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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-24

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, 24/09/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Turkey insists on disputing Aegean status quo
  • Ambassador-designate Burns lauds Greece's role in region
  • Biden condemns Turkey over Cyprus occupation
  • Greece-Cyprus defence cooperation examined
  • NATO's 'Dynamic MIx '97' exercise begins with Greek participation
  • Media conference focusing on the Mediterranean ends
  • Alumil agreement with Egyptian firm
  • Greek bourse launches stock index today
  • Greek telecom mulls listing on NYSE
  • Black Sea group urges creation of better business climate
  • Greece to host Mediterranean business meeting
  • Greek stocks take tentative step towards 1,700 pts
  • Greece to hold trade fair in FYROM
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Turkey insists on disputing Aegean status quo

Turkey wants to insist on keeping open the issue of disputing the status quo of the Aegean, something that Athens cannot discuss, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said in New York yesterday after meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.

"The Americans have been making some attempts at finding a formula that has been sought in the past also, but the issue is not an issue of (finding) a formula," Mr. Pangalos explained.

"The issue is an issue of political decision (by Turkey). Turkey wishes to keep open the issue of doubting the present situation in the Aegean, something that Greece could not even hold talks on," he added.

Asked what issues the two foreign ministers talked about, Mr. Pangalos said: "The discussion focused exclusively on Imia and the specific issue of Turkey's territorial demands against Greece, which I have set as a prerequisite issue for any further discussion."

The foreign minister said that both sides repeated their stance, while at Mr. Cem's request that both countries sit down at the discussion table, Mr. Pangalos replied that "this is a refusal to dialogue, it is a non-starter, and there is no use at all of holding any further discussion in this direction. I gave him a few characteristic examples. To the extent that logic may (be able to) influence someone, I remain hopeful".

Asked whether the United States could play a role in Greece's decision to refuse discussion if Turkey does not lift its demands against Greece, Mr. Pangalos replied: "Not even God could play an important role in Greece's refusal to negotiate its sovereign rights. This is a message to all directions. And at present, at least, God is above the United States".

Mr. Pangalos added that both would meet again on Crete in approximately a month with the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey. He also added that each of them planned to meet separately with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Ambassador-designate Burns lauds Greece's role in region

The newly appointed US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns said yesterday that Greece is a leader in the Balkans and a force for peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean.

Mr. Burns was expected to be confirmed by the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, along with nominees for the posts in Ankara, Rome and the Vatican. The committee yesterday told the four nominees that "they should pack their bags."

Outlining Washington's targets in its relations with Greece during his confirmation hearings by the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in the framework of his confirmation hearing as US ambassador to Greece, Mr. Burns, a former State Department spokesman, also said the relationship between Washington and Athens is "very important" which, he noted, constitutes a decisive element for NATO's success and the power of the alliance's southeastern flank.

He said he will place emphasis on the need for a peaceful settlement of Greek-Turkish differences as well as of a resolution of the Cyprus issue. He reminded that the interest of the US in these two issues is increased and is shown by both the active role undertaken by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the appointment of Richard Holbrooke as a presidential envoy on the Cyprus issue.

Biden condemns Turkey over Cyprus occupation

Newly appointed US ambassador to Ankara Mark Parris also testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee together with Mr. Burns. The two US diplomats stressed that their longstanding acquaintance and friendship will render more effective the common effort they will be making to improve Greek- Turkish relations and resolve the Cyprus issue.

The only note that marred the polite, cheerful atmosphere in the hearing room was an angry denunciation by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Delaware), insisting that Mr. Parris should tell the Turkish government that its sense of isolation in the world is because it violated international law by invading Cyprus in 1974 and continues to violate international law by keeping its troops there.

Mr. Parris answered diplomatically, which brought on another response by Sen. Biden.

He demanded that Mr. Parris tell Ankara that the United States is "even- handed, which means to be fair...Our policy is that it (the Turkish invasion and occupation) was illegal."

Mr. Parris did not directly respond.

Greece-Cyprus defence cooperation examined

Greece and Cyprus yesterday examined the course of defence cooperation between the two countries, at a meeting between National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Cypriot counterpart Costas Eliades.

The two men examined the progress towards meeting goals set out in the framework of the joint defence doctrine between Athens and Nicosia, as well as details of Cyprus' forthcoming "Nikiforos '97" exercise, to be held next month. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos sai d Greece's armed forces would be participating in the Nikiforos exercise, which will include, as it did last year, military flights over Cyprus by Greek fighters.

