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

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 1042), November 16, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Greece retains its right to extend its territorial waters, Simitis says
  • [02] Simitis calls on opposition to contribute to initiative for the Balkans
  • [03] Tsohatzopoulos cites increased Turkish provocations in Aegean
  • [04] Stock exchange problems will be dealt with in new bill, prime minister says
  • [05] Bourse president files lawsuit against Delta Securities
  • [06] Spyridon appointed to US advisory committee on religious freedom
  • [07] Group claims responsibility for bomb near Netherlands embassy
  • [08] Events marking Polytechnic anniversary commence
  • [09] Past violence
  • [10] Athens candidacy file presented before IOC
  • [11] Veryvakis leads delegation to NATO parliamentary meeting
  • [12] Yugoslav trade exhibition in Athens scheduled for December
  • [13] Two new bond issues due on Friday
  • [14] Conference on union of economic universities opens in Thessaloniki
  • [15] Gov't tables tough bill on public sector appointments
  • [16] Papandreou holds talks in Bonn, The Hague covering IGC issues
  • [17] Netherlands visit
  • [18] Greece's UN representative to return to Athens for consultations on FYROM
  • [19] FYROM provocation in Italy
  • [20] Evert condemns anniversary of pseudo-state's unilateral declaration of independence

  • [01] Greece retains its right to extend its territorial waters, Simitis says

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed yesterday that Greece retained its right to extend its territorial waters from six to 12 miles and criticized as "demagogy" statements by main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert claiming that the government 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 justified "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 co-operation 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."

    [02] Simitis calls on opposition to contribute to initiative for the Balkans

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    The Greek government believes that Greece can play an important role in the Balkans and towards this end it has taken many initiative in the European Union, Prime Minister Costas Simitis told Parliament yesterday. Responding to a question from Coalition deputy Maria Damanaki, the prime minister analyzed the initiatives the government has undertaken and called on the opposition to present its proposals.

    Ms. Damanaki said that the opposition had proposals but that the standing parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and defense had not convened on inter-Balkan co-operation.

    Mr. Simitis commented that New Democracy had not agreed to participate in the presidium of the committee, which the government had proposed to be inter-party.

    New Democracy president Miltiades Evert said ND did not agree to participate in the committee because it was "meaningless" and that the government did not want joint foreign policy because it conducted "secret diplomacy".

    [03] Tsohatzopoulos cites increased Turkish provocations in Aegean

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    National Defense 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 destabilizing effect on world peace.

    Speaking during a visit to fleet headquarters at the Salamis Naval Station, the Greek national defense minister said the nation has the political will and the military readiness to respond immediately to any challenge against its territorial integrity with 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 defense doctrine must correspond directly and effectively to man aging crises so that it will be able, together with the new armaments program, to guarantee an adequate defense and secure a safe outcome of any confrontation. He further said the armaments program ratified by the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) earlier this week effectively strengthens the operational and fighting capacity of the three branches of the armed forces.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said he will brief party leaders on the new armaments program. He also referred to the loss of the four non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of the missile boat "Kostakos", who died in the line of duty. He expressed certainty that the Hellenic Navy will continue its contribution to the nation with even greater zeal.

    Replying to a question on reports of pressures on Athens by Washington for Greek warplanes to not fly over Cyprus, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos denied that any pressures were being exerted.

    "When proposals are made for discussion and initiatives on tackling pending issues, they will be examined on the basis of the country's given and clear steadfast positions," he said.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the policy of the joint defense doctrine between Greece and Cyprus being applied requires the safeguarding of full and absolute co-operation between Greek and Cypriot forces.

    [04] Stock exchange problems will be dealt with in new bill, prime minister says

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    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 further 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.

    [05] Bourse president files lawsuit against Delta Securities

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) President Emmanuel Xanthakis filed a lawsuit yesterday alleging fraud against the administration of Delta Securities, which is allegedly responsible for a scandal costing the bourse 2.6 billion drachmas.

    The lawsuit names Delta president Dimitris Argyriadis, vice-president Ioanna Gelestathi and Delta board member Theofanis Gravanis.

    Athens prosecutor Georgios Koliokostas is also examining the lawsuit and will decide today on what further steps will be taken.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, the main opposition New Democracy party yesterday claimed that "an effort to cover up the scandal at the stock exchange is continuing with strange methodizations."

