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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-14

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 1389), January 14, 1998

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Suspected terrorist ringleader arrested, investigations continue
  • [02] Burns says comments on airspace misrepresented
  • [03] ... Meeting with Constantopoulos
  • [04] ... Avramopoulos
  • [05] Gov't condemns repeated Turkish violations of airspace
  • [06] Britain wants better relations between Greece, Turkey - ambassador
  • [07] Stephanopoulos visit to India focuses on expanding bilateral relations
  • [08] US Congressional delegation on official visit
  • [09] Greek Orthodox sexton murdered in Istanbul
  • [10] PASOK conference on 'Socialism, Democracy in Europe of the 21st century'
  • [11] V. Papandreou holds wide-ranging talks with Austrian leadership
  • [12] V. Papandreou interview to Austrian news agency
  • [13] Robles emphasizes support for EU's external borders
  • [14] Algerian ambassador: Algiers needs int'l support
  • [15] Greece, Poland confer on EU issues
  • [16] Priceless manuscript returned to Mount Athos monastery
  • [17] Increased taxes for self-employed professionals
  • [18] Education co-operation between Greece, Albania decided
  • [19] Three missing in shoot-out on high seas
  • [20] Civil war minefield to be cleared
  • [21] Spraos report on improving public sector unveiled
  • [22] ... Opposition
  • [23] Greek stocks rebound as external pressures wane
  • [24] Parliament committee begins debate on tax bill
  • [25] Government reviews course of public investments program
  • [26] Conference to focus on business activity on Cyprus
  • [27] Briton held, kidnapping charges dropped
  • [28] Double murder-suicide in Athens suburb

  • [01] Suspected terrorist ringleader arrested, investigations continue

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Law enforcement officials yesterday expressed guarded optimism following the announcement that 18 individuals had been detained for questioning on the suspicion of involvement in terrorist acts.

    Asked whether police had broken up a terrorist organization after announcing the names of those detained for questioning, Public Order Minister George Romeos told a press conference that "the material found is used only in bombs".

    The minister refused to be drawn into further speculation on the details of the findings, saying only that their examination would take considerable time.

    Greek anti-terrorist police initially arrested eight people following a series of early morning raids on 10 residences in the greater Athens area.

    Mr. Romeos said one of those arrested, Nikos Maziotis, is the suspected ringleader of the "Militant Guerrilla Formation" group. He was arrested following a raid on a residence in Kamatero district, west of downtown Athens. According to police, the suspect had been sentenced to 40 months imprisonment in the past for participating in an occupation of the Athens Polytechnic, and was also involved in the conscientious objectors movement.

    Earlier, police said the findings seized in the homes which had been raided included 9,740 kilos of explosive material, two pistols, a handgun, 148 bullets, detonators and four hoods.

    Police began closing in on the suspects following the discovery of a fingerprint - which police traced to Mr. Maziotis - on a bomb placed at the development ministry on Dec., 6 that had failed to explode.

    Police left the bomb intact then after finding it had been wrongly assembled and was not dangerous. Responsibility was then claimed by the so-called "Anarchist Urban Guerrilla" organization, in protest against the involvement of the Canadian TVX mining group in a new operation in Halkidiki, northern Greece. Mr. Maziotis was subsequently placed under surveillance thereafter.

    The text claiming responsibility for placing the bomb, which was read out to the newspaper "Eleftherotypia" at the time, was found in the man's home yesterday, police said.

    The "Militant Guerrilla Formation" has claimed responsibility for a number of bomb attacks since its appearance in 1996. It has planted bombs at the Athens Polytechnic, the Peruvian embassy, the showroom of Italian car manufacturer Lancia and outside the Alitalia offices.

    Police sources also said Mr. Maziotis is a former member of the "Revolutionary Popular Struggle" (ELA), which police believe offers protection, guidance and arms to smaller groups, including the Militant Guerrilla Formation.

    He was also suspected of being involved in Saturday night's bomb attacks on the Kallithea taxation bureau and finance ministry data processing center (KEPYO).

    Police sources were saying last night they were examining a number of cases of bomb attacks in which the group is suspected of involvement, either by claiming responsibility, or because the remains of explosive mechanisms fully matched those of the first category.