He said he had accepted an invitation to visit Cyprus during the annual military exercise.

Mr. Eliades said the planning and holding of the Nikiforos exercise was independent of the course of planned security talks between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on Friday.

NATO's 'Dynamic Mix '97' exercise begins with Greek participation

The NATO multinational exercise "Dynamic Mix '97" is taking place with Greece's participation after a lengthy absence, while Turkey has announced that it would not participate.

The exercise, coordinated by NATO's southern flank headquarters began yesterday and will continue until Oct. 13.

Three regional exercises will take place on Greek territory, namely, in Macedonia, Thessaly and the western Peloponnese.

"The exercise covers the entire national territory and meets our demands in this current phase," the chief of the exercises coordination office at the Hellenic Armed Forces General Staff said.

According to reports, with the holding of the military exercise NATO indirectly favours the necessity of an alliance regional headquarters in Larisa, as part of NATO's new structural changes.

"Dynamic Mix" is held with the participation of Belgium, Britain, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States.

Media conference focusing on the Mediterranean ends

A two-day conference entitled "The Role and Importance of the Mediterranean in the Process of European Unification" ended yesterday at Zappeio Hall, following extensive references to the "new reality" created by the spread of mass media and technology.

The conference was organised by the Union of European Journalists.

Yesterday's speeches addressed two separate themes. The first was "News Agencies and the Mass Media in the Mediterranean: Their Role and Function", and "Europe, the Mediterranean, North America: A New Cultural Reality".

Press Ministry Secretary General Nikos Athanassakis pointed out that cooperation between national news agencies would improve the effectiveness of communications, beyond the power carried by large international news agencies, he said, calling for the promotion of joint programmes in informatics.

Mr. Athanassakis also praised an initiative by the Athens News Agency (ANA) to table a proposal with the European Union programme INTERREG II that would link Greece with Cyprus and Lebanon.

ANA general director Andreas Christodoulides called for collaboration between national agencies that would utilise local networks for information and promote exchanges and joint projects.

"The only way to prevent the creation of two separate worlds in information is to promote the set-up of professional groups of national agencies that would utilise the local networks for further information, create regional specialised bulletins, exchange photos and videos on issues of interest to the area, planning joint investments and carrying out seminars," Mr. Christodoulides proposed.

The ANA's general director also announced an agreement underway between ANA and the national news agencies of Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and Yugoslavia on English-language bulletins for economic and business news.

Alumil agreement with Egyptian firm

The Alumil aluminium company has signed an agreement with the Egypt-based Honaffa company for the manufacturing of its products in Egypt and their distribution in North Africa and the Middle East.

Given the region's needs in building materials, the economic benefits for Alumil are expected to be high. The company recorded sales of 9.45 billion drachmas and profits of 1.14 billion in 1996, while in the first half of this year sales reached 5.5 bil lion drachmas.

Greek bourse launches stock index today

A new stock market index designed to facilitate operation of a future derivatives market will be launched today on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Based on a basket of 20 blue-chip stocks listed on the Greek bourse, the new FTSE/ASE-20 index will track the daily movement of key shares in the market.

It will be used as a basis for the operation of a derivatives market, due to start next year.

The index was set up by the Athens Stock Exchange and FTSE International, a company owned by the Financial Times Group and London Stock Exchange with expertise in designing and developing stock and bond market indices.

Under an agreement signed by the two companies, the Athens bourse will calculate the index on a daily basis and FTSE International is to review the index every six months.

The Athens Stock Exchange hopes that the new index will offer international investors a new standard of measurement for the Greek market.

The 20 companies comprising the index are: Alpha Credit Bank, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, National Bank of Greece, Ergobank, Commercial Bank of Greece, Titan Cement, Hellenic Bottling, Heracles Cement, Ionian Bank,Delta Dairy,Piraeus Bank,Papastratos, Michaniki, Macedonia- Thrace Bank, Intracom, Greek Aluminium, Goody's, Mortgage Bank, AEGEK and Viohalco.

Greek telecom mulls listing on NYSE

Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) may seek listing on the New York Stock Exchange, chairman Dimitris Papoulias told a news conference yesterday.

Mr. Papoulias said that OTE's profits are expected to reach 304 billion drachmas in 1997, fulfilling the market's expectations.

