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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-26

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 1399), January 26, 1998

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


  • [01] Pangalos: differences with Turkey should be solved in a legal manner
  • [02] ... Opposition
  • [03] Government, trade unions clash drags on
  • [04] Greek-Albanian relations on good footing
  • [05] No compromise on air and sea
  • [06] US to abolish military loans to Greece and Turkey
  • [07] Tsohatzopoulos proposes plan against negative phenomena
  • [08] ... Skandalidis
  • [09] Vengeance car torchings continue
  • [10] Greek-Italian conference supports volunteering
  • [11] Tensions will multiply this year, party leader says
  • [12] New TV broadcasting center in Mytilene
  • [13] PM's Olympics comments draw fire
  • [14] Memorial service for Ukrainian airline crash victims
  • [15] Greeks start learning Bulgarian language
  • [16] Red wine is the secret to longevity?

  • [01] Pangalos: differences with Turkey should be solved in a legal manner

    Ankara, 26/01/1998 (ANA-A.Ambatzis)

    Turkey can take issues on which it cannot agree with Greece to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday.

    Mr. Pangalos, speaking to the Turkish daily Milliyet, was cited as saying that "differences should be solved in a legal manner" and that "this could occur by seeking recourse to international legal organizations, such as the International Court at The Hague".

    "Various issues, from the (delineation of the Aegean) continental shelf to national air space, can be solved," Mr. Pangalos said. He cited the continental shelf issue, national air space, territorial waters and armaments on Greek islands. On the continental shelf issue, Mr. Pangalos said "there could be bilateral talks on the continental shelf and if there is no agreement we can seek recourse to the International Court".

    On the issue of Greece's air space limit in particular, Mr. Pangalos said that Turkey could have recourse at The Hague, adding that the issue "gave rise to risks," but he said he did not believe that "this would lead to a clash".

    The issue of the extent of territorial waters, likewise, Mr. Pangalos said, can be resolved "with the assistance of a third party and not with threats".

    "Maybe some day we could have serious talks" on the issue of the arming of the Greek islands, he added.

    "On this issue, the lack of trust plays a major role... Why does Turkey have 400 landing vessels? What is the aim? On the other hand, nobody can claim that we are planning a landing in Anatolia," he said.

    "This is another issue that Turkey can take to The Hague."

    Turning to Turkey's relations with the European Union, Mr. Pangalos said it was "ridiculous" for Turkey to blame Greece for being behind every decision that went against it, referring to the EU's refusal to consider Turkey as a candidate for membership at the present time. "If Greece was not a member of the European Union, would there have been a different decision by the EU summit?" Mr. Pangalos asked.

    On Cyprus, he reiterated that Greece was not about to accept Turkey's position of two independent states on the divided island.

    [02] ... Opposition

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Democratic Social Movement party (DHKKI) charged that the government accepted the reference to The Hague of illegal Turkish claims.

    "After the recognition of Turkey's 'vital interests' in the Aegean through the shameful Madrid agreement the Simitis government now accepts the reference to The Hague International Court of all illegal Turkish claims, thus distancing itself from the steadfast position of all previous Greek governments that the sole difference to be settled with Ankara is the delineation of the continental shelf," DHKKI said in a statement yesterday.

    Political Spring party, on its part, accused Mr. Pangalos of "bringing to trial the whole of the Aegean" and asked the government to dismiss the Foreign Minister.

    [03] Government, trade unions clash drags on

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    The confrontation between the government and trade unions over the status of labor relations in public enterprises and utilities, known collectively as DEKOs, is expected to continue this week.

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) has already called a second nationwide 24-hour strike in DEKOs and banks in two weeks time for tomorrow.

    The problem will be even more acute in the public transport sector. Employees of the OASA urban transport organization will participate in the 24-hour strike and have announced their own program of strikes for this coming Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, starting from the beginning of the morning shift to 9 a.m. and from 10 p.m. until the end of the night shift.

    The President of the bus employees Andreas Kolas has warned of an open-end strike and that unless the amendment is withdrawn the responsibility will lie with the government.

