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BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN (31/01/1996)

From: Macedonian Press Agency <mpa@uranus.ee.auth.gr>

Macedonian Press Agency News in English Directory

BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY

January 31, 1996

NEWS IN BRIEF

  • [01] GREECE, TURKEY ARRIVE AT DISENGAGEMENT AGREEMENT

  • [02] GREEK PREMIER ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT ON IMIA OUTCOMES

  • [03] NEW DEMOCRACY LEADER JUXTAPOSES PASOK, WALKS OUT OF PARLIAMENT

  • [04] GREECE DOES NOT WISH TO TRANSPOSE TENSION TO BRUSSELS

  • [05] COMMON SENSE PREVALED, NOT GREECE, SAID TURK UNDER-MINISTER

  • [06] BULGARIA'S MASS MEDIA REPORT ON THE GREEK-TURKISH CONFLICT

  • [07] PASOK LEADER'S HEALTH CONDITION IS IMPROVING

  • [08] BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE WELCOMES IMIA OUTCOME

  • [09] RUSSIANS SEND CONGRATULATORY TELEGRAMS TO GREECE

  • [10] ARCHBISHOP IAKOVOS SENDS TELEGRAM TO PRESIDENT CLINTON

  • [11] ITALY SUPPORTS GREECE'S LEGAL POSITION ON THE ISSUE OF IMIA

  • [12] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER STATED IN PARLIAMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT ACHIEVED ITS GOALS

  • [13] THE GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER INFORMED THE PARLIAMENT ON THE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE AEGEAN

  • [14] MEETING BETWEEN THE GREEK PRESIDENT AND THE PRIME MINISTER

  • [15] THE BODY OF ONE OF THE THREE HELICOPTER CREW MEMBERS MISSING WAS FOUND BY A GREEK NAVY PATROL BOAT

  • [16] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ANNOUNCED THE UPCOMING VISIT TO ATHENS BY US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE MR.HOLBROOKE

  • [17] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE REPORT


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [01] GREECE, TURKEY ARRIVE AT DISENGAGEMENT AGREEMENT

    Greece announced today that a "disengagement agreement" had been reached with Turkey regarding the islet Imia, after the mediation of the United States. The greek government also added that the military forces of both countries had begun withdrawing early today.

    Following a six-hour Cabinet meeting that ended at dawn, the greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos announced that Greece is retaining its sovereign rights over the islets in the Eastern Aegean.

    Greek Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said the situation would return to the "status quo" that existed before the crisis broke out.

    Pangalos said that Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Richard Hollbrooke helped broker the agreement.

    "The U.S. intervened so as to avoid a hot incident," Pangalos told reporters in Parliament where the emergency meeting of the Cabinet took place. He said that the agreement was reached after U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke to greek Premier Kostas Simitis and Turkey's leader Tansu Ciller.

    The two greek ministers said that greek troops on Imia would be the last to leave. They added that turkish troops would also withdraw. The U.S. would monitor the withdrawal, Pangalos said.

    On Tuesday, U.S. President Clinton said that over the telephone he urged the new prime minister of Greece and the president and prime minister of Turkey to "move their forces away from that little island and to find a diplomatic solution."

    "I heard them out at some length, and we discussed some options," Clinton stated to reporters, adding that "I have some hope the crisis will abate over the next 24 to 48 hours."

    [02] GREEK PREMIER ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT ON IMIA OUTCOMES

    Greek Prime Minister Kostas SimitIs spoke in Parliament today and explained the government's handling of the Imia issue.

    Mr. Simitis underlined that "the greek government achieved the disengagement of the greek and turkish military forces in the area of Imia and the de-escalation of the crisis."

    The greek Premier emphasized that the disengagement was achieved sans negotiations from the turkish side and, as such, Turkey's aim to force Greece into negotiations regarding Imia's status quo was circumvented.

    "Imia is and will remain greek," the greek Prime Minister stated.

    Mr. Simitis proceeded to thank the greek armed forces for their high readiness and morale. He expressed his sorrow for the loss of the three soldiers during the course of duty.

    Referring to Turkey, Mr. Simitis said that the neighboring country proved once more that it does not hold respect for international law and added that Turkey will encounter the behavior it itself provoked. "Out message is clear," Mr. Simitis said, "Greece's response will always and everywhere be strong, direct and effective." Simitis also thanked the U.S. government for its initiative and help.

