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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-20

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, 20/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis calls for new PASOK profile
  • US concerned over Turkish threats on Cyprus
  • Eurosocialist Party resolution supports Cyprus EU accession talks
  • Ankara: Turkish Cypriots cannot join island's EU accession talks
  • Thessaloniki prepares for Ecumenical Patriarch's visit
  • Turkey refuses reopening of Halki Theological school
  • Greek stocks slip in wary market
  • Greek, Romanian and Bulgarian bourses discuss cooperation
  • Greece says Alexandroupolis oil pipeline to be built
  • EU develops multimedia technology network in Greece
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis calls for new PASOK profile

Prime Minister and ruling socialist PASOK party president Costas Simitis yesterday proposed the "re-establishment" of the party and set out a series of positions on its nature and role today.

Addressing a two-day session of PASOK's central committee, Mr. Simitis said the government was determined to continue to apply its policy, which he said is aimed at the country's equal participation in the European Union and creation of a modern and comp etitive economy.

He also attacked external and internal party opposition.

Despite the fact that a year had passed since the 1996 elections, Mr. Simitis preferred not to make an account of the government's work but to place emphasis on the party's operation and on the upcoming prefectural and municipal elections.

However, he referred to the government's policy successes both in the economy and in implementing the second Community Support Framework, saying that the government has achieved a new method of operation.

Mr. Simitis said that this year the government proved that it did not come to manage power but to change its direction and content, not hesitating to take appropriate decisions and ignoring the so-called political cost.

He said the first year after the 1996 elections was a year of familiarisation with problems, adding that over the next three years the rates of government work will be intensified and on the basis of the work accomplished, PASOK will request a renewal of the popular mandate at the end of the four- year period of office.

Mr. Simitis said PASOK is not pursuing simple electoral victories but wants the activated society as its prolonged and stable ally. PASOK is not merely a ruling party, but a party generating government prospects, which does not fear ruptures, neither in society, nor with its own habits.

He formulated his positions on the party's new nature and role, saying that its priorities include a radical change in certain aspects of the party's traditional relation with society. The role of the party as a "protector" is coming to an end at all le vels, he said, adding that the party as a "mediator" must be replaced with the party which is a pioneer in society.

Mr. Simitis said that PASOK is the natural foreman for a powerful Greece, but it is not alone on this path and for this reason it pursues open channels of communication and cooperation with the forces constituting the centre-left.

He ruled out the possibility of summit agreements being reached with other parties or the creation of satellite political formations. He added that dialogue taking place in the framework of the centre-left will acquire particular dynamism in light of the municipal elections.

Mr. Simitis pointed to certain weaknesses in the party, saying that "we are still very far from the operation of the party which we are pursuing" and referred to the trade union mentalities of party cadres who are active in professional sectors.

Mr. Simitis made an early announcement of a big renewal in the persons which will be selected for municipal and prefectural posts, saying that the candidates who will be selected must be adequate, cadres having a modern spirit on self-administration, social sensitivity and respect for the citizen.

US concerned over Turkish threats on Cyprus

The US State Department reacted unfavourably yesterday over warnings by Turkey the same day that it was working on measures against deployment of Russian-made S-300 missiles on the island republic.

State Department spokesman James Rubin issued a statement saying: "The United States continues to believe that the decision of the Cyprus Republic to acquire S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia is a step backward in our efforts for a peaceful solut ion to the Cyprus issue. At the same time we are firmly opposed to threats to address the missile question militarily.

"Therefore, we note with concern the statements of Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz earlier today (yesterday) regarding the missiles. We call on all interested parties to avoid statements which exacerbate the tensions over this issue," Mr. Rubin said .

Mr. Yilmaz yesterday announced that his government had asked the Turkish military to take all appropriate measures to "deal with the issues created by the deployment of the S-300 missiles on Cyprus".

The Cypriot government earlier this year announced plans to buy the defensive S-30 0 surface-to-air missiles fro Russia for delivery by mid- 1998. Turkey maintains more than 30,000 troops in the occupied north of the island, since invading in 1974.

