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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-08

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, 08/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek stocks surge on Olympics euphoria
  • Athens slams provocative Turkish statements
  • PM Simitis to visit Albania soon
  • Alternate FM meets OSCE official
  • Olympics will strengthen Greece's international standing
  • Gov't decisions soon
  • Naked Ecology leader sought
  • Fire at Fiat plant under control
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek stocks surge on Olympics euphoria

Greek equities scored the biggest daily gains in history on the Athens Stock Exchange reflecting the market's euphoria on the first trading session after Friday's vote to award Athens the staging of the 2004 Olympic Games.

Traders said the market was jubilant with analysts, economists and politicians all agreeing that the Olympic Games would have a positive impact on the Greek economy in the long-term.

Buying orders were massive pushing almost 80 percent of the market's total issues up to hit the daily ceiling of 8 percent and the general index to its highest close since June.

It ended at 1,663.69 points, up 122.69 points or 7.96 percent.

All sector indices ended sharply higher. Banks, Leasing, Investment, Industrials and Construction were 8 percent up, Insurance and Holding followed with a rise of 7.9 percent and Miscellaneous ended 7 percent higher.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 6.9 percent up.

Trading was heavy and turnover was 19.2 billion drachmas.

Broadly, advancers overwhelmingly led decliners by 264 to 2 with another 5 issues unchanged.

Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), National Bank, Alpha Credit Bank, Titan Cement and Intracom were among the 183 issues to end at the daily ceiling, while Etma, Allatini and Remek were the only issues to end lower.

National Bank of Greece ended at 36,072 drachmas, Ergobank at 18,252, Alpha Credit at 20,250, Delta Dairy at 4,449, Titan Cement at 15,660, Intracom at 13,581 and OTE at 7,020.

Athens slams provocative Turkish statements

Turkey is marginalising itself and will find itself facing problems in becoming a part of international law and order, Athens said today in response to recent statements by high-ranking Turkish officials.

"The problem is not Greek-Turkish but a more general fact that Turkey does not recognise the general jurisdiction of the Court at the Hague which has been recognised by the whole of the civilised world," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

Reppas was responding to statements from Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem yesterday that Ankara had rejected a European Union proposal to take its differences with Greece to the International Court at the Hague and said it wanted the EU to press Greece to demilitarise the eastern Aegean islands.

Referring to statements from Turkish foreign undersecretary Inal Batu today calling "irresponsible" Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis's response that a Turkish attack on Cyprus would be cause for war, Reppas said the Greek premier had outlined a clear position, reiterating the positions of Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides.

"We desire," he added, "the full demilitarisation of the island and in consequence we ask who is irresponsible and who is responsible. The one who wants demilitarisation or the opposite? Irresponsible officials do not exist on the Greek side."

"The spirit of the Madrid communique (signed earlier this summer between Greece and Turkey in an effort to normalise relations between the two NATO allies) is alive but seeking a response from the Turkish side," Reppas said.

The extreme and provocative statements by Turkish officials such as Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit illustrate that the political leadership in Ankara does not coincide with what was signed by the President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel in Madrid," he said.

Avoiding casus belli relates to both countries, Reppas said, stressing, however, that in reality only Turkey had to change and adjust its foreign policy since Turkish officials spoke of bombings or attacks on Cyprus, statements which in reality constitute acts of aggression.

Reppas said expert committees from both countries could still meet but that the scheduled meeting did not take place due to the negative climate created by the statements of Turkish officials such as Ecevit, "resulting in the two sides being unable to speak in good faith."

PM Simitis to visit Albania soon

Prime Minister Costas Simitis may visit Albania in the coming months, according to a statement by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos this morning following a meeting with visiting Albanian parliament Speaker Skender Gjinushi.

"I hope that Mr. Simitis will visit Albanian in autumn," said Pangalos.

Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo is to visit Athens within the next few days, while President Rexhep Meidani is also expected in Greece soon.

Pangalos said his talks with Gjinushi, who is on a three-day visit at the invitation of Greek counterpart Apostolos Kaklamanis, centred on the reconstruction of the political system in the neighbouring country and the economic situation there, as well as bilateral relations.

Gjinushi later met with his Greek counterpart Apostolos Kaklamanis and pledged the new Albanian Parliament's full respect for human rights in the neighbouring country.

Kaklamanis said the two had discussed the efforts for reconstruction, restoration of law and order, and the reform and modernisation of the state's infrastructure as well as the country's new constitution and the situation of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania.

Kaklamanis stressed Athens' interest in individual and human rights for the ethnic Greek minority.

Also on the agenda of the talks was the presence in Greece of hundreds of thousands of Albanian nationals. The two agreed on the need for the establishment of a standing legal framework which would enable the presence of the Albanians to be a factor of good cooperation and relations between the two countries.

On the part of the Greek Parliament, Kaklamanis affirmed that it was willing to assist the new Albanian Parliament with technical and expert support.

Gjinushi said Greece had proven itself by standing by Albania during its recent turmoil and had shown its interest by its immediate support of the new Albanian government.

He pledged that cooperation between the two parliaments would continue - both within the framework of Balkan and Black Sea organisations - so as to make Greek-Albanian relations an example for the rest of the region.

Alternate FM meets OSCE official

The commissioner for minorities of the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE) Hans Van der Stoel expressed interested in the situation of ethnic Greeks living in Istanbul and the islands of Tenedos and Imbros, in a meeting here today with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

Papandreou said after the meeting that they had discussed measures being taken to benefit the Moslem minority in Thrace, including a review of article 19 of the nationality code.

