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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-12-02

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] Karamanlis says Greece must ensure Cyprus' EU accession at Helsinki summit
  • [02] New tender called for Olympic Village
  • [03] Water board submits IPO prospectus
  • [04] US embassy tourism conference begins
  • [05] Money supply growth slows in October
  • [06] Charter flight arrivals up 19.32 pct in October
  • [07] Greek shipping register drops in October
  • [08] Singular reports hefty turnover rise
  • [09] Industrial production up 2.2 pct in Sept
  • [10] Greek stocks remain under pressure
  • [11] Bonds surge under new trade rules
  • [12] Greek firms seeking alliance in western Europe
  • [13] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [14] Finland's Halonen presents agenda of upcoming Helsinki EU summit
  • [15] Lonton conference on Parthenon Marbles ends without issue of communique
  • [16] President Stephanopoulos arrives in Lisbon for four-day visit
  • [17] Apostolakis says Greece wishes to co-produce weapons systems with Britain
  • [18] Experts say number of new AIDS cases in Greece is steady
  • [19] OA conducts full-scale exercise
  • [20] Minister favours state providing free methadone to young drug users
  • [21] WWF welcomes decree for creation of National Park on Zakynthos
  • [22] Albanian, Thessaloniki businessmen discuss possibility of cooperation
  • [23] Polyzogopoulos addresses Turkey's largest workers' confederation
  • [24] Police arrest young heroin addict who attempted to con mother of dead friend

  • [01] Karamanlis says Greece must ensure Cyprus' EU accession at Helsinki summit

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    The leader of Greece's main opposition New Democracy party criticised the government yesterday for making unilateral concessions and giving in to pressure from Ankara.

    "Greece is the only European Union country threatened by Turkey, which has designs on our country," ND leader Costas Karamanlis told a meeting of his party's parliamentary group.

    "Turkey disdains international law, threatens the use of force and effectively uses force in its infringements of [Greek] air space," he said.

    He said that Greece was a stabilising factor in the region, in contrast to Turkey which attempted the opposite.

    Mr. Karamanlis said bilateral relations in the wake of the pair of earthquakes in both countries in August and September - dubbed 'seismic diplomacy' - had become comic, saying:

    "Only those without knowledge of any history can equate sympathy with foreign policy."

    It is up to Turkey itself whether it becomes a European country or remains a regional troublemaker, he said.

    Turkey must receive incentives and be shown the way by having the prerequisites for its way into Europe being clearly set out, he added.

    He cited previous EU summit decisions at Luxembourg as the prerequisites but added that these decisions had been effectively revoked by EU "backsliding and the indirect consent of the (Greek) government".

    The prospect of Turkey being put on the list of candidate countries for EU entry would have "serious consequences", he said, because Ankara would in effect have linked up with European security mechanisms. This would result in European partners following a policy of keeping an equal distance between Greece and Turkey, effectively abolishing any solidarity with Greece. The country, he said, needed clear and tangible results in exchange for any moves it made.

    Greece's leading priority at the EU summit in Helsinki, he said, must be ensuring Cyprus' accession to the EU on the basis of a specific timetable and independent of whether or not the island's political problem is resolved.

    New Democracy supports Turkey's European approach which can be of benefit to Greece, he said, but for Euro-Turkish relations to be upgraded Turkey must meet specific obligations such as revoking claims it has set, abandoning territorial designs, and res pect of international law and legality.

    At the same time, Cyprus' European course needs to be guaranteed and the country, at Helsinki, needs to demonstrate a strong stance.

    Agreeing with Mr. Karamanlis's comments at the meeting was leading ND cadre and former minister Dora Bakoyianni.

    Ms Bakoyianni noted that Turkey had to be subject to all the principles valid for other candidate countries and that the European Union had to remain committed to and steadfast on these principles.

    "EU prerequisites have not been articulated specifically for Turkey but for all countries," she said.

    At Helsinki, she added, the European Union must provide answers on Cyprus' European course because, as she said, the accession prospects of the island republic could not be made dependent on a country which is not even a member of the European Union.

    She, too, criticised the government's foreign policy, calling it "weak and [full of] shilly-shallying".

