Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-26
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 26/08/1997 (ANA)
- Athens hosts Europe and global economy summit
- Denktash war threats indicate unwillingness to solve problem
- Greece rejects Turkish criticism, sticks to Madrid communique
- Maltese ferry grounded with engine trouble
- Stock market on the mend
- Gov't denies rift with Ecumenical Patriarchate
- Gov't, party discuss nation's priorities
- Police target drunk drivers, stiff fines
- Gov't satisfied with implementation of '97 budget
- Xiosbank mutual fund management posts increase
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens hosts Europe and global economy summit
A meeting on Europe's contribution to the globalisation of the economy will
open on August 29 in Athens, to be addressed by a number of prominent Greek
and foreign speakers.
The official opening of the three-day conference, organised by the National
Technical University of Athens, will take place on the Pnyx Hill opposite
the Acropolis on Friday evening.
Entitled "Democracy and Development. Europe's Contribution to the
Globalisation of the Economy", the meeting will focus on issues such as
democracy and democratisation, development and human rights, European Union
enlargement, the social Europe and the European banking system.
Romanian President Emil Constantinescu will officially inaugurate the
meeting. Scheduled to speak are French Prime Minister Michel Rocard,
European Parliament President Egon Klepsch, Latvian Deputy Premier J.
Kaksitis and Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs, Slovak Interior Minister
Jozef Krajci and Bulgarian Finance Minister Muravei Radev.
Also speaking will be National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos,
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and European Commissioner
Denktash war threats indicate unwillingness to solve problem
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's warning of war in the event Cyrpus
accedes to the European Union are indicative of his lack of willingness and
his inability to contribute to the finding of a solution to the Cyprus
problem, Athens said today.
"The word 'war' should not simply be condemned when it is used but should
simply not exist in the vocabulary of political figures who aspire to find
solutions to problems they are facing," government spokesman Dimitris
Reppas said Denktash's statements were an indication of the political and
strategic crisis facing the Turkish Cypriot and Turkish sides and called on
the international community to take the statements into account.
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.
Maltese ferry grounded with engine trouble
A Maltese-flagged passenger and car ferry had engine trouble while sailing
northeast of Corfu and had to anchor at the nearby islet of Peristera.
The "Queen Vergina", which was sailing from Igoumenitsa to Bari, Italy when
the problem appeared, is now being towed by tug boats to Corfu harbour.
The vessel is carrying 696 passengers and a crew of 56.
Stock market on the mend
Greek equities showed signs of recovery after a two-day sharp decline which
pressed the Athens Stock Exchange 3.35 percent down.
Traders described the reversal of the trend as a technical rebound.
The general index closed at 1,565.96 points, up 0.6 percent. Most sector
indices scored gains. Banks fell 0.07 percent, Leasing eased 0.83 percent,
Insurance rose 0.38 percent, Investment declined 0.39 percent, Industrials
were 0.55 percent higher, Construction increased 0.49 percent, Holding was
1.35 percent up and Miscellaneous rose 0.39 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.07 percent
Trading was slightly improved and turnover was 9.7 billion drachmas.
In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar fell sharply against
the drachma following a correction in international markets.
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.
Gov't, party discuss nation's 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.
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.
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