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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] War in Kosovo will have wider repercussions in region,Greek,Italian PMs warn
  • [02] Greece extends aid to quake-stricken Turkey
  • [03] Holbrooke: Kosovo clashes could explode into military conflagration in Balkans,maybe involving Greece
  • [04] Kosovo crisis can only be resolved through diplomacy
  • [05] No change on Tirana's policy on Kosovo,Milo says
  • [06] Stephanopoulos winds up official visit to Cyprus
  • [07] Greece, Austria preparing two major exhibition events
  • [08] More active European role called for in Israeli-Palestinian peace process
  • [09] Karamanlis criticises govt's economic and development policy
  • [10] Patriarch of Alexandria heads for Sofia today
  • [11] Humanitarian historian Moskof passes away after brave battle

  • [01] War in Kosovo will have wider repercussions in region,Greek,Italian PMs warn

    Athens 29/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Italian counterpart Romano Prodi yesterday warned that any armed conflict in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo should be avoided, as a war would have wider repercussions on the countries in the region, including Greece and Italy.

    The two men were speaking at a press conference on the island of Corfu, after talks during a private visit by Prodi to the island and before leaving together for Frankfurt to attend the official installation today of Wim Duisenberg as president of the European Central Bank (ECB).

    Their talks focussed on Greek-Italian relations, their countries' stand on matters concerning the European Union and the southeastern Mediterranean, and regional problems.

    ''There will be a wave of refugees...and a general instability throughout the area,'' in the event of armed conflict in Kosovo, the Greek premier said.

    ''We share the opinion that the (UN) Security Council should discuss and deal with this issue,'' Mr. Simitis said, while Mr. Prodi added that any intervention should first be discussed by the Security Council.

    Turning to Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Simitis said he and Mr. Prodi had discussed EU relations with Turkey, Greece's relations with its Balkan neighbour, and Cyprus.

    ''The general framework is that which was decided at (the EU summit) in Luxembourg and reaffirmed at (the recent) Cardiff (summit), which determines our policy, he said.

    ''We agree that Turkey should have a link, a relationship, with the European Union, as set out in those texts. There must be peace and stability in the region,'' Mr. Simitis said.

    Mr. Simitis said he also reiterated to Mr. Prodi Greece's firm position that Cyprus' accession negotiations with the EU must proceed without any obstacles.

    Mr. Prodi said Greek-Turkish relations and Cyprus' EU accession process were important chapters, adding that Italy desired good relations between Greece and Turkey, and at the same time expressing hope that relations between Christianity and Islam would be normalised.

    Turning to developments in Albania, Mr. Simitis said he and Mr. Prodi ascertained ''progress'' in that country, as ''normality has been restored and the present situation has changed greatly in relation to the past''.

    Mr. Simitis also said there must be cooperation between Greece and Italy on all matters related to combatting smuggling and crime, while Mr. Prodi added that the two countries should continue to collaborate, as they were doing now, to make the Adriatic a crime-free sea.

    On EU matters, Mr. Simitis said he and his Italian counterpart agreed there was a positive economic development, that the creation of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was a positive step for the EU's course which needed to have continuity.

    Mr. Simitis said Greece and Italy had a particular role to play in the Balkan region.

    ''We must have close contact, a common position, on these problems, as it is in the interest of our two countries to have a close collaboration,'' Mr. Simitis said, adding that contacts between the two countries would continue.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greece extends aid to quake-stricken Turkey

    Athens 29/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's foreign and interior ministries yesterday notified the Turkish government that they are willing to send to Turkey teams specialised in dealing with natural disasters as well as doctors to assist in the rescue operation in the aftermath of the dev astating earthquake that rocked Adana, in southern Turkey, on Saturday.

    A Greek C-130 transport plane is on hand awaiting the "green light" from the Turkish authorities for the Greek team to travel to the neighbouring country.

    Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos sent a telegramme expressing his remorse to his Turkish counterpart Suleyman Demirel over the 6.3 Richter quake that left dead at least 105 people and injured another 1,000.

    President Stephanopoulos sent the message from Nicosia, where he was winding up a four-day state visit to Cyprus.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Holbrooke: Kosovo clashes could explode into military conflagration in Balkans,maybe involving Greece

    Athens 29/06/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador-designate to the United Nations and presidential emissary for the Cyprus issue Richard Holbrooke yesterday expressed the view that the current clashes in Serbia's troubled province of Kosovo could at any moment develop into a military confl agration in the Balkans in which Greece may be involved.

