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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 06/08/1997 (ANA)


  • Greece, Albania sign protocols on seasonal employment, security
  • Excavation reveals possible classical-era soldiers' tomb
  • Greece asks clarifications over Yilmaz's statements on Aegean Sea
  • Athens `97 world athletics championships
  • Justice Minister comments on World Championships
  • Record price of brent oil poses problems
  • Greek mutual fund assets show 4.94 pct rise in July
  • Olympic Airways to begin transfer to new airport in Oct '98
  • Citibank again wins title of best foreign bank in Greece
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Greece, Albania sign protocols on seasonal employment, security

Greece and Albania yesterday signed a protocol of seasonal employment for Albanian workers in Greece believed to provide a solution to the problem of illegal immigration and avert a new wave of illegal workers from the neighbouring country.

The protocol was signed by visiting Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his Albanian counterpart Paskal Milo after talks in Tirana as a seven-member Greek government delegation, headed by Mr. Pangalos, paid a one-day visit yesterday, the first foreign visit since a new Albanian government was elected late June.

The relevant protocol will come into force four months after the signing of a presidential decree by the President of the Republic, Kostis Stephanopoulos, which provides for the recording of all illegal immigrants, and after its completion, the granting of a 'green card', the equivalent of a work permit. The duration of the permit has not been set yet, but nine months is considered most likely, with the possibilities of six or 12 months also being considered.

Commenting on the issue, Mr. Pangalos said that until the recording is completed, Albanian immigrants will be treated in the same way as all others.

Mr. Milo told reporters "this is the best news for Albania."

Mr. Pangalos also said that Greece will propose and support Albania's customs union with the European Union at the foreign ministers' council in Brussels on September 16. He added that Mr. Milo accepted an invitation to attend the Balkan foreign ministe rs' conference on Crete in November.

The agenda of discussions also included the participation of Greek officers in the reorganisation of the Albanian armed forces and police, in the framework of a broader cooperation in security matters. A relevant protocol signed by Greek National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis and Albanian Defence Minister Sabit Broka envisages that five officers and a 100-member company of the Greek force currently in Albania with the multinational protection force will remain on.

The protocol also provides for cooperation between the two countries' armed forces.

The ministers of public order, George Romeos and Neritan Ceka agreed to cooperate on the recording of illegal immigrants, and the reduction of criminal activity in Greece's border area.

The agreement provides for the creation of an Albanian border police and Greece to train this force aimed at combatting illegal immigration as well as smuggling.

Albania also agreed to provide information on all Albanian criminals who have escaped from Albanian prisons during the insurrection, and return all speed boats which have been seized mainly from Corfu in the last few months.

Well informed sources said it was also agreed that Greece will provide a direct grant of two billion drachmas to Albania, and negotiations will continue for the provision of an 18-billion drachma loan, under very favourable terms after talks between Greek

National Economy Undersecratary Alexandros Baltas with Albanian officials.

Another agreement provides for cooperation on vocational training issues and the modernisation of Albanian social security funds.

Mr. Pangalos also met with the country's president, Rexhep Mejdani, Archbishop of Albania Anastasios, and main opposition leader Sali Berisha.

The Greek delegation included Public Order Minister George Romeos, National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, National Economy Undersecretary Alexandros Baltas, Public Works Undersecretary Dimitris Verelis and Labour Undersecretary Christos Protopappas.

Excavation reveals possible classical-era soldiers' tomb

A group tomb believed to belong to young Athenian soldiers who died in battles during the classical era was discovered during salvage operations close to the ancient cemetery of Kerameikos and the Hiera Odos area, it was announced yesterday.

Findings related to what is believed to be one of the monumental tombs erected by Athens for its dead soldiers include the lower sections of porous limestone, preserved to a height of one metre. They also include fine samples of ancient Greek pottery from the 5th century B.C. to the 3rd century B.C., covering classical to hellenistic times. The finds are associated with the series of group tombs that Athens erected for its killed heroes along a special street by the area of Kerameikos, the ancient cemetery.

The Central Archaeological Council will conduct an on-site examination. The excavation was conducted between January 1 and July 4, following a request by a theatre group for approval to build a theatre on the site.

Greece asks clarifications over Yilmaz's statements on Aegean Sea

Greece said yesterday it has requested clarifications from Turkey over the accuracy of statements made by Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz to the effect that the Aegean Sea is a special case in which international law is not valid.

