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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-05-06

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] ND harshly criticises gov`t over to enter first stage of EMU
  • [02] German support for Greece's CoE peace initiatives
  • [03] Parliament session on CoE anniversary
  • [04] Tsohatzop-oulos calls for parallel development of WEU, NATO
  • [05] Athens backs latest Clerides statements
  • [06] Apostolakis opens conference
  • [07] Commissioner van den Broek pins blame on Denktash
  • [08] Greek military chief in Brussels for NATO's SHAPEX meeting
  • [09] Reppas' political office attacked
  • [10] Alexandria's int'l symposium concludes
  • [11] ESR president says very little monitoring of TV programming in provinces
  • [12] Yiannopoulos: Segregation of Church, state not included in Constitutional revision
  • [13] Greece, Albania sign health agreement
  • [14] Simitis briefs Stephanopoulos over 'euro' summit
  • [15] Greece rejects Turkish protest over 'PKK' office
  • [16] Aegean ministry official to visit several islets
  • [17] 'Israeli Cultural Week' in Athens
  • [18] Three quakes within four hours off Crete
  • [19] Rehabilitation centre in Albania
  • [20] Parthenon Sculptures exhibition to tour Britain
  • [21] More support for AIDS sufferers
  • [22] Archaeologists uncover rare dog grave
  • [23] Greece, U.S. working on copyright problems
  • [24] Economic News

  • [01] ND harshly criticises gov`t over to enter first stage of EMU

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday called May 2 a day of "sadness and reflection" for Greece since, in essence, the advantages the country had as an equal EU member in 1980 were revoked, relegating Greece to a second category .

    Mr. Karamanlis spoke at a press conference on what he described as Greece's failure to join the first stage of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    The ND leader accused the government of failure and lack of boldness in going ahead with privatisations and claimed that a mistaken economic policy was applied, which was based on high taxation and the "hard drachma" policy.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that the government's policy is only aimed at nominal convergence, resulting in the widening of the distance between the real state of the economy and that of European countries since options are not chosen for high development rates and unemployment is increasing.

    He said that through the failure to join the first phase of EMU, the country will face political, economic and possibly national consequences since insecurity will be maintained, while it is possible that new pressures will be exerted on the drachma with an increase in interest rates and the loss of the advantage resulting from the decrease in the cost of money, while at the same t ime the country's negotiating capacity will decrease since it will not be participating in the decision-making centres of the "11".

    Mr. Karamanlis said that the target of the country joining EMU is not unattainable, but appeared pessimistic and said that the government's performance does not create any feeling of optimism.

    He also appeared concerned over the repercussions that these developments will have on national issues, saying that in its effort to achieve the targets, set for accession to the second phase, the country will be more vulnerable on other important issue s, such as the Cyprus issue and Greek- Turkish relations.

    Mr. Karamanlis proposed the privatisation, among others, of the energy, transport and banking sectors and mentioned the Ionian and Commercial banks, as well as National Bank. Gov't reaction: Replying to the statements by Mr. Karamanlis, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that ND has explicitly shown that it lacks both a programme and political responsibility.

    Mr. Reppas accused Mr. Karamanlis of using words and phrases lacking any policy content.

    He said his repetitions concerning "privatisations, restricting waste, increasing income, incisions in education, administrative reforms" reveal ND's absolute inadequacy to shoulder, as the main opposition party, the responsibility of formulating a mode rn proposal on the country's major issues.

    Invoking the results of the convergence programme submitted by the government, Mr. Reppas assessed that the distance separating Greece from the ultimate target of accession to Economic and Monetary Union is only a breath away. Papantoniou: On his part, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said ND showed its complete lack of proposals.

    "The main opposition is out of place and timeIat a time when the countryYs entry into EMU in 2001 was taken for granted in the statement at the (EU) summit", Mr. Papantoniou said.

