|Wednesday, 21 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-12-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis: Greece achieved all its objectives in Helsinki
HELSINKI, 11/12/1999 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday expressed his "full satisfaction" over an agreement reached earlier in the day at the European Union summit here to upgrade Turkey to an EU candidate country.
EU leaders accepted the three conditions set by Athens for approving Turkey's candidacy, namely, that a solution to the Cyprus problem will not be a precondition for an EU decision on the island republic's accession; that Turkey's various territorial di sputes with Greece be referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague within a specific timeframe; and that the same conditions apply to Turkey as to the 11 other candidates states, emphasising the need for an enhanced dialogue on human rights with a view to Ankara meeting the Copenhagen criteria on entry negotiations.
"It is an historic decision for peace and security in the region, which will help the relations between the two countries, and opens the road to constructive cooperation to the benefit of both Greece and Turkey," Mr. Simitis said.
"Greece had asked right from the start for clear positions and had stressed that Turkey's candidacy would have to be real and not virtual. Also, that there should be certainty as to the future course of action, emanating from the implementation of the rules of international law," he added.
Mr. Simitis also expressed satisfaction with the summit's decisions regarding Cyprus.
"It is clear that from now on, the process of Cyprus' accession to the EU will be unimpeded, and that a solution of the Cyprus problem will not be a condition for Cypriot membership," he said.
He also noted that the decisions reached at the summit were the result of hard work and continuous contacts between the governments of Greece and the other member-states, as well as of Athens particular efforts to develop cooperation and dialogue with A nkara.
"Turkey should realise that it stands to gain from the peace strategy which Greece has carved out," he said.
Regarding Turkey's EU candidacy, the Greek prime minister said any differences between candidate countries and member-states should be solved within a reasonable period of time on the basis of United Nations resolutions and that the agreement reached on
Turkey's candidacy was in accordance with this principle.
"It provides that the Council will examine until 2004 at the latest the progress achieved regarding the resolution of differences," he said, specifying that the only difference which Greece considers it has with Turkey concerns the continental shelf in the Aegean. He also noted the particular significance of the partnership pact which Turkey will sign with the European Union. "This partnership creates a mechanism for monitoring Turkey's behaviour, on the basis of which the European Commission will e xamine the progress that country achieves, as with all other candidate countries," he said.
Finally, he stressed that the decisions reached were not renegotiable and expressed a hope that Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit would accept them and be present at the official EU dinner today.
Gov't spokesman: "The three Greek terms to approve Turkey as a candidate country for membership of the European Union were all accepted," government spoeksman Dimitris Reppas said earlier yesterday.
In relation to the Cyprus issue, Mr. Reppas said the text drawn up by the "15" expresses the desire of the European Union to pursue a resolution of the political problem of the division and occupation by Turkish troops of a third of the island.
The text adds that if there is no progress, he said, this can not be considered a condition for Cyprus' membership of the European Union. Mr. Reppas said the Greek side had fought hard to have this clause included and had been on the verge of using its veto against Turkey being included as a candidate country.
The decision referring to the International Court of Justice at The Hague makes reference to the need for differences between candidate countries and EU member-states to be resolved in a peaceful manner. The text also mentions that the European Council will re-examine the issue of outstanding differences and that this will be taken into account in evaluating the course of accession procedures.
The European Council will also re-examine and will refer, to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, the resolution of such differences by the end of 2004.
Government sources said this aspect was satisfactory to the Greek side because it provided a specific timeframe - as requested by the Greek side - and factored in the involvement of the European Council - also a Greek demand.
In defining relations between Turkey and the European Union, the text makes reference to the decisions of previous European Councils, also required by Greece.
Mr. Reppas said that the prime mister had received the congratulations of his EU partners on the stance he took during the talks on the conclusion of the morning sessions.
