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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-19

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 1393), January 19, 1998

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


  • [01] Tsohatzopoulos: Aegean's status absolutely indisputable
  • [02] Greece, US to sign two new trade agreements
  • [03] ... Talks with Tsohatzopoulos
  • [04] Papandreou: We continues to encourage Turkey's European orientation
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos on abolition of Turkey's Welfare Party
  • [06] New impetus given for economic ties between Greece, India
  • [07] New Australian ambassador in Athens announced
  • [08] Non-lethal military aid to Albania
  • [09] Restructuring at Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) announced
  • [10] Karamanlis attacks Gov't over its agriculture policy
  • [11] Papariga calls for US ambassador's recall
  • [12] Demetris Horn's funeral today
  • [13] PASOK executive bureau to announce candidates for local elections
  • [14] Fishermen end blockades
  • [15] Six charged with smuggling cocaine from Latin America
  • [16] Major contraband cigarette seizure, FYROM national arrested
  • [17] Greek cargo ship sinks off Sardinia coast
  • [18] Firebombings around Athens reported

  • [01] Tsohatzopoulos: Aegean's status absolutely indisputable

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Saturday that Turkey is attempting to pass an image through media outlets and press information that a problem exists in the Aegean, which is false, since the Aegean's status "is obvious, absolutely in disputable, clear and legally and institutionally consolidated by international law".

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was commenting on a "non-paper" issued by the Turkish embassy in Athens, which attempts to place the blame on Greece for tension in Greek-Turkish relations.

    "The effort to dispute the status of the Aegean constitutes a potential threat not only against Greece but also against international law and the clauses which have been in effect for decades," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, calling on Turkey to realize that it is futile to continue this attitude.

    Replying to a question on the statement by the National Defense Under-secretary Demetris Apostolakis regarding a reaction by Greece in the event Turkey's armed forces commit a major provocation, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the country's strategy is clear and given.

    The defense ministry yesterday also accused Ankara of attempting to shift blame on Athens for non-observance of several Greek-Turkish agreements as well as of ignoring international laws and regulations.

    "Turkey, according to its known tactic, is attempting to blame Greece for the non-observance of agreements concluded between Greece and Turkey in 1988 and of international laws and regulations, distorting actual events and presenting its national pursuits as Greece's obligation to follow them," defense ministry sources said in regard to the Turkish allegations contained in the "non-paper".

    These agreements anticipate that military activities in international airspace will be carried out in accordance with international laws, international practice, international rules, regulations and processes.

    "Turkey is violating the agreements by not submitting flight plans, failure to refer to the relevant Air Traffic Control Service and, what is worst and most provocative, with violations of national airspace even above (Greek) islands in many cases," the same sources said.

    The sources added that "it is noted indicatively that over a two-month period between July-August 1997 when Turkey claimed that it did not conduct any exercises and that its aircraft were unarmed, Turkish aircraft violated Greek national airspace 41 times, once above a Greek island, while 19 formations were armed. In 1997 Turkish aircraft violated Greek airspace on 849 occasions, 144 of which were above Greek islands."

    In addition, the sources stressed that many pages would be necessary to register the violations of international regulations and agreements of 1988 by Turkish aircraft and Turkish ships.

    More specifically, it was pointed out that with this document Turkey is openly showing once again its expansionist and aggressive dispositions, claiming that the same number of exercises and the same number of aircraft, Greek and Turkish, must take place in the Aegean, willfully ignoring that a large number of Greek exercises and almost all flights are carried out inside national airspace in the Aegean, also using the intermediate international air and territorial waters for reasons of going and returning and always observing international rules and processes.

    On the contrary, Turkey, when entering the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) where it does not possess its own national airspace, is violating both the 1988 agreements and international rules and regulations.

    It is reminded that in an announcement on Friday the Turkish embassy had accused Greece of violating the Papoulias-Yilmaz memorandum by carrying out exercises in periods of national and religious holidays, of binding extensive areas for a large period of time for exercises and of not allowing Turkish aircraft participating in exercises to fly lower than 40,000 feet, depriving them of the possibility of refueling.

    [02] Greece, US to sign two new trade agreements

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and visiting US Secretary of Commerce William Daley over weekend agreed to promote two agreements between Athens and Washington.

    The two ministers met in Athens on Saturday and agreed to sign the two agreements on further promoting and widening economic and commercial co-operation, as well as for co-operation on technological issues in the Balkans and southeastern Europe.

    A special advisory committee will be created by virtue of the first agreement and will discuss joint business activities, widening commercial ties, promoting co-operation in the sciences and technology, developing co-operation and joint business relations in the Balkans, widening bilateral economic and business relations and promoting a new transatlantic dialogue, as well as other matters of mutual and international concern.

    The committee will convene at least once a year, alternately in the two capitals, and will be chaired respectively by the international economic relations' Secretary-General of the national economy ministry and the US overseas trade under-secretary.

