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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-22

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, 22/07/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis and Papantoniou discuss economic policy for 1988
  • Commandos bolster security on Greek-Albanian border
  • Greece condemns Ecevit statements in Cyprus` occupied areas
  • Madrid communique enables direct Greek-Turkish talks, Pangalos says
  • `Athens 2004` committee study on expected benefits from Olympics
  • FYROM prohibited from using name 'Macedonia' in Euro sports events
  • Soldier dies in parachute jump accident
  • EBEA establishes business data bank for Balkans
  • 10 more state enterprises to enter bourse in next 3 years
  • WEATHER
  • FOREIGN EXCHANGE

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis and Papantoniou discuss economic policy for 1988

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said today after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis that the government would take its decisions concerning economic policy for 1998 in October.

Papantoniou and the premier discussed the general directions of economic policy for 1998 which, the former told reporters, would be within the framework dictated by the economic convergence programme.

The primary objective of economic policy, he added, would be to bring inflation down to below 3 per cent in order to ensure the country's entry to economic and monetary union.

Papantoniou refused to be drawn on questions regarding possible future taxation measures, saying only:

''Economic policy will be within the framework as outlined by the convergence programme''.

According to informed sources, the main axes of economic policy for 1998 will be annual salary increases in the public sector of not more than 4 per cent, the freezing of public utility rates to facilitate the reduction of inflation and drastic cuts in budget expenditures.

It is believed that the spending cuts will chiefly be made with respect to the expenditures of ministries and legal persons of public law.

The new budget is expected to provide for an 800 billion drachma rise in revenues, originating chiefly from new measures to increase the efficiency of collecting income.

No increases in indirect taxation are foreseen.

Lastly, the government is expected to continue its ''hard drachma'' policy in 1998, again as part of efforts to bring down inflation.

Commandos bolster security on Greek-Albanian border

Greek army commandos today began taking up positions along the border with Albania in the areas of Kastoria and Florina, northwest Greece, following government decisions to strengthen border security in order to combat the activities of criminal gangs.

A Hellenic Air Force helicopter at noon flew to Argos airport where it will remain stationed in order to patrol the mountainous region from Ioannina to Florina.

One helicopter had already been patrolling the region and it is hoped that the second will considerably contribute to increasing security.

Meanwhile, the joint army and police patrols operating in the region will be strengthened by the formation of new units today, which will be equipped with the very latest technical means.

The government took the decisions to increase security in northwest Greece at a two-hour meeting of ministers chaired by Premier Costas Simitis yesterday.

The measures are aimed at checking the activities of armed gangs of Albanian criminals who have been crossing the border to steal, kidnap and smuggle narcotics.

Greece condemns Ecevit statements in Cyprus` occupied areas

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday expressed regret at what he termed "inappropriate" remarks by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, during the latter's presence at events in Turkish-occupied Cyprus to mark Ankara's 1974 invasion.

During the weekend events, Mr. Ecevit, who as prime minister had ordered the 1974 invasion against the island republic, said the self-proclaimed "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", recognised only by Ankara, would "live forever as an independent state. But its foreign policy and defence will be handled by Turkey".

Responding to a question following a meeting at the Maximos Mansion, Mr. Pangalos said that Mr. Ecevit considered it the "purpose of his life to make wrong moves in Turkish policy on the Cyprus issue, that's why he has returned to the scene of the crime ".

Athens will support the Cyprus issue by its policy, Mr. Pangalos said, criticising Mr. Ecevit for scoffing at international agreements and repeated United Nations resolutions.

Mr. Pangalos said that Mr. Ecevit's "unfortunate statements`` were made as a "fiesta for domestic political consumption".

Madrid communique enables direct Greek-Turkish talks, Pangalos says

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has described the recent Greek-Turkish joint communique signed in Madrid as a "major political development" that created a "new situation, qualitatively",while enabling direct talks on bilateral issues concerning the two countries without intermediaries.

Mr. Pangalos stressed, however, in an interview to the Athens daily 'TA NEA", published yesterday, that there could be no political rapprochement with Turkey or discussion on issues of cooperation before the matter of Ankara's claims on the Imia islets was settled through recourse by the latter to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He added that at no time during the talks that preceded the Madrid communique was the issue of Greece's legal right, under the international Law of the Sea, to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles mentioned.

The six-point communique, issued on July 8 after talks by Premier Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid and subsequently described by the government as a "declaration of intentions", stated that the two countries would pursue efforts to promote bilateral relations.

Mr. Pangalos said the "declaration of intentions" had eliminated the threat of war, and was made at the highest possible level, by the Turkish President himself, who also headed that country's national security council, which "makes it clear that Turkey accepts the international treaties as the basis for discussion".

Although this did not mean that Ankara would "...interpret or implement international law and the international treaties in the way it should or in the way they are implemented by the international community", there was nevertheless, a "new situation, qualitatively" in the context of which Greece could "directly discuss with Turkey without the mediation of a third power, such as the United States or the European Union, particularly on matters concerning the two countries".

