Group claims responsibility for bomb near Netherlands embassy
NEWS IN DETAIL
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
''There should be no cause for concern,'' the premier added.
Three days of celebrations marking the 1973 student uprising officially
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
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
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.