Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-26
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 26/08/1997 (ANA)
- Greece rejects Turkish criticism, sticks to Madrid communique
- Cyprus President meets with Karamanlis, Tsovolas
- Bilateral relations with Croatia 'excellent'
- Gov't denies rift with Ecumenical Patriarchate
- Talk of joint Athens mayor candidate "premature", Pangalos says
- Gov't, party discuss nation's top priorities
- Disagreements over VAN quake prediction method aired
- Police target drunk drivers, stiff fines
- Gov't satisfied with implementation of '97 budget
- Greek stocks tumble 1.75 pct on '98 budget jitters
- Greece hosts international farming conference
- Xiosbank mutual fund management posts increase
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece rejects Turkish criticism, sticks to Madrid communique
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Greece is correctly
interpreting the Madrid communique, adding that Greek-Turkish relations
should not be based on the use of or threat to use force.
He was commenting on statements yesterday by Turkish-European Union and
Cypriot Affairs Minister Sukru Gurel, who said that he doubted Greece's
intentions regarding the Madrid communique and attributed responsibilities
on the Greek side over delays in work by the "experts committees" set up by
the two countries to record Greek-Turkish differences.
In an interview with Athens daily "Exousia", Mr. Gurel also said that
unless the European Union decided by the end of this year to include Turkey
among the nations to join it, Ankara would consider withdrawing its
application for full accession to the 15-member Union.
Asked if Mr. Gurel's statement was compatible with the spirit of the Madrid
communique, signed between Greece and Turkey on the sidelines of the NATO
summit in Madrid this summer in an effort to normalise relations between
the two NATO allies, Mr. Pangalos said:
"The Madrid communique is just a written statement of intent. It does not
solve any problem. Greece is interpreting correctly the joint communique
and relations between states should not be based on the use of violence and
the threat of use of violence."
Mr. Pangalos added that Turkey was behaving in an irrational manner since
in essence it was forcing Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to freeze
face-to-face consultations with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.
"Turkey is driving itself to marginalisation," the minister said, adding
that this was not desired by Greece, a country which favours the development
of Turkey's European orientation.
Turkey expressed its opposition to the commencement of accession talks
between Cyprus and the European Union, maintaining that Cyprus cannot
become an EU unless Turkey joins the Union at the same time.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas attributed Turkish statements to "the
fluidity of political life in Turkey," He said statements were made in view
of political developments in Turkey, adding that Greece should not be
"disoriented by such statements."
Regarding Mr. Gurel's statement that Turkey would consider withdrawing its
application for full membership from the European Union, he said that
Turkey was far away from meeting even the most basic criteria for equal
participation into the European Union.
"The European Union will not succumb to blackmail," he added.
Cyprus President meets with Karamanlis, Tsovolas
Main opposition New Democracy fully supports Cyprus' struggle for a just
solution to its protracted problem, ND leader Costas Karamanlis stressed
yesterday after talks in Nicosia with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Mr. Karamanlis said he assured the
Cypriot president of his personal and ND's commitment to a just solution to
the Cyprus problem in compliance with relevant UN resolutions.
He also affirmed New Democracy's full support for Cyprus' bid to become a
European Union (EU) member. this should be formalised" he said.
Mr. Karamanlis told the press he had a "very thorough discussion on all
aspects of the Cyprus problem" with President Clerides, particularly at
this "very crucial stage", during which the Turkish side continues and
intensifies its provocative policy.
Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) President Dimitris Tsovolas who also
held talks yesterday with President Clerides told reporters later that "we
should all help towards projecting (to the international public opinion)
Turkey's intransigence, because this ongoing violation of international
legality and Cypriot Hellenism's human ri ghts can no longer be tolerated".
Bilateral relations with Croatia 'excellent'
Greece's relations with Croatia are excellent, the Greek ambassador to
Zagreb Constantinos Gerokostopoulos was reported as telling the 'Novi List'
newspaper, published in Rijeka.
He also said the two countries hold identical views on many international
issues, adding that Athens was interested in the development of economic
cooperation with Croatia in all sectors.
