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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 16/11/1996 (ANA)


  • Greece retains its right to extend its territorial waters, Simitis says
  • Tsohatzopoulos cites increased Turkish provocations in Aegean
  • Stock exchange problems will be dealt with in new bill, prime minister says
  • Bomb hoax mars Polytechnic anniversary events
  • Group claims responsibility for bomb near Netherlands embassy


    Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed yesterday that Greece retained its right to extend its territorial waters from six to 12 miles and criticised as "demagogy" statements by main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert claiming that the g overnment had waived that right.

    Speaking in Parliament during prime minister's question time, Mr. Simitis said that Greece would exercise its right to extend its territorial waters in the Aegean when it considered this to be expedient and dictated by circumstances.

    The reasons why previous governments had not exercised the right in the past continued to apply today, the premier added.

    Earlier, New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert accused Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos of exercising "foreign policy through television." In supporting his argument, Mr. Evert cited the Imia case.

    Referring to the issue of Greece extending its territorial waters to 12 miles in the Aegean, Mr. Evert said that concerns were justifed "from the moment the foreign minister admits in public that the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf can be agreed under the current status quo, namely at six nautical miles."

    Referring to Mr. Evert's claims, Mr. Simitis said the government would not "give in to demagogy" and would "in cooperation with all the political forces secure our national rights."

    Mr. Simitis also pointed to the fact that the main opposition party had not extended Greece's territorial rights when in office (1990-93), adding that then prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis "did not extend the waters "for reasons which still apply to day."

    Replying to the premier, New Democracy spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos again claimed that the government had relinquished Greece's right to extend its territorial waters and had thereby "waived an inalienable right."

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday that Turkish provocativeness in the Aegean is spreading to all levels, while the US and other allies of Greece are observing a "slackened position" vis-a-vis Turkey.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added that the western allies are also not conceding that the fragile state of Greek-Turkish relations is an issue of security and tension in the region having a destabilising effect on world peace.

    Speaking during a visit to fleet headquarters at the Salamis Naval Station, the Greek national defence minister said the nation has the political will and the military readiness to respond immediately to any challenge against its territorial integrity w ith all suitable means. He said that at a political level, Turkey is attempting to dispute the existing status quo in the region, while at a diplomatic level Ankara is attempting to pressure Athens into making concessions by threatening to use force. At t he same time, he added, a host of violations of national airspace are taking place, as well as naval and military incidents, apart from Turkish forces harassing Greek fishermen in the Aegean.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said confronting Turkish expansionism is leading to the creation of a strong internal patriotic front and to the safeguarding of the armed forces' clout. He said a Greek defence doctrine must correspond directly and effectively to managing crises so that it will be able, together with the new armaments programme, to guarantee an adequate defence and secure a safe outcome of any confrontation. He further said the armaments programme ratified by the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) earlier this week effectively strengthens the operational and fighting capacity of the three branches of the armed forces.

    The government will deal with the problem caused by the collapse of the Delta Securities brokerage firm through a legislative act, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in reply to a question in Parliament yesterday.

    A Delta Securities default of 2.6 billion drachmas last week triggered a crisis on the Athens Stock Exchange, forcing it to close down for several days.

    Mr. Simitis said that the government had successfully handled the crisis, thereby averting a longer shutdown of the bourse. He dismissed claims that the Athens Stock Exchange had collapsed.

    The premier said the conditions under which transactions were conducted on the bourse would be made much more stringent in order to curtail the activities of speculators. Mr. Simitis also announced the tabling of a bill in Parliament aimed at fu rther protecting the Joint-Surety Fund. The Delta default is to be made up from the fund and the Titles Depository.

    The bill will also introduce measures to ensure transparency in transactions and tighten control over brokerage firms.

    Meanwhile, Athens Stock Exchange President Emmanuel Xanthakis filed a lawsuit yesterday alleging fraud against the administration of Delta Securities, naming Delta president Dimitris Argyriadis, vice-president Ioanna Gelestathi and Delta board member Theofanis Gravanis.

    Police evacuated the Archaeological Museum today and cordoned off the surrounding area after an anonymous caller claimed a bomb had been planted in the building which is adjacent to Athens Polytechnic -- the epicentre of events marking the 1973 student uprising against the military dictatorship then ruling Greece.

    Bomb disposal experts and police searched the museum and surrounding area but found nothing.

    Meanwhile, scores of people visited the Polytechnic today on the eve of the November 17 anniversary to pay their respects to the victims of the student uprising.

    After laying a wreath, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said that democracy must be broadened and become the property of each and every citizen.

    ''This is why the struggle of the students on November 17, 1973 is a struggle which must be waged continuously. Only if we try shall we have a state which respects the citizen and a society of citizens with social sensitivity and social responsibility. These are our targets,'' Simitis said.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Simitis said that the government had taken all the necessary security measures to maintain order during tomorrow's anniversary events which culminate in a march to the US embassy.

    ''There should be no cause for concern,'' the premier added.

    Three days of celebrations marking the 1973 student uprising officially began yesterday.

    Some 5,000 policemen and 10 public prosecutors will be on duty on Sunday when events culminate in a march to the US embassy in Athens. Masked youths, many of whom are self-styled anarchists, have in past years created disturbances and engaged in street battles with riot police during the November 17 anniversary.

    As another precaution, police authorities have also managed to secure the postponement of several first division basketball games scheduled for Sunday at stadiums in or near the centre of Athens in order to release more officers for security duty.

    The decision was taken after consultations with the political leadership of the sports ministry and club officials and after information surfaced that anarchists would cause incidents during the march.

    In addition, police have asked the Merchants' Association to persuade shopowners in the vicinity of the Polytechnic to remain closed on the eve of the march as well.

    Plans drawn up by police to prevent disturbances include continuous patrols by 70 police motorcyclists and 50 police cars on roads adjacent and near to the route of the march. At the same time, riot police will be stationed at points along the r oute where certain buildings and offices have in the past become the targets of attacks by youths hurling rocks and petrol bombs.

    The US embassy building itself will be particularly well guarded.

    Hundreds of plainclothes policemen will also be monitoring the march from a discreet distance, both on foot and in patrol cars, according to reports.

    An organisation calling itself the "revolutionary front" claimed responsibility for the bombing yesterday of a vehicle belonging to the embassy of the Netherlands in Athens.

    Initial reports state that the explosion was caused by a homemade device made from explosive material and three small natural gas canisters connected by a fuse.

    The explosion ignited only one of the three canisters, resulting in only minor damages to the front part of the jeep, which was parked close to the embassy in central Athens, across from the Panathenian Stadium. Parts of the device are currently bein g investigated by authorities. According to reports, police immediately cordoned off the area where the explosion occurred and detained 10 individuals for questioning, only to release them afterwards.

    Shortly after the blast, an anonymous caller telephoned the SKAI radio and television station to claim responsibility on the part of the shadowy group, although senior police officials have expressed reservations as to the authenticity of the call.


    Some cloud in Attica, light winds, temperature 11-20 centigrade. Similar conditions in Thessaloniki, temperature 9-17 centigrade.


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