Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-04-03
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 03/04/1998 (ANA)
- Increased activity over Cyprus issue this weekend
- WEU military chiefs to meet in Athens on Monday
- New frigate for Greek navy arrives next week
- Kranidiotis addresses conference on Greece's Mideast policy
- Another Greek cemetery desecrated in Turkey
- Beis to run in Athens mayoral race, PASOK condemns move
- Talks over Olympic's future restart
- US senate approves abolition of visa requirement for Greeks
- Greek stocks edge up in wake of correction
- Greece's Boutaris bids for FYROM brewery
- EU calls for better absorption of funds by Greece
- Greece, Algeria sign trade agreement
- First Mediterranean Special Olympic Games in Athens
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Increased activity over Cyprus issue this weekend
US State Department Coordinator for Cyprus, Tom Miller, has said efforts to
settle the protracted Cyprus problem have reached a very critical point. At
the same time, Russia's special envoy for Cyprus, Vladimir Tchizhov did not
rule out a meeting with his US counterpart Richard Holbrooke, as they will
be on a coinciding visits to the island republic over the weekend.
Tchizhov said this after talks in Athens yesterday with Greek Foreign
Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.
Speaking after a 75-minute meeting with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides
yesterday, ahead of a visit by Mr. Holbrooke, Mr. Miller said "we're making
some very serious efforts to try to be helpful."
The US diplomat will meet Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash this morning
and is expected to have a second meeting either with Mr. Clerides or
Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides later on in the day.
Asked if he sees the possibility of a meeting between President Clerides
and Mr. Denktash, Miller replied he did not think so.
"I would never preclude any possibility but that is not what the effort is
about," he added.
Replying to a question if they are bringing any ideas, the US diplomat said
"we've got a number of ideas but I prefer to discuss those inside."
Mr. Miller refrained from replying to a question if most of the ideas deal
with the security issue, but said that "security is one of the core issues
in any settlement in Cyprus."
"I think that you all understand what our efforts are all about, this is
very serious and I think it's a very critical point that we've reached at
this point of time," he said.
Invited to comment on an editorial in the "Washington Post", that Cyprus'
accession talks with the European Union will have a negative effect on
efforts to settle the Cyprus problem, Mr. Miller said "we're not in the EU
and it's not productive for us to comment on that."
UN-led efforts to solve the Cyprus problem have reached a deadlock because
Mr. Denktash insists on recognition of his illegal regime unilaterally
established in 1983, in the areas occupied by Turkish troops since they
invaded the island in 1974.
The Turkish Cypriot leader told UN Secretary General's special advisor for
Cyprus last month he will not return to the negotiating table unless he is
on an equal footing with President Clerides.
Mr. Holbrooke, the US diplomatic troubleshooter who brokered the Bosnia
peace agreement, is due in Nicosia today in order to attempt to revive
stalled intercommunal talks. He will hold separate meetings, first with
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash a nd then with Cyprus President
Mr. Tchizhov said he did not feel more optimistic after a meeting here
yesterday with Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash.
The Russian envoy described his meeting with President Clerides as "useful
and interesting" but pointed out he was not optimistic Mr. Denktash would
abandon his demand for recognition of his illegal regime.
The Turkish Cypriot leader has refused to participate in bi-communal talks
aiming at a Cyprus settlement, unless the illegal regime unilaterally
declared in the Turkish-occupied part of the island in 1983 receives
Mr. Denktash's puppet state is not recognised by any other state but
Commenting on the issue of S-300 missiles, purchased by the Cyprus
government and expected to be deployed on the island later this year, Mr.
Tchizhov said it was not the purpose of his visit to Cyprus.
Asked to comment on the US opposition to the deployment of S-300, the
Russian envoy stressed: "There is another good way" of achieving that,
pointing out to Mr. Clerides' proposal for demilitarisation of the
WEU military chiefs to meet in Athens on Monday
The 18-nation West European Union's (WEU) general staff chiefs' session
will be held in Athens on Tuesday. Greece holds the WEU's rotating six-
The session will focus on issues concerning the upgrading of the organisation's
operational capacity. Among others, issues to be examined regard the future
role and duties of the WEU's planning group, participation of associate
members in the meetings of the military representatives group, who are
preoccupied with the WEU's exercises policy, and the WEU's military
The session will be chaired by Greek National Defence General Staff Chief
Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis and will be attended by the WEU's secretary-
general, the 18 WEU national general staff chiefs, military representatives
of the 10 full members, the three as sociate members, the seven observer
states as well as the WEU's planning department director and satellite
New frigate for Greek navy arrives next week
The frigate "Kountouriotis" will reach the Salamina naval base on Monday
for an inauguration ceremony, in the presence of the country's political
and military leaderships.