    "The government must clarify its stance, just as New Democracy has," she said.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] New tender called for Olympic Village

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek Olympic Committee is calling a new international tender for the architectural design of the Olympic Village that will house athletes and officials during the 2004 Olympic Games in the Greek capital, GOC president Lambis Nikolaou said yesterday.

    Mr. Nikolaou, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told a press conference the open tender was being called after the first tender was deemed inadequate.

    Thirty-six architectural and engineering firms from Greece and abroad submitted designs in the initial tender in early August.

    Mr. Nikolaou said that interested firms must submit their architectural study and master plan within 100 days, adding that a payment would be made to companies that passed the first evaluation and were short-listed.

    "In this way, we shall save time, since there will be no objections put forward by other companies," he said.

    Mr. Nikolaou said the tender would be published sometime in the next 10 days in the European Union Gazette.

    Change of HQ : The GOC president also announced that the committee was moving its headquarters from the Zappion Hall to a new building on Kifissias Avenue on April 1, 2000.

    The GOC would pay a rent of 7,500 drachmas per square metre for the 11,000 square metre premises, down from the 8,300 drachmas per square metre initially sought by the building's owner, Mr. Nikolaou said.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Water board submits IPO prospectus

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    The Athens Water Supply and Drainage Company (EYDAP) yesterday gave the capital markets commission its prospectus for entry into the main market of the Athens Stock Exchange as part of the government's plan to privatise many state companies through part-flotation.

    Under the proposed terms of the initial public offer (IPO), EYDAP will float 25 percent of its existing stock, or 25 million shares, and 6.5 million new shares to be issued in a 1.3 billion drachma share capital increase.

    Of the total 31.5 million shares, 1.5 million are destined for a private placement to staff and the remaining 30 million to the public.

    The share price and IPO dates will be decided in the near future.

    EYDAP president George Papavassiliou said that beyond forming part of the government's privatisation plan, the part-flotation would be a tool to develop the company and improve its competitiveness.

    The IPO is due to take place by the end of the year.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] US embassy tourism conference begins

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    An international conference on boosting cooperation in tourism between Greece and neighbouring countries with around 30 US companies began in Athens yesterday, organised by the US embassy.

    The conference, which is being held at the Astera Hotel in Vouliagmeni, lasts until tomorrow.

    Entitled the International Tourism Infrastructure Conference '99, the event aims to provide a venue for companies to gain information and make business contacts.

    US Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns, who has worked hard to introduce American investors to Greece, said that the country was fertile ground for tourism investments ahead of its planned entry into the euro zone on January 1, 2001.

    Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that the conference itself was indicative of US interest in the Greek tourism industry. It also showed other countries that Greece was a destination for tourism investments as well as a venue for holidays.

    The country was also a gateway to Balkan, Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean countries.

    Mr. Venizelos also said that he hoped that the number of US tourists coming to Greece would increase.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Money supply growth slows in October

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece's M4N broader money supply index rose by 5.3 percent year-on-year in October, sharply down from a 6.9 percent growth rate in the previous month, the Bank of Greece said yesterday.

    The central bank's annual growth target for the index is 7.0-9.0 percent.

    Liquidity fell by 276 billion drachmas in October.

    The slowdown in the year-on-year money supply growth rate was attributed to increased net capital state borrowing and capital outflows to foreign markets. New capital continued moving towards the stock market in the month due to large share capital increases by listed banks worth 1.069 trillion drachmas in the period January-October 1999, sharply up from 204 billion drachmas in the same period last year.

    Private deposits rose 12.9 percent in October, down from 16.4 percent in the previous month.

    Bank to customer repurchase agreements (repos) rose by 570 billion drachmas in the month, the central bank said.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Charter flight arrivals up 19.32 pct in October

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Passengers arriving in charter flights at the country's main airports, excluding the Athens Hellinikon international airport, totalled 413,532 in October from 346,564 in the same month of last year, an increase of 19.32 percent, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday.

    The figures were for the airports of Thessaloniki, Corfu, Heracleion and Rhodes, which account for 60 percent of charter flights in the country.

    In the same month, overnight stays in Greek hotels totalled 1,710,121, up from 1,499,552 in the same period last year, an increase of 14.04 percent.

