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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece, Cyprus call for `substantive talks` at intercommunal contacts
  • [02] Greek,Turkish firms hope to aid political climate
  • [03] Inflation to meet EMU criterion Feb, Papademos says
  • [04] Current account deficit narrows
  • [05] Unemployment up in October
  • [06] No change in drachma policy, Papantoniou says
  • [07] Greek stocks end slightly lower hit by banks
  • [08] Demand seen in drachma
  • [09] Hellenic Banking Institute launched
  • [10] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [11] Papandreou, Miscivici discuss Turkey's Euro-vocation, Cyprus' EU accession course
  • [12] NATO's Robertson in Athens on Monday,Lipponen on Thursday
  • [13] Cov't terms Clinton visit as a success
  • [14] WEU foreign, defence ministers' session convenes
  • [15] Eighteen appear before magistrate over Friday's rioting
  • [16] Mitsotakis-Vucicevic meeting
  • [17] Moscovici: Greece on course for EMU entry
  • [18] Delegation of Turkish industrialists met by Greek leadership
  • [19] Improving Greek-Turkish relations the focus of Lesvos event
  • [20] Pre-fab settlement for quake victims

  • [01] Greece, Cyprus call for `substantive talks` at intercommunal contacts

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    Both Athens and Nicosia believe upcoming talks on the Cyprus issue should be substantive, with United Nations resolutions and a call by the G-8 countries as their basis.

    "The two sides agreed that talks must be substantive and should be based on decisions by the UN Security Council and be conducted in line with the recent call by the G-8 countries," a joint communique, issued after talks in Athens yesterday between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, read.

    No statements were made after the roughly one-hour talks between the two men and their respective delegations.

    The communique also stressed what it termed the crucial juncture facing the Cyprus issue, in the light of proximity talks between President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in New York on Dec. 3, as well as the Dec. 10-11 EU summit in Helsinki, the recent OSCE summit in Istanbul as well as US President Bill Clinton's visit to Athens over the weekend . The communique added that the general estimation was positive in the wake of the OSCE summit and the bilateral talks held by Mr. Simitis and Mr. Clerides with EU leaders and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

    Mr. Annan, the communique read, pledged that proximity talks on Cyprus would touch on issues of substance.

    Both leaders determined that Mr. Bill Clinton's statements on the Cyprus issue were in the right direction, and they both underlined his statement that the status quo on Cyprus was "unacceptable".

    "We expect the above comments to be translated into concrete results," the communique read.

    The US president made the statement during a speech in Athens on Saturday.

    The joint communique also expressed the full agreement and understanding between the two governments ahead of the Helsinki summit.

    The approach to the summit is common and aims at facilitating the interests of both countries, the communique read.

    In addition, Mr. Clerides met Sunday with main opposition New Democracy honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis, who later said the Cyprus issue was at a "very crucial turning point".

    The Cyprus president also met with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    Mr. Clerides arrived in Athens on Saturday from Istanbul where he attended last week's OSCE summit.

    Meeting with Karamanlis : After meeting with the Greek premier, Mr. Clerides held talks with ND leader Costas Karamanlis.

    No statements were made afterwards, although the two men reportedly discussed developments over the Cyprus problem in the aftermath of Mr. Clinton's recent visits to both Greece and Turkey and the upcoming proximity talks.

    UN chief Annan : UNITED NATIONS (ANA - M. Georgiadou) - In a related development, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told reporters he had the opportunity of discussing the Cyprus issue with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit following his meeting with him yesterday on the sidelines of the OSCE summit in Istanbul.

    "I had the opportunity of discussing the Cyprus issue with the Turkish premier and in particular the negotiating process which will start in New York on Dec. 3," he said.

    According to the text of statements by the UN secretary general circulated at the UN's headquarters, Mr. Annan said the following in reply to a question by the press on whether he hopes a solution will be found during the Dec. 3 talks:

    "We will bring the two sides close to enable a constructive dialogue to start with the hope of finding an overall solution. It is a long-standing and difficult problem. I believe we should not nurse unfounded expectations that it is feasible for it to be resolved in New York in December. I hope there is progress."

    Mr. Annan said that apart from the Cyprus issue, he and Mr. Ecevit discussed the crisis in Iraq and the ban on its petroleum sales, the Balkans and effective cooperation between the UN and Turkey.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greek,Turkish firms hope to aid political climate

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The development of business ties between Greece and Turkey can contribute to an improvement in relations between the two countries, said a joint communique by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) and the Union of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen (TUSIAD).