    In an announcement, ND referred to reports that the government is trying "to cover up what is happening at the stock exchange with a legislative act", and called on the government "to bring whatever settlement it wants to Parliament for it to be discussed even with an urgent process."

    Replying to the announcement, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the main goal is absolute transparency in the ASE sector, adding that controls by services have already started and as of Monday three auditing companies of international prestige w ill be recruited, as was decided by the Capital Committee. He said the legislative act, which will be ratified, satisfies the urgent need for prompt handling of the problem created by Delta, so that the stock exchange's smooth functioning can proceed.

    Mr. Reppas said controls will be in-depth, while at the same time the bourse will continue its function.

    [06] Spyridon appointed to US advisory committee on religious freedom

    New York, 16/11/1996 (ANA/M. Georgiadou)

    Archbishop of America Spyridon is participating in an advisory committee for religious freedom, established by US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. The 20-member committee aims to propose ways of combating religious persecution around the world. Its presidency has been assumed by the US State Department's under-secretary for democracy, human rights and labor issues. The committee is comprised of representatives from the largest religious groups in the United States, as well as academics and those whose religious beliefs are a target for persecution abroad.

    [07] Group claims responsibility for bomb near Netherlands embassy

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    An organization 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 being 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.

    [08] Events marking Polytechnic anniversary commence

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    Three days of celebrations marking the 1973 student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic against the military dictatorship then ruling Greece officially began yesterday.

    On his part, Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis said at a special elementary school ceremony yesterday morning that "democracy and freedom are not offered without struggle."

    "This struggle was won for us by the Polytechnic youth in 1973," he said, adding: "We have a duty to these youths to keep democracy strong, to work hard for a better society than the one we inherited by the previous generation."

    Mr. Arsenis said the student uprising, known as the Polytechnic anniversary, should continue to be commemorated so that its message is kept alive.

    Labor Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said it was important that "the "messages and visions" of the era are kept relevant today.

    In another development, yesterday, Parliament deputies observed a moment of silence in memory of the student uprising.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said in a brief address to Parliament that "under the living conditions of the past years and faced with the provocations and direct threats against our national sovereignty by Turkey, (we) must be deeply concerned with the past, but mostly the future of this land and Hellenism."

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said the message of the student uprising "still applies today" and that "the anniversary will be commemorated for as long as the people proceed forward."

    Meanwhile, dozens of citizens, politicians, academics and organization members began to flock to the Polytechnic yesterday morning to lay wreaths and flowers at the monument to honor those who struggled against junta. Conversely, Athens braced itself for possible violence, which has erupted over the past several years during the anniversary and has been caused by self-style anarchists.

    The Polytechnic's board of faculty on Thursday decided to suspend classes for the days leading up to the anniversary, while other higher education institutions in the city's center have also decided to shut down as a precautionary measure.

    Polytechnic Rector Nikos Markatos, who chaired the board meeting, is reported to have proposed the closure of all the entrances to the school and for the institution to remain shut for the duration of the anniversary.

    His proposal, however, was rejected by students' representatives and a number of staff members.

    Meanwhile, 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.

    [09] Past violence

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    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 center 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 shop-owners 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 route 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.

    In a related development, in reply to statements by main opposition New Democracy party Vice-President Ioannis Varvitsiotis, Public Order Minister George Romeos said he was willing to undertake the responsibility if violence breaks out between police an d rioters, adding that measures have been taken by police for the prevention and suppression of any violence.

    "We are determined to do what we have to do in co-operation with the University Administration Board and judicial authorities in order not to let things develop as in past years," Mr. Romeos said.

    [10] Athens candidacy file presented before IOC

    Cancun, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    Athens yesterday presented its candidacy file for the hosting of the 2004 Olympic Games before the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) executive committee and IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.

    The president of the "Athens 2004" committee, Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, unveiled the Greek capital's candidacy during the IOC meeting in the Mexican resort of Cancun by featuring Athens' sports facilities and under construction infrastructure projects - metro, Spata Airport, new highways, etc.

    In addition, the operation and goals of the International Olympic Academy in Olympia elicited strong interest from IOC delegates, with Athens 2004 public relations director Marton Simicek presenting the academy's aims for the dissemination of the Olympic movement throughout the world.

    IOC member Vasquez Rania, who presided over the conference, congratulated Ms Angelopoulou-Daskalaki and the members of the Greek delegation on Athens' presentation.