The Greek state telecom's managing director Petros Lambrou said that the organisation will conclude its procurement agreements by the end of the year with the aim of speeding up modernisation of the company. The two executives also expressed their sat isfaction over initial operations by the Cosmo-OTE mobile telephone subsidiary and reaffirmed that the official launch of the network would take place by December covering the three major cities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras.

Commenting on OTE's participation in an international tender for the purchase of a 90 percent stake in Armetel, Armenia's state-owned telecoms company, Mr. Papoulias said that a final answer was expected by October 15.

Black Sea group urges creation of better business climate

Black Sea and Balkan countries should create a better business climate and tighten trade links by developing new strategies, officials of Black Sea Economic Cooperation said.

The officials were speaking on the first day of a two-day meeting in Athens of the group's parliamentary assembly. Represented are Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

"Developing economic cooperation among the group's members needs a structural leap, which cannot be attained through traditional bilateral cooperation agreements," Maria Arseni, the parliamentary assembly's vice president, said.

"Radical and effective steps need to be taken," she said.

Greece to host Mediterranean business meeting

Greece will hold an international conference on Mediterranean cooperation and development on September 26-29 in the northern town of Kozani.

"(The meeting) is an attempt to extend the horizon for creation of a new economic area among Balkan,Mediterranean and Black Sea countries," Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou told a news conference. Held under the aegis of the foreign ministr y, the conference's organisers include the Arab-Hellenic Chamber, Mediterranean Cooperation Institute, Mediterranean Research Institute, Hellenic Exports Promotion Organisation, and Thessaloniki international trade fair.

Development Undersecretary Anna Diamantopoulos, who heads the conference's organisational committee, said the purpose of the meeting was to encourage firms in the region to set up joint ventures and an information network.

Expected to take part are ministers, bank governors, corporate managers and academics.

Greek stocks take tentative step towards 1,700 pts

Greek equities took another hesitant step towards the 1,700 level on the Athens Stock Exchange helped by strong buying interest in construction and industrial shares.

The general index closed 0.57 percent higher at 1,693.87 points with most sector indices scoring gains.

Banks rose 0.49 percent, Leasing was 0.05 percent up, Insurance increased 0.61 percent, Investment ended 0.29 percent higher, Industrials rose 0.85 percent, Construction jumped 1.33 percent, Miscellaneous rose 1.08 percent but Holding eased 0.07 percent .

Trading was heavy and turnover was 21.8 billion drachmas.

Broadly, advancing issues led declining ones by 130 to 82 with another 32 issues unchanged.

Attica Aluminium, Ioniki Hotels, Vernikos Yachts, Terna, Hellenic Bottling and General Bank scored the biggest percentage gains, while Heliofin, Viosol, Greek Aluminium and Pairis suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at 33,595 dra chmas, Ergobank at 18,300, Alpha Credit Bank at 19,900, Delta Dairy at 3,725, Titan Cement at 16,450, Intracom at 14,545 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,740.

In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar and the DMark rose fractionally against the drachma.

Greece to hold trade fair in FYROM

Greece's state trade fair organiser will hold an exhibition in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on December 3-6 as part of a strategy to expand its activities into the Balkans.

The trade fair, which comes in the wake of two exhibitions of Greek products in Odessa and Ukraine, also forms part of the government's economic policy of extending links to the Balkans.

HELEXPO-DETH, which is organiser of the annual Thessaloniki international trade fair, plans to hold an exhibition in Belgrade. The date has yet to be set.

The move follows requests by exhibitors at the Thessaloniki event, who requested trade fairs in Belgrade and Skopje, FYROM's capital.

Among major firms expected to take part are Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, Public Power Corporation, Olympic Airways, Public Petroleum Corporation, and Piraeus and Thessaloniki Port Authorities.

WEATHER

Cloudy weather is forecast throughout Greece today with scattered showers in the west. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 15-26C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 12-23C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 280.538 Pound sterling 451.281 Cyprus pd 531.652 French franc 46.624 Swiss franc 190.816 German mark 156.672 Italian lira (100) 16.059 Yen (100) 230.134 Canadian dlr. 202.368 Australian dlr. 202.601 Irish Punt 409.855 Belgian franc 7.591 Finnish mark 52.503 Dutch guilder 139.163 Danish kr. 41.152 Swedish kr. 36.664 Norwegian kr. 38.656 Austrian sch. 22.257 Spanish peseta 1.857 Port. Escudo 1.542

(C.E.)


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