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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-01

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 01/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis, Clerides confer on imminent NY talks on Cyprus
  • Greece welcomes conduct of Albanian elections
  • Greek-US contacts on security issues
  • International team works on ozone monitoring project
  • New bourse index for ASE
  • Kranidiotis meets with US official regarding SECI
  • US: no evidence on Turkish claims of Greek help to Kurds
  • Return of Parthenon marbles discussed
  • Greek military chief on official visit to Poland
  • Greek navy chief to visit Bulgaria
  • Civil aviation authority work stoppages
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis, Clerides confer on imminent NY talks on Cyprus

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides today stressed the close cooperation between the governments of the two countries after a two-hour meeting today.

Clerides is in Athens for consultations ahead of his scheduled UN-sponsored talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in New York on July 9.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Simitis said the Clerides-Denktash talks should serve as a starting point or even lead to a just and viable solution of the Cyprus problem in accordance with UN resolutions and decisions taken at Community summits in 1977 and 1989.

Simitis reiterated that the international community should realise that it was the Turkish side which should conform with international legality and remove the consequences of its invasion and occupation of one third of the island republic.

The premier welcomed the initiatives being undertaken aimed at finding a settlement to the problem, provided they were within the framework set by the UN Secretary General.

The prospect of Cyprus' accession to the European Union, Simitis stressed, could act as a catalyst for developments in the Cyprus problem, ''which means that the solutions being pursued must be compatible with European law and order''.

Summing up Greece's primary objectives with respect to Cyprus, Simitis said they were ''independence, territorial integrity, security, sovereignty and Cyprus' accession to the EU''.

Thanking Simitis and the Greek government for their support to date, ''without which it would not be possible now to hope for some success'', Clerides said that in all his contacts with Athens, decisions had been taken unanimously on the best way to handle the national issue.

Clerides said the Cyprus government would be entering into talks with Denktash with ''good intentions'' but determined to protect the just causes and interests of the island republic.

Both Clerides and Simitis noted that Nicosia had invited the Turkish Cypriot side to participate in negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the EU, through chambers of commerce or trade union organisations which express Turkish Cypriot interests.

Clerides underlined however that there could be only one Cypriot delegation, adding that the entire issue would be discussed with Denktash if it is raised by the Turkish Cypriot leader at the New York talks.

Greece welcomes conduct of Albanian elections

The Greek government today expressed satisfaction at the way in which general elections were held in Albania and the fact that all the political forces in the neighbouring country had accepted the result.

''All this indicates that the situation is returning to normal,'' government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, describing this as a positive development.

The further strengthening of relations between the two countries will help protect the rights of the ethnic Greek community in Albania, Reppas added.

Greek-US contacts on security issues

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos today had talks with US Senator Paul Sarbanes on issues related to Washington's overall policy on peace, security and cooperation in Europe, developments in the Balkan region and Greek-US relations.

Also present at the meeting, which comes shortly after talks between Tsohatzopoulos and Sarbanes in Washington, was US Ambassador in Athens Thomas Niles.

Sarbanes described as ''very successful'' Tsohatzopoulos' visit to the US, noting that the minister had presented a clear picture of the situation in the region during his talks with US officials.

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou later had talks with Sarbanes, again attended by Niles.

The meeting between Papandreou and Sarbanes was within the framework of direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash under UN auspices in New York on July 9.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sarbanes said the purpose of his talks with Papandreou was ''for us to try and reduce tension in the region'', expressing the hope that the US would contribute in this direction.

Papandreou said he had exchanged views ''in depth'' with the US senator on issues of interest to the two sides.

Asked by reporters about the ultimate aim of his visit, Sarbanes said he did not have any special role and would remain in Greece for three months.

International team works on ozone monitoring project

An international experimental research programme on ozone levels in the atmosphere will be carried out in Kalavryta from July 21 to August 10.

The initiative for the programme belongs to professor of atmospheric physics at Athens University, Costas Varotsos.

Under the programme, the World Meteorological Organisation and the National Centre for Atmospheric Research of the United States have assigned to an Athens University ozone and solar radiation research team the taking of measurements in the area of Kalyvryta.

International environmental organisations have rated the area in question in the Peloponnese as ideal for conducting atmosphere-related experiments.

As part of the same programme, research teams from the USA, Russia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Egypt and Germany will be coming to Kalavryta with their own experimental equipment.

The measuring instruments will be installed in a specially laid out area in the Kalavryta ski centre, which is currently being prepared by the local government authority.

Measurements of ozone and solar ultra-violet radiation will be taken daily from dawn to dusk in the clear atmosphere of Kalavryta which also has the advantage of relatively high altitude.

The research findings will be published in a special volume to be presented at an exhibition organised by the World Meteorological Organisation, Athens University.

New bourse index for ASE

Greece's bourse will acquire a new index on September 24 devised by FTSE International and the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) in order to lure more international investors into the market.

Running parallel to the bourse's existing general share index, the new gauge is based on 20 of the the largest and most liquid stocks, officials of the two companies told a news conference today.

"The new FTSE/ASE 20 index is an important step in developing the Athens market," bourse chairman Manolis Xanthakis said.

FTSE International, which is jointly owned by the Financial Times and the London Stock Exchange, was set up to manage and develop equity and bond indices. Its best-known index is the UK's FTSE 100.

