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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-25

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, 25/08/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Talks on economy, 1998 budget and foreign policy resume today
  • Concert against Turkish occupation held in Cyprus
  • US congressmen pledge support for end to Cyprus occupation
  • Turkish violations of Greek airspace reported
  • Gov't spokesman proposes Maria Damanaki for Athens mayor
  • Veteran Cypriot diplomat Nikos Kranidiotis dies
  • Romanian telecoms to float 30 per cent of shares
  • Nikas expanding into Balkans
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Talks on economy, 1998 budget and foreign policy resume today

Ruling PASOK's political secretariat today will resume its discussions, which began on Friday, concentrating mostly on economic issues, and especially the 1998 budget.

Friday's meeting opened with a report by Prime Minister and PASOK President Costas Simitis on promoting the government's work and dealing with the problems the nation is facing.

The main topics on the agenda today are the performance of the 1997 budget and the drafting of the budget for next year, which National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou has called "crucial".

Discussions on the economy are expected to intensify this week, allowing Mr. Simitis to present the government's overall positions at the annual premier's speech on the economy during the Thessaloniki International Fair, which opens on the first weekend of September.

The political secretariat meetings are being attended by Mr. Papantoniou, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Alekos Papadopoulos and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

Mr. Pangalos is expected to discuss issues of foreign policy with the prime minister and members of the secretariat at today's meeting, especially the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations.

Concert against Turkish occupation held in Cyprus

A concert opened at the Paralimni stadium yesterday to commemorate the deaths of two anti-occupation demontrators, who were killed by a Turkish mob and occupation forces last year during protests against the Turkish occupation of one-third of the island republic.

The event was attended by Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos, House Speaker Spyros Kyprianou, party leaders, ministers and members of parliament.

The Greek government was represented by Greek ambassador in Nicosia Kyriakos Rodoussakis. Also attending were main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, the president of the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) Dimitris Tsovolas and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Before the concert began, Paralimni Mayor Nikos Vlittis received a flame lit at the Acropolis of Athens and transported by reserve commado officers by speedboats. Upon receiving the flame, Mr. Vlittis said this flame would be placed on the tombs of thos e who had died, to remind eveyrone of the duty towards the occupied part of their country.

The concert included noted Greek singers Giorgos Dalaras and Alkinoos Ioannidis, Cypriot composer Marios Tokas and others.

US Congressmen pledge support for end to Cyprus occupation

Four US Congressmen, in Cyprus to attend the World Congress of Overseas Cypriots, called for an end to the illegal Turkish occupation of the island republic and said the US administration should make a constructive contribution towards this goal.

Speaking on arrival at Larnaca airport, Robert Menendez described the timing of their visit as "crucial and promising for Cyprus" and added "we seek to get first hand knowledge and facts from policy makers in Cyprus and do whatever we can to help in a cons tructive way to resolve this circumstance here".

"We believe the US Congress has a major foreign policy role to play and we are very concerned about the continuing occupation in the north", he added.

Mr. Menendez expressed the hope that, as the European Union considers the accession of Cyprus next year, "this would be a critical moment for a just and lasting solution".

Congressman Maurice Hinchey described the Turkish occupation as "inappropriate and illegal", and said "the people of Cyprus need to be given the opportunity to determine their own future as soon as posible".

"The US administration has a constructive role to play to resolve the situation as it has good relations with all parties involved," he added.

Robert Andrews said "we are here to call attention to the ongoing abrogation of human rights by the occupiers in the north, here we have a clear-cut unmistakable case of human rights violation".

He also said he believed "it is imperative for the US government to bring to an end this occupation".

Congressman Alcee Hastings pledged to "try as best as we can to try and assist in peace and stability in this region".

Asked to assess the involvement of US presidential emissary for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke in efforts to bring a settlement, Mr. Menendez said the Congressmen commended Mr. Holbrooke's appointment in a letter to US President Bill Clinton and outlined thei r views on how best to try and seek a resolution of the Cyrpus question.

"In the letter we said we hope to see emerge from negotiations a federated state that derives its power from the federated constitution, that guarantees all its citizens free passage throughout the country, one country, one nation, one people, a country that guarantees basic human rights and property rights", he said.

