|Saturday, 2 December 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-07-23
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 ANKARA DENIES HARASSMENT OF GREEK AIRCRAFTThe Greek government spokesman, Dimitris Reppas, said yesterday that the Greek-Turkish dialogue, due to get under way in Ankara next Monday, should go ahead as planned despite Wednesday's harassment by Turkish fighter jets of the plane on which the Greek transport minister, Tasos Mandelis, was returning to Athens from Cyprus.
Mr Reppas made it clear, however, that Athens would deal calmly but firmly with any action that harmed Greece. Ankara has denied the incident took place and has rejected the Greek government's protest in which it said it intended to refer the matter to the international civil aviation authority. Mr Reppas also confirmed a report in the newspaper, To Vima, which said Turkey had violated the summer moratorium on flights over the Aegean, commenting that this revealed Ankara's inability to contribute to the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations.
At their recent meeting, the Greek foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, and his Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem, agreed that any action which could cause tension in relations between the two countries should be avoided.
 PRIME MINISTER ANNOUNCES PROPOSED SOCIAL BUDGET EXPENDITUREAddressing a gathering of young people on the Hill of Pnyx in central Athens last night, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, announced that 43 trillion drachmas had been earmarked for the government's social budget for the period from 2000 to 2003. He said improved living standards and personal prosperity were the government's main objectives at the start of the new century.
 GREECE TO UNDERTAKE OSCE PRESIDENCY IN 2004Yesterday's proposal put forward to the standing committee of the 54 member states of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe by the alternate Greek foreign minister, Iannos Kranidiotis, that Greece should undertake the Organisation's presidency in 2004 met with a favourable reception.
It is the same year that Athens hosts the Olympic Games and the year after Greece assumes the rotating presidency of the EU. Mr Kranidiotis set out to the committee Greece's views on the Organisation's role vis-a-vis peace and security in Europe in general, as well as the reconstruction of the Balkans.
 PRIME MINISTER DISCUSSES CRIME PREVENTION WITH PARTY LEADERSThe prime minister embarks today on a series of meetings with the country's political party leaders to discuss crime prevention and the formulation of a new policy concerning the economic refugees living in this country. He will have talks today with the leader of the Coalition, Nikos Konstantopoulos, and the general secretary of the Greek Communist party, Aleka Papariga, while on Monday Mr Simitis is scheduled to meet with the New Democracy party president, Kostas Karamanlis, and the leader of the Democratic Social Movement, Dimitris Tsovolas.
 PRIME MINISTER BRIEFS PRESIDENT ON LATEST DEVELOPMENTSPositive developments for the Balkans at the summit meeting to be held in Sarajevo were forecast by the prime minister at his meeting yesterday with the president of the republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, at which he briefed him on the latest developments in domestic and international affairs.
 PRIVATE EDUCATION REBELS AT STATE-CONTROLLED APPOINTMENTSThe owners of private educational institutions in Greece are threatening to have recourse to the Council of State if legislation is put into effect requiring teachers in the private sector to be appointed by the same system as their colleagues in state schools. The reaction has come as something of a surprise to the education ministry. The education undersecretary, Iannis Anthopoulos, said a committee of private school owners would be invited to parliament to discuss the issue, but added that no disagreement had arisen during the dialogue held in the past.
 INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC ACADEMY MEETS IN ANCIENT OLYMPIAA week-long session of the International Olympic Academy opened at Ancient Olympia yesterday, under the chairmanship of the IOC president, Juan Antonio Samaranch.
 PASOK DEPUTY HONOUREDThe PASOK deputy Anna Karamanou is the new vice-president of the European Parliament's socialist group.
 STOCK EXCHANGE RESULTSOn the Athens Stock Exchange, the general share price index went up by 1.29% yesterday, closing at 4,528.99 points.
 CYPRIOT PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER VISITS ITALYThe speaker of the Cypriot house of representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, who is on an official visit to Italy, had a series of meetings yesterday with his Italian counterpart, Luciano Violante, the foreign undersecretary responsible for European affairs, Umberto Ranieri, and the chairman of the Italian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Achille Occhietto.
During the talks, Mr Kyprianou briefed Mr Violante on all aspects of the Cyprus dispute. Mr Violante said the two parliaments should have more common contacts, adding that the Italian parliament was ready to contribute to a settlement of the Cyprus problem and other issues that destabilise the Mediterranean. He added that the arrogance displayed by the Turkish side should not be rewarded.
For his part, Mr Occhietto said he supported Cyprus' entry to the EU, irrespective of the course of procedures for a Cyprus settlement. He said a message should be sent to Turkey that its relations with Europe were directly linked to the Cyprus dispute, the Kurdish issue and the respect of human rights.