    The figures emerged from research in 273 hotels around the country, accounting for 60 percent of tourist overnight stays at hotels, the NSS said.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Greek shipping register drops in October

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek merchant fleet decreased by eight ships net in October, representing 419,821 gross registered tonnes (grt), the merchant marine ministry announced yesterday.

    It said three vessels with a total capacity of 29,038 grt joined the Greek shipping registry last month, while 11 ships totalling 448,859 grt withdrew from the Greek flag.

    The ministry said that the average age of the departing ships was 22 years, adding that nine of those vessels were sold to foreign shipowners, one switched to the Bahamas flag, and one was scrapped.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Singular reports hefty turnover rise

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Singular, a listed Greek software company, yesterday reported a hefty 65.5 percent rise in its turnover to 955 million drachmas in the first quarter of its fiscal year, which ends in June 2000.

    The company also reported a profit of 10 million drachmas compared with a loss of 139 million drachmas in the same period of the previous year. Revenues were up 82 percent in the period January-September to 4.6 billion drachmas from 2.5 billion drachma s in 1998, while profits totalled 959 million drachmas from 225 million last year, for an increase of 326 percent.

    Group profits exceeded one billion drachmas, up 300 percent from the same period in 1998, while turnover rose 99 percent to 6.3 billion drachmas in the first nine months of 1999.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Industrial production up 2.2 pct in Sept

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece's composite industrial production index, including mining, manufacturing and electricity-natural gas production, rose 2.2 percent in September compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said yesterday.

    The electricity-natural gas production index increased by 24.5 percent in the same period, the manufacturing index rose 0.1 percent and the mining index fell by 21.4 percent. The electricity-natural gas production index rose 31.6 percent in the period January-September, compared with the corresponding period in 1998, the mining index fell 16 percent while the manufacturing index rose 0.4 percent.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Greek stocks remain under pressure

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices lost ground in low turnover yesterday remaining under pressure for the second consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index ended 1.01 percent lower at 5,653.94 points, off the day's lows. Turnover was low at 247.1 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-1.55 pct), Leasing (-0.25 pct), Insurance (-0.53 pct), Investment (-2.10 pct), Construction (+1.32 pct), Industrials (-0.57 pct), Miscellaneous (-0.92 pct) and Holding (-1.63 pct). The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks jumped 2.89 percent to 2,119.67 points, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.44 percent lower at 2,812.62 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 162 to 155 with another 15 issues unchanged.

    A total of 37 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while Petropoulos soared 472.4 percent in its first trading day on the market, marking the abolition of volatility restrictions for new listings.

    Panafon and NEL Lines were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 22,940 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 25, 700, Commercial Bank at 23,650, Titan Cement (common) at 38,200, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,790, Intracom at 14,530, Minoan Lines at 9,260, Panafon at 3, 850 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,895.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Bonds surge under new trade rules

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Bonds in the domestic secondary market jumped in heavy trade with most paper gaining around 40 basis points under new rules aiding liquidity.

    The benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.43 percent from 6.56 percent a day earlier and 6.59 percent in the two previous sessions.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 128 basis points from 135 basis points in the previous session and 136 basis points on Monday.

    According to analysts, the spread will drop to 120 basis points by the end of the year. Turnover was more than 250 billion drachmas.

    Of the total, 160 billion drachmas passed through the central bank's electronic system, of which 138 billion drachmas represented sell orders, some of which came from London.

    In the previous session, electronic turnover was 28 billion drachmas from 11.5 billion drachmas on Monday and 37 billion drachmas on Friday.

    Dollar still rising : Domestic foreign exchange trade yesterday was dominated by the dollar's ascent on international markets, and consequently against the drachma.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the European single currency dropped against the drachma.

    It was set at 328.600 drachmas from 328.850 drachmas in the previous session and 328.550 drachmas on Monday.