    The full text of the statement, which was released after talks by the two groups in Athens yesterday, is as follows:

    "Economic relations between Greece and Turkey have increased at a steady pace over the last decade, totalling 700 million euros in 1998.

    "The signing of a customs union agreement by Turkey and the European Union in 1996 contributed to this progress.

    "Under the right circumstances, the business communities of Greece and Turkey foresee greater possibilities for trade as well as for investment and business partnerships between the two countries.

    "On the European level, the acceptance of Turkey as a candidate country for European Union enlargement would advance its internal efforts to satisfy the political and economic criteria for entry into the EU, in this way promoting effective solutions to the political problems existing between Greece and Turkey.

    "In this direction, Turkey's application should be handled on an equal basis with every other similar application, regarding both the prospects and responsibilities of a candidate country," the communique concluded.

    The statement was released after a visit by the Turkish business delegation to Athens whose members met Greek businessmen, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, and Iason Stratos, president of the Federation of Greek Industry.

    Political understanding needed, minister says : Greek-Turkish business relations cannot prosper unless the two countries can reach a fundamental political understanding, despite a climate of goodwill in the private sector, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with a Turkish business delegation, Mr. Papantoniou said: "I had the opportunity to meet with the Turkish Businessmens' Union, which is linked to the Federation of Greek Industries, and discussed the framework of Greek-Turkish business cooperation."

    The Greek government has began a "low-level policy" dialogue with Turkey covering tourism, commerce and economic cooperation.

    "I believe that there are substantial prospects to further develop bilateral relations. The liberalisation of markets in the Balkans and the Black Sea region offers opportunities for major cooperation between Greece and Turkey," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    He noted, however, political limitations to bilateral business cooperation "linked to Turkey's unacceptable claims towards Greece.

    As long as these problems remain unresolved, a positive climate in the private sector will not be able to prosper on its own".

    The minister added that there were clear-cut, fundamental conditions to promote bilateral economic relations, but also needed was a fundamental political understanding "which calls on Turkey to abandon its unacceptable positions so far".

    Businesses seeking closer ties : Contacts between Greek and Turkish businesses aim to find ways of forging closer relations between the two sides, said Iason Stratos, president of the Federation of Greek Industry.

    In December, European employers' groups would meet in order to discuss Turkey's bid to become a candidate for European Union membership, Mr. Stratos said.

    He was speaking after a meeting with the Turkish business delegation and Mr. Papantoniou.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Inflation to meet EMU criterion Feb, Papademos says

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The inflation rate will drop below 2.0 percent in February despite its recent slight acceleration, Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos said yesterday.

    Presenting the central bank's interim report on this year's monetary policy to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Mr. Papademos said: "I am certain that the EMU entry criterion will be fulfilled" because the Greek economy's prospects remained fa vourable.

    He noted, however, that "a prudent economic policy" should be continued, coupled with efforts to keep prices low.

    Mr. Papademos said he expected the harmonised inflation index to continue falling although he predicted that rising oil prices in international markets could lead to a 0.2 percent increase in the consumer price index in the last two months of 1999.

    He also said that US President Bill Clinton's positive comments on the Greek economy during his visit to Athens on November 19-20 were justified.

    Referring to the stock market, Mr. Papademos said it was irrational to draw conclusions from short-term fluctuations.

    The central bank governor noted, however, that the market's medium-term prospects were healthy.

    Inflation uptick doesn't preclude rate drop : Mr. Papademos told a news conference after he submitted his report to parliament that in March the average annual harmonised consumer price index would approach 2.0 percent.

    It is the harmonised index that will be used as a gauge for the euro entry inflation criterion.

    Asked to comment on whether or not the drachma's parity against the euro in the EU's exchange rate mechanism II would be readjusted, Mr. Papademos again left the matter open.

    "No decision has been taken on the drachma's conversion rate to the euro," he said in reply to a question.

    The central bank governor also said that current difficulties in lowering inflation did not preclude a decline in interest rates.

    The central bank's Monetary Policy Council would meet early in December, and then again in the middle of that month, to discuss interest rates, taking account the mid-term outlook for inflation.

