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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-10

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, 10/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 networks.

"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 dispatch reported.

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 cooperation.

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 up.

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 added.

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 of fact."

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 secessionist entity."

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 materials.

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 unchanged.

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.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(Y.B.)


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