    Also at the fixing, the dollar was set at 325.390 drachmas from 324.990 drachmas a day earlier and 324.680 drachmas on Monday.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Greek firms seeking alliance in western Europe

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greek firms are anxious to make alliances with firms in western Europe, said Yiannis Papathanasiou, president of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    Mr. Papathanasiou, who was addressing an event organised by the Hellenic British Chamber of Commerce, said the firms were also interested in neighbouring markets in Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Turkey.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: Desember 1, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             322.787 330.271
    Can.Dollar            218.200 223.259
    Australian Dlr        205.537 210.303
    Pound Sterling        516.356 528.328
    Irish Punt            413.898 423.495
    Pound Cyprus          566.571 579.707
    Pound Malta           752.122 783.460
    Turkish pound (100)     0.057   0.059
    French franc           49.694  50.846
    Swiss franc           203.568 208.288
    Belgian franc           8.081   8.268
    German Mark           166.667 170.531
    Finnish Mark           54.825  56.096
    Dutch Guilder         147.919 151.349
    Danish Kr.             43.817  44.833
    Swedish Kr.            37.914  38.793
    Norwegian Kr.          40.017  40.945
    Austrian Sh.           23.689  24.238
    Italian lira (100)     16.835  17.226
    Yen (100)             315.456 322.770
    Spanish Peseta          1.959   2.005
    Port. Escudo            1.626   1.664
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              322.787 330.271
    Montreal              218.200 223.259
    Sydney                205.537 210.303
    London                516.356 528.328
    Dublin                413.898 423.495
    Nicosia               566.571 579.707
    Paris                  49.694  50.846
    Zurich                203.568 208.288
    Brussels                8.081   8.268
    Frankfurt             166.667 170.531
    Helsinki               54.825  56.096
    Amsterdam             147.919 151.349
    Copenhagen             43.817  44.833
    Stockholm              37.914  38.793
    Oslo                   40.017  40.945
    Vienna                 23.689  24.238
    Milan                  16.835  17.226
    Tokyo                 315.456 322.770
    Madrid                  1.959   2.005
    Lisbon                  1.626   1.664
    
    Athens News Agency

    [14] Finland's Halonen presents agenda of upcoming Helsinki EU summit

    BRUSSELS, 02/12/1999 (ANA- Christos Charalambopoulos)

    The EU enlargement process must be flexible enough to permit each country to proceed at its own pace, the current Finnish president of the EU Council of Ministers, Tarja Halonen, said yesterday.

    Presenting the agenda of the upcoming Helsinki summit, she expressed hope that the EU Council would officially approve Turkey's candidacy, but this did not mean that pre-accession negotiations would start as that country had first to fulfil certain criteria.

    Ms Halonen also stressed that the EU considered unacceptable the death sentence passed on Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    She reported that the summit participants would also debate the issue of the intergovernmental conference, focusing on the number of Commissioners, the representation of member-states in the Council and changes in the decision-making system.

    Other issues to be debated will include crises management, the coordination of economic and policies, employment policies, the information society, and the basic guidelines of the "Millennium declaration" on the basic future challenges for the Union, and the ways it will deal with them.

    European Commission President Romano Prodi also expressed the wish that the European Council bestows Turkey the characterisation of a candidate country, and that pre-accession negotiations could not start if Turkey did not meet the Copenhagen criteria first.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Lonton conference on Parthenon Marbles ends without issue of communique

    LONDON, 02/12/1999 (ANA- L. Tsirigotakis)

    The two-day conference on the issue of the "cleaning" of the Parthenon Marbles in the 1937-38 period, when they sustained damage, ended yesterday without the issuing of a communique or scientific findings. However, British historian William St. Clair, whose revelations concerning the damage caused an uproar 18 months ago, stated he was satisfied with the overall result of the conference, as the British Museum officially recognised for the first time that the 4th centur y BC friezes, removed from the Acropolis by Lord Elgin in 1806, were actually damaged just over 60 years ago.

    "The British Museum acknowledged that the cleaning was a scandal, just as a cover-up attempt, which failed, was also a scandal," he said.

    The head of a team of Greek experts who took part, Athens Polytechnic professor Theodoros Skoulikidis, described the conference as "arranged to suit the British Museum, in an obvious attempt at disorientation from the subject of the conference".

    "They had selectively invited those prepared to say other things in order to evade the main subject and support the positions of the British Museum," he added.

    Members of the British Committee for the return of the Parthenon Marbles described the conference as "one sided and biased," but also expressed satisfaction that the evidence presented boosted the Greek demand.

