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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-09

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece repeats strong call on Belgrade to start dialogue on Kosovo
  • [02] Disturbing revelations on London's treatment of the Parthenon Marbles
  • [03] Pangalos urges Yugoslavia to start dialogue
  • [04] Pangalos calls on Patriarch Vartholomeos
  • [05] Ministers focus on `Agenda 2000` at Luxembourg meeting
  • [06] Turkey lacks volition to implement commitments, spokesman says
  • [07] Karamanlis accuses government of ineffectiveness
  • [08] Bomb attack on TV station condemned
  • [09] Swedish national faces multiple charges
  • [10] At least 27 killed in road accidents over long weekend
  • [11] Open-air party ravers arrested
  • [12] Auriol takes lead in Acropolis Rally
  • [13] Conference on combined transport in southeastern Europe
  • [14] Police suspended for dancing to pro-junta song

  • [01] Greece repeats strong call on Belgrade to start dialogue on Kosovo

    LUXEMBOURG 09/06/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Greece yesterday reiterated strongly its call on Yugoslavia to begin immediately a dialogue with Kosovo's Albanian leadership.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou told a press conference at the end of a European Union Foreign Ministers meeting here that Greece was particularly concerned over the crisis in Kosovo and the possibility of its expansion in particular, blami ng mostly Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for the worsening of the crisis.

    Mr. Papandreou said that the repercussions of the crisis were already being felt in many parts of northern Greece due to an increase in the number of refugees from the Kosovo area.

    Mr. Papandreou placed the biggest part of responsibility for the worsening of the crisis on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, calling on him to start a dialogue with Kosovo's leadership immediately towards granting greater autonomy in the framework of the Yugoslav state.

    "Obviously the measures that he (Milosevic) took have created a very difficult situation."

    But he added: "We also see an upsurge in the fighting of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, the terrorist activities. Those two elements combined have created a very volatile situation."

    Mr. Papandreou said that despite the fact that Greece has considerable economic interests in Serbia it supported the sanctions endorsed by the Council yesterday.

    On the question of additional measures being taken, he said that they must be specialised and be discussed in principle in the framework of the UN and then by NATO, the West European Union, etc.

    Mr. Papandreou said that in the framework of NATO all versions of intervention are being probed, while in connection with the presence of military forces of the international community on Kosovo's borders with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of

    Macedonia (FYROM), he said that in principle the sending of these forces is being requested by the governments of both these countries.

    On his part, the Council's President British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the press that yesterday's decision by the EU's council constitutes the last warning to President Milosevic to resolve the Kosovo crisis peacefully because, otherwise, "foreign intervention would follow".

    Replying to questions, Mr. Cook did not rule out the possibility of international presence in Kosovo in the future to safeguard order even if Serb military forces evacuate the area. He also stressed the EU's full support for the leader of Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova.

    Referring to economic sanctions and more specifically the embargo on new investments, Mr. Cook said that to a great degree Serbia's budget depends on the expansion of privatisations to cover deficits and, consequently, this measure will deal a blow at the Belgrade government.

    Turkey : Replying to questions on Turkey, Mr. Papandreou said that the issue of relations between the EU and Turkey is not included in the official summit agenda, but it is certain that it will be a topic for consultations among EU heads of state and government next week.

    Mr. Papandreou said that Ankara's decision not to attend the Association Council and to steadfastly refuse whatever discussion on political problems with EU officials do not constitute positive signs for its relations with the EU.

    "We all want to see Turkey in Europe one day. However, it must go ahead with a series of steps such as democratisation in the country, the resolution of the Cyprus issue and the normalisation of relations with Greece," he said.

    Mr. Papandreou also expressed full satisfaction over the fact that the Council accepted the Greek request for mention to be made in the Cardiff summit's finalised communique of support for farmers in disadvantaged regions.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Disturbing revelations on London's treatment of the Parthenon Marbles

    LONDON 09/06/1998 (ANA/L.Tsirigotakis)

    The Parthenon Marbles - the 5th century B.C. artworks taken from the Parthenon to England last century and the focus of a bitter ownership dispute between Athens and London - have suffered irrevocable damage at the hands of British Museum employees, according to a report in the Sunday Mail.

    The British newspaper cited British historian William St. Clair as saying that the friezes suffered "significant and irrevocable" damage some sixty years ago when museum staff tried to restore the friezes to what was mistakenly thought to be their original colour.

    The revelation is made in St. Clair's new book "Lord Elgin and the Marbles" and was for years "a strictly internal matter". St. Clair discovered the damage while doing research in the museum's archives. The news of the damage is considered to be a strong rebuff to the standing refusal by the British authorities to return the Marbles to Greece.

