Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-10
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 10/09/1997 (ANA)
- Greek interest in Belgrade-Thessaloniki road axis
- Minister's view of "para-Egnatia"
- Athens 2004: Messages continue to pour in
- Australian Labor leader: Keep the Games in Greece
- Athens condemns latest Dini statements regarding Cyprus
- Greenpeace defendants acquitted in Thessaloniki
- Stocks rise in record turnover still buoyed by Olympics
- Greek inflation rises to 5.6 pct yr/yr in August
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greek interest in Belgrade-Thessaloniki road axis
A consortium of five Greek construction companies has expressed interest in
the construction of the Belgrade-Thessaloniki road axis, according to
Yugoslav Public Works Minister Benuslav Ivkovic.
The project, budgeted at US$650 million, will be tendered by the end of
1997 and awarded by March 1998.
Mr. Ivkovic was speaking at a conference on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki
fair, entitled: "Technical Projects: Prospects for Cooperation in the New
Markets of Southeastern Europe".
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Undersecretary Christos Verelis
told ANA afterwards that a number of bilateral contacts made during the
conference would lead shortly to the signing of cooperation agreements with
the foreign ministry.
Earlier, representatives from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM), Bulgaria and Albania presented their proposals regarding "Corridor
8", a proposal to connect the Albanian port of Durres in the west to the
Black Sea ports of Burgas and Varna.
The representatives said the project had yet to receive commitments for
financing. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has only approved funding of
ECU24 million for the Durres-Tirana section.
Mr. Ivkovic called the project "pointless", doubting it would ever be
constructed and that it would take such a long time that it wouldn't affect
construction of the Egnatia Motorway, already under way, which will span
northern Greece, from the Ionian port of Igoumenitsa to the border city
of Alexandroupoli, when completed.
Minister's view of "para-Egnatia"
Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis,
meanwhile, said that the "para-Egnatia" motorway was not a project funded
by the European Union, while construction of the Egnatia was proceeding
according to schedule.
Mr. Laliotis made the comments at a press conference held at the Helexpo-
Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) headquarters.
He said Greece has secured an additional loan amounting to 70 billion
drachmas from the European Investment Bank to construct two additional
sections of the Egnatia Motorway, while expressing the government's
satisfaction over the conclusion of agreements by Greek construction
companies with several Balkan and Black Sea countries.
Referring to the "para-Egnatia", Mr. Laliotis drew attention to the outcome
of a study prepared on instructions by the EU concerning road transport
"On the road axis of Durres-Skopje-Sofia-Varna, the study mentions that it
is a project which is not expedient.
In addition, Mr. Laliotis said Athens also wishes to support the return of
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to international organisations and its
full participation in them, as well as to help in promoting relations
between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with the EU, according to an
announcement by the Yugoslav General Consulate in Thessaloniki, an ANA
Mr. Laliotis also expressed the conviction that talks between the Serb
government and representatives of Greek companies on the construction of a
section of the motorway in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, stretching
from Belgrade to Skopje, will succeed. It is a project for which Greece
will provide a loan amounting to US$100 million.
According to Tanjug, Mr. Laliotis and Mr. Ivkovic agreed that the inter-
state agreement on scientific and technical cooperation to be signed by the
end of 1997 will constitute a good basis for further developing bilateral
Athens 2004: messages continue to pour in
Congratulatory messages continue arriving in Greece following the selection
of Athens to host the Olympic Games of 2004, as winning the bid is slowly
beginning to sink in and preparations get under way to set up a special
agency to organise the games.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday received congratulatory messages
from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch
and President of the French Republic Jacques Chirac.
Mr. Samaranch expressed the certainty that the Greek government would
assist in guaranteeing the success of the Games. In a similar message he
sent to Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Sports Undersecretary
Andreas Fouras, he said, "I am sure your ministry will make the cultural
aspect of the games a certain success".
Mr. Chirac said that he had heard of Athens' victory with joy and said the
IOC had "paid its homage and respect to the great homeland of the Olympic
spirit and the dynamism of Greece".
Athens bid committee chairman Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and her husband
met yesterday with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who told the press
afterwards that he hoped Mrs Angelopoulos-Daskalaki would become the head
of the new Organisational Committee for the Olympic Games, yet to be set
The ministry would like to see a coordinated effort by all concerned in
order to take advantage of the new opportunities, Mr. Pangalos said.
