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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.forthnet.gr/ape>


NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greecce, 24/11/1996 (ANA)

  • Simitis, Evert clash over Commission report on Greek economy
  • Cyprus issues arrest warrants for Turkish killers
  • Creek-Cyprus defence pact forms basis for peaceful settlement in Cyprus, Tsohatzopoulos says
  • Athens: No EU expansion unless Cyprus included
  • Stephanopoulos reiterates Athens's intentions to peacefully resolve differences with Turkey
  • Premier to head Greek delegation to OSCE
  • Union of European Theatres festival slated for Thessaloniki
  • European Writers' Conference opens

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert crossed swords Friday in Parliament over observations made by the European Commission on the Greek economy.

    The observations were contained in the Commission's recently published twice-yearly review of economic conditions in the 15-member Union.

    Describing a question tabled by Mr. Evert as "alarmist", Mr. Simitis said the report constituted a routine review of the economies of all the countries seeking to attain convergence, within the framework of which the course of the Greek economy was also examined. Mr. Simitis noted that the EU's monetary committee had ascertained significant progress in the Greek economy but also numerous problems which still had to be resolved.

    He added that Greece's deficit would be 7.9 per cent of GDP at the end of this year, against the 1996 budget target of 7.6 per cent.

    Accusing ND of contradicting itself, Mr. Simitis said the ND leader was "on the one hand sounding the alarm about the economy, while at the same time reacting to the government's economic measures."

    "They should decide once and for all what they want," the premier added.

    Mr. Evert responded by accusing the government of having become helpless in the face of foreign initiatives and decisions.

    "Mr. Simitis does not understand that with its report on the Greek economy, the European Commission is exerting political pressure pertaining to our national issues," Mr. Evert said.

    It was inconceivable, he continued, for the Commission to threaten to cut off Cohesion Fund financing to Greece solely because of "a small divergence of 0.3 per cent from the target set".

    "Your government is incapable of stopping such procedures and the only thing you do is to run around after the event," Mr. Evert said. Mr. Simitis responded by saying Mr. Evert was not informed of matters.

    "Studies on the course of the economies of all the countries are conducted at many levels in the EU and certain observations are made in the report in question. It is nothing in particular and under no circumstances can one speak of pressure," Mr. Simit is said.

    He added that Greece would attain the deficit target of 7.6 per cent set by the EU.

    Meanwhile, National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pachtas said that low- to middle-income earners were not hit by new taxes in the 1997 budget.

    "We agree with Mr. Evert, however, for cuts in expenditures and the need for less state intervention," Mr. Pachtas added.

    The national economy undersecretary accused the main opposition of "leading the economy backwards," while in office between 1990-93.


    Cyprus Police have issued arrest warrants against six people, two Turkish Cypriots and four Turkish mainland settlers, in connection with organising the murder of unarmed Greek Cypriot Tasos Isaac in August, during an anti- occupation demonstration in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    The announcement was made by Attorney General Alecos Markides at a press conference yesterday, noting that all suspects were identified in photographs.

    The arrest warrants were communicated to Interpol Thursday night, asking the international police force to help in the arrest of the six suspects.

    Isaac was savagely murdered by extremists on August 11, when he was trapped in barbed wire in the buffer zone, erected by the Turkish occupation army. He was beaten to death with stones, batons and iron bars.

    Mr. Markides said more people were involved in the murder but there was no available evidence as to their identity. However, he said police were continuing investigations to identify the remaining suspects.

    He said if any one of these people travels to any country which Cyprus has a convention to extradite suspects, the government shall ask that the suspect in question is extradited to Cyprus.

    The six were identified as:

  • Hasan Yilmaz, a Turkish settler, former member of the Turkish Secret Services and now owner of a coffee shop in the Turkish-occupied town of Kyrenia. He was identified in photographs, beating Isaac.

  • Neyfel Mustafa Ergun, 26, Turkish settler, illegal policeman, who arrived in the occupied areas when he was a child. He was identified at the scene of the crime.

  • Polat Fikret Koreli, a 17-year-old Turkish Cypriot living in the Turkish- occupied town of Famagusta.

