Transport Minister: Commission expected to approve increase in OA's
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens Stock Exchange suspends trading
The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) suspended trading today for the first time
in its history following a decision of the Union of Stock Exchange Members
(SMEXA) to abstain.
The brokers have called on the National Economy Ministry to guarantee
correct operation of the system of clearance of transactions, claiming that
the Titles Deposittory, which is responsible for clearing transactions,
owes 2.6 billion dr. to bortkerage companies, and therefore the brokers
lack cash to meet the demands of their clients.
SMEXA president Mr. Kontalexis is expected to meet later with National
Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou.
The SMEXA move was prompted by the inability of the Delta S.A. brokerage
firm to cover cash obigations to the Depository of 1.3 billion dr.
Dimitris Karagounis, president of the Union of Shareholders, told the ANA
that the present conditions preaviling on the ASE were the result of bad
operation of the Depository which, ''by delaying delivery of shares,
nurtured devaluatory speculation'.
He said the full extent of the problem was disclosed after in-depth checks
were made following the intervention of the Union.
''It is beter for the ASE to close for a few days in order to fully clarify
the situation and for the exemplary punishment of all the brokerage firms
that have contravened the legislation governing the stock market,''
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that there was ''no problem with
the country's economy nor any problem which might cause concern for the
Replying to reporters' questions, Reppas added that the stock exchange was
experiencing certain problems associated with its adaptation to the new
institutional framework, stressing that the stock exchange itself was able
to deal with these problems.
Commenting on calls for the government to guarantee securities being traded
on the stock exchange, Reppas said that the government was doing all it
could within the existing institutional framework ''which it cannot go
The spokesman called on all parties involved in the operation of the Athens
Stock Exchange to assume their responsibilities.
Meanwhile, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party strongly criticised
the government, charging ''a total lack of supervision over the operation
of the stock exchange''.
''The case of Delta is just another characteristic example of the sick
climate prevailing on the stock exchange,'' ND spokesman Prokopis
Pavlopoulos laid responsibility for what he called ''the total lack of
protection of investors, particularly small investors'' on the government
and above all on National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
At a meeting later today between National Economy Ministry General
Secretary Apostolos Fotiadis and representatives of brokerage firms, it was
decided that investors hit by Delta's inability to meet its obligations --
which eventually amount to 2.6 billion drachmas rather than the 1.3 billion
drachmas initially estimated -- would be reimbursed from the brokerage
firms' Guarantee Fund.
Fotiadis however impressed upon the brokerage representatives that the
government would under no circumstances undertake to make good losses in
the case of future violations.
Greece rejects Turkish charges of 'aggressive exercises'
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today that Athens ''angrily''
rejected statements by Turkish Assistant Foreign Undersecretary Inan Batu
claiming that the recent military exercise ''Nikiforos-Toxotis'', held with
the joint particpation of Greek and Cypriot forces, was ''clearly
aggressive'' in nature.
Reppas added that the presence of Greek forces on Cyprus was the result of
an official invitation from the legitimate government of the island
''Unlike the presence of Turkish forces in the occupied northern part of
the island which is the result of an invitation from an occupation regime
and is in violation of international law,'' Reppas said.
Still no sign of four missing seamen
A search of the wreck of the missile boat ''Kostakos'' using robots
equipped with cameras has so far failed to reveal the fate of four crew
members missing since the vessel sank after being rammed by a passenger
ferry on Monday night.
The remote-controlled cameras have filmed most of the sunken missile boat
which was located yesterday at a depth of 151 metres about one kilometre
from the coast of Samos.
Navy divers were due to be sent down to examine the seabed around the wreck
Meanwhile, a Hellenic Navy committee of experts is continuing to gather
data concerning the circumstances surrounding the sinking of the ''Kostakos''
in order to draw up a report of its findings as soon as possible.
In a statement, the General Navy Staff clarified that it was unable to make
public any information before the committee has completed its task.
Defence, foreign ministers examine better coordination
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and National Defence Minister Akis
Tsohadzopoulos had talks today on ways to better coordinate action by the
The 45-minute meeting was also attended by Alternate Foreign Minister
George Papandreou, Foreign Undersecretary Christos Rozakis and National
Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Pangalos said that the two
ministries already had a coordinating body which, following today's talks,
was expected to function even more efficiently.
Tsohadzopoulos said that the country's foreign policy was linked with
Greece's defence strategy and underlined the importance of the so-called
He said other issues concerning national defence had also been discussed,
as well as Greece's participation in defence organisations, developments in
the European Union's joint foreign policy and security policy.
Tsohadzopoulos added that both ministries were occupied on a daily basis
with Turkish aggression in the Aegean.
Replying to reporters' questions, Pangalos said that his recent proposal to
NATO requesting intervention by the Alliance in instances of Turkish
aggression against Greece was also discussed.