    Despite the anticipated uptick in inflation in November and December, the average harmonised index would maintain its decline from 2.6 percent in October, he forecast. At the same, price stability needed to be maintained throughout 2000, and not merely in coming months, Mr. Papademos cautioned.

    This would entail a tight monetary policy by the authorities combined with an ongoing drive by manufacturers and retailers to freeze or lower their prices, as well as wage restraint on the part of workers and employers, he added.

    Asked if the central bank would keep curbs on bank lending in place next year, he said that the Monetary Policy Council had yet to take a decision.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Current account deficit narrows

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The current account deficit narrowed in January-May to 1.885 billion euros from 2.805 billion euros in the same period of 1998, the Bank of Greece said yesterday.

    The decline in the deficit was due to a reduction in the trade deficit in January-May and to an increase in the services' surplus.

    The trade deficit fell to 6.026 billion euros from 6.464 billion euros in the same period of last year, which the central bank attributed to a rise in the value of exports.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Unemployment up in October

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Manpower Employment Organisation said yesterday that the number of jobless rose to 309,601 in October from 290,305 in the same month a year ago.

    Of the total, 122,086 were men and 187,515 women.

    The newly registered unemployed in October 1998 came to 66,253 compared to 86,250 in the same month of this year.

    The number of lay-offs increased to total 63,149 in October from 53,767 in the same month of 1998.

    Also on the rise were the number of voluntary departures from jobs.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] No change in drachma policy, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government will not change its foreign exchange policy and the country's course towards participating in European economic and monetary union has already been specified, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    Mr. Papantoniou, however, said he remained worried over the inflation criterion.

    He noted that US President Bill Clinton's comments on the Greek economy were extremely positive.

    "The recognition by our international partners of the substantial progress achieved by the Greek economy is always welcome," the minister added.

    "It is the result of our major efforts, the Greek people's efforts, in the last six years under the guidance of the government," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    The recognition was also important from the point of view of international markets.

    "It is a message to international markets and investors in Europe and the global market to invest in Greece, because its economic performance vindicates this confidence," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    He added that President Clinton's comments would have a significant long- term positive impact on the Greek economy's participation in the global economy.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Greek stocks end slightly lower hit by banks

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended yesterday's session slightly lower hit by losses in blue chip stocks in the Banks sector, although the wider market showed solid gains on the Athens Stock Exchange

    Traders said the market initially jumped 2.0 percent reflecting euphoria after the US President's positive comments on the Greek economy during his visit to Athens on November 19-20, but moved into negative territory later in the day on short-selling.

    Market sources attributed the change in climate to a statement by the Bank of Greece governor on keeping monetary policy unchanged until the end of the year.

    The general index ended 0.13 percent lower at 5,603.09 points, with turnover a hefty 468 billion drachmas, reflecting a block trade of 10 million Panafon shares.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-1.01 pct), Leasing (+2.71 pct), Insurance (+1.23 pct), Investment (+0.77 pct), Construction (+3.53 pct), Industrials (+0.28 pct), Miscellaneous (+0.06 pct) and Holding (-2.86 pct). The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 2.03 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks fell 0.85 percent to 2,716.36 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 187 to 109 with another 28 issues unchanged.

    Pairis, Ergas, Mouriadis, Intertek, ETBA Leasing, Atticat, Esha, Tegopoulos Publications were among a large number of stocks that ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    General Warehouses and Unisoft were the only shares to end at the day's limit down. Panafon, Techniki Olympiaki and NEL Lines were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,100 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24, 870, Commercial Bank at 22,990, Titan Cement (common) at 37,350, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,630, Intracom at 14,030, Minoan Lines at 9,750, Panafon at 3, 865 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,340.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Demand seen in drachma

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    Limited demand was seen in the drachma in the domestic foreign exchange market yesterday, prompting the central bank to intervene to curb its ascent.

    The Bank of Greece sold around 50 million euros, traders said.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro finished higher against the drachma.

    The European single currency was set at 329.000 drachmas from 328.850 drachmas in the previous session and 328.960 drachmas on Thursday.

    The drachma again weakened against the dollar.

    At the fixing, the dollar stood at 318.950 from 318.900 drachmas a day earlier and 316.340 drachmas on Thursday.

    The interbank market was still operating in tight liquidity after the Bank of Greece intervened in the previous session to stop short-term interest rates from rising further.