    [02] Burns says comments on airspace misrepresented

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns yesterday denied he had linked the question of Greek sovereignty in the Aegean with the country's airspace.

    "I was very sorry to see some of the press reports over the weekend that said I was linking Greek sovereignty in the Aegean with the issue of airspace limits. I did not say that. That is not true, we are not linking those issues. We respect Greece's sovereignty in the Aegean, period. We don't link that with any other issue," Mr. Burns said, speaking after a meeting with main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday. He said

    Washington wanted to help resolve some of the problems in the region, if Greece and Turkey wanted, and he maintained that Washington had mo-ved in this spirit when the Turkish government decided to carry out a military exercise over the Greek islets of Kalogeri and near the island of Andros. Asked if the US accepted the 10 nautical mile-limit for Greece's airspace, he reiterated that Washington's known position had not changed.

    "This has not been an active issue between the US and Greece in the sense that Greece has had this (the 10-mile limit) since 1931. Greece and the US are NATO allies. We get along very well. I think it was frankly wrong of the newspapers to link the two issues, because I never linked them and so it's not an issue that we argue about," he said, adding:

    "Our position is well-known and we have not changed that position."

    "The major issue is this. Greece and Turkey must find a way to work together to reduce the tension in the region, but obviously sovereignty must be respected, that is why I thought it important to say that the Kalogeri islets are Greek," he added.

    [03] ... Meeting with Constantopoulos

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Mr. Burns also had a meeting with the leader of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), Nikos Constantopoulos, who afterwards expressed concern over the escalation of tension in Greek-Turkish relations.

    Mr. Constantopoulos outlined to the US ambassador his party's positions on Greece's foreign policy and Greek-American relations, while he also referred to the need for respect for human rights on the part of Turkey.

    The Synaspismos leader also told Mr. Burns that "when US policy is becoming supportive to Turkey and pressing Greece in the name of a super power that imposes itself and controls", then such a policy was wrong.

    The US ambassador told the press that, as he had expected, "we did not agree on all issues".

    However, he described the meeting as excellent, adding that he will keep an open-minded stance and co-operation" with all Greek political parties.

    [04] ... Avramopoulos

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Finally, issues concerning Greek-US relations as well as expatriate Greeks living in the US, were the focus of discussion during a meeting last night between Mr. Burns and Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos at the Greek capitals' City Hall.

    Mr. Avramopoulos congratulated the new ambassador on taking up his duties in Athens and wished him success and "a closer co-operation to the benefit of both peoples."

    [05] Gov't condemns repeated Turkish violations of airspace

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday that Athens will take all necessary measures to condemn the recent wave of airspace violations and infringements by Turkish warplanes over the Aegean and would brief representatives of European Union member-states on "the unacceptable activity of the Turkish air force".

    Fourteen Turkish warplanes infringed on Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) regulations without submitting flight plans and violated Greek national airspace over three Aegean islands yesterday.

    The violations occurred as National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos arrived on the island of Lesvos on the first leg of a tour of eastern Aegean islands.

    The sources said that several Turkish F-16 and F-4 warplanes which violated Greek national airspace over the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes, Kos and Karpathos, were intercepted by Hellenic Air Force F-16s and Mirage-2000s.

    Two Turkish F-16 aircraft that entered the Athens FIR later in the day and flew 10,000 feet above a helicopter carrying Mr. Tsohatzopoulos were intercepted by four Greek fighters, according to informed sources.

    The Turkish planes, flying at a height of 13,000 feet, entered Athens FIR in the region between the eastern Aegean islands of Hios and Lesvos.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was in a helicopter taking him from Lesvos to the island of Psara.

    He later called on Ankara to abide to international law.

    Greece "is a peaceful country and wants to live in peace with its neighbors." added Mr. Tsohatzopoulos from the northeastern Aegean islet of Panagia.

    The defense minister commenting on yesterday's violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes predicted that Turkey will maintain an offensive policy toward its neighbors in an effort to overcome its internal problems for the time being, until it be comes a member of a major international organization, such as the European Union.

    The Panagia islet is one of 14 of the eastern Aegean that will be developed into tourism and ecology sites by the Aegean ministry, an action criticized by Turkey.

