|Tuesday, 21 May 2013|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-11-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 20 , 2001
 Government to fight for EU tobacco subsidies, spokesman says
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)The government will fight for European Union tobacco subsidies to be retained at the upcoming EU agriculture ministers' meeting in Brussels, government spokesman Christos Protopappas said on Monday.
Protopappas asked that the "unacceptable" European Parliament resolution for an end to tobacco subsidies be withdrawn.
In northern Greece, meanwhile, thousands of tobacco growers staged a protest rally in Thessaloniki against the threatened subsidy cuts, claiming that this would lead some 60,000 Greek families to ruin.
Echoing earlier statements by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Protopappas said that the government would do its utmost to protect the interests of Greek tobacco producers at Tuesday's council in Brussels and in one-on-one meetings that would follow.
"We are determined to take all measures needed to protect the interests of Greek farmers...we won't agree to the resolution for modifying the budget, which will objectively lead to cutting subsidies for Greek tobacco growers," he said.
Protopappas also noted that the resolution was being promoted by the European Popular Party (EPP), with which New Democracy was affiliated.
The spokesman urged ND leader Costas Karamanlis, one of the EPP vice-presidents, to use his influence to have the decision reversed.
Responding later on Monday, ND spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos criticized the government's policy on farming and accused it of trying to present white as black and blaming everyone except itself.
Roussopoulos referred to the government's "actions and omissions" with respect to farmers and said the assurances given by officials did not convince anyone.
Protopappas also confirmed that a raid by the Economic Crimes Unit and other government agencies had uncovered a cotton subsidies scam.
Checks at cotton gins and collection points would continue, the spokesman said, so that subsidies would go to those who were truly eligible.
Agriculture Minister George Drys, meanwhile, again invited protesting farmers to dialogue over cotton and said that the government's policies aimed to improve quality and secure a satisfactory income for farmers.
In the context of these efforts, he said during a Monday press conference, the government had decided to replace the board of the agency for monitoring the production of cotton and other crops.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Vangelis Argyris said that checks to uncover violations related to cotton were continuing.
Farmers' rallies: In separate rallies in Thessaloniki and Trikala, farmers voiced their protests to the policies of the government and the EU, demanding higher prices for cotton and the retention of tobacco subsidies.
Thousands traveled to Thessaloniki's Aristotelous Square from villages all around northern Greece for the noon rally, which was low-key and without incident.
The protesting farmers warned, however, that their action would escalate if their demands weren't met.
Speakers at the rally accused the EU of hypocrisy, noting that it was reducing and stopping subsidies as part of its anti-smoking campaign but had not reduced tobacco imports that accounted for 70 per cent of consumption.
Others stressed that tobacco was a crop grown in highlands and barren areas, and that abolishing it would lead to rural areas being abandoned by their population.
Support for Greek tobacco growers was also expressed by the visiting president of the International Union of Tobacco Producers and the president of the European Union of Agricultural Organizations.
Strong support for tobacco growers was also displayed by Greek MPs, with over 30 attending the rally or sending resolutions.
The rally, for which some 7,000 people turned out according to independent observers, ended two hours later without incident.
Meanwhile, cotton farmers in Thessaloniki prefecture announced that they would remain in their village squares through Monday night with their tractor engines running and drive through the central roads in convoy on Tuesday to press for measures to protect their product, though without blocking the flow of traffic.
Cotton producers in Trikala, central Greece, also staged a protest over cotton prices and EU "anti-farming" policies on Monday, driving their tractors into the city centre and blocking access to central roads.
Speakers in Trikala claimed the new policies favored large landowners at the expense of small and medium-sized farmers and described the new regulations for cotton prices as "catastrophic," while accusing the government of failing to honor its previous promises to farmers.
 EU sources say subsidies until 2003 for Greek tobacco producers
BRUSSELS 20/11/2001 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)Well-informed European Union sources said here on Monday subsidies for Greek tobacco producers will continue to be provided until 2003.
The issue of tobacco subsidies will be discussed by the European Commission on Wednesday and, according to reports, the decision it will take will anticipate the continuation of subsidies in 2003 as well.