    Bonds edgy on inflation jitters : Bonds in the secondary market shed around 50 basis points yesterday with institutional investors still edgy about an anticipated rise in consumer price inflation, despite forecasts of a decline in the harmonised index, the gauge for euro zone entry.

    The benchmark 10-year bond was trading below 99.05, showing a yield of 6.62 percent from 6.58 percent in the previous session and around 6.48 percent in the two preceding trading days.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 154 basis points from 154-156 basis points a day earlier and 155 basis points on Thursday.

    Electronic turnover in the secondary bond market was 24 billion drachmas from 6.0 billion drachmas in the previous session and 11.0 billion drachmas on Thursday.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Hellenic Banking Institute launched

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Banks Association yesterday launched operations of the Hellenic Banking Institute, a body that aims to provide quality education in Greece and abroad.

    The Institute's activities will include undertaking and promoting educational initiatives and programmes in the Balkans and in east European countries.

    It also aims to improve the quality of banking staff through vocational seminars; supply information to merchants, professionals and manufacturers; and publish up to date educational material.

    Ioannis Manos, the Hellenic Banks Association's secretary general, said the Institute would function under the direct surveillance and control of the Association, and its staff would include university professors and high- ranking banking officials.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 22, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             316.398 323.734
    Can.Dollar            216.018 221.026
    Australian Dlr        201.515 206.187
    Pound Sterling        512.765 524.654
    Irish Punt            414.402 424.010
    Pound Cyprus          564.091 577.170
    Pound Malta           737.235 767.953
    Turkish pound (100)     0.056   0.058
    French franc           49.755  50.908
    Swiss franc           203.573 208.293
    Belgian franc           8.090   8.278
    German Mark           166.869 170.738
    Finnish Mark           54.891  56.164
    Dutch Guilder         148.100 151.533
    Danish Kr.             43.886  44.904
    Swedish Kr.            37.855  38.732
    Norwegian Kr.          39.849  40.773
    Austrian Sh.           23.718  24.268
    Italian lira (100)     16.855 17.246
    Yen (100)             300.824 307.799
    Spanish Peseta          1.961   2.007
    Port. Escudo            1.628   1.666
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              316.398 323.734
    Montreal              216.018 221.026
    Sydney                201.515 206.187
    London                512.765 524.654
    Dublin                414.402 424.010
    Nicosia               564.091 577.170
    Paris                  49.755  50.908
    Zurich                203.573 208.293
    Brussels                8.090   8.278
    Frankfurt             166.869 170.738
    Helsinki               54.891  56.164
    Amsterdam             148.100 151.533
    Copenhagen             43.886  44.904
    Stockholm              37.855  38.732
    Oslo                   39.849  40.773
    Vienna                 23.718  24.268
    Milan                  16.855  17.246
    Tokyo                 300.824 307.799
    Madrid                  1.961   2.007
    Lisbon                  1.628   1.666
    Athens News Agency

    [11] Papandreou, Miscivici discuss Turkey's Euro-vocation, Cyprus' EU accession course

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Cyprus problem and Turkey's possible candidacy to the European Union were the focus of talks between Foreign Minister George Papandreou and French Minister of European Affairs Pierre Moscovici yesterday.

    "We welcome and support efforts by the United Nations and we all believe that there should be a resolution of the Cyprus political problem," said Mr. Moscovici, who arrived in Athens on Monday follo-wing talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in

    Ankara. "The positions of all other countries are developing and so are ours," Mr. Moscovici said in reference to statements in London and Berlin over the unhindered accession of Cyprus to the Union before a resolution of the 25-year division of the island republic caused by the Turkish invasion.

    "This is a new position on the part of France. We are ready to reassure that none of the candidate states has the right of veto against any other candidate," he added.

    "We are looking for the right way to address these issues, so that we can express all of them well," Mr. Moscovici concluded.

    On his part, Mr. Papandreou said "we focused our attention towards the Turkish candidacy. We discussed the framework within which Greece sees the Turkish candidacy in a positive light...We have come closer, but we need more time to work (on it)."

    In conclusion, Mr. Moscovici said "the positions of the two countries are converging."

    Athens News Agency

    [12] NATO's Robertson in Athens on Monday,Lipponen on Thursday

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    New NATO Secretary General George Robertson arrives in Athens on Nov. 29 for talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    On Thursday, the current rotating president of the European Union, Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, will also arrive in Athens for talks.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Cov't terms Clinton visit as a success

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government yesterday termed US President Bill Clinton's 24-hour visit to Greece on Friday and Saturday as a success, adding that talks had gone exceptionally well.

