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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-08-26

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, 26/08/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 Christos Papoutsis.

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.

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 higher.

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 Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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 European Union.

The country's participation in European developments on an equal basis is a second priority.

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 prosecution official.

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 area.

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 August 22.

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 billion drachmas

Xios Reserve showed a 6.64 per cent return, assets totalling 56.7 billion drachmas

Xios Invest recorded a 31.94 per cent return, with assets totalling 16.2 billion drachmas

Xios Mark assets reached 3.7 billion drachmas, and showed a positive return despite the depreciation of the German currency.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(M.P.)


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