What will follow after 2003 will be the object of further consultations, the sources said. Subsidies paid for Greek tobacco producers from EU funds are estimated at 120 billion drachmas a year.
 Premier calls for positive attitude and work
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)The ruling PASOK party is on an upswing and this course must be maintained and lead to victory in the next elections, Prime Minister and party President Costas Simitis said on Monday in his address to a joint meeting of the inner cabinet and the party's Executive Bureau, which convened to discuss the party's political planning for the next three years.
"Our policy and our words should be positive and oriented toward society and its priorities, the center of gravity of our policy should be economic development, the ability to improve the standard of every citizen's life," the premier said.
"The vision of real convergence should be shown in all our policies," he added.
Simitis also focused on current international conditions as they relate to the economy, saying "the euro, after a short phase of adjustment will create a positive environment. The third community support framework fund will be in its phase of realization. The preparations for the Olympic Games will be forging ahead, cultivating a climate of cohesion".
The premier also spoke of the government party's contrast with the main opposition New Democracy party and the 2002 municipal elections on which PASOK should focus over the coming period.
Simitis-Laliotis talks: Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with PASOK Secretary Costas Laliotis on Monday, in light of a same-day joint session of the ruling party’s executive bureau and inner Cabinet.
Afterwards, Laliotis said Monday evening’s meeting will focus on the party’s political strategy and planning.
He added that a basic element of such planning is dialogue with “adjoining” political forces.
“Clear delineation is needed in this dialogue, as every political force has its own political reasoning with its own manner,” he said.
Asked about the specter of blockades by farmers around the country, Laliotis – PASOK’s long-time public works and town planning minister before he left the Cabinet for the party post – said “PASOK has unbroken ties with the farm sector since 1974.”
Conversely, he said farmers should promote demands without creating problems for other social groups, but with “specialized forms of struggle”.
 Greece to participate with 180 men in europolice force of 1,500
BRUSSELS 20/11/2001 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Monday, referring to the creation of the "European army", that the common European defense and security policy is proceeding at a speedy pace, including terrorism among its objectives. The "European army" will be fully operational by 2003.
The meeting between European Union defense and public order ministers here on Monday also agreed to the creation of a 5,000-strong police force to provide the EU with the possibility, as of 2003, of carrying out police crisis management missions outside the EU, either autonomously or in cooperation with other international organizations. Greece is participating in this "European police" force with 180 policemen.
Greece was due to contribute to the "European army" a brigade, a battalion, an army corps headquarters, eight surface vessels, three amphibious craft and two supply ships, 42 warplanes, four transport planes and a Patriot anti-aircraft missile battery.
These units, manned by 6,500 men, are being supplemented now, to cover shortcomings at European level, with an airborne radar, air-to-surface missiles, search and rescue helicopters and an "Apache" helicopter gunship.
Papantoniou said the Greek participation was appreciated by the EU, while EU Security and Defense Policy High Commissioner Javier Solana praised its contribution.
Papantoniou also said the increase in forces is necessary for reorganizing European defense at a time its duties are being expanded to handle the terrorist threat.
He discussed the issue of Turkey's involvement in European defense, which the U.S. and Britain are trying to resolve with a mutually acceptable solution, with his French counterpart Alain Richard on the sidelines of the meeting, who reassured him of "France's support and insistence on the spirit of the Nice summit."
EU defense ministers said developments in Afghanistan are positive, adding that "they came earlier than they had expected" and that what is necessary now are the political processes, which will follow.
They also referred to the increase in defense expenditures, due to the widening of objectives, but Papantoniou said Greece is far from all the remaining EU countries in this sector and does not require a further increase.
Speaking to reporters, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis stressed the significance of the initiative for the creation of the police force, praising its role in managing crises with non-military means in regions facing stability problems.
He added that since this force will be composed of police having a different culture, care should be taken in the sector of the joint training of participants to safeguard their cohesion and unanimity which will contribute to the achievement of their mission.
