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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-16

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 1417), February 16, 1998

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


  • [01] Clerides re-elected president of Cyprus in close election
  • [02] ... Simitis message
  • [03] ... Cook
  • [04] Farmers temporarily lift roadblocks, to meet with party leaders
  • [05] ... KKE
  • [06] ... Constantopoulos
  • [07] Pontic Hellenism Museum inaugurated by Stephanopoulos
  • [08] Minor quake in Messiniakos Gulf
  • [09] Primakov arrives in Athens for official visit
  • [10] Tsohatzopoulos on official visit to Egypt
  • [11] Euro-MP Roumeliotis concludes visit to Albania
  • [12] Karamanlis says radical changes needed to achieve EMU convergence
  • [13] Voting in ND elections
  • [14] Protest held against installation of Macedonia Airport radar
  • [15] Former minister Mylonas dies
  • [16] PASOK conference on ideology concludes
  • [17] Former ND minister Andrianopoulos on gov't prospects
  • [18] ... Bakoyianni
  • [19] Goatherd strangles wolf

  • [01] Clerides re-elected president of Cyprus in close election

    Nicosia, 16/02/1998 (ANA - G. Leonidas/CNA)

    Glafcos Clerides was re-elected president of Cyprus yesterday with 50.8 per cent of the vote, against rival George Iacovou's 49.2 per cent, with the total number of votes having been counted.

    Following his win in the run-off presidential election, Mr. Clerides called for unity, calm and consensus.

    In a message read by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kassoulides, Mr. Clerides said "these are times of unity. We should all give our hands because serious developments in the Cyprus problem lay ahead of us."

    "Tonight, there are no winners and losers," he stressed, calling on supporters to reach out to all citizens of the Republic, from all parties, with love, friendship and co-operation.

    "Tonight, all Cypriots are patriots, they all love their country and they will work together in unity for the reunification of Cyprus," the re-elected president added.

    Mr. Iacovou, conceding defeat, described the result of the elections as "honorable", saying however, that the race was unequal.

    Mr. Iacovou told reporters last night he phoned Mr. Clerides personally and congratulated him on his re-election. He also congratulated Mr. Clerides in public, describing the pre-election race as tough and lengthy.

    Mr. Iacovou then thanked the leadership and members of the left-wing AKEL and Center-Right Democratic Party parties for their support, as well as his associates, and all those who voted for him even though they belonged to different parties.

    Mr. Iacovou also referred to the way the election was held. "We chose to give a battle on principles, positions and proposals", said Mr. Clerides' opponent, adding that he hoped "whatever was not mentioned before the elections will be heard from now on." Mr. Iacovou also said that he would be "present in all future struggles" of Cyprus.

    Mr. Clerides, 78, won 40.06 per cent of the vote in the first round last week and was backed in the second round by the right-wing Democratic Rally party, the United Democrats, the New Horizons party, the Liberal Party and Alexis Galanos, who broke ranks with the Democratic Party, after his party supported Mr. Iacovou.

    On his part, Mr. Iacovou, 60, polled 40.61 per cent of the vote last week and was backed by the left-wing AKEL party and the center-right Democratic Party. The new president was announced at midnight by Chief Returning Officer Thanos Michael at the indoor stadium "Eleftheria" (Freedom) in Nicosia.

    [02] ... Simitis message

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    In Athens, Prime Minister Costas Simitis last night contacted Mr. Clerides and congratulated him on his victory, conveying his wish that close co-operation between them continues on all major Cypriot national issues.

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos also phoned the Cypriot president to congratulate him on his re-election. Mr. Clerides thanked the Greek defense minister and said he was looking forward to a meeting with him.

    [03] ... Cook

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    British Foreign Secretary and current EU Council President Robin Cook last night congratulated Mr. Clerides on behalf of the EU.

    In statements Mr. Cook said: "We should now start working. The British presidency will soon have talks with the new Cyprus government to confer on important events which are expected in the coming weeks. We wish to see the UN-sponsored process of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem to resume soon. We also wish to start (Cyprus') EU accession process in the best possible way on March 31.

    [04] Farmers temporarily lift roadblocks, to meet with party leaders

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    An impasse created by protesting farmers' escalating mobilizations around the nation was eased yesterday evening as the most vocal farmers' group, the Panthessaly Coordinating Committee (PASE), agreed to temporarily lift roadblocks on main Greek roadways as of this morning.

    PASE spokesman Evangelos Boutas, who is also a Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy, said roadblocks would be lifted at 6 a.m. in order for the group's representatives to meet in Athens with opposition party leaders. PASE members have also expressed a desire to meet PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis.

    The request for opposition political leaders' mediation in the farmers'-government confrontation was issued to every opposition leader that visited roadblocks Friday and over the weekend. Today's meeting is expected to take place in the afternoon. Farmers' mobilizations over the weekend had cut the nation in half by using tractors and farm equipment to completely block the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway at Tembi, central Greece, as riot squads have been also dispatched to the Larisa area. In addition, roadblocks had also been set up in Macedonia and Thrace by farmers protesting against the government's agricultural policy.