    Replying to the minister, ND press spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos charged that Mr. Papantoniou seemed to have forgotten that the 1994 convergence programme was projecting GreeceYs inclusion in EMU on Jan. 1, 1999.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] German support for Greece's CoE peace initiatives

    STRASBOURG, 6/5/1998 (ANA - C. Haralambopoulos)

    German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel yesterday assured Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou that Bonn would support Athens' initiatives during its Council of Europe (CoE) presidency, aimed at defusing crises in the Balkans, particularly in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

    Mr. Kinkel gave the assurance during a private meeting with Mr. Papandreou at the CoE's headquarters in Strasbourg. Greece assumed the rotating six- month presidency of the Council of Europe at a special ceremony here yesterday.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Papandreou said more would be announced about "the possibility and nature" of a specific Greek initiative on the Kosovo crisis when the relevant planning for the initiative had been completed.

    Addressing the Council of Europe's foreign ministers, Mr. Papandreou said the general objectives of the Greek presidency would be to further procedures for the accession to the council of four new members P Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Yugoslavia. H e said emphasis would also be placed on improvements in the area of human rights, particularly in the Balkans, throu-gh the institution of a special position of commissioner for human rights. Efforts would also be made towards setting up a court of human rights.

    Mr. Papandreou stressed that the Council of Europe should adopt new ways of approaching problems in society relating to youth, unemployment and education. Kinkel: Preconditions for Turkey's EU prospect still in effect: "Preconditions set by the European Union for TurkeyYs accession are still in effect", Mr. Kinkel said during a press conference to present the results of the 102nd meeting of the CoE's ministerial committee.

    Mr. Kinkel said he understood the reason for AnkaraYs distress before, during and after the EU's Luxembourg summit last December, but it was impossible for a country that has illegally occupied the territory of another independent nation (i.e. Cyprus) a nd continues to have a poor human rights record to seek accession into the Union. He further expressed disappointment at the fact that over the past six years Greece and Turkey had found no common ground for talks to resolve differences.

    However, the German FM expressed hope that a rapprochement between the two sides will be achieved during Athens' current six-month CoE presidency.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Parliament session on CoE anniversary

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Addressing Parliament's plenum during a special session last night to mark the 49th anniversary of the establishment of the Council of Europe (CoE), which coincides with the assumption of the organisationYs rotating presidency by Athens, Parliament Presid ent Apostolos Kaklamanis appealed to the CoE to continue to contribute to the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    Perpetuation of the Cyprus issue, Mr. Kaklamanis added, was entirely against the principles of peace, security and democratic freedoms, while he underlined that the only acceptable and legitimate method in resolving disputes in the world and in the regi on was the use of peaceful means and political solutions. However, Dinos Vrettos, the head of the Greek group in the CoE's parliamentary assembly, expressed his personal estimation that the Cyprus problem "had not attracted the necessary attention", and t hat he was not expecting a positive outcome on the specific issues to result from the CoE's initiatives.

    What the CoE was looking into, he added, was the Yugoslavia and Kurdish issues.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Tsohatzop-oulos calls for parallel development of WEU, NATO

    MADRID, 6/5/1998 (ANA - M. Savva)

    The Western European Union (WEU) must develop in tandem with NATO and not in opposition to the Alliance, visiting National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said here yesterday.

    "The principle of compatibility and joint - and not separate - use of available means and facilities must be maintained," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told a meeting of WEU parliamentary assembly in Madrid. The WEU and NATO plan their first-ever joint e xercise for the year 2000.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the flexibility offered by the use of multi- national rapid deployment forces provided the WEU with new political and operational prospects, which allowed the "dual" development of relations between the European Union and with NAT O.

    This meant that the WEU would be in a better position to serve as a bridge between the EU and the Alliance.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos acknowledged however that there were problems which were at present impeding the implementation of multi-national rapid deployment forces within the framework of WEU-NATO relations.

    He said the problems were chiefly related to matters of security, the flow of information and planning, attributing them primarily to the institutional differences between the two defence organisations, as well as to operational differences, given that their original objectives differ.

    Greece will be hosting a two-day WEU defence and foreign ministers' meeting on Rhodes which begins next Monday. Spanish defence minister briefed on Cyprus issue: Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also briefed Spanish counterpart Eduardo Serra yesterday on developments concerning the Cyprus issue and the failure of recent contacts by US envoy Richard Holbrooke on the divided island republic.

