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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 30/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Papandreou dismisses chance of EU-Turkey Association Council meeting next month
  • Olympic slashes domestic, international fares
  • Washington reiterates that Imia islet's status must be resolved peacefully
  • Simitis visits to Russia, Hungary termed successful
  • Greek actress wins film festival award
  • E.O.T. begins spa tourism promotion for Russian market


    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that there is no possibility of the EU-Turkey Association Council being convened next month, adding that Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller's letter to EU foreign ministers last week "shows Turkey's dissatisfaction regarding the European Parliament resolution."

    He added, however, that Greece has no reason to oppose the convening of the Association Council, if both the Council of Ministers and Ankara agree with a proposal put forth by certain countries, mainly Scandinavian, that the sole issue of discussion be the human rights situation in Turkey.

    Mr. Papandreou stressed that Ms Ciller's letter cannot be considered an answer expected by the European Union, based on the Council's July 15 decision.

    It is almost certain that EU-Turkish relations will be discussed during the next EU General Affairs Council meeting scheduled for Nov. 25 in Brussels. The 15 EU foreign ministers are to discuss the report that will be prepared by ambassadors comprising the EU's political committee.

    The alternate foreign minister concluded that during the meeting in Luxembourg, funding to Turkey through the MEDA programme was not particularly discussed. European Commissioner Hans van den Broek briefly informed the 15 EU ministers on relevant decisi ons taken by Europarliament last week within the framework of the first phase of an examination of the Union's 1997 budget.

    Meanwhile, PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannos Kranidiotis, who is representing Greece in the preparation committee for the Intergovernmental Conference, said Ms Ciller cannot mislead the EU, as Turkish policies concerning respect of human rights, the Aegean and Cyprus are well-known.

    National carrier Olympic Airways yesterday announced it was reducing prices in an effort to compete with other European and international airlines.

    An OA official said the state-run company's "aggressive sales policy" had increased sales by 8 per cent for international flights and 4 per cent for domestic flights.

    OA also announced it was inaugurating two new routes this year: to Belgrade, Bucharest, and to Johannesburg next year, as well as pursuing cooperation with other airlines.

    Among others, tickets for one-way flights to New York from all Greek airports servicing the route will cost 129,000 drachmas. Similar decreases were announced on most international routes.

    EIB loan granted to DEPA

    European Investment Bank (EIB) Deputy President P. Yennimatas has signed a new loan for Ecu200 million (60.6 billion drachmas) for the Public Gas Co. (DEPA).

    The loan will be used to build a network for transporting and distributing natural gas through high pressure pipelines.

    On the part of DEPA, the agreement document was signed by its general director S. Paleoyiannis. Construction of the new natural gas distribution network is expected to be completed by 1999.

    Road taxes hiked

    Automobile and motorcycle owners are to pay an extra 13 billion drachmas in 1997 road taxes - increased by up to 33 per cent - a report by the state general accounting office stated.

    The report accompanied a draft bill on customs offices, which includes the decision for an increase in road tax.

    The draft bill submitted to Parliament yesterday included clauses on the regulation of debts to the state and submission of income tax statements.

    Replying to questions yesterday, US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Washington agreed with Greece and Turkey that the status of Imia must be resolved peacefully between the two countries.

    "If one looks at the past eight, nine months they will see that in connection with the issue of the disputed islets, the US has a stable position which it has not changed. It is the correct position and it is known to the governments of Greece and Turke y. We agree with Greece and Turkey that the status of Imia/Kardak must be resolved peacefully between Greece and Turkey," he said.

    "I don't think it helps if one isolates specific words and attaches a wider diplomatic significance to them," he added.

    Meanwhile, prosecution has been initiated against four Turkish reporters who disembarked on the Greek isle last February.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday described Prime Minister Costas Simitis's recent trips to Russia and Hungary as "absolutely successful".

    Mr. Reppas noted that during the prime minister's visit to Moscow to attend the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Summit, Mr. Simitis had a series of meetings with heads of national representations during which the basis of a long-term cooperation was form ed.

    The spokesman also drew attention to Mr. Simitis's meeting with his Russian counterpart, Viktor Chernomyrdin, focusing on political and economic cooperation between the two countries.

    Regarding Mr. Simitis's trip to Budapest, Mr. Reppas noted "a coincidence of views" between the two countries on certain issues, including Cyprus-EU accession.

    Crucial ND meeting scheduled for tomorrow

    All sides in the crisis-riddled main opposition New Democracy party are observing a wait-and-see policy in light of tomorrow's crucial Parliamentary group meeting.

    Party leader Miltiades Evert is not expected to refer to intra-party conflicts, but his close associates say that if the issue is raised he will state that "if you want to dispute me, the relevant bodies exist. But I will not have the party fail to exer cise its constitutional role. Otherwise, you will have to keep silent until the (party) congress."

    Leading ND members and one-time contenders for the top ND post, George Souflias, Stephanos Manos and Dora Bakoyianni, met yesterday afternoon to define their tactics at the meeting. According to reports, they will insist on their claim for "an honest an d fair congress with intra-party elections and creation of a mutually acceptable congress organising committee."