Athens News Agency
 Intracom, Mytilineos state joint interest in vehicles firm
Athens, 11/12/1999 (ANA)Intracom, an information technology and telecoms manufacturer, and the Mytilineos Group, a metals trader, yesterday submitted a joint expression of interest to purchase a major stake in Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELVO).
The two companies, which are both listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, are interested in buying either a controlling 60 percent stake in state-owned ELVO or a sizable 43 percent minority.
Intracom and Mytilineos said in a statement that they had hired as advisers Booz Allen & Hamilton, an international arms industry specialist, and NBG International, a subsidiary of National Bank of Greece.
Athens News Agency
 Reported EU draft resolution on Turkey
Athens, 11/12/1999 (ANA)These are some of the reported excerpts from a draft resolution referring to Turkey's upgrading to an European Union candidate country: "4. IThe European Council stresses the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the UN Charter and urges candidate states to make every effort to resolve any outstanding border disputes and other related issues. Failing this they sh ould within a reasonable time bring the dispute to the International Court of Justice. The European Council will review the situation relating to any outstanding disputes, in particular concerning the repercussions on the accession process and in order to promote their settlement through the ICJ, at the latest by the end of 2004. Moreover, the European Council recalls that compliance with the political criteria laid down at the Copenhagen European Council is a prerequisite for the opening of accession neg otiations and that compliance with all the Copenhagen criteria is the basis for accession to the Union. "9. (a) The European Council welcomes the launch of the talks aiming at a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on 3 December in New York and expresses its strong support for the UN Secretary General's efforts to bring the process to a successful conclusion. (b) The European Council underlines that a political settlement will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. If no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the Council's decision on accession will be made without the above being a precondition. In this the Council will take account of all relevant factors. "12. IBuilding on the existing European strategy, Turkey, like other candidate States, will benefit from a pre- accession strategy to stimulate and support its reforms. This will include enhanced political dialogue, with emphasis on progressing towards ful filling the political criteria for accession with particular reference to the issue of human rights, as well as on the issues referred to in paragraphs 4 and 9 (a)...With a view to intensifying the harmonization of Turkey's legislation and practice with t he acquis, the Commission is invited to prepare a process of analytical examination of the acquis. The European Council asks the Commission to present a single framework for coordinating all sources of EU financial assistance for pre-accession."
Athens News Agency
 Party ractions to Helsinki decisions
Athens, 11/12/1999 (ANA)Referring to yesterday's Helsinki summit decisions over Turkey and Cyprus' EU course, main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos called the decision in relation to the island republic positive, but said ND expressed its reservations regarding Greek-Turkish relations.
He added that Greece lost the chance for Turkey to give up its territorial claims against it, a self-evident element for every European Union member- state.
Mr. Spiliotopoulos added that Greece's request to bring such claims to the International Court of Justice at The Hague legalises Turkeys territorial claims and security issues, since the the ownership of 150 islets and defence capabilities on Greek isla nds are placed at the judgement of the 15 judges of The Hague.
Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos called the Helsinki developments, in principle, positive.
He added that Synaspismos had warned the government to avoid the use of the veto so as to not allow the issue to develop into a Greek-Turkish problem.
Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said Mr. Simitis and his government committed a new back-tracking against the country and Cyprus by lifting the veto against Turkey.
Liberals party president Stephanos Manos expressed his satisfaction with the results of the decision, saying it serves all of Greece's national interests.
Finally, former FM Theodoros Pangalos said "the text I know about agrees with the principles of the European Union".
Speaking from Seville, Mr. Pangalos said "the support of Europe is declared for the finding of a resolution for the Cyprus problem through negotiations at the United Nations."
Athens News Agency
 State Dept. welcomes EU decision on Turkey
WASHINGTON, 11/12/1999 (ANA - T. Ellis)The US State Department welcomed the European Union's decision yesterday to launch Turkey into a candidate-state orbit, making it the 12th such country.
