Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-10
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 10/07/1997 (ANA)
- UN-sponsored direct peace talks on Cyprus open
- Cyprus government welcomes Greek-Turkish agreement
- European Union sources pleased with Greek-Turkish communique
- Premier emphasises new role, challenges for NATO
- Simitis voices hope for progress in Cyprus talks
- Israelis, Palestinians meet in Vouliagmeni
- Stephanopoulos hosts dinner for von Weizsaecker
- Prince Charles to visit Athens next year
- EU to grant Ecu13 million for fire protection programmes
- Labour Undersecretary visits Britain
- Greek bourse has healthy outlook despite inflation rise
- Blue chip buying pushes the Athens bourse higher
- EU in court action against Greece on property sales
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
UN-sponsored direct peace talks on Cyprus open
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan inaugurated five days of UN-sponsored
direct talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader
Rauf Denktash, aimed at reviving negotiations for a settlement to the
protracted Cyprus problem. He said he hoped he would not have to report
another failure in the efforts for a Cyprus settlement.
Mr. Annan said this was the time to "press forward, in a positive spirit,
in search of our common goal, a viable and comprehensive solution to the
Noting the difficulties faced by successive UN secretaries general in their
efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, Mr. Annan stressed, "my
aim is not to have to report, yet again, to the Security Council about
another opportunity missed".
"No one understimates the immensity of the tasks before you", he told the
two leaders, adding however, that the international community is confident
in their ability "to forge a new constitutional and institutional
structures, to allow the people of both communities to live together in
Mr. Annan said if the two leaders agreed with the suggestions his special
advisor on the Cyprus problem Diego Cordovez will share with them, on his
behalf, they "will be sending a strong and unmistakable signal to the
"You will be signalling your commitment and determination to reach a
comprehensive settlement, for which the people of Cyprus have been waiting
for too long," he said.
The UN secretary general expressed the view that "specific and concrete
solutions" to fundamental aspects of the Cyprus problem, agreed upon by the
two sides over the years should now be explored, without further delay, "in
their proper context".
The UN chief stressed that "both sides should refrain from making any
Cyprus government welcomes Greek-Turkish agreement
The Cyprus government has welcomed an agreement reached between Greece and
Turkey to promote better relations and believes it could facilitate in a
positive manner the on-going peace effort to find a solution to the
protracted Cyprus problem.
"The government welcomes the Greek-Turkish agreement to promote friendly
ties based upon the principles of international law and the respect for
each other's sovereignty", government spokesman Manolis Christofides told
Cypriot journalists in New York.
Asked to say how this understanding will affect the direct talks between
President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, which
began in the US yesterday, he replied "we hope the timing of this
development would influence the talks in a favourable way".
The spokesman stressed "let no one doubt Greece's support for Cyprus in a
dynamic manner in efforts to settle the Cyprus problem".
Replying to questions, he said that Greece's position that a new Turkish
offensive against Cyprus would constitute casus belli still stands.
"This position has not been annulled", he stressed, adding "it has not been
European Union sources pleased with Greek-Turkish communique
EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek declined to comment on the issuing of a
"document of principles" between Athens and Ankara on the sidelines of the
NATO summit. However, circles close to the Commissioner said the communique
was a "step in the right direction, which can contribute in a very positive
way to an improvement in relations between the European Union and
For us, the source said, this turn in Greek-Turkish relations makes us
believe and hope that they will contribute positively towards resolving the
Cyprus issue and problems existing in the Aegean. In addition, this signing
in Madrid is coming at the right time to promote a solution to the Cyprus
issue, whose talks have started in New York, and will give an additional
impetus to the accession of Cyprus in the EU, the same source concluded.
Premier emphasises new role, challenges for NATO
Prime Minister Costas Simitis hailed NATO's two-day summit, which ended
yesterday afternoon in Madrid, as one of the most important summits in the
history of the alliance.
"It shows a new direction for NATO, which has been dominated in the past by
the United States, Canada and their allies," Mr. Simitis said, summing up
the results of the summit.
"The binding prospect now is security, not in the narrow framework of the
Euro-Atlantic alliance, but in a broad, universal framework," the premier
"This shows that NATO is evolving...There will always be those who dominate
and those who follow, but in any case the new form of the alliance should
have a new architecture," he said.
This new architecture, Mr. Simitis added, will be achieved by promoting
cooperation with Russia and the Ukraine, by advancing new institutions such
as the Euro-Atlantic cooperation and strengthening of the Partnership for
Peace (PfP) programme.
The premier emphasised the decision taken at the summit on the promotion of
regional cooperation, and referred to the need for regional cooperation in
the Mediterranean, as a means to enlarge NATO's relations and influence vis-
a-vis other countries.
Mr. Simitis said Greece aimed at promoting a common security policy, adding
that the focal point of Greek foreign policy was the resolution of disputes
by peaceful means.
The summit launched the alliance's eastward expansion, the largest in its
48-year history, by inviting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to
Simitis voices hope for progress in Cyprus talks
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday expressed hope for progress in the
UN-sponsored direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
The direct talks are being held outside New York City, in the hamlet
Mr. Simitis expressed the wish that the talks would lead to a just and
viable solution to the 23-year-old Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions.
Israelis, Palestinians meet in Vouliagmeni
A non-binding, three-day meeting between Israeli and Palestinian personalities
aimed at exchanging views on the future of the Middle East peace process
began yesterday at the Athens seaside resort of Vouliagmeni.
The gathering is the product of a Greek government initiative.
The meeting is attended by Israeli and Palestinian parliamentarians,
academics and personalities in the general sense, who will have the
opportunity to discuss the serious problems in relations between the two
communities. The meeting will be addressed by Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, while professor
Theodoros Kouloumbis will coordinate the meeting.