    "We regret the intransigence of the Turkish Cypriot side, in the same way as we regret Turkey's refusal to accept the promotion of a solution to the Cyprus issue based on international rules and the UN's resolutions," he told a press conference.

    On his part, Mr. Serra said Madrid follows a general principle, namely, the principle of resolving problems with peaceful means so as to decrease tensions.

    "My country does not refuse dialogue, but certain preconditions must exist such as respect for international treaties and international law, as well as abstention from provocative attitudes," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    The two officials also discussed the preparation of NATO's four regional headquarters since, according to decisions taken in Brussels, they must start operating in 1999.

    It was the first meeting between the two defence ministers and Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was given an official welcome. They said that they had the opportunity to discuss many issues preoccupying the two countries. Greece and Spain have common positions on sec urity issues, while scepticism becomes even greater with the process of seeking a new role for the West European Union in the framework of NATO and, more specifically, with the decisions on the establishment of a unified currency. They also discussed the upcoming visit to Athens of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos and Mr. Serra participated in an international seminar taking place in Madrid these days on the European security and defence identity, just as NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana did, with whom they will meet again soon in Rhodes, w here the West European Union's foreign affairs and defence ministers will convene. The socialist defence ministers of WEU countries will meet on Saturday for an exchange of views.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Athens backs latest Clerides statements

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek government fully supports a statement by Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides expressing disappointment with a number of statements by US presidential envoy for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    President Clerides' evaluation is "completely objective," Mr. Reppas told reporters.

    Mr. Clerides on Monday said Mr. Holbrooke had misinterpreted his position on intercommunal talks and stressed he had never ceased to represent the Republic of Cyprus.

    The statement further underlines that "the President of the Republic has never accepted that the relevant article of the 1960 Constitution, which specifies that he represents the Republic of Cyprus, has ceased to be valid."

    The Cypriot president was responding to comments by Mr. Holbrooke that "no one can dispute that Glafcos Clerides does not represent or has control over the people of northern Cyprus. He doesn't deny that, that is a fact."

    Mr. Clerides' statement also notes that Mr. Holbrooke "has not blamed the Turkish side, as he had assured me, for the failure to break the deadlockI"

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Apostolakis opens conference

    Athens, 6/5/1998 9ANA)

    Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis yesterday inaugurated the "International Developments - Media - National Defence - National Issues" conference at the National Defence Academy.

    Commenting on the Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Apostolakis said that since Greece must live with an aggressive neighbour, "we have nothing to lose by discussing issues within the existing legal framework."

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Commissioner van den Broek pins blame on Denktash

    BERLIN, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Hans van den Broek, the European commissioner responsible for extrenal relations, yesterday clearly placed the blame for the failure to begin intercommunal talks on Cyprus on the Turkish Cypriot side and leader Rauf Denktash.

    Responding to a question put by New Democracy Eurodeputy Panayiotis Lambrias at a conference organised by the European Peoples Party in Berlin, Mr. van den Broek said it was "clear" that Mr. Denktash's stance on the Holbooke initiative had shown that he was in no way inclicned to go into talks on finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "Mr. Denktash's terms cannot be accepted and his stance had confirmed his intransigence," Mr. van den Broek said.

    He said there had been progress in EU relations with Turkey in the framework set out by the Luxembourg summit but that what was now needed was the release of financial assistance allocated to Turkey. He said that this was an issue that was regularly rai sed by Ankara and was the only stumbling block in the convening of an EU-Turkey Association Council meeting, scheduled for May 24.

    Mr. van den Broek later told French television that the European Union desired stronger ties with Turkey and said that the goal of European strategy was that Turkey be assisted to meet its goal of accession to the European Union.

    He added that there were still problems in EU-Turkish relations, citing the ongoing occupation of Cyprus, problems with Greece, and the area of respect for human rights.

    He said that Turkey needed to achieve progress in these three areas if it wanted to bolster its relations with the European Union.

    Also speaking at the EPP's conference, German Deputy Foreign Minister Hans Friedrich von Ploetz echoed the commissioner's statements and said that Turkey had to improve its relations with Greece and aid in the resolution of the Cyprus problem. Kosovo on WEU agenda: Mr. van den Broek also mentioned that the forthcoming WEU ministerial council of Rhodes was "particularly important" given the Greek presidency's decision to place the issue of Kosovo and Balkan peace on the agenda.

