|Tuesday, 20 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-12-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece says only valid difference with Turkey is delienation of Aegean shelfGreece reiterated yesterday that the only valid difference with Turkey that it recognised was the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that Turkey could, if it so desired, seek recourse to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, provided it recognised the body's jurisdiction.
Greece was not obliged, he added, to consent to discussing any issue raised by Turkey.
References in the Helsinki EU summit conclusions to border differences as an issue which the International Court could concern itself with was not directed to EU member-states but to candidate member-states, Mr. Reppas clarified.
If there is to be dialogue between the two countries, Mr. Reppas said, it was Turkey's obligation, under the Helsinki agreement, to approach the issues in a peaceful manner.
The government believed that the results of the Helsinki agreement were satisfactory and more than covered Greece's positions, he said.
"We're not saying that all the problems have been solved; but we are in a better situation today than we were yesterday," he said.
Responding to reporters' questions, Mr. Reppas denied that there was any visit to Ankara planned by Prime Minister Costas Simitis or Foreign Minister George Papandreou. Neither was there any issue of the signing of a non-aggression pact with Turkey, he said.
Asked about the issue of Cyprus entering the European Union as a member, Mr. Reppas said that it was Greece's wish to see the whole of the Republic of Cyprus enter the EU.
Turkey became an EU candidate country on Friday, after the EU accepted three terms outlined by Greece, namely that a solution to the Cyprus problem be independent of any EU decision regarding theKisland republic'sKEU accession course; that Turkey's vari ous territorial claims against Greece be referred to the International Court at the Hague within a specific timeframe if a resolution isn't found; and that the same conditions apply to Turkey as to the other candidate states, while emphasing the need for an enhanced dialogue on human rights with a view to Ankara meeting the Copenhagen criteria on entry negotiations.
-- Simitis briefs president of the republic -- The decisions taken at the Helsinki summit on Friday have created a new footing for regional stability and better prospects for economic cooperation, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday.
Mr. Simitis, speaking after briefing President Kostis Stephanopoulos on the outcome of the crucial EU summit, said that a "very good framework" had been created at Helsinki and that Greece would do its best to exploit the opportunities being created.
"Each such decision is a framework and how positive the results will be, depend on the future course," Mr .Simitis said.
"But this framework is positive, satisfying and creating new possibilities, " he added.
"We can look to the future with optimism and move with optimism that we will exploit prospects."
Turkey, he added, now had to realise it had to "abandon the past and its policy of fostering tension and see that a more beneficial road was opening up for it".
Speaking before the meeting, President Stephanopoulos expressed the hope that the Helsinki summit would be advantageous for Greece's national issues, for peace and for regional stability. Athens News Agency
 FM says Greece desires intensification of cooperation with TurkeyBERLIN (ANA-P.Stangos) - The Greek government desires intensification of cooperation with Turkey and wishes to actively support Turkey's efforts to become a member of the European Union, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said in an interview with the Ger man newspaper Die Welt appearing yesterday.
In this direction, Mr. Papandreou offered Greece's assistance based on its own experiences from EU accession.
According to the newspaper, Mr. Papandreou has already discussed with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem the prospect of "transfer of knowhow" with respect to helping Turkey adapt to the acquis communautaire.
"There are similarities between the two countries and common elements concerning mentality, and Turkey could benefit from our experience," Mr. Papandreou was quoted as saying.
"In no way must the momentum that has developed (with Turkey's upgrading as an EU candidate) go to waste," Mr. Papandreou added.
He said it was of vital importance to Greece that Turkey's candidacy did not remain a candidacy "just on the papers", adding that Greece's endorsement was endorsement of a "genuine" candidacy, which meant a "true" rather than a "pretextual" prospect for
Turkey's joining the EU.
But he added that it would take a "long time" for Turkey's course to reach the stage of full membership.