In his daily briefing, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that
the government had no plans to upgrade the sports undersecretariat, which
belongs to the Culture ministry, to a full ministry.
The government will take all necessary measures to ensure that those
forming the committee would be the best possible for the job, he said.
Meanwhile, the Association of Greek Olympic Champions sent a congratulatory
message to Mr. Fouras yesterday, for what they termed as his "significant,
yet discreet contribution to (the) effort".
The group members expressed full support for him and said they would "do
(our) duty in the Sydney Olympics and in Athens".
"We shall always stand by you completely, because you know very well how to
honour Olympic champions. You have proven this recently by inviting to
Lausanne all of the Olympic champions, including Olympic weightlifting
coach Christos Iacovou..." the announcement said.
Australian Labor leader: Keep the Games in Greece
Australian main opposition Labor Party leader Kim Beazley yesterday called
for the Olympic Games to be returned to Greece permanently, asking the
Greek Olympic Committee to raise the issue with the International Olympic
Committee, an ANA dispatch from Mel bourne reported.
"Holding the Olympic Games should not be the privilege of just a few rich
states. Now that the Games have gone home for the 2004 Olympiad, I think
the time has come for international support for the idea of holding the
Games permanently in Greece," Mr. Beazley said in a written statement.
Athens condemns latest Dini statements regarding Cyprus
Athens again responded yesterday to statements by Italy's Foreign Minister
Lamberto Dini regarding the existence of "two entities and two governments"
in Cyprus, during his visit to Washington, saying the statements 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," Mr. Reppas said.
According to a Cyprus News Agency dispatch from Washington, Mr. 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
borders" in Cyprus.
Asked by a Turkish reporter if the part of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since
its 1974 invasion of the island needs to be recognised as an "independent
state", Mr. 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", Mr. Dini replied: "No, I
wouldn't say equal entities. There are two entities. They exist, they co-
exist. There are borders and two different governments and that is a state
Athens and Nicosia strongly protested statements by Mr. 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 Mr. 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
In statements later, Foreign Undersecretary Kranidiotis said Mr. Dini was
"incorrigible". "Despite the efforts under way by the international
community and by Greece...(Mr. Dini) persists in clashing with the
international community and with the decisions of the European Union itself,
" Mr. Kranidiotis said.
These decisions, he noted, recognise that "in Cyprus there is one
legitimate government, one Cypriot government with which the talks on the
accession of the island republic to the Community must be held".
There are two communities on Cyprus, Mr. Kranidiotis said, "but these find
themselves under the same legal international entity, the Republic of
Cyprus, which is represented by the Cypriot government."
Greenpeace defendants acquitted in Thessaloniki
A court in Thessaloniki yesterday unanimously acquitted eight members of
the international environmental advocacy group "Greenpeace", all charged
with resisting authority.
The offences were allegedly perpetrated five years ago when the defendants
attempted to prevent the unloading of toxic substances at the installations
of the Hellenic Fuel and Mineral Oils Group (EKO) in Thessaloniki.
Three Greek nationals were among the eight defendants who stood trial at
the hearing. The remaining five were tried and acquitted in absentia since
they had not been delivered subpoenas in time.
According to the indictment, in September 1992 the activists had suspended
themselves from the anchor chain of a tanker and had remained there for
five days to prevent the unloading of 2,000 tonnes of suspected toxic
Stocks rise in record turnover still buoyed by Olympics
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 p ercent, 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
Greek inflation rises to 5.6 pct yr/yr in August
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
respectively. Consumer price inflation was 8.0 percent in August 1996. NSS
said it expected the inflatio n 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 phenomenon.
Mostly fine weather will prevail throughout the country today except in
northern Greece where there will be local clouds in the afternoon. Local
fog in the Ionian Islands and mainland Greece in the morning. Winds will be
northerly, light to strong. Temperatures in Athens will range between 20-
35C, in Thessaloniki from 18-32C.
Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 282.333
Pound sterling 448.166 Cyprus pd 529.172
French franc 46.297 Swiss franc 190.032
German mark 155.665 Italian lira (100) 15.984
Yen (100) 237.435 Canadian dlr. 204.253
Australian dlr. 206.336 Irish Punt 421.223
Belgian franc 7.540 Finnish mark 51.921
Dutch guilder 138.210 Danish kr. 40.898
Swedish kr. 36.194 Norwegian kr. 37.875
Austrian sch. 22.128 Spanish peseta 1.846
Port. Escudo 1.535