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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-01-24

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER'S VISIT TO TURKEY A GOOD OMEN
  • [02] GREEK ECONOMY DISCUSSED BY EU'S MONETARY COMMITTEE
  • [03] NEW DEMOCRACY PARTY'S PRE-CONGRESS MEETING ENDS
  • [04] PASOK YOUTH CONFERENCE WINDS UP
  • [05] INITIATIVE BY SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL
  • [06] ATHENS METRO EXTENSION TO OPEN SOON
  • [07] REDUCTION OF MILITARY SERVICE FORECAST

  • [01] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER'S VISIT TO TURKEY A GOOD OMEN

    Political observers from both sides have concluded that the 4-day official visit to Turkey by the Greek foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, which ended on Saturday, served to consolidate the good climate that has prevailed in Greek- Turkish relations in recent months. At the same time they point out that the signing of 4 agreements on so-called "low- policy" issues opens the way for an improvement in bilateral contacts. However, the core of the problem concerning Turkish demands in the Aegean and Ankara's stance over the Cyprus issue has not been touched upon; this is expected to be a difficult and lengthy process. Mr Papandreou has categorically denied a report published in a Turkish newspaper claiming he said Greece would acknowledge the existence of a Turkish minority in Thrace. He commented, however, that a step-by-step rapprochement between Greece and Turkey could only be beneficial to both sides. Cyprus' political parties have expressed reserved optimism over the rapprochement but have chosen to adopt a wait-and- see approach. Meanwhile the managing director of Greek Railways, Iannis Mourmouris, has signed three rail agreements with his Turkish counterpart in Constantinople. The first concerns a new line linking Xanthi, Komotini and Alexandroupolis with Constantinople, scheduled to go into operation on 28th May. The second agreement concerns a rail-sea link between Volos and Smyrna for container transport, while a third link connecting Athens with Constantinople and Smyrna will be established in early summer, for the benefit of tourist traffic.

    [02] GREEK ECONOMY DISCUSSED BY EU'S MONETARY COMMITTEE

    The EU's monetary committee is to hold a session today on the Greek economy. The committee will prepare its final report to ECOFIN which meets to approve Greece's revised convergence programme on January 31st. The Bank of Greece is to cut its interest rates by one percent in an effort to curb inflation.

    [03] NEW DEMOCRACY PARTY'S PRE-CONGRESS MEETING ENDS

    The New Democracy party's first pre-congress meeting at the Stadium of Peace and Friendship in Athens, which focused on institutional and transparency issues, wound up yesterday. Addressing the session, the opposition New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, proposed that the president of the republic should be elected directly by the people. He also said regional heads should be elected by each region's electoral body. In addition, he proposed the abolition of deputies' immunity for common law crimes. Mr Karamanlis appeared optimistic with regard to the results of the forthcoming general election. He predicted that the pre-election campaign would be a tough one but said the final result was a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile in an interview published in the newspaper Express tis Kyriakis, Mr Karamanlis maintained that the New Democracy party's popularity had increased, and he implied that the mayor of Athens, Dimitris Avramopoulos, would stand in the forthcoming parliamentary elections as a New Democracy party candidate.

    [04] PASOK YOUTH CONFERENCE WINDS UP

    The fourth congress of PASOK's youth organisation ended last night with the election of a new central council. Addressing the congress yesterday, the national defence minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, criticized the recent arguments and the fact that a group of delegates walked out of the congress, and he issued a call for unity. The speaker of the house, Apostolos Kaklamanis, the interior minister, Vaso Papandreou, and the education minister, Gerasimos Arsenis, also addressed the assembly.

    [05] INITIATIVE BY SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL

    The Socialist International is undertaking an initiative for the abolition of the death sentence worldwide and the protection of people's political, social and economic rights, as well as the adoption of measures to protect the environment and women's working conditions. The decision was made by the Portuguese prime minister, Antonio Gutieres, at the first meeting of the Socialist International under its new presidency, which took place at the tourist resort of Sintra, outside Lisbon. The Greek prime minister, Kostas Simitis, who is the organisation's vice- president, was represented by the alternate foreign minister, Christos Rokofyllos, who referred in his speech to the need to safeguard people's economic rights. Within the framework of the two-day sessions, Mr Rokofyllos had several meetings with the representatives of various socialist parties, as well as with the vice-president of the Turkish government, Erdal Inonu, with whom he discussed Greek-Turkish relations. Both men expressed their satisfaction over the first firm steps taken recently towards a rapprochement between the two countries.

    [06] ATHENS METRO EXTENSION TO OPEN SOON

    Work on completion of the new Athens Metro is in its final stages. Between now and 29th January, when two new lines are to be opened, the public is being given the opportunity to attend special entertainment events at the news stations with art exhibitions and performances by music groups, dancers and clowns.

    [07] REDUCTION OF MILITARY SERVICE FORECAST

    The national defence ministry is preparing a draft bill on the hiring of 15,000 professional soldiers which will, in its initial stage, allow the period of military service to be reduced by approximately two months. Announcing the measure, the defence minister, Akis Tsohadzopoulos, said that a reduction in military service should on no account be seen as a pre-election gambit.
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