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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-19

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, 19/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece studies NATO measures to reduce tension in the Aegean
  • Stations to begin monitoring Evros river pollution
  • Gov't determined to implement 'Kapodistrias' plan
  • Pangalos reiterates Cyprus' call for demilitarisation
  • Ancient Dodoni theatre to receive funds for works
  • Oreja says Athens 2004 Olympics a European event
  • Gov't fires all personnel hired after July 31, 1997
  • IOBE study says Olympic's dominance, future threatened
  • Negotiations continue on Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline
  • Development ministry initiative to contain inflation
  • Greece's Titan Cement eyes Serbian producers
  • Greek, Korean commerce officials to hold talks in Athens
  • Greek stocks recover after pummelling by profit-takers
  • Imports trample Greek shoe manufacturers
  • AEK wins European Cup Winners' match
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece studies NATO measures to reduce tension in the Aegean

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos revealed yesterday that NATO Secretary General Javier Solana had submitted a new package of measures designed to reduce tension in the Aegean which the Greek government was presently studying. "We will respond by the end of the month," Mr. Pang alos said, without giving further details.

"Greece," he said, "wants to transform the Aegean into a sea of peace and does not desire the escalation of tension.

"However, it is not prepared to legitimise arbitrary Turkish views and claims on the region," he said. "If we can deal with the problems in the Aegean and there is a climate of confidence between the two countries," Mr. Pangalos said, "then we can begin examining the easing of tension in regard to the armaments of the two countries."

Greece's foreign policy goals, he added, remained the same: Greece's equal participation in the European Union; and playing a leading role in the pursuit of peace and progress in the Balkans.

In a related development, Mr. Solana said war between Greece and Turkey is inconceivable, in reply to a question by the Athens News Agency (ANA) in Washington yesterday.

"I cannot conceive war between two NATO member-states. I cannot conceive this possibility," he said, adding that he was optimistic over the prospect of an improvement in Greek-Turkish relations.

Commenting on efforts being made by NATO for an improvement in Greek- Turkish relations, Mr. Solana said "I started a discreet round of talks with Greece and Turkey which was concluded in July and we had a partial success. We are trying to start again in the coming weeks and continue to work on confidence-building measures and we will try to offer what we can there."

Mr. Solana disclosed that on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next week, he would be meeting twice with the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey and will have the opportunity to discuss NATO's initiative with them.

Stations to begin monitoring Evros river pollution

Two stations to monitor the quality of water in Evros River will be set up at Gemisti and Dikea sites, with results forwarded to the Evros prefecture.

The stations will be established following concern about polluted runoff emanating from plants in Bulgaria that use the river to dispose of toxic or waste material.

The stations are expected to begin operation in October and turn out results on a daily basis.

Future plans include a link-up of the stations with the environment ministry in Athens.

Gov't determined to implement 'Kapodistrias' plan

The government is determined to proceed with far-reaching changes to the structure and organisation of local and regional governments, Prime Minister Costas Simitis underlined yesterday.

Mr. Simitis was speaking after a two-hour visit to the interior ministry, where he held talks with Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, Undersecretary Lambros Papadimas and other ministry officials.

Mr. Simitis dismissed criticism of the "Ioannis Kapodistrias" plan to merge small communities and villages, telling reporters there would be no changes to the bill since there had been extensive cooperation between the environment, town planning and public works ministry and organisations representing local communities, municipalities and regions.

"The more effective municipalities that will result (from the plan) are the only way towards a more effective public administration," he said.

"We are the last country in Europe to undertake these reforms," he said, adding that the new system would contain wasteful spending and be more representative and democratic.

Pangalos reiterates Cyprus' call for demilitarisation

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Cyprus was interested in the demilitarisation of the divided island republic and not in a "frenzied armament".

Referring to this week's announcement by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had agreed to face-to-face talks on security issues, Mr. Pangalos said the talks were sepa rate and unconnected to a resolution of the Cyprus problem.

"Denktash has agreed to begin this dialogue but we have to see up to which point he is prepared to go and, likewise, if and how he will be able to uphold any decisions," he told reporters.