    [03] NEW DEMOCRACY LEADER JUXTAPOSES PASOK, WALKS OUT OF PARLIAMENT

    Mr. Miltiades Evert, president of the main opposition party New Democracy, issued strong criticisms regarding the Imia issue towards the ruling party PASOK and the country's Prime Minister, immediately following the latter's address in Parliament.

    The New Democracy leader characterized the withdrawal of the greek naval forces, coupled with and the landing of the turks on the islet a "humiliating defeat". He called for the resignation of the ruling government and asked the mps of the other opposition parties to also condemn the socialist Cabinet.

    [04] GREECE DOES NOT WISH TO TRANSPOSE TENSION TO BRUSSELS

    The greek government does not want to transfer into NATO its acute differences with Turkey, according to well-informed Brussels sources.

    According to the source, the greek Ambassador in the Alliance has reported the greek government's policy to NATO General Secretary Xavier Solana.

    Moreover, it is known that Mr. Solana has repeatedly suggested "self-restrain" to Turkey, despite the fact that he publicly appears to adapt a neutral distance between both countries.

    The greek government has ordered its NATO ambassador, Mr. Zafiropoulos, not to raise the Ankara differences during today's customary weekly session of Alliance members. The reason for this is because Greece does not want any dialogue with Turkey on issues conerning greek national sovereignty.

    [05] COMMON SENSE PREVALED, NOT GREECE, SAID TURK UNDER-MINISTER

    "It was a victory of common sense, and not a victory of either side," said the turk Foreign Under-Minister, Inal Batu, referring to the disengagement of turkish and greek military forces from the Eastern Aegean area islets.

    Mr. Batu stated that both sides are relieved by the disengagement agreement and added that he did not even want to think of the potential of a conflict.

    The turkish official proceeded to reiterate Turkey's desire for dialogue and added that the two countries must not confront each other militarily with fait accompli but rather act with more self-restrain and conduct talks within the frameworks of a dialogue.

    [06] BULGARIA'S MASS MEDIA REPORT ON THE GREEK-TURKISH CONFLICT

    Bulgaria's mass media made brief reports to the recent greek- turkish incident regarding the islet Imia, without referring to the prior history of the issue.

    The Bulgarian news agency B.I.P. in Sofia today reported that the debate between Ankara and Athens has caused political turmoil in Greece and reported that Greece's main opposition party asked the ruling government to resign.

    Bulgarian state-owned radio broadcast today that Turkey withdrew from the rock-islet after the conversations that U.S. President Clinton held with turkish President Syleiman Demirel and turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, as well as with greek Premier Kostas Simitis.

    [07] PASOK LEADER'S HEALTH CONDITION IS IMPROVING

    According to the latest medical bulletin issued today by the Onasion Cardiosurgery Center, the health condition of former prime minister and current PASOK leader Andreas Papandreou, is as follows:

    "The President's health condition is developing satisfactorily. The respiratory phsysiotherapy is continued. A thoracic CAT-SCAN is planned. Today Mr. Papandreou underent dialysis."

    [08] BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE WELCOMES IMIA OUTCOME

    Great Britain's Foreign Office issued a statement today by the british Foreign Minister Mr. Malcolm Rifkind, referring to the tension in the greek-turkish relations in the Aegean.

    In his statement, Mr. Rifkind warmly welcomed the news that the greek and turkish naval forces have begun to be withdrawn from the area.

    Mr. Rifkind also stated that he had communicated with the Foreign Ministers of both countries and had suggested to them the need for "self-control."

    "It is important that members of NATO, such as Greece and Turkey, solve their issues peacefully through dialogue."

    [09] RUSSIANS SEND CONGRATULATORY TELEGRAMS TO GREECE

    The spokesperson of the russian Ministry of Foreign Afairs Grigori Karasin, announced today that russian President Boris Yeltsin and Interior Minister Primakof, have send congratulatory telegrams to mmr. Simitis, Papandreou and Pangalos.

