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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-09-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 26/09/1996 (ANA)


  • Reppas: ''Greek foreign policy remains unchanged''
  • New PASOK government sworn-in
  • Government not considering any change to electoral law
  • Pangalos replies to State Department remarks, reiterates Athens won't negotiate sovereign rights
  • SEB calls for acceleration of procedures leading to convergence
  • Souflias announces candidacy for ND leadership
  • Briton shot aboard his yacht on Corfu, police point finger at Albanians


    The government wishes to resolve national issues but not by means of pressure brought to bear, especially if it is exercised ''in an unorthodox way'', government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

    Reppas was replying to questions on statements by US officials on Greek- Turkish relations. He added that the positions of Greek foreign policy remained unchanged.

    Asked to comment on statements by former national defence minister Gerassimos Arsenis yesterday, who expressed fears of ''a new Zurich'' (1960 agreement establishing Cypriot independence, used by Turkey as a pretext for invading Cyprus), Reppas ruled out the possibility of any discussion (with Ankara) which might lead to a similar agreement.

    Replying to other questions, on statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller calling for a settlement of ''all Greek-Turkish differences'', the spokesman said it was not possible for a country to have recourse to international bodies concerning ''whatever issue it believes constitutes a dispute with a neighbouring country''.

    ''What is important,'' Reppas added, ''is for the territorial claims raised by Turkey against Greece to be confronted''

    Asked where Turkey might have recourse to raise issues such as the disarmament of the Greek islands, Reppas replied that in order for a party to have recourse to the International Court at the Hague, it must first have ''a good image, something which Turkey does not have, having occupied a large part of the Cyprus Republic for the last 22 years''.

    ''Turkey has much to do before it can raise such issues before international bodies,'' Reppas said.

    Commenting meanwhile on the deaths of 11 Kurds in riots at Diyarbakir high- security jail, Reppas stressed that the international community should not remain indifferent to ''the policy of terror, annhilation and eradication followed by Turkey on the Kurdish issue''.

    ''Turkey,'' he went on, ''must be confronted with reference not only to its foreign policy but also on the basis of the policy implemented by Ankara domestically.''

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis' new 41-member government was sworn-in yesterday, kicking off a fresh four-year mandate after winning last Sunday's snap general elections.

    "A new era begins today, which will be marked by an intense and systematic effort for a strong Greece, a Greece of creativity and solidarity," Mr. Simitis said shortly after chairing the first cabinet meeting.

    This, Mr. Simitis added, was the message from Sunday's general elections "and this is what the people are expecting from the government".

    The government is not for the time being considering changing the electoral law, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

    The spokesman was replying to questions on comments yesterday by Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the centre-left.

    ''An effort will be made to find a common language and common course with the forces of the centre-left,'' Simitis said yesterday, shortly after chairing the first Cabinet meeting since Sunday's general elections.

    Reppas said that it was not in the government's intentions to undertake now some relevant initiative, clarifying that the issue of where such an initiative would be directed ''when and if it is undertaken'' would first have to be discussed.

    Meanwhile, the spokesman declined to comment on developments in the main opposition New Democracy party following the resignation late Sunday night of its leader Miltiades Evert.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Greece will not negotiate its sovereign rights, referring to a statement US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns made on Tuesday that the United States intends t o undertake an initiative "to resolve the many problems in the Aegean" and to the allegation that Greece and Turkey agree to this initiative.

    "I explained to Mr. (US Secretary of State Warren) Christopher the difficulties we meet in our relations with Turkey. As you know, the United States has taken initiatives towards the Turkish side in the past as well to persuade it to accept the position we have proposed, which, if you wish, is not a position in favour of Greece. It is an internationally acceptable position. More specifically, for it (Turkey) to accept the last part of this position P the first step, as we have described it, which is ref erring its possible interpretations on the implementation of treaties to the International Court at The Hague," Mr. Pangalos said.

    "I suppose that the spokesman will mean this effort which indeed Mr. Christopher told me that the US intends to continue," he added.

    Replying to another press question on whether Mr. Christopher spoke to him of any change in Turkey's position, Mr. Pangalos said no, and stressed that:

    "We discussed the situation in Turkey and exchanged certain assessments."

    Asked whether Greece requested US intervention on the name issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Mr. Pangalos said "the issue of Skopje (FYROM) is being discussed with intervention by the US because, as you know, Mr. Vance is American. He is a representative of the UN secretary general's on the one hand, but he is a distinguished US diplomat as well."

