Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-21
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 21/08/1997 (ANA)
- Greece dismisses provocative Ecevit statements
- UN Security Council chairman disappointed with Montreux talks
- Greece maintains Aegean moratorium
- Busy autumn schedule for the Prime Minister
- Unemployed teachers protest school changes
- Speedboat race to commemorate killed Cypriot peace activists
- Parliament speaker denounces bomb blast
- New president for AHEPA
- Leaflet on history of Parthenon friezes
- Discussion begins on draft bill for Elefsis shipyards
- Greek stocks edge up in technical rebound
- Greece says 1997 tax revenue targets still feasible
- IOC member from Algeria
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece dismisses provocative Ecevit statements
Greece yesterday dismissed statements by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister
Bulent Ecevit earlier this week as aimed toward domestic consumption,
stressing that they made implementation of last month's Madrid joint
communique on principles for smoothing relati ons much more difficult.
In statements published in Monday's edition of the Turkish daily "Hurriyet",
Mr. Ecevit said Turkey could have taken all the Aegean islands during the
Second World War and all of Cyprus in 1974, the year of Ankara's invasion
of the island republic.
Mr. Ecevit also expressed displeasure with the European Union for what he
called "excluding" Turkey and accepting Cyprus for membership negotiations.
Mr. Ecevit also rejected as "ridiculous" the possibility of Turkey having
recourse to the International Court at The Hague over its territorial
claims on the Greek islets of Imia.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas noted that for Turkey to reject
recourse to The Hague, while at the same time refusing to drop its claim,
ran completely contrary to the letter and the spirit of the joint
communique signed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President
Suleyman Demirel in Madrid.
Mr. Reppas warned that such a policy by Turkey "leaves no room for an
improvement of Greek-Turkish relations, or for progress in Ankara's
relations with the EU". The spokesman dismissed Mr. Ecevit's statements and
claims as "lacking seriousness and responsibility".
Regarding the Cyprus issue, Mr. Reppas added:
"If these (statements) reflect official Turkish policy, then they make any
continuation of talks to resolve the Cyprus issue meaningless."
Mr. Reppas attributed Mr. Ecevit's statements to an attempt to promote
himself on the political scene, seeking to attract followers from other
political parties that were in crisis.
UN Security Council chairman disappointed with Montreux talks
The current UN Security Council chairman yesterday expressed the five-
member body's "concern and disappointment" over the lack of progress
achieved at last week's direct talks on the Cyprus issue, and particularly
with the Turkish Cypriot stance.
By contrast, the chairman, Briton John Weston, lauded Cyprus President
Glafcos Clerides' stance during the talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf
Denktash, which were held near the Swiss resort town of Montreux.
Mr. Weston made the statements after a scheduled Security Council briefing
in New York by the UN Secretary General's special adviser on the Cyprus
issue, Diego Cordovez. Mr. Weston noted that it was important that the two
parties remain committed to the process of negotiations in the future,
adding that although progress was noted on humanitarian issues, the
Security Council expects even more headway to be made.
The British diplomat also said the current status quo on the island
republic was unacceptable, while a comprehensive solution must be found.
"The next step will be difficult," he added.
Greece maintains Aegean moratorium
Commenting on Ankara's unilateral decision to end a military exercise
moratorium in the Aegean on August 15, the foreign ministry issued an
announcement saying that the decision was part of Turkey's "disinformation
"Ankara did not take into consideration Greece's honest will to establish
confidence-building measures in the Aegean," the statement said.
It added that "although it is forced to note this unilateral action, Greece
has respected the moratorium and will continue to fulfil its obligations..."
Busy autumn schedule for the Prime Minister
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to intensify efforts on the
economy and on Greek-Turkish relations once he returns to Athens today from
a 20-day vacation.
The prime minister is faced with work to draft the 1998 budget and prepare
his annual policy speech on the economy at the opening of the Thessaloniki
International Fair, the first weekend in September.
At the end of August Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides will visit Athens
and starting in September Mr. Simitis is expected to intensify efforts in
the European Union (EU) towards a contribution to the solution of the
Turkey's stance on the issue will be raised by Greece during the EU Council
of Ministers meeting in Brussels on Sept. 15. The Greek government has
notified the United States and the EU that it plans to take a tougher
stance against Turkey, in bilateral relations and the Cyprus issue,
following Turkish intransigence directly after the communique signed
between Greece and Turkey in Madrid last month.
Regarding Balkan relations, Mr. Simitis is expected to visit Belgrade,
Bucharest and Sofia in the autumn to promote Balkan cooperation and
Greece's role as a stabilising factor in the area.
Unemployed teachers protest school changes
About 400 unemployed teachers yesterday held a rally outside the education
ministry, protesting proposed changes in high school education and in the
manner of teaching appointments on the basis of seniority in graduation.
Minor scuffles broke out with police when the protesters tried to break
through into the building. The rally was then moved outside Parliament and
to Omonoia Square.
The protest organisers said more mobilisations should be expected before
the start of the school year.
Speedboat race to commemorate killed Cypriot peace activists
"Cyprus is Near" is the slogan of a speedboat race from Athens to Cyprus,
which began yesterday, to commemorate the deaths of Greek Cypriots Tasos
Isaac and Solomos Solomou, who were killed by a Turkish mob and Turkish
occupation authorities in the neutra l zone dividing the island last
The event, entitled "Kimon '97", was inaugurated by Athens Mayor Dimitris
Avramopoulos, who symbolically handed crews the "Athenian flame" from the
Acropolis and soil from the nearby Pnyx Hill.
