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Antenna: News in English (PM), 98-05-13

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna Radio <> - email:

Last Updated: Wednesday, 13-May-98 21:38:35


  • [01] Privatisations
  • [02] Holbrooke-Kosovo
  • [03] Yialtsin Kouchouk
  • [04] Mount Athos
  • [05] Basketball

  • [01] Privatisations

    The government hopes to put 2.1 billion dollars into the state coffers by putting a dozen state- owned businesses on the stock market.

    Pasok's partial privatisation programme, part of its wider efforts to whip the economy into shape for European economic and monetary union, was announced after govermnent economy chiefs mapped out policy details Wednesday.

    Finance minister Giannos Papantoniou said after the meeting quote, "From here on in, it's just a matter of implementing decisions that have already been made".

    There will be one company listed on the exchange each month for the next year.

    Those going on the block are: the phone company; the duty free shops; the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair; Olympic Catering; the Corinth canal; the Athens stock exchange; the nation's race tracks; Thessaloniki's water and sewage systems; and the ports of Thessaloniki and Piraeus.

    Generating income to cut away at the national deficit is one of the government's goals. Another is to lower inflation to levels required for entry into Emu.

    Papantoniou says there will be no - or small - rises in public utility rates over the next two years.

    The government also wants to rationalise the state health and pension funds, so a number of funds will be merged. Bigger funds, it is hoped, will provide services more cost-efficiently.

    [02] Holbrooke-Kosovo

    US envoy Richard Holbrooke appears to have made a long-awaited breakthrough in the deadlock over Kosovo.

    After several days of shuttling between Belgrade and Pristina, Holbrooke has gotten Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and Ibrahim Rugova, leader of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, to agree to meet three times.

    The first meeting between Slobodan Milosevic and Ibrahim Rugova in Belgrade Friday will mark the beginning of dialogue between the ethnic Albanians - who want independence from Yugoslavia - and the Yugoslav government - which will grant no more than autonomy.

    For two months, the ethnic Albanians have been refusing to sit down unless foreign mediators are present. But, as a concession to Milosevic, who insists Kosovo is a domestic matter that should be handled domestically, there will be no outsiders present on Friday.

    Calling the scheduling of the meeting at long last a "procedural breakthrough", Holbrooke, like the US president, says the Milosevic-Rugova talks will be the first step toward finding a peaceful solution to the crisis in Kosovo.

    But with the fighting escalating in Kosovo each day, the US diplomat tempers his optimism, noting that there is still no indication that a compromise is in the offings.

    Holbrooke says the situation could get worse than Bosnia before the Dayton accord he brokered. The White House fears fighting in Kosovo could destabilise the entire Balkan peninsula.

    "The road ahead will be long and difficult", says Holbrooke.

    Since the Serbian police began cracking down on what they say are militant separatists in late February, 150 people have been killed.

    [03] Yialtsin Kouchouk

    Yialtsin Kouchouk, the former Turkish military officer who talked to Antenna several months ago about the atrocities committed by his country during the Cyprus invasion of 1974, has opened up again.

    Talking to Antenna's Sophia Iordanidou about current issues, Kouchouk maintained that behind the issue of whether or not Cyprus should deploy Russian missiles, lies American and Turkish concern that Russia is trying to expand its influence southward toward the Mediterranean.

    Kouchouk also expressed his belief that there can be no solution to the Cyprus problem until there are major political changes in Turkey.

    In Athens for a speech at the Pantio University, Yialtsin Kouchouk, who recently expressed his horror and misgivings about the Turkish brutality in Cyprus in 1974, gave his views on the geopolitical situation in the southeastern Mediterranean today.

    Sophia Iordanidou noted that ominous scenarios have emanated from the US, predicting war if Cyprus goes ahead and deploys Russian S-300 missiles this year.

    The US and Turkey object to the missiles. Cyprus and Greece say they'll provide Cyprus with a defensive shield against an air attack by Turkey.

    Kouchouk believes the missile issue is of much more than regional significance.

    "Washington and Ankara consider that the missiles as something that russia is coming down into the Mediterranean. That is why Ecevit says 'Where are the good old days when Moscow was communist?'".

    Kouchouk believes that the US and Turkey see the missile sale as an aggressive move by the Russian Bear, eager to assert its influence in the region.

    During the Cold War, things were more stable. Russia was communist, and that was that. After the Cold War, adds Kouchouk, the US believed it could easily manipulate Russia, but now, it seems Russia has imperialistic designs. Russia

    says it is orthodox or slavic, depending on its foreign policy objectives.

    It's attempts to carve a niche out for itself in the region is irksome to the US, says Kouchouk.

    And with Washington eager to win success for its peace plans in the Middle East, he continues, Turkey becomes an important American ally. Especially at this time, when the US has met setbacks in three peace initiatives: in Israel, Cyprus, and Afghanistan-Pakistan.

    "And Turkey in this area Turkey is always like a Turkey under leadership of America to have a second class imperialist in the place".

    Regardless of the geopolitical considerations informing the policy decisions in Washington and Moscow, Kouchouk thinks there can be no solution to the Cyprus problem at this time, no reunification, no departure of the Turkish troops from the north.

    "Turkey will not give up that part of Cyprus. There's no way as long as this regime continues in Turkey there is no solution to the Cyprus problem. You should forget about it".

    Kouchouk sees US envoy Richard Holbrooke's inability to get Turkish-Cypriot leader Raouf Denktash to strike a conciliatory pose last week as vindication of his pessimism.

    [04] Mount Athos

    Environment minister Kostas Laliotis announced government plans for the restoration of Mount Athos's monasteries.

    Wear and tear over the years and earth quake damage have left the 20 monasteries and their 500 cells in need of repair.

    Addressing religious officials at a press conference Laliotis said, "We hope to have the restoration completed by the year 2000".

    Laliotis added that the Fifty-five million dollars collected from various sources will be used to repair not only the structural damage but will also go toward preserving old manuscripts and icons. Calling Mount Athos the treasure chest of Orthodoxy, Archimandrite Efraim, representative of the holy community of Athos said the restoration work is long overdue.

    [05] Basketball

    In sports, and pro basketball, Paok drew level with Panathinaikos in their best-of-five championship series.

    After dropping the opener in Athens, Paok is in a virtual must-win situation as it goes into game two at home Wednesday evening.

    And looks every bit the champion it aims to be. Forward Pedrag Stoyankovich leads the assault.

    He makes it 61-49 with a three-pointer with seven minutes left in the game.

    He scores two more of his 23 points with a fast- break slam with five minutes to go, making it 65- 49, and all but dousing Pao's chances of making it 2-zip.

    The final score is 73-58, with game three to be held in Athens.

    (c) ANT1 Radio 1998

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