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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-25

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 25/11/1996 (ANA)


  • Joint defence pact deals with Turkish threats and provides basis for Cyprus settlement,Tsohatzopoulos says
  • Clinton to visit Greece -- White House terms report "incorrect"
  • President Criticises failure of superpowers to pressure Turkey
  • Athens to block E.U. decision if July conditions not met
  • New base for Evros Cooperative Bank inaugurated
  • Week of strikes kicks off today


    Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in Nicosia yesterday that the defence pact between Greece and Cyprus provided the ability to deal with Turkish threats and also constituted the prerequisite for a peaceful settlement to the Cyprus issue.

    Speaking to reporters at the close of a four-day visit to the eastern Mediterranean island for talks with the Cyprus political leadership aiming at reviewing the defence pact with Greece, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the Greek-Cypriot joint defence doctrine constituted what he termed "a non- negotiable national choice" and that the materialisation and reinforcement of the pact was Greece's right to defend approximately "one tenth of the Hellenic nation."

    The two countries signed a defence pact in November 1993.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos assured that Greek aircraft would fly to the defence of Cyprus against a possible Turkish attack in the minimum time required.

    "Both Greece and Cyprus' adequate defence ability against any external threat or in order to overturn the occupation of a part of Cyprus, goes through the formulation of the common defence zone which at the same time forms the condition for the peaceful settlement of the occupation problem," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with his Cypriot counterpart Costas Eliades, the Greek defence minister said he was returning to Athens certain that both Greece and Cyprus were on the right path concerning the handling of provocations.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos and Mr. Eliades dismissed any talk about a ban of flyovers by Greek and Turkish aircraft over Cyprus, saying the former are legal and the latter illegal.

    Greek fighters fly to Cyprus at the invitation of the internationally- recognised government but Turkish planes fly over Cyprus in contravention of international law.

    The ministers also noted that the defence pact is not "a race to catch up with Turkey's defence capability," but a defensive pact to enable Cyprus to boost its defences and deter any possible offensive against the island.

    Complementing his reply, Mr. Eliades said that the decisions taken during Mr. Tsohatzopoulos's visit will result in bolstering Cyprus's air defences.

    "Our air defence capability will be strengthened significantly following our talks here," the Cypriot minister said.

    Meeting with foreign minister

    On Saturday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos confirmed Greece's commitment to the joint defence doctrine in his meeting with Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides.

    "The common course of action, drafted by Greece and Cyprus to promote a Cyprus solution, push for Cyprus' accession to the European Union and boost the island's defences, shall not be deterred by any initiative," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told reporters after the meeting.

    He added that both countries will stick to the agreed strategy, irrespective of the content of any outside attempt dealing with the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to the press, Mr. Michaelides said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos's visit to Cyprus signified the rapid pace at which the joint defence pact proceeds.

    "Cyprus cannot remain without any defence capability when the danger comes from within the country itself (the continuing Turkish occupation of part of the island)," he concluded.

    A visit by US President Bill Clinton to Greece and Turkey in June signals high-level US intervention in Greek-Turkish issues, according to a report in the Kathimerini newspaper yesterday.

    But the report was termed by the White House on Sunday as"incorrect."

    President Clinton accepted an invitation issued by President Kostis Stephanopoulos when the Greek president visited the US last May. The visit is directly linked to the prospect of developments over Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue in the next six months.

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday criticised the failure of "global superpowers" to exert pressure on Turkey to pursue a solution to the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf, attributing this failure to "other interests".

    "They are aware of Greece's just cause regarding the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf and are also aware of the ways which all international issues are resolved; they do not, however, because of (other) interests, exert appropriate pressure, advice or suggestion to the neighbouring country (Turkey) in order to find a just settlement to the issue," the president said at the close of a two-day visit to Thrace.

    "Greece's unquestionably just cause will finally prevail, because, in interpreting the Treaty of Lausanne, no one is able to change or alter it," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    In statements on the border island of Samothrace, the president said Greece was making efforts to peacefully settle existing differences in Greek- Turkish relations caused by Turkey's "persistently offensive attitude."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos clarified there was only one issue in the Aegean, that of the delineation of the continental shelf.

    Athens reiterated on Friday that it would not treat the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf and the issue of the Imia islets as two aspects of a package deal, but would deal with the two issues separately.

    Athens is determined to block any decision by the European Union to revive relations with Turkey if the Irish EU presidency's plan does not meet conditions set by the EU last July.

    The Irish plan will be discussed at the Council of Foreign Ministers in Brussels today. According to reports, the Irish EU presidency is expected to present a compromise proposal on Greek-Turkish issues which, however, does not satisfy Athens.

    Consequently, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos will block a decision being issued unless the plan is amended.

    Papoulias wary of another incident between Greece, Turkey

    Former foreign minister Karolos Papoulias said yesterday that he could not rule out another "incident" between Greece and Turkey in statements to the Athens News Agency (ANA).

    Mr. Papoulias, who was in Thessaloniki to address an event organised by "Ipirotiki Estia" marking the 56th anniversary of the liberation of the town of Korytsa during the Greek-Italian War, was reserved about the results of US President Bill Clinton's r eported plans to visit Athens and Ankara next year.

    "I am very careful. I have seen many US presidencies. What is of interest to us is the resolution of differences through satisfying our national claims and our national policy. If Mr. Clinton wants to observe equal distances this will not help our natio nal issues," Mr. Papoulias told the ANA.

    Speaking on the same issue, he made the evaluation that what Mr. Clinton will aim at, will not be the promotion of a package, but a settlement of many issues both between Greece and Turkey, as well as the Cyprus issue, and Balkan issues.