The most difficult part of that course was not the resolution of Turkey's differences with its neighbours, but the reforms inside Turkey itself, "which presuppose a radical change of stance...", Mr.Papan-dreou was quoted as saying. Athens News Agency
 Papandreou hopes to visit Ankara early in the New YearForeign Minister George Papandreou hopes to be able to visit Ankara to sign bilateral agreements on a range of issues early in the New Year, daily Ta Nea reported yesterday.
Ta Nea quoted Mr. Papandreou saying that previous commitments, including the Parliament debate on the 2000 budget, which gets under way on Friday and ends on December 21, would prevent his travelling to Ankara before the end of the year.
"I hope to make it in January...we're setting a target for January," Mr. Papandreou was quoted as saying to the newspaper.
The foreign minister said half of the bilateral agreements - which have come out of so-called 'low-impact' talks between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministries - would be signed in Athens and the other half in Ankara.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem is expected to visit Athens for the signing of these agreements.
Turkish and Greek government officials met in Athens at the beginning of the month to put the final touches to the bilateral agreements.
The two sides have been meeting for months on a range of non-contentious issues which could provide the basis for further cooperation. These issues include tourism, police cooperation, the environment, and science and technology.
Major issues of dispute between the two countries - such as Cyprus and the Aegean - have not been touched on.
According to diplomatic sources, the texts of the five bilateral agreements refer to tourist cooperation, the environment, issues of security for citizens, economic cooperation and cooperation in the scientific and technological fields, avoidance of dou ble taxation, investment protection, shipping cooperation and cooperation in the energy sector.
Athens News Agency
 Karamanlis says Turkey got what it wanted at EU summitAnalysing Turkey's acceptance as a European Union candidate member-state at the EU Helsinki summit over the weekend, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said yesterday that "in essence the balance is negative for Greece since Turk ey got what it wanted without conditions and exchanges, while Greece limited itself to an in principle positive statement over the Cyprus issue which, however, also has questionable formulations".
Speaking at an extraordinary press conference, Mr. Karamanlis proposed a meeting of political party leaders, saying that "we are entering a difficult path with many dangers and for this reason a minimum consensus is necessary and the definition of a longterm national strategy."
Mr. Karamanlis accused the government of abandoning steadfast Greek positions which had been shaped by the Karamanlis, Papandreou and Mitsotakis administrations over the past 25 years and in essence accepted that border differences exist which should be resolved with an across-the- board political dialogue without conditions being set for respect for international law, international treaties, the lifting of the threat of the use of force and the abandonment of Ankara's unilateral claims.
"We opened the door of Europe for Turkey, while it is continuing to threaten and claim sovereign rights of Greece," Mr. Karamanlis said. He also called on the government to clarify whether it is aware of the letter addressed to the Turkish Prim e Minister by Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, which he termed irregular and downgrading for Greece's prestige and said it is an unprecedented methodisation.
"When Turkey presents its list of claims how will the government handle it since, according to the Finnish Prime Minister's letter, 2004 does not constitute a time limit and there will be no sanctions for Turkey, while no exemption is made from referenc e to the International Court at The Hague of the security clause accepted by all Greek governments for the fortification of the islands. He pondered how is it possible for sovereign rights to be left for the consideration of the court's 15 magistrates.
Mr. Karamanlis said that regarding the Cyprus issue Turkey is reiterating its unacceptable positions that it has been resolved with the invasion and occupation of 1974 and is continuing to dispute 151 islands and islets.
Mr. Karamanlis spoke of unacceptable talk of triumphs and of orchestrated government propaganda after the Helsinki summit. He added that he himself does not include foreign policy issues in petty partisan expediencies nor in the pre-electoral confrontat ion.
Replying to Mr. Karamanlis later, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that with his extraordinary press conference ND's President proved that both he and his party are dominated by the anxiety of their views being marginalised.
Mr. Reppas said that Mr. Karamanlis has either not realised what was precisely agreed on in Helsinki or, while being aware of this, he is deliberately distorting the decision's content and significance.
The spokesman further said that with its policy the government is safeguarding national interests and is gaining international recognition, while Mr. Karamanlis thinks he can secure benefits for his party because, as it seems, this is the only thing int eresting him.