The MEKO 200-class frigate is the sixth to be inducted into the Hellenic
Navy. Meanwhile, a Turkish frigate yesterday approached four Hellenic Navy
minesweepers at a distance of roughly 1,000 metres and as they were sailing
just off northern Evia in the framework of the "Kataigida" naval exercise.
The Turkish frigate was apparently observing the Greek exercise.
Kranidiotis addresses conference on Greece's Mideast policy
Speaking yesterday at a two-day conference in Athens, Foreign Undersecretary
Yiannos Kranidiotis referred to the orientations of Greek foreign policy in
the Middle East. "Securing peace and security in southeastern Mediterranean
region is one of the main targets of Greece's foreign policy," he said,
adding that the main waterways leading to and from Greece cross the region
and a crisis in the Middle East would create chain reactions.
The second target is the maintenance of existing balances in the Middle
East at the level of countries in the region and at the level of forces
which can affect the region's entire edifice and, lastly, Greece's target
is to bring the countries of the Middle East closer to western Europe,
facilitating cooperation between the two coasts of the Mediterranean.
On the first day of the conference yesterday, attended by PASOK deputy
Anastasios Peponis, prospects were examined for closer relations between
the European Union and the eastern Mediterranean by PASOK Eurodeputy
Yiannis Roubatis, the presidential commissioner of Cyprus Manolis
Christofides, the studies director of Rome's International Relations
Institute Roberto Aliboni, Alberto Bin from the political affairs-
Mediterranean-NATO department, journalist Yiannis Kartalis and Palestinian
professor Manouel Hasasian.
The event was organised by the Philip Morris Institute, the Lambrakis
Studies Foundation and the Greek European and Foreign Policy Foundation at
the Concert Hall, and under the auspices of the foreign ministry.
Another Greek cemetery desecrated in Turkey
The government yesterday described as "a barbaric act" the desecration of a
Greek cemetery in Istanbul early Tuesday morning.
"The desecrators remain unknown, just as those who have perpetrated such
acts in the past against churches and cemeteries of the Greek community (in
Turkey) also remain unknown," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
The spokesman said "such deplorable acts must be dealt with decisively
because they are blemishes on culture and institutions and should not leave
the international community indifferent".
Mr. Reppas expressed a hope that Turkish police will "this time" prove to
be more effective.
Guards at the Kourtoulous cemetery said yesterday that the desecration was
the work of at least four persons, according to an ANA dispatch from
They said some of the gravestones that were moved were so heavy that they
could not have been lifted by one person.
Vandals desecrated the Greek cemetery at Neohorio on the Bosporus in
September 1993, while another cemetery in the Istanbul suburb of Kanitili
was the target of desecrators last year.
No arrests were ever made.
Beis to run in Athens mayoral race, PASOK condemns move
Former Athens mayor and PASOK deputy Dimitris Beis yesterday announced his
candidacy for the Greek capital's top municipal post, a move that drew
immediate criticism from the ruling PASOK party.
PASOK is officially supporting one-time Coalition of the Left and Progress
(Synaspismos) leader and current deputy Maria Damanaki in her bid to become
"PASOK's leading group, together with a section of Synaspismos, have opted
for Damanaki with the only aim of promoting a different 'political game',"
Mr. Beis said.
He stressed that his candidacy was an authentic expression of PASOK and its
founder, Andreas Papandreou, and that the current PASOK leadership was
trying, "with threats and obstacles, to gag an independent political voice
which does not bow to a system. "
He pointed out that Ms Damanaki had played a leading role in Andreas
Papandreou's referral to a special court in 1989, as well as her refusal to
support current Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos' candidacy for the
municipality in 1994. That election resulted in the election of incumbent
mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, who was sponsored by the main opposition New
Both the ruling party leadership and government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
condemned Mr. Beis' decision to stand again.
PASOK has decided to back Ms Damanaki's candidacy, and "it is self-evident
that any other candidacy is categorically condemned by the movement (PASOK),
" a party statement read.
The former Athens mayor has also served as secretary of the party's
Talks over Olympic's future restart
Olympic Airways' management and union representatives did not make any
statements after emerging from a meeting yesterday, in which discussions
focused on a new proposed labour regulation, collective bargaining
agreements and the proposed abolition of meal bonuses for staff.
It transpired, however, that details were decided on the procedure for re-
commencing dialogue, which is expected today.
Meanwhile, Parliament's competent committee approved the goverment's draft
bill on streamlining the airline, after sharp exchanges and tense
confrontations between government and opposition deputies.
Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis refused to be drawn on whether he would
accept changes to a draft bill when it comes up for debate in the plenum
next week. He also said that the state would settle all its debts to the
airline within two months, and would retain control of 51 per cent of the
US Senate approves abolition of visa requirement for Greeks
The US-based National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (NCEH) yesterday
announced that the US Senate voted on Wednesday to waive visa requirements
for Greek citizens.
NCEH President Andrew E. Manatos said that "late last night the US Senate
took a final Congressional action, which will allow Greek citizens to visit
the US without a visa, beginning in a few weeks or months."
He added that "in doing so, the Senate overturned its previous position
which would have required Greece to continue its visa programme for two
more years. This bill will now be sent to the President for his signature
Mr. Manatos said that this development was realised by the timely work of
Senators Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), Spencer Abraham (R-Michigan), and
US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns.
Greek stocks edge up in wake of correction
Greek equities yesterday moved tentatively higher on the Athens Stock
Exchange reversing a two-day correction. Traders said investors were
particularly interested in small capitalisation companies, pushing the
parallel index 3.77 percent higher.
The market's general index rose 0.31 percent to 1,995 points with sector
indices ending mixed.
Banks rose 0.94 percent, Insurance increased 0.98 percent, Leasing dropped
0.59 percent, Investment ended 0.99 percent up, Construction fell 0.71
percent, Industrials eased 0.47 percent, Miscellaneous soared 4.65 percent
and Holding was 1.0 percent up.
The FTSE/ASE-20 blue chip index rose 0.26 percent to 1,175.53 points.
Trading was heavy with turnover at 55 billion drachmas.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 124 to 99 with another 32 issues
Metrolife, Euromedica, Follie-Follie, Sysware, Teletypos, Phaliro Medical
and Ippotour scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent
limit up. Demetriadis, Lanakam, Etma and Ekter suffered the heaviest
National Bank of Greece ended at 35,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 22,605, Alpha
Credit Bank at 23,650, Delta Dairy at 3,365, Titan Cement at 22,350,
Intracom at 18,500 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,
In the domestic foreing exchange market the drachma was weaker against the
Ecu and the DMark.
Greece's Boutaris bids for FYROM brewery
Greece's Boutaris winemaker has bid for a 51 percent stake in Bitola
brewery, one of the largest companies in the Former Yugoslav Republic of
FYROM's government privatisation service has valued its assets at 3.5
Other presumed bidders in the brewery's sale are MTI of Switzerland and
Fosters of Australia.
The deadline for bids is April 10, and Bitola's new owners will be
announced on April 11.
EU calls for better absorption of funds by Greece
European Union social affairs commissioner Padraig Flynn yesterday urged
Greece to speed up efforts to fully absorb EU social funds because the
country needed to invest in human resources.
Responding to a question by Greek Euro MP Mihalis Papayiannakis on Greece's
absorption rate, Mr. Flynn said that outstanding funds to support
programmes on improving education, combatting long-term unemployment and
modernising public administration tota lled 1,770 million Ecus (632 billion
He said he hoped that the government would upgrade its programme on human
resources by June.
Greece, Algeria sign trade agreement
Greek and Algerian commerce authorities yesterday signed a bilateral
economic and trade agreement at a seminar in Athens attended by businessmen
from both countries. The agreement was signed by the Hellenic Foreign Trade
Board (OPE) and Algeria's commerce and industry chamber.
OPE chairman, Yiannis Tzen, said that the deal sets the foundation for
permanent cooperation between the two countries.
National Economy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas reassured the Algerian
delegation that the Greek government would continue efforts to upgrade
bilateral economic and trade relations to the same level as existing
The Algerian delegation presented the seminar with its investment policy
and incentives, the government's privatisation programme, plans to reform
the banking system and opportunities in its energy sector.
First Mediterranean Special Olympic Games in Athens
The first Mediterranean Special Olympic Games will take place in Greece
from April 5-9, officials announced.
The 1,420 athletes from 25 countries will participate in track and field
events, basketball, and swimming, among others, while 380 volunteer coaches
will also assist.
Special Olympics Hellas President Andreas Potamianos said that about 5,000
athletes participate in programmes in Greece.
Partly cloudy weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Local fog
in the morning. Winds will be westerly, light to moderate in the south and
western regions. Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures between 7-
19C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 4-18C.
Thursday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 320.237
British pound 536.236 Japanese Yen(100) 239.598
French franc 51.727 German mark 173.302
Italian lira (100) 17.579 Irish Punt 435.488
Belgian franc 8.403 Finnish mark 57.102
Dutch guilder 153.785 Danish kr. 45.471
Austrian sch. 24.634 Spanish peseta 2.044
Swedish kr. 39.936 Norwegian kr. 41.864
Swiss franc 209.223 Port. Escudo 1.691
AUS dollar 209.768 Can. dollar 225.482
Cyprus pound 596.271