Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-25
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 25/07/1997 (ANA)
- Greek-Lebanese agreements on investments,technical cooperation
- President hosts reception on democracy restoration anniversary
- Albania issues discussed between Pangalos, Fassino
- Greek company returns from tour of duty in Albania
- National Defence Minister visits US carrier 'JFK'
- Draft bill on day of remembrance for Asia Minor Greeks ratified
- Veteran politicians honoured
- 12 Greeks on list of WWII names released by Swiss bankers
- Students of Modern Greek to visit Greece
- Paris square to be named for Callas
- Tourist arrivals to increase in 1997, V.Papandreou says
- Greek central bank lowers signal money market intervention
- Dollar sets new record vs drachma
- Current account deficit drops in April
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greek-Lebanese agreements on investments,technical cooperation
Greece and Lebanon yesterday signed two bilateral agreements, one providing
for the protection of investments and the other increased economic and
The agreements were signed during a meeting between Prime Minister Costas
Simitis and his visiting Lebanese counterpart Rafik Hariri.
Mr. Hariri arrived in Athens yesterday on a two-day official visit. Today,
he is scheduled to meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
During the talks yesterday, both sides noted an identity of views. Mr
Simitis stressed that Greece strongly supported peace and cooperation in
the Middle East, noting that recent "delays" in the peace process,
particularly with regard to relations between Israel and the Palestinians
could jeopardise the entire effort.
He said also that it was "necessary" for Israeli forces to withdraw from
Mr. Simitis said he had discussed the Cyprus problem with Mr. Hariri,
underlining that Lebanon supported Greece's positions concerning the need
for a just and viable settlement within the framework of United Nation
The premier stressed to his Lebanese counterpart that Greece wished to play
a steady role in the region and said Athens would support Lebanon's efforts
to establish a special relationship and cooperation with the European
Mr. Hariri extended an invitation to Mr. Simitis to visit Lebanon and said
he had briefed the Greek premier about the suffering of the Lebanese people,
urging respect for UN resolutions, particularly those pertaining to the
withdrawal of Israeli troops.
He also spoke about a sense of disappointment in the Arab world arising
from the position adopted by Israel, and referred to Beirut's aspiration to
establish a partnership relationship with the EU.
Turning to other matters, Mr. Hariri said he had discussed with Mr. Simitis
bilateral cooperation issues, particularly the participation of Greek
construction companies in Lebanese public works tenders and the need for
increased cooperation in the tourism sector.
Reiterating the positions outlined by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos
at the EU Council of Ministers, Mr. Simitis said Greece was of the view
that the Community should undertake a peace initiative in the Middle East
rather than being just a "spectator" of developments, "so that Israel too
will take the corresponding steps."
Mr. Simitis, however, said that Israel was a country which existed and
played a role in the Middle East "and it would be pointless to ignore this
fact and not establish relations aiming at peace and cooperation."
"It is Greece's fixed position that international problems should be
resolved through implementation of UN resolutions and international
treaties," Mr. Simitis added.
Greece, he went on, had for many years stressed the need for a peaceful
solution to the Palestinian problem and had supported the efforts of the
After noting that Greece had always been a friend of the Arab world, Mr.
Hariri called on Israel to undertake the necessary initiatives to
facilitate the acceleration of the peace process.
He said also that he greatly appreciated Greece's view that the EU could
play a role in efforts for peace in the region.
President hosts reception on democracy restoration anniversary
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos blamed Turkey and the
Turkish Cypriot side for obstructing efforts to solve the Cyprus problem,
in speaking last night during the annual presidential reception for the
anniversary of the restoration of democracy in 1974.
Mr. Stephanopoulos said that "the intervention and initiative taken for the
solution of the Cyprus issue, unfortunately, does not allow for much
optimism, because of the stance held by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side,
in their words and acts."
The president said Greece should continually try to improve its democracy,
although the last few years have proven to be its best political period.
"It is the duty of rulers and the ruled to make continuous efforts to
improve our democratic state of government," he said.
