Sunken missile boat located
NEWS IN DETAIL
ND political council decides on party congress as soon as possible
The main opposition New Democracy party's political council, which
convened yesterday afternoon, arrived at a compromise solution on the
controversial issue of the procedure to be followed for next year's party
congress, deciding to hold it as early as possible "March or April" with an
Deputy party leader Ioannis Varvitsiotis was entrusted with the task of
exploring existing possibilities towards that goal, while no leadership
issue was raised during the session, and with ND leader Miltiades Evert
reiterating his recent public commitm ent that on the first day of the
congress he would table a proposal for election of the party leader by
On his part, ND honorary president and former prime minister Constantine
Mitsotakis stated: "The idea is maturing that the solution to the problem
afflicting New Democracy will be found at the congress, which will be held
as soon as possible".
Concerning the meeting, recent leadership contender George Souflias said
discussion had been "very good", while former premier Tzannis Tzannetakis
said there had been full agreement.
According to sources, the issue of a transition leadership was not raised,
while others reported that Mr. Evert stressed that his only concern was for
the party, and that if his presence in the leadership posed a problem, he
ought to be told so bluntly.
Earlier yesterday, Mr. Evert reiterated that he would not "violate the
party's charter" but left open the possibility of taking a new role in the
Addressing a meeting of the party's council of regional committee
presidents, Mr. Evert remained firm in his position regarding party
elections saying that "I will not under any circumstances, and in any
capacity I may have, violate the charter."
Noting that "everyone should respect the rules governing the operation of
the party," Mr. Evert said that the unity of New Democracy was of primary
"What is important is the party, not Evert," he said, adding that "we must
retain the unity of the party for which we have the obligation to be
ND entered a new phase of crisis following its defeat in recent general
elections, which gave PASOK another four-year mandate.
Following the party's defeat, Mr. Evert submitted his resignation on the
night of ND's electoral defeat, but soon returned to the ND leadership
after winning internal party elections.
ND deputy and former minister Souflias was Mr. Evert's opponent in the race
for those elections. He was supported by former ministers and ND deputies,
Stephanos Manos and Dora Bakoyianni. Known as "the alliance of the three",
the ND deputies have been p utting pressure for new party elections to be
held in June at the party congress, and requesting that a transitional
leader lead the party to the ND congress.
Commenting on his decision to re-claim the party leadership, after his
decision to resign, Mr. Evert said:
"Since efforts to find a candidate of mutual acceptance did not yield
results, I decided to help by leading the party to the congress."
Mr. Evert also claimed that New Democracy lost the elections to PASOK due
to "internal party opposition."
In an indirect reference to Mr. Mitsotakis, Mr. Evert said "how it is
possible for the party to progress when party officials say that the
(PASOK) prime minister is competent, that the foreign and economy ministers
are excellent and that de-nationalisat ions lead to unemployment?"
"How is it possible for a party to progress when party officials do not
want the party to be on the side of those who have just claims, such as the
farmers, pensioners and the small-to-mediumd-sized business owners,
branding the party's positions as po pulist?"
Stressing that New Democracy "is not the big capital's party or (the party)
of the Greek Federation of Industries (SEB)," Mr. Evert said New Democracy
won votes in "the poor neighbourhoods," and lost votes in the "high income
Soon, he said, those earning high incomes who voted for Mr. Simitis will
realise their mistake.
"Unfortunately the whole of the Greek people will pay for this choice,
since a storm of taxes is at the gates," he added.
Commenting on Mr. Evert's statements, Mr. Mitsotakis later said "I see an
effort to cause a climate of tension."
Asked, Mr. Mitsotakis said, however, that he did not anticipate a rupture
in the party.
In another development, Mr. Varvitsiotis met yesterday in Parliament with
the 22 ND deputies that have undertaken the task of defusing the crisis in
Mr. Varvitsiotis said the initiative of the 22 deputies was very positive,
adding that he was optimistic regarding its outcome.
