Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-11-15
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 15/11/1997 (ANA)
- Simitis announces measures to assist youth
- US can do more on Cyprus, Pangalos says
- Kathimerini report denied
- Criticism from main opposition leader
- Two more quakes since yesterday
- US Congress urged to recognise Greek sovereignty over Imia
- Police beef up security ahead of Polytechnic anniversary
- Damanaki press conference on candidacy for Athens mayor
- Papandreou raises Olympic truce idea with UNESCO
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Simitis announces measures to assist youth
Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced yesterday a series of measures
aimed at what he called "freeing creative forces and at achieving social
solidarity" so that young people would not fall victim to economic
Addressing a special conference on youth held by the ruling PASOK party's
central committee, Mr. Simitis referred at length to the problems facing
today's youth, problems which he said included education, military service
Observing that the percentage of the Greek workforce who were self-employed
(51 per cent) was the highest in Europe, the prime minister stressed the
importance of supporting business ventures by young people through flexible
He announced that from 1998-2000, all unemployed would be able to join
three-year subsidisation programmes. These provided 50,000 people with
daily allowances of 4,000 drachmas for 18 months. Another 20,000 would be
able to register at vocational traini ng centres and those run by the state
employment organisation (OAED). A total of 200,000 unemployed young adults
would be able to take advantage of these programmes, Mr. Simitis said.
Meanwhile, the creation of 1,500 new day nurseries would benefit more
working mothers, while the government was planning assistance for young
farmers in the form of tax breaks, funding, leasing and other facilities in
order to encourage more of the coun try's youth to remain on the land.
He also urged all young people to take advantage of the opportunity offered
by the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, which he said required the participation
of all young people. At the same time he referred to the government's
initiatives to support young athletes around the country.
The problem of drug addiction, meanwhile, although not as widespread as in
other European Union member-states, was on the rise and required a
comprehensive solution including support for rehabilitation centres,
prevention, voluntary workers and coopera tion within the EU.
The country's youth, he said, was the generation that could "reconcile
democracy with the market, growth with justice and politics with culture".
Referring to other matters, the prime minister clarified that there was
presently no issue of changing the status of PASOK's Youth organisation by
placing it under the party mechanism as called for by Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos in an executive bureau session.
On his part, Mr. Pangalos said that the PASOK youth organisation should
cease existence as an autonomous group and be included in the party.
Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou called for the organisational
inclusion of the youth organisation within the party, before detailing the
government's measures for increasing employment among young people.
Commenting on the same issue, PASOK Youth Secretary Tonia Antoniou said
that the existence of a political youth organisation could not be an
organisational mechanism or a mechanism for manipulating youth.
"A political youth organisation is needed as a maleable tool for liberating
social forces, popular imagination and the authenticity of young thought.
Not as a photocopy of the 'party of elders'," she said.
Referring to particular problems of youth, Ms Antoniou cited a number of
issues on which the government should focus its attention, including:
A safeguarding of the public and free character of education at all
Securing consensus among all those involved in the educational process
without submitting to parochial trade unionist demands.
Acceleration and implementation of educational reform with a bold increase
in resources as well as strong political will.
A gradual adoption of the 35-hour working week, and finally,
Career advice as key in the planning of employment, education and
US can do more on Cyprus, Pangalos says
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday called on special US
presidential emissary Richard Holbrooke and Washington to alter their
stance on the Cyprus issue, saying the US should use its leverage to
pressure Turkey into cooperating towards resolvin g the Cyprus problem.
Speaking after briefing President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on
recent foreign policy developments, he said that Mr. Holbrooke's initiative
was "important" in as far as the US undertook to use "all the means at its
disposal to pressure Turkey .
"There have been plenty of proposals in the past, with the best of
intentions, and similar initiatives have been undertaken," he observed.
Mr. Holbrooke visited Nicosia and Ankara earlier this week and later
briefed Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Undersecretary
Yiannos Kranidiotis in Brussels on his talks in the two capitals.
He did not visit Athens as Prime Minister Costas Simitis was busy with the
tabling of the budget, while Mr. Pangalos himself was in Madrid this
Mr. Pangalos said that the US could exert pressure by means of the military
supplies it gave Turkey and which were used in Cyprus. He suggested that
the US could limit those supplies or enforce a ban on their use on the
Aegean coast or in Cyprus.
He also noted that Turkey was economically dependent on the US. Responding
to criticism by the US envoy that the European Union had not undertaken any
initiatives on the Cyprus issue, Mr. Pangalos said:
"Any effort by the EU to find a solution does not require an American
mediator. We can do this by ourselves."
Kathimerini report denied
In addition, Mr. Pangalos said a plan for a tri-zonal solution attributed
to Mr. Holbrooke and published in yesterday's issue of "Kathimerini" was
"unworthy of denial or comment", adding that a similar plan had been
recently published in a Turkish Cypriot publication.
"I am not aware of such a proposal by Mr. Holbrooke," said the foreign
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas later categorically rejected
Kathimerini's front-page report, saying it was "completely wrong".
Criticism from main opposition leader
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis called for a
"strong and nationally dignified" foreign policy while touring Rhodes
The ND leader also accused the government for lacking on the issues of
regional development and infrastructure works.
"Our foreign policy must exit the vicious circle of passivism and
submissiveness. Because I believe that Greece must show and defend its just
causes, its national interests and its sovereign rights with resoluteness,
something which means a strong and n ationally dignified foreign policy.
Resoluteness and clear messages distance the dangers and discourage
provocations," he said.
