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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, Greece, 26/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Simitis cautions against hasty BSEC enlargement
  • Chernomyrdin expected in Athens soon
  • Premier in Budapest for European Socialist Party summit
  • Athens formally receives IOC evaluation commission


    Simitis cautions against hasty BSEC enlargement

    Athens believes that the Black Sea Economic Cooperation countries should strive towards greater economic cooperation before taking steps towards enlargement of the organisation, Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a BSEC summit held in Moscow yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis said the BSEC member-countries should be very cautious regarding taking in new members since a broad enlargement could weaken the ability of its members to take decisions.

    Stressing Greece's "historic interest in forging closer relations with the countries of the Black Sea," the Prime Minister pointed to the development of further cooperation among BSEC countries in the economic sector.

    Mr. Simitis also raised the issue of the Thessaloniki-based Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, expressing hope that it will start its operation in the next few months.

    The operation of the bank has been delayed due to the inability of BSEC's smaller member-states to submit their contribution to the bank's share capital, and the refusal of the national parliaments of Bulgaria, The Ukraine and Georgia to ratify the founding agreement.

    Chernomyrdin expected in Athens soon

    Mr. Simitis kicked off the second day of his visit to Moscow with a meeting yesterday morning with his Russian counterpart Viktor Chernomyrdin. The meeting, also attended by Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, focused on bilateral issues with special emphasis on economic cooperation.

    The talks, which Mr. Simitis described as "substantial," also covered foreign policy issues including Greek-Turkish relations, the situation in the Balkans and NATO's enlargement.

    On enlargement of the North Atlantic Alliance, Mr. Simitis said plans for accepting new members in NATO should first be agreed with Russia, "in order to avoid opposition." Hoping that "the good atmosphere" in Greek-Russian consultations will continue in the future, Mr. Simitis said his Russian counterpart was now expected to visit Athens soon, in order "to discuss pending issues."

    Welcoming Mr. Simitis, the Russian prime minister stressed the "traditionally good relations" between the two countries, expressing conviction that this "desire and tradition will extend in the future." The meeting was also attended by a Greek government delegation headed by Mr. Pangalos and a Russian delegation headed by Foreign Undersecretary Nikolay Athanasievski.

    Commenting on the meeting with Mr. Chernomyrdin, later in the day, Mr. Simitis expressed satisfaction at the fact that the Russian side was not willing to confine the issue of the Burgas-Alexandroupo-lis oil pipeline in purely financial terms but appear ed eager to also attribute a political dimension to it.

    "It is a purely political issue," Mr. Simitis said pointing to the fact that future oil production in the region will call for alternative means of transport to the West.

    Premier in Budapest for European Socialist Party summit

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to participate in a two-day European Socialist Party summit due to open in Budapest today.

    During the meeting, Mr Simitis is expected to present PASOK's positions on employment and development, economic and social cohesion and peace and security for European citizens.

    This is the first time that a meeting of the European Socialist Party is to be held in a non-member country.

    Expatriates - October 28 anniversary

    President of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) Andrew Athens addressed a message to Greece today on the occasion of celebrations for the anniversary of 'Ohi (No) Day', when on October 28, 1940, Greece rejected an ultimatum from Italy to surrender or be invaded.

    "In 1940, Greece told the Axis powers 'No! You can not violate our territorial integrity.' World Hellenism today says to the Turks and to all those who have similar plans 'NO! You can not violate even a small part of Greek land'," Athens said in his message.

    President of SAE's American branch Christos Tomaras, stressed the role played by American Greeks in the mobilising of public opinion and in informing governments regarding Turkish violations on Greek islands and in Greek airspace.

    Athens formally receives IOC evaluation commission

    Athens yesterday formally received the International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission at the Zappeion Mansion.

    Athens formally receives IOC evaluation commission. The event was attended by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, the presidium of the Greek Olympic Committee and the members of the Athens 2004 committee.

    At a press conference later, president of the evaluation commission Thomas Bach outlined the procedure for the evaluation of candidate cities but gave no hint of the commission's first impressions of Athens.

    'Moscow Declaration' on BSEC's principles

    The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) summit ended yesterday with the release of the 'Moscow Declaration', a text which recapitulates BSEC's principles.

    In the joint communique, BSEC member-states committed themselves to accelerating procedures for the operation of the Black Sea Commercial and Development Bank in Thessaloniki in early 1997.

    A conference of scientists representing member-states is to be held in Greece at the end of this year, aiming to promote scientific and technological cooperation, the joint communique said.

    It also reconfirmed that a Black Sea International Research Centre is to be founded in Greece, most probably in Athens.