    "The situation in Kosovo is explosive ... It is my estimate that the clashes could at any moment develop into war. If this war spreads, it could bring Greece at the doorstep of its own involvement in the crisis," he said in an interview with the Athens Sunday newspaper "To Vima".

    The architect of the Bosnia peace accord said the peaceful resolution of the crisis was the preferred option, but warned that NATO would not shirk from assuming military action if the situation deteriorated.

    "Of course, no one wants a solution through military pressure. The peaceful resolution of the issue through a change in the status of the region, but within the present borders of Yugoslavia, is preferrable. This has tremendous significance which every

    Greek citizen understands fully well ... I should add, however, that, if necessary, NATO will not sit idle, as in the case of Bosnia early in the decade," he said. Mr. Holbrooke also reiterated his view that Turkey was responsible for the present impasse in the Cyprus issue.

    "The cause of the impasse is the significant change in Turkish policy, as it now poses two conditions for the commencement of negotiations: the recognition of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot republic and the freezing of Cyprus' accession course to the EU. These conditions make the achievement of progress impossible," he said.

    Further, he reiterated his disagreement with the planned installation of Russian S-300 missiles on Cyprus.

    "In my view, every move that increases tension is mistaken ... Of course, I recognise the right of every nation to self-defence, but my estimate is that the missiles will not boost the security of the people of Cyprus.

    Finally, he revealed that he will continue his involvement in the issue even after taking up his UN post. "I cannot see how I will not be involved. It is an issue of high priority for US foreign policy. President Clinton wants a strong team dealing with Cyprus," he said.

    KKE leader charges 'plan for dissolution of new Yugoslavia as well': In an announcement yesterday, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga said that "there is a plan for the dissolution of new Yugoslavia as well."

    "This is reality, this is the target of the imperialist intervention and not protection of the rights, as they say, of all desiring autonomy and self determination. Because new Yugoslavia is the sole country in the area which, for various reasons, is re sisting the plans of the United States and NATO," she said. "The arming in Kosovo of the so-called liberation army is taking place openly. Nobody speaks about this. Not to speak about the Kosovars and the kind of popular movement existing there at a time when they are calling on NATO to invade," she added.

    Ms. Papariga concluded that "money is flowing into Kosovo. And the height of this is that Holbrooke is in the arms of the Kosovars."

    "The crude and provocative statements by Holbrooke on an expansion of the war in the Balkans and the escalation of imperialist interventions, which they show, underline the direct danger faced by the peoples in the area," a KKE statement on Saturday said.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Kosovo crisis can only be resolved through diplomacy

    Athens 29/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece said on Saturday that diplomacy was the only way to resolve the Kosovo crisis, warning that the use of military force could ignite war further afield in the Balkans.

    "Whoever uses violence, be it the Serbs or the (Albanian) Liberation Army (KLA), will be responsible and accountable for the explosion which will be ignited in the Balkans," National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said after a meeting in Thessaloniki with his Albanian counterpart Luan Hajdaraga.

    According to sources, the focus of discussion was on issues related to security in the region, particularly the crisis in Kosovo, the formation of a Balkan multinational intervention force, as well as bilateral matters.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed the need for pressure to be exerted on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to "immediately begin dialogue, without terms and preconditions, with (ethnic Albanian leader) Ibrahim Rugova".

    He added, at the same time, that KLA forces seeking to establish Kosovo independence through violent means should be condemned as undermining peace in the region.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said he shared US presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke's concern of a danger of general conflagration in the area, and expressed the view that recent NATO exercises in the border between Kosovo, Albania and FYROM "had the character of pressure with a view to resolving the crisis".

    "We respect human rights and the right to self-administration and autonomy, but equally, the peaceful coexistence of peoples must be secured and there must be no change of borders in the Balkans," he said.

    The Albanian defence minister said he agreed on the general need for dialogue, but claimed that military action was likely as a last resort in case diplomatic efforts failed.

    The two ministers also agreed to extend the presence of two Greek military missions in Albania.