    "We were shown to be present in word and deeds on the international stage," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    He added that Athens was satisfied with the understanding shown by Washington on several major issues of concern to Athens.

    "President Clinton's statements have contributed to Greece's bilateral and wider relations...Greece will continue to be a presence on the international stage," the spokesman said.

    Turning to the issue of the rioting on Friday evening during demonstrations in central Athens, Mr. Reppas noted that during the last visit by a US president, namely, George Bush in 1991, the government of the time had also banned all rallies.

    He said the government strongly condemned Friday's violence, calling it "unjustified and not in line with our democracy".

    Saying that the government was completely satisfied with the content of the President of the Republic's speech, he said Prime Minister Costas Simitis would meet with the president this morning.

    Turning to the Cyprus issue, the Greek spokesman said the government expected a positive stance from Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, noting that the talks on Cyprus had to be substantive.

    Laliotis : Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis yesterday called Mr. Clinton's statement over the stance taken by the US government during Greece's 1967-74 military junta "a brave move which the US had failed to make until now".

    "His (Clinton's) self-criticism in the role of the US during that period (1967-74) was absolutely positive" Mr. Laliotis said, adding that Mr. Clinton's references to the Cyprus problem, the Greek-Turkish relations and the Parthenon Marbles were also p ositive. In a speech during his Nov. 19- 20 visit, Mr. Clinton said that during the military regime in Greece "the United States allowed its interests in prosecuting the Cold War to prevail over its interests, I should say its obligation, to sup port democracy, which was after all the cause for which we fought the Cold War".

    The US president also seemed to support Greece in its efforts to get back from Britain the Parthenon Marbles, the 5th century BC friezes currently housed at the British Museum in London.

    Mitsotakis criticises gov't : On his part, honorary main opposition New Democracy president and former PM Constantine Mitsotakis said the visit by Mr. Clinton was a "serious political event".

    The United States are more interested in the region, Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus and the Balkans, than in the past, Mr. Mitsotakis said. He also said that Mr. Clinton had been "cautious and positive" and had made positive statements about Greece.

    "It remains to be seen if the government over the next few weeks and up to the Helsinki summit is more able and decisive," he added. In addition, Mr. Mitsotakis criticised the government's handling of the visit as inadequate and indecisive, saying it caused damage that could not be reversed.

    He said the government should have banned the protests from the beginning to avoid the postponing and shortening of the visit.

    He defended the work of authorities in handling the rioting, but added: "the government ordered police to allow the anarchists to set fire to the centre of Athens."

    The results, he noted, caused severe damage to the nation, as Greece was seen to be the most anti-American country in the region.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] WEU foreign, defence ministers' session convenes

    LUXEMBOURG, 23/11/1999 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The session of West European Union (WEU) foreign affairs and defence ministers started here yesterday afternoon.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos are representing Greece.

    The session is being attended by representatives of 28 countries, namely, the representatives of the WEU's 10 member-states; the six associate members (including Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Defence Minister Sabattin Cakmakoglu); five observers and the seven associated partners - countries of SE Europe sans Greece.

    The armaments group of Western Europe (GAEO) convened under Greek chairmanship yesterday and focused primarily on an increase in the number of its members, as there are currently 13.

    The mission of this session will be to shape a common strategy of European countries on the issue of armaments. However, no specific decisions were expected to be taken yesterday.

    The issue expected to dominate today's session is the shaping of a "European identity" on issues of defence and security and, more specifically, the creation of necessary preconditions to enable either the WEU or the EU to undertake cases of crises mana gement in the future.

    While as of yesterday almost all WEU defence ministers had arrived here, the participation of foreign ministers is extremely limited and most countries are expected to be represented either by deputy ministers or high- ranking diplomats.

    Diplomatic sources interpret Turkey's high level of representation as an indication of the importance attributed by Ankara to the issue of European identity on issues concerning defence and security.

    Speaking to Turkish reporters here yesterday, Turkish Defence Minister Sabattin Cakmakoglu said Turkey wants to ensure its equal participation in decision-making processes on issues of European defence and primarily in light of the WEU's institutional reform.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Eighteen appear before magistrate over Friday's rioting

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    Eighteen out of 26 individuals arrested in connection with violence Friday evening to protest the arrival of US President Bill Clinton appeared before an investigating magistrate yesterday.