    The second agreement, constituting a continuation of the Clinton-Simitis initiative, concerns co-operation for developing and promoting joint technological goals in the wider Balkan region and southeastern Europe.

    Mr. Daley had earlier held talks with Development Minister Vasso Papandreou.

    Mr. Daley was accompanied by US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns. The meeting was also attended by National Tourist Organization (EOT) Secretary-General Nikos Skoulas, Energy Secretary-General A. Papathanasopoulos and Research and Technology Secretary-General E. Frangoulis.

    Ms Papandreou said afterwards that prospects were discussed of developing co-operation between Greece and the US in various sectors, such as energy, research, technology and tourism.

    "The US is a very significant political and economic power and the development of our co-operation will help Greece economically. I believe that the US will see the possibilities our country has to play a wider role in southeastern Europe. The development of the two countries' commercial relations and an increase in US investments in Greece in the sectors of tourism and energy, as well as in other sectors, can indeed benefit us.

    "More specifically, in connection with our relations in the tourist sector we expect an increase in the number of American citizens visiting Greece because it is a country which is worth one seeing," she said.

    Mr. Daley said he is visiting Greece as the representative of US President Bill Clinton with the purpose of developing commercial relations between the two countries. He added that what is being examined at present is in what way the interest of Greek and US business people will become more intense since there is ground for co-operation and investments in the sectors of energy, tourism, research and technology and that many Americans are interested in co-operation of such a kind.

    "Greece is very important for us. It is the most beautiful country in the world and many US citizens visit the country as either as tourists or for work. I believe that there will be many more in the future also, in light of the 2004 Olympic Games," Mr. Daley said.

    [03] ... Talks with Tsohatzopoulos

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    On his part, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos detailed to Mr. Daley Athens' efforts toward resolution of the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish differences as well as the policies of Greece for regional security and co-operation.

    The two men also discussed boosting bilateral trade, as well as possibilities of strengthening co-operation between the two countries through the US Defense Department sales of US-made products to Greece.

    Mr. Burns was present at this meeting.

    [04] Papandreou: We continues to encourage Turkey's European orientation

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said Greece will make certain moves aimed at strengthening its role in Europe against Turkey, adding that Greece continues to encourage Turkey's European orientation.

    Mr. Papandreou was speaking on Saturday on Greek positions at a conference for regional secretary-generals in Irakleio and on issues concerning the "Agenda 2000 and EU enlargement."

    Mr. Papandreou said it is not Greece which is obstructing Turkey in its course towards Europe but Turkey itself which is placing obstacles in its European orientation because it is not going ahead with specific steps which it must make to be accepted by the European family.

    "However, our main message to Turkey is that we will defend our national interests," he said.

    Replying to a question on the outlawing of Necmettin Erbakan's Islamist Welfare Party, Mr. Papandreou said it constitutes an undemocratic act contributing to Turkey's self-isolation.

    "Internal instability such as that prevailing in Turkey also fuels its foreign policy with elements of instability. However, Greece has lived with this reality for decades," he said.

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos on abolition of Turkey's Welfare Party

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    Commenting Saturday on Turkey's high court decision to dissolve the main opposition Welfare Party, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said Turkey is a long way from becoming a European country.

    He added that the outlawing of the Welfare Party confirms the decision of the European Union on the terms Turkey must fulfill before it becomes a member-state.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also said that Turkey must be assisted, so as to further democracy and human rights.

    Greece, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, has nothing to fear from developments in Turkey.

    [06] New impetus given for economic ties between Greece, India

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos said on Saturday that his week-long official visit to India had given new impetus to Athens' and New Delhi's attempts to forge closer economic and cultural ties.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos was speaking at the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, at the tail-end of his official visit to the Indian subcontinent.

    The Greek president was accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Finance Under-secretary Alekos Baltas.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said that the goal of his visit had not been only to strengthen economic relations between the two countries but political and cultural relations as well. He also stressed the ties linking the ancient cultures of both nations. Mr. Baltas said the president's visit was certain to signal the beginning of increased economic co-operation between the two countries, adding that Greece's course towards Economic and Monetary Union would be achieved with the minimum of social upheaval.

    Late on Saturday, President Stephanopoulos met with the governor of Bengal.

    The Greek delegation returned to Athens last night.

    [07] New Australian ambassador in Athens announced

    Melbourne, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    According to an announcement by the Australian foreign ministry, diplomat Ross Burns will be appointed as that country's new ambassador in Athens.

    Mr. Burns, who has served in the past in Islamabad, Dacca, Port Moresby, Cairo, London and Bangkok, will assume his post next month.

    "The Australian government attributes great importance to relations with Greece. Relations which are particularly warm and have been forged with common struggles between the two countries that fought together in two world wars for common ideals," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.