"Iof course, we have said many times we are not, the United StatesI members of the European Union. And we believe enlargement is an internal matter for the EU to decide. However, as President(Bill) Clinton has said on numerous occasions, we strongly sup port Turkey's EU candidacy," State Department spokesman James Foley said here.
"And so we are pleased to hear that the EU has decided Turkey is a candidate destined to join the Union on the basis of the same criteria applied to other candidate states. So, the news that we heard out of Helsinki was very welcome," he added.
In response to a press question, he noted that Greece, "as a member of the EU certainly played an important role in today's deliberations."
Finally, he said he doesn't believe Turkey has rejected the EU's offer.
Athens News Agency
WASHINGTON, 11/12/1999 (Reuters)Meanwhile, in a later dispatch, Mr. Clinton told reportedly Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit yesterday he was pleased the EU offer to Turkey, the White House announced.
"He (Clinton) basically called to say that we were pleased with the EU's decision on Turkey's candidacy," US National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said.
The White House said Mr. Clinton made the brief call from Air Force One and during a visit to his home state of Arkansas.
 Papandreou outlines Athens' stance on Turkey's EU prospects in IHT articleAthens, 11/12/1999 (ANA) An opinion piece by Greek FM George Papandreou was published in the "International Herald Tribune" yesterday under the headline "Greece Wants Turkey to Make the Grade" The EU summit this week will decide whether Turkey should become a candidate for membership. Greece b ieves that if Turkey is willing to submit to the rigors of the process of candidacy, which apply equally to all candidate countries, then it should be ac cepted into the EU.
With the harrowing war in Kosovo still fresh in our memories, the Greek people are critically aware of the importance of good neighborly relations. We believe that our neighbor's strength is our strength. To exclude a country from the full benefits of i nternational society is a sure path to the kind of crises we have faced for too long in Southeast Europe.
...Since I became foreign minister last February, I have consistently followed a policy of regional cooperation. Greece is committed to embracing all nations which strive for democracy within their frontiers, and peaceful cooperation beyond them, in the
European family. This policy applies as much to Yugoslavia as it does to Turkey.
I believe that Greece and Turkey have no choice but to explore new avenues for cooperation. Our mutual interests can outweigh our political differences. We can and must resolve these differencesthrough peaceful means, through the International Court of Justice.
So Greece has initiated a process of constructive dialogue with Turkey - a process which began even before the Kosovo crisis and the earthquakes that shook both our countries.
In short, Greece has attempted to turn a new page. This policy of openness requires courage and determination.
While Greek foreign policy is guided by a genuine commitment to regional stability and prosperity, we also have a duty to safeguard our national interests. Our European allies appreciate that Greece has more to gain but also potentially more to lose fro m Turkey's European prospects than any other EU state.
Greece has created a window of opportunity for Turkey. The time has come for Turkey to prove that its intentions toward Europe are serious. If Turkey is willing to play by EU rules, we in Europe must back Turkey's candidacy.
We cannot condone double standards. The entry criteria set down in Copenhagen apply equally to all candidate nations. In Turkey's case, this means greater political and religious freedom, independence of judiciaries, and free media. It means guarantees for the protection of human rights and minority rights. It means the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, and respect for international law.
With respect to good neighborly relations and the inviolability of borders, we are worried by Turkey's incessant violations of Greek airspace and its practice of placing restrictions on the ecumenicalpatriarchate in Constantinople.
Greece advocates a real and not a ''virtual'' candidacy for Turkey. Neither the EU nor Turkey can be satisfied with empty gestures of goodwill.
Turkey must now commit to concrete actions. The recent statement by my Turkish counterpart, Ismail Cem, that Turkey is prepared to resolve its territorial differences with Greece with respect to international law, and comply with the criteria set down i n Agenda2000, is a very positive step.
And of course we strive to reach an acceptable diplomatic solution to end the division of Cyprus, based on the relevant decisions of the United Nations. EU membership is the best way to guarantee progress on the Cyprus issue.
