Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-25
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 25/09/1997 (ANA)
- Greece, US resolve to settle issues through int'l law
- US reiterates view that Imia should be put to int'l arbitration
- Athens says Balkan summit another chance for Greek-Turkish talks
- Netherlands' Queen Beatrix to visit Greece
- Albanian defence minister in Athens
- Pangalos meets with Archbishop Spyridon
- Black Sea countries working towards free trade zone
- Athens backs Nicosia on S-300 decision
- Athens Mayor in Chicago
- Commercial venture firm created
- Greece aims to meet EMU deficit criterion in '98
- Athens bourse, FT International launch new stock index
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece, US resolve to settle issues through int'l law
There is acommon conviction by Athens and Washington that issues must be
resolved peacefully with reference to international law and using
international organisations and mechanisms anticipated for this purpose,
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday after successive
meetings with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and US special
presidential envoy on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke.
Ms Albright appeared reserved in statements she made after the meeting.
Replying to a question on what the outcome of the meeting was, she said:
"We shall see how much we will be able to proceed today."
Referring to the meeting she had later with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis
Kasoulides, she added "I hope we will have a series of productive
After his meeting with Richard Holbrooke, Mr. Pangalos said:
"We discussed the Cyprus issue. Mr. Holbrooke informed me that he is
approaching the issue and I spoke to him of the contacts I had (at the UN
General Assembly). It was a very useful discussion for both of us."
On his part, Mr. Holbrooke said "I am very pleased over the very positive
stance concerning cooperation in the Aegean, which the government of Mr.
Simitis and Mr. Pangalos is showing. I believe that we are on the eve of
important developments in Europe."
Mr. Holbrooke said Washington supports the accession of Cyprus to the
European Union and desires a decrease in tension in the Aegean, which Mr.
Pangalos discussed with Ms Albright.
"We are very pleased that President (Glafcos) Clerides and (Turkish Cypriot
leader) Mr. (Rauf) Denktash are starting talks this week (tomorrow) on
security issues. A development which Mr. Miller promoted during his trip to
Nicosia. I have not scheduled a personal visit to Cyprus but I want to
stress that the US is participating and will continue to participate
actively in these issues," Mr. Holbrooke said.
Replying to a question on his views on how a solution to the Cyprus issue
is being promoted, he said "there are all the elements for progress, but
the will of all the leaders in the region is necessary and I do not think
that hasty assessments are helpful. I am neither optimistic nor pessimistic.
I see the issue from its realistic aspect."
US reiterates view that Imia should be put to int'l arbitration
Washington yesterday reiterated its position that the Imia issue should be
referred to the International Court at The Hague or another form of
international arbitration, indirectly pointing to Ankara for the current
"stale mate" in Greek-Turkish relations.
"As you know, our view is that it is appropriate for such a matter (Imia)
to be referred to the International Court at The Hague or another
international forum," US State Department spokesman James Rubin said after
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's successive meetings with Greek
and Turkish foreign ministers Theodoros Pangalos and Ismail Cem yesterday.
Ms Albright expressed disappointment for the lack of progress in the
"The secretary regrets that there was no progress to end the stalemate
between the two countries," Mr. Rubin said.
He added that discussions focused on bilateral relations rather than the
There was a limit to what Washington could do to help in the situation, he
said, but both sides had to show statesmanship and decisiveness.
He also expressed the hope that during the rest of Ms Albright's stay in
New York the next 10 days there would be some progress made.
Asked to comment on the content of the talks, he said: "We don't think it's
necessary to go into details, it's not useful."
Commenting on a forthcoming meeting between Greek and Turkish Prime
Ministers Costas Simitis and Mesut Yilmaz in Crete this November, he
expressed hope that there would be a better development.
Athens says Balkan summit another chance for Greek-Turkish talks
A scheduled Balkan summit on Crete in early November may provide Greek-
Turkish relations with another chance, Athens said yesterday, after an
unproductive meeting between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers on
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," Mr. Reppas said.
Mr. 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 de al with the issue of (the Aegean islet) of
Mr. Reppas noted that the Madrid communique signed between Mr. Simitis and
Turkish President Suleyman Demirel over the summer indicated that Turkey
should take its claim over Imia to international jurisdiction, which it has
At last night's meeting, Mr. Pangalos said that Turkey continued to dispute
the status quo of the Aegean and that this was an issue that was not up for
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.
