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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-08-29

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, 29/08/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • New Italian foreign ministry statement on Dini-Cyprus affair
  • Pangalos says: Dini affair considered closed
  • Italian press: Dini's statements "thoughtless"
  • Poos talks to touch on Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations
  • Greek Defence Chief discusses weapon systems in Russi
  • Constantopoulos, Albanian premier discuss bilateral relations
  • US Congressmen briefed on Greek national issues
  • Book released on ancient Olympic Games
  • Five new treasury bills in September
  • Equity prices end flat in nervous trading
  • Tourist arrivals in Rhodes at three-year high
  • Cyprus looks to further business cooperation
  • National Bank's profits increase
  • Fourty-one countries in this year's Thessaloniki Trade Fair
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

New Italian foreign ministry statement on Dini-Cyprus affair

The solution to the Cyprus problem must be based on United Nations resolutions, the Italian foreign ministry reiterated yesterday in a second statement issued to entertain comments made by Foreign Minister Dini on Tuesday.

The statement was apparently prompted by criticism in yesterday's Italian press regarding Mr. Dini's statements and the subsequent fallout.

"Sources in the prime minister's office and the Italian foreign ministry have observed with surprise certain interpretations by the press according to which, in recent statements by Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini on Cyprus, there was a 'rift' in terms of Italy's traditional stance, followed by a 'patch-up' by the prime minister in his contact with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis," it said.

The ministry added: "These interpretations are unfounded, given the fact that the Italian stance on the issue which was expressed by Minister Dini and Prime Minister (Romano) Prodi remains exactly the same: the solution to the problem of Cyprus must be based on the resolutions adopted by the United Nations, in the frame of which efforts are being made to find a solution that would take into account the aspirations of both communities on the island".

Pangalos says: Dini affair considered closed

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday Athens considered the issue which had arisen due to statements by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini on the Cyprus problem to be "over" following reaffirmation by Italian Premier Romano Prodi that a solution to the problem should be based on United Nations resolutions.

"Following Italy's refutation, we can consider that the matter is over," Mr. Pangalos said.

On Tuesday, Mr. Dini was reported saying after talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in Rome that in Cyprus "there exist two governments and two entities". Mr. Dini was also reported saying that the question was "to see whether in negotiations with the EU, these two entities are recognised as equal".

His remarks provoked a sharp reaction from Athens, which termed the statements "outrageous" and demanded clarifications.

On Wednesday, the Italian foreign ministry issued a statement saying Rome recognised only the Republic of Cyprus.

Italian press: Dini's statements "thoughtless"

Front-page comments and reports in the Italian press yesterday alternately described Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini's statements on the Cyprus problem on Tuesday as "thoughtless," "unacceptable" and "provocative".

"La Repubblica" wrote: "Dini's thoughtless words about Cyprus caused an uproar. Some speak of major Italian economic interests in Turkey and of a purchase of helicopters by Turkey. It seems the Athens-Rome stand-off will continue".

"Il Jornale" said: "Dini's gaffe created a Mediterranean storm, because he either did not know, or he 'forgot' that Italy and the EU only recognise the Greek-Cypriot Republic of Cyprus.

"Economy and business are one thing, but diplomacy is something different. They are often entangled. But it is not easy to handle them in a clear way".

"Il Foglio" said: "According to some analysts, it is not a simple diplomatic gaffe. Beyond the Italian-Turkish meeting, there is the Athens- Rome stand-off for the (2004) Olympics."

Poos talks to touch on Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations

The Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations are expected to be the focus of talks Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos will have with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos in Athens today.

Mr. Poos, the current rotating president of the European Union, is visiting Greece in the framework of a tour of European Union capitals. He is also due in Ankara on Sunday.

Luxembourg presidency sources said yesterday that discusssions will focus on the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations, as well as on preparation of the Luxembourg summit at the end of November over the issue of unemployment in the Union.

Greek Defence Chief discusses weapon systems in Russia

National Defence General Staff Chief, Gen. Athanassios Tzoganis said yesterday that Russia could participate in the Greek armed forces programme to acquire weapon systems whose possibilities will be equal to those of the Russian-made S-300 missiles.