    Replying to a question on the possible linking of the Cyprus issue with "the difficult issues of the Aegean", Mr. Pangalos added:

    "The Cyprus issue has nothing to do with differences in the Aegean. Differences in the Aegean are Greek-Turkish. The Cyprus issue is an international problem involving an independent country, Cyprus and a country which has attacked and occupies territory, a part of independent Cyprus, namely Turkey."

    Burns statement

    Earlier the State Department told reporters that "Secretary Christopher said he thought that it was important for the United States to help lead a new effort to resolve some of the Aegean problems between Greece and Turkey."

    He said UN ambassador Madeleine Albright and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Peter Tarnoff would be "closely involved" in the effort, adding that no dates were discussed for any mission or meeting.

    Mr. Burns said the two men discussed relations with Turkey and that the issue was always raised every time Greek and US diplomatic officials met.

    "On the question of the Aegean, the US Secretary of State spoke of our country's desire to help in a new effort to resolve some of the Aegean problems between Greece and Turkey," he added.

    Mr. Burns said at this point that the US permanent representative at the UN Madeleine Albright and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Peter Tarnoff will undertake this mission.

    He said that Mr. Christopher expressed concern over the resurgence of violence in Cyprus and the murders of two Greek Cypriots and a Turkish soldier, and added that Mr. Christopher will meet the special representative on Cyprus, Richard Beattie, this we ek.

    Mr. Burns said initiatives over the Aegean and the Cyprus issue will be taken separately, reiterating that Ms Albright and Mr. Tarnoff will undertake the mission on Aegean issues, while Ambassador Beattie is responsible for the Cyprus issue.

    The president of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB), Iason Stratos, yesterday recommended acceleration of procedures that will ensure Greece's timely convergence with other European countries, otherwise "we will not be able to promote national issue s and to have a more active role in international choices concerning our country."

    A SEB announcement stressed that the federation has always avoided any involvement in political conflicts, but added that it continues to claim the right to act autonomously and to be able to judge and propose measures for the country's progress and pro motion of economic and industrial development.

    Former New Democracy minister George Souflias yesterday announced his candidacy for the main opposition party's leadership, after the resignation of Miltiades Evert following the election defeat last Sunday.

    Mr. Souflias' candidacy follows those of former national economy minister Stephanos Manos and former culture minister Dora Bakoyianni.

    Announcing his intention to seek ND's presidency, Mr. Souflias said: "New Democracy needs to reconquer the broad (electoral) base of the past." He attributed what he referred to as a decrease of ND's appeal to the "lack of unity among top cadres during the past 10 years."

    Mr. Souflias called on both followers of Mr. Evert and former premier and ND honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis to realise that "everything has limits and enter into polarising actions and procedures that will shrink the party and possibly lead t o a split up."

    His candidacy, as Mr. Souflias said, "aims to restore the party's traumaticed unity, to expand the party's horizons with incursions into other (political) areas and for New Democracy to become a majority."

    A 57-year-old Briton was shot and killed today when he tried to stop a gang from stealing his rubber dinghy from the Gouvia marina, eastern Corfu.

    Police believe that the gang were marauding Albanians, suspected of involvement in a number of boat thefts on the island.

    Corfu harbour authorities identified the man as Keith Hendley but refused to give further details until his relatives were notified.

    Hendley was asleep on his yacht "Karenyann" early this morning when he was woken by suspicious noises and went to investigate. When he saw the men trying to release the yacht's dinghy, he fired a warning shot to scare them away. One of the men shot back, fatally injuring Hendley and then disappeared towards the nearby Albanian coast in their inflatable craft.

    Hendley was declared dead on arrival at the island's General Hospital.


    Sunny to partly cloudy in most parts of the country with possible rain in the afternoon. Temperatures will range from 18-30C in Athens and 15-23C in Thessaloniki.


    U.S. dlr 237.276, Can. dlr.173.402, Australian dlr. 187.195, Pound sterling 369.619, Irish punt 380.531, Cyprus pd 512.070, French franc 46.297, Swiss franc 192.086 Belgian franc 7.618, German mark 156.865, Finnish mark 52.346, Dutch guilder 139.897 Danish Kr. 40.835, Swedish Kr. 36.008, Norwegian Kr. 36.686, Austrian Sh. 22.296, Italian lira (100) 15.568 Yen (100) 216.097, Spanish Peseta 1.865, Portuguese Escudo 1.541.


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