    He added that particularly good relations between Athens and Canberra are also due to the numerous Greek expatriate community in Australia, "which has played a very important role in the development of Australia's economic, cultural and political life."

    [08] Non-lethal military aid to Albania

    Tirana, 19/01/1998 (ANA - P. Haritos)

    A Greek company stationed in Albania has delivered materials and vehicles to the Albanian army within the framework of aid provided by Greece for reorganizing the Albanian army in accordance with an agreement concluded between the two countries.

    The handover occurred during a ceremony held at Izberish army camp in Tirana on Saturday morning in the presence of the government's Secretary for Military Issues, Pericles Teta.

    The Greek mission delivered three five-ton Magirus-Deutz vehicles, a fully-equipped Renault ambulance, 10 modern computers, a scanner to modernize the defense ministry's technical equipment and 12,000 meters of cloth for army uniforms.

    Mr. Teta thanked Athens for aid provided by the Greek company for the task of reorganizing the Albanian army and termed co-operation between the two countries "particularly effective."

    Two weeks ago, Hellenic Air Force transport aircraft delivered materials worth 170 million drachmas in the framework of the support program for the Albanian armed forces, while another load of material and technical equipment of the same value is expected to be delivered in early February.

    On Dec. 30, a center for outpatients was inaugurated at the military hospital in Tirana, which was financed completely by Greece and cost two million US dollars.

    [09] Restructuring at Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) announced

    Tirana, 19/01/1998 (ANA/ATA)

    The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) recently announced upgrades in its reporting sector as well as its foreign translation services.

    "On the basis of this restructuring, the administration is separated from reporting, whereas the technical sector will be modernized and improved upon modern standards," according to Frrok Aupi, ATA's general director.

    The home news department, the economic division and the foreign news service department will be the fundamental pillars in ATA.

    The number of stories in a day in the home news department has tripled, whereas a sport service has become daily.

    Support from the Athens News Agency (ANA), following a bilateral agreement, has enabled ATA's photo service to be transmitted overseas electronically.

    [10] Karamanlis attacks Gov't over its agriculture policy

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    Speaking in Larisa on Saturday, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said 1998 will be the year of a major campaign towards Greek society.

    He was participating in an agricultural conference organized by his party's agricultural development department.

    Mr. Karamanlis attacked the government with harsh words and predicted that ND will win the next general elections and will create a ready, honorable and effective government which will have a vision.

    He said that due to the policy applied by the PASOK government Greece has slipped to last place in the European Union, adding that the state has become the citizen's enemy with the taxation raid adopted by the Simitis administration.

    Referring to farmers, Mr. Karamanlis criticized the government of having left them to their fate, showing guilty indifference, and clarified to his audience that sincerity will be the basis of his understanding with them.

    Mr. Karamanlis committed himself that when he becomes premier he will represent the country at EU bodies himself on serious issues such as agricultural policy.

    [11] Papariga calls for US ambassador's recall

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga called on the government to demand the immediate recall of US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns as a show of disapproval for his statements on Greek airspace, and for Washington's overall policy on Greek-Turkish issues.

    Speaking at a press conference in Thessaloniki on Saturday, within the framework of a two-day visit, Ms Papariga said the dismemberment and partitioning of the Aegean have already taken place by the US and NATO.

    "What they might not have settled yet are the percentages Turkey and Greece will receive," she said, adding that "Burns would not have made such statements openly unless sharing had not taken place."

    During her visit to Thessaloniki, Ms Papariga visited industries and firms in the region, such as Balkan Export, AGNO, EKO and the Bank of Macedonia and Thrace.

    [12] Demetris Horn's funeral today

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    The funeral of one of Greece's most acclaimed stage and screen actors, Demetris Horn, will be held today at the Athens First Cemetery, it was announced yesterday.

    The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. and will be attended by family and close friends, in accordance with Horn's last wishes.

    Horn died on Friday at the age of 77.

    In Bombay, India on Saturday, visiting President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos expressed his grief over Horn's death.

    "We will always remember him," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    [13] PASOK executive bureau to announce candidates for local elections

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair a meeting of the ruling PASOK party executive bureau today and, according to sources, mayoral candidates will be selected in order to be supported by the party in the three largest municipalities during the October local elections.

    According to the reports, support is expected to be announced for Maria Damanaki in Athens, Thrasyvoulos Lazaridis in Thessaloniki and Christos Fotiou in Piraeus.

    Private meetings between Mr. Simitis and executive bureau members, which have not produced results so far, will be completed this week and are not expected to produce anything more than the formulation of the members' known positions. No one, according to one of Mr. Simitis' associates, has put forward any new idea or proposal.

    In an interview with the newspaper "To Vima", former minister Anastasios Peponis claims that with the premier's election, Mr. Simitis "showed signs that he accepts it as the victory of one group against the others."