"President Clerides, for example, is the head of the National Guard. Denktash is not the head of the Turkish occupation forces, thus, at some point in time he may declare an inability to take any decision," Mr. Pangalos said.

Asked about the participation of Turkish Cypriots in upcoming EU accession negotiations with Cyprus, Mr. Pangalos said Mr. Denktash had repeatedly declared his opposition to Cyprus joining the European Union and that the Turkish Cypriot community had first to accept in principle Cyprus' accession, adding that there had been many proposals on the community's participation brought forward and that the legitimate body to decide was the Cypriot government.

Ancient Dodoni theatre to receive funds for works

The ancient theatre of Dodoni, in Epirus, will receive an infusion of funds to reconstruct, stabilise and promote it as a site along with its surroundings, the culture ministry announced yesterday.

A five-year contract was signed between the ministry, the prefecture of Ioannina and the Archaeological Fund.

More such contracts are expected to follow for other ancient theatres around Greece.

Oreja says Athens 2004 Olympics a European event

The first Olympiad of the third millennium - the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens - will be organised in an exceptional manner, and the European Union has a role to play in that area, European Commissioner Marcelino Oreja of Spain and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos agreed yesterday in Brussels.

"What city, other than Greece, could undertake the first Olympiad of the third millennium?," Mr. Oreja, who holds the portfolio for culture, athletics and mass media, told the visiting mayor.

"Athens will represent Europe, and Europe must organise an exceptional cultural Olympiad in tandem," Mr. Oreja, whose country hosted the 1992 Olympic Games (in Barcelona), said.

Mr. Avramopoulos proposed a meeting of the mayors of all capitals which have held the title of Cultural Capital of Europe to take place in Athens after May, with the prospect of setting up a standing committee that would meet regularly under the aegis of the EU, a proposal warmly received by Oreja with respect to the cultural aspect of the 2004 Olympics.

Gov't fires all personnel hired after July 31, 1997

All people hired in the public sector after July 31, 1997 under any term of contract are dismissed, while officials of 34 public utilities and organisations who have proceeded with illegal hirings are being summoned to a prosecutor, the government said ye sterday.

This was announced in Parliament during a discussion on a draft bill expanding a law on hirings in the public sector.

Under Greek law, all new hirings in the public sector must be approved by ASEP, a state commission responsible for announcing positions, setting criteria and approving hirings. ASEP has put a freeze on public sector hirings, making all hirings illegal after a certain date.

The decision was also agreed upon by the opposition, whose suggestions were taken into account by Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Stavros Benos.

The public sector companies that have been illegally hiring people include the Greek Post Offices (ELTA), Olympic Airways (OA), the National Tourism Organisation (EOT), the National Opera, communities, technical schools, universities, hospitals and others.

IOBE study says Olympic's dominance, future threatened

The development of competition in the air transport sector from the establishment and operation of new Greek airline companies will signal the end of state-owned Olympic Airway's monopoly. This resulted from a decrease in tariffs on certain routes and an increase in overall passenger travel and the existence of more options for domestic consumers.

These conslusions were drawn in the latest study by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE). On the question of Olympic, it was pointed out that despite implementation of a restructuring programme,the state carrier is facing a series of problems and challenges which, if not handled quickly and effectively, will jeopardise its long-term survival.

Referring to developments in the sector of newly established private companies, the report said that these companies were faced with lack of experience from the start of their operation and protectionism in favour of the national carrier.

Negotiations continue on Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline

Petroleum company officials from eight countries met in Sofia yesterday to exchange views on an ambitious plan to transport crude oil through a pipeline starting from the Caspian Sea region to the north Aegean port of Alexandroupolis.

Participants from Russia, the Ukraine, Romania, FYROM, Albania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece met to discuss further plans of a programme that was first agreed on in Moscow in 1995.

The project has estimated that the first leg of the pipeline would pump up to 40 million tonnes of Russian oil from the Caspian to the Black Sea port of Novorosiisk.