    "It is beneficial for the WEU to analyse the situation in Kosovo and to examine the possibility of intervention with the aim of maintaining peace in the region," the commissioner said.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Greek military chief in Brussels for NATO's SHAPEX meeting

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence General Chief Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis is currently in Brussels to participate in the NATO military committee and attend the Alliance's annual SHAPEX meeting.

    The military committee will be discussing procedures and methods to be used in implementing the Alliance's new structure, the general situation in the Balkans, with emphasis on Kosovo, the activities of NATO peacekeeping missions and the election of a n ew chairman.

    Attending the SHAPEX meeting are the chiefs of general staff of NATO countries and their counterparts of countries participating in the Partnership for Peace programme.

    The two-day meeting, which begins in Brussels tomorrow, is entitled "NATO in the 21st century P The Planning of Powers".

    Sources in Athens said Gen. Tzoganis may meet with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the NATO meetings, although no meeting has been scheduled. The Turkish press believes such a meeting to be highly likely.

    He will be having meetings with his Russian and Slovenian counterparts on the sidelines of the Alliance meetings.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Reppas' political office attacked

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    An explosion yesterday evening rocked the political office of government spokesman and Press Minister Dimitris Reppas, causing only material damage on the fifth floor of the building housing the office, 25 A. Soutsou St., in the Kolonaki district.

    The homemade explosive device, comprised of six gas canisters, was placed outside the officeYs door.

    There was no warning call before the blast, while at press time no one had claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Both the main opposition New Democracy party and the Coalition of the Left condemned the attack.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Alexandria's int'l symposium concludes

    ALEXANDRIA, 6/5/1998 (ANA - V. Harissopoulou)

    Alexandria's 7th international symposium, this year entitled "Kavafia 1998", concluded yesterday.

    Hellenists from Europe, the Arab world and Greece participated in events, among them Egyptian writer and poet Naim Attia, who has translated Kavafis' works, Sudanese poet Muhammad Faitouri, Egyptian Gamal el Quassas and Cypriots Niki Maragou and Kyriako s Haralambides, who were honoured for their work.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] ESR president says very little monitoring of TV programming in provinces

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Radio-Television Council (ESR) president G. Kassimatis yesterday said "there is no radio-television council, since there are no presonnel to cover necessary posts."

    His critisism aimed at describing the conditions of monitoring television to the members of Parliament's Institutions and Transparency Committee.

    Mr. Kassimatis said that the rest of Greece, outside of Athens, is "terra incognita", as far as controls are concerned.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Yiannopoulos: Segregation of Church, state not included in Constitutional revision

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos said yesterday during a discussion in Parliament on revising the Constitution that constituti onal clauses proposed by PASOK and main opposition New Democracy for revision do not include the segregation of Church and state or the issue of parliamentarians' oath.

    "It is not possible for us to open issues which we should not," he said, adding that the issue of relations between the Church and state can be resolved by an ordinary law.

    Mr. Yiannopoulos said that now the state has "the upper hand" and that "Metro-politans who used to make political speeches from the pulpit have disappeared." He further said that with dialogue "we will reach segregation at some point."

    Former premier Constantine Mitsotakis called for the widest revision possible to enable necessary incisions to be made.

    Justifying his position, he said that the 1975 Constitution does not contain the concepts of economic liberalisation and of the economy's globalisation. Venizelos, Synaspismos: Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos intervened against the proposals for the separation of Church and state by changing the Article III of the Constitution, since such a move would essentially force the Church into an active political and ideological rol e.

    Mr. Venizelos, in answer to main opposition New Democracy (ND) proposals regarding private universities, said that he is willing to accept what ND proposed if the private institutions will be non-profit, if students will be accepted on a merit-based sys tem and if professors and lecturers are selected with the same procedures as colleagues of public universities.

    Coalition for the Left and Progress' (Synaspismos) Stergios Pitsiolas said the new Archbishop of Athens Christodoulos' recent intervention in political affairs forebodes changes in the role of the Church in the nation's political and social life on all levels, leading to friction and confrontation.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Greece, Albania sign health agreement

    TIRANA, 6/5/1998 (ANA - P. Haritou)

    Health Minister Costas Geitonas is presently visiting Tirana in the context of an official visit to consult with members of the Albanian gover-nment on developing cooperation between the two countries' health ministries.

