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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


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
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


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 tactics."

"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 Cyprus problem.

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 August.

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 flame.

Well-known Greek singer Giorgos Dalaras will give a concert as part of commemorative events.

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 week.

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 united."

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 issues unchanged.

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, 520.

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


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