Mr. Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, the president of
Parliament and party leaders greeted guests at the reception, which is
traditionally held annually at the gardens of the presidential mansion.
The reception was attended by former premier Constantine Mitsotakis,
Cabinet members, deputies and officials from all parties, court officials,
academics and armed forces officials.
Albania issues discussed between Pangalos, Fassino
The situation in Albania dominated talks yesterday in Athens between
visiting Italian Foreign Undersecretary Piero Fassino and Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
Other issues discussed included bilateral relations and EU issues.
After his meeting with Mr. Fassino, the alternate foreign minister said
that the first phase of stabilisation in Albania had been successfully
completed, and the next important phase was to follow. This second phace,
Mr. Papandreou said, involved the process of democratisation and economic
The Italian official stated that both Greece and Italy were interested in
continuing their assistance to Albania, which was aimed at restoring the
country's political, administrative and economic life.
Greek company returns from tour of duty in Albania
A company of troops which served for approximately three months with the
Greek contingent of the multinational protection force in Albania returned
to Greece yesterday via the Kakavia border post.
An official welcoming ceremony was held for the troops at the Kalpaki army
base, attended by the civil and military authorities of Ioannina and many
Another 117 NCOs and officers of the Greek force in Albania arrived on
board a tank carrier at the port of Thessaloniki in the morning. The main
bulk of the returning force is expected to arrive in Thessaloniki on Aug. 3,
while a contingent of 200 men will stay in Tirana until Aug. 8.
National Defence Minister visits US carrier 'JFK'
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday visited the US
aircraft carrier "John F. Kennedy", which is currently anchored off
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was briefed on the activities of the carrier by its
commander, Adm. Williamson, while he later observed an aircraft display.
The minister was accompanied on the visit by the Chief of the Hellenic Navy
General Staff, Vice-Adm. Leonidas Paliogiorgos.
Draft bill on day of remembrance for Asia Minor Greeks ratified
A relevant Parliamentary committee unanimously ratified a draft law
submitted by three ruling PASOK deputies on establishing Sept. 14 as a
national day of remembrance for the expulsion and genocide of Asia Minor
Greeks by the Turkish state.The nature, con tent, agency and the way of
organising the commemoration events will be defined with a presidential
decree to be issued following a proposal by the interior and culture
ministers, as well as an opinion by the Federation of Refugee Societies of
Veteran politicians honoured
President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday awarded the Grand Cross of the
Order of the Phoenix to Manolis Glezos, Constantine Kallias, Nikolaos
Martis, Ioannis Pesmazoglou and Spyros Plaskovitis for "valuable political
services they rendered to the homeland."
Mr. Stephanopoulos will give the same award, offered on the occasion of the
23rd anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Greece, to Ioannis
Zigdis in the next few days.
12 Greeks on list of WWII names released by Swiss bankers
At least 12 Greek nationals are among 1,872 names with war-era deposits in
Swiss banks, who according to the Association of Swiss Banks held accounts
The association published the 1,872 names in newspapers in 27 countries. It
said deposits of about 60 million Swiss francs ($40 million) had never been
Relatives, or legal heirs can now claim the money within one year from the
Association of Swiss Banks.
Students of Modern Greek to visit Greece
One-hundred-and-sixteen top students of modern Greek attending universities
in Europe and the United States will visit Greece from July 27 to August 24
for intensive language, history and culture courses, on scholarships
granted by the Cultural Relations Directorate.
The courses are being organised by the Thessaloniki-based Aimos Peninsula
Institute of Studies.
During their stay, the students from 25 countries will be shown round the
monuments and museums of Thessaloniki and visit archaeological and
historical sites at Philippoi, Pella, Dion, Vergina and Meteora.
Within the framework of a programme for strengthening modern Greek studies
at universities abroad, the culture ministry allocated over 36 million
drachmas for 1997.