Gen. Tzoganis is visiting Russia this week, the first visit ever by a Greek military chief.

He has so far met with Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeev, his Russian counterpart Gen. Kvashine, and members of the defence committee and the Russian parliament (Duma) as well as Patriarch Alexei of Moscow and All Russia.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Gen. Tzoganis said that military cooperation between the two countries would not turn against a third country but contribute to the consolidation of stability in the wider region.

Referring to the purchase of Russian weapon systems by Greece, Gen. Tzoganis said several factors would be taken into account, adding that Athens was considering Russian technology as part of its broader interest to acquire the best kind of weapons systems.

"In the next five years, the Greek armed forces will have included in their programme the purchase of a weapon system whose possibilities will be equal to those of the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles," he said.

Greece, he added, will launch an international bid to acquire such a weapon system and Russia could bid for its S-300 missiles.

Constantopoulos, Albanian premier discuss bilateral relations

Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano yesterday said Greece was "the steam- engine of the Balkans," during talks with visiting Greek Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos.

Talks were held between the two men in the framework of Mr. Constantopoulos's visit to Tirana at the invitation of Albania's Socialist Party. During talks, Mr. Nano expressed his gratitude to the Greek people for their support of the Albanians.

Mr. Constantopoulos said that Greece and Albania would be strategic partners in facing the challenges of the 21st century.

US Congressmen briefed on Greek national issues

Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday briefed a six-member US Congressional delegation on Greek-Turkish relations, especially what he called Ankara's continued provocations against Athens after the signing of the Madrid communique for the normalisation of relations between the two countries.

Mr. Kaklamanis also referred to what he called Turkish intransigence leading to a deadlock at recent UN-led direct talks in Switzerland between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash as well as provocative statements by Turkish politicians regarding EU- Cyprus accession talks.

In addition, he noted Washington's responsibility to help preserve peace in the fragile region of eastern Mediterranean.

Mr. Kaklamanis praised the efforts by Greek-Americans to promote Greece's national rights as well as the "constructive stance," held by many members of the US Congress to promote these rights based on respect of human rights and the principles of International Law.

The US Congressmen also met with National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos for talks on issues related to security, stability and cooperation in the Balkans and Caucasus.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told reporters after the meeting that he had briefed the delegation on continuous Turkish infringements of FIR and violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean, which he described as "phenomena which come as a surprise to someone unfamiliar with the situation...We came to learn and we learned," the head of the delegation, Florida Republican Michael Bilirakis, said, describing the talks with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos as "open and necessary."

Book released on ancient Olympic Games

National Tourism Organisation (EOT) Secretary General Nikos Skoulas and the Greek Federation of Ancient Olympic Games yesterday released the book 'Ancient Olympic Games'.

The issue is a forerunner of the international conference entitled 'For A Return to the Ancient Olympic Spirit', and the 'alternative' games, which will take place at the ancient stadium of Olympia between Sept. 4- 7.

The aim of the issue and related events is the projection of Greece as the birthplace of the modern Olympic ideal.

For more information, the Greek Federation of Ancient Olympic Games, tel. (01) - 36.11.889, fax 36.33.804.

Five new treasury bills in September

Greece's finance ministry will auction five new treasury issues in September with the aim of covering the government's high borrowing requirements for the month, estimated at 2.1 trillion drachmas.

Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday that part of the state's borrowing needs for September would be covered by available capital, totalling one trillion drachmas.

The finance ministry will auction one-year interest-bearing notes on September 2. A zero coupon issue will be launched on September 12 along with an auction of fixed interest state bonds.

An auction of fluctuating interest bonds will be held on September 26 and finally, the ministry will launch new interest-bearing notes on September 30.

Equity prices end flat in nervous trading

Greek equities ended with minor changes after nervous trading on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday.

Traders said the market remains volatile, reflecting investors' concerns over the course of inflation and the government's final decisions on drafting next year's budget as well as the International Olympic Committee's decision on whether Athens will ho st the 2004 Olympic Games.