    The Moscow Declaration stressed the need to convert the Black Sea area into a "zone of peace, stability and economic prosperity". Special note was taken of the need to reinforce relations between Mediterranean and Black Sea countries, and called on the European Union to develop closer relations with the region.

    The declaration said common plans for the future include regional and trans- regional optic fibre networks in the telecommunications sector, and the creation of free trade zones in BSEC countries during 1997.

    BSEC - Bank

    The Greek delegation participating in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) summit, which ended yesterday with the signing of the Moscow Declaration, has expressed its satisfaction over the declaration's call for those member-states lagging behind to complete their obligations for the Black Sea Commericial and Development Bank to operate in Thessaloniki at the beginning of next year, an ANA dispatch from Moscow reports.

    The Greek government has decided to provide loans as a form of economic assistance for the weaker countries, such as Armenia and Moldova, which have asked for Greece's help.

    Only three countries, Albania, Greece and Romania, have said they can meet their financial obligations at present.

    Dimension of illegal immigration discussed with visiting Commissioner

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou held talks with Annita Gradin, the Commissioner responsible for issues related to illegal immigration and combating fraud against the European Union budget, at the Zappeion Mansion yesterday.

    Ms. Gradin said cooperation is necessary to confront illegal immigration which has taken on big dimensions in past years. Referring to fraud, she said every European Union member-state must consider it a national issue and impose sanctions.

    According to reports, she also said organised economic crime has taken on dimensions, adding that it was a myth that only countries in southern Europe had more cases of fraud.

    The issue of child prostitution was examined and the EU Commission has already taken initiatives in this direction. ANA

    'Parmenion '96' exercise to commence next week

    The scheduled annual military exercise "Parmenion '96" is to be held from October 31 to November 11 in the regions of Evros, the Aegean and in Greek airspace.

    The exercise aims to train the navy, army and airforce general staffs and units in carrying out joint operations, so as to maintain and improve the armed forces' fighting abilities, a Pentagon announcement said.

    President in Thessaloniki for national celebrations

    Three-day celebrations begin in Thessaloniki today on the occasion of the feast day of Saint Dimitrios and to commemorate the city's liberation from Turkish occupation and of the anniversary of 'Ohi (No) Day' on October 28, when then Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas rejected an Italian ultimatum to surrender or be invaded.

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos arrived in the city yesterday evening in order to attend the celebrations.

    President refers to FYROM name issue and Cyprus problem

    President Stephanopoulos said the Greek nature of the name of Macedonia can never be lost since names and national characteristics are never acquired by conquest but are awarded by history.

    Arriving in Thessaloniki yesterday, President Stephanopoulos referred to the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in reply to an address by Thessaloniki Mayor Constantine Kosmopoulos who said the issue of Macedonia is pending and its prospects are ominous.

    "History has awarded this name many thousands of years ago to those who are really entitled to bear it," President Stephanopoulos said, adding that "this name covers periods of Greek history, it covers Greek territory and Greek populations who will rema in the genuine and unique Macedonians whatever may happen."

    Commenting on references made by Mr. Kosmopoulos to Turkish barbarism in Cyprus, Mr. Stephanopoulos said "our thoughts are continuously directed and we are looking with anxiety at all the murderous events taking place."

    UNESCO weekend meeting on peace in the Aegean

    UNESCO's Dodecanese Group will organise an international meeting on peace in the Aegean today and tomorrow with the cooperation of the Kalymnos Municipality.

    The meeting is taking place on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the organisation's operation and in the hope of contributing towards "building a civilisation of peace in the Aegean and the Mediterranean."

    Fifteen messages of peace have already been sent by Nobel Prize winners, while at the height of the meeting, participants will sail to Greek territorial waters between the islands of Kalymnos, Kalolymnos amd Imia on scores of boats from Kalymnos.

    Cowpox appears to recede in Evros

    The cowpox disease affecting sheep in the Evros prefecture appears to have receded in the past fortnight. As a result, the Evros prefecture has decided to lift a ban on the import of firewood from Bulgaria, in effect since early October, in an effort to m inimise the possibility of new cases of cowpox being contracted from the neighbouring country.

    In parallel, groups of veterinarians are continuing examinations at stockbreeding units in the Evros region and are killing all sheep considered to be affected by the disease.

    Angelos Boglou, Director of the Evros Veterinary Service, said that cases of cowpox are isolated and under complete control. Referring to foot and mouth disease, he said stringent measures to combat the disease have produced results, since about 30 days have passed without any new case being reported.


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