  • Fikret Veli Koreli, Polat's father, a Turkish Cypriot from Paphos town and now in Famagusta.

  • Mehmet Mustafa Arslan, 41, a Turkish settler, leader of the Turkish extremist organisation "Grey Wolves" in the occupied areas, a Nicosia resident. There is evidence that the suspect participated in Isaac's murder.

  • Erhan Arikli, 40, a Turkish settler from the former Soviet Union, living in the occupied areas for the last 10-11 years.

    On October 30, Cyprus police issued arrest warrants against five people in connection with the premeditated murder of Solomos Solomou, shot and killed on August 14 when climbing a flagpole to lower the Turkish flag during a demonstration to protest agai nst the murder of his relative, Isaac.

    Amongst the suspects are Kenan Akin, self-styled minister of agriculture of the illegal occupation regime, Erdal Emanet, commander of the so-called security forces in the occupied areas, Mehmet Karli, commander of the 29th division of the Turkish army, Hasan Kontaci, former commander of the Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus and Attila Sab, so-called chief of police of the illegal regime.


    Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who is currently visiting Cyprus for talks with the island state's political leadership, reiterated this afternoon that the Greek-Cypriot National Defence Pact constituted what he termed "a non-negotiable national choice."

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the materialisation and reinforcement of the defence pact constituted Greece's right to defend approximately one tenth of the Greek nation.

    Stressing that "Cyprus represented the modern day Messolongi of Hellenism," he assured that Greek aircrafts would fly to the defence of Cyprus against a possible Turkish attack in the "minimum time required."

    "Both Greece and Cyprus's adequate defence ability against any external threat or in order to overturn the occupation of a part of Cyprus, goes through the formulation of the National Defence Pact which is at the same time forming the conditions for a peaceful settlement to the occupation problem," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    He added that the "strengthening, adeguate defence ability, modernisation and upgrating of the armed forces in both Greece and Cyprus constitute the best possible condition for everyone to feel the need to support efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus issue."

    Speaking to reporters in Nicosia, earlier in the day, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said he was returning to Athens feeling certain that both Greece and Cyprus were in the right path concerning the handling of provocations in the national issues this current period.

    He added that during his contacts in Nicosia he realised that it was the "common political choice" of both Athens and Nicosia to pursue improvements in the strategies of the National Defence Zone.

    Yesterday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos met with Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelidis, former President and leader of the United Democrats party, George Vassiliou, and Communist AKEL party Secretary General, Dimitris Christofias.

    On Friday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos discussed defence issues with President of the House of Representatives Spyros Kyprianou, the parliamentary defence committee and Defence Minister Costas Eliades.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting with Mr. Kyprianou, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed that the fundamental principles of international law should be taken into account by those launching initiatives for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    He described the defence pact, agreed between the governments of Cyprus and Greece, as a solid foundation between two independent states which will constitute the answer to the threat of Turkish expansionism.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was also briefed on defence issues by National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Nikolaos Vorvolakos.

    Later in the evening President Glafcos Clerides held a second meeting with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.

    In a short statement Mr. Tsohatzopoulos described the meeting as "very useful and interesting" and added that they continued their discussion on issues of common interest.


    A number of foreign leaders, including King Juan Carlos of Spain, will visit Greece in the near future at dates yet to be fixed, sources in the president of the republic's office said Friday.

    The sources added that President Kostis Stephanopoulos had extended official invitations to the presidents of Tunisia and Uzbekistan as well as to the kings of Belgium and Spain.

    The dates for the visits will be fixed through diplomatic channels, the sources said.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the government is aware that Mr. Stephanopoulos has invited Juan Carlos to visit Greece.

    Mr. Reppas said the government does not object and added that President Stephanopoulos, as head of state, can invite his counterparts.


    Speaking at a conference in Athens on Friday evening, Alternate Foreign Minister Georgios Papandreou warned Greece's European Union partners that Athens will not accept accession of new member-states to the EU unless Cyprus is one of them.

    The conference was organised by the Athens Economic University and the University of Cyprus on the subject of "Cyprus, the EU and the role of Greece."