    In his telegram to the greek Prime Minister Kosta Simitis, Mr. Yeltsin congratulated him on his recent election to Premiership and expressed his assurance that the customarily friendly relations between the two countries, their mutual understanding and close cooperation will further develop in the future, in order to promote the strengthening of the common european and regional security and the establishment of international peace.

    President Yeltsin also sent a telegram to PASOK President Andreas Papandreou in which he expresses his gratitude towards "a great friend of the russian people, a renowed leader and political factor who has made great accomplishments in the development of greek-russian relations, the strenghtening of peace, security and cooperation in Europe.

    The russian Foreign Minister, Evgeni Primakov, in his telegraph to his greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos, expressed his hope that the mutual cooperation betweeen the two ministries will continue to be based on the proximity of the two countries' positions on vital intenational issues.

    [10] ARCHBISHOP IAKOVOS SENDS TELEGRAM TO PRESIDENT CLINTON

    The Archbishop of North and South U.S. Mr. Iakovos has sent a telegram to U.S. President Clinton in which he pleads that the american President emphatically ask Turkey to respect international law.

    Among others, in his telegram the Archbishop expressed his indignation at the State Department's supposed "equal terms" handling of the recent Imia issue.

    Mr. Iakovos stated that "calmness must prevale in our government's relations with Ms. Tansu Ciller, who is given to desperate tries at distracting her people's attention fromthe Kurkish, Islamic and other political and economical problems of their country, by enforcing their traditional policy of intimidation, humiliation and destruction of Greece."

    The Archbishop requests that President Clinton, in the name of democratic ideals and the continuous efforts at promoting world peace, ask Turkey to respect international law and agreements.

    "The disreputable policy of John Foster Dulles must not be revived," stated the Archbishop in his message.

    [11] ITALY SUPPORTS GREECE'S LEGAL POSITION ON THE ISSUE OF IMIA

    Italy finds that the ratification of the Dec.28, 1932 protocol was unnecessary because it is covered by the ratification of the main agreement of Jan.4, 1932. This is the position of the italian Foreign Ministry which examined the legal regime of that agreement, essentially justifying the greek position.

    The italian diplomats, who studied the documents of the italian-turkish agreement dated Jan.4th, 1932 and of the Dec.28, 1932 protocol pointed out that the ratification was not necessary because the above mentioned protocol referred to a part of the sea borders shared by the two countries on which there was no dispute between Italy and Turkey.

    Moreover, a Director of the italian Foreign Minister's political office said to ANA's correspondent that the protocol does not need a separate ratification because it is covered by the ratification of the main agreement.

    Also, an italian diplomat pointed out that is not without a political significance Turkey's acknowledgement in a protocol of Dec.28, 1932 according to which, everything included in it, among them and the islet of Imia, are not objects of dispute.

    [12] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER STATED IN PARLIAMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT ACHIEVED ITS GOALS

    Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos stated today in Parliament that the government achieved its goals. He said that Greece achieved its four goals, namely to avoid negotiations with Turkey, to avoid a dialogue on the islet of Imia, to impose a peaceful settlement and to avoid any commitment for the future.

    He referred to the chronicle of the developments and to the talks he had with US Assistant Secretary of State mr.Holbrooke and said that the proposal was to be no negotiation with the turks and to get underway the disengagement of the greek and turkish forces. He also stated that there was no demand by mr.Holbrooke concerning the flag on the islet.

    [13] THE GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER INFORMED THE PARLIAMENT ON THE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE AEGEAN

    Greek Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis said in Parliament speaking about the tension in the greek-turkish relations, that Greece and Turkey were very close to a full-scale war.

    Mr.Arsenis said that both sides had deployed a large number of forces in the region and that the greek leadership had two options, either to proceed with an armed clash that would have resulted to a full-scale war or with the de-escalation of the tension defending at the same time the country's sovereign rights.

    Mr.Arsenis gave the chronicle of the tension with Turkey on the issue of the islets by mentioning that it all started a little after Christmas when a turkish cargo ship run aground in the region and received the assistance of greek ships. A few days later the turks claimed that the islet of Imia belonged to them. Mr.Arsenis stated that in the next few days Ankara adopted a gradual escalation of the tension and the greek reaction was proportional aimed at protecting the greek national interests.