    Albania and Greece yesterday signed a two-year agreement which provides for the development of joint research programmes and cooperation between research centres on issues of mutual interest. The agreement also provides for mutual participation and exc hange of information in conferences and meetings on the issues of public health, health and environment, infectious diseases and preventative measures and food hygiene. Greece will also provide free hospital treatment for up to 300 Albanian citizens per y ear, at the discretion of the health minister. Greece is also preparing to grant internships in Greek hospitals to young Albanian doctors and provide know-how on primary healthcare and hospital care.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Simitis briefs Stephanopoulos over 'euro' summit

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday described as "very important" the weekend EU summit that formalised the launching of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as of Jan. 1, 1999 with 11 member-states.

    After a 45-minute meeting with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, whom Mr. Simitis briefed on the summit talks and decisions, the premier said:

    "The summit took important decisions. The framework of Europe's course to EMU is now crystal clear, and so is the framework of what we must do and the timetable for doing it." Mr. Simitis is due to brief party leaders on the summit's results in separate meetings today.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Greece rejects Turkish protest over 'PKK' office

    Athens, 6/5/1998 9ANA)

    The government said yesterday that Greece had rejected a verbal protest from Turkey concerning the supposed operation of a Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) office in Athens.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the protest had been made to Greece's Ambassador in Ankara, Dimitrios Nezeritis.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Reppas dismissed Turkish claims that the home of ruling PASOK party deputy Costas Badouvas is being used by the PKK for its headquarters in Greece as "provocation, wild imagination and concoctions of the Turks so th at they can hurl accusations against Greece which are devoid of all objective basis".

    Greece, the spokesman added, will not allow itself to become involved in such a quarrel.

    The government decision not to allow the operation of Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) office in Athens sparked criticism by the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) party, which issued an announcement yesterday.

    "The government, submitting to pressures from Ankara and other powers, is depriving a political party representing a large part of the Kurdish people from the ability to be present in a country that has known the refugee problemI" the announcement stated.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Aegean ministry official to visit several islets

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Aegean Ministry secretary-general Yiannis Mahairidis began a tour yesterday morning of three of four eastern Aegean islands whose sovereignty was recently disputed by Turkey.

    In the framework of a scheduled tour, Mr. Mahairidis is visiting Farmakonissi, Agathonissi and Fournoi, as well as Samos, Marathi, Patmos, Kalolimnos and Leipsoi. The purpose of the visit is an on-the-spot inspection of the islands where the "Ecological Course in the Aegean" programme will be implemented with European Union funding.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] 'Israeli Cultural Week' in Athens

    Athens, 6/5/1998 9ANA)

    The embassy of Israel in Athens in cooperation with the Hilton Hotel will organise a festival from May 8-17, commemorating the 50th anniversary of that country's founding.

    This "Israeli Cultural Week" includes live music, food, a photographic exhibition, among others, and is the first of a series of summer events.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Three quakes within four hours off Crete

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Three earthquakes were recorded yesterday in the Agios Nikolaos Gulf off Crete near Rethymno. The first measured 4.5 on the Richter scale was recorded at 2:51 p.m.; the second notched 5 on the Richter scale at 5:40 p.m., while the third was recorded at 6: 45 p.m. and measured 4.8.
    Athens News Agency

    [19] Rehabilitation centre in Albania

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    The finance ministry and the Greek consulate in Gjirokaster will cooperate with Albania's labour, social affairs and women's issues ministry for the creation of a rehabilitation centre for handicapped persons. The centre will be located in Tepeleni, Alban ia, with an initial investment of eight million Ecu needed for its creation. The centre, which will be inaugurated May 17, will have a staff of 160.
    Athens News Agency

    [20] Parthenon Sculptures exhibition to tour Britain

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    The British Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures is organising a photographic exhibition entitled "Worthless Stones P Monuments of the Gods" at the architects' federation in London.

    The exhibition will be inaugurated today by noted Greek singer and Eurodeputy Nana Mouschouri.