Cyprus is closest among all EU candidates to fulfilling entry requirements. Entry would increase the security, stability and prosperity of both communities on Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot community, now isolated from the rest of the world, would benefit the most.
Turkey continues to occupy 38 percent of the island with more than 30,000 troops. Can the EU accept any candidate country which forcefully occupies the territory of another candidate country? The Union has a responsibility to help break down the last Be rlin Wall dividing a European capital.
Turkey still has a long way to go. Some of our partners in Europe believe that it is not yet politically, economically or socially stable enough to join Europe. Let Turkey prove its maturity by undertaking the necessary reforms. And let the EU provide a realistic framework for Turkey to undertake these reforms - a road map of conditions, criteria and deadlines.
Athens News Agency
 Parthenon exhibition opens in Belgrade
BELGRADE, 11/12/1999 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)Serbian Culture Minister Zelko Simic said the exhibition "The Parthenon and the Western Frieze - Restoration and Maintenance" not only reminds that the roots of European and global civilisation are found in Greece but it a lso sends a message that in this difficult period cultural values will weather the chaos of the modern world.
Mr. Simic, who attended the inauguration of the exhibition at the Belgrade National Museum on Thursday, underlined the multifaceted and symbolic significance of the Parthenon's restoration. The exhibition is being organised by the Greek Cultural Foundat ion and the Belgrade National Museum. The inauguration was attended by Greek ambassador Panayiotis Vlassopoulos, who stressed that a major portion of the friezes presented at the exhibition have been at the British Museum for many years and that a campaig n is currently underway to have the sculptures returned to their original place. A concert will be held today in the framework of the exhibition.
Athens News Agency
 Police suspect religious items stolen from Kosovo monasteries
Athens, 11/12/1999 (ANA)Police in Thessaloniki said yesterday they believed they had broken up a ring involved in the illegal sale of items stolen from Kosovo monasteries.
Authorities said they suspected the relics, which include two 18th century icons and 17 copies of 19th century gospels, had been stolen from Orthodox monasteries in Kosovo following the exodus of the minority Serbs from the strife-torn Yugoslav province .
Also found were two crucifixes, six early Christian coins and six typographic plates which could only have come from Serbia or Kosovo, according to experts.
Police said they came across the relics after arresting two men P Savvas Dimitriadis, 49, and Sotiris Tsakalou, 57 P for attempting to sell other artifacts to an undercover policeman.
According to reports, they were working on behalf of Constantinos Nanos, 37, a Naousa resident. A search of Nanos' home uncovered the relics, while his wife, identified as Albanian national Anna Apostoli, was found to be in possession of seven fake pass ports. She was also arrested.
Athens News Agency
 Expelled Greek doctors criticise Nobel winners MSF
OSLO, 11/12/1999 (Reuters/ANA)The expelled Greek branch of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said yesterday that the crusading aid group, in Oslo to collect the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday, was losing independence to western governments.
"MSF Greece would like to express...their joy for this nomination but also their concerns as to the present and future of this humanitarian movement," MSF Greece president Odysseas Boudouris told a news conference.
MSF Greece is the only branch of MSF which was not invited to yesterday's prize ceremony in Oslo where MSF received the 7.9 million Swedish crowns ($940,000) award. The ceremony was attended by 39 MSF delegates from around the world.
Leaders of MSF expelled the Greek branch for entering Kosovo during NATO's bombing of the Yugoslav province claiming that the Greek branch was not impartial and was favouring the Serbs.
Mr. Boudouris insisted that MSF Greece was trying to help victims, whether Kosovo Albanians or Serbs. He said the humanitarian movement, especially some sections of MSF, was facing "critical problems" partly spawned by their rapid growth and success.
"These organisations have already lost much of their voluntary nature and tend to become institutions that act as factors of the general policy of the countries from which they derive," he said.
He said institutionalisation came from growing dependence on cash handouts from governments and, "like in the recent Kosovo crisis, assumes the form of consent with the dominating view formulated by the mass media".