He specified that this interest is particularly focused on the use of the
port of Rijeka, and the provision of aid for the construction of a national
highway along the Adriatic coast, which will extend as far as the Greek
border via Albania.
Gov't denies rift with Ecumenical Patriarchate
The foreign ministry does not intervene in relations between bishoprics and
the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said
yesterday in response to press questions.
Referring to reports of Patriarch Vartholomeos's dissatisfaction that Mr.
Pangalos failed to pay the Patriarch a visit while he was in Istanbul, Mr.
Pangalos said it was a great honour to be invited to dinner with the
Patriarch but that the nature of his visit excluded his attendance. Mr.
Pangalos was in Istanbul to attend the summit of Black Sea countries.
In related statements, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas categorically
denied that the government was pursuing a breach in relations with the
On the contrary, Mr. Reppas said, "it is inconceivable that these relations
could no longer be relations of friendship, love and cooperation."
Greece, Mr. Reppas said, supported the work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,
adding that relations between the Patriarchate and the Greek government
were very good and cooperation between them unhindered.
Asked why Mr. Pangalos did not pay a visit to Ecumenical Patriarch
Vartholomeos during his visit to Istanbul, Mr. Reppas said a visit to the
Patriarchate was not on the minister's agenda.
Asked if the Patriarch would visit Athens, Mr. Reppas said the government
did not interfere with church matters.
Talk of joint Athens mayor candidate "premature", Pangalos says
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday called "premature" statements
by Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas on a possible joint PASOK and
Coalition of the Left and Progress candidacy for Athens mayor in next
year's municipal elections.
Mr. Pangalos was responding to press questions regarding Mr. Reppas'
statements in Sunday's "Eleftherotypia" which hinted at a possible joining
of forces to back the Coalition's Maria Damanaki as mayor of Athens.
Mr. Pangalos said he respected Ms Damanaki as an opponent, adding "Maria
Damanaki is a good candidate but elections are neither a competition or
beauty contest. The best person is the winner."
Later, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said he had outlined his
personal opinions in the interview and that they were not representative of
the position of the government or the prime minister.
Gov't, party discuss nation's top priorities
PASOK political secretariat yesterday spelled out the government's and the
ruling party's goals for the next three years, at a meeting that began on
Friday and continued yesterday.
According to government sources, there was full agreement between Prime
Minister Costas Simitis and PASOK's political secretariat on the government's
priorities for the long term.
The priorities, as reportedly proposed by Mr. Simitis, are topped by
Greece's inclusion in the Economic and Monetary Union, as formulated by the
The country's participation in European developments on an equal basis is a
Greece's presence in the Balkans, another important target, must effectively
use its twin advantage of being both an EU and NATO member, as well as
being part of the Balkans.
The modernisation of the country is a fourth priority, including great
changes in the sectors of education, health and public administration.
Disagreements over VAN quake prediction method aired
Seismologists attending an international congress in Thessaloniki were
divided into two camps yesterday following disagreeents on the effectiveness
of VAN, a method of predicting earthquakes invented by a team of Greek
Scientists attending the 29th World Seismology Conference, said the
method's results were "entirely vague" and called on one of its founders,
University of Athens physics professor Costas Varotsos, to provide
infallible scientific proof for the validity of his method. The VAN method,
first introduced in Greece in 1981, bears the initials of the three Greek
scientists that collaborated in devising it, two physicists and an
Prof. Varotsos defended the method, saying that its success had "been
published last year in a serious scientific magazine, which was not replied
to by critics".
His comments raised storms of protest from a noted American professor at
Tokyo University, Robert Geller, and French professor Pascal Bernard, as
well as from Greek professor Vassilis Papazachos.
"The VAN method may be used only as a method of understanding the genesis
of the phenomenon of earthquakes, not for their prediction," Prof. Bernard
said. The 10-day conference is being attended by about 1,000 scientists
from around the world.
Police target drunk drivers, stiff fines
Traffic police in the Attica prefecture are on full alert for those driving
under the influence of alcohol following a memorandum from a senior
Traffic police conducted checks on 711 drivers on major roads over the
weekend. Sixty-six drivers were found to be driving over the limit. Of
those, 48 were served with summons while another 18 were charged yesterday
and their vehicles - both cars and motorcycles - confiscated.