    [11] Veryvakis leads delegation to NATO parliamentary meeting

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    An inter-party parliamentary delegation headed by ruling PASOK party deputy Eleftherios Veryvakis leaves on Sunday for Paris to attend the 42nd annual meeting of NATO's North Atlantic Parliamentary Assembly.

    Taking part in the delegation apart from Mr. Veryvakis are a further four PASOK deputies, three main opposition New Democracy party deputies and one deputy each from the Communist Party of Greece and the Democratic Social Movement.

    [12] Yugoslav trade exhibition in Athens scheduled for December

    Belgrade, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    Yugoslavia's Economic Chamber will organize the first Yugoslav trade exhibition in Athens from Dec. 3-7 in co-operation with the Investbanka bank and the Mark-Plan company.

    More than 50 Yugoslav companies will exhibit their products in Athens, while construction companies will seek partners to undertake projects in Greece and Yugoslavia, as well as in third markets.

    Economic officials from Yugoslavia said economic co-operation between the two countries will focus on producing building materials, agricultural machinery, locomotives, buses, wagons, ships as well as electrical goods, household appliances and clothing.

    Interest also exists for co-operation in the pharmaceutical and informatics sectors. Yugoslav companies are further interested in participating in projects aimed at modernizing Greek railways.

    According to official statistics, over the period of January to August 1996 Greece was Yugoslavia's sixth partner in the overseas trade sector. Imports from Greece amounted to $95 million. Over the same period, Italy was in first place with $275 million in exports to Yugoslavia and imports of $105 million.

    [13] Two new bond issues due on Friday

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    The finance ministry announced yesterday that two auctions for state titles will be conducted on Friday, Nov. 22.

    The first will be a bond auction for 200 billion drachmas with a fluctuating interest rate, a seven-year duration, a basic interest rate of 12 per cent and a spread of 1.40 per cent.

    The other will be a bond auction for 100 billion drachmas with a stable interest rate, a three-year duration and a fixed 11 per cent interest rate throughout the entire duration of the issue.

    [14] Conference on union of economic universities opens in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    A two-day conference for the founding of a union of economics universities in southeastern Europe opened at the Thessaloniki campus of Macedonia University.

    The union aims to promote the interests of economics universities, co-operation between the individual institutions, the exchange of information and experiences, the improvement of education levels and scientific and research co-operation in economics.

    Opening the conference, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos stressed that co-operation and communication of all Balkan countries on equal terms, taking into consideration the economic situation of each country, constitutes the cornerstone of security in the region, and in Europe in general.

    [15] Gov't tables tough bill on public sector appointments

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    The government yesterday tabled a bill in Parliament which effectively puts a freeze on public sector hiring until the end of 1999, since the ratio of retirements to hiring during the period will be five to one.

    Excluded from the provisions of the bill, which aims at cutting public spending, are teachers of all grades, the security forces, the coast-guard, medical and nursing staff.

    In these sectors, the ratio of retirements to hirings will be one to one. The restrictions on hiring will apply to state-controlled banks, public enterprises and corporations as well as municipal enterprises. Under the bill, any new hiring beyond the ratios laid down must first be approved by the national economy, finance and interior ministries.

    In addition, pensioners who are appointed as chairpersons or members of the board of administrations of public sector organizations will no longer be able to receive both emoluments and a pension. They will have to choose between one or the other.

    The bill also introduces measures allowing public organizations, insurance funds and legal persons of public law to rent out their immovable property and invest their available funds in real estate or listed shares by virtue of decisions of their boards of administration, that is, without the approval of the competent ministers as was the case to date.

    Under the same procedure, public sector administrations will be able to liquidate investments in real estate and shares.

    The bill contains provisions which establish new mechanisms and systems for exercising more effective control and evaluating public sector spending.

    [16] Papandreou holds talks in Bonn, The Hague covering IGC issues

    Bonn, 16/11/1996 (ANA/P. Stangos)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou held two-hour talks here yesterday with his German counterpart Werner Heuer, focusing primarily on a review of differences and convergences of views between Athens and Bonn concerning the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on revising the Maastricht Treaty.

    Both ministers conceded that different views exist on the issue of so-called "flexibility", which constitutes the main target that the German side is promoting in revising the Maastricht Treaty with the purpose of possibly overcoming the right of veto b y member-states.

