Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-09
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 09/09/1997 (ANA)
- Athens condemns new Dini statements
- August inflation up slightly
- Greek stocks still driven by Olympics euphoria
- Greece, Ukraine sign trade, investments pact
- Greek firms interested in Balkan road projects
- Greece warns Turkey over Bosporus Straits
- Games focus turns to organisational framework
- Government considering 2004 committee's composition
- Olympics to give Greek economy shot of adrenalin
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens condemns new Dini statements
Athens today responded to statements by Italy's foreign minister on the
existence of "two entities and two governments" in Cyprus on a visit to
Washington yesterday, saying they had been made for reasons of "expediency".
"The European Union has a policy on the issue (of Cyprus) which has been
expressed officially by the president of the Council of Ministers Jacques
Poos," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said
"The European Union has not discussed any other proposal, the political
position on the Cyprus issue has been taken unanimously, is being
implemented and will brook no change," Reppas said.
According to a Cyprus News Agency dispatch from Washington today, Lamberto
Dini, speaking to the press on Monday prior to a meeting with US Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright, said there are "two governments, two entities
and borderlines" in Cyprus.
Asked by a Turkish journalist if the part of Cyprus occupied by Turkey
since its 1974 invasion of the island needs to be recognised as an
"independent state", Dini replied he had never said such a thing.
"But I think it has to be recognised that there are two entities in Cyprus,
" noting "if there were not two entities there would not be negotiations...
for a federated state. This is the point I made," the Italian minister
Asked to say whether the "two entities are equal", Dini replied: "No, I
wouldn't say equal entities. There are two entities. They exist, they co-
exist. There are borderlines and two different governments and that is a
state of fact."
Athens and Nicosia strongly protested statements by Dini in Rome last month
after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, that "there are
two republics, two governments and two entities in Cyprus".
Repeated statements by both the Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi and
the country's foreign ministry said Dini's statements were misrepresented
by the media and that Italy recognises only the Republic of Cyprus and that
a Cyprus solution should be based on UN resolutions.
Only Turkey recognises the illegal regime, unilaterally set up in November
1983, and the UN itself has called on all states not to recognise the self-
styled entity and "not to facilitate or in any way assist the aforesaid
August inflation up slightly
Greek consumer price inflation accelerated to 5.6 percent year-on-year in
August from 5.4 percent the previous month, reflecting rises in energy
prices, housing, fruits and dairy produce.
The National Statistics Service (NSS) said that electricity and petrol
prices burdened the consumer price index by 0.07 percent and 0.8 percent
Consumer price inflation was 8.0 percent in August 1996.
NSS said it expected the inflation rate to ease in September.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas admitted there was a slight deviation
from this year's inflation target but stressed it was a temporary
Greek stocks still driven by Olympics euphoria
Greek equities gained further ground on Tuesday but the pace of advance was
considerably slower than in the previous session when the market surged
7.96 percent on euphoria that Athens was voted host of the 2004 Olympics.
The value of transactions, however, shot up to set a new 1997 record.
Turnover was 66.1 billion drachmas.
The general index closed 1.49 percent higher at 1,688.51 points, sharply
down from the day's highs. The index jumped 7.33 percent during the first
hour of the session but eased back on profit-taking.
Most sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 1.47 percent, Leasing was 0.80
percent higher, Investment increased 1.11 percent, Industrials were 2.05
percent up, Construction jumped 6.40 percent, Holding was 0.18 percent
higher, but Insurance and Miscellaneous fell by 0.08 and 2.73 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies eased 0.79 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 112 to 107 with another 11 issues
Edrasis, Bank of Athens, Mechaniki, Attikat, Aktor, Aegek and Sarandopoulos
scored the biggest percentage gains, while Babyland, Rilken, Xylemporia and
Macedonian Plastics suffered the heaviest losses.
National Bank of Greece ended at 36,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 18,300, Alpha
Credit Bank at 20,700, Delta Dairy at 4,185, Titan Cement at 16,005,
Intracom at 13,400 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas urged investors to remain calm and
said that the government would pursue the same economic policies regardless
of the fact that Athens had been awarded the 2004 Olympic Games.
Greece, Ukraine sign trade, investments pact
Greece and Ukraine have signed an agreement to boost trade and investments
between the two countries.
Under the terms of the agreement, which was signed on Monday on the
sidelines of the Thessaloniki international trade fair, businesses will
have access to practical aid and information on investments and trade.
In addition, trade fairs, conferences and seminars will be held to promote
economic ties between the two countries.
Also covering cooperation in the arts, the memorandum was signed by
representatives of Ukraine's foreign economic affairs and commerce ministry,
the Greek-Ukraine Association, and Greece's state trade fair organiser,
Greek firms interested in Balkan road projects
A consortium of five Greek construction companies has expressed interest in
the construction of a road beginning in the Federal Yugoslav Republic and
ending in Thessaloniki, according to Yugoslav Public Works Minister
The project, budgeted at 650 million dollars, will be tendered by the end
of 1997 and awarded by March, 1998.
Ivkovic was speaking at a conference on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki
International Fair on the "Technical projects: prospects for cooperation in
the new markets of southeastern Europe".
Greece's Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Undersecretary
Christos Verelis told the ANA that a number of bilateral contacts during
the meeting would lead in the immediate future to the signing of cooperation
agreements with the foreign ministry.
Earlier, representatives from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM), Bulgaria and Albania had presented their countries' proposals for
"corridor 8", extending from Durres in the west through Tirana, Skopje,
Sofia and Plovidv to end at the Black Sea ports of Burgas and Varna.
Representatives said the project, dubbed by Athens as the 'para-Egnatia',
had yet to receive full financing commitments.