MSF denies siding with NATO bombings of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo campaign.
The MSF Greece news conference was held at an Oslo hotel after the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, which helps arrange the official ceremonies, refused to allow the group to borrow premises owned by the ministry.
MSF Greece was also backed by veteran Greek novelist Antonis Samarakis. "Pain has no borders," he said, saying that the Greek doctors had merely sought to help victims on both sides during the Kosovo conflict.
Athens News Agency
 Economic News
Athens, 11/12/1999 (ANA)Attica Enterprises gets stake in Strintzis Lines: Attica Enterprises yesterday acquired 40.2 percent of Strintzis Lines, a former competitor, through a block trade on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Sold to Attica were 14,431,090 shares at 2.900 drachmas each to total 41.8 billion drachmas.
Both companies are listed passenger shippers plying the Greece to Italy route. Strintzis had agreed to the arrangement.
Their combined fleet is 16 vessels, due to rise to 28 ships by the end of 2001.
Equities rally in across-the-board spree: Equities bounced back on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, overtaking the 5,400 point level.
The general index ended 2.44 per cent higher at 5,418.32 points. Turnover was around 253 billion drachmas.
The parallel market index for small capitalisation stocks was up 1.95 percent at 1,780.73 points.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 2.48 per cent higher at 2,776.55 points.
A total of 29 stocks ended at the daily eight percent upper volatility limit.
Buying interest early in the session was focused on banking and industrial blue chips, later spreading to the rest of the market.
Players are awaiting news on Wednesday of a possible cut in intervention rates by the Bank of Greece.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+1.89 pct), Leasing (+2.94 pct), Insurance (+2.07 pct), Investment (+1.99 pct), Construction (+2.27 pct), Industrials (+3.00 pct), Miscellaneous (+1.28 pct) and Holding (+2.95 pct).
Of 325 shares traded, advancers led decliners at 233 to 84 with 8 issues remaining unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks were Strintzis Lines and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation.
National Bank of Greece ended at 23,480 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 25, 700, Titan Cement Company (common) at 38,600, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,505, Intracom at 13,000, Panafon at 3,910 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,615.
Bonds edge up in slim trade: Bonds in the domestic secondary market rose in thin turnover yesterday with bulls still dominating the market.
The market has been fuelled recently by a planned revaluation in June 2000 of the drachma's central parity against the euro in the European Union's exchange rate mechanism II.
Greece is to apply to join the EU's euro zone in March, with a summit in June expected to endorse the application for entry on January 1, 2001.
Investors are also awaiting a possible cut in the central bank's intervention rates on Wednesday.
They have already priced in a reduction of around 0.50 percentage point. A deeper cut would give the market even more impetus, analysts said.
The benchmark 10-year bond again held above par, showing a yield of 6.23 percent from 6.28 percent in the previous session and 6.30 percent on Wednesday.
The yield spread over German bunds was initially 123 basis points, rising to 126 basis points by the close from 124 basis points a day earlier and 123 basis points on Wednesday.
According to analysts, the yield spread over German paper is likely to drop to between 100 basis points and 120 basis points by the end of the year.
Turnover through the Bank of Greece's electronic trading system was 56 billion drachmas from 104 billion drachmas in the previous session and 128 billion drachmas on Wednesday.
In yesterday's trade, buy orders accounted for 46 billion drachmas of turnover.
Outflows seen in forex trade: The drachma lost slightly against the euro in the domestic foreign exchange market yesterday on limited foreign currency outflows, traders said.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the European single currency was set at 329.100 drachmas from 328.850 drachmas in the previous session and 328.470 drachmas on Wednesday.
Also at the fixing, the dollar nosed up versus the drachma in line with its ascent on international markets.
The US currency was set at 323.970 drachmas from 323.220 drachmas a day earlier and 320.690 drachmas on Wednesday.
