Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-04
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 04/07/1997 (ANA)
- June inflation creeps up
- Bulgarian president promises return of rare manuscript
- Continued vigilence on borders
- German, Greek defence ministers meet on NATO
- No British beef in Greece
- Forest fires break out
- Greece to cooperate with Kazakh oil, gas industry
- US awaiting decision on Aegean, State Dept. says
- Charter arrivals up, but problems remain hoteliers say
- Greek equities finish higher, propelled by blue chips
- Greece gets new interbank system in September
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
June inflation creeps up
Greek consumer price inflation rose in June for the first time this year,
creeping up to 5.5% year-on-year from 5.4% in May, the National Statistics
Service (NSS) said.
June's rise in the cost-of-living index was due to increases of 0.6% in
foodstuffs, 1.6% in apparel and footwear, 0.4% in housing (mainly rents),
and 0.3% in transport (mainly a rise in passenger ship fares).
Bulgarian president promises return of rare manuscript
Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov today confirmed that a rare 18th century
manuscript stolen from the autonomous monastic community of Mount Athos
monastery would be returned to the monastery it was stolen from.
Stoyanov arrived in Mount Athos early this morning, on the final leg of his
three-day official visit to Greece. He was received with the full honours
afforded by the holy community to a leader of an Orthodox country.
Following a service at the Protatou Cathedral, he visited the Ayios
Georgios Zografos monastery, where he assured the monks that the manuscript
currently on display at a museum in Sofia would be returned.
The priceless 1762 manuscript written by Paissios Hiliendarios was stolen
from the monastery in the 1980s but replaced with a copy, delaying the
discovery of the theft.
Efforts have been under way to retrieve the manuscript since it turned up
in Sofia a few years ago.
Stoyanov will fly back to Sofia in the early afternoon from Thessaloniki's
Continued vigilance on borders
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) today
unanimously decided the continuation of the state of readiness of the
country's military and police on the border with Albania in order to deter
and combat criminal activity.
KYSEA, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, said increased security
measures should continue in particular in the sea region between Corfu and
the Albanian coast.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the security measures were being
implemented in accordance with provisions as laid down in international
treaties and international law.
German, Greek defence ministers meet on NATO
Visiting German Defence Minister Volker Ruehe and his Greek counterpart
Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday discussed the new structure and enlargement
of NATO, in view off the forthcoming NATO conference in Madrid, while
walking through the breathtaking Vikos Gorge in Ioannina, northwestern
The two ministers agreed that there was rapprochement of views, while Ruehe
reiterated Germany's endorsement of the establishment of four NATO sub-
headquarters in Europe, one of which would be in Greece.
They also discussed initiatives that needed to be taken in the context of
the Western European Union (WEU), as Germany is set to take over the
rotating WEU presidency from France for the second half of the year,
followed by Greece in the first half of 1998.
"There was a series of positive proposals, and we shall continue our
collaboration in that direction because we believe that security matters do
not concern only NATO and are of priority in many regions of Europe, such
as Bosnia, Albania and elsewhere," Tsohatzopoulos said at the Ioannina
'Xenia' hotel shortly midnight when they completed their trek.
On bilateral issues, the talks focussed mainly on armaments, collaborations
and a series of political initiatives.
"We reached very positive conclusions," Tsohatzopoulos said, while Ruehe
added: "Our relations have become closer, it was an outstanding day for
The ministers further discussed the Cyprus issue.
"Negotiations are underway and so are all the initiatives that have been
taken, so that the dialogue over the next two months between Cyprus
President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cyriot leader Rauf Denktash will
flrmulate more auspicious conditions for success," Tsohatzopoulos
He said he told Ruehe that Greece "endorses the prospect of Cyprus'
membership in the European Union. We hope that those negotiations will
commence, as decided, in the most efficient manner. For us, the prospect of
a Cyprus slolution is found in the procedures for Cyprus' accession to the
On withdrawal of the eight-nation protection force in Albania, Tsohatzopoulos
said the force had completed its mission, which was to assist the
distribution of humanistic aid and support the election process.
"Consequently, withdrawal of the multinational force is a matter of time
and, in the next few days, the final decision shall be taken in cooperation
with the new Albanian government".
Ruehe returned to Bonn this morning.
No British beef in Greece
Agriculture Undersecretary Vassilis Geranidis told a press conference in
Thessaloniki today that not one gram of British beef had been imported to
Greece from the quantity which was illegally exported despite a ban.
The European Commission said yesterday that 1,600 tonnes of British beef
had been illegally exported to the Netherlands, Russia and Egypt. The EU
banned the export of British beef last year after London acknowledged that
consumers eating infected beef could contract the human equivalent of mad
Geranidis said checks were being carried out at all the country's entry
points, adding that on the ministry's instructions, the checks would
If quantities of British beef are discovered, Geranidis said, they will be
seized on the spot.
Forest fires break out
Two fires broke out a short while ago in the areas of Paradeisia and
Ekklisoula near Megalopoli, Arcadia.
Two fire-fighting aircraft and a number of fire-engines of the Fire Brigade
and Forestry Service are currently participating in efforts to put out the
Meanwhile, two more fires which broke out this morning in Araxos, Achaia
and Lepreo, Ilia have been brought under partial control.