Mr. Reppas said Mr. Karamanlis' petty partisan pursuits will not intercept the government's effort for the continuous strengthening and upgrading of the country's international position. Athens News Agency
 Cem says Greece and Turkey can solve differences through negotiationsISTANBUL (ANA- A. Kourkoulas) - Greece and Turkey will now be able to resolve any differences through negotiations, international mediation and use of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said here yesterd ay.
"Although, until recently Greece claimed that the only (Greek-Turkish) problem is that of the continental shelf and that the only way to resolve it was seeking recourse to the International Court at The Hague, now because of the mutual understanding bet ween Athens and Ankara we are in the position to resolve our problems by other means as well," Mr. Cem said.
"Such ways are negotiations, International Arbitration, mediation and in the event that no solutions is found then the International Court at The Hague," he added.
"The year 2004 is not the year of seeking recourse at The Hague, rather it is the year of evaluation of the issue's course by the European Council," Mr. Cem said.
"Greece and Turkey will cooperate to promote their common interests," he said, reiterating, however, Ankara's positions on the Cyprus problem, claiming that the stance of the European Union regarding Cyprus' candidacy to the Union does not come in conf lict with Turkey's policy.
"The stance of the EU makes the striking of an agreement between the two sides on Cyprus difficult," he said.
"Turkey was accepted as a candidate country with the same terms as the other candidate countries" and this is Turkey's greatest success he said, adding that Ankara will follow on the course of restructuring according to the demands of the Union.
Finally, Mr. Cem thanked Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou for his "humanity, education and belief in Greek-Turkish friendship, which was a positive element in Turkey's candidacy". Athens News Agency
 Ecevit criticises Turkish Cypriot leadershipANKARA (ANA - A. Abatzis) - Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit yesterday criticised the strong reaction of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, following the results of the Helsinki summit.
Speaking to a television programme, Mr. Ecevit said that reactions were stemming from "lack of information", adding that there are "dangers that may stem from inside the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'".
Turkey is the only country to recognise the existence of the illegal "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus - (TRNC)", which was declared in 1983 in the Turkish occupied northern part of the island republic, contrary to United Nations' resolutions.
Mr. Ecevit also said that according to reports from the pseudo-state, "several circles have expressed dissatisfaction against me. I am dissatisfied with those who believe that I can make concessions".
"As long as there is a Turkish Republic there will not be an issue of danger for 'TDNC'. There is no chance that we will use Turkish Cypriots as an element of negotiations. Athens News Agency
 Papandreou pays tribute to late alternate foreign minister KranidiotisForeign Minister George Papandreou yesterday paid tribute to his late deputy, Yannos Kranidiotis, saying that the Cypriot-born politician had been instrumental in achieving gains for the divided island at last week's EU summit.
"Today we have paved open Turkey's road to Europe. The positions he dreamed of have been vindicated," Mr. Papandreou said, referring to the summit's acceptance of a Greek term that Cyprus' accession to the European Union not be dependent on a resolution of the island's division and occupation by Turkish troops.
It was one of the three terms Greece set to approve an EU decision that Turkey be placed on a list of EU candidate countries.
Mr. Papandreou was speaking during a ceremony to mark Kranidiotis' memory. The late alternate foreign minister was killed in a freak air accident over Romania in September. The sudden and as yet unexplained mid-air plunge also took the lives of six othe rs, including Kranidiotis's only child, Nikolas.
Mr. Papandreou said Kranidiotis' work had been instrumental in leading to the successes of the EU Helsinki summit on Friday.
"He was a mild-mannered man but also insistent on the goals he had set. He honoured with his presence and efforts the foreign ministry; he was a visionary, with the knowledge of a technocrat," Mr. Papandreou said.
Kranidiotis was a great defender of national interests, and the man who managed to transform the Cyprus issue into a European issue of concern, making the island republic's accession to the EU into an instrument par excellence for the pursuit of a just resolution, the foreign minister said.