    In addition, trolley buses will go on strike as of 9 a.m. today which will last until the end of the trial of the union's President Theodoros Kordos, which is standing trial for previous strike action in 1993.

    Trade unionists believe that the controversial amendment raises an overall matter of principle reaching the point of "authoritarianism" since "it allows legislative interventions in a sector which operated to date on the basis of dialogue and collective agreements".

    [04] Greek-Albanian relations on good footing

    Tirana, 26/01/1998 (ANA - P. Haritos)

    Addressing a special press conference on Saturday, Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano expressed satisfaction over the successful development of relations with neighboring countries.

    Mr. Nano noted his country's pursuit of developing bilateral relations and targets with Italy, enriching the positive experience emanating from the trigon of peace Tirana-Athens-Skopje and traditionally friendly relations with Turkey.

    "The Albanian government would desire an atmosphere of understanding and dialogue with Belgrade as well and exactly for this reason took the step in Crete as well," he said.

    Referring to Belgrade, he said relations between the two countries cannot develop from the moment that the situation in Kosovo is being burdened even more. He condemned the use of force against Albanian-speaking people in Kosovo, saying that "for this purpose we have started efforts to organize a Balkan Conference in Tirana."

    Commenting on the Greek initiative, he pointed out that "every such move encouraging dialogue is welcome. However, I have to recognize a classification in these international initiatives".

    [05] No compromise on air and sea

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Any mention concerning possible negotiations or flexibility regarding Greece's air and sea space is outright wrong and in no way will it be accepted, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told reporters in Thessaloniki on Saturday.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was referring to a recent interview by former prime minister Costas Mitsotakis to the Greek newspaper in the US "Ethnikos Kyrix" regarding Greece's air and sea space.

    [06] US to abolish military loans to Greece and Turkey

    Ankara, 26/01/1998 (AFP/ANA)

    The United States has decided to abolish military loans to Turkey and Greece as of 1999 in the framework of measures aimed at reducing budget expenditures, well-informed diplomatic sources disclosed in Ankara yesterday.

    "Ankara and Athens were recently informed on the decision of the US to end the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, a diplomatic source told the AFP.

    The decision puts an end to decades of US military aid to the two NATO member-states which started in the Cold War era. The two countries use the loans to obtain weapons from the US.

    In 1998 Turkey and Greece will respectively receive military loans amounting to 150 and 105 million dollars.

    The US, Turkey and Greece made no official announcement on the issue, but military experts believe that the decision taken by the US will have a very small impact on Ankara's weapons purchasing program.

    Turkey, which has the arithmetically most important military in NATO after that of the US, plans to spend about 31 billion dollars in military expenditures over the next 10 years.

    [07] Tsohatzopoulos proposes plan against negative phenomena

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos proposed the processing of a National Overall and Collective Course Plan aimed at combating negative phenomena already appearing in other European countries in their effort to approach criteria set by the Maastricht Treaty.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, who was speaking in Thessaloniki on Saturday night, made his proposal while addressing the ruling PASOK party's Regional Conference of Central Macedonia on the issue of the 35-hour working week, salaries, employment and development in the presence of party Secretary Costas Skandalidis.

    He said the purpose of the plan must be the simultaneous and parallel tackling of the negative consequences emanating from the convergence policy on the triptych state-employees-enterprises.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said social dialogue must be utilized and clarified that he is not questioning positive results achieved so far by the government's economic policy and predicted that this policy will meet with the same success over the next two years .

    However, he said the European experience must be assessed since "the European Union has been trapped in a recycling process of stabilization and recession from the policy being followed and aimed at the Maastricht criteria."

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that in Greece the policy of nominal convergence is approaching its limits, society is before crucial restructuring and the issue of the survival of large sections of popular classes has to be faced.

    He said the enlargement of the production base is stagnant and new investments are not being made in the private sector except for the inflow of capital from the 3rd Community Support Framework.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said a new type of development model must be applied with emphasis being placed on regional development and the tackling of unemployment and at this point he proposed consideration for the proposal on the 35-hour working week.