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Demetris Reppas on Saturday warned protesting farmers that the government will use every legal procedure available to avert, as he said, the use of society as hostage to the will and goals of the few.

    Mr. Reppas added that such actions are well above and beyond the realm of farmers' struggle and can be classified as political actions.

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis called for an end to the roadblocks, saying they were harming other citizens. He also criticized Prime Minister Costas Simitis, saying the premier isn't personally campaigning for Greek agricultural products at the EU level, as his Spanish counterpart is doing. Mr. Karamanlis visited a roadblock on the Thessaloniki-Veria highway at the Nea Halkidona site yesterday afternoon.

    [05] ... KKE

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    Speaking on Saturday to farmers in Thessaloniki, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Papariga said "the struggle to defend farmers' rights must be a single one, coordinated from Evros to Crete".

    Ms Papariga added that the people's problems originated from the policy dictated by "European centers" and implemented by successive Greek governments.

    [06] ... Constantopoulos

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    Later in the evening yesterday, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said he will meet with the PASE representatives today. He made the statements while attending the Synaspismos Achaia organization's annual carnival dance in Patra.

    Mr. Constantopoulos said farmers should calmly choose their forms of mobilization without entering into confrontation with other social groups, something he says the government wishes.

    [07] Pontic Hellenism Museum inaugurated by Stephanopoulos

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    A Museum of Pontic Hellenism was opened in Athens yesterday by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos. The museum's exhibition halls display the history of the Pontic (Black Sea) Greeks up until the time of their resettlement in Greece in the early 20th century, as well as their ancient customs and traditions.

    "Unfortunately, the history of the Pontic Greeks is not widely known. Not even I myself know enough about it, but I don't know what Greeks would be today if it had not been for the positive influence of the Greeks of Pontus," said Mr. Stephanopoulos.

    The opening was part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Committee for Pontic Studies, which houses (73, Agnoston Martyron St., Nea Smyrni) the museum.

    [08] Minor quake in Messiniakos Gulf

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    An earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale occurred yesterday afternoon in the southwestern Peloponnese region. The quake's epicenter was recorded in the sea region of the Messiniakos Gulf, 190 kilometers southwest of Athens. The tremor was felt mostly in the Kalamata area, although no damage were reported.

    [09] Primakov arrives in Athens for official visit

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov arrived early last night in Athens for an official visit.

    In statements to reporters at Athens' airport, Mr. Primakov said Greek-Russian relations were very good and that his talks today with Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos will focus on bilateral relations, issues of regional and Balkan interest as well as on international developments.

    Mr. Primakov will also meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Press sources said Mr. Primakov's talks were expected to focus on the ongoing Iraqi crisis, developments in the Middle East and Cyprus as well as relations with Turkey. Emphasis is also expected to fall on strengthening bilateral co-operation in the Balkans.

    Mr. Primakov will kick-off his visit today by visiting the offices of the Prometheus Gas Co., which is involved in the distribution of Russian natural gas. He will then meet Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Foreign Minister Pangalos, Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos, and finally Mr. Simitis and Mr. Stephanopoulos.

    He is scheduled to give a brief press conference tonight.

    [10] Tsohatzopoulos on official visit to Egypt

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos leaves for an official visit to Egypt today for talks with his Egyptian counterpart and visits to local defense industries. He will be received by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak tomorrow and also have talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mousa.

    On Wednesday, he is to meet representatives of Egypt's ethnic Greek community, as well as Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros.

    [11] Euro-MP Roumeliotis concludes visit to Albania

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek Eurodeputy Panayiotis Roumeliotis wound up an official visit to Albania yesterday with a press conference.

    Mr. Roumeliotis is also the European Union's coordinator for stability and good-neighborly procedures in southeastern Europe. During his two-day visit to the country, the Eurodeputy met Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani, Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Foreign Minister Paskal Milo, among others. Prospects for better co-operation among members of the Stability and Good-neighborly Pact in Southeastern Europe dominated talks.

    Mr. Roumeliotis was also briefed on Albania's relations with its neighbors, while during the press conference, he expressed satisfaction with Tirana's positive reaction to the activities of non-governmental organizations in the country.

    [12] Karamanlis says radical changes needed to achieve EMU convergence

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    The need for decisive and in-depth changes to achieve real convergence with Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the country's development was stressed by main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis over the weekend.

    The ND leader made the statements during a meeting with the board of the Federation of Greek Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE). SBBE President Vassilis Takas briefed the ND leader on problems faced by industries in Macedonia and Thrace.

    Speaking to the press later, Mr. Karamanlis referred to the development law, saying SBBE's insights were extremely useful, adding that he ascertained "an important similarity with ND positions".

    Referring to the policy on development, Mr. Karamanlis stressed the need for radical changes in the role of the state. "Instead of operating as an assistant to citizens, (the state) is hostile towards them, having a downgraded effectiveness which some of the times was characterized by phenomena of corruption".

    The opposition leader further argued that development in northern Greece should focus on infrastructure.

    [13] Voting in ND elections

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    On early Saturday afternoon Mr. Karamanlis cast his vote in internal ND party elections at the Mitropoli branch. Upon exiting the polls, he told reporters he was proud of being a member of ND, while he thanked party members for taking part in the democratic process.