Eight drivers found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol over
the weekend were handed fines, jail sentences and had their licences were
suspended, while all eight will have their vehicles' impounded at least
until their cases come before an appeals court.
Fines ranged from 100,000 to 200,000 drachmas.
The eight were the first batch of drivers to feel the brunt of a new "get-
tough" police campaign against drunk driving in the greater Athens
Gov't satisfied with implementation of '97 budget
The government expects its 1997 budget to attain at least the same rate of
implementation as in the last two years, government spokesman Dimitris
Reppas said yesterday.
Replying to questions, Mr. Reppas told reporters that the government had no
plans to introduce new taxes, a sign that economic policy so far was
effective and targets were being met.
Asked whether the government would resort to foreign borrowing in order to
make up state deficits, Mr. Reppas said discussion of loans from abroad was
usual while drafting the budget.
Greek stocks tumble 1.75 pct on '98 budget jitters
Greek equities remained under strong pressure on the Athens Stock Exchange
yesterday to end substantially lower, extending Friday's heavy losses.
Traders said the market was uneasy ahead of the government's final
decisions over next year's budget.
Investors were also awaiting the International Olympic Committee's decision
on September 5 on whether Athens would host the 2004 Olympics.
The general index closed 1.75 percent lower at 1,564.99 points with most
sector indices losing ground. Banks fell 1.91 percent, Leasing was 0.82
percent off, Insurance eased 1.82 percent, Investment dropped 1.98 percent,
Industrials fell 2.05 percent, C onstruction plunged 3.06 percent, Holding
fell 2.49 percent.
Miscellaneous bucked the trend to end 0.15 percent higher.
The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.16 percent.
Trading remained subdued and turnover was 8.2 billion drachmas.
In the broader market decliners led advancers by 171 to 30 with another 16
Halyps Cement, Nafpaktos Mills, Remek and Heliofin scored the biggest
percentage gains, while Mouriades, Atemke, Parnassos Enterprises and Aemet
suffered the heaviest losses of the day.
National Bank of Greece ended at 35,900 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,100, Alpha
Credit Bank at 18,905, Delta Dairy at 3,935, Titan Cement at 14,680,
Intracom at 12,280 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,
In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar rose by 0.09 percent
against the drachma.
Greece hosts international farming conference
Greek Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday opened a farming
conference on the island of Crete that will debate the internationalisation
of farming and its repercussions on production, society and the economy.
Three hundred delegates from around the world divided into 17 working
groups are attending the conference, whose language is English.
Xiosbank mutual fund management posts increase
Total mutual fund management by Xiosbank recorded an 85.7 per cent increase
in the first seven months of 1997, reaching 143. 238 billion drachmas on
Xios Equity fund showed a 66.09 per cent return, its assets reaching
5.233 billion drachmas
Xios Income recorded a 7. 45 per cent return, its assets totalling 61.4
Xios Reserve showed a 6.64 per cent return, assets totalling 56.7 billion
Xios Invest recorded a 31.94 per cent return, with assets totalling 16.2
Xios Mark assets reached 3.7 billion drachmas, and showed a positive
return despite the depreciation of the German currency.
Fine weather is forecast for most parts of the country today except for
central and northern Greece where it will be cloudy with the possibility of
scattered showers in the afternoon. Winds northerly, light to moderate.
Sunny with a few clouds in Athens with temperatures from 18-31C Same in
Thessaloniki with temperatures from 16-29C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.347
Pound sterling 455.983 Cyprus pd 530.720
French franc 46.283 Swiss franc 189.408
German mark 155.932 Italian lira (100) 15.982
Yen (100) 240.649 Canadian dlr. 203.955
Australian dlr. 212.928 Irish Punt 417.473
Belgian franc 7.555 Finnish mark 52.181
Dutch guilder 138.508 Danish kr. 40.946
Swedish kr. 35.730 Norwegian kr. 37.398
Austrian sch. 22.161 Spanish peseta 1.844
Port. Escudo 1.540