Italy to launch initiative on Cyprus problem soon
NEWS IN DETAIL
Defiant farmers demanding better prices and increased subsidies for their
produce rejected a plea from Prime Minister Simitis to immediately end a
nine-day long blockade of the country's highways and railway networks which
has caused heavy losess to state and private businesses.
The protesting farmers said they would now expand their mobilisations on a
"Under no circumstances will the government accept such behaviour," Mr.
Simitis said adding that giving in to the farmers' demands would cost the
state approximately one trillion drachmas.
According to reports, scores of trucks are now stranded in lines stretching
for kilometres on the road to the Promahonas border crossing on the
frontier with Bulgaria.
Heated exchanges between stranded truck drivers, unable to go forwards or
backwards, and protesting farmers in several instances threatened to
develop into violence, which was averted with the intervention of the
In a related development, three major industrial units in the Larisa
prefecture have been forced to shut down temporarily due to shortages of
fuel or raw materials caused by the blockades.
At the same time, a further seven industrial firms which operate on a 24-
hour basis are on the verge of shutting down because they have enough fuel
for only two more days.
General Confederation of Greece's Workers (GSEE) president Christos
Polyzogopoulos told reporters after yesterday's meeting between Mr. Simitis
and delegations from GSEE and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative
Council (ADEDY) that "the premier did not answer positively to any of the
specific demands which we put forward."
Noting that the trade union delegations asked for a series of corrective
measures to the government's economic policy, Mr. Polyzogopoulos said that
the General Council of GSEE will hold a meeting on Tuesday to decide on
An announcement signed by the presidents of the country's largest
industrial groupings, including the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB)
president Jason Stratos, condemned the farmers' protests, saying it was
"unacceptable for the Greek economy" to be ''used as a hostage by groups
which decide to exert pressure on the state, breaking laws and preventing
citizens from carrying on their activities unimpeded".
The announcement called on the government and farmers to enter into a
"substantial" dialogue, which would give long-term solutions to problems in
the agricultural sector.
Papandreou reiterates Athens' interest in Bosnia's reconstruction
Proposals by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou for promotion of
regional cooperation in the Balkans apparently met with a positive response,
particularly from the Bulgarian delegate at yesterday's international
conference here on Bosnia.
"I gladly saw that my positions found positive response, and the Bulgarian
representative supported the same elements," Mr. Papandreou said after the
meeting at Lancaster House.
In terms of regional cooperation, he dismissed fears that such a development
spells a return to a status resembling the former Yugoslavia.
AKEL delegation meets with premier
Cyprus AKEL party Secretary General Dimitris Christofias met with Prime
Minister Costas Simitis yesterday, briefing him on his party's views on
initiatives underway on the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Christofias informed Mr. Simitis of Moscow's interest in involving
itself in processes to resolve the Cyprus issue in the framework of the
Athens rejects State Dept. statement
The government said yesterday that it totally disagreed with the US
position that Greek airspace was only six rather than 10 miles, in response
to a recent statement by State Department spokesman.
In a written reply to a US-based Greek reporter, spokesman Nicholas Burns
said the State Department's position on the extent of Greek airspace was
identical to that of the US Pentagon, which recognises only six miles.
"Greek airspace has since 1931 been fixed at 10 miles, "government
spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, adding that "Greece protects its sovereign
rights within this airspace."
"The Greek position on the issue of airspace remains unchanged,he
Gligorov commends Simitis
The president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Kiro
Gligorov, yesterday commented on his meeting earlier in the week with Prime
Minister Costas Simitis saying that it "boosted the mutual respe ct and
trust of the two countries," and described it as having been "a civilised
and courageous act of Prime Minister Simitis."
Meanwhile, a resumption of talks between Greece and the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) under the auspices of UN mediator Cyrus Vance,
has been postponed until Dec. 17 due to health problems faced by Mr.
WEU Parliamentary Assembly endorses Greek report
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European Union (WEU) yesterday
unanimously endorsed Greek deputy Mihalis Liapis' report on the future role
of the WEU proposing the consolidation of the inviolability of borders and
the territorial integrity of the European Union and the speeding up of
procedures for a Cyprus-EU accession.
Ninth graders issue 'Greek-European' dictionary
Fifty pupils from the ninth grade at a junior high school in the Agios
Athanasios community near Thessaliniki have composed and published the
first-ever "Greek-European" dictionary.
The "Ellino-Evropaikon Lexikon" as it is called, contains 5,000 words of a
Greek origin that are included in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish,
Portuguese, Danish and Dutch.
The dictionary was published with funds provided by parents and the
community with the purpose of distributing the publication to Eurodeputies
of all European Union member-states.