    Party members had gathered outside the building to greet Mr. Karamanlis, shouting "Karamanlis' time has come".

    [14] Protest held against installation of Macedonia Airport radar

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    A demonstration against the installation of a new radar system for Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport was held yesterday by local residents, who cited concerns over possible radiation emitted by the equipment.

    Municipal council members and residents of Perea, west of Thessaloniki, and four other districts surrounding the airport gathered in the town to protest the move. They proposed an alternative radio-link between the airport control tower and the Hortiati military radar station, adding that Perea municipality will pay for such an installation.

    The government, however, appears determined to go ahead, as stated by Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis in Thessaloniki this week.

    On his part, Perea Mayor Antonis Matzaris said civil aviation officials visited the area on Friday to make arrangements for compensation to be paid to owners of land appropriated for the new radar installation.

    Residents have already appealed to the Council of State and are expected to apply to the European Court.

    [15] Former minister Mylonas dies

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    Former minister Georgios Mylonas died yesterday at the age of 79. He was a close aide to Greek statesman and premier George Papandreou, and was repeatedly elected deputy for the Ioannina seat with the Center Union (Enosi Kentrou).

    Mylonas had served as an under-secretary to the premier office and education under-secretary in 1963-65. He assumed the transport portfolio in the first post-junta government in 1974 and was culture minister in 1989-90 governments.

    Mylonas was the author of the book "Escape From Amorgos", detailing his escape from the island, were he was exiled during the 1967-74 military dictatorship.

    [16] PASOK conference on ideology concludes

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    A two-day conference by the ruling PASOK party on ideological issues wound up Saturday evening, with PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis saying that the meeting's proceedings had "a constructive and positive impact".

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis told participants that Greece, as a state which has incorporated technological and economic realities into its policy, should attempt a new composition of its foreign policy by strengthening its position on the international scene.

    According to Mr. Kranidiotis, Greece should also deal with and resolve regional problems, especially those with Turkey, and broaden its participation in international bodies and procedures. European Commissioner Christos Papoutsis argued that the leftist movement should not remain inert towards new international developments, nor should it accept the theory of "one-wayism".

    "For us, the market and production globalization should go hand in hand with the globalization of democracy," he told the meeting.

    Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis primarily spoke on his portfolio, saying that he expected educational reforms to be well underway by the year 2000. The minister also asked for help to that effect from all relevant agencies, saying that the timetable for educational reform will be a basic element in PASOK's political presence within Greek society.

    Mr. Arsenis said the proper context should be created to allow the operation of a democracy of knowledge, giving free access to that knowledge for all citizens. Eurodeputy Paraskevas Avgerinos told the meeting that the way to European unification was long, as "many issues were not 'ripe' yet, so as to create the appropriate conditions for international co-operation and processes of equivalent political proposals.

    Mr. Skandalidis, declaring the end of proceedings, said the exchange of ideas was "a guide to all of us".

    [17] Former ND minister Andrianopoulos on gov't prospects

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy minister Andreas Andrianopoulos believes that two options are likely to emerge from the current political scene in Greece. In a bylined article published in Saturday's "Ependitis" newspaper, the former ND high-ranking cadre said a first likely outcome was that the government would consciously continue with radical modernization policies for society.

    According to Mr. Andrianopoulos, this would allow Prime Minister Costas Simitis to further increase support from two political areas, namely, the moderate left and right. He said this could possibly lead to main opposition ND's weakening.

    The second possibility, said the former minister, was for the government to continue to move within social and economic deadlocks. If that happens, a political rallying under the banner of modernization would be inevitable.

    Asked to comment on Mr. Andrianopoulos' views, ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis replied that the kind of PASOK described by the former ND cadre did not exist. "It would have a different name", he said. "And since my dear friend Andreas is not naive at all - for two years now he has been trying to set the vital grounds for a new party - let him found the new party he wants..." Mr. Skandalidis concluded.

    Also commenting on Mr. Andrianopoulos' article and his statements about the likelihood of joining PASOK, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said he held Mr. Andrianopoulos in high esteem, but disagreed with his neo-liberal ideas. It would be better if Mr. Andrianopoulos tried to improve things within his own - conservative - political realm, Mr. Laliotis said.

    [18] ... Bakoyianni

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, after she cast her vote in ND's internal elections, senior deputy Dora Bakoyianni told the press that what was obvious from Saturday's PASOK meeting was that the ruling party was not in a position to carry out required modernization.

    [19] Goatherd strangles wolf

    Athens, 16/02/1998 (ANA)

    A 23-year-old goat herder in the Pangaio region, northern Greece, got the better of a large wolf that attacked him yesterday as the man approached the fold where his roughly 1,200 goats were kept. According to reports, Costas Mihalopoulos strangled the wolf after grappling with it outside the pen in the Agios Yiannis district, although he stated that he did not want to kill the animal.

    "I've never harmed an animal, and I've never fought with a human being," Mr. Mihalopoulos said. The man had no knife or other weapon on him at the time. Despite his struggle with the wolf, Mr. Mihalopoulos was unharmed. End of English language section.

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