    Mr. Hajdaraga later visited the Vergina archaeological site where the Macedonian royal tombs were discovered.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] No change on Tirana's policy on Kosovo,Milo says

    TIRANA 29/06/1998 (ANA/P.Haritos)

    There has been no change in Tirana's policy on Yugoslavia's troubled Kosovo province, Albanian Foreign Minister Paschal Milo told ANA in an exclusive interview yesterday, commenting on a furore caused by recent statements attributed to Albanian Premier Fatos Nano ruling out the prospect of Kosovo independence, which he said had probably been due to a misinterpretation of the premier's statement. Reports on Friday from Crans Montana, Switzerland, that Fatos Nano said he did not support independence for Kosovo and that he was doing his best to moderate radical army factions fighting for that cause had drawn the fire of the Albanian press, while government officials called on Mr. Nano to brief parliament on those positions.

    Mr. Milo was said by the Albanian press to have been among the first to react to the purported Nano statements.

    ''Mr. Nano's position has not changed. In this instance, I think it is a misinterpretation of the (Albanian premier's) interview, and in fact, today (Sunday), the premier stated himself that he never said that controversial phrase,'' Mr. Milo said.

    ''The same announcement (by Nano) notes that he never said anything indicating a change of stance of the Albanian government regarding (Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim) Rugova, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), or the eventualities that the Tirana govern ment sees as possible future solutions to the Kosovo issue,'' Mr. Milo said.

    ''The Albanian government's position has not changed. In cooperation with our partners we are working for a diplomatic solution so that, through dialogue and in step with the international organisations, we can achieve a de-escalation of the situation in Kosovo. In supporting a peaceful solution, however, we consider that the Albanians of Kosovo themselves must decide on the regime to prevail,'' Mr. Milo said, adding:

    ''Personally, I believe that an acceptable solution would be for Kosovo to be designated as the third Republic (with Serbia and Montenegro) in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.''

    Turning to US troubleshooter Richard Holbrooke's recent meeting with KLA officials, Mr. Milo said the meeting did not determine any developments in Kosovo, but ''in that way the US once again displayed their interest and appeared to recognise that there are now other factors that must be taken into consideration regarding Kosovo''.

    ''I would like to link the Holbrooke-KLA meeting with a different fact, namely, that the US has never called the KLA a terrorist organisation. If that had been the case, then we would be speaking now of a US turn-about on the KLA and the search for a so lution to the Kosovo issue, but it isn't,'' he added.

    Asked who -- Rugova or the political leadership or the KLA -- would determine the developments in Kosovo, Mr. Milo replied:

    ''Both sides need the backing of the other, since as factors they influence each other. Collaboration between the two sides, I believe, would influence developments more rapidly.''

    In exclusive statements to the ANA, Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani also said that the situation in Kosovo was particularly critical, making an international presence there, combined with pressure on the part of the international community, a necessity.

    ''Otherwise, if the situation is left as it is, it will become even more complicated, threatening the stability of the wider region, as well as the physical existence of the inhabitants of the surrounding countries,'' Mr. Mejdani warned.

    On Mr. Holbrooke's contacts with the KLA, Mr. Mejdani said they introduced a new element in the search for a solution.

    ''I think that without those contacts, any diplomatic or political actions would not bring about the desired results and we would have to seek other aspects that would lead to a solution,'' Mr. Mejdani said.

    As for the KLA itself, Mr. Mejdani said it was ''an organisation whose target is the self-defence of the Kosovo people''.

    ''They (the KLA) protect homes, families, property. From that perspective, I see no danger. They are not terrorists, they're simply trying to protect their lives,'' Mr. Mejdani said.

    He also expressed belief that the international community was "moving in the right direction to stop the cleansing operations, the genocide, the bloodshed, using diplomatic solutions".

    "But if we lose time, I believe it would prove fatal and it would be difficult to keep the situation under control."

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Stephanopoulos winds up official visit to Cyprus

    LARNACA 29/06/1998 (ANA- G. Leonidas, N. Megadoukas/CNA)

    Greek President,Kostis Stephanopoulos, left yesterday evening for Athens, describing his four-day official visit to Cyprus as "most successful" and repeating once again that his message to Turkey and the Tu rkish Cypriots was one for friendship and peace.