Efforts to extinguish the Araxos fire, which has so far destroyed about 25
acres of semi-forest, have been hampered by strong winds and rough terrain.
The blaze briefly threatened outlying houses of the village.
The Lepreo fire was caused by negligence on the part of a group of workers
which was cutting tree branches to prevent them coming into contact with
power lines in the village.
Six fire-fighting aircraft, forestry employees and firemen from Pyrgos and
Olympia with eleven fire-engines are making efforts to extinguish the blaze
which has so far destroyed 15,000 square metres of pine forest.
Greece to cooperate with Kazakh oil, gas industry
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said on Thursday that Greece was
seeking closer economic cooperation with resource-rich Kazakhstan,
especially with its oil and gas industries.
"We are interested in productive cooperation which will be mutually
profitable," Mr. Pangalos told reporters after meeting Kazakh President
Nursultan Nazarbayev at the end of a two-day official visit to the Central
Kazakhstan - a country five times the size of France and with a population
of just 16.7 million people - is attractive because of its huge oil and gas
reserves, the minister said. "Greece is buying important volumes of gas
from Kazakhstan, and we shall also buy oil. We are planning a big pipeline
from Novorossiisk to (the Black Sea port of) Burgas in Bulgaria and then to
the Mediterranean," he said.
Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk is the destination of an oil
pipeline due to be built by the Caspian Pipeline Consortium from Kazakhstan's
huge Tengiz oil field, in line with an agreement signed in May this
US awaiting decision on Aegean, State Dept. says
The United States said yesterday it could not promote any initiative in the
Aegean until Greece and Turkey reached an agreement to reduce tension in
US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said "we believe that any
measures to reduce tension that can be agreed and applied in the Aegean
must be implemented by both sides."
Mr. Burns added that confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the Aegean were
still being discussed under the aegis of NATO, while there was no
concluding agreement yet.
"We must await the completion of these talks," he said, adding that "Greece
must be given time to evaluate Turkey's public statements". He was
referring to Ankara's unilateral decision announced earlier this week to
limit its military activity in the Aegean between July 1 and Aug.
Athens responded with reservation to the announcement, insisting for a
three-month moratorium on military overflights in the Aegean.
Charter arrivals up, but problems remain hoteliers say
Tourist arrivals by charter flights are on the rise, the Panhellenic
Federation of Hoteliers said.
Using figures from arrivals at airports throughout Greece in June, the
federation warned that the increase did not preclude a drop in prices
offered by tour operators.
The largest increase was reported at the airport of Irakleio, Crete, where
arrivals rose 20 percent in June, compared to the same month last
At other destinations, tourist arrivals increased in Samos by 7.5 percent
and in Corfu by 1.0 percent but decreased in Mytilini by 0.9 percent.
Despite the increase, however, the hoteliers' federatoin warned that long-
term infrastructure inefficiencies in tourism had led to a drop in prices
and an increase in lower-income tourists.
Greek equities finish higher, propelled by blue chips
Stock prices recovered during the last trading session of the week to
finish up 1.38 percent helped by strong buying interest in blue-chips,
particularly in the industrial sector.
The general index closed at 1,514.18 points - up 0.43 percent on the week -
with all sector indices scoring gains. Trading was moderate with 12.8
billion drachmas changing hands.
Banks rose 1.54 percent, Holding was 1.76 percent up, Insurance increased
1.29 percent, Industrials rose 1.63 percent, Construction was 0.87 percent
up, Investment increased 0.81 per cent, Investment ended 0.40 percent up
and Miscellaneous increased 0.29 percent.
Greece gets new interbank system in September
A new interbank settlement system will be introduced in Greece in September
by DIAS SA Interbank Systems, Bank of Greece deputy governor Panagiotis
The new system, called DIASTRANSFER, will provide speedy and safe capital
transfer services among banks either by crediting bank accounts or by cash
payments to beneficiaries, said Thomopoulos, who is also president of
DIASTRANSFER will simplify interbank transfer procedures, enabling
settlement within the day.
DIAS is expected soon to introduce a new interbank payments system called
DIASDEBIT that will cover, in the first phase, consumer payments to public
The company's electronic clearing system on bank cheques, used by 35 banks
in Greece, handles more than 50 percent of transactions in the country.
Sunny weather will prevail throughout the country today with a rise in
temperatures forecast in the Ionian Sea regions and mainland Greece. Winds
will be variable, moderate to strong. Athens will be sunny with temperatures
between 23-36C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 21-36C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 274.169
Pound sterling 458.641 Cyprus pd 530.581
French franc 46.416 Swiss franc 186.546
German mark 156.443 Italian lira (100) 16.075
Yen (100) 239.796 Canadian dlr. 198.975
Australian dlr. 206.371 Irish Punt 417.731
Belgian franc 7.579 Finnish mark 52.511
Dutch guilder 138.974 Danish kr. 41.071
Swedish kr. 35.248 Norwegian kr. 37.398
Austrian sch. 22.231 Spanish peseta 1.850
Port. Escudo 1.550