    On the question of safeguarding Greek borders with a clause calling for "political solidarity", Mr. Papandreou underlined the importance of the issue both for Greece and the European Union, and told Greek reporters he met with understanding.

    "To what extent this position will be supported by Germany will be seen in the future," he said.

    According to diplomatic sources, Bonn requested a written memorandum on the issue which will include support for insular regions such as the Aegean.

    Referring to relations between Turkey and the EU, Mr. Papandreou said "we want Turkey's European prospects and its rapprochement with the EU, but general proclamations are not enough. What is important is for there to be practical samples, such as on the Cyprus issue, borders and respect for human rights."

    The same sources said the issue of EU funding to Turkey within the framework of the customs union agreement was not examined in the talks.

    Commenting on the Cyprus issue, Mr. Heuer said "we hope for and expect some progress", and "we would like to see the island of Cyprus, which will start accession negotiations soon, in the European Union."

    [17] Netherlands visit

    The Hague, 16/11/1996 (ANA/L. Vasileiadis)

    Mr. Papandreou later flew to The Hague for talks with his Dutch counterpart Pateijn, concerning the IGC and Greek positions on individual issues with a view to converging views between the two sides.

    Mr. Papandreou broached the subject of protection of the EU's external borders. According to reports, Mr. Pateijn replied that the issue must be disconnected from the issue of collective defense and must be limited to a matter of principle. The Greek alternate foreign minister also spoke of the legal basis for the taking of measures in the EU's island regions.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to visit The Hague on Dec. 12 before the Dublin Summit meeting. In an unrelated development, Greece announced the order of a new frigate from the Netherlands.

    [18] Greece's UN representative to return to Athens for consultations on FYROM

    United Nations, 16/11/1996 (ANA/M. Georgiadou)

    Greece's permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Christos Zacharakis is returning to Athens to brief the government on the latest developments and immediate prospects regarding negotiations with the

    Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on the issue of the one-time Yugoslav republic's name. Negotiations are expected to resume in the first week of December. Diplomatic circles stressed that while no timetable and deadline had been set by the U N for the talks, it was clear that if FYROM continued invoking constitutional and political problems regarding the issue, UN mediator Cyrus Vance would resort to the only alternative solution available, namely, submission of a report to the UN secretary general for referral of the issue to the Security Council. The Security Council will then be called upon to put an end to the outstanding issue, either through consultations between the two parties or by approving another name, which will not, however, be mandatory for third parties, the same circles said.

    [19] FYROM provocation in Italy

    Rome, 16/11/1996 (ANA/L. Hatzikyriakos, M. Hourmousis)

    In an unrelated issue, an attempt by FYROM delegates at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) summit to hide the first two words of the landlocked nation's UN-recognized name from a metal nameplate in front of its delegation drew disapproval from FAO's legal adviser yesterday. "It is universally accepted that no country can invoke its internal constitutional arrangements to circumvent its international commitments," he said.

    Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the conference, Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas met with his counterparts of Georgia, Albania, Morocco, Cape Verde and Malta, stating that he found strong interest for co-operation in the sectors of agriculture, trade and tourism. He added he would soon be visiting these countries.

    [20] Evert condemns anniversary of pseudo-state's unilateral declaration of independence

    Athens, 16/11/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party President Miltiades Evert in a message yesterday on the anniversary of the proclamation of the illegal Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state, condemned what he called the systematic violation of human rights and all international law by the Turkish occupation forces in northern Cyprus.

    Mr. Evert declared his full support for the "struggles of Cypriot Hellenism" and called on the international community to assume its responsibilities in the face of an international crime.

    "The barbed wire which divides the island must fall in order for a just solution to be found and for peace to be ensured in this sensitive region," he said.

    The pseudo state is only recognized by Ankara.

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party issued an announcement expressing its support for a resumption of inter-community talks on Cyprus, military disengagement and for all steps leading to a diffusion of tension and a rapprochement of the two communities on the island.

    "The present situation in Cyprus has the potential for danger, a freezing of partitioning faits accomplis," the announcement said, stressing that "the governments of Greece and Cyprus have an obligation to use the international mobility which is developing regarding the Cypriot problem."

    On its part, the Political Spring (Pol.An) party accused what it called Greece's "allies" of hypocrisy, claiming that "only in the long-term crime of Cyprus do they not cite reasons of international legality."

    End of English language section.

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