    Filed charges ranged from arson to possession and the manufacture of explosive devices to disturbing the peace and resisting arrest.

    Three of the 18 were ordered remanded to custody, while 10 were freed on bail. The rest were freed without restrictions placed. The rest of the eight will appear before the magistrate today.

    A strong police force was on hand at the court house to prevent any outbreak of further violence from supporters of those charged.

    Meanwhile, students from the Polytechnic held a solidarity march from the university premises to the courthouse.

    Several leftist political supporters blamed the government and police for failing to arrest what they referred to as the "real perpetrators" of the violence.

    Communist Party of Greece youth group (KNE) secretary Nikos Sofianos claimed that the goverment was attempting to pass the responsibility for the violence to the protesters, who attepted to march to the US embassy in Athens.

    In addition, several hundred KNE members rallied outside the Athens police headquarters in the evening.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Mitsotakis-Vucicevic meeting

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    Former premier and main opposition New Democracy party honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis met with Yugoslav ambas-sador to Athens Dragomir Vucicevic yesterday afternoon.
    Athens News Agency

    [17] Moscovici: Greece on course for EMU entry

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece will soon be the 12th EU member-state to enter the Economic Monetary Union (EMU), French European Affairs Minister Pierre Moscovici forecast yesterday.

    "The noteworthy efforts by the Greek government and people will allow Greece to enter the 'euro zone' very soon," the French minister said during an address at Athens University.

    He added that the French EU presidency's priority during the second half of 2000 will be to create jobs, an issue of primary concern to the peoples of Europe, as the French minister noted.

    Referring to globalisation, he said "(a united) Europe is the best answer to globalisation."

    Issues of foreign policy and security along with the prospect of closer Western European Union (WEU) cooperation within the EU framework will top the French presidency's agenda, he said.

    Finally, Mr. Moscovici said the Union's decision-making process should be redefined before the enlargement process.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Delegation of Turkish industrialists met by Greek leadership

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou met with the presidium of the Federation of Turkish Industrialists (TUSIAD) yesterday, following the group's talks with the Federation of Greek Industries' (SEB) leadership and with National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    Afterwards, TUSIAD's presidium met with Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    At the end of the meeting with Mr. Papandreou, the newly-elected president of the Turkish federation, Erkut Yucaoglu, told reporters that there is a "very constructive stance on the part of both the Greek and Turkish governments", adding that "the Turki sh and Greek entrepreneurs believe that solutions should be sought (to problems between the two countries) to enable the generations to come to jointly enjoy benefits."

    The TUSIAD's president further said a gesture should not be sought but that there should be goodwill moves by both sides.

    "The decision for Turkey's (EU) candidacy does not constitute a gesture but an act to enable Turkey to be included in the list of the other candidate countries as well," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Improving Greek-Turkish relations the focus of Lesvos event

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The recent improvement in Greek-Turkish relations amid citizens of neighbouring regions was the primary issue examined at an event organised on the island of Lesvos by the "co-existence and communication in the Aegean" movement.

    Speakers included the president of the Greek-Turkish Friendship Committee, Cengiz Bektash, Aegean University professor and former foreign ministry secretry general Costas Zoras as well as the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Izmir Ekrem Demirtes.

    The latter proposed the proclamation of the year 2000 as the year of Greek- Turkish fraternity and friendship.

    On his part, Mr. Zoras predicted "the final settlement of whatever problems exist when in the medium term Greece, Cyprus and Turkey will be equal members of the EU."

    FM George Papandreou sent a message saying that "the creation of conditions of good-neighbourliness is not the work of the two countries' foreign ministries alone. It concerns all. Women, young entrepreneurs, journalists, local administration officials, and in general, each one of us."

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Pre-fab settlement for quake victims

    Athens, 23/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government opened yet another settlement of prefabricated homes in the Kamatero district yesterday for quake victims.

    Town Planning Minister Costas Laliotis said that more than 5,000 prefabricated houses will be set up by the end of the month, while 7,500 prefabricated houses will have been set up in organised settlements by Dec. 20.

    He added that 4,200 prefabricated houses and caravans had been distributed and set up by Nov. 21.

    The devastating earthquake which struck the greater Athens area on Sept. 7 claimed 143 lives.

    Athens News Agency

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