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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-23

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 23/09/1997 (ANA)


  • Athens views Turkey's European orientation positively
  • Greece signs CoE agreement on minorities
  • Construction of seven new prisons
  • Various opinion polls released by Athens media
  • Turkey gives a hard time to Imvros island residents
  • Exhibition of works with Alexander the Great theme opens
  • Five early El Grecos on display at Athens Concert Hall
  • Greece contributes marbles for EU monument in Austria
  • Five new routes in next year's 'Acropolis Rally'
  • V. Papandreou on hotel debt settlements
  • Greek shipowners' representatives discuss sector's issues
  • Greek stocks creep up in rangebound trade
  • Outlook picks up for Greek building materials
  • Greek consumer watchdog charts 1997 complaints by tourists
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Athens views Turkey's European orientation positively

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that Greece is in favour of Turkey's European orientation because it considers that this would be in line with Greek national interests, on the condition that the neighbouring country respects the Madrid Communique.

He spoke at an international two-day conference organised by the Federation of European Journalists on the "Role of the Mediterranean in European Unification".

Athens and Ankara signed a joint communique over the summer in Madrid establishing a set of principles governing bilateral relations.

Regarding Nicosia's decision to purchase Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, the Greek alternate foreign minister said it was a response to the continuing military build-up in the Turkish-occupied part of the island republic.

"If Turkey moved towards demilitarisation, then Cyprus could withdraw its S- 300 missiles," he said. Mr. Papandreou stressed that Cyprus was already on the road to becoming an EU member, and that the development would work positively on efforts to find a resolution to the Cypriot problem.

Referring to the spread of Islamists' influence in Turkey, Mr. Papandreou said Greece would not place cultural or religious issues on the negotiating table.

Greece signs CoE agreement on minorities

Greece yesterday signed the Council of Europe agreement for the Protection of National Minorities.

The agreement was signed in Strasbourg by the general secretary for community affairs of the Greek foreign ministry, Stelios Perrakis, in the presence of the organisation's Secretary General Daniel Tarschys.

The agreement sets out the principles which must be observed by member- states, such as the fight against discrimination, promotion of full equality, promoting the conditions for maintaining and developing the culture and identity of national minorities,granting of the right of assembly, freedom of expression and thought, conscience and religion, as well as the confirmation of the right for free access to and use of the media.

In the domain of freedom of speech:

Use of a minority language, privately and in public, and in contacts with public authorities.

Recognition of the right to use one name for the minority language and to replace placenames in that language.

In the sector of education:

The provision of equal opportunities in the learning of minority languages and the issuing of instructions in that language.

Recognition of the founding of educational and cultural institutions.

Non-prohibition of cross-border contacts.

Facilitation of cross-border and international cooperation.

Prohibition of the violent assimilation of minorities.

Promotion of participation in public life.

Construction of seven new prisons

Seven new prisons will be built in Halkida, Hania, Amphissa, Trikala, Langada, Tripoli and Andritsaina, at a cost of 26 billion drachmas, Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos announced yesterday.

He added that the aim was to provide more humane conditions in prisons, along with technical improvements, including electronic security.

Various opinion polls released by Athens media

Recent public opinion polls do not show any significant changes the electoral strength of parties, while Prime Minister Costas Simitis is mostly ahead in preferences as the most appropriate politician for the post.

A V.PRC poll conducted on behalf of the Athens daily "TA NEA" newspaper, shows 41.4 per cent of respondents preferring Mr. Simitis for the post, as compared with 25.6 per cent for main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis.

In intention to vote, PASOK leads with 30.9 per cent, compared to 28 per cent for ND.

Another poll, conducted by Kappa Reserach on behalf of the "Exousia" daily, places the two major parties neck-to-neck in electoral strength, while a third one, conducted by Alco, on behalf of "Antenna TV" station, places ND ahead with 30.6 per cent, co mpared with 27.6 per cent for PASOK.

