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Antenna: News in English (AM), 97-05-15

Antenna Radio News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <http://www.antenna.gr> - email: antenna@compulink.gr

News in English, 15/05/97


TITLES

  • Pasok's anagry response to the Karamanlis archives.
  • The prime minister launches his social dialogue amid scepticism.
  • And, Greece's nobel laureate remembered.


ARCHIVES LAUNCH

The 12th volume of the archives of Constantinos Karamanlis were launched Wednesday night.

The launch of the latest volume was held at the Athens Symphony Hall.

Politicians and historians attended the event, pushed into the headlines because of the controversy they've generated.

The book criticises Andreas Papandreou, and has some less-than-kind words for Constantinos Mitsotakis.

Pasok MPs did not attend the book launch.

But New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, nephew of the party founder, said his uncle's historic contribvution to the county is undeniable. His archives are a significant contribution to historiography. Today, we've got to turn the page and look ahead.

And Constantinos Karamanlis's brother, Achilleas also defended the archives. Achilleas Karamanlis said it's the duty of politicians to tell the truth as they see it, as they lived it.

LIARELIS

In the twelfth volume of his archives, Constantinos Karamanlis relates what he depicts as a troubled relationship with then-prime minister Andreas Papandreou, when he Karamanlis, was president.

- Constantinos Karamanlis paints a picture of troubled relations with Andreas Papandreou when Karamanlis was president, and Papandreou prime minister.

Between 1981 and 1985, Karamanlis, who never believed Pasok would win the 1981 election, called Papandreou on numerous occasions to explain policy decisions, and even rumours.

Karamanlis says that Papandreou was always understanding and conciliatory when he lodged a protest...then went about his business as he had intended to.

Characteristic of the strained relations between the two men is a conversation that Karamanlis says they had at least 15 times.

Karamanlis threatened Papandreou to go to the people with a referendum if the prime minister didn't back down over an issue Karamnlis felt strongly about.

Papandreou always said, "Oh, we won't come to that". Karamanlis was often eager to know what the prime minister intended to do, before he did it. After PASOK'S 1981 election victory, Karamanlis wanted to know who Papandroeu had slated for the sensitive foreign affairs, defence, and public order ministries. And he wanted to know what changes would be made in the military staff.

Papandreou was always accommodating. Indicative of his response to Karamanlis's repeated protestations was his statement that Karamanlis is a greater political presence even than Elevtherios Venizelos was.

In 1982, Karamanlis told Papandreou he didn't approve of a planned government change to the election law. Papandreou heard without disagreeing, but changed the law the next day anyway.

On other occasions, Karamanlis protested about things Papandreou's top aides had said. Papandreou said he would ask for the resignation of an aide who had spoken negatively of Karamanlis at a rally, but he never did.

When Karamanlis said the economy minister hadn't briefed him on the economy, even though he'd requested him to do so three times, Papandreou again appeared accommodating and understanding, but did nothing.

Karamanlis says that Papandreou had him convinced as early as 1982 that he would recommend him for a second term as president. Papandreou withdrew that support at the last minute in 1985.

Such experiences led Karamanlis to say: "I doubt his frankness and sense of responsibility. I think his behaviour is just a tactic".

RCHIVES/REACTIONS

Pasok MPs are angry over the Karamanlis archives. They're speaking out in defence of the late Andreas Papandreou, Pasok's founder.

In volume 12 of his archives, Karmanlis calls Andreas Papanadreou a "common con artist", for a last-minute decision to withdraw his support for a second Karamanlis presidency in 1985.

Karamanlis says he had Papandroeu's firm commitment that he would back him in the Pasok-dominated parliament. But a day before the election, fearing negative reaction within his own party, Papandroeu switched his support to Christos Sartzetakis.

Karamanlis's con-artist quip has angered leading Pasok members. Party secretary Kostas Skandalides effectively asked Pasok members not to show up at Wednesday's launch of the archives.

Referring to that, and to last week's archive revelations about events in the 1960s, Skandalides continued, "The poeple have memory and judgement, and won't allow anyone to rewrite history, whether we're talking about the 60s or the 80s. I don't think anyone can impugn the name of Andreas Papandreou with such small-mindedness".

Pasok's Tilemachos Hitiris takes issue with Karamanlis's criticism of Papandreou. He says Karamanlis has a bad conscience about things he did or didn't do during his OWN political career. That's why he's rushed to write history.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas says: "Andreas Papandreou was honoured as no other politician after 1974 - he was elected prime minister three times. He always defended his vision and ideas".

In his archives, Karamanlis also criticises Antonis Samaras for his hard- line handling of the name difference with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in 1991 and 1992, when he was foreign minister.

Karamanlis says Samaras succeeded in isolating Greece from Europe and the US, and worsening its relations with the other Balkan nations.

Samaras responds that Karamanlis had weakened his hand against Fyrom, by not coming out publicly and saying whether or not he, Karamanlis, as president, was in favour of Fyrom using the word Macedonia in any shape or form in its permanent name.

New Democracy MP Iannis Varvitsiotis says it's Karamanlis who's the victim of a political game, not the people mentioned in his archives.

Varvitsiotis says the archives are Karamanlis's last offering to his country, adding that any attempt to involve him in small party-political games will fall into a void.

PANGALOS

Greece says it's too early to commit to a meeting of the two Greek and two Turkish experts who have been named to list the differences separating their countries.

The committees will submit their reports to the European Union. But while the EU and Turkey would like to see the committees meet, the Greek foreign minister says, for now, it would be best if they just communicated in writing.