The European Investment Bank has approved funding of 24 million Ecu for the
Ivkovic said the project was "pointless", doubting that it would ever be
constructed and that it would take such a long time that it would not
affect the construction of the Egnatia Highway, planned to run from the
Greek port of Igoumenitsa to the Greek town of Alexandroupolis, on the
border with Turkey.
Foreign companies expressed interest in road projects in the Balkans and
particularly in those that will connect central Europe and Russia with
southeastern Europe through the Egnatia highway and eventually become a
part of the wider Trans-European road network.
Greece warns Turkey over Bosporus Straits
Athens will raise the issue of demilitarising the Bosporus Straits if
Turkey persists in its threat to take Greece to the International Court of
Justice at The Hague over the demilitarisation of the eastern Aegean
islands, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos warned yesterday.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was responding to statements on Sunday by Turkish
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, who rejected a European Union proposal to take
its differences with Greece to The Hague over Ankara dispute of Greek
sovereignty over the islet of Imia.
Mr. Cem said instead, that Turkey would raise the issue of demilitarising
the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean.
Speaking at the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos
said: "It would be best for Ankara not to touch the issue of demilitarisation,
because it would be very easy (for us) to bring the issue of demilitarising
the (Bosporus) Straits t o the negotiating table, and the Turks know very
well how very interested foreign powers are on this issue, following
illicit actions and the checks conducted by Turkish authorities on foreign
vessels passing through the Bosporus".
Referring to peace and security in the greater area, the defence minister
criticised Turkey for what he said was the undermining of regional security
institutions promoted by the international community.
Games focus turns to organisational framework
The committee that will handle the organising of the Olympic Games of 2004
will be ready within two months at most, and following approval by the
prime minister, Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras said yesterday.
Sources said late yesterday that Prime Minister Costas Simitis has received
a proposal for the establishment of an Olympic Games undersecretariat,
which will have the general responsibility for the 2004 event.
Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Mr. Fouras described what had to
be done in the near future for the Games, and expressed appreciation for
all those who had helped promote the success of Athens' bid.
Mr. Fouras said an agency to handle the organisation of the Games, which
Athens won on Saturday by decision of the International Olympic Committee
(IOC), would be set up following meetings with Mr. Simitis.
The "institutional framework, and all bodies will be set up within one or
two months," Mr. Fouras said, adding that "there will be a legal framework
to provide the ability of minute supervision of the Games, guaranteeing
The other factor that helped the bid was "unity from all sides. I
personally will castigate anybody who tries to break up this unity in the
future," he said.
According to Mr. Fouras, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch had told him
during his visit for the opening of the World Athletics Championships last
month in Athens that "I am anxious about whether I shall be able to come to
Greece again if you do not win the Olympic Games. Your greatest asset is
the success of the opening ceremony for the championships".
Mr. Samaranch was re-elected to the presidency of the IOC during its
weekend meeting on the bid for the 2004 Games.
Government considering 2004 committee's composition
The government will soon take its decision on the operation and appointments
to the organising committee for the Games, government spokesman Dimitris
Reppas said yesterday.
Mr. 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 (S.A.) and would place emphasis on transparent procedures.
Projects not directly connected to the Olympics, he added, would continue
on the basis of the prevailing "effective, positive and satisfactory" legal
framework. On his part, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou
yesterday said the "Santer package" of European Union-related aid should
not be linked to the 2004 Olympic Games.
Replying to a press question on whether the European Union will be more
favourable towards supporting Greece in order to secure the success of the
2004 Olympics, Mr. Papandreou said:
"The projects which we have scheduled are necessary for our country,
whether or not we were awarded the Olympic Games. And this was one of the
arguments which we had repeatedly used for the members of the International
Olympic Committee (IOC). Therefore , I would not link the Santer package to
the Games. "I would not link it directly. Indirectly, of course, it has a
relationship because the (Athens) metro, the (Spata) airport and the
Stavros-Elefsina-Spata motorway are projects which are essential for t he
Olympics. The EU, one way or another, has accepted to fund them. And they
are not related to the Olympic Games."
Olympics to give Greek economy shot of adrenalin
The Olympic Games will have multiple benefits for the Greek economy due to
an anticipated large inflow of capital to vital sectors, a trend likely to
speed up the advance of many companies listed on the Greek stock market,
Economists expect the turnover of Greek industrial groups to reach 550
million dollars in the period 2000-2004 and cite the speed up of major
infrastructure projects as the main impact of the award to Athens of the
The construction sector will see 800 billion drachmas of new projects,
according to earlier estimates.
Also, information technology projects associated with the Olympic Games are
expected to exceed 50 billion drachmas, with the Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation due to play a leading role in the sector. The partly
privatised state telecom has alrea dy announced a 1.2 trillion drachma
Meanwhile, market analysts expressed their satisfaction at the market's
reaction to the news Athens will host the Olympic Games, predicting a
steady upward trend in the long-term with minor corrections.
Mostly fine weather will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds will be
northerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the southeast Aegean.
Temperatures in Athens will range between 17-32C, in Thessaloniki from 15-
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 280.895
Pound sterling 444.555 Cyprus pd 529.887
French franc 46.364 Swiss franc 190.037
German mark 155.952 Italian lira (100) 15.990
Yen (100) 232.197 Canadian dlr. 203.539
Australian dlr. 205.642 Irish Punt 421.362
Belgian franc 7.553 Finnish mark 52.060
Dutch guilder 138.453 Danish kr. 40.958
Swedish kr. 36.246 Norwegian kr. 37.928
Austrian sch. 22.159 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.535