    Referring to the last stage of the crisis, mr.Arsenis said that around 10pm last night he received a telephone call from his US counterpart William Perry, who in the presence of army General Shalikashvili, Head of the US Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked mr.Arsenis to update him on the greek positions.

    Mr.Arsenis stated that before this telephone call the greek government had come to the decision to de-escalate the crisis as a more preferable goal than war. About two hours later at 11:30pm came the second telephone call from mr.Perry who said to mr.Arsenis that the turks insisted that the greek forces had to withdraw first.

    The greek Defense Minister said that while the dialogue with the americans continued the greek government was informed at 3am this morning that about 10 turkish commandos had managed to land on the second rock of the islet of Imia without being noticed by the greek forces.

    The greek military helicopter that was sent to the islet confirmed that the turkish commandos were there but during its return the pilot suffered "vertigo" lost the helicopter's control and as a result the greek armed forces lost three able officers.

    Mr.Arsenis stated that if the greek armed forces wanted to capture the 10 turkish commandos would have succeeded and nobody should have any doubt about that, but this would have turned the clash into a full-scale war. He said that the war would have led the two sides to negotiations something that the greek side wanted to avoid and this constitutes a firm goal of the greek foreign policy. He said that this way Greece chose the old status quo in the region. The greek Defense Minister also said that the war was avoided but from now on we must look over from the beginning the greek-turkish relations.

    [14] MEETING BETWEEN THE GREEK PRESIDENT AND THE PRIME MINISTER

    Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis met with President Kostis Stephanopoulos and informed him on the current developments and the movements of the greek side in the operation that began late last night.

    The Prime Minister and the President also talked about the upcoming visit to Greece by US Assistant Secretary of State mr.Richard Hollbrooke.

    According to a statement issued by the President's office, the Prime Minister updated mr.Stephanopoulos on the government's intentions from now on.

    [15] THE BODY OF ONE OF THE THREE HELICOPTER CREW MEMBERS MISSING WAS FOUND BY A GREEK NAVY PATROL BOAT

    A greek Navy patrol boat found the body of one of the three crew members of a military helicopter that crashed in the early morning hours today in the sea region 2 miles north of the rocky islet of Imia, in south-eastern Aegean.

    The helicopter crashed while trying to locate the turkish commandos who had landed to one of the two rocky islets making up the Imia complex.

    According to the first assessments, the helicopter crash was caused by a loss of orientation by its pilots due to the bad weather conditions and in combination with an electrical failure.

    [16] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ANNOUNCED THE UPCOMING VISIT TO ATHENS BY US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE MR.HOLBROOKE

    The upcoming visit of US Assistant Secretary of State mr.Richard Holbrooke to Athens that will be held in the first 15 days of February was announced by US Ambassador to Athens mr.Thomas Niles after his meeting this morning with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    After the meeting the US Ambassador stated to reporters that the news was better today than yesterday and added that he had discussed with the greek Foreign Minister the contacts his government had with Athens and Ankara on the solution of the problem that had been created.

    Mr.Niles expressed the United States' satisfaction over the fact that they have contributed to the solution of this problem. To the question on whether the visit by mr.Holbrooke will have to do with the american initiative on Cyprus or if it will concern and other issues too, like the Aegean, US Ambassador mr.Niles avoided to respond stressing that the visit had been pre-arranged and concerns Cyprus adding that there is an obvious problem, namely the fact that no government has been formed yet in Turkey.

    [17] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE REPORT

    CURRENCY           FIXING       BUY         SELL
    ECU              303.2800     302.3700     304.1900
    U.S. Dollar      246.5350     245.7950     247.2750
    Deutsche Mark    165.3040     164.8080     165.8000
    UK Sterling      371.7100     370.5950     372.8250
    French Franc      48.1000      47.9560      48.2440
    Swedish Crown     35.4560      37.6400      37.87430
    Danish Kroner     42.7350      42.6070      42.8630
    Norwegian Crown   37.7610      37.6480      37.8740
    Italian Lira      15.4135      15.3670 	    15.4600
    Swiss Franc      202.5980     201.9900 	   203.2060
    Spanish Peseta     1.9608       1.9549 	     1.9667
    Finnish Mark      54.0870      53.9250 	    54.2490
    Yen              230.1800     229.4890 	   230.8710
    
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