The Minister also stated Greece's willingness to participate in peace efforts in Kosovo and to contribute towards any related intiative.

"We had the opportunity to review all the problems facing minorities in the Balkans. We began with Kosovo, and also discussed problems faced by ethnic Greek minorities, such as in Albania," Papandreou said after his meeting with Van der Stoel.

With regard to a review of the Greek nationality code, he added:

"This is something we have been discussing at the Foreign Ministry and when we are ready we will make an announcement."

The commissioner also expressed interest in the problems faced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, the Byzantine cathedral of Aghia Sophia in the Turkish city and "a series of other issues which we consider are of the utmost importance for our country" said Papandreou.

He added that Van der Stoel "wants to contribute intiatives to all the issues I mentioned".

Olympics will strengthen Greece's international standing

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in his Thessakoniki International Trade Fair press conference yesterday that the assumption of the 2004 Olympic Games by Athens will have a positive effect on Greece's national issues and particularly relations with Turkey.

"The Olympic Games are an event that will allow us to strengthen Greece's standing in the international community. They will allow us to promote Greek positions on our national issues and give us the opportunity to promote the policy of peace and friend ship towards everybody. I don't think they will influence Turkey as far as her policy is concerned. Turkey is being influenced for some time now by the policy we follow, by the initiatives that we undertake, by the continually growing acceptance of our views in the framework of the European Union. It is not the Olympic Games that mark a change in this course. It is some time now that acceptance of our views has risen considerably, and will continue so, the Olympics are a means for this, however we have ma ny means at our disposal and we use them".

Mr. Simitis was also asked whether the Games will have repercussions on the economy and whether projects underway in rural areas will be restricted to enable the completion of projects which are essential for the Games. He replied that according to estimations already made, "the Olympic Games will make a positive contribution to the country in general and to the Greek economy."

Mr. Simitis recalled that 80 per cent of necessary installations were already in place and functioning, adding that funds required for the remaining projects "can be secured through regular channels."

He said that organising the Olympiad will also have repercussions which will not be immediately measurable, such as an increase in tourism before, during and after the Games.

On the question of the completion rates of projects in rural areas, Mr. Simitis stated categorically that development projects will continue to be carried out throughout the country.

"The Olympic Games are a milestone, a process which will contribute to the achievement of certain political and economic targets. It is not our main mission, our primary target. Our primary target is to shape other conditions for economic growth. We have repeatedly stressed that we want strong rural regions," he said.

"It is not necessary for us to divert resources from elsewhere to support the Olympic Games, since that would mean diverting our policy in a direction which is not compatible with our views. Our policy has the primary target of promoting all of Greece, of strengthening the rural regions. And we will continue this policy," he added.

At this point, Mr. Simitis referred to the third Community Support Framework which, he said, will provide considerable resources for the country and rural regions in particular.

Commenting on projects for the Olympic Games, Mr. Simitis announced that an agency will be created to assume responsibility for all related issues. He said the government would ensure "that nobody will ever be able to claim that this organisation (of the Olympiad) is involved in any way in processes which are not transparent, processes operating in favour of a few who might exploit the need for projects and supplies."

Gov't decisions soon

The government will soon take its decision on the operation and appointments to the organising committee for the 2004 Olympic Games, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

Reppas said the decisions would take into account the positive work of the Athens 2004 bid committee.

The organising committee, he added, would take the form of a societe anonyme and would place emphasis on transparent procedures.

Projects not directly connected to the Olympic Games, he added, would continue on the basis of the prevailing &effective, positive and satisfactory" legal framework.

Naked Ecology leader sought

An Athens prosecution official today issued a warrent for the arrest Dimosthenes Vergis, the leader of Greece's fringe Ecology Party, for offending public decency.

The order came after numerous anonymous complaints to the prosecutor's office over the Ecology Party's latest poster, which portrays Vergis in all his naked glory.

Fire at Fiat plant under control

A large fire is blazing at a spare parts warehouse belonging to FIAT on the old Athens-Thebes highway. Thirteen fire engines manned by 40 firemen are fighting the blaze, assisted by local municipal workers. The fire broke out just before noon.

Later reports said the fire had been brought under partial control by early afternoon and fire officials said the likelihood of the fire spreading to surrounding properties was minimal.

The back wall of the warehouse collapsed, fire officials said, while the contents of the warehouse - spare parts and accessories - were totally destroyed.

The 15 workers inside the warehouse at the time tried to put the fire out but it grew out of control so quickly that the sprinkler system was unable to be activated in time, Fiat general director Mr. Benaveli said.

Workers said the fire spread quickly due to the presence of lubricants in the warehouse.

Mr. Benaveli said he estimated the damage at 2.5 billion drachmas.

Initial reports said the fire was sparked by a short circuit.

WEATHER

A mostly fine day is forecast for today with local cloud developing in the afternoon in eastern and northern Greece and moderate to strong northerly winds, reaching very strong in the Aegean Sea but expected to ease later in the day. Athens and Thessaloniki can expect a mostly fine day with mild to moderate winds and temperature ranges 18-29C and 16-27C respectively.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.563 Pound sterling 449.793 Cyprus pd 530.323 French franc 46.443 Swiss franc 190.102 German mark 156.255 Italian lira (100) 16.034 Yen (100) 234.588 Canadian dlr. 205.185 Australian dlr. 206.782 Irish Punt 418.981 Belgian franc 7.566 Finnish mark 52.179 Dutch guilder 138.751 Danish kr. 41.053 Swedish kr. 36.244 Norwegian kr. 38.051 Austrian sch. 22.206 Spanish peseta 1.853 Port. Escudo 1.542

(M.P.)


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