The second leg would include sea transport to Burgas, Bulgaria, and from there to Alexandroupolis by a second pipeline.

The estimated cost for infrastructure at Burgas and Alexandroupolis is more than US$306 million.

Development ministry initiative to contain inflation

The development ministry will embark immediately on branch national agreements to contain inflation's upward trend.

The agreements will be pursued, apart from producers and merchants as was the case to date, in other classes of professionals as well.

According to an announcement by Development Undersecretary (commerce sector) Mihalis Chrysohoidis, discussions will get underway with doctors, lawyers as well as other professionals and technicians.

The purpose of the meetings is to reach agreements on tariff increases in all sectors at levels below inflation to enable the government's target of a 3 per cent inflation rate at the end of 1998 to be achieved.

Greece's Titan Cement eyes Serbian producers

Titan Cement SA, a major Greek cement manufacturer and exporter, has expressed interest in cooperating with Serbian cement firms after the government launched a privatisation programme for the industry.

Titan executives accompanied by Greek ambassador to Belgrade, Panagiotis Vlassopoulos, visited Serbian Minister for Economic Reform and State Property Milan Beko to discuss the plan.

Mr. Beko said that Serbia's government intended to create favourable conditions for cooperation between companies from both countries.

He cited investments by Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation in his country as an example of cooperation, saying it had created a bridge of confidence between Serbia and Greece.

Greek, Korean commerce officials to hold talks in Athens

Officials of the International Commerce Association of South Korea will visit Athens on October 2-5 for contacts with Greek businessmen.

The visit, arranged by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is intended to forge closer commercial links between the two countries.

Greek stocks recover after pummelling by profit-takers

Greek equities came under early profit-taking to end moderately lower on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Traders said the market became nervous every time it approached the 1,700 level.

The general index closed 0.47 percent lower at 1,683.59 points, with most sector indices losing ground. Banks fell 1.32 percent, Leasing dropped 0.53 percent, Investment was 0.23 percent off, Industrials fell 0.14 percent, Construction eased 0.02 perc ent, Holding fell 0.20 percent and Miscellaneous dropped 1.40 percent. Insurance bucked the trend to end 2.28 percent higher.

Trading was heavy and turnover was 22.7 billion drachmas.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 131 to 93 with another 18 issues unchanged.

Pavlides, Boutaris, Zampa, Vis and Ermis scored the biggest percentage gains, while Bank of Athens, Doudos, Esha and Klonatex suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 33,950 drachmas, Ergobank at 18,050, Alpha Credit at 19,990,

Delta Dairy at 4,285, Titan Cement at 16,480 and Intracom at 14,300. Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation recovered to end at 6,730, up 80 drachmas.

Imports trample Greek shoe manufacturers

The Greek shoe and leather manufacturing industry yesterday urged the government to rescue a sector which faces hardship, and take measures to ensure growth.

The industry called for drastic import controls, the creation of export promotion centres and a new development policy for the sector.

According to figures presented by the industry's association, 45 percent of sector manufacturing firms closed in 1985 to 1995, leaving just 1,470 firms from 2,268.

Annual shoe production fell from 20 million pairs in 1985 to 11 million ten years later.

The industry's workforce also fell to 18,000 from 11,590 respectively.

AEK wins European Cup Winners' match

AEK easily defeated Dinaburg of Latvia 5-0 (half-time 2-0) in the first leg of their European Cup Winners' match last night attended by 14,000 persons.

WEATHER

Fine weather with some cloudiness will prevail throughout Greece today. Winds northerly, light to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 15-26C. Thessaloniki partly cloudy with temperatures from 14-23C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 276.857 Pound sterling 445.269 Cyprus pd 532.010 French franc 46.713 Swiss franc 190.533 German mark 156.905 Italian lira (100) 16.088 Yen (100) 229.410 Canadian dlr. 199.630 Australian dlr. 198.455 Irish Punt 414.894 Belgian franc 7.604 Finnish mark 52.366 Dutch guilder 139.341 Danish kr. 41.212 Swedish kr. 36.585 Norwegian kr. 38.563

(C.E.)


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