    Lastly, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated his position that Greece's participation in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) will primarily be determined by political and not economic criteria.

    [08] ... Skandalidis

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK's Secretary Costas Skandalidis yesterday presented the basic principles of the party's social policies, to be the focus of discussion at a special meeting of the party's Central Committee on April 3-4.

    The draft social policy platform is underpinned by the need for speedier economic growth, an increase in employment and the shaping of a welfare state under new international, European and domestic conditions.

    The "alternate proposal for a social policy" points to employment as a leading factor in economic development, rather than playing a role in anti-inflationary policies, develops a new model for working hours, urges the development of the welfare sector into a more productive organ and reforms the traditional welfare system into a contemporary network of support.

    Mr. Skandalidis said to achieve these changes, the policy of "social solidarity" had to move the emphasis from subsidizing the unemployed to subsidizing employment. A fairer distribution of the country's wealth from an increase in productivity, was also required as was a fairer tax collection system, he said.

    Mr. Skandalidis said the decisions taken at the Central Committee meeting would be binding on the government.

    [09] Vengeance car torchings continue

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Another two vehicles were torched Saturday night, the latest in a wave of arson attacks that police believe are linked to the arrest of a suspected urban guerrilla two weeks ago.

    A Mercedes and an inter-city bus were torched by makeshift bombs. Both vehicles suffered damage but there were no injuries.

    Late on Friday night another vehicle, a Mercedes van belonging to a computer company, was destroyed by a homemade explosive device placed in the vehicle.

    The rash of car bomb attacks has forced the public order ministry to increase police patrols in the greater Athens area. Some 1,000 police officers have been added to the patrols.

    Police said last week that the recent rash of car torchings and bomb attacks in the Athens area were random attacks by anarchists hoping to throw police off the trail of accomplices of Nikos Maziotis, arrested on suspicion of involvement in an urban guerrilla group.

    Maziotis, 27, was charged with possession of weapons, explosive material and seditious printed material after a police swoop on a number of Athens homes. Police found a significant quantity of explosive material in the raids, including 9.5 kilos at Maziotis's Kamatero home.

    The finds, police say, link Maziotis with the urban guerrilla group Militant Guerrilla Formation (MAS), which has claimed responsibility for a number of bomb attacks since its appearance in 1996.

    [10] Greek-Italian conference supports volunteering

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    The issue of "Enterprises supporting volunteering" was the focal point of yesterday's 3rd Greek-Italian conference being held in Athens at the initiative of the Italian Chamber of Commerce.

    The need was stressed for a multifaceted and coordinated development and support for volunteering in the direction of a substantive social solidarity and protection of the "weak" marginalized citizen.

    PASOK Executive Bureau member and coordinator of the discussion Stephanos Manikas said that "volunteering today is not an act of charity but the philosophy of a social function and development aimed at man and the improvement of his quality of life."

    Mr. Manikas said volunteering is the primary care of the government's social policy and called on citizens to rally.

    The President of the foundation for the child and the family Marianna Vardinoyianni sent a message stressing that "volunteering contribution has constituted the base for the biggest humanitarian achievements of man."

    The Secretary-General of the Health and Welfare Ministry Mr. P. Aposkitis announced the initiation of a National Council for the Promotion of Volunteering.

    [11] Tensions will multiply this year, party leader says

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Addressing his party's Central Committee on Saturday, Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos predicted that tensions in all sectors of the country's political, economic and social life will multiply in 1998.

    His address focused on the government's policy which he criticized, claiming that the government is below expectations it had created and is distancing itself more and more from society and the citizen.

    Referring to foreign policy problems, Mr. Constantopoulos said confusion prevails in the government and nobody is aware what exactly we are doing in the country and for what reason we are doing it at a time when packages of proposals and developments have been set out.

    The Central Committee was due to come to a close yesterday with the ratification of a resolution concerning the party's activities and initiatives until the municipal elections in October.