    The Greek president began his visit to the island republic, the first ever by a Greek head of state to Cyprus, last Thursday. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Foreign Undersecre-tary Yiannos Kranidiotis, National Economy Unders ecretary Alekos Baltas and other officials.

    During his visit President Stephanopoulos and the Greek delegation held talks with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, the Cyprus government and all political party leaders.

    The Greek head of state also visited historical sites, army camps, the Green Line dividing the capital Nicosia as well as all cities in the free parts of the island. He was everywhere given an enthousiastic welcome by the population.

    Speaking at Larnaca airport shortly before his departure, Mr. Stephanopoulos reaffirmed that "the Cyprus problem is Greece's top priority", and reassured that:

    "Greece will never stop supporting and standing by the people of Cyprus in their effort to regain their freedom, independence and integrity."

    The Greek president also stressed that during his visit he tried to send "a message of friendship and reconciliation to Turkey" and expressed the hope Ankara will listen to it.

    "Turkey cannot continue acting this way if it wishes to act with prudence and respect fundamental human rights", he added.

    Stressing that Cyprus' future concerns both Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that for this reason "we support in all possible ways President Clerides' proposal for participation of Turkish Cypriots in the team negotiating the island's accession to the European Union".

    President Stephanopoulos pointed out that, while in Cyprus, he tried to send a message not only to Turkey and Turkish Cypriots but to the international community as well.

    "I wanted to stress the great responsibility of the international community towards Cyprus, because it has not done what it should and could have done for justice in Cyprus", he said.

    He expressed, however, thanks to the UN Secretary General, the Security Council and international mediators for their efforts towards a resolution of the Cyprus problem. "The international community has, however, greater potential than the one it has shown", he added.

    Making special reference to the great economic development in the free areas of the republic, Mr. Stephanopoulos said Turkish Cypriots are also worthy of such success.

    He therefore urged them to consider a solution to the Cyprus problem not just as a political issue of re-uniting the island but also as "a matter of economic progress for all the citizens of the island".

    Responding to questions of the press, Mr. Stephanopoulos pointed out that the slogan "do not forget" is too weak to describe the feelings of Greek Cypriots for their Turkish-occupied land.

    "They live in their memories and not only do they not forget but do whatever they can to realise the unification of their country", he stressed.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos also pointed out that the positions of the Greek Cypriots and Greece in respect to a solution to the Cyprus problem stand firm.

    On his part, President Glafcos Clerides stressed that the people of Cyprus have realised that "Greece and Cyprus walk together and will fight from the same trenches for justice".

    Greek Cypriots have also realised, President Clerides added, that "there is close cooperation between the governments of Greece and Cyprus and between their political leaders".

    "We all stand on one point: That we will fight for freedom, democracy and the rights not only of Greek Cypriots but also those of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots", he stressed.

    The Greek president invited his Cypriot counterpart for an official visit to Greece.

    On his way back to Athens where he arrived early last night, President Stephanopoulos told reporters accompanying him on the plane that he was completely satisfied with the outcome of his talks in Cyprus and the cordial and patriotic welcome he receive d during his stay on the island republic.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Greece, Austria preparing two major exhibition events

    VIENNA 29/06/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Cooperation between Greece and Austria in preparing two major exhibition events is anticipated by a joint announcement of intentions signed in Vienna on Saturday by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Austrian Educat ion and Arts Minister Elizabeth Goerer.

    The Museum of History of Art in Vienna will be the axis of this cooperation in the field of exhibitions and museum policy on the one hand and the National Archaeological Museum and other Greek museums on the other.

    The first exhibition will be held in the year 2000 in the framework of celebrations to mark 2000, focusing on the exhibition marking 6,000 years of Greek jewellery.

    The second will be an ambitious exhibition titled Homer and his world and will be held in 2002 on the occasion of the next Greek European Union presidency.

    Mr. Venizelos participated yesterday in the "Round Table" conference on "The prospects of cultural policy in Europe" organised in Vienna by the European Socialist Party.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] More active European role called for in Israeli-Palestinian peace process

    PRAGUE 29/06/1998 (ANA)

    A regional journalistic conference organised every year by the UN on the Palestinian issue titled "Prospects for peace" has been concluded in Prague.