Premier pledges full support for `97 World Athletics Championships in Athens
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with the president of the
International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), Primo Nebiolo, to
discuss next year's World Athletics Championships which will be held in
Athens from Aug. 1-10.
Mr. Nebiolo was later received by President of the Republic Kostis
Stephanopoulos at the Presidential Mansion.
During his meeting with Mr. Simitis, Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras
was also present.
"Mr. Simitis promised that he would provide us with all assistance and
assured that the Greek government would do everything possible for the
faultless holding of the world championships," Mr. Nebiolo told reporters
immediately after the meeting.
Mr. Nebiolo noted that the prime minister was well aware of the fact that
the world championships will be held just a few days before the International
Olympic Committee decides on the country to host the 2004 Olympic Games,
for which Athens is a candid ate.
"Perhaps Athens holds the most important card," Mr. Nebiolo said.
Mr. Fouras said that for the first 10 days of August 1997, Athens would be
"the sports capital of the planet", adding that "we have the full support
of the prime minister and the government in general."
Mr. Nebiolo also had talks yesterday with Mr. Fouras and Greek Athletics
Federation (SEGAS) President Stratos Molyvas at a meeting which confounded
expectations of a continuation of a row between SEGAS and the sports
ministry over which entity should ha ve overall responsibility for
organising the world championships next year.
At the meeting, held in a friendly atmosphere, Mr. Fouras and Mr. Molivas
were in full agreement as to the duties and responsibilities of their
respective sides concerning the staging of the event.
"During my meeting with Messrs. Fouras and Molyvas, we discussed the
problems which existed between the two sides and reached full agreement.
The three of us signed a text setting out the relations between the sports
ministry, SEGAS and the organisation al and technical committee for the
championships," Mr. Nebiolo told reporters after the meeting.
"I am very pleased that the problems have been overcome and I believe that
we will have the best championships in the history of world athletics," Mr.
"We are ready to stage a grand event," Mr. Fouras said, adding that "when I
met in Atlanta in the summer with IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and
Mr. Nebiolo, we agreed that the decisions pertaining to financial matters
would be the responsibility of the organisational committee. This agreement
was reconfirmed yesterday. At the same time, SEGAS will be responsible for
all technical matters pertaining to the staging of the event."
Mr. Molyvas said that the text signed yesterday fully reflected the
According to the text of yesterday's agreement, SEGAS will receive 10 per
cent of all gross income from the event.
ND Eurodeputy among 3 finalists for EPP's candidate to Europarliament presidency
A crucial vote will be held by the European Peoples' Party (EPP) next
Wednesday on sending one of its three candidates for the post of Europarliament
president to a plenary session of the EU body. Commenting on the candidacy
of New Democracy party Eurodeputy Georgios Anastasopoulos, Greek EU
Commissioner for Energy, SMEs and Tourism, Christos Papoutsis, said: "I
think Mr. Anastasopoulos' candidacy reminds us that all the countries of
the European Union are equal and I think tha t a president of the European
Parliament can be equally efficient, regardless of whether or not he comes
from a large country."
Mr. Papoutsis referred to his long acquaintance with Mr. Anastasopoulos
from the time they were colleagues at the European Parliament, and
expressed an appreciation for his personality and important work as well as
wishing him luck.
The other two candidates are Nicole Fontaine from France and Robles Delgado
from Spain. The candidate who will receive the mandate from the EPP will be
judged at a plenary session in January.
Transport Minister: Commission expected to approve increase in OA's equity capital
Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis said in Brussels
this week that the European Commission was soon expected to approve an
increase in the equity capital of Olympic Airways, from 12 to 23 billion
He added that OA's board of governors was to decide yesterday on the
signing of a contract with the MacKenzie Co. for the drawing up of its
administrative structure plan within four months.
Finally, he said that the state carrier's airplane fleet planning would be
completed by March 1997, and announced that the draft bill on public
procurements was nearing completion.