    Speaking earlier at the Lesvos Officers Club, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the 1998 expenditures for defense will reach 1.5 trillion dra-chmas, compared to the 500 billion spent in 1997.

    While on Lesvos the defense minister also visited army and air force units.

    [06] Britain wants better relations between Greece, Turkey - ambassador

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    British Ambassador in Athens Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith yesterday expressed his country's desire to support every effort by NATO and the US towards de-escalating tension between Greece and Turkey, although he feared that any effort by the European Union would not be successful in view of Turkey's reaction to a decision by last month's EU summit not to include it in the next wave of candidate member states.

    At a press conference to mark the beginning of Britain's six months at the helm of the European Union, the ambassador said his government's focus would center on the accession process for 10 candidate states from central and eastern Europe and for Cyprus, Economic and Monetary Union, employment, crime-fighting and the environment.

    With regard to accession talks for Cyprus, due to begin in March, Sir Michael said the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the talks, while desirable, was not linked with the starting date for negotiations.

    In response to a question on Cyprus' purchase of S-300 missiles from Russia, the ambassador, reiterating Britain's position in favor of the demilitarization of Cyprus, expressed the view that the missiles should not be deployed on the island.

    [07] Stephanopoulos visit to India focuses on expanding bilateral relations

    New Delhi, 14/01/1998 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    Greece and India pledged to expand bilateral relations, particularly in the economic and trade sectors, following talks between President Kostis Stephanopoulos with India's political leadership here.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who is accompanying Mr. Stephanopoulos on his six-day official visit to India, signed a bilateral agreement for co-operation in the tourism sector with Indian Tourism Minister Kumar Jhenna.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos, the first Greek president to officially visit India since 1982, met his Indian counterpart K.I. Narayanan yesterday morning.

    After the official reception ceremony, the president laid a wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi monument.

    "It is with great respect that I lay this wreath, in the memory of the great humanist, political figure and liberator of India. Gandhi was one of the brightest spirits of mankind," he wrote in the special visitors' book.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos later met Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, who also holds the foreign affairs portfolio, accompanied by Mr. Pangalos and National Economy Under-secretary Alekos Baltas.

    Their talks focused on bilateral relations and the international scene.

    Mr. Gujral hosted a lunch in honor of Mr. Stephanopoulos, after which the Greek president met representatives of Indian political parties and was briefed on the political situation in the country as well as next month's elections.

    During the official dinner hosted by his Indian counterpart afterwards, Mr. Stephanopoulos noted that while the bilateral trade balance was weighted in India's favor, there was a great deal of leeway for economic co-operation in various sectors, particularly through encouraging private investment with appropriate state support.

    He also stressed that while Greece and India were the heirs to great civilizations which have influenced many other peoples, they have not adequately expanded these bonds of the past.

    He also emphasized that the two countries have developed beneficial co-operation in the political field, based on the common ideals of peace, friendship between nations, respect for international law and the principles of the UN Charter. The Greek president expressed Athens' appreciation for India's understanding and stand on the Cyprus issue, which constitutes a violation of the basic principles of international law.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos also referred to global environmental issues, and the problems of starvation and local conflicts affecting many parts of the planet and threatening peace and security.

    "We understand the existing problems in your area, and we believe in the value of implementing the rules of international law," he said, stressing the particular influence exercised by India in international relations.

    He invited President Narayanan to visit Greece.

    [08] US Congressional delegation on official visit

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    A US House of Representatives delegation is visiting Greece today and tomorrow, headed by Illinois Republican John Edward Porter, along with four other members of the Congressional commission on security and co-operation in Europe, known as the Helsinki Commission.

    The aim of the visit is to examine the targets and principles of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

    Greece will be the first stop of the US delegation, which will then visit Cyprus and Turkey.

    In Athens, the delegation will have meetings with US officials, government officials and representatives of non-governmental bodies.

    [09] Greek Orthodox sexton murdered in Istanbul

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    An ethnic Greek sexton at the Agios Therapontas Church in Istanbul was found dead in a church well after an unexplained fire at the church, government spokesman Demetris Reppas announced yesterday.

    Vassilis Haviaropoulos was found dead with a cracked skull after the fire was extinguished, according to Turkish authorities.