    The British Museum has long said that the Marbles are better off in London, away from the ravages of pollution in Athens.

    Last week, in response to a Labour MP's call that the Marbles be returned, British Heritage Secretary Chris Smith reiterated that argument.

    "We've had the time for 13 years now to think about it. It is certain that the sculptures were acquired legally and were maintained under very good conditions," Mr. Smith said.

    In statements to the Sunday Mail, Greece's ambassador to London Vassilis Zafeiropoulos said that the "worrying revelations" by St. Clair bolstered Greece's argument that the Marbles should be returned to Greece.

    The Greek demand was first put to the British government by late actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri and was met with sympathy by the British Labour Party, then in opposition.

    The Marbles, dating back to the 5th century BC, were removed from the Parthenon by British diplomat Lord Elgin with permission from the local Ottoman administrators. Lord Elgin removed the friezes and other parts of the massive Parthenon temple de dicated to the ancient goddess Athena.

    Greek reaction : In Athens, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, citing the Sunday Mail report, renewed on Saturday Greece's demand for the return of the Marbles to Athens.

    "Unfortunately what is being revealed to the wider public on the way the Parthenon Marbles are being handled by the British Museum was known to the experts and have been stressed repeatedly by Greek scientists," Mr. Venizelos said in a statement.

    The reports, he said, "demolish once and for all the baseless and provocative British argument that the Parthenon Marbles are protected and displayed better in London than in their natural environment in Athens".

    Mr. Venizelos went on to note the significance of the efforts being made by the "British Committee for the Return of the Friezes", saying that "this reduces even further the number of those who have the temerity to argue against the return of the Parthenon marbles."

    In new statements yesterday in Thessaloniki, Mr. Venizelos congratulated St. Clair over his "research courage" and announced that the British scientists will be in Greece early next month to brief Greek counterparts over his findings.

    "The issue of the Marbles is neither primarily a legal or scientific matter, but a political one which concerns the respect towards international cultural heritage," the culture minister said, revealing that he delayed a letter to his British counterpart demanding the return to Greece of the friezes, waiting for the publication of St. Clair's book.

    In another statement Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras described the damage caused to the friezes as the "biggest cultural crime of the centuries", blamed the British government for the damage, and asked for the "immediate return of the Part henon friezes to Greece".

    Film Director and president of the Melina Merkouri Foundation Jules Dassin yesterday called on the ruling British Labour Party to abide by its promises to return the Parthenon Friezes,

    British Museum : The British Museum, according to an ANA dispatch from London, in a statement yesterday admitted that 60 years ago wrong methods were used in treating the Parthenon friezes and sanctions were imposed on those responsible.

    The London press yesterday gave broad coverage to the revelations.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Pangalos urges Yugoslavia to start dialogue

    ISTANBUL 09/06/1998 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)

    Greece has been trying to use its traditionally friendly relations with Yugoslavia to kick-start dialogue between the Balkan country and other southeast European countries, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday.

    Mr. Pangalos told reporters he had made "a friendly overture" to his Yugoslav counterpart to listen to his counterparts' opinions on the situation in Kosovo, during a two-day meeting which began yesterday in Istanbul.

    "Each is responsible for his fate," Mr. Pangalos said, in an apparent reference to the stance being taken by the Yugoslav delegation.

    Foreign ministers or their deputies from Turkey, Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Yugoslavia are taking part in the two-day meeting at a former Ottoman Turkish palace in Istanbul.

    Their talks were scheduled months ago as part of regular consultations between southeast European nations. But Serbia's security crackdown on suspected separatists in its southern province of Kosovo dominated yesterday's agenda.

    According to sources, the Yugoslav delegation has refused all talk on Kosovo, considering the situation there to be "an internal matter for Yugoslavia".

    Mr. Pangalos, siding with the other ministers present, said that when it came to an issue of human rights "there was no such thing as 'an internal matter'."

    Also on the agenda of the meeting are efforts to combat organised crime, and bolstering business cooperation.

    Mr. Pangalos is not yet scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart, although the Turkish foreign ministry had reportedly not ruled out a meeting.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Pangalos calls on Patriarch Vartholomeos

    ISTANBUL 09/06/1998 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday paid a courtesy call on Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Patriarchate's seat in the Phanar.

    Vartholomeos underlined the respect and honour the Patriarchate has for Greece and its Church. Mr. Pangalos in turn stressed the deep feelings of the Greek people for the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Vartholomeos said he would soon be visiting Athens, in return for the visit to the Phanar of new Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos. Christodoulos is scheduled to visit the Phanar next Saturday.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Ministers focus on `Agenda 2000` at Luxembourg meeting

    LUXEMBOURG 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Council of General Affairs yesterday concluded here processing the text on the "Agenda 2000 - A plan of the first part of the progress report to the European Council", backing the efforts by heads of state and governments to reach decisions at the EU summit in Cardiff on June 15-16.