Meeting with the EU chairman in Paris, Theodoros Pangalos once again rejected the appeal for a meeting of the committees to be scheduled.

Greece believes that a meeting of the Greeks and Turks should come only if the committees' uncover common ground between the two sides.

Pasok has been criticised even within its own ranks for going ahead with the committees. The government reassures everyone that the committees have no negotiating power, and that Greece will not let the Turkish experts' conclusions to be listed, if they list matters touching on Greek sovereignty as bilateral issues to be resolved.

Greek defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos says Greece shouldn't be sucked into any dialogue with Turkey on issues of substance, until Turkey respects Greece's sovereign rights in the Aegean, and shows a willingness to solve the Cyprus problem.

SOCIAL DIALOGUE

The government began its much-vaunted "social dialogue" Wednesday. Prime minister Simitis says the dialogue will help his government and different groups in society decide how best to tackle economic problems.

But leery trade unions fear the government is just looking for a way to make economic austerity go down easier.

In a speech at the General Accounting Office, Kostas Simitis kicked off the dialogue, saying that his administration is going into it with an open mind, and without having made decisions on the issues to be discussed.

But trade unions have accused the government of trying to use the dialogue as a way of getting groups feeling the brunt of economic austerity to accept belt-tightening more quietly.

Simitis sparked more anger Wednesday, insisting that the dialogue will NOT be successful if it ends up compromising with vested interest groups.

Christos Polyzogopoulos, head of Greece's largest union, the General Workers', called on Simitis to explain just what he means by "vested interests. If the prime minister means the gains made by workers, then he's making a big mistake", he warns.

Simitis says it's also his responsibility through the dialogue to inform the nation of the international challenges facing the economy. He said his government will point out the dire consequences for Greece if it doesn't get its economy for EU economic and monetary union.

ÍD

State pensioners rallied in Athens Wednesday, voicing their opposition to the social dialogue. They say the government has already decided on what belt-tightening economic policies it will implement.

The leader of New Democracy also says the government is entering the dialogue with bias, and that how the dialogue will evolve is unclear.

Kostas Karamanlis met with civil servants' union leaders. The union says the dialogue should have no ideological or party colourings. Union president Yiannis Koutsoukos explains: "There should be a different way of running the country, one where social groups participate in policy- making.

Karamanlis says talks are always good, as long as the government doesn't go into them having already mad its decisions.

ALBANIA

Albanian president Sali Berisha has set elections in his country for June 29th. But opposition parties are threatening to boycott them, claiming the election law heavily favours his party.

Albania has been rent by several months of civil strife. And there are fears that if Western mediators can't get Berisha to agree to change the election law, then Albania will slide back into chaos.

Protests over an investment swindel that cost thousands of families their life savings, grew into an insurrection in the southern part of the country in February.

UN peacekeepers, among them Greeks, have gone to Albania to help distribute humanitarian aid, and to help create a climate conducive to elections.

Opposition parties not only say they won't take part in elections unless the election law is changed; they're also threatening to pull out of the interim national unity government.

FYROM

The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been invited to the White house.

Kiro Gligorov will fly to the US on June 17th.

During his first visit to the US, and first meeting with Bill Clinton, Gligorov will discuss his country's difference with Greece over the issue of Fyorm's permanent name.

Greece objects to Fyrom trying to call itself just by the traditionally- Greek name of Macedonia. Greece fears Fyrom's adoption of the name implies expansionist designs on the Greek province of Macedonia.

SEFERIS

25 years have passed since the death of Nobel laureate Giorgos Seferis.

The Greek poet won the Nobel prize in 1963.

The Gennadios School and Fullbright Foundation held an event to honour the memory of the poet, under the auspices of the culture ministry.

Culture minister Evangelos Venizelos said Seferis's reders are privileged. "The poet knew pretty well how to handle the weight of silence", he added. "His language was dense".

Princeton University professor Edmond Killey talked about the work and the personality of the poet. Princeton awarded Seferis an honorary doctorate in 1965.

William Amerman of Fullbright foundation remembered the fine moments he shared with the poet, when the foundation awarded him a scholarship in 1968.

The honorary event included a short Swedish documentary, and ended with the opening of an exhibition of Seferis's archives: letter,pictures, manuscripts, and poems will all be there for the viewing until next fall.

POLAND

"The Days of Poland", a series of events being hosted by the Athens cultural centre, staged a dedication to the city of Crackow.

Crackow, with its unique layout and impressive medieval architecture, has been named the cultural capital of Europe for the year 2000.

The city has long been the spiritual centre of Poland and even of regions beyond Poland.

The "Days of Poland" events end next week.

INTEREST RATES

A sharp drop in interest rates has investors rushing to the Athens stock market, which gained two percentage points Wednesday.

Much of the increased investor interest is in mutual funds.

Following bank rate drops, interest on government yearly bonds has fallen to 9.7 per cent.

The interest rate on quarterly bonds has dropped to 8.7 per cent, and the rate for six-monthlies is now 8.9 per cent.

The drop in interest rates was started by the Credit Bank Tuesday. A number of other banks are following suit.

BASKETBALL

In pro-basketball, Peristeri rebounded from a loss at home to pound Paok in game two of their best- of-five semi-final series.

On the road, Peristeri stuns its host in the first half. This one turns into a lauigher fast, as Peristeri uses a 19-2 spurt and smothering defence in blowing out to a 41-22 halftime lead. That proves too much for Paok, and Peristeri wins it 75-62.

© ANT1 Radio 1997


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