    The director of the British Museum, Robert Anderson, stated that the "Elgin Marbles will not leave the British Museum," but conceded that any final decision will be political.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] President Stephanopoulos arrives in Lisbon for four-day visit

    LISBON, 02/12/1999 (ANA -N. Megadukas)

    Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, accompanied by Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos, arrived here yesterday for a four-day official visit, at the invitation of his Portuguese counterpart Jorge Sampaio.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos is expected to inaugurate the new embassy building of Greece in Lisbon and later in the day to meet with Mr. Sampaio. Later in the afternoon, Mr. Stephanopoulos will visit Portugal's parliament and meet with the country's party par liamentary leadership.

    He will also meet with Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Guterres and in the evening he will be hosted to an official dinner by Mr. Sampaio.

    A delegation of Greek businessmen have accompanied Mr. Stephanopoulos to Portugal.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Apostolakis says Greece wishes to co-produce weapons systems with Britain

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece wishes to co-produce weapons systems with Britain, on an equal partnership basis, Deputy Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis said yesterday, delivering the openning address of the Greek-English Defence Industries.

    "Greece warmly supports the new course and organisations of the European Union and the Western European Union, for the creation of a joint policy in armaments," Mr. Apostolakis said.

    "For Greece this is one-way policy choice in order to cover its defence needs. It is not acceptable anymore as far as the Greek economy is concerned, for us to only be customers, rather we should participate in the production of weapons systems, at the same percentage to that of our expenditures," he stressed, adding that the margins of cooperation between the industries of the two countries is large. "This cooperation should take place on an equal partnership basis. The needs of the Greek economy demand the participation of Greek defence industries in the co-production of weapons systems," he concluded.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Experts say number of new AIDS cases in Greece is steady

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    The number of new AIDS cases in Greece is steady but experts said yesterday that they were worried that the effect of information campaigns had failed to bring down the number.

    Figures presented by the University of Athens place Greece around 10th of European countries in terms of the number of new AIDS cases.

    "We are somewhere in the middle," Professor Angelos Hatzakis told a news conference on the occasion of World Day Against AIDS. Mr. Hatzakis said it was 'silly' to talk of high-risk groups and that the spread of the disease was now a risk for the general population. Intravenous drug users were most likely to contract AIDS, followed by heterosexuals, he said. Homosexual activity came further down the list.

    In an address read out to reporters, Deputy Health Minister Theodoris Kotsonis said that six people contracted AIDS per minute on a global level; 50 percent of new cases came from the 15-24 age group.

    In Greece, 35 of the 2,400 HIV infected patients were children, he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] OA conducts full-scale exercise

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece's state owned carrier, Olympic Airways yesterday announced that an exercise designed to simulate conditions of possible problems with Y2K virus was successful.

    The announcement added that in this full-scale exercise the company used standard procedures for 13 regularly scheduled flights with destinations both in Greece and abroad and included flights of foreign airlines.

    This full-scale exercise included all aspects of the airline's services, the announcement added.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Minister favours state providing free methadone to young drug users

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Deputy Health Minister Theodoris Kotsonis yesterday said he was in favour of the state providing free methadone and, possibly, heroin to young drug users.

    The minister, speaking to reporters, said that he had broached the issue in talks with the prime minister but that these talks had not got to a formal stage.

    "Hundreds of mainly young people have reached a desperate stage because of heroin and it is these that we see in Omonia, and others parts of the capital," Mr. Kotsonis said.

    This group of users, who have no other options, he said, should be able to take advantage of free services and the controlled use of heroin, dispensed possibly by public hospitals.

    Mr. Kotsonis said he expected there to be objections to this idea but that he wanted it discussed by all.

    Representatives of drug users' support groups as well as the Union of Hospital Doctors immediately said they were opposed to the idea of the dispensing of methadone or heroin from outpatients clinics at general hospitals.

    Venizelos : On his part, Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that "in the issue of confronting drugs and off course that of respect of human dignity, of those who are at the last stages (of drug abuse) there is intense international concern and Greece shoul d follow international practices, since it is an international problem."

    "My experience on the methadone programme, from the time I was minister of justice, has left me with a totally positive impresion.