"We lost a friend. I lost a friend, a fellow traveller, a valued worker for Greece and Hellenism. Today, as a hopeful and difficult course opens, we thank him," Mr. Papandreou said.
Mr. Papandreou named the foreign ministry's amphitheatre after Y. Kranidiotis. Athens News Agency
 Venizelos urges British premier to return Parthenon Marmbles to GreeceLONDON (ANA-L.Tsirigotakis) - Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday urged British Prime Minister Tony Blair to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, saying that such a gesture would consolidate the British leader's position on the world sta ge.
"I observed to Mr. Blair that if he hopes to play the role of a world leader, and he truly aspires to this role, then an initiative in the direction of the Marbles was the best way to go," Mr. Venizelos, who is a former culture minister, said after a me eting with Mr. Blair at 10 Downing Street.
"I believe he paid careful attention to what I said," the Greek minister said. "I think he has understood the great importance Greece gives to the Marbles."
Mr. Venizelos said he broached the issue of a return of the Parthenon Marbles with the British prime minister, following reports that he had personally ruled out a return of the 5th century B.C. artworks, carried in yesterday's Guardian newspaper.
Mr. Venizelos is in London for a two-day official visit focusing on bilateral economic, commercial and bilateral relations.
He said he thanked Mr. Blair for the British stance at the recent EU summit in Helsinki, particularly on London's position on the prospect of Cyprus becoming a member of the European Union.
Joint British and Greek action on reconstruction in the Balkans was also discussed, with Mr. Venizelos saying Mr. Blair believed Greece could play the role of a bridge between the East and West.
Bilateral relations, he said, were at a very good level but he proposed to Mr.Blair more structured bilateral contacts based on the model of those between Britain and Italy.
Mr. Venizelos said Mr. Blair would look into the issue of organising such contacts.
The Greek minister also met with representatives of the British defence industry Vickers, which is reported to be interested in investing in the Greek defence industry EVO.
Asked about the prospect of British investment in the Greek state-run firm, Mr. Venizelos said:
"There is interest from Vickers and another seven consortiums: the competition is open and the procedures decided by the inter-ministerial committee on privatisation will be followed." Athens News Agency
 Greece's EU Commissioner says EU summit message was optimisticAddressing an event at the Piraeus Municipal Theatre last night, Greece's European Union Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou said the message from the Helsinki EU summit last week was optimistic, expressing hope that peace will prevail at some time in this p art of the world, while at the same time military expenditures will decrease considerably.
Ms. Diamantopoulou was speaking on "The European Social model: Collapse or reform" in the framework of a public event by the "Institute of Strategic and Development Studies - Andreas Papandreou (ISTAME).
"At this moment there are 17 million registered unemployed in Europe. However, they might even exceed 30 million. In other words, there is a big state of unemployed in prospering Europe," she said. Athens News Agency
 Skandalidis gives lecture on need to protect Greek cultureRuling PASOK party Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis gave a lecture last night on "The cultural and civilisational shielding of Hellenism in a world of open borders", at the invitation of the Pieridis Gallery.
"You, more than anyone else, are aware that civilisation is not self- evident and we are aware, if we do not wish to pretend continuously, that it is necessary for us to spend resources to protect wealth, to promote weapons, to secure roads which we have handled only partially and fragmentally so far," Mr. Skandalidis said.
Referring to the civilisation of the outgoing century, Mr. Skandalidis said that behind the abyss of technological development, we have stopped producing moral, social, cultural and political excess value and we are standing surprised before our own cre ation. Athens News Agency
 Three mayors killed in car crashFour persons, three of them mayors of towns in the northern Greek prefecture of Karditsa, were killed yesterday in a car crash on the Athens- Thessaloniki national highway, police said.
They said all four died when their car, for as yet unknown reasons, veered into the opposite lane and collided with an oncoming truck just outside Aghios Constantinos.
The car caught fire and all five passengers were burned alive, police said.
The passengers included the mayors of the towns of Selana, Kambos, and Mouzak and a leading local farm trade unionist.