In an announcement, the foreign ministry expressed satisfaction over the
acceptance of its invitation by the participants.
"Greece is watching developments in the Middle East with particular
interest, developments which affect stability and security in our region
and beyond. This meeting is part of continuous efforts being made by our
country towards all sides to promote th e peace process, which is at a
particularly delicate and crucial phase at present," the foreign ministry
Stephanopoulos hosts dinner for von Weizsaecker
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos hosted a dinner in honour
of visiting former German president Richard von Weizsaecker yesterday.
Mr. Weizsaecker was accompanied by his wife, the ambassador of the Federal
Republic of Germany in Athens and the director of his private office.
Prince Charles to visit Athens next year
Britian's heir to the throne Prince Charles has accepted an invitation to
take part in an international forum next year in Athens on the preservation
of the city's historical character. The forum is being organised by the
city of Athens.
The Prince of Wales was invited to the forum by Athens Mayor Dimitris
Avramopoulos, during a working lunch the former hosted for the mayor at his
home in Gloucester.
The two men discussed the restoration of classical buildings, the
preservation of historical monuments and developments in modern town
EU to grant Ecu13 million for fire protection programmes
The European Commission has decided to grant about Ecu13 million for
programmes concerning the protection of forests from fires and pollution
following a proposal made by EU Agricultural Commissioner Franz Fischler.
The 107 programmes which will be funded on the basis of regulations
approved by the Council of Ministers concern the protection of forests in
Greece, Portugal, Italy, France, Spain and Germany.
In 1987 the European union implemented a programme for monitoring forests
and the harm they are subjected to from air pollution and fires.
Programmes for member-states have been funded since 1992 and now the
Commission has decided to intensify controls for forest protection,
particularly in countries which are frequently faced with such problems.
Labour Undersecretary visits Britain
The governments of Britain and Greece have common concerns and generally
adopt the same solutions on issues of employment and social policy, Labour
Undersecretary Christos Protopapas said here yesterday.
During a two-day visit to Britain, Mr. Protopapas met with Minister of
State for Employment, Social Security and Equal Opportunity, Andrew Smith,
and Minister of State for Employment Issues, Ian McCartney.
Mr. Protopapas also met with the president of the Federation of British
Industrialists, the secretary general of the Confederation of British
Labour Syndicates and several ethnic Greek professors at the London School
of Economics, from whom he requested help in the analysis of social and
employment policy implemented by the British government.
Greek bourse has healthy outlook despite inflation rise
The Greek bourse has retained its positive prospects for the future despite
a slight rise in the inflation rate in June, a Bank of America annual
survey on the Greek market said.
The survey ranks the Athens Stock Exchange as the cheapest market in Europe
with one of the lowest P/E (price/earnings) ratios, making stocks more
The average rate of increase in earnings per share also remains attractive,
at 9.2 percent, it said.
According to a survey by Morgan Stanley Capital International, Greek blue-
chips Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), Alpha Credit Bank and
National Bank of Greece were among this year's 200 largest companies in
OTE moved up from the 26th position last year to 19th, while Alpha Credit
and National Bank ranked 121st and 17th respectively, although they did not
appear in the list in 1996, said the survey, published in Business Week,
the US financial magazine.
Blue-chip buying pushes the Athens bourse higher
Stock prices resumed their upward trend yesterday after Tuesday's
directionless trading on the Athens Stock Exchange with investors chasing
bargains in the banking and industrial sectors.
The general index closed 1.82 percent higher at 1,576.33 points but trading
remained moderate with turnover at 11.7 billion drachmas.
All sector indices scored gains.
Banks were 2.81 percent up, Leasing rose 2.42 percent, Insurance increased
0.77 percent, Investment ended 2.29 percent up, Industrials rose 1.42
percent, Construction increased 1.52 percent, Holding rose 0.38 percent and
Miscellaneous jumped 2.63 percent.
The small cap index rose 0.25 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 131 to 73 with another 29 issues
Demetriadis, Greek Cables, Elfico and Bank of Central Greece scored the
biggest percentage gains, while Remek, Balkan Export and Viosol suffered
the heaviest losses.
National Bank of Greece ended at 35,860 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,600, Alpha
Credit Bank at 19,105, Titan Cement at 15,300, Intracom at 12,600 and
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) at 6,445 drachmas.
EU in court action against Greece on property sale
The European Commission has started legal proceedings in the European Court
of Justice against Greece on the grounds that Greek authorities are
refusing the sale of property in border regions to citizens from other
The Commission argues that the Greek authorities' policy is incompatible
with the European Union's provisions on free movement of capital, services
and people within the EU.
Greek authorities allow the sale of property in border regions to
foreigners on the condition that they are interested in starting business
activities in the country.
Under the legal proceedings, the Commission expects a comprehensive answer
within two months to the reasoned opinion it has sent to the government,
otherwise it will file a complaint to the European Court.
Fine weather is forecast for most parts of the country today, with some
local clouds in northern Greece in the afternoon. Winds will be northwesterly,
light to moderate. Athens will be mostly sunny with temperatures between 21-
34C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 19-32C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 274.427
Pound sterling 463.165 Cyprus pd 526.534
French franc 46.164 Swiss franc 187.369
German mark 155.704 Italian lira (100) 15.990
Yen (100) 243.536 Canadian dlr. 199.670
Australian dlr. 203.757 Irish Punt 417.434
Belgian franc 7.545 Finnish mark 52.487
Dutch guilder 138.285 Danish kr. 40.886
Swedish kr. 35.414 Norwegian kr. 37.319
Austrian sch. 22.132 Spanish peseta 1.844
Port. Escudo 1.544