In statements to a private radio station, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said that if Mr. Yilmaz was quoted accurately in the Sunday edition of U.S. daily "Washington Post", then these statements undermine the spirit of the Madrid Communique and support a claim that is entirely illogical, to the effect that international law is not valid in the case of the Aegean Sea.

Mr. Kranidiotis said the claim is illogical because "if this (international law) is not valid, then what is valid -- the law of war?"

"Relations between Greece and Turkey," he said, "must be governed by international law and international treaties. Mr. Yilmaz's statements do not contribute to the efforts to improve Greek-Turkish relations".

Athens `97 world athletics championships

Yesterday's results in a stadium packed with an enthusiastic crowd, proved to be more colourful than in other days, with the surprise elimination of world and Olympic champion Jan Zelezny from the javelin throw, an impressive run in the women's 10,000 met res that brought Kenya's Sally Barsosio to a smooth and cool top position, and the first medal for host Greece, with a bronze for javelin thrower Costas Gatzioudis. America's Michael Johnson, expected to secure a top placement, clinched the gold in the men's 400 metres.

American Michael Johnson won the world men's 400 metres gold medal in 44.12 seconds. Davis Kamoga of Uganda took the silver (44.37) and American Tyree Washington the bronze (44.39).

South African Marius Corbett won javelin gold at the world championships yesterday after favourite Jan Zelezny was eliminated from the final. Corbett threw a best of 88.40 metres to emerge as the surprise winner. Britain's Steve Backley took silver with 86.80 metres at his last attempt while Costas Gatzioudis handed Greece their first medal in the competition with a throw of 86.64 metres for bronze.

World and Olympic champion Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic missed the cut for the final eight who take the last three throws. The world record holder failed to record a mark at his first two tries and recorded 82.06 metres with his third attempt, finishing in ninth place.

Kenyan Sally Barsosio won the world women's 10,000 metres gold medal yesterday, timed with 31:32.93. Fernanda Ribeiro of Portugal took the silver (31:39.15) and Japanese Masako Chiba the bronze (31:41.93).

Cuban Ivan Pedroso won the world men's long jump gold medal with 8.42 metres. Erick Walder of the United States took the silver (8.38) and Russian Kiril Sosunov the bronze (8.18).

Portuguese Carla Sacramento won the world women's 1,500 metres title with 4:04.24. American Regina Jacobs took the silver (4:04.63) and Anita Weyermann of Switzerland the bronze (4:04.70).

Medals table after the fourth day of competition at the World Athletics Championships yesterday:

United States: 3 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze Germany: 2 gold, 1 bronze Ukraine: 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze Portugal: 1 gold, 1 silver South Africa: 1 gold, 1 silver Australia: 1 gold Cuba: 1 gold Czech Republic: 1 gold France: 1 gold Kenya: 1 gold Mexico: 1 gold Britain: 2 silver Russia: 1 silver, 2 bronze Canada: 1 silver Jamaica: 1 silver Romania: 1 silver Uganda: 1 silver Bahamas: 1 bronze Belarus: 1 bronze Greece: 1 bronze Japan: 1 bronze Lithuania: 1 bronze Switzerland: 1 bronze

Justice Minister comments on World Championships

Justice Minister Evangelos Yannopoulos said yesterday that Athens' suitability as host city for the 2004 Olympic Games was being "tested" at the 6th World Athletics Championship currently under way, and that if the International Olympic Committee members awarded the 28th Olympiad to Athens, they would be doing "their duty".

"However, if they think commercially, then they will not give the Olympic Games to Greece," the Minister added, in an indirect response to criticism by International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) president Primo Nebiolo that Athens had not properly marketed the current 6th World Athletics Championships, resulting in low attendance last Saturday, the first day of events at Athens' Olympic Stadium.

Athens '97 director Vangelis Savramis also rebuffed the criticism on Monday, saying that he preferred "a stadium full of sports fans rather than soldiers", intimating at the practice adopted for boosting attendance at the 2nd World Championships in Rome in 1987.

Mr. Nebiolo is honorary chairman of the Rome 2004 Olympic bid committee. Rome and Athens were shortlisted in March for the 2004 Games, together with Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Stockholm from among 11 candidate cities.

Mr. Savramis said he had proposed to Mr. Nebiolo a change in the August 1- 10 dates, as most people in the greater Athens area are away on holiday at that time of the year, but Nebiolo had instead argued "for a promotion campaign using loudspeakers".