"This does not mean that we will negotiate rights we consider non- negotiable or will accept a political discussion on matters that require legal handling," he said, adding: "There is no such commitment".

"What it does mean, is that representatives of two mature countries, the representatives that is of Turkey and Greece, will be able to meet and discuss all issues pertaining to the two countries'', he added.

Mr. Pangalos underlined that the only real problem in relations between Greece and Turkey was that of the Aegean continental shelf.

He also urged Turkey to abandon its past behaviour and look to the future, stressing that Greece would follow such an effort with a "sincere desire" to help.

"The idea that Turkey can dominate Greece is one which belongs to the past, one which has no hope of success and which can only create problems in Turkey," Mr.Pangalos said.

`Athens 2004` committee study on expected benefits from Olympics

An Athens 2004 candidate committee-commissioned study states that if the Greek capital is chosen to stage the 2004 Games, some 130,000 permanent or temporary jobs will be created while an increase in tourism receipts and public revenue by more than one billion US dollars will be gained.

Meanwhile, the findings of the study were presented at a meeting yesterday on the financial aspects of staging the 2004 Games, organised by the "Athens 2004" bid committee and addressed by committee president Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki.

"The 2004 Olympic Games provide an opportunity for the development of new branches of the Greek economy and the attracting of major investments," Ms Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said.

The major advantage of the budget for Athens' bid, she claimed, is that it is not burdened with the cost of the major infrastructure, works since they are already in progress, plus the fact that 72 per cent of the sports installations are ready.

The total estimated cost of staging the Games, according to the study, will be US$1.35 billion, plus $215 million as provision for unforeseen expenditures.

According to the "Athens 2004" bid, income from staging the Games will exceed expenditures by $36.7 million.

Some 44 per cent of this income will come from the contracts already signed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) concerning television rights and international sponsorships.

Between 2001 and 2004, the report states, the total increase in the turnover of industry and Greek enterprises in general is expected to reach $550 million, due to increased demand for consumer products, building materials, furniture, sports and technical equipment.

The study also claims that Greek industry will benefit directly from the promotion of Greece's image internationally through the Games.

FYROM prohibited from using name 'Macedonia' in Euro sports events

The Union of European Olympic Games Committees issued a decision forbidding the use of the name "Macedonia" for any participants from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in sports events or events in Europe related to the organisation.

The union calls for the use of the name FYROM or the initials "MKD" as abbreviation, until a United Nation's final decision on the name.

Soldier dies in parachute jump accident

A 22-year-old professional soldier died this morning when his parachute failed to open during a free-fall training jump at Pachi, Megara.

The soldier was named as Michalis Kotsidiaris, a resident of Piraeus, who had signed up with the army as a volunteer on a five-year contract.

A preliminary investigation has begun of the circumstances surrounding the death of Kotsidiaris.

EBEA establishes business data bank for Balkans

The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) has established a data bank for the Balkans to provide information for Greek businesses.

The data bank will begin by providing information on the business sectors in Romania, Albania and Bulgaria. The countries it covers will be expanded to gradually include all of the Balkans and the Black Sea area.

It will also link up with similar data banks in Greece and beyond.

EBEA president Yiannis Papathanasiou said the information bank would start operating in the coming weeks and cover needs of businesses wishing to expand into southeastern Europe.

Some of the information it will provide on each country will include its economic profile, tenders called in the private and public sector, calls for joint ventures, customs duties and taxation data, investment opportunities, European Union programmes, trade facts and an explanation of its banking system.

10 more state enterprises to enter bourse in next 3 years

Another 10 state enterprises will join the bourse over the next three years, the government announced yesterday.

A small percentage of their share capital will be made available to the investing public, which will be based on the model of the partial privatisation of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

The list of 10 state enterprises will not include the Public Petroleum Corp. (DEP) and the Hellenic Duty Free shops, whose registration is already being promoted.

National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou issued an order at a meeting held at the ministry for an examination to ascertain which public utilities (DEKO) possess elements rendering their conversion into shares feasible and the registration of their shares on the bourse.

General and special issues concerning public utilities were also discussed at the meeting, as well as the issue of freezing tariffs in the effort to have inflation decrease even further.

WEATHER

Fair weather is forecast over most of the country tomorrow, with local afternoon and evening. Winds northerly, light to moderate, and later strong. Athens will be sunny with temperatures ranging from 22-35 C, and Thessaloniki should see some light cloud in the evening, with temperatures between 20 and 32 C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.744 Pound sterling 468.601 Cyprus pd 530.323 French franc 46.078 Swiss franc 189.194 German mark 155.714 Italian lira (100) 15.998 Yen (100) 241.294 Canadian dlr. 203.618 Australian dlr. 207.373 Irish Punt 417.453 Belgian franc 7.542 Finnish mark 52.737 Dutch guilder 138.518 Danish kr. 40.886 Swedish kr. 36.010 Norwegian kr. 37.702 Austrian sch. 22.125 Spanish peseta 1.848 Port. Escudo 1.542

(S.S.)


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