A fourth, a nationwide poll, conducted by MRB on behalf of the "Mega TV" channel between Sept. 10-17, on a 1,600 strong sample, shows ND leading with 27.7 per cent, compared to 27 per cent for PASOK.

The polls give the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) between 4.5 and 5.6 per cent, the Coalition of the Left between 4.7 and 6.3 per cent, the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) between 3.7 and 4.1 per cent, and Political Spring between 1.5 and 2.5 per cent.

Turkey gives a hard time to Imvros island residents

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou held a meeting yesterday with representatives of several associations of Imvros natives, who elaborated on their difficult living conditions on the northeastern Aegean island given to Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne.

Representatives said ethnic Greeks' properties were being usurped and the Greek schools shut down, while the continued colonisation of the island by Turkish mainland settlers was changing Imvros' population demographics.

According to sources, Mr. Papandreou pledged to support initiatives aimed at settling those issues.

Exhibition of works with Alexander the Great theme opens

An exhibition of various works inspired by the life and legend of Alexander the Great opened yesterday in Thessaloniki's newly built Telloglio Institute and will be open to the public until Jan. 11.

The exhibition includes more than 140 art works dating back to the Middle Ages through to the 20th century, taken from museums and private collections in Europe and the United States.

The exhibition is being organised by the Thessaloniki Cultural Capital '97 organisation and was founded with 200 million drachmas.

The works include paintings, tapestry, echings, drawings etc.

Five early El Grecos on display at Athens Concert Hall

An exhibition including five early paintings by Domenico Theotocopoulos, better known as El Greco (1541-1614), opened at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) yesterday.

The paintings were drawn by El Greco before he left Crete for Venice and Spain, and will be shown along with a private collection of paintings by Greek artists until Nov. 7.

Three of the El Greco paintings are on loan from the Benaki Museum, one from a cathedral in Ermoupolis, Syros and one from the Historical Museum of Irakleio, Crete.

Greece contributes marbles for EU monument in Austria

Greece has contributed marble from Mount Penteli for a European Union (EU) monument set up in an Austrian community by all union member-states.

The monument commemorates the EU's 40th anniversary. Greece's contribution was meant as a symbol of the Parthenon, as one of the greatest monuments of western civilisation.

The initiative for the marble was taken up by Greece's embassy in Austria once the call was announced for contributions.

At the unveiling ceremony on the weekend, a message was read by Austrian President Thomas Klestil. The event was attended by the Austrian Interior Minister Karl Schloegl, as well as the ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions from EU countries.

Five new routes in next year's 'Acropolis Rally'

Next year's "Acropolis Rally" will include five new special routes and use Delphi as focal point for ending the first special stage of the race and beginning for the next two.

The final dates are expected to be confirmed next week, but likely dates are June 5 to 9 or June 12 to 16. The race, as always, will set off from the foot of the Acropolis and end at a yet to be determined spot in Athens after having covered a total of 1,186.7 km.

The cost of the race is close to 150 million drachmas, as last year, and is expected to be covered by sponsors.

V. Papandreou on hotel debt settlements

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou attended a meeting of local officials on the island of Rhodes yesterday, stressing that "the government cannot force private banks to go ahead with a settlement of debts owed by hotels."

"It is not possible for the government to intervene every time that a hotel requests a settlement of its debts. The precondition for such a thing is the viability of the unit," she added.

Ms Papandreou said a possible settlement would be unfair for the other hotels, saying that "instead of rewarding good businessmen, the state is called on to give favourable treatment to those who do not meet their obligations. This phenomenon must gradu ally stop."

The issue was raised during the meeting, held at the Dodecanese prefectural office, by hoteliers faced with the problem of debts they owed to banks. Another issue discussed was lengthening the tourist season on the fashionable island.

Tourist agency representatives complained to Ms Papandreou over the implementation of a pilot programme in Crete and not in Rhodes. She replied that Rhodes will be the second island on which the pilot programme will be applied to lengthen the tourist season.

Greek shipowners' representatives discuss sector's issues

The boards of the Greek Shipowners' Union and the Greek Committee for Maritime Cooperation of London held a joint session in Piraeus yesterday.

