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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-13

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.forthnet.gr/ape>


NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 13/11/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) resumes normal opertion today after settlement reached
  • Kuchma expresses satisfaction over contacts with Greek leadership
  • State Department says Cavanaugh visit not the beginning of U.S. initiative on Cyprus
  • National issues dominate Greek, Cypriot training seminar
  • Turkish helicopter crashes during NATO exercise
  • Greek professor appointed one of 34 UN law committee seats
  • Human rights activist says Ankara waging war against Turkish people
  • EOT chief says emphasis to focus on infrastructure, airport and port improvements
  • EMI report on convergence of EU economies released
  • Large quantity of grain seed to be shipped to Albania

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    ASE resumes normal operation today after settlement reached

    The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) is expected to resume operation today, as the Association of Athens Stock Exchange Members (SMEHA) accepted a national economy ministry proposal to solve a severe crisis plaguing the bourse since last Friday.

    A Delta Securities default of 2.6 billion drachmas will be covered by the Joint-Surety Fund and the Titles Depository. Specifically, under a decision by the Capital Market Committee, disputed transactions must be cleared by Thursday by all brokerage firms, while all firms that do not fulfill their obligations will be barred from bourse sessions.

    On his part, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday announced that international auditing firms would conduct special audits in all ASE-affiliated brokerage firms, following the collapse of Delta Securities - an incident that led to an unprecedented suspension of trading on the Athens bourse on Friday and Monday.

    He added that the measure aims to fully clear up responsibilities and to draw conclusions, adding that the government intends to deal comprehensively with the trading settlement, giving solutions to both the problem of Delta's inability to meet obligations and to improvement of clearing procedures and reducing market risks.

    This would involve legislation, he said, according to which the Titles Depository would immediately pay the National Bank of Greece the sum of Delta's worthless checks, and would in turn demand the sum from Delta and the Joint-Surety Fund.

    He added that according to a decision of the Capital Market Commission, all transactions entered up until Nov. 7 had to be cleared by tomorrow morning, and any firms not complying would not be allowed to participate in the market.

    Any arrears ascertained would be met in the same way as those of Delta's, he said.

    In a related development, it was announced that ASE president Manolis Xanthakis had been summoned to appear before a Supreme Court prosecutor to make a deposition in connection with conditions at the ASE and the Delta affair.

    Meanwhile, an Athens first instance prosecuting authority is already carrying out an investigation into the affair.

    Kuchma expresses satisfaction over contacts with Greek leadership

    Visiting Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma yesterday expressed satisfaction at the results of his official talks in Greece, stressing the "great possibility for the development of economic relations between the two countries."

    Speaking during a meeting with Greek businessmen yesterday morning, the Ukrainian president referred to the signing on Monday of a friendship and cooperation agreement between the two countries, saying it formed the basis for further cooperation.

    In relation to the political and economic situation in his country, Mr. Kuchma said the Ukraine's accession to the European Union was a "strategic goal of national importance," adding that the former Soviet republic looked forward to Greece's support to achieve this goal.

    Elaborating on economic developments in the Ukraine, Mr. Kuchma drew attention to the voting of a new constitution defining the principles for the country's further development, downward trends in inflation, completion of a privatisation process for sma ll-to-medium-sized enterprises and initiation of privatisation procedures for larger companies.

    The president of the Athens Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Yiannis Papathanasiou, stressed that the two countries' "economies, which are complementary, have a mutual interest in building closer ties of commercial, industrial, tourism and technological cooperation."

    "Mr. Kuchma's visit to our country will undoubtedly have positive results in this direction," he added.

    Mr. Kuchma also held a meeting yesterday with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    At the meeting both men expressed a will for further bilateral relations.

    Speaking to the press after the meeting, both Mr. Kaklamanis and Mr. Kuchma referred to the traditional Greek-Ukrainian relations.

    Earlier in the day, Mr. Kuchma visited the Acropolis, accompanied by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    Afterwards, Mr. Venizelos briefed Mr. Kuchma on Greece's efforts to achieve a return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum in London. Mr. Kuchma supported Greece's demand.

