Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-19
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 19/09/1997 (ANA)
- Turkish policy change in its own interests
- German teenager arrested
- Athens confident of tripartite oil pipeline deal
- Cooperation between Balkan bourses discussed
- Greece studies NATO measures to reduce tension in the Aegean
- Gov't determined to implement 'Kapodistrias' plan
- Pangalos reiterates Cyprus' call for demilitarisation
- Ancient Dodoni theatre to receive funds for works
- Gov't fires all personnel hired after July 31, 1997
- IOBE study says Olympic's dominance, future threatened
- Development ministry initiative to contain inflation
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Turkish policy change in its own interests
A change in Turkey's behaviour and policy is linked to the pursuit of its
strategic interests in rapprochement with Europe, Defence Undersecretary
Dimitris Apostolakis said today.
Apostolakis was speaking at a ceremony marking the end of the land and air
military exercise "Philippos '97" in northern Greece.
Greece hopes that relations with neighbouring Turkey can find their
"practical expression, in line with the text of principles agreed upon at
Madrid between the Greek prime minister and the Turkish president".
"We demand from Turkey that it operate with the same logic and in the same
direction of peaceful co-existence and dialogue with good will," he
Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his Turkish counterpart
Ismail Cem will meet in New York next week on the sidelines of the UN
General Assembly, the first high-level meeting between the two sides since
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel signed
a joint communique concerning broad principles to govern bilateral
relations earlier this summer.
A climate of security and stability was necessary in the Balkans to foster
growth and prosperity of all the peoples of the region, Apostolakis
This was the reasoning behind Athens' invitation to host a tripartite
meeting between Belgrade, Skopje and Tirana at the Balkan summit in Crete
in early November which would enable the discussion of specific matters
German teenager arrested
A 19-year-old German high school student has been arrested at Thessaloniki's
Macedonia Airport in possession of a small quantity of hashish, police said
Johanes Simon Muller was arrested on arrival from Munich yesterday
afternoon after 2.2 grams of hashish were found in his luggage.
Athens confident of tripartite oil pipeline deal
Athens said today that the planned pipeline bringing Caspian oil from the
Bulgarian port of Bourgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis was going
Responding to press questions regarding an announcement from Sofia
yesterday on the construction of an oil pipeline that would transfer
Caspian oil through Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM) and Albania to the Adriatic, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
said that negotiations on the project had begun some time ago without there
being any progress.
Reppas said it was pointless to be discussing issues which were still at
the planning stage.
On the other hand, he said, the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis project is under
way and there is a timetable for its completion.
According to the Bulgarian news agency BTA, an international conference on
trans-Balkan oil and gas pipelines which began in Sofia on Thursday
examined two projects on the construction of oil pipelines via Bulgaria,
with Bulgarian experts saying that Bulgaria does not see the two projects
as alternative but as two possibilities Bulgaria could avail itself of to
develop its economy and profit from the transiting fees.
The AMBO British corporation presented a 560-mile long pipeline project to
transfer crude from the Caspian through Bulgaria, FYROM and Albania to the
Mediterranean which would have a capacity of up to 650,000 barrels daily or
400 million annually and cost 850 million US dollars.
BTA said the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis project was also a focus of discussion
at the conference and that it was a project that Sofia and Athens had
agreed upon as early as 1994.
Under preliminary estimates the length of the oil pipeline will be between
242- 285 km with an annual capacity of 30-40 million tons. The project is
expected to cost 650-750 million US dollars.
The BTA dispatch said Greece had said funding of the project had been
approved at a meeting with Bulgaria and Russia in June 1997. However, there
were some disagreements between Athens and Sofia on technical points on on
the necessity of appointing an international consultant to make a
feasibility study of the project, experts said.
Cooperation between Balkan bourses discussed
The prospects of cooperation between the Athens Stock Exchange with stock
markets in Romania and Bulgaria was the focus of discussion at a meeting at
the Thessaloniki Stock Exchange Centre today.
The agenda of the meeting, attended by officials from the three markets and
also by a senior executive of the Brussels Stock Exchange, included the
issue of listing new companies on the stock market, use of common
electronic trading systems, and training by the Athens bourse authorities.
The officials agreed that the Thessaloniki Stock Exchange could develop
into a centre of regional cooperation in the Balkans.
The Belgian official presented the meeting with details of a cooperation
deal linking stock markets in Brussels, Amsterdam and Luxembourg.
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
"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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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