The Macedonia and Thrace ministry, after learning of the pupuls' initiative,
will undertake the cost of sending 626 copies to the members of the
Papantoniou warns of a 'difficult year'
" 1997 will be difficult for everybody, National Economy and Finance
Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told the parliamentary committee discussing
the new state budget yesterday morning.
Next year, Mr. Papantoniou said, will be difficult not only for the
affluent - targetted by the government to bear the brunt of its new
economic measures - but for all social groups.
Mr. Papantoniou said the targets so far had been attained "100 percent in
the containment of deficits, in inflation by 80 percent and in growth by
The new budget, he added, " is one of growth, European convergence and
He stressed that the budget is freezing indirect taxation which affects
mainly those on low incomes, and that the fight against tax evasion
Privatisation efforts accelerated
The Organisation for the Rehabilitation of Ailing Enterprises (OAE) appears
determined to accelerate privatisation procedures for the loss-making
businesses it is managing.
Specifically, the receiver of the Peiraiki Patraiki textiles group's assets
will be officially declared at the end of next week.
Meanwhile, a court decision issued yesterday rejected a motion sumbitted by
businessman Panagiotis Zeritis, the owner of the Thrace Paper Mills, who
had asked for an injunction against an OAE decision for an improvement of
offers for Peiraiki Patraiki.
Despite the ruling, Mr. Zeritis continues to be the highest bidder for the
textile company's facilities at Varibobi, for which he has already bid 1.8
The development ministry is now studying the final proposals by OAE and
guarantor banks for privatisation of the Athinaiki Paper Mill (Softex),
Kerafina and Elefsina Bauxite, among others.
Black Sea nation academics to meet in Athens
The foreign and development ministries are organising a conference of Black
Sea countries' academics, scheduled to be held in Athens next week the
first of its kind to be held since the forming of the Black Sea Economic
Cooperation Organisation (BSEC) It includes cooperation between the
scientific and technological forces of the 11 member-states and the seven
The conference is expected to constitute an important step in determining
sectors for social activities, new agricultural technologies, protection of
the environment and communications.
Port workers suspend nationwide strike
Port workers throughout the country have suspended a strike they began on
Nov. 27 following an assurance by Prime Minister Costas Simitis that their
productivity bonus will not be abolished.
After a five-hour meeting, the workers decided to call off the strike until
Feb. 1, 1997.
Italy to launch initiative on Cyprus problem soon
Italy is expected to launch a diplomatic initiative regarding settlement of
the Cyprus problem which is possibly going to start with the visit of
Italian President Luigi Scalfaro to Nicosia in the next few weeks, Italian
Foreign Undersecretary Piero Fasino told Parliament.
"A diplomatic initiative is being promoted, which in the next few days will
become more substantive with the visit (of Mr. Scalfaro)," Mr. Fasino
He said Mr. Scalfaro's visit to the island republic aimed at assessing
possibilities from both sides for a resumption of talks.
Meanwhile, Democratic Left Deputy Marco Petsoni called on the Italian
government to coordinate its position with the European Parliament and not
take any step in the direction of the EU-Turkey customs union prior to
resolving the Cyprus, the Kurdish and the human rights issue.
Laliotis, metro consortium due to discuss latest construction delays
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis is due
to hold talks over the next 10 days with the consortium undertaking
construction of the Athens metro.
Talks are expected to concern technical solutions for resumption of
operations by the two massive boring machines underneath the Karaiskaki and
Syntagma squares, which have stopped tunnelling.
This development was announced yesterday after a meeting between Mr.
Laliotis, Attiko Metro President Leonidas Kikiras and a delegation of Metro
workers, who marched to the ministry to request revocation of 250 recent
However, reports state that the fired workers will not be rehired since the
consortium maintains that they have completed the work of their speciality
and that the next stages of the project requires the hiring of other
Metro workers are requesting to stay on and be employed wherever possible,
saying that they are being used by the consortium as a "pressure lever" to
achieve further financial benefits from the Greek state.
Weather improvement is forecast in most parts of the country with rising
temperatures. Athens will be overcast with occasional sunshine and
temperatures ranging from 9-17C. Thessaloniki will be mostly sunny with
temperatures ranging from 4-13C. The rest of the country will be sunny,
with occasional clouds, and winds light to moderate.
Closing rates (buying) U.S. dlr 243.417, Can. dlr.179.393, Australian dlr.
194.219, Pound sterling 396.125, Irish punt 397.891, Cyprus pd 516.534,
French franc 46.225, Swiss franc 184.919 Belgian franc 7.577, German
mark 156.141, Finnish mark 52.316, Dutch guilder 139.207, Danish Kr.
40.789, Swedish Kr. 35.785, Norwegian Kr. 37.468, Austrian Sh. 22.196,
Italian lira (100) 15.890, Yen (100) 216.196, Spanish Peseta 1.857,
Portuguese Escudo 1.548.