Eurosocialist Party resolution supports Cyprus EU accession talks

The European Socialist Party's (ESP) presidium convened here yesterday, unanimously adopting a resolution on the Cyprus issue supporting the accession of the island republic to the European Union, as well as a start to accession negotia tions six months after the end of the IGC.

The ruling PASOK party was represented by ESP Vice-President Akis Tsohatzopoulos and ESP presidium member Yiannos Kranidiotis.

The European socialists expressed the hope that the dialogue which will start on the security of Cyprus will lead to the demilitarisation of the island as soon as possible, as well as to positive results to facilitate efforts to find a just and viable sol ution to the Cyprus issue.

Ankara: Turkish Cypriots cannot join island's EU accession talks

Turkey has rejected the European Union's urging that the Turkish Cypriot community be represented in Cyprus' EU accession talks, criticising the EU Council of Ministers for what it called "ignoring the realities" on the island republic.

"It cannot be expected that the Turkish Cypriot community will participate in the Greek Cypriot administration's delegation," a Turkish foreign ministry announcement said.

Cyprus has proposed that Turkish Cypriot community representatives take part in a Cypriot government delegation in the island's EU accession talks.

Thessaloniki prepares for Ecumenical Patriarch's visit

Thessaloniki is organising an extensive welcome for Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, who will pay an official visit from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 as the head of a delegation from almost every Greek Orthodox and Orthodox Autocephalous Church.

Vartholomeos will be welcomed by President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, and is also scheduled to meet with the ministers of national defence, foreign affairs, culture, Macedonia-Thrace as well as local authorities.

He will also make the first reforestation planting at the Seikh Sou Forest, which was ravaged by fire over the summer, as part of the city's efforts to promote environmental concerns.

The Ecumenical Patriarch's programme also includes a visit to Xanthi on Oct. 2, where he will be presented with an honorary degree by the University of Xanthi.

Back in Thessaloniki, he also expects to visit several historical sites, including the Byzantine Museum, where the "Treasures of Mount Athos" exhibition is being held, as well as the Turkish consulate.

Turkey refuses reopening of Halki Theological School

Ankara's refusal to allow the reopening of the Halki Orthodox Theological School could lead to an embargo against Turkey by the United States, several Turkish dailies wrote yesterday.

Press reports expressed concern over whether Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos would raise the issue with US President Bill Clinton during the former's official visit to the White House on October 22.

The news of Vartholomeos's visit to the US and his meeting with Mr. Clinton has already drawn fire in Turkey, with certain newspapers claiming the visit contravened the Treaty of Lausanne.

The last visit by an Ecumenical patriarch to the US was in June 1990, when Patriarch Dimitrios became the first-ever ecumenical patriarch to visit the American continent.

His visit too was greeted by objections in Turkey.

Greek stocks slip in wary market

Greek equities ended the last trading session of the week with minor losses, reflecting the market's reluctance to open new long-term positions.

Traders said buying interest was focused in insurance issues, while construction shares came under profit-taking.

The general index closed at 1,680.52 points, down 0.18 percent, to show a 1.56 percent gain in the week.

Sector indices ended mixed. Banks fell 0.29 percent, Leasing dropped 1.15 percent, Investment eased 0.22 percent, Industrials were 0.11 percent off, Construction fell 1.42 percent, Holding dropped 1.55 percent, but Insurance and Miscellaneous rose by 4. 11 and 0.12 percent respectively.

Insurance and Miscellaneous showed the biggest weekly gains at 7.82 and 6.26 percent respectively, followed by Construction at 5.69 percent.

Trading was moderate and turnover was 16.9 billion drachmas. The week's total turnover was 112.32 billion drachmas, while the five-session average was 22.5 billion down from 31.6 billion the previous week. Broadly, advancing issues led declining ones by 121 to 99 with another 28 issues unchanged.