Turkish violations of Greek airspace reported

Ten pairs of Turkish F-16 warplanes infringed on Greek airspace on at least 10 occasions and violated Athens FIR regulations three times on Friday near the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Hios and Symi, sources at the national defence ministry said.

All Turkish violators were successfully intercepted, the same sources said, while six engagements were also reported.

Gov't spokesman proposes Maria Damanaki for Athens mayor

Elections in large municipalities cannot be exploited by political parties for political gain, but must remain independent of party politics, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas noted, as he proposed Maria Damanaki, a former Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader could run for Athens mayor.

In statements to the "Sunday Eleftherotypia", Mr. Reppas said that the results in the three largest cities of Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki, Piraeus) contained political messages, but that did not mean that municipal elections should be seen as means of political gain by various parties.

"Municipal elections do not promote or bring down governments," he was quoted as saying. "Local government is not a prelude or an extension of politics. It has to find its own independent character."

A Synaspismos press spokesman responding to the interview on a private radio station, saying that "if Maria Damanaki wants to become a candidate for the mayorship of Athens, Synaspismos' support must be considered a given and obvious fact".

He noted, however, that the possibility of PASOK and Synaspismos proposing a joint candidate was slim, because "up to now we only have positive statements from separate individuals in PASOK", instead of a specific proposal. Municipal elections are scheduled for next year.

Veteran Cypriot diplomat Nikos Kranidiotis dies

Diplomat, poet and author Nikos Kranidiotis, the father of the current Greek foreign undersecretary, died yesterday in Athens at the age of 86.

Kranidiotis was born in Kyrenia and studied at the universities of Athens and Harvard. He was a close associate of the then-president of Cyprus and Archbishop Makarios and took an active part in Cyprus' struggle for independence.

He became Cyprus' ambassador to Athens in 1959, following the establishment of the Cyprus Republic, and ended his term with retirement in 1979.

His son, Yiannos Kranidiotis, current Greek foreign undersecretary, ended an official visit to Cyprus and returned to Athens yesterday.

Romanian telecoms to float 30 per cent of shares

The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) is considering a possible participation in the partial privatisation of Rom Telecom, the Romania state-owned telecommunications organisation.

Rom Telecom will float 30 per cent of its shares in the European market in the near future, to a total expected to reach US$ four billion.

Ten of the top investment banks in the world are interested in managing the flotation for Rom Telecom. These include Credit Suisse, First Boston, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Lazards, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, ABN-AMRO Bank jointly with NM Rothschild, and Lehman Brothers in association with SBC Warburg.

Nikas expanding into Balkans

Greek sausage-maker Nikas increased its sales so far this year by 15 per cent, while its turnover for 1996 totalled 16.7 billion drachas, as against 14.9 billion drachmas for 1995, the company announced.

The company announced it would distribute a dividend of 135 drachmas per share on its 1996 turnover.

It also announced an ambitious programme to open plants in three Balkan countries where no such units currently exist.

In Skopje, Nikas will set up a new unit and retain 90 per cent control, while the remaining 10 per cent will be owned by a local businessman who will also be responsible for management.

In a joint venture with another businessman, Nikas plans to set up a joint venture in Bulgaria, retaining 49 per cent ownership.

Nikas is also negotiating with Romanian businessmen the possibility of a joint venture in that country.

A new unit is under construction in Cyprus jointly with Grigoriou SA, in which Nikas owns a 36 per cent share. The unit will target the Lebanese market.

WEATHER

Mostly fine weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today with some cloudiness in Macedonia, Thrace and the northern Aegean with scattered showers or storms in the afternoon. Winds variable, light to strong, turning to gale force in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be partly cloudy with possible showers in the afternoon with temperatures between 19-30C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 18-27C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.099 Pound sterling 453.780 Cyprus pd 530.026 French franc 46.283 Swiss franc 188.381 German mark 155.833 Italian lira (100) 15.979 Yen (100) 242.604 Canadian dlr. 203.162 Australian dlr. 212.080 Irish Punt 415.648 Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 52.209 Dutch guilder 138.419 Danish kr. 40.916 Swedish kr. 35.752 Norwegian kr. 37.383 Austrian sch. 22.142 Spanish peseta 1.848 Port. Escudo 1.538

(C.E.)


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