Greece, Armenia sign agricultural agreement
Karamanlis elected new ND leader
Costas Karamanlis, a nephew of the former president of the republic by
the same name, was elected late last night as new leader of the main
opposition New Democracy party during the party's fourth congress, putting
an end to seven months of internal uncer tainty sparked by the party's
defeat in last September's general election.
Mr. Karamanlis, who succeeds Miltiades Evert, was elected in a second round
ballot by an overwhelming majority of 2,350 out of 3,398 valid votes (70
per cent) cast by party delegates and deputies, against 1,048 for contender
George Souflias. Thirty-eigh t blank ballots were counted.
In a first statement after his election, Mr. Karamanlis said that there
were no victors nor vanquished. Referring to his rival Mr. Souflias, he
stressed his respect for the former minister and that he never viewed him
as an opponent, "but as a friend an d associate."
Mr. Karamanlis was born in Athens on Sept. 14, 1956. He studied at Athens
University's Law School and at the private Deree college, continuing with
postgraduate studies in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in the
He has been repeatedly elected as a New Democracy deputy for Thessaloniki
since 1989. He is unmarried.
Costas Karamanlis continued his education in the US from 1980-84, where he
gained a masters degree and a doctorate in political sciences, international
relations and diplomatic history.
Mr. Karamanlis was elected president of ND's parliamentary work group for
foreign affairs in October last year.
Greeece, Romania to step up cooperation
Greece and Romania yesterday declared their determination to step up
bilateral cooperation at all levels and work together to make southeast
Europe a region of stability, cooperation and economic development.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Romanian counterpart, Viktor Corbea,
were speaking at a joint press conference after a second round of talks in
Mr. Simitis, accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, arrived in the Romanian capital on
Thursday night for an official two-day visit.
Replying to questions, Mr. Simitis announced his intention to visit all
Balkan capitals, including Skopje, at the earliest opportunity.
One of the ways Greece and Romania would achieve closer cooperation, Mr.
Simitis said, was within the framework of a tripartite collaboration
between Athens, Bucharest and Sofia, which would enable the participation
of more ministries, such as tourism, transport and education.
Mr. Simitis announced the signing soon of a bilateral cooperation agreement
with Romania covering all sectors. Stressing the need for a common Balkan
course, the premier underlined that Greek-Romanian cooperation belonged to
the framework of the two cou ntries' common European perspective.
On the prospects of European Union and NATO membership for other Balkan
countries, Mr. Simitis said the same accession criteria should apply for
all candidate states "without differentiations and arrangements which would
in effect exclude the Balkan cou ntries."
Relations with the EU "should not be developed at different levels, in
other words, closer cooperation with certain countries and looser ties with
others, such as the Balkan countries," Mr. Simitis said.
He added that the same applied with respect to NATO enlargement, stressing
that the relevant arrangements and procedures should not leave certain
countries on the fringe, through the adoption of different treatment,
discrimination and the creation of sp heres of influence.
Both men discussed Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem, with Mr.
Simitis expressing satisfaction for what he called the great importance
attached by Bucharest to respect for the principles of international law,
the settlement of disputes thro ugh recourse to the International Court at
the Hague and the implementation of UN resolutions for the settlement of
the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Corbea noted that Mr. Simitis' visit was the first by a foreign leader
to Romania since recent elections.
He also linked its significance to the meeting between the presidents of
the United States and Russia in Helsinki, underlining the importance of
NATO membership for Romania. Mr. Corbea agreed with Mr. Simitis that Greek-
Romanian trade relations had enormous possibilities for further development,
with the aim, echoing statements by the Greek premier on Thursday, of the
volume of bilateral trade reaching US$500 million.
Mr. Corbea said it had been decided to convene the Greek-Romanian joint
economic committee in Bucharest in April to examine prospects for
broadening economic cooperation, adding that this would be facilitated by
the economic reforms already under way in
Romania. He thanked Mr. Simitis for Greece's support in Romania's bid to
join the EU and NATO and agreed with the Greek premier that there should be
no exclusions or discriminatory treatment of candidate countries.
Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Corbea said the Greek premier had
invited him to visit Greece, adding that he would do so after the scheduled
visit of Romanian President Emil Constantinescu to Athens in May.
On the crisis in Albania, Mr . Simitis stressed that Greece had from the
outset insisted on a political solution to the problem in the neighbouring
country, which should be provided by all the political forces in Albania.