The European Commission asked Athens in July for additional measures in the
company's financial recovery plan, such as a change in its taxation status
and the system for hiring seasonal staff.
Mr. Kastanidis also said that his European Union counterparts would decide
on increases in toll charges and the creation of free "rail corridors"
across countries in the Union until Dec. 18.
He added that he had told his counterparts in their Council meeting
yesterday that any increases could not burden equally all transporters in
the Union, and that account should be taken of differences in distances.
Mr. Kastanidis said that the proposal, which was accepted by EU Transport
Commissioner Neil Kinnock, would secure competitive prices for Greek
Transport minister stresses importance of economic, transportation cooperation in Balkans
Transport Minister Haris Kastanidis said yesterday that Greece, as the
only Balkan EU member, must promote, both at bilateral and at a European
level, the creation of an inter-related economic cooperation region in the
He made the comments during the fourth two-day seminar in Thessaloniki,
this time on the subject of "Businesses in a Market Without Borders."
The transport and communications minister noted that Greece supports the
demands of other Balkan countries for the development of their infrastructure.
He added that in view of the expansion of the EU, Greece has taken on a
leading role in the Balkan re gion.
Mr. Kastanidis said Greece must promote certain basic choices which will
give it a leading role in the transport sector of southeastern Europe, at
the same time serving vital Greek interests and reinforcing the country's
The main issues being promoted by the government include the completion of
the Egnatia Highway and the creation of transportation junctures with
Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey as
well as a coastal highway connect ing Igoumenitsa with Dubrovnik, which
will cross Albania and the Dalmatian coast. Another project is the opening
of a Florina-Pogradec rail link.
All Balkan nations should be admitted to European Union
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday proposed the
accession of all Balkan countries in the European Union so as to establish
a Balkan pillar.
He made the proposal while addressing the Second European Conference on
Peace and Cooperation in the Balkans, which began yesterday at the Zappeion
In statements immediately after, referring to developments in the Cyprus
issue following the US elections, he said he was awaiting the manifestation
of the US initiative, but was not aware of its precise content.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said he would be briefed in detail during his visit to
Cyprus from November 21 to 24. However, he added, "the Greece-Cyprus joint
defence doctrine remains firm".
Replying to questions, the minister stressed the need for the continued
presence of the UN force in Bosnia (IFOR) in order to ensure peace in the
region, adding that the relevent decision would be taken at the NATO
meeting of defence ministers.
Greece urges enlargement of Council of Europe with central, eastern European countries
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday reaffirmed
Greece's position in favour of the enlargement of the Council of Europe
through the accession of the countries of central and eastern Europe.
Speaking in Strasbourg at the 99th meeting of Council of Europe foreign
ministers, Mr. Papandreou also reiterated Greece's position that the
prerequisites for accession should be fulfilled without discrimination or
Such prerequisites for membership are that a candidate state must be one
ruled by law with a democratic system of government in which human rights
Yesterday's meeting focused on the issue of safeguarding democracy in
Europe. The 40 countries represented acknowledged that the cooperation
between the European Union and the Council of Europe in the struggle
against racism and xenophobia was not progr essing due to the opposing
views of the EU member-states.
U.S. State Department official due in Athens next week
Carey Cavanaugh, director of the office of southeastern European affairs
at the US State Department, arrives in Athens on November 12 in the context
of an informational tour of Athens, Ankara and Nicosia, foreign ministry
spokesman Constantine Bikas said yesterday. Mr. Cavanaugh recently took
over dealing with the Cyprus issue after James Williams, the State
Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus, moved on to another post in the
department last month.
Mr. Bikas said Mr. Cavanaugh would meet with Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos to discuss "thoughts and ideas that exist on solving the Cyprus
Translation of French philosopher Garaudy's book launched
The Greek translation of French philosopher Roger Garaudy's latest book
was launched yesterday in an Athens hotel.