Due to be calculated and operated by the bourse, the Athens index has been designed to support derivative trading when legislation allowing a secondary market is passed. FTSE International will mirror calculation and act as auditors.

The share composition of the FTSE/ASE 20 will accurately track the movement of the bourse, the only emerging market in the European Union. The index is likely to be used for performance measurement, benchmarking, and as a basis for index tracking funds.

An independent advisory committee comprising representatives of ASE, the Greek investment community, international fund managers, and FTSE International has agreed the index's design, the ground rules for operation and its initial constituents.

"It is particularly exciting to be able to work with the Athens Stock Exchange. Throughout Europe a new equity investor culture is growing in every country, while investors seek opportunities further and further afield," FTSE International's managing director Mark Makepeace said.

FTSE International indices have published ground rules and are managed by independent advisory committees in order to ensure independence and transparency.

Kranidiotis meets with US official regarding SECI

Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis held talks yesterday with US ambassador Richard Shifter, President Bill Clinton's special adviser on the Initiative for Cooperation in Southeastern Europe (SECI), which focuses on improving and developing coopera tion between Balkan countries. An extensive review was made of activities being developed in the framework of the initiative, aimed at strengthening regional cooperation between countries in southeastern Europe through the development of economic, technic al and environmental cooperation.

Mr. Shifter stressed the importance of Greece's participation in the SECI initiative, inter-border cooperation programmes aimed at rendering technical assistance and improving infrastructure at border crossings of member-states which are pa rt of this initiative.

Mr. Kranidiotis said Greece participates actively in all initiatives strengthening cooperation in the Balkans and will offer all support possible for activities developing in the framework of the initiative. According to reports, the US attributes particular significance to Greece's active participation in the success of the SECI initiative and assesses that the leading role it can play in the region will help substantially in consolidating peace, stability and development in the Balkans.

US: no evidence on Turkish claims of Greek help to Kurds

Acting US State Department spokesman John Dinger said yesterday that the United States does not have any indications to confirm Turkish allegations that a Greek military officer was training Kurdish separatists.

Replying to a Turkish reporter, who also quoted Turkish sources as saying that the officer had been killed, Mr. Dinger referred to a recent statement by the Greek government spokesman that these charges were "unfounded".

Return of Parthenon Marbles discussed

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos raised the issue of the Parthenon Marbles' return to Greece from the British Musuem during a meeting with British National Heritage Undersecretary for the Arts Mark Fisher, on the sidelines of the EU culture ministers' summit here.

Mr. Venizelos, who told Mr. Fisher that Athens was willing to discuss the issue on bilateral level, told reporters that the meeting was "especially cordial."

"The discussion has been clear and creative," he said. Mr. Venizelos handed a text to Mr. Fisher containing Athens' positions on the issue.

"I told Mr. Fisher that we raise the issue not in the name of the Greek government and history but in the name of the world's cultural heritage, international cultural sensitivity and mainly in the name of the monument's whole entity."

Greek military chief on official visit to Poland

The chief of the National Defence General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis, will visit Poland at the invitation of his Polish counterpart, Gen. Zumsky.

The Greek official, who leaves tomorrow for Warsaw, is scheduled to meet Poland's political and military leadership, as well as the Polish parliament's defence committee.

During talks with Lt.-Gen. Tzoganis, Polish officials are likely to repeat their proposals in relation to the purchase by Greece of Polish-made transport helicopters, aircraft and AWACS-type radars.

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos was briefed on the Polish proposals during a recent visit to Warsaw.

Talks are also expected to focus on NATO expansion and issues of mutual military concern.

Greek navy chief to visit Bulgaria

The Navy General Staff announced that Hellenic Navy chief Vice-Adm. L. Paliogiorgos has accepted an invitation by his Bulgarian counterpart, Adm. Kristov Kontrov, and will leave for Varna tomorrow to observe military activities exercises.

Officials from NATO have also been invited to observe aeronautical exercises in the sea region of Varna.

Civil aviation authority work stoppages

Operations at the country's airports will face problems due to strike actions called by employees at the Civil Aviation Authority (YPA).

The federation of employees announced yesterday that it will go ahead with a series of work stoppages, starting tonight from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The work stoppage will be repeated during the same hours on Thursday and Friday nights, while on Saturday night employees will stop work at 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Monday morning.

However, the YPA employees decision was depending on last night's meeting between the president of the YPA employees' unions and Transport Minister Haris Kastanidis.

The employees said they will go ahead with the work stoppages on demands of unpaid overtime, night-time and holiday-time, in spite of the fact they had been promised to receive backpay by June 1.

WEATHER

Fair weather will prevail in most parts of the country today. Locals clouds in central and northern Greece with the possibility of intermittent storms in the afternoon. Winds northerly light to moderate. Fair weather in Athens with temperatures between 23-36C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 19-32C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 273.018 Pound sterling 453.721 Cyprus pd 530.343 French franc 46.386 Swiss franc 186.952 German mark 156.424 Italian lira (100) 16.029 Yen (100) 238.437 Canadian dlr. 197.765 Australian dlr. 203.360 Irish Punt 411.938 Belgian franc 7.582 Finnish mark 52.477 Dutch guilder 138.999 Danish kr. 41.097 Swedish kr. 35.238 Norwegian kr. 37.224 Austrian sch. 22.237 Spanish peseta 1.852 Port. Escudo 1.550

(M.P.)


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