 EU General Affairs Council discusses enlargement and Balkans
BRUSSELS 20/11/2001 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)The European Union's General Affairs Council on Monday discussed EU enlargement, the reformation of its institutions and developments in the Balkans and Afghanistan, as well as the Middle East issue.
The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, while the European Commission's recent report on enlargement was presented by Commissioner Guenter Verheugen.
On the part of Greece, Papandreou said observance of the timetable for enlargement decided at the Helsinki summit was confirmed and the need was also stressed for special aid to be granted to Bulgaria and Romania to enable the two countries to speed up their pace for EU accession.
The course of Turkey's and Cyprus's accession to the EU was another issue examined. Regarding Cyprus, progress it has achieved in relation to its adjustment to EU established practice was confirmed, while on the question of Turkey, most ministers once again stressed its obligation to contribute positively for a solution to be found to the Cyprus issue in the framework of the UN.
Papandreou hailed the intention of Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in the presence of a UN representative.
Ministers also discussed the reform of the EU's institutions, without taking any specific decisions. They agreed, however, that the next institutional reform should have a widespread character and should be limited exclusively to issues, which were not resolved during the Nice summit.
Satisfaction was expressed, in the framework of the discussion on developments in the Balkans, on the peaceful way with which elections were recently held in Kosovo. Ministers also sent a message to Kosovar leaders not to insist on the demand for Kosovo's independence.
Examining developments in Afghanistan, the ministers decided to appoint a special EU representative for the country, but reached no decision on the person to fill the post.
On the Middle East issue, the need was stressed for a further impetus to be given to the peace process and Israel was called on not to extend the settlement of territory any further.
 Greece, France lag in harmonizing with EU internal market directives
BRUSSELS 20/11/2001 (ANA - B. Demiris)Greece and France are the two European Union member-states with the greatest deficit in incorporating Union directives, regarding the common market, to their national legislation, the European Commission statistics show.
According to the statistics published on Monday, the two countries - despite their significant progress - have lagged behind the rest of the Union's member-states in harmonizing their legislation to Union directives in regards to the unified internal market.
For Greece, the report said that it has not incorporated 70 community directives, or 3 per cent of the total regarding the internal market, while France has a shortfall of 66 directives, which also comes to about 3 per cent of the total.
Finland showed the best performance with 0.7 per cent of the directives still not incorporated, with Denmark second (0.8 per cent).
The Stockholm Summit of 2001, set as a goal that the average of non-incorporated directives, should drop to 1.5 per cent of the total by March 2002.
European Commissioner Frits Bolkestein, responsible for internal market affairs, during the presentation of the statistics said that "the efforts for the harmonization of national legislation to the community directives, begun to yield fruit and the majority of the member-states are expending great effort to improve the transfer of community directives to their national legislation".
The Commission also reported that it was examining about 1,500 cases of violations of the directives regarding the internal market. Greece was sited for 125 such violations, compared to 224 of France, 192 of Italy, 150 of Germany. Finland faired the best, being investigated for only 27 cases.
 Protopappas: UN resolutions the basis for Cyprus talks
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)The Greek government reiterated on Monday that high-level inter-communal talks on the divided island of Cyprus must be held within the framework of United Nations resolutions regarding the Cyprus issue.
According to government spokesman Christos Protopappas, a permanent solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem ranks as a condition for better EU-Turkey relations, something envisioned in relevant European Union decisions as well.
UN-sponsored proximity talks with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have repeatedly stalled over the past two years after the latter – with Ankara’s backing – demanded that a pseudo-state he heads in the island republic’s Turkish-occupied north first be recognized by the international community.
 President attends opening of civil servants trade union conference
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)The 31st conference of the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) began on Monday in the presence of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
During the opening ceremony a documentary was screened on the history of the civil servants' trade union movement.
ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyros stated that "we will proceed unyielding to express social fermentation and to defend our future, the future of public administration, changing and overturning the present."
Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis in his address referred to the threat against democracy from the defense against terrorism and called for a struggle for an open society and democracy.
Main opposition New Democracy Party (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis proposed the seeking of just and viable solutions on the basis of a dialogue on insurance. He also called for a modern system of payroll scaling.