Commercial Bank allies with Internet firm: State Commercial Bank of Greece, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, has forged a strategic alliance with Internet Protocol New Generation, including the purchase of a sizeable chunk of its stock.
The alliance with Internet Protocol, a member of the IPNG Group that claims the largest number of subscribers in the country, will allow Commercial to expand its activities into the high technology sector, including electronic commerce and banking trans actions through advanced networks, the bank said in a statement.
In turn, Internet Protocol will have the opportunity to sell its integrated services to Commercial Bank's customers.
The IPNG Group has acquired more than 75,000 Internet subscribers in seven months through its X-Treme service and provision of free access to the Internet.
Ideal Acropolis to buy US firm: Ideal Acropolis has purchased a 55 percent stake in Entropia Inc. of the US in order to strengthen its presence in Internet business.
The New York based company is 100 percent owned by Greece's Internet Portal, to be found on www.iboom.com and www.iboom.gr, both offering information in English and Greek.
Iboom launched operations in New York in September 1998, aimed mainly at Greeks around the world.
It provides information on Greek and international issues including politics, sport, the economy and the arts.
Technical Olympic, Mohlos win tender for Porto Carras: National Bank of Greece and Hellenic Industrial Development Bank yesterday named the Technical Olympic and Mohlos group of companies as winners of a tender to sell the Porto Carras complex in Halkidiki.
A sale agreement for transfer of the shares to the joint bidders is due to be signed in coming weeks.
Thessaloniki Trade Fair signs first ever labour deal: Workers and employers at Thessaloniki International Trade Fair yesterday signed their first collective labour agreement.
Present at the signing ceremony was Macedonia-Thrace Minister Yiannis Magriotis.
The deal was signed eight days before a deadline for the company's 300 workers to declare whether they wish to remain in the firm and its affiliate, Hellenic Exhibitions, which is slated for privatisation; or be transferred to other employment in the no rthern ministry or in local government.
Greek, Cypriot telecoms in telemedicine link: Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation and the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority on Monday will arrange a telemedicine link between Greek and UK hospitals.
The link on diagnostics between Cyprus, the Aghia Sophia Children's Hospital in Athens, and Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital in London is to take place at 12 noon.
The conference is part of the Tele-Remedy programme coordinated by OTE.
Banknotes Buying Selling: US Dollar 321.378 328.830 Can.Dollar 218.101 223.158 Australian Dlr 204.178 208.912 Pound Sterling 522.109 534.215 Irish Punt 414.528 424.139 Pound Cyprus 565.837 578.956 Pound Malta 748.064 779.233 Turkish pound (100) 0.055 0.057 French franc 49.770 50.924 Swiss franc 204.312 209.049 Belgian franc 8.093 8.281 German Mark 166.920 170.790 Finnish Mark 54.908 56.181 Dutch Guilder 148.144 151.579 Danish Kr. 43.900 44.918 Swedish Kr. 38.059 38.941 Norwegian Kr. 40.265 41.199 Austrian Sh. 23.726 24.276 Italian lira (100) 16.861 17.252 Yen (100) 314.643 321.938 Spanish Peseta 1.962 2.008 Port. Escudo 1.629 1.667 Euro: Buying: 326.467 Selling: 334.036 Foreign Exchange Buying Selling: New York 321.378 328.830 Montreal 218.101 223.158 Sydney 204.178 208.912 London 522.109 534.215 Dublin 414.528 424.139 Nicosia 565.837 578.956 Paris 49.770 50.924 Zurich 204.312 209.049 Brussels 8.093 8.281 Frankfurt 166.920 170.790 Helsinki 54.908 56.181 Amsterdam 148.144 151.579 Copenhagen 43.900 44.918 Stockholm 38.059 38.941 Oslo 40.265 41.199 Vienna 23.726 24.276 Milan 16.861 17.252 Tokyo 314.643 321.938 Madrid 1.962 2.008 Lisbon 1.629 1.667
Athens News Agency