    Mr. Reppas expressed the government's condemnation over the fire as well as other such incidents in Turkey against Ecumenical Patriarchate staff and property, whose causes have continuously remained unexplained. He also accused Turkish authorities of in efficiency.

    A bomb exploded at the Ecumenical Patriarchate early last month, seriously injuring a Greek Orthodox clergyman.

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos also condemned "in the most absolute and categorical way" the murder of the sexton.

    "We denounce Turkey because indeed in past days one ascertains that the anti-Greek rage that it has been developing for some time is intensifying. We call on Ankara to denounce this barbarism immediately and ensure that the murderers, and at the same time sacrilegious individuals, are arrested im-mediately and punished in an exemplary fashion," Mr. Spiliotopoulos said.

    [10] PASOK conference on 'Socialism, Democracy in Europe of the 21st century'

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and PASOK president Costas Simitis along with several high-ranking party cadres yesterday decided to hold a national conference on the subject of "Socialism and Democracy in the Europe of the 21st century."

    The conference, which will be held on Feb. 13 and 14, aims to involve not just PASOK but society as a whole, according to reports.

    The 600 to 700 members of the conference will include PASOK's central committee, its Parliamentary group, Eurodeputies, its youth group and independent politicians which took part in similar events in the past.

    Mr. Simitis and PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis will be main speakers of the conference, the results of which will be sent to party organizations.

    [11] V. Papandreou holds wide-ranging talks with Austrian leadership

    Vienna, 14/01/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou held talks here yesterday with Austrian National Economy Minister Johannes Farnleitner, who assured the Greek minister that Austria will promote Cyprus' and the other candidate-nation s' accession negotiations during Vienna's EU presidency in the second half of 1998.

    Ms Papandreou ascertained in her talks with the Austrian minister that the Kurdish issue, and the situation prevailing in Turkey, in general, are strongly preoccupying the Austrian government, which believes that problems of democratic institutions and respect for human rights exist in Turkey.

    In her talks with both Mr. Farnleitner and later with the president of the influential Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Leopold Mantertaner, the political will of both countries to improve bilateral commercial and economic relations was stressed.

    Afterwards, Ms Papandreou said Austria is interested in co-operation with Balkan and Black Sea countries where Greece maintains political and economic co-operation at a higher level than Austria. On its part, Athens is interested in co-operation with countries in central and eastern Europe with which Austria has better connections.

    In addition, a Greek-Austrian research and technology agreement will be signed very soon at government level, details of which were discussed yesterday.

    The invitation extended by Ms Papandreou for Greece to host the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Industry, canceled in Morocco last year, during the Austrian EU presidency will also be reviewed positively by Vienna.

    Ms Papandreou was also briefed on issues which Austria will promote during its presidency, such as Economic and Monetary Union, energy policy and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    [12] V. Papandreou interview to Austrian news agency

    Vienna, 14/01/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    In an interview with the Austrian News Agency yesterday, Development Minister Vasso Pa-pandreou stressed the need for pressures to be exerted on Turkey by the European Union regarding the Kurdish issue.

    Ms Papandreou, who completed a two-day official visit to Vienna yesterday, said that instead of pretending that no problem exists, the EU must pressure Ankara to respect the rights of all peoples, regardless of their nationality and origin.

    She also criticized the policy of the United States and European countries for their support of Turkey's generals on the pretext of blocking militant Islamism in the country, a policy she said is not effective.

    Instead, she added, Turkey must be supported to improve democratic institutions and human rights which would help a rapprochement with the EU.

    "Turkey must respect international law first to enable its participation in the EU," she said.

    Ms Papandreou said Greece will fulfill criteria for accession to Economic and Monetary Union as of 2001. Referring to bilateral Greek-Austrian economic relations, She said they are at a very low level but the political volition exists to widen them.

    She said that possibilities of expanding bilateral co-operation also exists in the tourism sector, since the main season for tourism to Austria is in the winter and for Greece in the summer.

    [13] Robles emphasizes support for EU's external borders

    Strasbourg, 14/01/1998 (ANA - C. Haralambopoulos)

    Responding yesterday to a question on Greek-Turkish relations, European Parliament President Gil Robles said it is clear that the European Union is in favor of respect for external borders and in this sense it stands by the side of Greece on the issue of its borders being questioned by Turkey.