Interior Deputy Minister Stavros Benos accepted the need for deep changes to be made in public administration, aimed at the improvement of services towards the citizen.
The opening ceremony was also addressed by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) representative Skopelitis and Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) representative D. Papadimoulis.
General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos, having referred to the history and social struggles of the working people in the private and public sector, expressed the need for an autonomous strategy of the trade union movement.
 US envoy: anti-terrorism campaign a top priority; thanks Athens
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)The US ambassador to Athens on Monday reiterated that America’s envoys around the world are considering the campaign against terrorism as their top priority, while he also thanked the Greek government for its support thus far.
US ambassador Thomas Miller, who officially arrived in Greece in early October to take up his diplomatic post, clarified however, that the US-led campaign also features economic, diplomatic and even intelligence-gathering dimensions, besides the simply military angle.
Miller made the comments at a luncheon hosted in his honor by the Association of Greek Graduates of US Universities, and held at a Hellenic American Union’s (HAU) hall in downtown Athens.
“We must realize that we’re in this all together; the attack wasn’t just against America but on our way of life, which often has been taken for granted,” the veteran diplomat stressed, before warning that there will be “no neat end” to the current fight against international terrorism.
“This will not be an easy campaign, it is not like previous wars,” he said, adding that notorious Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden’s demise will not end the problem.
Finally, in terms of the campaign against terrorism, Miller said it was “not about revenge ... but it’s what every nation owes to its citizenry: the right to be protected.”
In referring, however, to a bit of advice he said was offered by US Secretary of State Colin Powell at his Sept. 21 swearing-in ceremony, Miller emphasized that the campaign against terrorism will not overshadow other bilateral and multilateral issues as well as cooperation.
Support for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, promotion of US products in Greece, the embassy’s good services for solving Aegean differences as well as gaining accreditation for US tertiary educational institutions active in Greece – which he especially emphasized – were among the areas he mentioned.
HAU President Chris Spyrou and the president of the graduates’ association board of directors, Evangelos Sorogas, greeted Miller at the event.
 Turkish admiral says Denktash determines Turkey's Cyprus policy
ANKARA 20/11/2001 (ANA - A. Abatzis)Retired Turkish Admiral Attila Kiyat, in an interview with the Turkish newspaper "Radikal" on Monday, said Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash determines Turkey's policy on Cyprus.
"The talks we shall have to unite two equal communities under one flag do not mean that we are giving Cyprus. But Turkey's policy on Cyprus is determined by Denktash," he said.
"The Cyprus issue was always used in Turkey in an extreme fashion as an object of internal consumption. Those who are following this policy are thinking of their own political future more than the future of Turkey," Kiyat said.
He said a solution to the problem could be found if there is a coincidence based on common interests and sharply criticized Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit for his recent statements on "genocide and terrorism against the Turkish Cypriots".
"But we, in 2001, say there is no other solution except for confederation and that otherwise there will be genocide. Shame on you if you claim that there will be genocide in Cyprus. In other words, we shall have one country which shall be an EU member-state and it shall implement genocide against 200,000 citizens in the north? And indeed it shall do this by using terrorist methods? It is terrible for us to remain attached to the past," he said.
Kiyat further said that the EU itself is a guarantee -for the safety of Turkish Cypriots- and adds that "the changes which have taken place in the world and on the island are a guarantee."
 Greek economy deserves accolades, British trade secretary says
LONDON 20/11/2001 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)The performance of the Greek economy deserves accolades and the country is a very good partner of Britain, United Kingdom Secretary of Foreign Trade Baroness Simons said on Monday addressing a conference aim to attract foreign investment to Greece.
The conference, which was organized by the British Federation of Industries and the Greek Federation of Industries (SEB) and the Commercial Section of the British embassy in Athens, was also attended by National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
Simons stressed that Greece did not only succeed in entering the eurozone, but it also succeeded in achieving good progress in other areas of convergence within the European Union and its budget has now a surplus.
"Together we will continue our effort for economic and social reforms, which will improve the issues of employment and growth in Britain and Greece," Simons said.