    "I am sure that the ministry of health, the ministry of justice and the ministry of public order are assesing all the reports and the government will prove its sensitivities on this issue as well, a sensitivity which is not that of a public service point of view but that of a social point of view, it is the sensitivity of every person," he concluded.

    KKE : The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued a press release condemning the plans of the government on the issue.

    "The government paves the way for the legalisation of drugs, with the attempted expansion of the methadone programme and the supply of heroin via the hospitals to drug addicts at the last stage of drug abuse," the press release stated.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] WWF welcomes decree for creation of National Park on Zakynthos

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    The Presidential decree creating a National Park on the island of Zakynthos for the protection of the sea turtle was an important step forward, World Wildlife Fund Greece (WWF-Greece) President Dimitris Karavellas said yesterday. The Presidential decree is the product of long-time efforts by environmental organisations for the creation of a sea-park aiming at the complete protection of one of Greece's most important natural preserves for the Caretta-Caretta sea-turtle in the Mediterranean, he added. He also said that WWF-Greece will work hard for the successful application of the decree and called on all environmental organisations and local citizens to activelly participate in the effort.
    Athens News Agency

    [22] Albanian, Thessaloniki businessmen discuss possibility of cooperation

    TIRANA, 02/12/1999 (ANA - I. Patso)

    Possibilities of cooperation between Albanian businessmen and their Greek colleagues from Thessaloniki were discussed at an economic forum here late on Tuesday.

    The meeting, organised by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Tirana and Thessaloniki, the Greek Embassy in Tirana and the Inter-Balkan Centre of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (DIPEK), was attended by 25 representatives of Greek companies from nor thern Greece which are interested in investments in Albania.

    In his address, Albanian National Economy and Privatisations Minister Zef Preci said "the presence of Greek companies in Albania, and in the privatisations course in particular, is welcome."

    "We will offer you all facilities for the entry of foreign capital into the country and we will be absolutely transparent," he added.

    On his part, Greek Ambassador to Tirana Alexandros Mallias said Greece is second to Italy concerning the level of investments in Albania.

    According to Mr. Mallias, Greek investments in Albania amount to about 100 million dollars. He said better cooperation between the two countries would also result in an inflow, through banks, into Albania and be used for investments of about 600 million dollars gained annually by Albanian economic immigrants working in Greece.

    Mr. Mallias informed delegates that over the past three years alone, Greece has provided Albania with 600 million dollars in the form of loans or aid.

    The Greek businessmen were expected to meet Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta yesterday.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Polyzogopoulos addresses Turkey's largest workers' confederation

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos yesterday addressed the conference of the largest Turkish workers' confederation TURK-IS, taking place in Ankara.

    According to a press release issued in Athens by GSEE, Mr. Polyzogopoulos, who was invited to speak at the conference, addressed the joint initiatives undertaken by GSEE and Turkish workers' unions to advance cooperation and understanding between workers in the Balkans.

    He underlined the need for further strengthening of this cooperative effort, adding that it should be wider in scope for the benefit of the peoples of Greece and Turkey, as well as the wider Balkan region. He also said that Greek workers' unions will contribute to the European orientation of Turkey, which will be beneficial for the region's development.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Police arrest young heroin addict who attempted to con mother of dead friend

    Athens, 02/12/1999 (ANA)

    Police in Thessaloniki arrested yesterday a 17-year-old heroin addict after the youth tried to con the mother of his dead friend into giving him money by claiming his friend had been kidnapped by Russian underworld figures.

    Police said the youth, identified only as 'B.D.', abandoned his friend 'B.A.', 16, when the latter took an overdose of heroin in an abandoned warehouse.

    B.A.'s identity was not known when his death was discovered. So 'B.D.' visited the mother of his now-deceased friend and told her he had been kidnapped and that the abductor - a Russian named 'Malis' - wanted 30,000 drachmas to free her son.

    The mother however contacted police with her suspicions and the 17-year-old was arrested.

    Under questioning by police, B.D. wove a story of where the ransom was to be delivered. Police at the contact point however were not met by anybody.

    Following a visit to the morgue, B.D. identified the body of his dead friend, confessed to concocting the kidnap story and said he intended to buy heroin with the money from his friend's mother.

    Athens News Agency

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