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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, Greece, 04/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Main opposition party New Democracy re-elects Evert
  • Inflation stays stable at 8.5%
  • Simitis at Dublin summit
  • E.A.B. signs contract to maintain French Mirage jet fighters
  • No problems exist in holding joint military exercises with Cyprus, says defence minister
  • Another 2 billion drs. in E.U. funds slated for restoration of antiquities
  • Illegal immigrants arrested on Kos


    ND leadership election

    Miltiades Evert was today re-elected president of the conservative main opposition New Democracy party (ND) despite his defeat in the September 22 early general elections.

    Evert, 57, resigned from the leadership immediately after the party's electoral defeat.

    Evert was elected with 103 votes, against 84 for his rival George Souflias, while there were 3 blank votes, 1 invalid vote, and two electors were absent.

    The new party leader was elected by the party's 108 MPs, nine Euro-MPs, and 76 electors selected in polls in the party's prefectural committees throughout the country.

    Evert first took over the party's leadership in 1993 when his predecessor, veteran politician Constantine Mitsotakis, lost the Paliamentary elections that year to the socialist PASOK party under the late Andreas Papandreou.

    Mitsotakis resigned following the defeat, to become honouraru president of New Democracy.

    Evert held a number of Cabinet posts between 1976 and 1991. In 1986 he resigned as a member of Parliament after being elected Mayor of Athens on the ND-backed ticket. It was during his term at the helm of the municipality that he earned the nickname ''Bulldozer'' for his no-nonsense approach to tackling problems.

    Evert's opponent, former minister George Souflias, had the combined backing of Mitsotakis, Mitsotakis' daughter, MP Dora Bakoyanni and former minister Stephanos Manos.

    Both Bakoyanni and Manos had announced their candidacies for the leadership, but withdrew from the race to back a common candidate, Souflias.

    In a statement after his re-election, Evert appealed for party unity and said the party elections had opened a ''new prospect and dynamic'' for New Democracy.

    ''There are no losers and winners from these elections'' Evert said, adding that the country was facing ''big problems'' which ''our country will be pressured to resolve''.

    Evert called on all the party members to ''forget the rivalries and turn over a new page, so that we may go to a party Congress in the first half of 1997''.

    Evert further said that his party would applaud every positive action by the government, but would be strict in its cricism of every omission or mistake.

    Congratulating Evert, his opponent Souflias said that regaining the essential unity of the party was necessary, and the targt was its victory in the next Parliamentary elections.


    Inflation remained at 8.5 per cent in September, remaining at the same level as the previous month, following a 3 per cent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as in September 1995.

    The CPI rise was due to increases in the prices of foodstuffs, rents and fuel, according to figures released today by the National Statistical Service (NSS).

    Simitis at Dublin summit

    The safeguarding of the European Union's external borders and progress in the Community's institutional functions are issues of great interest for Greece on the eve of the extraordinary EU summit in Dublin on Saturday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis leaves today to attend the summit at which EU leaders will be briefed on the general activities of the Irish presidency and discuss issues such as the intergovernmental conference (IGC) and developments in Russia and the countries of the former eastern bloc.

    Asked whether Greece intended to block the enlargement of the EU with respect to countries of central and eastern Europe if substantial progress is not made in the procedure for Cyprus' accession to the Community, Reppas replied:

    ''Greece in any case has such a weapon in its hands in the event that Cyprus' accession to the EU is undermined.''

    The premier yesterday discussed matters relating to his participation at the summit with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Undersecretary Christos Rozakis.

    The Hellenic Aerospace Industry(EAB) yesterday signed a major agreement providing for the maintenance of French mirage F-1 jet fighters by EAB.

    The agreement was signed on behalf of the French government by French defence ministry official Daniel Berthault at a ceremony at the national defence ministry also attended by French Ambassador in Athens Bernard Kessedjian.

    Commenting on the agreement, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that it gave a "long-term perspective to the upgrading of Greece's defence industry, which is a primary target of the government, and it will soon be implemented at a rapid pace".