Paris square to be named for Callas
A Paris square to be inaugurated in September which will be named after
Maria Callas, the great opera soprano, the city's mayor, Jean Tiberi, said
The square is located in the cityYs 16th District, in the southwestern part
of the French capital where Callas resided and died on September 16,
According to an anouncement by the Paris municipality, at the inauguration
night, a large-scale event will be held in the Town Hall and will be
simulcasted on a giant screen outside the building.
The announcement also said that in Spring 1998, the Paris Town Hall will
organise an exhibition dedicated to the roles in Callas' repertoire. On
display will be the late artist`s costumes, letters, personal belongings
Tourist arrivals to increase in 1997, V.Papandreou says
Tourist arrivals will show an 8-10 per cent increase in 1997 over 1996
figures, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou told tourism sector
Ms Papandreou said the programme "Tourism and Culture" had been included in
the Community Support Framework and delays in its initial application have
By the end of the month certain investment projects in the programme will
have been approved, while a meeting will be held in September with all
involved parties to set the schedule for its application.
This programme calls for infrastructural works in many sectors. In marine
tourism, it calls for a programme of port and marina construction totalling
10.5 billion drachmas, including marinas in Thasos, Argostoli, Ikaria and
Another 8.3 billion drachmas is allocated for programmes in mountain,
ecological and alternative tourism in general, while in another sector,
small- and medium-sized enterprises have submitted 367 proposals pending
evaluation and approval that will allo w them to use funds allocated to
Another 414 million drachmas will be approved for training seminars within
1997, with the total budget for professional training amounting to four
Ms Papandreou referred extensively to property owned by the Greek National
Tourism Organisation (EOT), and said a draft bill would be tabled in
Parliament in the autumn for founding societes anonyme to manage these
Greek central bank lowers signal money market intervention
Greece's central bank yesterday nudged down its near-daily intervention in
overnight funds in the domestic money market to 11.6 percent from 11.9
percent. Traders said the Bank of Greece was apparently signalling a return
to lower rates after a period of market jitters largely stemming from
activity on international markets.
The drop also would aid a 12-month treasury bill issue at the end of the
month whose rate is 9.6 percent, the traders said.
The central bank's routine intervention at the end of the trading day acts
as a gauge of liquidity in the interbank market and sometimes signals a
shift in policy.
Dollar sets new record vs drachma
The dollar hit a new all-time high against the drachma yesterday, gaining
0.12 percent to close at 285.75 drachmas at the central bank's daily
Commercial banks on Friday will sell the U.S. currency at 290.036
The pound sterling lost 0.28 percent against the drachma in a downward
correction to end at 478.64 drachmas at the fix, or 485.820 drachmas for
sale by commercial banks.
The German mark edged up 0.08 percent, finishing at 156.080 drachmas.
The Ecu closed steady at 309.38 drachmas.
Current account deficit drops in April
Greece's current account deficit for April dropped 3.1 per cent to US$660
million from $681 million in the same month of 1996, showing an improvement
for the second straight month, the Bank of Greece said yesterday.The
January-April deficit jumped 21.3 pe r cent to $2.28 billion from $1.88
billion a year earlier, the central bank announced.
Localised showers are expected over northern, central and western regions
in the afternoon. The rest of the country will have light cloud. Winds will
be mostly northerly, light to moderate. Athens will be mostly cloudy, with
temperatures ranging from 22-37 C, while Thessaloniki will be increasingly
cloudy with possible showers in the afternoon and temperatures of 20-34
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.464
Pound sterling 474.811 Cyprus pd 530.561
French franc 45.987 Swiss franc 190.762
German mark 154.955 Italian lira (100) 15.938
Yen (100) 245.222 Canadian dlr. 205.165
Australian dlr. 208.469 Irish Punt 420.052
Belgian franc 7.503 Finnish mark 52.655
Dutch guilder 137.590 Danish kr. 40.712
Swedish kr. 36.109 Norwegian kr. 37.686
Austrian sch. 22.022 Spanish peseta 1.840
Port. Escudo 1.537