    Meanwhile, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday decorated the Ukrainian president with the municipality's gold medal at a special ceremony held at the Athens City Hall.

    Following the ceremony, the Athens mayor and the Kiev mayor, Mr. Omelechenko, signed a friendship and cooperation agreement between the two cities.

    Mr. Avramopoulos said Athens and Kiev were linked with "strong ties," adding that cooperation between the two capitals "will continue and will expand to the point of having a catalytic effect to further cooperation between the two peoples..."

    State Dept. says Cavanaugh visit not the beginning of US initiative on Cyprus

    US State Department spokesman Glyn Davis said in Washington that a visit by the State Department's southern European representative, Carey Cavanaugh, to Athens, Ankara and Cyprus is a diplomatic mission on a working level and does not constitute the start of a US initiative on the Cyprus problem.

    He added that Mr. Cavanaugh will be informed on regional developments and will exchange views with interested parties before returning to Washington, where examination of the US approach to Cyprus will continue.

    Replying to a question, Mr. Davis said that at this stage, the US mission does not have any new ideas.

    National issues dominate Greek,Cypriot training seminar

    A training seminar for Greek and Cypriot senior government press officers, which started in Athens on Monday, focused yesterday on developments over national issues as well as promotion of Greece and Cyprus abroad.

    Addressing the seminar, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos referred to the basic axis of Greece's foreign policy.

    The issues of "Turkey and its neighbours and (Greece's) national issues, as these are perceived and approached by the International Community" were addressed by National Foreign Undersecretary Christos Rozakis, university professors, diplomats and journ alists.

    The seminar, organised by the Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of National Issues (SEPETH) will conclude today.

    According to Cypriot government spokesman Yiannakis Cassoulides, the seminar aimed at discussing cooperation between the press offices of the Greek and Cypriot governments around the world for the promotion of national issues.

    Speaking to the ANA, Mr. Cassoulides said all national issues were linked.

    The director of foreign services at the press ministry, Yiannis Petsilas, said the two countries should "unite their efforts abroad and help each other financially..."

    The seminar also focused on modern communication methods, as well as Greece's orientations, both recent and long-standing, in the Balkans, the Black Sea Cooperation countries, the Mediterranean and Europe.

    In statements conveyed Monday by government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, Prime Minister Costas Simitis expressed certainty that useful conclusions will be derived from the seminar regarding "the exercise of an effective strategic communication for Hellenism."

    In addressing the seminar today, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is expected to elaborate on the issue of Greece's involvement in Cyprus's defence.

    His address will be followed by a discussion on the "Geo-strategic Position of Cyprus," which will be held with the participation of Cypriot Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides.

    Turkish helicopter crashes during NATO exercise

    A Turkish military helicopter taking part in a NATO exercise crashed early yesterday morning in international waters south of the eastern Aegean island of Rhodes, the national defence ministry announced.

    According to reports, the bodies of three crewmembers have been recovered by a US helicopter also taking part in the manoeuvres. A fourth Turkish crewmember is still missing, as search and rescue operations are continuing.

    The helicopter had taken off from the Turkish frigate "Barbaros," with the cause of the crash initially attributed to mechanical failure.

    The helicopter crashed into the sea some 35 miles southeast of Rhodes at 3:15 a.m. local time. The vessel had set sail from Alexandria on Nov. 9 headed for Italy.

    Immediately after the crash, a Hellenic Air Force C-130 aircraft flew over the area and began sending off flares.

    The Hellenic Navy frigate "Adrias," which was nearby, rushed to the site together with air force helicopters from Rhodes.

    According to the national defence ministry, the search and rescue operation is being coordinated by the commander of the Adrias, who also heads the NATO exercise.

    Along with Greek vessels and aircraft, NATO ships taking part in the exercise are also continuing search operations.

    Greek professor appointed one of 34 UN law committee seats

    Greek professor Constantine Economidis was voted into one of the 34 international law committee seats following elections held at Monday's meeting in the UN headquarters in New York.