President of the Greek Olympic Committee Lambis Nicolaou has also said that nine days was "too lengthy" for an athletic competition, and that six days would have been better for the World Championships.

The Justice Minister, who attended the track and field events yesterday, said the organisation of the Championships was "impeccable in all respects".

He also praised the performance of the Greek athletes, noting that "it is no small accomplishment to be fourth or fifth in the world".

Record price of brent oil poses problems

The price of brent oil reached a six-week record on Monday, jumping again to almost $20 per barrel and posing a problem for many governments, including Greece's.

The Greek government is closely monitoring developments in the oil market since an increase coupled with the dollarYs unrestrained steep rise are threatening a flair up of inflationary pressure.

The increase in the oil price was sudden, since the world was expecting a stable price in view of the resumption of Iraqi exports. However, an unexpected disruption by Colombian rebels of the export of 170,000 Colombian barrels per day at a time when demand is especially high, lead to the current increase. It also caused a market panic in the United States, which buys most of the Colombian oil, as demand for fuel in the holiday period is very high.

Greek mutual fund assets show 4.94 pct rise in July

Total net assets of Greek mutual funds rose by 268.15 billion drachmas in July, marking a 4.94 percent rise, Ionian Bank said in its monthly report, out yesterday.

Overall mutual fund assets on July 31 totalled 5,696.25 billion drachmas, representing 32.92 percent of total drachma deposits by private individuals on April 4, 1997.

Net assets of mutual fixed income funds increased by 4.79 percent, totalling 5,339.1 billion drachmas on July 31, up 243.9 billion drachmas against the previous month.

Net assets of international funds rose sharply by 8.04 percent and net assets of growth funds also showed a healthy 6.95 percent rise.

Total net assets comprised 5,339 billion drachmas in fixed income funds, 105 billion drachmas in international funds, and 252 billion drachmas in growth funds.

Olympic Airways to begin transfer to new airport in Oct '98

Olympic Airways, the Greek national carrier, is due to begin transferring its operations in October 1998 to a new international airport being built for Athens, a company statement said yesterday.

OA's board said the move to Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, whose contractor is Germany's Hochtief, would be completed in July 2000 before the new facility's launch in 2001.

The cost of transferring OA to the new site in Spata, Attica, has an initial budget of 118 billion drachmas with a 20 percent deviation either way.

The international airport currently in use at Ellinikon is slated for closure when the new facility opens.

Olympic Airways posted a 16.3 rise in passengers in the first six months against the same period last year, OA's board said yesterday.

The increase comprises rises of 17.6 for the parent company and 10.3 percent for Olympic Aviation, its subsidiary handling most domestic routes.

The national carrier also reported rises of 5.3 percent in departures, 4.5 percent in travel hours, and 4.8 percent in flight kilometres, OA's board said.

Citibank again wins title of best foreign bank in Greece

For the third successive year, Citibank has won the title of best foreign bank in Greece, on the basis of a study conducted by Euromoney magazine.

Specifically, the study says that Citibank is the most important bank is the shipping sector, and has retained its leading position in the sectors of currency transactions and financial derivatives. It has also maintained its lead in the sector of spec ial innovative financial products.

Citibank has also acquired the title of best foreign bank in six other EU countries, in three eastern European countries, and in three geographical regions, namely, Africa, Middle East, and Latin America. It is in second position in Asia.

On a world level, the bank is considered top in the sectors of currency exchange and loan underwriting, as well as in a new category, that of currency services.


Most of the country will be slightly overcast, with cloudiness in northern Greece and possible thunderstorms in Macedonia and Epiros. Athens will be mostly sunny, with temperatures ranging from 23 to 35 C. The same for Thessaloniki, with local cloudiness in the afternoon and temperatures from 20 to 33 C.


Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 292.171 Pound sterling 475.290 Cyprus pd 532.398 French franc 46.055 Swiss franc 190.582 German mark 155.402 Italian lira (100) 15.881 Yen (100) 246.887 Canadian dlr. 211.663 Australian dlr. 215.741 Irish Punt 421.571 Belgian franc 7.527 Finnish mark 52.153 Dutch guilder 137.985 Danish kr. 40.795 Swedish kr. 35.944 Norwegian kr. 37.685 Austrian sch. 22.081 Spanish peseta 1.839 Port. Escudo 1.535


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