The Baroness also spoke of the prospect of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, saying "we look forward for the Games to be a huge success and we believe that the Athens Olympics are a grand motive not only for the athletes from around the world but for businessmen as well. We are ready to offer our products and our experience, wherever they might be needed."
During his address to the conference, Christodoulakis spoke to the British businessmen of the framework, the course and the new institutions of the Greek economy, which, he said, offer significant investment opportunities, adding that these opportunities have an expiration date.
"The opportunities presented now, with the economic development of Greece, will not last forever. Greece is on the road of the great change and it is becoming a member of the wider strong European family. During this period great opportunities for investment present themselves," he said.
He stressed the specific sectors of the country's economy that are fertile for investment, noting the sectors of tourism, communication, informatics and new technologies, adding that "Greece has strong bonds with Great Britain in culture, education and politics, while especially significant is the cooperation of Greece and Britain in the banking sector."
"I believe that this conference is important and it will act as a catalyst attracting British investment to Greece," he noted.
Christodoulakis held talks with Simons on the sidelines of the conference and later in the day he met with his counterpart Gordon Brown and the Governor of the Bank of England Eddy George.
On his part, Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos following his address to the conference met with the presidium of the Federation of British Tour Agents and discussed issues pertaining to the prospects of tourism in Greece.
He later on signed a protocol of an agreement with his British counterpart, securing the cooperation and the use of the significant British experience in supporting small and medium sized enterprises.
"This agreement gives us the ability to exchange experiences, mainly to transfer their experiences for the support of small and medium sized companies in their business activities," Tsohatzopoulos said.
 National Bank, Alpha Bank to unveil merger details on Tuesday
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)National Bank's governor, Theodore Karatzas, and Alpha Bank's chairman, Yiannis Kostopoulos, will unveil the details of a merger plan between the two banks in a news conference on Tuesday.
The two bankers are expected to unveil the name of the merged group, the share swap ratio and the timetable for their legal and operating merger.
The two banks have said that the merger plan would not have any impact on jobs and that they would adopt a voluntary retirement program.
Under the merger plan, the exchange ratio of National Bank of Greece shares for Alpha Bank shares will be based on the relative market capitalizations of the two groups and will be determined in accordance with the methodology stipulated by Greek law.
The management of the merged group will be exercised by the board of directors and an executive committee, both led by Mr. Theodoros Karatzas as executive chairman and Mr. Yiannis Costopoulos as governor. Members of the executive committee will include Andreas Vranas, Constantine Kyriakopoulos, Demetrios Mantzounis, Theodoros Pantalakis and Apostolos Tamvakakis.
The two boards reached their decision taking into account the following:
The merger will create a financial services group, which due to its increased size will be better able to operate and take advantage of strategic opportunities in the extremely competitive European and international markets. The strong capital base of the merged group will facilitate the development of an outward looking business strategy in South Eastern Europe and the larger international financial centers. -There is significant complementarity in sectors such as retail banking, asset management, brokerage, the SME market, treasury and real estate management. Moreover, synergies can be captured in other high growth sectors in Greece such as banc assurance and the insurance market. -The potential for enhancing the operational efficiency of the merged group, building upon the proven management track records in restructuring both banks’ respective operations and containing costs. -The potential for substantial economies of scale in areas such as the branch network, marketing and sales of products and services, investments in IT and infrastructure, and better utilization of human resources. -The new group will have increased presence in international capital markets, as reflected in larger weightings in the international indices. This development will raise the profile of the new group for international investors. -With this move, a new financial group with total assets of approximately 80 billion euros and a market capitalization of approximately 10 billion euros is created, which will make it the 23rd largest European bank by market capitalization.
National Bank of Greece is being advised by Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and Alpha Bank is being advised by Goldman Sachs on this transaction. KPMG and Price Waterhouse Coopers have been appointed as independent auditors to the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank, respectively.