    In another interview with the newspaper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia", former transport and communications minister Haris Kastanidis expressed concern over the results of the economic policy applied, and called for the speedy implementation of "policies relieving the weak, a fairer allocation of burdens and the strengthening of social cohesion."

    [14] Fishermen end blockades

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    Several island ports blockaded over the past few past days by fishermen and sponge divers protesting a government decision to change their taxation status are now open.

    Mobilizations were suspended after they received assurances from the government that the existing taxation status will be extended to fishermen and sponge divers for a year, and a promise by Finance Under-secretary George Drys that he will push their reclassification by the EU as a first-stage production sector.

    [15] Six charged with smuggling cocaine from Latin America

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    Two Latin American nationals were charged yesterday with drug trafficking, following the arrest of six people in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

    Torres Gussman, 45, from Chile and Rodero Himeneth, 47, from Ecuador as well as four Greek men have been charged with smuggling cocaine into Greece from Latin America.

    The six were arrested after undercover police were approached to buy two kilos of cocaine from the two foreigners, and one kilo from the Greek men for 32 million drachmas on Saturday.

    Following questioning by police, the three revealed that they had smuggled another eight kilos of cocaine aboard the vessel "Nafplion", which was en route to Sicily.

    The "Nafplion" was called back to the port of Kalamata where a search uncovered the narcotics.

    Police say that the gang had smuggled cocaine from Latin America to Greece in the past.

    [16] Major contraband cigarette seizure, FYROM national arrested

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    Police in Edessa yesterday intercepted a large haul of contraband cigarettes smuggled into Greece by a truck originating from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Ali Vait, 27, from Skopje, was arrested on Saturday when police found 425,500 packets of cigarettes in his FYROM-registered lorry.

    Customs officials said the market value of the contraband was close to 300 million drachmas and would have cost state coffers 235 million drachmas in unpaid duties and taxes.

    The truck was headed for the Italian port of Parma with a consignment of blankets, however, police said the FYROM national made a detour to deliver the cigarettes to an alleged accomplice in Edessa.

    [17] Greek cargo ship sinks off Sardinia coast

    Rome, 19//01/1998 (Reuters/ANA)

    Four Greek merchant seamen were missing in rough seas while one sailor was feared dead on Saturday after a Honduran-flagged cargo ship sunk 17 miles off the coast of Sardinia, Italian port officials said.

    Commander Antonio Pagliettini, at port authority headquarters in the Sardinian capital of Cagliari, said helicopters had "rescued two crew members, located one who is floating in the water and feared dead".

    The 72-meter (230-feet) Greek-owned vessel "Agios Panteleimonas" had left the Spanish port of Castellon de la Plana with nine Greeks aboard and was headed towards the Adriatic port of Vasto, Italy, Mr. Pagliettini said.

    "The ship has now gone completely under water," he said, adding that two crew members had been picked up by rescue personnel in helicopters as they clung onto pieces of the ship's debris.

    Helicopters were also trying to reach one crew member who had been located floating on the water, but winds of about 100 km per hour and waves about seven meters tall were hampering rescue operations, he said.

    Other ships have also been rerouted to the area to help look for the six remaining crew. "But we've had no word about them yet," he said. Aboard the vessel was a cargo of ammonium sulphate, he said.

    [18] Firebombings around Athens reported

    Athens, 19/01/1998 (ANA)

    The shadowy terrorist group "May 15" yesterday assumed responsibility for the firebombing of a National Bank branch in the east Athens district of Pangrati at around midnight Saturday.

    An unidentified caller told the "SKAI" radio station that the attack was a show of solidarity with Nikos Maziotis, an Athens man arrested last week on terrorism charges. The caller said similar actions would follow.

    The fire caused damage to the automatic teller machine and to a few desks inside the bank.

    Police allege that the 28-year-old man is the ringleader of the group "Anarchist Urban Guerrillas". Investigations are continuing into allegations that he is also connected with the "Militant Guerrilla Formation".

    Mr. Maziotis has denied any knowledge of the weapons and explosives found inside a house where he was staying outside Athens, in the Kamatero district. He also denies any connection with terrorist groups.

    In separate incidents on Saturday night, firebombs were thrown at a newspaper delivery truck parked on Evelpidon Street, near Kypseli, and at the entrance of a fashion design school owned by the private Antena television station, near Omonia square. Eye witnesses to the Kypseli incident said the bombs were thrown by two young men riding a motorcycle.

    Correction In the Saturday, Jan. 17 issue of the "Bulletin", it was incorrectly reported that a Union of European News Agencies (EUNA) presidium in Brussels on Friday had discussed preparations for a EUNA general assembly in May.

    Instead, EUNA members discussed preparations for a special seminar for on-line services.

    Additionally, Greek Eurodeputy Katerina Daskalaki will speak at the seminar.

    End of English language section.

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