    UN diplomatic circles stressed the importance of the UN's International Law Committee, in which those participating represent cultural trends and legal forms of the international community and guarantee their safeguarding.

    Other countries of the Western European Group winning seats on the Committee were Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Austria, as well as the United States and Australia, which are included in the same group.

    Human rights activist says Ankara waging war against Turkish people

    The president of the Human Rights Union of Turkey, Akin Birdal, strongly criticised Ankara during his speech yesterday at an event in Athens marking Greek-Turkish friendship, organised by the union and covering political and social rights in the neighbouring country.

    Mr. Birdal spoke of "a war which is being waged for the past 14 years against the people of Turkey, an unjust war which has cost 24,000 dead, 35, 000 crippled, three million homeless as well as 2,900 villages burnt and destroyed.

    He also expressed the concern of Turkish pacifists for the deterioration of Greek-Turkish relations and the Imia crisis, suggesting an outlet be found in the form of contacts between the two peoples on a self-administration level.

    In the evening, a group of extremists gathered outside the stadium in which the event was being held, shouting sloguns against peace between Greece and Turkey.

    EOT chief says emphasis to focus on infrastructure, airport and port improvements

    In presenting the basis axis of Greece's tourism policy, Greek Tourism Organisation (EOT) Secretary General Vassilis Kourtesis told a press conference in London yesterday that special emphasis will be given to modernisation of basic infrastructure works as well as improvements in airports and ports.

    The press conference was held within the framework of an international tourism exhibition held with the participation of 152 countries.

    "We are enforcing a new dynamic programme to enrich our country's tourism product with new forms of tourism, such as conference tourism, incentives tourism, cultural tourism, adventure tourism and sports tourism," Mr. Kourtesis.

    He added that despite the fact that overnight stays are expected to fall by 11.5 per cent by the end of the year, as opposed to 1994, tourism revenues are expected to record a 6 per cent rise.

    "This means that Greece was visited by higher income tourists," Mr. Kourtesis noted.

    European Monetary Institute rep ort on convergence of EU economies released

    The national economy ministry yesterday released a European Monetary Institute report on the progress recorded in the convergence of economies in the European Union.

    The report says that in 1996, inflation in most member-states is low and stability of prices has been achieved, while in others it has slowed down.

    By contrast, it notes that as regards fiscal rationalisation, progress has been too slow, as most countries have not reached a situation likely to be maintained in the long run.

    Greece is one of the three countries exceeding the envisaged minimum of 3 per cent inflation as a criterion for participation in the third phase of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) on Jan. 1, 1999, the other two being Italy with 4.7 per cent, and Spain , with 3.8 per cent.

    The report also forecasts that Greece will record a slight fall in the other criterion for EMU participation, that of public debt/GDP ratio, whose minimum required is set at 60 per cent.

    Large quantity of grain seed to be shipped to Albania

    Following a request by two Albanian regional governors in the Dropolis region and four in the Vourkos region to Greece's general consulate in Gjirokaster, large quantities of grain seed have started to arrive in the area fo r sowing in the Dropolis and Vourkos valleys.

    Direct mediation by General Consul Nikolaos Kanellos with Athens facilitated in the provision of such a large quantity of grain seed to ethnic Greek farmers in the area for the first time in the past six years.

    The quantity of grain amounts to 600 tons and is transported from Greece to Gjirokaster and Sarande with trucks belonging to residents of Dropolis.

    WEATHER

    Mild with local clouds, with temperatures in Athens ranging from 11-22 C and in Thessaloniki 9-18 C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)

    U.S. dlr 234.806 Can. dlr.175.802, Australian dlr. 185.048 Pound sterling 387.455, Irish punt 388.765, Cyprus pd 514.253, French franc 46.392, Swiss franc 186.794 Belgian franc 7.619, German mark 156.994 Finnish mark 51.955, Dutch guilder 139.991 Danish Kr. 40.857, Swedish Kr. 35.623, Norwegian Kr. 37.375, Austrian Sh. 22.316, Italian lira (100) 15.543 Yen (100) 211.108 Spanish Peseta 1.864, Portuguese Escudo 1.551.

    (L.G.)


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