 PM discusses 'trimmed' 2002 budget with Stephanopoulos
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)The rate of growth of the Greek economy, despite being double the European Union average, was still lower than initial predictions and the government had therefore being careful to cut back spending in the budget, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Monday as he emerged from a one-hour meeting with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Simitis said the meeting had focused mainly on the economy and the budget to be tabled on Wednesday, after a meeting of the cabinet.
The prime minister stressed, however, that Greece still had one of the highest rates of growth in the EU and that the negative international climate had not changed the government's priorities with respect to social policy and employment.
Turning to international developments, Simitis said that these were unpredictable and he noted the rapid drop in oil prices and the equally rapid change in the political scene within Afghanistan, both of which made the outlook brighter for international markets.
Nevertheless, he added, international organizations remained cautious in their predictions, and the Greek government was being similarly careful in it’s planning.
Responding to questions about the rallies staged by farmers, the prime minister said that there had been no decision to set up roadblocks.
He also separated the issues of cotton subsidies from that of subsidies for tobacco, saying that the latter would be discussed on Tuesday in Brussels by the EU agriculture ministers and that Greece would oppose any decision to cut subsidies.
With regard to cotton, however, he said that controls to determine price were essential, and predicted that cotton prices this year would be neither as high as last year nor as low as some people hoped.
 Gov't consultant in negotiations with IAS on OA's sale
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)Credit Suisse First Boston, the government's consultant in the sale of Olympic Airways, on Monday begun negotiations with Australian-US firm Integrated Airline Solutions (IAS) following a collapse of negotiations with Axon Airlines last week.
The negotiations will last 35 working days and results were expected to be drawn early January.
The negotiations begun on a joint recommendation by Credit Suisse First Boston and the Greek government.
The government said that AXON would not be exempted from the tender as it tries to find a multiple solution in the sale, probably a combined group of candidates to acquire a majority stake in Greece's national air carrier.
Axon Airlines and the Australian-US firm Integrated Airline Solutions (IAS) were the two remaining candidates vying for Greece's ailing air carrier.
Early September Cyprus Airways' withdrew from the sale.
 Exports drop 17 pct in first half, imports down 6.0 pct
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)Exports declined by 17 percent in value to 4,695 million US dollars in the first half against the same period of last year, and imports were down 6.0 percent at the end of June, the Greek National Statistics Service said on Monday.
The export decline totals 15 percent if petroleum products are included, the GNSS said in a statement.
Calculated in euros, exports fell by 11 percent to 5,229 million euros in the first half against 5,893 million euros in the same period of 2000.
Imports declined to 14,454 million dollars from 15,329 million dollars in the first half of 2000. The 6.0 percent decline becomes a 1.0 percent rise if the calculation is made in euros, the statement said.
Contributing to the drop in exports were industrial products and raw materials, petroleum products, and, to a lesser extent, agricultural products, whose decline was eased by a small increase in the value of oil, animal fat and vegetable fat.
Topping the league of buyers of Greek exports were Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Bulgaria, the US, France, Spain, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania and Albania.
The largest importers into Greece were Italy, Germany, France, Russia, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Iran and the US, the GNSS said.
 Greek envoy outlines economic relations with Turkey
ANKARA 20/11/2001 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Greece and Turkey are not antagonists but mutually supplement each other, Greece's ambassador to Turkey Ioannis Korantis said Monday, outlining economic relations between the two countries during a meeting of the association of business solidarity ISHAD in Istanbul.
"Turkey, with its large market, and Greece, with its large fleet and its relations with the EU, could comprise the most important power centre in Europe," Korantis said.
He noted that tens of agreements in a variety of sectors have been signed between Greece and Turkey, adding that when an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation was signed, it would pave the way for investors of both countries.
Korantis further noted the INOGATE agreement signed among Greece, Turkey and the EU for the transport of energy from Turkey to Greece, and the natural gas agreement between Turkish state gas firm BOTAS and Greece's DEPA state natural gas corporation.
In January, Greece and Turkey signed a memorandum for the construction of a two-way natural gas pipeline connecting consumers in the European Union and Balkans with the supplies of natural gas from the Caspian Sea, Russia and the Middle East. The Greek-Turkish memorandum, signed in Ankara, is part of the Interstate Oil and Gas Transport to Europe (INOGATE) Umbrella Agreement, signed in last July in Brussels by the two countries and the European Union, to secure a continuous energy flow to Union member-states.