    "The accession course of Cyprus has taken its path and is not reversible, regardless of whether or not the political problem is resolved," Mr. Papandreou said.

    He said "the enlargement to the east has a strategic significance for European interests. However, the balanced enlargement of the EU to the south as well, also has equal strategic significance for us."

    Mr. Papandreou said the time remaining until the start to accession negotiations must be utilised for a resolution of the political problem, which "necessitates pressures being exerted on the Turkish side to dull its intransigence."


    With the submission of eight amendments at the 42nd NATO parliamentary assembly in Paris on Friday, Turkey unsuccessfully attempted to institute P along with procedures for enlargement of the alliance P the simultaneous integration of its members into the Western European Union (WEU) and the European Union.

    A similar, but milder version was submitted by Dutch Liberal deputy Vim van Eekelen.

    The head of the Greek delegation, PASOK deputy Eleftherios Veryvakis, immediately reacted to the proposals, stressing that "the procedures for NATO, the WEU and the European Union are autonomous and independent, and any such interconnection in dissimila r organisations is inconceivable".

    Turkish Motherland party deputy Kamran Inan countered without being given permission to address the assembly, claiming that "these are Greek views". Discussion soon escalated into a personal heated exchange between the two men.

    The assembly rejected the amemdments, as disagreement was also voiced by other delegations, including the French and the Spanish.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Orestis Kolozov said after the end of the session that the "role designed for Greece and Turkey in NATO with regard to the Balkans is now becoming apparent, and there must be strong reactions from the Greek side f or these developments to be dealt with effectively."


    A two-day conference of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and Central European Initiative (KEP) member-state transport ministers came to a close with the ratification of a final communique on developing regional road networks a nd the signing of a memorandum establishing an inter-regional coordinating centre in Sofia.

    The meeting here was also attended by representatives from the United States, Germany, France, Japan, Yugoslavia, Egypt and Israel. Special observers at the conference were, among others, representatives from the European Commission and the UN's Economic Committee for Europe.

    Greece, a full BSEC member, was represented by the Greek ambassador to Sofia, Panayiotis Karakasis.

    According to the communique, views were exchanged on national and regional policies, as well as on multipartite cooperation programmes in the transport sector.


    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday said Greece was making efforts to peacefully settle existing differences caused in Greek- Turkish relations by Turkey's "persistently offensive attitude."

    Mr. Stephanopoulos made the statement at the border island of Samothrace during his two-day tour of Thrace which was kicked off yesterday.

    Elaborating on Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Stephanopoulos said there was only one issue in the Aegean, that of the delineation of the continental shelf.

    Meanwhile, Athens reiterated on Friday that it would not treat the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf and the issue of the Imia islets as two aspects of a package deal, but would deal with the two issues separately.

    According to Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, the Greek government is prepared to deal with developments in Greek-Turkish relations but the issue of referring the Imia islets and the continental shelf to the International Court at The Hague in the form of a package is "out of the question."

    He said however, that if Turkey was to seek recourse to the Hague over the Imia issue, he could not rule out discussion for the drafting of an agreement for the mutual referral of the continental shelf issue to the International Court.

    According to Mr. Reppas, although the two issues should be dealt with separately, the could be both considered at the same time.

    After his visit to Samothrace, Mr. Stephanopoulos was expected to visit the islands of Thassos and Chrysoupolis, near Nestos, Kavalla before returning to Athens this evening.

    Yesterday, Mr. Stephanopoulos visited the northeastern border town of Alexandroupolis where he also attended a scheduled ceremony to honour the "bard of Thracian songs," Chronis Aidonis.

    Speaking from Alexandroupolis, the President made special mention to the Thracian Moslem minority, stressing that Greece was abiding by the provisions on minorities of the International Agreements and respected the international rules regulating minority issues thus achieving equality amongst its citizens.

    If the minority is to become integrated into the Greek society, the President said, then Turkey's accussations against Greece regarding an alleged behaviour towards the minority ,"not only they should be averted by even prevented from taking place."

    Turning to other issues, Mr. Stephanopoulos refered to what he termed as "optimistic prospects" for Eastern Macedonia and Thrace in the sector of trade with the markets of the Balkan Peninsular and the Black Sea countries.