    [12] New TV broadcasting center in Mytilene

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Press and Mass Media Minister Demetris Reppas inaugurated the new TV broadcasting center in Mytilene on Saturday to operate as a studio for the ET-3 TV network. The event was attended by the director of the Prime Minister's quality of life political bureau Antonis Angelidis, the President of ERT S.A. Panayiotis Panayiotou, the Secretary-General of the Ministry to the Aegean Yiannis Machairidis and the general director of the Greek Tourist Organization (EOT) Costas Katsiyiannis. Also present was Mihalos Alexandridis, general director of the ET-3 TV network.

    Mr. Reppas termed the new TV broadcasting center a small "miracle achieved due to insistence and persistence on an idea."

    [13] PM's Olympics comments draw fire

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis' reference during a Cabinet session on Friday that he had rejected many proposals on appointments in the 2004 Olympic Games organizing committee, whose composition was announced last week, after forming the impression that they reflected expediencies and particular interests, has drawn opposition reaction.

    New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos described the premier's statements as "phenomenal", and called on him to release specific details.

    "Who is Mr. Simitis referring to? Who are those making suspect and self-seeking proposals to the country's prime minister, and how near are they to him? Does he mean his ministers?", he asked.

    Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos said the prime minister "seems to be expressing devastating insinuations about persons and influences", and called on him to state names.

    Reacting, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday the prime minister had spoken with sincerity and had been misunderstood".

    "He meant interests outside the government, and his choices were made with criteria that have no party, political or clientele basis whatsoever," he specified.

    "Greece undertook the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games with ambitious goals and will succeed because the responsible committees will comprise highly competent individuals," he added.

    Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos welcomed the decision not to include ruling party members in the committee.

    Head of the 15-member "Athens 2004 SA" organizing committee was appointed 62-year old Costas Bakouris, who will resign his post as Chairman of Ralston Energy Systems Europe as of February 1 to take up his new duties.

    [14] Memorial service for Ukrainian airline crash victims

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Relatives of victims and the residents of the village of Kato Milia yesterday held a memorial service for the 70 crew and passengers killed when a Ukrainian airliner crashed in the Pieria mountains last month.

    Archimandrite Ignatios conducted the service at the church of Ayios Demetris in Kato Milia, the village nearest to the site of the crash. Dozens of relatives of the victims and almost the entire population of the village attended.

    The wreckage of the Yakovlev-42 was found on December 20 after a three-day search hampered by snow, fog and the rough terrain.

    Residents of Kato Milia said they were planning to build a church on the site of the crash. "We grieve for those lost so needlessly but also for those they left behind," one said.

    On Saturday, another memorial service was held in the town of Aeani, Kozani, which lost seven of its residents in the crash.

    [15] Greeks start learning Bulgarian language

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Eighty-six young people from the Kato Nevrokopi region in the Drama prefecture are learning the Bulgarian language and will be able to be used in opportune positions when the Greek-Bulgarian border (Exohis customs office) opens in 1998.

    Nevrokopi Regional Governor Yiannis Xanthopoulos said "training is of a six-month duration and the program is being funded by OLEL" following an understanding reached with its commander Costas Efstratoglou.

    Mr. Xanthopoulos added that "the Bulgarian language is necessary because transactions with the neighboring country are being scheduled."

    [16] Red wine is the secret to longevity?

    Athens, 26/01/1998 (ANA)

    Doctors around the world may be searching for a cure to eternal youth but Giorgis Mandalis, who died in Kavala on Saturday at the age of 105, found the secret to his long and full life in red wine.

    Mandalis, his relatives told the ANA, always maintained that his good health was due to red wine in moderation, no cigarettes, small and frequent meals, little to no meat and a healthy skepticism of doctors.

    "Medicines do not always cure the problem", Mandalis used to say. "Red wine in moderation is a natural cure."

    Mandalis was born on the island of Imvros, leaving in 1923 when it was ceded to Turkey. He lived on the northern Aegean island of Thassos with his wife, Angeliki, who died at the age of 85. The couple had two children, five grandchildren and four great- grandchildren.

    End of English language section.

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