    The plan includes special reference to small farmers and producers in underprivileged areas on a proposition by Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    It was also stressed that the reformation of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) must cover Mediterranean products in a balanced fashion.

    The foreign ministers agreed to a text whose main points will be discussed at the Cardiff summit. It said that most member-states agree with the position of the European Council according to which the ceiling for EU funds will remain steady at 1.27 per cent of GDP as of 2000 onwards.

    The Greek side said that 1.27 per cent is inadequate and the Commission must probe the cost of enlargement, while cohesion must also be backed.

    It also said that economic and social cohesion constitutes a focal point in the "Agenda 2000" and that after every enlargement the new fiscal prospects must be discussed.

    During the meeting, Mr. Papandreou stressed that it believed any new expansion of the European Union had to be achieved through a "unified" approach.

    Mr. Papandreou said no agreement could be formalised without there being some form of final agreement. Mr. Papandreou set out the Greek objections to proposed budget reforms, saying that participation in the European Union could not be limited to " accounting". He said that Greece believed that before any decision on expansion could be made there had to be some evaluation of the political and total cost of expansion.

    Germany, worried that admission of new members to the EU will present an ever bigger drain on resources, wants a ceiling on the total budget and argues its own contribution is too high.

    Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland, big recipients of EU aid, fear any revision to the current budget system would be at their expense. A proposed 2% average annual reduction in structural funds and the use of structural policy funds to finan ce other internal policies is not accepted by Greece, he said.

    Greece, Mr. Papandreou said, is fully aware of the need for fiscal discipline and effective utilisation of Community funds but did not believe it was possible to cover the needs of the 15 and the expansion by compressing available funds to a level lower than the present.

    Mr. Papandreou also underlined the importance to Greece of funding for agriculture, particularly for small producers in disadvantaged regions, saying that any revision of the Common Agricultural Policy had to take Mediterranean products into equal consideration.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Turkey lacks volition to implement commitments, spokesman says

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    Commenting on a proposal by Turkey last Friday for Greece to accept the "transformation"of last year's Madrid communique into a legal document, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Saturday that texts and legal commitments existed and criticised Turkey for lacking the volition to implement them in practice.

    In July 1997 Athens and Ankara had signed in Madrid a joint communique on principles that should govern bilateral relations and good neighbourliness.

    The Turkish side was commenting on Friday on a statement by NATO Secretary- General Javier Solana on confidence-building measures in the Aegean, a statement that the Turkish Foreign Ministry had said was an important step.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Karamanlis accuses government of ineffectiveness

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on Sunday criticised Prime Minister Costas Simitis of unreliability, ineffectiveness and of lacking any relation between words and deeds.

    Speaking to ND cadres in the town of Thebes shortly before midnight, at the end of his three-day tour of the prefectures of Fthiotida and Voiotia in central Greece, Mr. Karamanlis said that the government had failed in all sectors and "is leading the co untry to decline with the citizens being the victims."

    "The Simitis government is fearful and is hiding from problems. The worst way for you to react to policy is to observe an ostrich policy when you see that a problem is growing, because then you are unworthy to rule this country and irresponsible before the nation," he said, referring to the government's agricultural policy.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that a different policy for the country to exit from deadlocks did exist and said that his party has specific proposals and a programme.

    He said he would make no promises and underlined in this context that "if your electoral behaviour is judged by promises, don't vote for us."

    Mr. Karamanlis also expressed certainty that ND will win the next general elections in the country.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Bomb attack on TV station condemned

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    The government and opposition parties late Friday evening condemned the bomb attack on the same night against the private television station "New Channel" in Athens.

    The bomb had been placed in the accounts department on the eighth floor of the building on Pireos Street. The blast was not very strong but the resulting fire destroyed part of the TV station's records and three photocopying machines.

    The blaze was put out by seven firemen with the aid of two fire engines. "This terrorist act is unacceptable and we condemn it. Greek citizens will not yield to behaviour which dynamites social calm and undermines the functioning of institutions,"

    Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas said.

    The attack was also condemned by the Social Democratic Party (DHKKI) and the Coalition of the Left.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Swedish national faces multiple charges

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    A Swedish national was charged yesterday with theft and possession of fake travel documents and narcotics, while Iraklion police continue to investigate whether the man is linked to the setting of forest fires on the island of Corfu in 1994.

    Abu Khader Abraham Mohamed, 50, was arrested on Friday after two German tourists complained to police that he had drugged their drinks and stolen a watch and 1,500 drachmas from them.

    A subsequent search of Mohamed's room revealed five passports, two of which were fake, and film of the Corfu forest fires.