    According to the President trade will be further strengthened between Greece and these countries after completion of the necessary infrastructural works.

    In an unrelated development on Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller has again accused Greece of impending the solution of problems between the two countries.

    "We have learned that Greece has rejected the efforts made in the last few days by certain members of the EU for the commencement of dialogue between Turkey and Greece.

    The most appropriate way of settling problems are talks, and Greece is hampering the solution of problems, avoiding talks, and attempting to involve EU," a written statement in Ankara yesterday said.


    The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will hold a two-day summit in Lisbon from Dec. 2-3, with summit results expected to significantly affect the future of European security and Greek national issues in particular.

    Three-week preparations for the summit, to be attended by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, were concluded at the OSCE's headquarters in Vienna yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis, whose entourage will include Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas and Alternate Foreign Minister Georgios Papandreou, is expected to set out Greek positions at the 55-nation OSCE summit on the so-called "security model for the 21st century."

    The Greek permanent delegation in Vienna, headed by ambassador Christos Botzios, made effective interventions on issues concerning human and minority rights as well as Greek national matters.

    The European Union is expected to present an initiative in Lisbon on common action by various security institutions in Europe, such as the OSCE, NATO and the West European Union (WEU).

    Moreover, the importance of the OSCE's Lisbon summit is also attached to the role of the organisation's institutional bodies, the consolidation of its legal standing and decisions expected to be taken in 1997 on enlargement eastwards, both for NATO and the EU.

    Federation of Greek groups in NYC celebrates its 59th anniversary

    NEW YORK (ANA - M. Georgiadou) P The Federation of Greek Associations of Greater New York is celebrating the 59th anniversary of its founding this year with a two-day conference to which all expatriate Greek groups have been invited.

    The conference will focus on the best methods of joint action and the most effective coordination of initiatives on national and other issues which concern the Greek-American community.

    The conference is also expected to broach the subject of dealing with Turkish provocations and of "the permanent solutions which are apparently being decided" on the Cyprus problem and on the Aegean, as well as issues concerning Macedonia and Thrace, co operation of the federation's various local Greek community organisations with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and methods of better informing US public opinion.

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos will participate in the conference, while the Pan-Macedonian Union has organised a programme in order to welcome the minister to New York.

    In addition, the Union has organised a photographic exhibition, due to open on Tuesday, entitled "From Pella to Alexandria: Point of Reference of a Civilisation", in cooperation with the Alexander the Great Foundation, Fordham University's "Odysseus" As sociation and the Greek Culture Foundation.

    International symposium examines effect of last year's earthquake

    A two-day international scientific symposium on the repercussions for Aigialia and Fokida of last year's catastrophic earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale opened yesterday in Aigio, the town most badly hit by the tremor.

    The symposium is being held on the initiative of the Organisation for Anti- Seismic Planning (OASP) and the prefectural Local Government Authority of Achaia.

    Addressing delegates, OASP president Professor Dimitris Papanikolaou explained the importance of the symposium, noting that not only purely scientific data concerning earthquakes but also the political and social dimensions of seismic phenomena would be presented.

    "A phenomenonon which will always exist for Greece, which is why a special organisation is needed to incorporate all the political responsibilities, because above all, the social web of a particular region must not be allowed to slacken when such natural disasters occur," Mr. Papanikoloaou said.

    He added that one of the main aims of the symposium was to illustrate that social and political repercussions were directly connected with the earthquake phenomenon.

    Twenty-one people died, among them 10 French tourists, in the June 1995 earthquake which mainly hit Aigio on the northern Peloponnese coast.

    Union of European Theatres festival slated for Thessaloniki

    The sixth Festival of the Union of European Theatres is to be held in Thessaloniki next year within the framework of events for the Cultural Capital of Europe 1997.

    Thessaloniki won over the festival from Strasburg after submitting its candidacy to host the event on the initiative of the State Theatre of Northern Greece, which became part of the Union in May, and with the support of the Cultural Capital of Europe 1 997 Organisation.

    The Union of European Theatres organises an annual festival with the participation of its members, which are 17 of the most important theatrical organisations in Europe.