    Mr. Robles, who will pay an official visit to Greece on January 28 at the invitation of Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, said he would not want to take a specific position on Greek-Turkish differences since such a thing could create more tension. However, he expressed the wish that in the future relations between Greece and Turkey will be characterized by more co-operation.

    Referring to his visit to Athens, Mr. Robles said he will seek a briefing on the status of national deputies, the issue of a unified election process in the EU, the issue of relations between national Parliaments and the European Parliament and the course of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary dialogue which started about a year ago at the initiative of Athens.

    Mr. Robles said that during his contacts in Athens he will stress the necessity of the Euro-Mediterranean Forum operating in 1998, adding that Greece constitutes a privileged observation center for the EU towards the Near and Middle East.

    [14] Algerian ambassador: Algiers needs int'l support

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Algeria is determined to "continue without respite the battle against the plague of terrorism" until it is entirely eradicated, Algiers' new ambassador in Athens stressed in a statement yesterday.

    Kamel Houhou expressed his deep regret at the latest wave of massacres against isolated village populations in his country, whom he termed as "the victims of a blind and blood-thirsty terrorism".

    He appealed to the international community to invest more into effecting an "honest co-operation", with no hidden motives, in order to face up to this challenge, saying that the "battle against terrorism was everybody's responsibility".

    According to the Algerian ambassador, a proposed inquiry into terrorism in Algeria was unnecessary since, as he said, it would not serve any purpose but would probably help "maintain disorder and encourage terrorism becoming even more fierce".

    Mr. Houhou asserted that instead of an international inquiry, his country was in need of security and peace, and of support and solidarity.

    He added that Algeria was a sovereign state which rejected all sorts of interference in its domestic affairs, but at the same time called on the international community to assist in the battle against terrorism through appropriate mechanisms.

    [15] Greece, Poland confer on EU issues

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou held talks yesterday with Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrej Ananicz on Poland's aspirations to become a member of the European Union.

    Poland is one of the countries included in the EU's first wave of enlargement, decided at the Luxembourg summit in December.

    The two men decided to step up the level of contacts between the two sides on a political and technocratic level, with Greece promising to aid Poland's accession efforts with briefings on the institutional and economic EU issues.

    Some 30 Greek and joint Greek-Polish enterprises are active in Poland, primarily in commerce and the fur, marble and farming goods sectors. Poland is home to a 5,000-strong Greek community while Greece is home to a sizable Polish community.

    [16] Priceless manuscript returned to Mount Athos monastery

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    A ceremony at Mount Athos' administrative capital of Karyes yesterday heralded the return by Bulgarian officials of a 236-year-old manuscript to the autonomous monastic community, following a decision by Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov.

    The ceremony was delayed for three hours after Bulgarian officials insisted on handing over the 61-page manuscript directly to the Zografos Monastery's abbot, who is of Bulgarian origin.

    The 61-page manuscript, a history of the Slavo-Bulgarian nation written by the monk Paisios in 1762 at the Zografos monastery, was stolen from Mount Athos in 1985, subsequently turning up last year at Sofia's National History Museum.

    Mr. Stoyanov decided to return the manuscript despite opposition in Bulgaria. Specifically, 75 per cent of respondents polled by the Bulgarian state radio station "Horizon" expressed their opposition to the decision. Eventually, the manuscript was handed over to a Mount Athos official who was then accompanied to the Zografos Monastery by both Greek and Bulgarian delegations.

    [17] Increased taxes for self-employed professionals

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    A broad range of self-employed professionals will be called upon to pay increased taxes for incomes earned in 1997, on the basis of a decision by Finance Under-secretary George Drys and released yesterday.

    Specifically, the professional fees used as a criterion for assessing the minimum income earned by doctors, lawyers, consultants and artists, among others, are increased by nine per cent, while the minimum income owners of taxis and transport vehicles will have to declare goes up by 8.2 per cent.

    [18] Education co-operation between Greece, Albania decided

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    The education ministry termed co-operation between Greece and Albania in the education sector a historic mandate for the two countries.

    Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis and his Albanian counterpart Ethem Ruka met last night and decided to co-operate in all sectors and at all levels with the purpose of maintaining the orientation of education on democratic principles and the adjustment of training to the needs and requirements of modern technology and economy.

    An announcement by the education ministry said that, among others, the following will be pursued in this context:

    Co-operation between establishments of third stage university and technological education in the two countries and the possibility will be examined of the Albanian language being taught at a university in Athens.

    Co-operation at all levels of first stage and second stage education, including pre-school training. A coordinated development of initiatives will be pursued for the promotion of Balkan co-operation, as well as participation in European and international programs.

    Greece will help in modernizing the educational system of Albania, maintaining and equipping school buildings as well as in vocational education and training.

    Coordinated care will be taken for upgrading education provided for the ethnic Greek minority, as well as bilateral co-operation for the mutual knowledge and understanding of the two people's history and culture through school programs.

    [19] Three missing in shoot-out on high seas

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Three Albanian drug smugglers were missing when their boat went up in flames during a shoot-out with the Greek coast guard off the northwestern Greek port city of Igoumenitsa, police said yesterday.

    Harbor authorities told the ANA that the crew of an Albanian speedboat opened fire on two Greek coast guard patrol boats when asked to stop for a check.

    They said that the three men on board the Albanian speedboat opened fire on the patrol boats with Kalashnikov machine guns, forcing the coast guard to return the fire.

    As a result, the Albanian boat caught fire and the three men jumped into the sea and disappeared.

    The speedboat, loaded with several sacks of narcotics, was towed to Igoumenitsa harbor, while a search is being conducted for its three-member crew. Most of the drugs were destroyed in the fire, the harbor authorities said.

    [20] Civil war minefield to be cleared

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Thousands of land mines dating from the Greek civil war fifty years ago will be cleared to make the Grammos mountain region on Greece's northern border into a tourist destination, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos said yesterday.

    Funds from the Third Community Support Framework and Greek national defense ministry have already been allocated for the costly and time-consuming project, which is expected to begin within the year.

    "We had placed a study with a foreign company to detect and record the mines in the minefield by aerial photography but the cost of the project came to over five billion drachmas, an amount we did not have then", Mr. Petsalnikos said. "Now, with the Third Community Support Framework, we do".

    The project has received the support of Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who was approached by local authorities when he visited the prefecture of Kastoria in Western Macedonia late last year.

    The Grammos, Vitsi and Murgana mountains in the Pindos mountain range saw the bulk of fighting during the vicious 1947-1949 civil war between communist-backed resistance fighters and Allied-backed troops.

    At the end of the war, resistance fighters fled north to Soviet-bloc countries, leaving no documentation of where mines had been placed. Thousands are estimated to be hidden deep in the forest.

    Dozens of unsuspecting hunters and farmers were killed in the years immediately after the war and many more injured.

    [21] Spraos report on improving public sector unveiled

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    A long-anticipated report on the qualitative improvement of Greece's massive public sector administration was unveiled yesterday by Prof. Ioannis Spraos, the prime minister's economic adviser.

    Prof. Spraos stressed that such an improvement was of tremendous significance for the economy, with the proposals aiming to regain what he called the "lost time" for Greece, saying the country missed out on two major revolutions in the field of public administration. He said these two "revolutions" concern the public sector's proper and efficient functioning.

    Discounting earlier fears of a proposal favoring the lifting of the permanent employment status of civil servants, Mr. Spraos and his assistant, interior and public administration ministry official Aliki Koutsoumari, reiterated that what was required was a redefinition of the concept that would make civil servants efficient and friendly to the public.

    The report contains five sets of proposals. The first refers to the introduction of result-measurement indicators, respect for charters of citizens' rights, and efficiency controls of public services.

    The second proposal concerns the planning and evaluation of employment positions in the public sector, while the third envisages the setting up of a committee of experts that will examine the relevance and impact of legislative regulations.

    The fourth and fifth proposals are related to the establishment of two bodies, one of administration economists and the other of a department of high-ranking executives with special skills and qualifications.

    Public Administration Under-secretary Stavros Benos stated later that the proposals of the Spraos report were in a very positive direction, and assured that the government had no intention of watering down the permanent employment status of civil servants.