The general index closed 0.16 percent higher at 1,544,39 points. Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.18 percent, Leasing increased 0.21 percent, Insurance ended 0.64 percent up, Investment rose 0.06 percent, Industrials fell 0.11 percent, Constructi on increased 0.33 percent, Holding fell 0.08 percent and Miscellaneous rose 1.10 percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.20 percent higher.

Trading improved markedly due to the transaction of large blocks of shares in Mortgage Bank and ETEBA. Turnover was 20.3 billion drachmas.

National Bank of Greece ended at 34,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 16,800, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,750, Delta Dairy at 3,920, Titan Cement at 14,675, Intracom at 12,200 and OTE at 6,300.

In the domestic foreign exchange market, the US dollar rose by 0.46 percent against the drachma while the DMark fell by 0.27 percent.

Tourist arrivals in Rhodes at three-year high

Tourist arrivals on the Dodecanese island of Rhodes in August were 21 percent higher than last year, with a total of 66,827 tourists staying in the island's hotels, the Greek National Tourist Organisation Dodecanese office said yesterday.

Tourist authorities said the total number of tourists staying in the island exceeded 80,000 if the number of those staying in rented rooms was included.

Tourist arrivals in August 1995 totalled 53,769 and 54,155 in the same month in 1994. According to tour operators in Rhodes, the number of tourist arrivals was expected to rise further in September.

Cyprus looks to further business cooperation

Cypriot investment in Greece totalled 18 billion drachmas in the period 1991-1996, while Greek investment on the island republic were 7.6 billion drachmas, Cypriot National Economy Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday.

In an exclusive interview with the Athens News Agency, Mr. Christodoulou stressed that the Greek and Cypriot governments have put forward measures to facilitate listing of public enterprises on both countries' stock exchanges.

Government and stock market authorities were striving to retain a mutual high degree of confidence in the institutions and in companies entering the market.

Mr. Christodoulou said that the government will steadfastly pursue the convergence policy and that Cyprus was among five best-performing European Union member-states in meeting the Maastricht criteria.

National Bank's profits increase

The National Bank of Greece yesterday announced a 109.4 per cent increase in pre-tax profits which reached 40.2 billion drachmas between January-July 1997 as against 19.2 billion drachmas in the corresponding period last year.

National Bank also reported a decrease in general expenses from 13 per cent over the seven-month period in 1996 to 6.6 per cent in the same period this year.

Fourty-one countries in this year's Thessaloniki Trade Fair

HELEXPO President Antonis Kourtis said yesterday that 41 countries are participating or represented at this year's Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, which Prime Minister Costas Simitis will open on Friday, Sept. 5.

He specified that there are 14 state pavilions, exhibitors participating directly come from 11 countries, while those represented through Greek companies come from another 30 countries and from every continent.

Mr. Kourtis said this year's programme includes cultural events, part of the broader framework of the Thessaloniki Cultural Capital schedule, such as the Gala des Etoiles, to take place on Sept. 10 and 11 with the participation of 31 prominent dancers from all over the world as well as the 36th Greek Song Festival.

Among others, the new HELEXPO board, Mr. Kourtis said, intends to organise Greek product exhibitions in eastern Europe, including Kiev, Belgrade, St. Petersburg and Moscow.

WEATHER

Fine weather is forecast for most parts of the country today except for central and northern Greece where it will be cloudy with possible rain in the mountainous regions of Macedonia. Winds variable, light to strong. Athens will be sunny and temperatures will rise from 19-34C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 17-31C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.206 Pound sterling 454.931 Cyprus pd 528.438 French franc 46.287 Swiss franc 188.763 German mark 155.843 Italian lira (100) 15.951 Yen (100) 237.554 Canadian dlr. 202.507 Australian dlr. 208.419 Irish Punt 415.331 Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 51.971 Dutch guilder 138.364 Danish kr. 40.920 Swedish kr. 35.809 Norwegian kr. 37.676 Austrian sch. 22.158 Spanish peseta 1.846 Port. Escudo 1.537

(C.E.)


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