He stressed that the proposal was nothing new, since Greece had repeatedly
put forward the request, only to be given the NATO reply that ''there is no
provision for this''.
''Now that the nature of NATO is changing and is being converted into a
broader security mechanism, we are requesting the existence of some
mechanism for the settlement of claims,'' Pangalos said.
Several replies had already been received from Greece's partners, Pangalos
said, noting that they were ''not at all disappointing''.
Greek development group becomes member of UN Mediterranean committee
Minister for the Aegean Elisabeth Papazoi today described as ''an important
success'' for Greece the selection of the Chamber Group for the Development
of the Greek Islands as a member of the United Nations Committee for the
Viable Development of the Mediterranean.
The committee will examine strategy for the protection of the Mediterranean
environment, plan cooperation among the countries of the region and draw up
programmes on specialist issues such as depopulation.
It is made up of representatives from the 20 Mediterranean countries, the
European Union, non-governmental organisations for the environment, social
and financial agencies and local government networks.
Papazoi said that the selection of the Chamber Group meant that the
specific problems facing Greece's islands could be projected and measures
taken which reflected the particular nature of the country's islands from
the viewpoint of number and size.
The Chios-based Chamber Group represents the country's 19 island Chambers.
The first meeting of the UN's Mediterranean Committee will take place in
Morocco in December.
ND political council decides on party congress as soon as possible
The main opposition New Democracy party's political council, which
convened yesterday afternoon, arrived at a compromise solution on the
controversial issue of the procedure to be followed for next year's party
congress, deciding to hold it as early as possible "March or April" with an
Deputy party leader Ioannis Varvitsiotis was entrusted with the task of
exploring existing possibilities towards that goal, while no leadership
issue was raised during the session, and with ND leader Miltiades Evert
reiterating his recent public commitm ent that on the first day of the
congress he would table a proposal for election of the party leader by
Concerning the meeting, recent leadership contender George Souflias said
discussion had been "very good", while former premier Tzannis Tzannetakis
said there had been full agreement.
Addressing a meeting of the party's council of regional committee
presidents earlier, Mr. Evert remained firm in his position regarding party
elections saying that "I will not under any circumstances, and in any
capacity I may have, violate the charter."
Noting that "everyone should respect the rules governing the operation of
the party," Mr. Evert said that the unity of New Democracy was of primary
ND entered a new phase of crisis following its defeat in recent general
elections, which gave PASOK another four-year mandate.
Premier pledges full support for `97 World Athletics Championships in Athens
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with the president of the
International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF), Primo Nebiolo, to
discuss next year's World Athletics Championships which will be held in
Athens from Aug. 1-10.
"Mr. Simitis promised that he would provide us with all assistance and
assured that the Greek government would do everything possible for the
faultless holding of the world championships," Mr. Nebiolo told reporters
immediately after the meeting.
"Perhaps Athens holds the most important card," Mr. Nebiolo said.
Mr. Fouras said that for the first 10 days of August 1997, Athens would be
"the sports capital of the planet", adding that "we have the full support
of the prime minister and the government in general."
Transport Minister: Commission expected to approve increase in OA's equity capital
Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis said in Brussels
this week that the European Commission was soon expected to approve an
increase in the equity capital of Olympic Airways, from 12 to 23 billion
He added that OA's board of governors was to decide yesterday on the
signing of a contract with the MacKenzie Co. for the drawing up of its
administrative structure plan within four months.
The European Commission asked Athens in July for additional measures in the
company's financial recovery plan, such as a change in its taxation status
and the system for hiring seasonal staff.
Mr. Kastanidis also said that his European Union counterparts would decide
on increases in toll charges and the creation of free "rail corridors"
across countries in the Union until Dec. 18.
He added that he had told his counterparts in their Council meeting
yesterday that any increases could not burden equally all transporters in
the Union, and that account should be taken of differences in distances.
Mr. Kastanidis said that the proposal, which was accepted by EU Transport
Commissioner Neil Kinnock, would secure competitive prices for Greek
Greece, he added, as the only Balkan EU member, must promote, both at
bilateral and at a European level, the creation of an inter-related
economic cooperation region in the Balkans.
He made the comments during the fourth two-day seminar in Thessaloniki,
this time on the subject of "Businesses in a Market Without Borders."
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 236.096 Can. dlr.177.032, Australian dlr. 184.958 Pound sterling
387.773, Irish punt 389.380, Cyprus pd 513.459, French franc 46.307, Swiss
franc 186.565 Belgian franc 7.600, German mark 156.622 Finnish mark 51.941,
Dutch guilder 139.614 Danish Kr. 40.749, Swedish Kr. 35.799, Norwegian Kr.
37.250, Austrian Sh. 22.258, Italian lira (100) 15.574 Yen (100) 211.048
Spanish Peseta 1.859, Portuguese Escudo 1.548.