Altec, Keranis, National Insurance and Sysware scored the biggest percentage gains, while Ideal, Benroubi, Mesochoriti and Parnassos suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 33,690 drachmas, Ergobank at 18,250, Alpha Credit Bank at 19,900, Delta Dairy at 4,335, Titan Cement at 16,300, Intracom at 14,300 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6, 745.

In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar was substantially higher against the drachma.

Greek, Romanian and Bulgarian bourses discuss cooperation

The prospects for cooperation between the Athens Stock Exchange and bourses in Romania and Bulgaria were discussed at a meeting held yesterday at Thessaloniki's stock market centre.

The agenda of the meeting, attended by officials from the three markets and also by a senior executive of the Brussels Stock Exchange, included new listings on the stock market, the use of compatible electronic trading systems, and training by Athens bo urse authorities.

The officials agreed that the Thessaloniki stock exchange could develop into a centre of regional cooperation in the Balkans. The Belgian official outlined a cooperation deal linking stock markets in Brussels, Amsterdam and Luxembourg.

Greece says Alexandroupolis oil pipeline to be built

Greece said yesterday a slow-moving project to build a pipeline carrying Caspian oil from the Bulgarian port of Bourgas to the northern port of Alexandroupoli was still slated for construction, despite delays.

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters negotiations on the pipeline had begun some time ago and the project was underway, but no progress had been made.

Stalling the project for years have been questions of funding and operation involving the Greek, Bulgarian and Russian governments, exacerbated by bouts of political uncertainty that delayed decisions.

Mr. Reppas was replying to a reporter's question on a statement from Sofia on Thursday that a pipeline would be built to take the oil to the Adriatic through Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania. The pipeline would bypass Greece.

Brushing off talk of a project that was still at the planning stage, Mr. Reppas said a timescale for completion existed, which he did not name.

According to Bulgaria's BTA news agency, an international conference on trans-Balkan oil and gas pipelines that began in Sofia on Thursday studied the two separate projects to build pipelines through Bulgaria, one ending in Alexandroupolis.

Greece had said funding of the project was approved at a meeting with Bulgaria and Russia in June 1997 but disagreements remained with Sofia on the need to appoint international engineering consultants to carry out a feasibility study, BTA quoted delegates at the conference as saying.

Greece and Bulgaria had agreed to go ahead with the project in 1994. The experts did not rule out construction of both pipelines if the country's economy would benefit, including revenue from transit fees, BTA said.

AMBO of the United Kingdom detailed a 560-mile long pipeline that could transfer crude from the Caspian Sea through Bulgaria, FYROM and Albania to the Mediterranean.

Budgeted at 850 million dollars, it would have a capacity of up to 650,000 barrels daily or 400 million barrels annually.

The pipeline to Alexandroupolis would have a length of 242-285 kilometres with an annual capacity of 30-40 million tons of crude, according to initial estimates. The project is expected to cost 650-750 million dollars.

EU develops multimedia technology network in Greece

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, has developed MIDAS-NET, a network operating in Greece for the promotion and development of multimedia technology and its use.

The Greek end of the network is addressed to small and medium-sized enterprises, publishers, chambers of commerce, professors and academics interested in using and developing information through multimedia systems.

During a seminar held by the Greek National Documentation centre in Athens, a body responsible for providing electronic information services on research and technology, multimedia experts presented the latest research in international multimedia markets .

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather throughout the country with some scattered cloud and rain forecast in the north from late afternoon. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Athens sunny with temperatures from 16-29C. Thessaloniki partly cloudy with tempetratures from 14C to 26C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.179 Pound sterling 448.483 Cyprus pd 530.105 French franc 46.608 Swiss franc 190.117 German mark 156.548 Italian lira (100) 16.049 Yen (100) 229.281 Canadian dlr. 200.642 Australian dlr. 200.577 Irish Punt 414.220 Belgian franc 7.586 Finnish mark 52.582 Dutch guilder 139.029 Danish kr. 41.124 Swedish kr. 36.605 Norwegian kr. 38.521 Austrian sch. 22.246 Spanish peseta 1.857 Port. Escudo 1.542

(C.E.)


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