Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou today asked parliament to reject the year-old agreement returning Greece to NATO's military wing.
In outlining his foreign policy plans for the first time since his election four weeks ago as Greece's first Socialist premier, Papandreou also reiterated a campaign pledge to negotiate removal of U.S. military bases here and said his government would begin negotiations to have nuclear weapons of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization removed from Greece.
He said he still favored a referendum on whether to remain in the European Community and, in a speech to parliament that charted a clear change of direction for this country in many areas, dedicated his government to broadening its relations with the Arab world.
Papandreou's statements today to the 300-member parliament largely reiterated pledges he made during the campaign that brought his Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) to power. Pasok won 172 seats in parliament. It was unclear until today just how closely the policies of the Socialist government would follow demands the Socialists made when they were in the opposition.
The program laid out by Papandreou left out none of the sweeping campaign promises of a major shift in Greek policy, putting primary emphasis on the boosting of military defense under an independent foreign policy that includes changed relations with NATO, the United States and the European Community and strengthened ties with Arab and Third World states.
Papandreou rejected as "unacceptable" the so-called Rogers Plan, negotiated by the NATO commander, Gen. Bernard Rogers, last year for Greece's return to participation in NATO military operations. Although never actually carried out by Greece, the plan had been accepted by Turkey and the previous Greek government. Greece withdrew from NATO's military wing in 1974 in protest of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
"There is no sense in our belonging to the military wing of an alliance which does not guarantee our eastern borders with Turkey against any possible threat," Papandreou told the 300 deputies and a packed visitors' gallery.
"Moreover the Rogers agreement places in doubt the limits of Greece's operational control in the Aegean, which we deem unacceptable," he said. His comments, however, did not appear to rule out further negotiations with NATO.
According to the Rogers agreement, Turkey, which objected to Greek reentry on pre-1974 terms, agreed to lift its implied veto in favor of sorting out the question of control of Aegean airspace after Greece's reintegration. The pre-1974 terms gave Athens full operational control of the airspace.
Athens then changed its mind, however, and held out against a review of Aegean control. As leader of the Socialist opposition at the time, Papandreou criticized the conservative New Democracy government for agreeing to rejoin NATO's military operations on terms jeopardizing Greek control rights in the Aegean.
Papandreou's statements today appear to end hopes on the part of Greece's Western allies that Pasok campaign rhetoric would give way to moderated policies once the Socialists were faced with the realities of power.
The Socialist administration's policy program also said Greece, in a first step toward establishing a nuclear-free zone in the Balkans, will move unilaterally to oust the nuclear weapons currently stationed at the U.S. military bases in Greece.
The move is jarring to NATO officials, who fear the Greek example will set off a chain reaction at a time when the peace movement is strong in Europe and is spawning campaigns to halt the planned deployment of medium-range nuclear missiles in Western Europe.
Papandreou added that his administration will begin talks with the United States on U.S. bases in Greece in early 1982 to reach an interim agreement until they can be permanently dismantled. One of the Socialists' goals is ridding Greece of all foreign military installations.
Although Papandreou stresssed his government's commitment to a referendum on the issue of European Community membership, he indicated that Greece may resort to the less drastic option of seeking better terms until a referendum is called by President Constantine Karmanlis.
In stressing Athens' intention to boost ties with the Balkan and Arab states and the Third World, he repeated his government's support of the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their home.
On the domestic front, Papandreou outlined a grim economic picture for 1981, featuring a balance-of-payments deficit of $2.3 billion, an inflation rate of more than 25 percent and declining investments and productivity.
Papandreou said his government would combat the situation through a program of boosting investments, revising bank credit policy, aiding problem industries and reinforcing the troubled small- and mid-size businesses sector, leading up to a five-year economic development plan starting in 1982.
He said the government will proceed with the "socialization" of key industries, including some of the large shipyards. His program will range from nationalizing some sectors of the economy to revamping operations like banks that are already state-controlled.