    Speaking to reporters, Mohamed denied all charges of involvement in arson attacks or links to Turkish para-state organisations, saying he was a Palestinian who had lived in Sweden for a number of years.

    "I have no connection with the fires on Corfu because I have nothing against the Greeks," he said. "I have taken a lot of photos in Corfu and, besides, there's always something on fire".

    Mohamed said he had only ever visited Turkey as a transit passenger, 30 years ago.

    Mohamed's hearing has been set for Thursday.

    The arrest of a Turkish national for a traffic violation near Iraklion earlier fuelled speculation, however police announced that the motorist was released after investigation.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] At least 27 killed in road accidents over long weekend

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    Traffic police placed stringent controls on all national roads yesterday, bracing for the return of holiday-makers from their long weekend.

    By afternoon yesterday, traffic police had announced the death of 27 people in some 260 car accidents over the long weekend. Another 329 were injured.

    Four people were killed and six injured in a car accident in northern Greece Saturday morning.

    Three cars were involved in a head-on collision on the Thessaloniki-Kavala national highway, near the Strimonas river bridge. One car, with German registration number HB-PP-527, was driven by Turkish national Akkas Seltzouk (phonetic spelling), 38, who was injured in the crash.

    Malousa Psimopoulou, 47, Eleni Psimopoulou, 3, Maria Karasavvidou, 33 and Yannis Bolas, 37, all died in the crash.

    Malama Tsakiridou, 39, Stella Karayannis, 6, Soultana Karayanni, 9, and passenger of the German registered car Tzanzen Antza Maria (phonetic spelling), 33, were injured and taken to Kavala hospital.

    Rescue crews took several hours to free the injured from the completely deformed wreckages, indicating that the cars were travelling at high speeds. Kavala traffic police have launched an investigation into the accident, including autopsies of the bodies of the four victims.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Open-air party ravers arrested

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    Police on Saturday night arrested 37 young people of both sexes, most of them minors, for taking part in a weekend rave drug party at the foot of Mt. Dirfys, near Halkis on the island of Evia.

    The youths, detained on drug charges, were among 200 others, including pupils, students and soldiers, who joined the open-air party.

    Police, who raided the area, said that most of them were under the influence or in possession of drugs such as cocaine, LSD, heroin, hashish and "ecstasy" pills. They were referred before a public prosecutor on Sunday.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Auriol takes lead in Acropolis Rally

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    French driver Didier Auriol took the lead in the 45th Rally Acropolis yesterday, ahead of Briton Colin McRae and Finn Juha Kankunnen.

    Auriol, driving a Toyota, took advantage of a tyre selection problem by the Subaru driver to take the lead.

    Carlos Sainz of Spain, the world championship leader, was in fourth place in his Toyota.

    The winner will be crowned in Delphi this afternoon.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Conference on combined transport in southeastern Europe

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    Special scientists and representatives from 17 countries attending a conference on Combined Transport in Southeastern Europe, organised in Thessaloniki by Helexpo and the Aristotelion University's Communication Technique Laboratory, reached common positio ns and proposals on the development of combined transport in this part of the world on Saturday.

    Measures and actions proposed and which constitute the conclusions of the conference could be characterised as the "Agenda 2000 for transport in southeastern Europe" and the more than 200 delegates called on everybody involved in this sector to contribu te towards its implementation.

    The most important actions proposed with the Agenda 2000 concern measures aimed at simplifying and speeding up processes for crossing the borders of countries in southeastern Europe.

    The conference was attended by special scientists, representatives of transport agencies and organisations, Transport and Communications Ministry officials and representatives of transport companies dealing in all kinds of goods.

    The foreign delegates were from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, Cyprus, Britain, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Hungary, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Turkey.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Police suspended for dancing to pro-junta song

    Athens 09/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek Police Chief Athanassios Vasilopoulos suspended four members of the Polykastro Kilkis, northern Greece, police on Friday for dancing to a pro- junta song at a tavern and shooting in the air. He also ordered them to be brought before a relevant police council and face the possibility of being cashiered.

    The four are George Halkidis, Constantine Lambrou, Olga Maltsi and Eleni Savvidou. According to the charge, they visited the tavern "Steki tou Vangou" in Goumenissa Kilkis last Tuesday night where they had stayed until the early hours of the morning and danced to the song "George Papadopoulos hold the keys, hold them tight" and fired shots in the air.

    An announcement by the Public Order Ministry said that the owner of the tavern had objected to the continuation of entertainment in this fashion but the police, after bringing an accordion from the home of an acquaintance of theirs, had continued their entertainment.

    An enquiry has been ordered into the incident while Mr. Vasilopoulos will await a full report on the issue.

    Athens News Agency

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