The presidents of the two bodies set out their views on the problems of the merchant fleet, the gist of which is as follows:

- Greek shipowners are continuing efforts to renew their fleets, the largest in terms of tonnage internationally, and maintain first place in terms of vessels in the European Union.

- There is concern regarding the competitiveness of Greek-flagged shipping, following the re-determination of shipping policy in the European Union and the measures recently adopted by the Greek government.

Development of Piraeus into an international shipping and financial centre.

Relations between shipowners and merchant seamen are considered as satisfactory, despite differring views on the problem of competitiveness.

Greek stocks creep up in rangebound trade

Greek equities started the week in a tight range reflecting the reluctance of investors to allow the market to rise to the 1,700 level.

The general index closed 0.22 percent higher at 1,684.29 points.

Most sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 0.19 percent, Insurance jumped 3.40 percent, Investment increased 0.11 percent, Industrials rose 0.23 percent, Construction was 0.84 percent higher, Miscellaneous ended 0.95 percent up, but Leasing and Holding fell by 0.96 and 0.77 percent respectively.

Trading was moderate and turnover was 16.7 billion drachmas.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 134 to 84 with another 26 issues unchanged.

Pouliades, Kekrops, Halyps and Ekter scored the biggest percentage gains, while Pireaus Investment, Athinea, Bank of Athens and Heliofin suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 33,540 drachmas, Ergobank at 18,280, Alpha Credit Bank at 19,895, Delta Dairy at 3,630, Titan Cement at 16,350, Intracom at 14,280 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6, 735.

In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar rose by 0.43 percent against the drachma, while the DMark remained stable.

Outlook picks up for Greek building materials

Prospects for Greece's building materials sector significantly improved after Athens was awarded the 2004 Olympic Games, National Economy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas said yesterday.

Speaking at the inauguration of the European Association of Building Materials' annual conference in Athens, Mr. Baltas urged foreign businessmen to cooperate with Greek businesses in marble, cement, aluminium products and plastics.

Mr. Baltas stressed that the products had great export potential, citing the success of Greek marble exports to China.

Athens Commerce and Industry Chamber chairman Ioannis Papathanasiou called on Greek firms to forge closer links with building materials producers abroad in order to improve efficiency.

Greek consumer watchdog charts 1997 complaints by tourists

A Greek consumer watchdog reported yesterday that tourists filed 512 petitions this year over poor goods and services as part of a legal aid programme for visitors set up by the group.

Private EKPIZO said 38 percent of petitions and complaints were lodged by tourists from abroad, and most were directed against transport.

A breakdown of petitions lodged showed the following categories and percentages: transport (33 percent); restaurants, tavernas and nightclubs for non-existent menus, poor service and high prices (19 percent); noise pollution including nightclubs, bars, motorcycles and jet skis (12 percent); garbage dumped on beaches (11 percent).

Twenty five percent of petitions cited public services, rented rooms, travel agents, and upsets including theft in ports and on the street.

EKPIZO said figures for 1997 showed a marked decline in petitions filed against hotels in comparison with the programme's previous three years of operation, which the group said boded well for the tourist industry.


Fair weather with some local cloudiness and showers and dropping temperatures is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds northerly, light to moderate turning strong in the North. Athens and Thessaloniki will have almost fair weather, with moderate winds and temperatures between 16-26C and 16-21C respectively.


Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 280.369 Pound sterling 450.487 Cyprus pd 529.530 French franc 46.618 Swiss franc 190.811 German mark 156.543 Italian lira (100) 16.047 Yen (100) 228.785 Canadian dlr. 201.932 Australian dlr. 201.867 Irish Punt 412.275 Belgian franc 7.586 Finnish mark 52.576 Dutch guilder 139.039 Danish kr. 41.126 Swedish kr. 36.601 Norwegian kr. 38.480 Austrian sch. 22.243 Spanish peseta 1.857 Port. Escudo 1.540


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