    Expatirates call for speedy end to occupation of Cyprus

    Safeguarding the unity of the expatriate community and defining a unified action policy for a more effective promotion of Greek just causes preoccupied Greek expatriate leaders attending the conference of the Federation of Greek Societies of New York on Saturday.

    Visiting Macedonia and Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos gave a short address at the meeting. World Council for Overseas Greeks President (SAE) Andrew Athens urged federation and association representatives to approve a resolution which will circula te all over the world and will show the strength and determination of expatriate Hellenism to demand and achieve the condemnation of the tactic of continuous threats and aggressiveness by Turkey. He called for an immediate end to the illegal occupation of Cyprus and the attainment of a just and viable solution to the problem, as well as an end to the failed US policy of generous arming and silent tolerance for the illegal actions of Turkey.

    Petsalnikos speaks on Cyprus during NY visit

    Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos said here on Saturday the start to the process of Cyprus' accession to the European Union is one of the main reasons that Turkey is trying to create a climate of tensi on on the island and torpedo every initiative of finding a solution to the problem with criminal acts against unarmed Greek Cypriot citizens.

    Speaking in Astoria on Friday night at an event on the 13th anniversary of the illegal proclamation of the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state, Mr. Petsalnikos said cooperation between the governments of Greece and Cyprus, which is based on the unified defence doctrine, is "excellent". He said the doctrine is a defensive "umbrella" covering the entire area from Thrace to Cyprus and in practice represents the reinforcement of Cyprus's defence.

    Mr. Petsalnikos referred, as did the President of the Council for Overseas Greeks (SAE) Andrew Athens, to the need for unity between all Greeks, both at home and abroad, to facilitate effective support for the struggle of the Cypriot people.

    Vartholomeos continues tour of Australia

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos arrived in Sydney on Friday on the last stage of his first historical tour of Australia and New Zealand.

    He was due to visit various expatriate establishments on Saturday and officiate at a church service yesterday in the presence of thousands of Orthodox believers.

    Patriarch Vartholomeos will wrap up his visit to Sydney on Wednesday and leave for Istanbul.

    Developments on ND party congress expected this week

    Main opposition New Democracy party honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis said yesterday in Chania that issues concerning the party's congress will be cleared up this week.

    Speaking one day before party Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis submits a proposal on the enlargement of the electoral base of the Congress, Mr. Mitsotakis said a solution to the existing problems in the party can only be given through a Congress "tha t will genuinely express the will of the people who voted and support ND."

    "ND must elect a leader who can lead New Democracy to victory in the next elections. He shall be the next party leader," Mr. Mitsotakis said.

    National Economy Ministry Secretary-General Apostolos Fotiadis inaugurated the head office of the Evros Cooperative Bank in Alexandroupolis on Saturday, in the presence of local authorities, economic officials and about 1,600 bank shareholders.

    The president of the bank's board and Evros Chamber Nicos Dasteridis said the next step is the opening of a branch office in Orestiada and then in Didimotiho, Soufli and Feres. Addresses were also made by the Presidents of the Cooperative Banks of Greec e and Cyprus Mr. Floratos and Mr. Yiannakis.

    Evros Bank director Christos Tasioulis said "the shareholders are 1,600 today and they are expected to double in a year's time. Every client of the bank is a shareholder and every bank process or transaction is the same for all."

    The Bank of Greece had given the Evros Bank four months from the approval of its licence to organise itself but the board succeeded in doing this in a month.

    A week of strikes will start today in protest at the government's economic policy, with teachers calling a 48-hour strike as of Wednesday and a 24-hour strike being called on the following day by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and t he Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY). Farmers will also start mobilisations.

    The cabinet will meet tomorrow to examine the issue of tax exemptions. Decisions are expected to be taken on the objective criteria for taxing self-employed professionals, as well as the new criteria concerning privately-owned cars and pleasure craft.

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the government's economic policy is "propaganda to cover up the tax receipt raid", adding that the Greek people will be called on to pay the price of their own disinformation.


    Cloudy with rainfalls spreading in from the west.

    Winds southwesterly, becoming very strong in the open sea.

    Temperatures ranging from 14-18C in Athens and from 11-16C in Thessaloniki.


    Weekend results of the Greek First Division soccer matches:
    Olympiakos - Aris     4 - 0
    Veria - Panathinaikos 0 - 0
    AEK - Edessa          2 - 0
    Kalamata - OFI        1 - 1
    Pyrgos - Heraklis     3 - 1
    PAOK - Ionikos        2 - 0
    Athinaikos - Kavala   1 - 4
    Apollon - Kastoria    2 - 0
    Panahaiki - Xanthi    will play this afternoon
    Standings: (after 9 matches)
     1. Olympiakos    23 points
     2. AEK           20
      . Panathinaikos 20
     4. OFI           19
     5. Pyrgos        17
     6. Panahaiki     15
     7. Kalamata      13
      . PAOK          13
     9. Veria         12
      . Kavala        12
      . Ionikos       12
    12. Xanthi         9
    13. Aris           7
      . Athinaikos     7
      . Apollon        7
    16. Edessa         5
      . Heraklis       5
    18. Kastoria       2


    U.S. dlr 235.005, Can. dlr.175.782, Australian dlr. 190.464, Pound sterling 395.848, Irish punt 396.006, Cyprus pd 514.610, French franc 46.162, Swiss franc 185.221 Belgian franc 7.595, German mark 156.557, Finnish mark 51.812, Dutch guilder 139.569, Danish Kr. 40.751, Swedish Kr. 35.496, Norwegian Kr. 37.138, Austrian Sh. 22.231, Italian lira (100) 15.702, Yen (100) 211.236, Spanish Peseta 1.862, Portuguese Escudo 1.549.


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