    [22] ... Opposition

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, the main opposition New Democracy party's head of the public administration affairs later accused the government of "amateurism, ignorance of reality, and of being at a loss of what to do."

    "The decisions that must be adopted for public administration concern the trimming of the state, a reduction in its costs, and the proper utilization of its human resources. However, the government, being a prisoner of fixed ideas of the past and the concept of political cost, is unable to adopt them," he said.

    [23] Greek stocks rebound as external pressures wane

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities yesterday recovered a small part of Monday's sharp losses on the Athens Stock Exchange with market sentiment encouraged by a rebound in international markets.

    Traders said that a fragile stability in the domestic money markets also encouraged some bargain hunting and other speculative buying of stocks.

    The general index ended at 1,426.14 points, up 1.48 percent after showing gains as much as 3.0 percent during the session.

    Most sector indices scored gains. Banks fell 0.49 percent, Insurance rose 0.92 percent, Leasing dropped 0.89 percent, Investment ended 1.22 percent higher, Construction increased 1.95 percent, Industrials jumped 2.24 percent, Miscellaneous surged 3.61 percent and Holding rose 1.63 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.57 percent up, while the FTSE/ASE index closed 1.09 percent up at 794.89 points.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 19 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 143 to 57 with another 26 issues unchanged.

    Sysware, Singular, Intrasoft and Desmos scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's upper limit of 8.0 percent, while Balkan Export, Levenderis and Fintexport suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,345, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,700, Delta Dairy at 2,905, Titan Cement at 13,435, Intracom at 14,100 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,700.

    [24] Parliament committee begins debate on tax bill

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's political parties clashed over procedural issues and contents of a new tax bill during debate yesterday by a parliament's budget committee.

    Finance Under-secretary George Drys withdrew a regulation calling for an in person submission of tax statements after strong protests by most political parties.

    The governing PASOK party deputies stressed that the new tax bill did not impose new taxes and that it was simply implementing 1998's state budget provisions.

    Deputies from opposition parties criticized the government's tax proposals as unfair and inefficient.

    [25] Government reviews course of public investments program

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    A government committee chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday reviewed the course of smaller projects under way or scheduled around the country.

    National Economy Under-secretary Christos Pachtas told reporters after the meeting that the premier was briefed over the course of the public investments program in smaller projects at prefectural and local authority levels.

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Under-secretary Lambros Papadimas, and Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Under-secretary Christos Verelis also attended the meeting.

    [26] Conference to focus on business activity on Cyprus

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    The International Economic Relations Institute will organize a conference entitled "The Possibilities of Business Activity in the Republic of Cyprus" on Tuesday, in co-operation with the Cypriot Commercial Center of Athens.

    The conference will focus on issues concerning the course of the economy of Cyprus and its accession course towards the European Union, the status of foreign investments and offshore companies, commercial relations between Greece and Cyprus etc.

    The issues will be set out by the commercial adviser of the Cyprus embassy in Athens, A. Nikolaou, and other officials.

    [27] Briton held, kidnapping charges dropped

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    A 45-year-old British car mechanic was remanded in custody yesterday on charges of receiving stolen goods and for debts to social security funds.

    An investigating magistrate in Serres ordered that John Mercer of South Shields, northeastern England, be remanded in custody for the two offenses but dropped charges of abduction of his three-year-old son.

    Mercer was arrested on January 9 at the port of Igoumenitsa, on his return from England, following charges by his companion Elisavet Keskinidou of abducting their son Anastasios.

    The boy was later returned to his mother, who dropped the charges. Police said that they were investigating allegations that Mercer, who ran a used-car lot in the Serres village of Lefkona, was dismantling stolen cars and selling them as spare parts.

    [28] Double murder-suicide in Athens suburb

    Athens, 14/01/1998 (ANA)

    A 50-year-old man shot and killed his wife and son and then committed suicide in the Athens northern residential suburb of Aghia Paraskevi yesterday, police said.

    The man, Antonis Tambakakis, after a family argument, took his shotgun and shot his 48-year old wife in the head and chest and his 30-year-old son Michalis in the head. He then shot himself in the head.

    End of English language section.


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