The first stop of participants will be the port of Paphos, where they are
expected to arrive tomorrow, with further stops at Limassol and Larnaca on
Sunday, before they end their journey at Paralimni, where the two activists
are buried. There they will light the candles on their graves with the
Well-known Greek singer Giorgos Dalaras will give a concert as part of
Parliament Speaker denounces bomb blast
Parliament Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday denounced the bomb
explosion which wrecked the offices of former minister and PASOK deputy
Stelios Papathemelis on Monday afternoon.
Mr. Kaklamanis said that "an act of terrorism against a member of
Parliament constitutes an act of aggression against Parliament itself."
The bomb exploded outside the entrance of the 5th-floor office but no one
was injured since an anonymous caller had previously telephoned police to
warn of the bomb, after which the building was evacuated.
Two Athens newspapers said they had received telephone calls from unknown
callers saying they represented the "Revolutionary Nuclei" urban guerrilla
group and warning that the bomb would explode in minutes.
New president for AHEPA
Mr. Steve A. Manta, of Chicago, was unanimously elected Supreme President
of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) last
Mr. Manta has served as Supreme Vice President for the past two years,
travelling across the United States as well as to Greece and Cyprus.
AHEPA is the largest Greek heritage organisation in the world and a major
community service organisation in North America.
In a message to Mr. Manta, the President of the World Hellenism Council
(SAE), Mr. Andrew Athens, said: "We will be able to coordinate our actions
and deal with the provocations against Hellenism and Greece only if we stay
Mr. Athens assured Mr. Manta of the SAE's continued support for AHEPA.
Leaflet on history of Parthenon friezes
A leaflet explaining the history of the Parthenon's marble friezes has been
issued by the Culture Ministry in both Greek and English.
Greece has mounted a campaign for the return of the friezes from the
British Museum, where they have been kept since being removed from Greece
by Lord Elgin early last century.
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking at a press conference
yesterday, explained that the leaflet would be distributed abroad and as of
September in the country's schools.
He also said that a call for tenders for the construction of the Acropolis
Museum would be made by October.
Discussion begins on draft bill for Elefsis shipyards
A Parliamentary committee yesterday began discussion of a draft bill for
the transfer of the debt-ridden Elefsis shipyards. The ruling PASOK and the
main opposition New Democracy parties support the transfer, while the
Coalition of the Left reserved judgement. The Communist Party of Greece
(KKE) and the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) oppose the measure.
The same bill includes an amendment expediting procedures for the
establishment of natural gas supply companies in the Thessaloniki and
Thessaly regions, introducing tax breaks for these companies, and setting
out procedures for the establishment of an energy control authority.
Greek stocks edge up in technical rebound
Greek equity prices changed direction yesterday after a two-day decline to
end moderately higher in what traders described as a technical rebound.
Construction shares were the focus of attention. Market participants said,
however, that thin volume would stand in the way of further advance. The
general index closed 0.44 percent higher at 1,620.09 points.
Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 0.56 percent, Leasing increased
0.20 percent, Insurance was 0.74 percent up, Investment rose 0.21 percent,
Industrials were 0.35 percent higher, Construction soared 4.60 percent,
Miscellaneous rose 0.21 percent an d Holding increased 1.12 percent.
The parallel market for small cap companies jumped 1.41 percent.
Broadly, advancing issues led declining ones by 117 to 81 with another 26
Elve, Heliofin, Corinth Mills and Demetriadis scored the biggest percentage
gains, while Ermis, Chalyps Cement and Remek suffered the heaviest losses
of the day.
National Bank of Greece ended at 37,060 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,900, Alpha
Credit Bank at 19,700, Delta Dairy at 4,295, Titan Cement at 14,900,
Intracom at 13,000 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,
In the domestic foreign exchange market the dollar rebounded further
against the drachma.
Greece says 1997 tax revenue targets still feasible
Greece is running behind schedule in its tax revenue target for January-
July but the roughly two percent shortfall should be made up in coming
months, Finance Undersecretary George Drys said yesterday.
Mr. Drys told parliament late on Tuesday the socialist government's target
of a 14.6 percent growth rate in tax collection, which is contained in its
1997 budget, was still feasible this year.
The current 12.72 percent growth rate would rise in coming months due to
revenue from another 1.3 million tax returns, payments on video games,
fines for fake invoices, and property tax payments, Mr. Drys said during
debate of a bill on penalties for tax evaders.
IOC member from Algeria
Another member of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Mustafa Larfaoui
of Algeria, who is also president of the International Amateur Swimming
Federation, visited the Athens 2004 Bid Committee headquarters yesterday.
He toured Athens' athletics facilities and was briefed by Athens 2004
commitee president Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. He also planted an olive
tree in the IOC members' park.
Fine weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today except for the
mainland, the Ionian and the northern Aegean Seas where cloudiness,
scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected. Light to strong northerly
winds turning gale force in the southeastern Aegean. Partly cloudy in
Athens where temperatures will range between 20-31C. Possibility of rain in
Thessaloniki where temperatures will be from 17-27C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 287.720
Pound sterling 459.415 Cyprus pd 526.931
French franc 46.094 Swiss franc 188.549
German mark 155.258 Italian lira (100) 15.933
Yen (100) 243.972 Canadian dlr. 206.217
Australian dlr. 213.920 Irish Punt 414.676
Belgian franc 7.520 Finnish mark 51.981
Dutch guilder 137.913 Danish kr. 40.767
Swedish kr. 35.595 Norwegian kr. 37.299
Austrian sch. 22.062 Spanish peseta 1.839
Port. Escudo 1.534