    Mr. Manos, reports state, will repeat his proposal for a series of talks between leading members to have problems resolved, while Ms Bakoyianni does not intend to take the floor since, according to her close associates, she shouldered the burden of intr a-party opposition at last week's central committee meeting. However, if provoked she will respond accordingly, reports claim.

    Top officers charged in ferry boat accident

    The captain, sublieutenant and first engineer of a ferry boat that slammed into an islet off Cape Sounion on Saturday, injuring 71 of 450 passengers on board, appeared in a Pireaus court yesterday.

    The three officers of the "Pegasus" ferry boat stand accused of causing a shipwreck and of causing multiple injuries to passengers. After their hearing, all three were all released on a bail of five million drachmas each, while they have been barred fro m leaving the country.

    According to reports, each officer denied being responsible for the accident.

    Conference told desertification a problem on Crete, Spain

    A conference on desertification in the Mediterranean basin which opened in Crete yesterday, was told that the phenomenon is most pronounced in Crete and Spain.

    The southeastern part of the island is particularly prone to desertifiacation, due to overcultivation and irrigation using brackish water, which destroys fertile soil.

    In order to combat this problem, a proposal was put forth for the European Union to reinforce cultivation, irrespective of if the areas are large or small.

    The conference also stated that continuous ploughing on sloped fields has negative consequences on productivity.

    Greek actress Amalia Moutoussi won an award for her performance in the film "A Drop in the Ocean," at the 41st movie festival in Valladolid, Spain, October 18-26.

    "A Drop in the Ocean," was directed by Eleni Alexandraki.

    The movie has been screened at 11 international festivals, including the Montreal and Berlin film festivals. It has been awarded three international prizes as well as the Greek state award for quality.

    KKE condemns arrest of Chilean communist

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) has condemned the arrest of the leader of Chile's communist party, Gladys Marin, on slander charges.

    "Her arrest constitutes an insult of the anti-dictatorship struggle of the Chilean people and an open attack against the free activities of the Communist Party of Chile," the KKE's statement read.

    "The KKE expresses its support and solidarity towards the communists of Chile and demands the immediate freeing of comrade Gladys Marin," it concluded.

    According to a Reuters dispatch, Ms Marin was taken to a detention centre by plainclothes police yesterday, after she called former military ruler Augusto Pinochet "a blackmailer and a psychopath, who came to power through deceit, treason and murder."

    Social security minister presents gov't social budget to Kaklamanis

    Labour and Social Security Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou delivered the social budget for 1996 to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday.

    Mr. Papaioannou told Mr. Kaklamanis that as of next year an effort will be made to have the social budget tabled in the first half of the year and called on him to have an off the agenda debate in Parliament on the social budget every year as of 1997.

    The revenues contained in the social budget amount to 5.99 trillion drachmas and expenditures to 5.76 trillion drachmas. Social insurance will account for 5.185 trillion drachmas of the social budget's revenues, health for 568 billion and welfare 245 bi llion.

    Participation of the regular state budget and social resources in the social budget's expenditures for 1996 will amount to 962 billion drachmas, compared to 827.4 billion drachmas in 1995.

    Reduction in number of seasonal workers in public sector decided

    A decision to reduce the number of seasonal workers appointed to the public sector in 1997 by 30 per cent was taken during a meeting yesterday between National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos.

    According to official statistics, 42,000 seasonal workers were employed during 1996.

    Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Papantoniou said the hiring of seasonal workers will be limited to only the bare essential.

    The government has decided to drastically reduce appointments to the public sector, with only one employee being hired for every five leaving.

    The Greek Tourist Organisation (EOT) has announced plans to commence a promotional campaign aimed at the Russian market for spa and therapeutical tourism in Greece.

    For this purpose, EOT has invited the deputy president of Moscow's Medical University, S. Morozova, and spa expert M. Gavrilova to visit the most well- known spas and hydrotherapy centres in Greece.

    Moscow University has already started a subsidised programme for spa tourism, while interest on the part of Russian tourists for spa tourism in Greece is reported as significant, given that there are many sources of hydrotherapy around the Black Sea, ma ny of which are forced to close due to a lack of maintenance.

    EOT wants to cover this gap in Russian demand for organised spa tourism packages and by promoting the comparative advantages of Greek sources of hydrotherapy as part of a general effort to promote alternate forms of tourism and to extend the tourism period.


    Sunny in most parts of the country with rising temperatures to range from 10-22C in Athens and from 8-18C in Thessaloniki.


    Fourteen-year-old Athinodoros Panayiotidis has won a silver medal in the Fourth Balkan Informatics Olympiad held in Cyprus. Medical student Petros Tsantoulis won the bronze medal.

    It is the first time Greece won honours in the international informatics games. This year's Olympiad included 28 young people from six Balkan countries.


    U.S. dlr 235.798 Can. dlr.174.969, Australian dlr. 185.965 Pound sterling 378.805, Irish punt 382.118, Cyprus pd 510.979, French franc 46.156, Swiss franc 187.885 Belgian franc 7.572, German mark 155.972 Finnish mark 51.931, Dutch guilder 139.078 Danish Kr. 40.622, Swedish Kr. 35.885, Norwegian Kr. 36.813, Austrian Sh. 22.171, Italian lira (100) 15.510 Yen (100) 206.802 Spanish Peseta 1.851, Portuguese Escudo 1.545.


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