    The photographic exhibition deals with the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece, and features visuals and documents. The exhibition shows how the Parthenon Marbles were lifted from the ancient temple dedicated to Athina and transported to Britai n, while it supports their return.

    Moreover, it further details the work done to date to protect the Parthenon and the new Acropolis museum, which was planned to promote the friezes in relation to the temple itself.

    The mobile exhibition will visit universities and public sites in Britain during 1998, in an effort to stimulate discussions and dialogue.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] More support for AIDS sufferers

    Athens, 6/5/1998 9ANA)

    Treatment expenses, medicines and examinations for AIDS patients insured with social security funds will from now on be paid by relevant funds, according to Health and Social Welfare Undersecretary Theodoros Kotsonis.

    Speaking during yesterdayYs one-day meeting on AIDS, organised in the framework of proceedings of the IVXX National Medical Congress, Mr. Kotsonis also announced that treatment and medicine costs for uninsured and poor AIDS patients will continue to be covered by the health ministry.

    Further, it was decided that AIDS medicines will be freely available by drugstores for all those patients not wishing to get their treatment through the social security system.

    According to the undersecretary the annual cost by the state for AIDS patients amounts to 3.5 billion drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Archaeologists uncover rare dog grave

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Archaeologists say they have uncovered the first example in the northeast Aegean region of the grave of a dog which died during the late Hellenistic period.

    The grave was discovered during excavations at the picturesque resort of Molyvos, which was built on the ruins of the ancient town of Mythymna, on the northern coast of Lesbos.

    Offerings of two clay vases, a weaving weight and an as yet unidentified lead object were found in the grave.

    In nearby excavations, archaeologists recently uncovered the graves of seven people from the same period.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Greece, U.S. working on copyright problems

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA)

    Greece is working with the United States on the issue of copyright and hopes that a solution will be found to the mutual benefit of both sides, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said the government would confer on the issue with U.S. Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.

    The U.S. last week said it would begin World Trade Organisation dispute settlement procedures after Greece had failed to curb "high rates" of piracy of U.S.-owned films and programmes by television stations.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Economic News

    Athens, 6/5/1998 (ANA) EU summit shows Greece way to euro, Simitis says: Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that a weekend European Union summit that launched economic and monetary union (EMU) with 11 member states, showed what Greece must do to gain entry, probably in 2001.

    Mr. Simitis was speaking after a 45-minute meeting to inform President Kostis Stephanopoulos of the summit's outcome.

    "The summit took important decisions. The framework of Europe's course to EMU is now crystal clear, and so is the framework of what we must do and the timetable for doing it," Mr. Simitis said.

    The Euro will be launched on January 1, 1999 with 11 members, and Greece hopes to join by January 1, 2001. Greece has pledged to cut public spending and reform the state sector in order to ease entry into EMU. Mr. Simitis is due to brief political p arty leaders on the summit results in separate meetings on Wednesday. Euro to promote global trade, Pangalos says: The launch of the euro at a weekend European Union summit was an historic moment and should signal the creation of a global trading power, Greek Foreign Minister Theodore Pangalos said yesterday.

    Addressing a meeting of the European Movement in Athens, Mr. Pangalos said Europeans should build a world trading power to compete with the United States and promote the globalisation of markets.

    He said Greece had lost major opportunities in the past and blamed a civil war 50 year ago for the country's late arrival in Europe.

    Mr. Pangalos stressed that a unified Europe would be born only when Italians would speak about their Hague, or Europeans about their Aegean Sea.

    Parliamentary deputy Dora Bakoyianni told the meeting that Greece and Europe had made progress towards the goal of unification.

    But the main opposition New Democracy deputy said she was sad that Greece had remained out of the euro's first wave of members.

    She also called for measures to combat youth unemployment in Europe. Banks propel Greek bourse to new record close: Greek equities posted a new record close on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday helped by a buying spree in banks following speculation of an imminent merger between state-owned Commercial Bank and Ionian Bank, its subsidiary.

    But the market remained nervous awaiting the government's final decisions on its privatisation programme, traders said.