The four were on their way to Athens to catch a plane to Brussels, according to reports. Athens News Agency
 Ioannina police seize significant cache of weapons near Greek-Albanian borderIoannina police yesterday said they had uncovered a significant cache of weapons near the Greek-Albanian border, following a five-day surveillance operation. The cache consisted of 16 Kalashnikov rifles, six hand grenades, 150 bullets and 24 loaded magazi nes. Police said the weapons were in excellent condition. According to the police, the cache had been smuggled into Greece from Albania and was destined for accomplices on the island of Crete. Police said they had arrested two men from Hania, Crete, and w ere seeking another Greek national. An Albanian couple is presently being interrogated in connection with the discovery.
Athens News Agency
 Greek-Turkish group welcomes EU decision on TurkeyPanayotis Koutsikos, chairman of the Greek-Turkish Business Council, yesterday expressed the satisfaction of the Greek business community at the outcome of the EU summit in Helsinki at which Turkey became a candidate country.
In a letter to his Turkish counterpart, Sarik Tara, Mr. Koutsikos conveyed the satisfaction of Greek businessmen "on the positive development noted at the summit in Helsinki, a development which we believe will contribute effectively to a lasting improv ement in the climate of good neighbourliness and cooperation between the two countries.
"We are aware, as you are, that the road from here on that will lead Turkey to full and definitive accession to our large European family is a long and difficult one, but I want to assure you that Greek businessmen, as always, will be at the side of the ir Turkish colleagues, offering their undivided support and looking forward to further tightening and developing our business relations," Mr. Koutsikos said.
Athens News Agency
 ETBAbank ready for Athens bourse entryETBAbank, which is holding an initial public offer (IPO) this month, sees profits of 28 billion drachmas for 1999 and more than 40 billion drachmas in 2000, governor George Kasmas told a presentation for the company ahead of entry into the Athens Stock Ex change.
The bank's entry price has been set at 3,000 drachmas per share.
New shares for sale in the IPO total 30,081,730 with another three million stocks destined for private placement.
ETBAbank is the new name for the state owned Hellenic Industrial Development Bank. Athens News Agency
 Equities surge on Turkey, hope of rate cutEquities soared across the board yesterday on the European Union's decision to make Turkey a candidate country, and on expectations of a domestic rate cut.
The general index ended 3.81 per cent higher at 5,624.55 points.
Turnover was moderate around 230 billion drachmas despite the price rise, which meant that the increase was due more to lower supply than to any influx of new funds, traders said.
The parallel market index for small capitalisation stocks was up 6.66 per cent at 1,899.32 points.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 3.15 per cent higher at 2,864.14 points.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+3.29 pct), Leasing (+3.99 pct), Insurance (+4.33 pct), Investment (+5.54 pct), Construction (+6.86 pct), Industrials (+4.07 pct), Miscellaneous (+2.41 pct) and Holding (+3.67 pct).
Of 315 shares traded advancers led decliners at 301 to 5 with 9 issues remaining unchanged.
The most heavily traded stocks were Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation and Panafon Hellenic Telecommunications.
National Bank of Greece ended at 24,100 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 26, 550, Titan Cement Company (common) at 39,900, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,800, Intracom at 13,500, Panafon at 3,970 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,025. Athens News Agency
 Greece joins executive committee of world trade fair groupGreece, for the first time, has secured a place on the executive committee of the International Trade Fair Bureau.
The elections of the world trade fair organiser's board were held in Paris. Athens News Agency
 Bonds perky in heavy tradeBonds in the domestic secondary market were bullish in heavy turnover yesterday with the yield spread over German bunds edging below the psychological barrier of 120 basis points for the first time.
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 2000, 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 tomorrow.
They have already priced 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 continued to trade above par, showing a yield of 6.21 percent early in the session and 6.17 percent at the close, from 6.23 percent in the previous session and 6.28 percent on Thursday.
The yield spread over German bunds was 116 basis points from 123-126 basis points a session earlier and 124 basis points on Thursday.
