sending cordial greetings, best wishes and the reassurance of Greece's continual support toward their great national problem, which is our problem as well," said the president.

    [03] ... Karamanlis

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis sent a message of hope and optimism to the nation yesterday, during his New Year's Day address.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that Greece has enormous potential and a bright future. He added that all these possibilities can and must be utilized, but the state and the political forces of the country must be equal to the challenge.

    The state must stand by the citizen at moments of creation and needs instead of being a tyrant... "with national unity and of one mind, with a stable policy and decisive posture we can dispel the fog which surrounds us...", he concluded.

    [04] ... Papariga

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga in her New Year's Day address expressed her certainty that this will be the year that the existing political situation in the country will be torn down.

    She added that these political blocks of power are responsible for the insecurity, unemployment, and poverty of the people while "the plutocracy is becoming fatter."

    [05] ... Konstantopoulos

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party leader Nikos Konstantopoulos said in his New Year's Day address that 1998 must become the year which will bring the country closer to the progressive route Greece needs.

    He added that this must become the year of creative struggle so as to overcome all the difficulties we face.

    [06] ... Tsovolas

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) president Demetris Tsovolas in his New Year's Day address said that the year which just ended was characterized by the increase of social inequities, a further decline of the lower classes income and increased unemployment.

    Mr. Tsovolas said that the negative flow of Greece's national issues are due to the wrong choices of the government. He added that DHKKI will continue its struggle for a strong social progressive front against the barbarity of neo-liberalism.

    [07] ... GSEE

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) in its New Year's Day message said that "1998 can become a better year for the workers, the people and the country with our struggle, efforts and endeavors... the financial forecast for the new year is creating a cautious optimism for further improvement of the economic and social conditions for the working classes".

    [08] Athens meets New Year, boasting the tallest Christmas tree in Europe

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Season's lights, tallest Christmas tree in Europe, a crowd of thousands, great popular artists, Athens' municipal music band, fire works, and thousands of multicolored balloons conspired to create the best New Year's bash Athenians have seen, according to the people who visited Syntagma Square for the festivities.

    The crowd and television viewers both in Greece and abroad had the chance to enjoy an endless parade of popular singers, who 'escaped', for a few minutes each from the clubs where they work, to appear and inspire. One of the highlights of the evening was the countdown to the New Year. All lights were turned off one minute before twelve and those gathered counted down the last minute of 1997. Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos called out to all including Greeks abroad watching the festivities via satellite to "celebrate ...tonight with us." He added that this celebration belongs to the homeless and the socially disenfranchised.

    [09] Civil aviation experts investigate Yakovlev crash

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Civil Aviation Authority (YPA) committee investigating the Dec. 17 Yakovlev 42 crash flew over the point of impact, on Wednesday.

    Committee president Akrivos Tsolakis said that the flight was an effort to re-enact the path taken by the Ukrainian Airsuite airlines plane.

    He added that the flight uncovered important facts about the crash.

    Mr. Tsolakis also said that the committee will go to Kiev, Moscow, and the US in efforts to collect facts and information about the airplane, since pertinent information on several aspects of the crash can be found only in those countries.

    [10] Defense ministry denies Turkish news agency report

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek defense ministry sources last night categorically denied a Turkish Anadolu news agency report according to which two Greek warships attempted to carry out checks on the particulars of identity and destination of vessels exiting the Dardanelle straits on Wednesday night.

    The same sources said that a Hellenic Navy gunboat patrolling the area was in a state of increased vigilance, acting on information that an unknown vessel was planning to land 2,000 illegal immigrants on Greek coasts.

    [11] Turkey urged to change behavior towards Greece

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos on Wednesday urged Turkey to change its behavior towards Greece, saying that its aggressiveness did nothing to help its relations with Europe.

    In his new year message, Tsohatzopoulos invited Turkey to consider the conditions set out by the European Union (for prospective candidates for EU membership) in order to improve its relations with the currently 15-nation bloc. "If Ankara realizes this in future, it will greatly help towards improving the current climate. Turkey should understand that... aggressiveness does not help... Above all, Turkey should give serious consideration to the problems noted by the EU," said the defense minister. He concluded with wishes for a peaceful new year, with less tension and more understanding of common interests and for "common sense" to prevail among the leaders of the region, which he said was "characterized by instability and fluidity".