    The general index ended 1.22 percent higher at 2,634.54 points.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks soared 3.60 percent, Insurance rose 1.23 percent, Investment fell 0.57 percent, Leasing jumped 2.33 percent, Industrials eased 0.29 percent, Construction was 1.27 percent off, Miscellaneous ended 2.60 percent up and Hold ing fell 2.82 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.05 percent off. Trading was active with turnover at 74.11 billion drachmas. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 139 to 111 with another 18 issues unchanged.

    Newly listed Minoan Lines, Commercial Bank, Ionian Bank, Bank of Pireaus, Elais, Papastratos, Elmec Sport, Sportsman and Papoutsanis scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Fintexport, Sarandopoulos, Intertyp, Zampa and Benroubi suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 54,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 29,150, Alpha Credit Bank at 34,500, Delta Dairy at 5,236, Titan Cement at 25,900, Intracom at 20,395 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8, 785.

    In the domestic money market the drachma was substantially higher against most foreign currencies. Greek bourse chief says resignation for personal reasons: The outgoing president of the Athens Stock Exchange, Manolis Xanthakis, confirmed yesterday that he had resigned his post for purely personal reasons.

    Mr. Xanthakis, an economics professor at Athens University, was countering media reports that he was unhappy at slow progress in a project to make paper shares electronic due to foot dragging by brokers.

    He said progress made during his over four-year term as president was a result of teamwork, and that a change of personnel was no cause of concern.

    During his term, the Athens bourse's value had increased by sixfold, transactions were 30 times higher, and the number of listed companies had almost doubled, Mr. Xanthakis said. Greece's Texapret to hold IPO for parallel market entry: Texapret SA, Greece's second largest fabrics manufacturer, is seeking entry into the Athens bourse's parallel market for small cap companies through an initial public offering of 428,900 new common shares, accounting for 17.4 percent of its share capital.

    Texapret hopes to tap the market for 450.3 million drachmas to finance a modernisation and quality improvement investment plan.

    The company exports fabrics and fibre to east European countries. Athens metro has 71 pct completion rate: Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said yesterday that 71 percent of the Athens Metro had been completed.

    One of the project's tunnel-boring machines (TBM), nicknamed Jason, has reached the Neos Kosmos station south of the city centre after boring 600 metres of tunnel.

    A second TBM, called Persephone, will start drilling a tunnel from a station in Daphni, southwest of the city, to Neos Kosmos at the end of the month.

    Mr. Laliotis also said that the first two of 38 trains for the metro would be delivered on June 20. Greek isle of Zakynthos expects more tourists: Tourist arrivals on the Greek island of Zakynthos are expected to show an increase of 15-20 percent this year against 1997, officials said yesterday. Zakynthos airport officials told the Athens News Agency that during this year's tourist season, which wil l run until November 1, approximately 16- 20 charter flights would arrive daily. The first 16 charter flights of the season arrived on Zakynthos on Monday. Greece's Mortgage Bank reports 104.5 pct jump in 1995-97 profit: Mortgage Bank, a member of the National Bank of Greece group, yesterday reported a 104.5 percent rise in pre-tax profits and provisions in 1995-97.

    The period covered by the figure includes the bank's merger with its subsidiary, National Housing Bank, in 1997.

    Mortgage Bank itself is due to merge with its parent company, state National Bank of Greece, in the near future.

    Pre-tax profits and provisions in 1997 were 50.9 billion drachmas against 47.312 billion in 1996 and 24.925 billion in 1995.

    Vassilis Rapanos, the bank's governor, said that the bank would recommend an 800 drachma dividend to shareholders, an increase of 10.6 percent from 1996. He forecast that pre-tax profits would rise by 8.0 percent to 9.6 billion drachmas in the first q uarter of 1998 from 8.9 billion the same period last year.

    The bank reported a 17.6 percent increase in its loan portfolio to 186.8 billion drachmas last year.

    Mr. Rapanos said its mortgage lending target for the current year exceeded 200 billion drachmas.

    He said that following the merger with National Housing Bank, a portfolio restructuring programme had been successfully implemented.

    Mr. Rapanos said that the decision to merge with National Bank of Greece would create a powerful financial group able to compete in an increasingly global competitive market.

    Athens News Agency

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