The 83-year-old former communist, who is now a Muslim, dedicated his book
"The Fundamental Myths of Israeli Politics" to the "fight against political
Zionism", as a "heresy which seeks to reduce the (Jewish) religion, through
a selective and literal rea ding of sacred texts, to an organ of a policy,
so cannonising it."
Presenting his book, Mr. Garaudy said he does not doubt Judaism or the
legality of the Israeli state, but "the policies of Zionism". He said this
policy consists of "the substitution of the God of Israel by the state of
Israel, an unsinkable, nuclear ai rcraft carrier of the temporary rulers of
the world: The United States, which wants to take over the oil of the
Although Mr. Garaudy stressed that his two previous books, against
Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, received harsh criticism, he faced a
"lynching without arguments" for the first time in France over this
In his latest book, Mr. Garaudy, who was held in a concentration camp
during the Second World War, attempts to include the words "holocaust" and
"genocide" in the "contemporary mythology" of the state of Israel, doubting
the number of Jewish victims of the Nazis, claming that those (Jews) killed
in Nazi concentration camps were nearer 1.5 million than the four million
He has also doubted that the Jewish genocide was the largest in history,
speaking of the 60 million American Indians, the 100 million African slaves
in the New World and the 17 million Slavs killed by the Nazis during the
WWII, bringing the total dead i n that war to 60 million.
Greek, French ministers discuss bilatera cultural relations
PARIS (ANA - Y. Zitouniati) - Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos held a
meeting yesterday with his French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy, where
they discussed a new Greek-French educational agreement providing, among
other things, the establishment of a Greek Institute in Paris.
The agreement also includes coordination of action between the two
countries regarding organisation of events marking the year 2000.
France has endorsed Mr. Venizelos' proposal for the convening of an
unofficial meeting of the 15 EU member-states to promote the cultural
equality of the member-states.
Greece has endorsed a French proposal for reinforcement of regional
cooperation in the audiovisual sector between the five Mediterranean
members-states of the European Union with a Greek-Latin culture and
Talking to the press after the meeting, Mr. Blazy said the discussion also
focused on the film industry, the cultural charter and Europe's cultural
"Mr. Venizelos brought with him to Paris a specific action plan," he said,
adding that "we have common plans, such as the consolidation of a common
cultural charter between Greece and France."
In addition, Mr. Blazi said he will visit Thessaloniki at the invitation of
the Greek minister.
On his part, Mr. Venizelos mentioned the meeting of the five Mediterranean
member-states on Dec. 12.
He added: "We agreed to meet with other ministers to search for a European
identity in the audiovisual sector. A non-Anglo Saxon identity."
In a related development, Mr. Venizelos also requested direct French
support, apart from international forums such as UNESCO, for return of the
so-called Elgin Marbles from the British Museum back to Greece. The Greek
minister said return of the marbles , taken from the Parthenon in the early
19th century, is a priority for the ministry.
Sunken missile boat located
The wreck of the missile boat "Kostakos" which sank after being rammed by
a ferry boat was yesterday located at a depth of 151 metres about one
kilometre from the coast of Samos.
Preparations immediately began to send divers down to examine the wreck in
which the bodies of four crew members are believed to be trapped.
According to informed sources, the search for the four missing is expected
to be extended beyond the normal 72 hours stipulated by regulations.
The Kostakos was taking part in the all-service "Parmenion" military
exercise on Monday night when it was rammed by the ferry boat "Samaina" off
the coast of Samos.
All but four of the missile boat's 38-man crew were rescued.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 236.096 Can. dlr.177.032, Australian dlr. 184.958 Pound sterling
387.773, Irish punt 389.380, Cyprus pd 513.459, French franc 46.307, Swiss
franc 186.565 Belgian franc 7.600, German mark 156.622 Finnish mark 51.941,
Dutch guilder 139.614 Danish Kr. 40.749, Swedish Kr. 35.799, Norwegian Kr.
37.250, Austrian Sh. 22.258, Italian lira (100) 15.574 Yen (100) 211.048
Spanish Peseta 1.859, Portuguese Escudo 1.548.