    As well as performances, the festival will include exhibitions of leading European stage designers, dedications to great directors with video screenings of their most important productions, as well as conferences.

    Venizelos opens European writers conference

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday opened the 15th European Authors Federation Conference meeting in Athens.

    Urging the authors to put to use the type of strategies that aim at organising the literature market, the culture minister stressed the need "to persist in a new type of political liberalism which is also necessary for inspiring authors and artists."

    The meeting, ending today, is taking place with the participation of 100 writers from 30 countries and is focusing among other things on copyright as well as freedom of speech and expression.

    The meeting is hosted by the Greek Authors Society.

    Athens to organise conference on composer Mitropoulos

    The Athens municipality will organise the first international conference on the subject of "The Art and Contribution of Dimitris Mitropoulos", within the framework of events to honour the noted Greek composer.

    The series of events includes composers, musicians and researchers of his work as a maestro and composer, as well as individuals who knew and cooperated with him.

    The conference will be held on Nov. 26 in the Antonis Tritsis Hall of the Athens municipality's cultural centre. The third and last concert of the dedication, entitled "Greek Sonata" will be performed at the end of the event.

    Entrance is free.

    Greek trade fair gets under way in Belgrade

    BELGRADE (ANA - M. Mouratidis) - Greece' ambassador in Belgrade Panayiotis Vlassopoulos on Friday inaugurated the first Greek trade fair at Belgrade's exhibition complex.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos said that the first such trade fair in Yugoslavia after the lifting of sanctions was an indication of the new economic relations between the two countries and of their future development.

    The inauguration was attended by the President of the Yugoslav Chambers Mihailo Milojevic.

    The exhibition has been organised by the TEGOS-PLAN firm from Thessaloniki and includes the participation of some 50 Greek businessmen, primarily from northern Greece.

    Greek and Yugoslav entrepreneurs will meet in Belgrade today to discuss issues such as imports and exports, the banking system, the creation of joint enterprises, the investment programme and prospects for cooperation in the agricultural sector.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos, meanwhile, met on Thursday with the Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikos Sainovic and defined the activities which would immediately strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.

    The first exhibition of Yugoslav products in Athens will be held December 3- 7.

    80 Greek firms to participate in Europartenariat

    Eighty Greek companies will participate in the Europartenariat to be held in Genoa, Italy on November 27-29.

    The next Europartenariat is due to be held in Piraeus, in June next year.

    National Economic Undersecretary Alekos Baltas will be in Genoa for a handing-over ceremony on November 28.

    AGET comes under direct Italian control

    After protracted negotiations, the National Bank of Greece has agreed to sell 50 per cent of its shares in the Greek-Italian consortium KALNAT which controls 50.5 per cent of the AGET Iraklis cememt company since 1991 to the Italian Concretum concern f or 32.2 billion drachmas in cash.

    The package of shares sold represents 12 per cent of AGET's equity capital, and thus National Bank's participation in the company is now restricted to 33 per cent.

    The agreement includes a clause stating that if Concretum decides to sell its shares or if AGET is sold or goes bankrupt, National Bank will have a preference in repurchasing the company.

    It was also agreed that new investments would be undertaken to improve the company's competitiveness and promote environmental protection schemes.

    WEATHER (SUNDAY)

    Deteriorating, with rainstorms spreading in from the west.

    Winds southwesterly, becoming very strong in the open sea.

    Temperatures reaching 17 C in the north, 21 C in other mainland areas, and 22 C on the islands.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    Close of trading on November 22.

    U.S. dlr 235.005, Can. dlr.175.782, Australian dlr. 190.464, Pound sterling 395.848, Irish punt 396.006, Cyprus pd 514.610, French franc 46.162, Swiss franc 185.221 Belgian franc 7.595, German mark 156.557, Finnish mark 51.812, Dutch guilder 139.569, Danish Kr. 40.751, Swedish Kr. 35.496, Norwegian Kr. 37.138, Austrian Sh. 22.231, Italian lira (100) 15.702, Yen (100) 211.236, Spanish Peseta 1.862, Portuguese Escudo 1.549.

    (M.S.)

    (M.S.)


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