According to analysts, the yield spread over equivalent German paper is likely to drop to 100 basis points by the end of the year, revising downwards an earlier estimate of 120 basis points.
Turnover through the Bank of Greece's electronic trading system was 234 billion drachmas from 56 billion drachmas in the previous session and 104 billion drachmas on Thursday.
In yesterday's trade, buy orders accounted for 198 billion drachmas of turnover.
-- Central bank intervenes in forex market -- The central bank intervened in the domestic foreign exchange market yesterday by supplying around 250 million euros at the daily fixing in order to balance the drachma's parity after a fall in interbank rates.
A further decline in money market rates would cause more disruption to the drachma if the currency's central parity to the euro remains unchanged in the European Union's exchange rate mechanism, analysts said. Despite the Bank of Greece's intervention , the drachma lost ground against both the euro and the US dollar.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the European single currency was set at 329.580 drachmas from 329.100 drachmas in the previous session and 328.850 drachmas on Thursday.
Also at the fixing, the dollar rose sharply versus the drachma in line with its ascent on international markets.
The US currency was set at 325.250 drachmas from 323.970 drachmas a session earlier and 323.220 drachmas on Thursday. Athens News Agency
 Unemployment in Piraeus at 19.5 pctThe unemployment rate in the wider Piraeus area is running at 19.5 percent, the port city's Labour Centre said yesterday.
Hardest hit are people with secondary education, followed by those with tertiary education.
In the 20-24 age group, 41.4 percent were unemployed. Among those aged 25- 29, the rate was 30.1 percent; in the 30-44 age group 17.4 percent; and in the 45-64 age group, 7.8 percent.
"Unemployment is the leading priority for the Labour Centre and we have tabled recommendations to the government for measures that need to be taken, " centre president Yiannis Mihas said.
The proposals include reorganisation of the port and ship-building sectors including modernising infrastructure, training personnel, restructuring companies, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and safeguarding and increasing the number of jo bs in shipping.
Athens News Agency
 EU-funded conference on Greek-Bulgarian linksSpeakers at a European Union funded conference yesterday agreed that joint textiles ventures by Greek and Bulgarian firms had benefitted from wider cooperation between the two country's border regions.
The conference on cross-border cooperation for small and medium-sized firms, which was financed under the EU's Interreg programme, was held by local authorities in Alexandroupoli, northern Greece.
Athens News Agency
 Athens Foreign ExchangeBank of Greece closing rates of December 13,1999 Banknotes Buying Selling
US Dollar 322.648 330.129 Can.Dollar 218.200 223.259 Australian Dlr 205.319 210.080 Pound Sterling 523.280 535.412 Irish Punt 415.132 424.757 Pound Cyprus 565.817 578.936 Pound Malta 751.018 782.311 Turkish pound (100) 0.055 0.057 French franc 49.842 50.998 Swiss franc 204.208 208.943 Belgian franc 8.105 8.293 German Mark 167.164 171.040 Finnish Mark 54.988 56.262 Dutch Guilder 148.361 151.800 Danish Kr. 43.958 44.977 Swedish Kr. 38.140 39.025 Norwegian Kr. 40.404 41.341 Austrian Sh. 23.760 24.311 Italian lira (100) 16.885 17.276 Yen (100) 314.801 322.100 Spanish Peseta 1.965 2.011 Port. Escudo 1.631 1.669
 Foreign ExchangeBuying Selling New York 322.648 330.129 Montreal 218.200 223.259 Sydney 205.319 210.080 London 523.280 535.412 Dublin 415.132 424.757 Nicosia 565.817 578.936 Paris 49.842 50.998 Zurich 204.208 208.943 Brussels 8.105 8.293 Frankfurt 167.164 171.040 Helsinki 54.988 56.262 Amsterdam 148.361 151.800 Copenhagen 43.958 44.977 Stockholm 38.140 39.025 Oslo 40.404 41.341 Vienna 23.760 24.311 Milan 16.885 17.276 Tokyo 314.801 322.100 Madrid 1.965 2.011 Lisbon 1.631 1.669 Athens News Agency/END