    The conference was attended by analysts from both the Arab and Israeli sides , as well as from the United States, who made proposals on the various issues included in the conference. It was also attended by 30 journalists from all European countries,as well as observers from international and non-governmental organisations.

    The first unity discussed concerned assessments on the course of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians so far and it was ascertained that the peace process is at a crucial phase or may have exhausted all limits due to the intransigence of the Israeli government.

    The second concerned prospects of finding an exit to the deadlock as well as possibilities of activating all international factors, international public opinion and organisations to revive the peace process and finding new forms of dialogue and communic ation between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    Lastly, the economic aspect of the issue was discussed, while the tragic economic situation of the Palestinians in the occupied and autonomous territory was discussed as well as difficulties in economic recovery due to the existing political deadlock.

    Participating on the part of Greece was journalist Nicholas Voulelis, editing director of the Athens News Agency (ANA), who referred to the need for a more active European role in the peace process.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Karamanlis criticises govt's economic and development policy

    Athens 29/06/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis criticised the government yesterday over its economic and development policy. Mr. Karamanlis was speaking in the Florina prefecture in the framework of his four-day tour of western Macedonia.

    Speaking to social partner representatives in the prefecture, Mr. Karamanlis referred to the issue of the building of a plant for the Public Power Corporation (DEH) at Filotas. He said his party was clearly in favour of the project, which it had schedul ed when it was in power, but called for full transparency in the awarding and building process.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that small and medium-size enterprises constituted the backbone of the economy. He said that, among others, their role is important in confronting unemployment, invoking a survey by the OECD according to which seven out of 10 new job s concern SMEs. He also called for a steadfast and just taxation system and a gradual decrease in taxation rates.

    Speaking in villages in Grevena on Saturday and in Amyntaio, Filotas and Kelli Florinas yesterday, Mr. Karamanlis referred, among others, to what he said was the government's failure to proceed with necessary structural changes for the development of th e economy and to the need for necessary infrastructures to be created for incentives to be provided for the development of rural areas, placing priority on support for the agricultural sector.

    Mr. Karamanlis continued his tour of villages in the prefecture yesterday afternoon, while in the evening he was due to address a rally in the town of Florina.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Patriarch of Alexandria heads for Sofia today

    Athens 29/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros will leave for Sofia, Bulgaria, today on an official visit to the Orthodox Bulgarian Church. The visit is taking place at the invitation of the Patriarch of Bulgaria Maximos.
    Athens News Agency

    [11] Humanitarian historian Moskof passes away after brave battle

    Athens 29/06/1998 (ANA)

    Historian, essayist and leftist intellectual Kostis Moskof, who for the past 10 years was serving as Greece's cultural attache to Egypt, died in Athens on Saturday at the age of 59 after a long battle with cancer.

    Moskof, who was in an Athens hospital for the past month, was born in 1939 in Thessaloniki, where he later studied law at the Aristotelion University before going on to Sorbonne in Paris for a doctorate in History.

    He served on the Thessaloniki municipal council for three decades, and in the spring of 1981 briefly served as mayor.

    Moskof was cultural attache at the Greek embassy to Egypt since 1989, and was instrumental in the restoration of Alexandria-born Greek poet Constantine Kavafy's home and its conversion into a museum.

    He also headed the Alexandria-based Foundation for Hellenic Culture in the Middle East for the past seven years.

    Moskof was also a published essayist and poet.

    His funeral will take place at noon today at the Theou Sophias Church in Thessaloniki.

    Statements : From Frankfurt, Premier Costas Simitis paid tribute to Moskof, saying that he "made the Greek spirit and cultural heritage felt abroad".

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) honorary president Harilaos Florakis expressed his grief for Moskof's death, which he said left a great void in the field of historical research and in culture.

    KKE secretary general Aleka Papariga, in a similar message, paid tribute to Moskof's important contribution to history, culture and social struggles.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress party leader Nikos Constantopoulos said that "the pain is deep for his loss to all those who knew the generosity of his friendship."

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras grieved the passing away of an important personality of the letters and diplomacy and friend, adding that Moskof's death was a major loss for Greece and its intellectual community.

    The Union of Athens Journalists (ESHEA) also expressed grief for a man it said had put his mark on Greece's intellectual life as a humane ambassador of Greek culture in the Middle East.

    Athens News Agency

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