Replying to Mr. Karamanlis' statement, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
reminded him that the premier visited Cyprus at a time of crisis, while the
government went ahead with joint military exercises between Greece and
Cyprus within the framework of the joint defence doctrine.
Mr. Reppas said that at the same time the government succeeded in having
Turkey's relations with the European Union defined by Greek-Turkish
relations and its position on the Cyprus issue.
Lastly, he accused ND of doing nothing in the past and of lacking a policy
Two more quakes since yesterday
Another earth tremor, this time with an epicentre in the eastern end of the
Gulf of Corinth and measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale, was felt in Corinth
and Attica this morning at 10.30.
Meanwhile last night's 5.5 Richter quake, which occurred at 23.40 in the
sea bed between the eastern Aegean islands of Hios and Lesvos, is
considered by seismologists to have been the main quake and not the
forerunner of a larger shock.
No damages have been reported from either quake.
US Congress urged to recognise Greek sovereignty over Imia
WASHINGTON (ANA - T. Ellis) A draft resolution was presented in the US
House of Representatives a few days ago calling on the body to officially
recognise that the Imia isles belong to Greece.
The draft resolution was introduced by Greek-American Representative Mike
Papas, a Congressman from New Jersey.
"Congress feels that the Imia islets in the Aegean Sea comprise a sovereign
part of Greece according to international law," Mr. Papas proposal reads,
which was signed by another 20 Congressmen. The draft resolution was tabled
in the foreign affairs comm ittee.
In the draft resolution mention is made of Turkey's dispute of Gre-ece's
sovereignty over the isles, which Athens maintains are part of its
territory based on the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, an Italian-Turkish
agreement in 1932 and the Paris Treaty of 1 947.
In addition, a Europarliament decision on Feb. 15, 1996 also backing the
delineation of the sea borders of the two countries based on the aforementioned
Police beef up security ahead of Polytechnic anniversary
Police have stepped up patrols in the area of the Athens Polytechnic in
downtown Athens and other school buildings as students prepare to celebrate
the 24th anniversary of the uprising against the military junta Monday.
Security has been tightened at all tertiary institutions around the city to
avert any recurrence of vandalism or violence that has plagued past
anniversaries of the occasion. The three days of celebrations have often
been marred by pitched street ba ttles between police and masked youths,
many of whom are self-styled anarchists.
Polytechnic authorities have fortified the historic school buildings
against possible vandalism by youths who take refuge from police in the
school grounds, which police are barred from entering. One of the buildings
burned down during the anniversary six years ago and has now been almost
Earlier this month, a parliament session was held between Education
Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, Public Order Minister George Romeos and
Polytechnic authorities, with discussion focusing on ways to avert
incidents during the celebration.
University officials said yesterday they would be in constant contact with
the public order and education ministries during the weekend's celebrations
to coordinate activity.
Students and teachers have organised their own patrols of school buildings
to prevent any vandalism to property.
Events will culminate with a rally on Monday, the actual anniversary of the
Damanaki press conference on candidacy for Athens mayor
Maria Damanaki took the initiative yesterday and sidestepped her own party
by holding a press conference to announce her desire to run for the post of
Athens mayor during next year's municipal elections.
However, she said her final decision will be made once she has met with the
leaders of PASOK, the Left Coalition, the Democratic Socialist party,
Political Spring and the Communist Party of Greece, although the latter is
unlikely to agree to a meeting.
Ms. Damanaki, a former Coalition leader, said she had decided to go ahead
after repeated stalling in meetings with PASOK and the Coalition over
procedural details and party tactics.
She said that now was the time for positive initiatives and for attention
to focus on the problems faced by the city and its inhabitants.
Ms. Damanaki said she was willing to assume the responsibility of her
candidacy herself, and urged the parties to assume their own responsibilities
and to clarify their stance.
The Coalition leadership was not previously informed of Ms. Damanaki's
intention to hold a press conference. The Coalition deputy said she
respected party procedures in both her own party and PASOK but said her
initiative had been aimed at a "disengagem ent".
It was later announced that Ms. Damanaki had had a telephone conversation
with Prime Minister Costas Simitis shortly before her press conference. The
call had been initiated by Ms. Damanaki.
Asked to comment, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Ms Damanaki
could meet with the prime minister when she requested a meeting.
Papandreou raises Olympic truce idea with UNESCO
PARIS (ANA) - A meeting between Alternate Foreign Minister George
Papandreou and UNESCO Director General Federico Mayor was held yesterday to
discuss a Greek initiative to revive the idea of an Olympic truce. The
initiative is being coordinated by Mr. Pap andreou.
The Greek delegation briefed Mr. Mayor on its contacts with the International
Olympic Committee as well as Greece's decision to co-sponsor the draft UN
resolution on the observance of the truce during the Winter Olympics in
Japan in 1998.
Also discussed was the use of ancient Olympia as a site for international
meetings and confidence building on peace-related issues.
Rain is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds will be southerly,
moderate to strong. Temperatures in Athens will range between 13-20C, while
in Thessaloniki from 9-16C.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 270.003
Pound sterling 456.915 Cyprus pd 531.315
French franc 46.517 Swiss franc 192.423
German mark 155.789 Italian lira (100) 15.921
Yen (100) 214.728 Canadian dlr. 191.853
Australian dlr. 187.290 Irish Punt 406.918
Belgian franc 7.554 Finnish mark 51.792
Dutch guilder 138.205 Danish kr. 40.936
Swedish kr. 35.795 Norwegian kr. 38.142
Austrian sch. 22.130 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.528