Mr. Reppas said the Madrid text was "a starting point to deal with Greek-
"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.
Netherlands' 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
The royal couple will visit Greece on the invitation of President Kostis
Albanian defence minister in Athens
Albanian Defence Minister Sabit Brokaj arrived in Athens yesterday 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.
Pangalos meets with Archbishop Spyridon
The need for closer relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and
Athens was confirmed in a meeting between Foreign Minister Theodoros
Pangalos and Orthodox Archbishop Spyridon of North and South American, held
in New York on Tuesday.
Archbishop Spyridon said the meeting was held in "a friendly atmosphere"
and centered on issues related to Greece and Hellenism, with particular
emphasis on the role which expatriate Greek communities can play in dealing
with those issues.
Black Sea countries working towards free trade zone
A draft proposal calling for a new free trade zone on the Black Sea was
approved by the economic committee of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
(BSEC), which concluded its meeting in Athens yesterday. The plan will have
to be approved by BSEC's plenary meeting in Moldava in December, before
proceeding. The plenary session will also discuss a BSEC stock and trade
exchange, telecommunications and transportation. During the meeting,
Theodoros Kassimis, a deputy for the main opposition New Democracy, was
elected president of the economic, trade, technical and environmental
committee of BSEC's plenary session. BSEC members include Albania, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and
Athens backs Nicosia on 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
"The Greek government supports this decision," government spokesman
Dimitris Reppas said. Mr. 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," Mr. Reppas said.
Athens Mayor in Chicago
Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos is in Chicago for a four-day official
visit at the invitation of his counterpart of Chicago and the President of
the World Council of Hellenes Abroad president Andrew Athens.
The municipalities of Athens and Chicago will become sister cities, while a
protocol of cooperation will be signed during Mr. Avramopoulos' stay.
The mayor of Athens will also hold meetings with federal, state, economic
and business officials, as well as representatives of the Greek-American
Commercial venture firm created
An international commercial venture to undertake large-scale business deals
has been founded at the initiative of the Commercial Bank, the Hellenic
Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) and the Organisation for the Insurance of Export
The bank's broader aim is to forge deeper business relations between the
countries of the Balkans, central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and
the Black Sea region.
Greece aims to meet EMU deficit criterion in '98
Greece aimed to meet the budget deficit to gross domestic product (GDP)
criterion of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998, Yiannos Papantoniou,
minister for national economy and finance said yesterday.
Mr. Papantoniou, speaking at the annual meetings of the World Bank/International
Monetary Fund (IMF) in Hong Kong, said the government was now discussing
the 1998 budget.
"The government aims at a public deficit to GDP ratio of less than 3.0
percent which will satisfy the Maastricht Treaty criterion for entering the
Economic and Monetary Union," he said.
Greece aimed to reduce its budget deficit as a proportion of its GDP to 4.2
per cent in 1997 compared with 7.5 per cent in the previous year.
"Preliminary results in the first seven months of the year suggest that the
budget is on track," he said.
Mr. Papantoniou said good economic performance in the year had ushered in
buoyancy in capital and money markets. "Interest rates are falling faster
than forecast in the budget," he said.
Athens bourse, FT International launch new stock index
The Athens bourse yesterday launched a new real-time share index, the
FTSE/ASE-20, that will run parallel to the existing general index and track
the daily progress 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
"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
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
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
"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
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.
Cloudy weather is forecast throughout Greece today with scattered showers
in the west and south. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning gale
force in the east. Possibility of drizzle in the evening in Athens where
temperatures will range between 14-24C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki where
temperatures will be from 9-20C.
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.317
Pound sterling 451.043 Cyprus pd 531.315
French franc 46.628 Swiss franc 190.385
German mark 156.672 Italian lira (100) 16.056
Yen (100) 233.021 Canadian dlr. 200.999
Australian dlr. 201.525 Irish Punt 410.966
Belgian franc 7.590 Finnish mark 52.514
Dutch guilder 139.138 Danish kr. 41.158
Swedish kr. 36.787 Norwegian kr. 38.708
Austrian sch. 22.262 Spanish peseta 1.857
Port. Escudo 1.543