    [12] President to bestow honorary titles

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos decided to bestow honorary titles to distinguished Greek citizens and expatriate Greeks in view of the New Year. These yearly titles will be given to Archbishop of Tirana and all of Albania Anastasios, Europe an Human Rights Justice Nikolas Valtinos, University of Toronto professors Spyridonas Phleggas, Demetrios Oreopoulos and Stephanos Triantis, MIT professors Mihael Dertouzos and Nikolaos Negreponte, San Diego University professor Kyriakos Nikolaou, World Council of Hellenes Abroad president Andrew Athens, writer Geogi Kufov and director of the institute for the financial support of Greek children at Harvard Pediatric Hospital Vasso Pappas.

    [13] Turkish smugglers disembark Iraqis

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Turkish smugglers disembarked 24 Iraqi illegal immigrants at dawn yesterday on the east coast of the island of Samos, police said. They said the 20 men and four women were transported to the Prasso region of Samos in two boat loads.

    The illegal immigrants told Samos police they had paid 2,000 dollars each to be brought across to Greece, adding that a large number of Iraqis were in Turkey waiting to be transported illegally to Greek islands in the Aegean. The 24 were taken to the local police precinct pending completion of the process for the extension of political asylum.

    [14] Foreign Office documents shed light on 1967 Cyprus turmoil

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Late Cyprus' President Makarios was willing to accept the ceding of the British Dekelia base in Cyprus to Turkey on condition that it would belong to NATO.

    The British withdrawal from the base was part of a general framework of the kingdom to save money.

    This is one of the obscure moments of Cyprus' recent history coming to light with the release of the British Cabinet and Defense Ministry 1967 documents, since the statute of limitations has run out, a yearly practice in the United Kingdom.

    According to the documents Greece forced the issue of Cyprus' union with it, giving Turkey land remuterations on the island, while Turkey was willing to discuss sovereignty rights over the Dekelia base, asking for a de facto "double union" or partitioning of the island.

    Coming to light was also a secret meeting of the then King Constantine of the Greeks with British prime minister Harold Wilson on this subject, on Nov. 9, 1966.

    According to the declassified documents Britain was willing to discuss the total demilitarization of the island and a form of confederation between Greece and Cyprus, which could have been acceptable by all parties involved, but Ankara was not willing t o give up its military rights on Cyprus.

    [15] Fire on Turkish freighter off Skyros

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    Fire broke out aboard a Turkish-flag freighter yesterday as it was sailing in international waters in the Aegean near the Greek island of Skyros, Merchant Marine Ministry sources said.

    The blazing vessel was spotted at noon by the Skyros military observation post, since the Turkish captain had not transmitted an SOS nor requested assistance on the VHF radio frequencies.

    The ministry's operations department was told by its counterpart in Istanbul that all 45 crew members of the freighter "Akoba" had abandoned ship.

    The sources said 40 crew members had been picked up by the Turkish ship "Tolka Gen" and were all safe, while another five were in a life raft and in no danger.

    Three Greek ships, a Greek coast-guard vessel and a Greek navy vessel, were on stand-by in the vicinity of the blazing freighter, while two Air Force helicopters and a military C-130 transport plane were flying over the area for security reasons, the sources said.

    The cause of the fire on the freighter, which was not carrying a cargo, were as yet undetermined, the sources added.

    [16] Weapons seized in Ioannina

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    A cache of weapons allegedly smuggled into Greece by illegal immigrants from Albania was found on Wednesday hidden near the village of Klimatia, Ioannina.

    A passing traveling salesman informed Ioannina police that he had come across bags containing the weapons, which included four Chinese-made automatic rifles, various types of revolvers and ammunition.

    [17] German found dead in car

    Athens, 02/01/1998 (ANA)

    A German man was found dead in his car in farmland near the village of Iliohori, Ioannina on Wednesday.

    Police said it appeared that Karlheinz Dielk, 40, who had been working in Ioannina for the past few years, committed suicide. A hose was found leading from the exhaust pipe into the car, with the engine running.

    End of English language section.

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