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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 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

  • Greek-Turkish relations will get second chance in Crete
  • Turkey insists on disputing Aegean status quo
  • Athens supports Nicosia S-300 decision
  • OA plane makes successful forced landing
  • F-16 plane, pilot still missing
  • Albanian defence minister to visit today
  • Holland's Queen Beatrix to visit Greece
  • New index for Athens bourse
  • Mediterranean media conference ends
  • Greek telecom mulls listing on NYSE
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greek-Turkish relations will get second chance in Crete

The Balkan summit on Crete in early November may provide Greek-Turkish relations with another chance, Athens said today, after an unproductive meeting between Greece and Turkey's foreign ministers in New York yesterday.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the meeting between Theodoros Pangalos and Ismail Cem brought "no result".

"I hope that the summit of Balkan nations in Crete where there is a scheduled meeting between (Prime Minister Costas) Simitis and (his Turkish counterpart Mesut) Yilmaz will bring results," Reppas said.

Reppas said the failure of the Pangalos-Cem meeting to make any headway was entirely due to Turkey's stance, which, he said, "on the one hand, laid out a general political position, and on the other, refused to take the step which would lead it to deal with the issue of (the Aegean islet) of Imia".

Athens and Ankara came close to war in January 1996 over the barren islet in the Aegean after Turkey claimed it was its territory.

Reppas noted that the Madrid communique signed between Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel earlier this year indicated that Turkey take its claim over Imia to international jurisdiction, which it has not done.

At last night's meeting, Pangalos said that Turkey continued to dispute the status quo of the Aegean and that this was an issue that was not up for discussion.

It was the first high-level meeting between the Greek and Turkish sides since the signing of the Madrid communique, which drew broad guidelines for relations between the two neighbours.

Reppas said the Madrid text was "a starting point to deal with Greek- Turkish problems".

"Turkey has back-pedalled on the spirit of Madrid," he said, adding that he thought it "unlikely" that there would be a tripartite meeting between Greece, Turkey and the United States at the UN this week.

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".

Athens supports Nicosia S-300 decision

Nicosia's decision to purchase Russian-made S-300 missiles is a "politically sound and completely legal decision by the Cypriot government", Athens said today.

"The Greek government supports this decision," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

Reppas said Athens hoped that there would be ample time before the deployment of the missiles to begin demilitarisation of the island, whose northern third is occupied by Turkish troops.

"When there are no troops, there will be no S-300s," Reppas said.

OA plane makes successful forced landing

A twin-engine Olympic Airways Dornier airplane carrying 17 passengers made a forced landing at Tanagra military airport today when its landing system malfunctioned, airport authorities said.

All passengers and the two-member crew were safe and unharmed, the authorities said.

The Dornier was on a flight from Athens to the island of Milos in the southeastern Aegean when its hydraulic system started losing liquids, incapacitating its landing system, and turned around to return to Athens.

Eyewitnesses and airport authorities watched for one hour as the plane circled over Athens Airport, before it landed at the Tanagra base, north of Athens.

All emergency landing precautions had been taken at Tanagra, with rescue units in place and foam spread over the landing runway, where the pilot landed the plane without incident.

A Fire brigade spokesman said the landing runway at Athens Airport had also been spread with foam and all precautionary measures taken, but added he did not know why the Control Tower sent the plane to Tanagra.

F-16 plane, pilot still missing

The loss of an F-16 over the Aegean Sea was probably due to pilot error, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.

The F-16 fighter plane disappeared from radar screens at around 3:30 p.m. yesterday while on a routine training flight west of the island of Ayios Efstratios.

Extensive searches of the area by air and sea have failed to find any sign of the plane or its pilot, Christos Angelopoulos, 30.

Reppas clarified that the aircraft was properly maintained and serviced and operators suitably trained to fly it.

Albanian defence minister to visit today

Albanian Defence Minister Sabit Brokaj arrives in Athens this afternoon (6:00 p.m.), at the invitation of Greek counterpart Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

The ministers are due to sign a new cooperation accord between their two countries in the military sector.

Mr. Brokaj will be accompanied by socialist party MP for Gjirokaster Vangelis Tavos.

Holland's Queen Beatrix to visit Greece

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will pay an official visit to Greece October 7-9, accompanied by her husband, Prince Claus, it was announced today.

The royal couple will visit Greece on the invitation of President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

New index for Athens bourse

Greece's bourse today launched a new real-time share index, the FTSE/ASE-20, that will run parallel to the existing general index and track the daily progess of a basket of stocks.

The index, which monitors 20 mostly industrial and banking blue chips, was designed for the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) in a joint project with FTSE International, a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange and Financial Times newspaper.

"Introduction of the FTSE/ASE-20 is a major step in developing the stock exchange and in our effort to attract institutional investors from abroad," bourse president Manolis Xanthakis told an inauguration ceremony for the new index.

Its design has taken into account the creation of a derivatives market in Greece that is expected to occur next year after new legislation is introduced.

The new index will facilitate the calculation of returns on investments and the creation of new mutual funds, which function on the basis of stock indices.

"A new investment culture is growing in Europe at this time as investors seek opportunities further and further afield," Mark Makepeace, FTSE International's managing director said

The bourse will handle daily operations and calculation supervised by a newly created committee of representatives from the ASE, key investment houses in Greece and abroad and FTSE International, which is also to act as an auditor.

The committee set the original specifications for the index's design and laid down the ground rules for operation.

FTSE stock indices are widely used by fund managers and investment companies around the world. Its best known index is the FTSE-100 for London's market.

"I believe that introduction of the new FTSE/ASE-20 index at the Athens Stock Exchange has consolidated a particularly successful joint endeavour which I am sure will lead to even closer and more fruitful cooperation between the two organisations," Makepeace said.

Banks tracked in the new index are Alpha Credit Bank, National Bank of Greece, Ergobank, Commercial Bank of Greece, Mortgage Bank, Ionian Bank of Greece, Piraeus Bank and Macedonia-Thrace Bank.

Industrials monitored are Titan Cement, Hellenic Bottling, Aget Heracles, Biohalko, Delta Dairies, Papastratos, Intracom and Aluminium de Grece.

Engineering contractors Michaniki and AEGEK are included in the new index along with Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation and Goody's.

Mediterranean media conference 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.

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.

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

(M.P.)


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