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos clarified that the agreement would soon be extended to cover also Mirage 2000 aircraft, with EAB maintaining not only French and Greek planes of this type, but also those in service with other countries.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday said there was "no problem" concerning the holding of two joint military exercises with Cyprus, stressing that there had been no discussion "with any (third) party" about how they should be held.

    "There is no problem, hesitation or restriction concerning the holding by Greece and Cyprus of the scheduled joint exercise, which will take place in the coming days on an enlarged basis with the participation of all the services of the Greek armed forces," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said after two hours of talks with his visiting Cypriot counterpart Costas Eliades.

    "We have had no discussion with anyone about the way in which to hold the exercise and our cooperation is going ahead as planned," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    During his talks with Mr. Eliades, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, "we ascertained that the conditions for the implementation of the doctrine are constantly improving".

    "The holding of the 'Nikiforos' and 'Toxotis' exercises will contribute in the best possible way to safeguarding the effectiveness of the two countries' defence capabilities," he added.

    The two exercises will be held on Greek and Cypriot territory from Oct. 4- 8.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos announced that he would visit Cyprus in November in order "to shape the basis for more determined steps in the defence cooperation between the two countries."

    Mr. Eliades said that there had been an exchange of views on the course and prospects of the joint defence doctrine which he described as a "historic development".

    The implementation of the doctrine, Mr. Eliades said, is aimed at deterrence and strengthening Cyprus' negotiating position in any political dialogue for a peaceful and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Eliades said that Nicosia accepted dialogue also at a military level, but only on the condition that it was with the Turkish commander of the occupation forces in northern Cyprus and without the participation of the Turkish Cypriot military commander.

    Two billion drachmas are being provided from EU funds for the restoration and maintenance work on ancient sites and historical buildings throughout Greece.

    The funds are to be provided for the restoration of the ancient Philippoi area, maintenance and protection of outdoor antiquities on the island of Thasos, renovation of neo-classical buildings and promotion of monuments in Drama, Paggaio, Kavala and Ko motini, among others.

    Another 440 million drachmas will be provided for studies to develop the beaches at Imerou, Rodopi and Proskyniton, Komotini, restoration of the Komotini Archeological Museum and the utilisation of cultural areas on the northeastern island of Samothrace .

    Roughly 150 million drachmas have been slated for the restoration of the Philippoi archeological site, with projects due to be completed by next spring.

    Kos-illegal immigrants

    A coastguard patrol today arrested 21 illegal immigrants of Kurdish origin shortly after they had been put ashore on a remote beach on the island of Ro.

    The illegal immigrants told coastguard officers that they had each paid the Turkish skipper of the speedboat 1,500 dollars to ferry them to the island from the nearby Turkish coast.

    The 21 Kurds, who have requested political asylum, had been spotted on the beach by the crew of a passing fishing boat who notified the authorities.

    Meanwhile, three illegal immigrants were killed today when they entered a minefield while attempting to enter Greece from Turkey in the region of Gemisti, Evros.

    The bodies of the three, believed to be Iraqis, were recovered from the minefield by a team of army mine disposal experts and taken to Alexandroupolis Hospital for an autopsy.


    Sunny to partly cloudy in most parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 17-26C in Athensand from 16-23C in Thessaloniki.


    U.S. dlr 240.905, Can. dlr.176.828, Australian dlr. 190.133, Pound sterling 376.906, Irish punt 384.942, Cyprus pd 514.552, French franc 46.418, Swiss franc 191.628 Belgian franc 7.629, German mark 157.117, Finnish mark 52.642, Dutch guilder 140.049 Danish Kr. 40.987, Swedish Kr. 36.404, Norwegian Kr. 36.943, Austrian Sh. 22.344, Italian lira (100) 15.844 Yen (100) 216.170 Spanish Peseta 1.868, Portuguese Escudo 1.551.


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