Noting that Greece had not asked for the removal of Albanian President Sali
Berisha, Mr. Simitis underlined that Athens was in favour of a peaceful
settlement of the crisis "but does not want to get directly involved in one
scenario or another."
Address to businessmen
Speaking to Greek and Romanian businessmen later in the day, Mr. Simitis
said that the Balkan countries should "build a new world," adding that the
entrepreneurs should also assume initiatives in order for this goal to be
Referring to Greek investment interests in Romania, Mr. Simitis said that
"the Greek enterprises, which have both the organisation and knowhow, are
looking forward to their substantive participation in the modernisation
effort currently being held in Ro mania."
Stressing the importance of the sectors of transport and telecommunications,
Mr. Simitis said that the inter-European road axis and especially the road
axis linking Bucharest to Alexandroupolis "open new perspectives for the
increase of economic and trad e transactions."
The premier said the participation of both countries in the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation was an additional factor in the framework of Greek-
Stressing that obstacles in the cooperation of the two countries, which
existed in the past due to the differences of economic systems between the
two countries, no longer exist, Mr. Simitis said his visit to Romania "aims
precisely at directing efforts t o build a new tomorrow for the Balkans."
Pangalos: Turkey's place is in Europe
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has stressed that if Ankara abandoned
its counterproductive tactics and disputes of Greece's territorial
integrity, Athens would make every effort towards a solution of differences
and strengthening Turkey' s European course.
"We do not insist on Turkey referring disputes to the International Court
at The Hague, an announcement of the decision concerning referral will be
sufficient," he said in an interview to the "Yeni Guzgil" newspaper,
"On the issue of the continental shelf, we could, after a certain
preparation, ask a third party to examine where justice lies," he
He issued an appeal to the Turkish people "not to permit war, and not to be
trapped in the aggressive designs of some of its leaders."
"In Ankara, they continuously use the threat of war against Greece as a
diplomatic weapon. This is an unacceptable situation," he charged, noting
that "we expect a statement from the Turkish foreign ministry, the
presidency of the republic, or some othe r official source, clarifying that
there is no issue of war between our two countries".
"We are asking Turkey to confirm it respects international treaties," said
Mr. Pangalos, noting that in her letter to European foreign ministers,
Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller referred to "absence of borders in
"This is a mistaken approach, it is a behaviour disputing Greece's
territorial integrity and the borders in the Aegean," he added.
Regarding Cyprus, Mr. Pangalos referred to the need "to break the wall
erected in Nicosia between the two communities."
"Let's abolish the wall in Cyprus, even before talks beginIEvery Friday
(for instance), let people move as they wish. For those in the north, who
face the problem of unemployment, the possibility for temporary work could
be givenIAt the end of the week, people may get together, dance, or even
get married," he said.
He charged that the current European view of Turkey suffered from
superficiality, saying characteristically, "this issue of the family
photograph is nonsense and it belittles the Turkish people".
"Islam is part of EuropeIwe lived together for years, your culture is part
of our culture, and our culture has been united with yours. There can be no
issue of accepting a cultural distinction," he said, stressing, "Turkey's
final goal must be unification with Europe.
Gov't denies of secret Greek-Turkish deal
Acting government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis yesterday denied reports in
the Turkish daily "Milliyet" that a secret Greek-Turkish meeting was held
during which Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller agreed to refer the Imia
issue to the International Cou rt of Justice at The Hague. "Milliyet"
claimed that in return, Athens agreed to support Turkey's candidacy for
full entry into the European Union. Replying to a question, Mr. Athanasakis
also denied that Greece has been pressured regarding Turkey's relati ons
with the EU, reiterating that it is Turkey that which must be pressured to
make the necessary moves. The spokesman reiterated that it is Turkey
which must refer the Imia issue to the International Court at The Hague,
"which is a move it can and must do unilaterally as it does not need an
agreement, given Greece's acceptance of the general jurisdiction of the
Ankara welcomes proposal for meeting of Balkan nations' FMs
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Omer Akbel said yesterday that a
proposal made in Thessaloniki by Prime Minister Costas Simitis concerning a
meeting between the foreign ministers of Balkan countries has not yet been
officially conveyed to Ankara.
Commenting on the meeting scheduled in Thessaloniki, Mr. Akbel said "it is
not a formal inter-Balkan meeting, but there is no reason why Turkey should
not participate in the meeting."