Korantis said that more major investment programs between the two countries were being planned, and noted the collaboration among Turkey's GAMA company, Mobil, and Greek natural gas company Prometheus for the installation of a natural gas centre in the northern Greek port town of Alexandroupolis, budgeted at 150 million dollars, and work on the link-up of the electricity distribution systems of the two countries in Thrace.
 US tour operators urge more aggressive Greek tourism campaign
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)US tour operators will continue promoting Greece as a tourism destination but urged for support in advertisement and promotion campaigns, a more aggressive policy by Greek Tourism Organization in the American market and a three-year promotion program ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
These comments were made during the annual congress of the US Travel Agents' Association in New York last week. Greece was represented by Greek Tourism Organization general director Costas Katsiyiannis, who met with the presidency of the union of tour operators of America to discuss the prospects of American tourist arrivals to Greece.
European tourism representatives have adopted more aggressive promotion campaigns to minimize losses from the US market in the wake of the political and economic crisis created by the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.
Europeans expect a small-scale decline in tourism from the US to European in 2002 compared with 2001.
 ASE follows European markets higher
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)Equity prices ended substantially higher the first trading session of the week following a similar trend in other European bourses on the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday.
The general index ended 1.22 percent higher at 2,796.96 points, after breaking the 2,800 barrier in midday trading, with turnover an improved 87.8 billion drachmas or 257.6 million euros.
The Textiles, Wholesale and Retail sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (4.31 percent, 3.56 percent and 2.57 percent, respectively), with only the Insurance sector suffering losses.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.90 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 1.61 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index jumped 2.35 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 296 to 42 with another 26 issues unchanged.
The most heavily traded shares were Naoussa Spinning Mills, Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank and Cosmote.
Equity futures raise sharply, hold premium: Equity futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Mon-day rose sharply with blue chip index contracts showing a premium of around 1.0 percent and medium-cap index contracts of 2.0 percent in lower turnover.
Changing hands were 7,358 contracts on turnover of 49.8 million euros.
The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 0.90% percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks rose by 1.61 percent.
Bond prices mixed in moderate to heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Monday finished mixed in moderate to heavy trade focusing on five-year paper.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 4.99 percent, and the yield spread over German bunds was 42 basis points.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 2.0 billion euros.
Buy orders accounted for around half of turnover.
 IOC's Coordinating Committee president in Athens this week
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)A delegation of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Coordinating Committee, headed by its president Denis Oswald, will be in Athens on Thursday and Friday to assess progress being made in preparation for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
The delegation's attention will centre on the Olympic Stadium in Athens, projects at Hellenikon and Goudi, The Horse riding Centre and the security measures for the Games.
Oswald is expected to request that preparations for the Games continue at a faster pace.
Following his briefing on the progress to date, the president of the IOC Coordinating Committee is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis at noon on Friday. One hour later, Oswald will give a joint press conference with Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki.
 Meeting on Athens 2004 Olympics security plans
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)A meeting on the security preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens was held on Monday at the public order ministry.
Present at the meeting were Deputy Public Order Minister Evangelos Malesios, Deputy Defense Minister Lazaros Lotidis, Armed Forces General Staff chief Gen. Manoussos Paragioudakis, Greek Police Chief Lieut. Gen. Fotios Nasiakos and representatives of the Olympic Games Security Directorate.
The meeting confirmed that the Olympiad's security program was progressing as planned and that there was a good level of cooperation between the police and the armed forces, as well as deciding on the final stages of security planning, due to be completed on December this year.
 Greek film awards at the Thessaloniki Int'l Film Festival
Athens, 20/11/2001 (ANA)"The only voyage in his life" by Lakis Papastathis won first prize for best film in the Greek section of the 42nd Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which ended on Monday.
The second prize went to "The 7th sun of love" by Vangelis Serntaris and the third prize to "The vow" by Andreas Pantzis.