Athens to assist in reorganisation of Albanian army
Greece yesterday responded positively to a request by the Albanian
government for assistance in restoring its disorganised and antiquated
Tirana made the official request late Thursday night to the Greek national
Acting government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis yesterday confirmed that the
government would approve the Albanian request. However, he added that the
issue would require further examination and consultations with the Albanian
Asked whether this request was related to a possible participation by
Greece in a multinational force in Albania, the spokesman said this would
depend on developments, noting that Albanian Prime Minister Bashkim Fino
was to meet shortly with the foreign ministers of the European Union member-
At the moment, he added, there was virtually no army in Albania.
Tirana has asked for initial assistance in the sectors of military
management, including medical supplies, fuel and medical teams.
On Tuesday, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, referring to the
request which had been expected from Albania government, cited Greece's
particular responsibility in the Balkans and as a neighbour of Albania, as
well as Athens' interest in th e safety of the ethnic Greek minority in
Tsohatzopoulos says no EU foreign policy to deal with problems in Balkans
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos spoke yesterday on what he
called the European Union's inability to forge a common foreign policy and
to deal with problems which arise, such as those faced by countries of
eastern Europe and the Balkans.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, speaking during the opening of the Mediterranean
conference of the Socialist International Youth yesterday, said the EU is
unable to solve the peoples' problems, paying attention exclusively to
economic issues and figures.
Fouras to meet with Samaranch in Lausanne
Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras is to meet with International
Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch in Lausanne this
weekend in order to discuss issues related to Athens' bid to host the 2004
Olympic Games and relations between Gre ek athletics and the IOC in
"Fifteen days ago we returned from Lausanne having secured Athens'
candidacy for the final selection (of the 2004 Olympics venue) on September
5. Today, (yesterday) we are going to Lausanne at the invitation of the IOC
president. An invitation which is particularly interesting, given that it
follows the decision to include Athens in the shortlist of five candidate
cities," Mr. Fouras told reporters shortly before leaving for Switzerland.
The IOC shortlist includes Athens, Rome, Buenos Aires, Cape Town and
Stockholm, chosen from eleven candidate cities originally bidding for the
Games. The final decision for the venue will be made by the IOC plenary on
Europarliament committee praises Athens' latest economic indicators
A six-member delegation of the European Parliament's economic, monetary
and industry committee yesterday expressed satisfaction at Greece's
economic indicators, particularly those related to Maastricht Treaty
The committee, which is currently visiting Greece, is headed by its vice-
president, PASOK party Eurodeputy George Katiforis.
The Euro-MP noted that according to the competent government ministers with
whom the committee has met, the convergence criteria for Greece's
participation in Economic and Monetary Union will have been satisfied
This would mean that the Greek drachma will join the single European
currency P Euro P together with the second group of EU member-states at the
latest by the year 2001.
Minister says tourism sector must become more hospitable
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday presented "a tourist
conscience campaign" at a downtown Athens hotel aimed at providing foreign
visitors with a more hospitable environment during this year's tourist
The central slogan of the campaign, due to start in the country on March 27,
will be "The Greek Tourist Organisation (EOT) Warns: Smiling is Good for
the Health and Our Economy."
Ms Papandreou said employees and managers in the sector must become more
professional in their dealings with tourists and look upon them as guests,
and not as currency.
Greece, Armenia sign agriculture agreement
YEREVAN 22/3/1997 (F. Myrtsidou) Greece and Armenia yesterday signed a five-
year agriculture cooperation agreement.
The agreement was signed by Agiculture Undersecretary Vassilis Geranidis
and Armenian Agiculture Minister Vladimir Bovshishian. The two countries
have agreed to cooperate in stockbreeding, the production of animal feeds,
agricultural research, bio-techn ology, fishing, fishfarms and forestry.
Mr. Geranidis expressed his understanding for the problems Armenian
agriculture is facing and pledged Greece's support both on a bilateral
level and relating to the European Union and other international organisations.
The Armenian minister stressed his country is in urgent need of wheat and
of correct management of its water resources. He added that the privatisation
process for businesses in the agriculture sector has been completed by 90
Current accounts deficit soars
The Greek current account deficit reached a record US$4.75 billion
between January-November 1996, compared to US$3 billion in the corresponding
eleven-month period of 1995, according to figures released yesterday by the
The bank said the record deficit was due to a 5.7 increase in the tra-de
balance, resulting from a US$872 million rise in imports against a US$32
million drop in exports, compared to 1995.
During the same period of 1996, invisibles also fell by US$812 million ,
the Bank of Greece said.