The best actor award was won by George Horafas for his performance in "The vow".
The best actress award went to Maria Zorba for her performance in "Save me".
Vangelis Serntaris won the best director award.
Present at the ceremony was Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis.
The presentation of the awards was held at the Thessaloniki Music Hall.
 Greek Film Week in Vienna to begin on Nov. 30
VIENNA 20/11/2001 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)Fourteen Greek films will be screened during the Greek Cinema Week here, between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6, as a short historical view of the Greek film production, which is focusing mostly in the last decade.
The program includes, however, movies from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, showcasing those great successes, which seem almost unthinkable by today's standards.
The inauguration will take place on Thursday, Nov. 29 with the film "Petrina Chronia" by Pantelis Voulgaris, a 1985 production, while the director will be present for the screening.
Among the films to be screened, awarded director Theo Angelpoulos' "An eternity and a day", which won the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998.
This film week is organized by the Social-Cultural Society of the Greek Community of Vienna, the Club of Greek Students and Scientists of Vienna and the Institute of Byzantinology and Modern Greek Studies of the University of Vienna, in cooperation with the Greek Film Center and the Press Office of the Greek embassy in Austria.
 SAE president Andrew Athens presented Homerian Award by US Greek community
NEW YORK 20/11/2001 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)Andrew Athens, president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), was presented with the 24th Homerian Award at a special ceremony held at the House of Chios in New York on the weekend.
The Federation of Chios is one of the first federal organizations in the United States, created in 1974 right after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
Previous recipients of the Homerian Award include former senator John Brademas, Senator Edward Kennedy, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Tip O'Neill, Senator Paul Sarbanes, former US President Jimmy Carter, former Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America, the late Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis, and current Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos.
 Clerides' reply to Denktash for face-to-face meeting will be positive
NICOSIA 20/11/2001 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides was due to reply on Monday to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's third letter by which he requested a face-to-face meeting with the president within the first ten days of December, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Monday, adding that the president's reply will be positive.
The spokesman said that since Denktash accepted that the meeting will take place within the framework of the UN Secretary General's good offices and a UN representative will be present at the meeting, Clerides' reply would be positive. He added that such a meeting aims at giving a dynamic to talks on Cyprus and leading these talks out of the stalemate they have reached.
Replying to a question, Papapetrou said the meeting will take place within the first ten days of December, as Denktash has suggested, and added that the president was due to suggest a specific date in his reply to Denktash later on Monday.
Asked whether the UN Secretary General will convey an invitation for the meeting, the spokesman said "the UN Secretary General's process is underway", adding "there will be no other special invitation."
He noted that the basis of the talks and the framework created have to be a necessary condition for the continuation of the talks.
Papapetrou said the purpose of such a meeting was to discuss all aspects of the Cyprus problem with an aim to create the necessary conditions to reach a solution to the Cyprus question.
Referring to Denktash's third letter to President Clerides, the spokesman noted that the Turkish Cypriot leader said he repeatedly expressed support to the UN process on Cyprus and has accepted Clerides' suggestion for a UN representative to be present at their face-to-face meeting, since this process is established by a Security Council decision and it is necessary for the UN representative to submit reports to the Secretary General and the Security Council on how the process is progressing.
Replying to a question, the spokesman said he was not aware of who would represent the UN at the meeting, recalling however a statement by the Secretary General's Spokesman Fred Eckhard that if such a meeting should take place, then the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto would be present.
Papapetrou also said it was premature to analyze Denktash's intentions for making such a move, adding that the Cyprus government notes as positive the fact that Denktash basically accepts to enter a process, described by President Clerides as a direct talks process within the framework of the UN process.
Invited to comment on statements made by Turkish officials that a new framework is being searched for, the spokesman said such statements are not helpful and do not send out the message that there is a true will on the part of the Turkish side to solve the Cyprus problem on the basis of UN relevant decisions.
He noted however that the Turkish side's position will not be judged by public statements but by the way it will handle issues at the negotiating table. "We hope that at the negotiating table we will see variations relevant to the processes that pave the way for a solution", he added.