Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-07-21
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 21/07/1998 (ANA)
- Athens calls for implementation of UN resolutions in Cyprus
- Tirana requests Athens' mediation for end to Kosovo violence
- US initiative to defuse tension in Cyprus
- Greece proposes new coastal road link to Albania
- New Orthodox Metropolitans appointed in Albania
- Greek expatriate politicians arrive for conference
- Tzoumakas requests more EU money for forests' protection
- More fishermen in Greece per capita than rest of EU
- Intrakom, Alpha Credit cooperation
- Strintzis Lines share capital increase
- Unemployment jumps to 9.8 percent in June
- Greek stocks surge for third session, again post new record
- State telecom workers to strike over new float
- Auction of 15-yr bonds brings lower rate
- Gov't sees tourism to Greece rising 15 pct in 1998
- Insurance firms merge
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens calls for implementation of UN resolutions in Cyprus
Greece said yesterday that it was time for the international community to
contribute to implementation of United Nations resolutions regarding the
division and continuing occupation of a third of the Cyprus Republic.
Speaking on the 24th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the island,
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said it was time for the impasse in
the resolution of the problem to be overcome.
Mr. Reppas said the presence of Turkish government officials, fighter
planes and warships in the occupied sector of Cyprus on the anniversary of
the invasion was a "sign of Turkey's weakness".
"It does not only confirm that (Turkey) illegally occupies a section of the
island but also proves that Turkey has no intention of contributing to a
solution," Mr. Reppas said.
Tirana requests Athens' mediation for end to Kosovo violence
Albania requested from Athens yesterday to mediate in efforts to end
violence in the troubled Serbian province of Kosovo, Foreign Minister
Theodoros Pangalos told reporters here after meeting with his Albanian
counterpart Pask al Milo.
"Mr. Milo asked the Greek government to exercise its influence on Belgrade
to defuse the crisis and work towards a settlement of the crisis," Mr.
Pangalos said, adding that this was Greece's position.
"A solution has to be found through dialogue," he said, adding that Mr.
Milo had agreed with this approach.
"It is imperative that acts of violence cease," Mr. Pangalos added,
stressing that he would meet with representatives of the Kosovo Albanians
later in Tirana.
Mr. Pangalos said that acts of violence must stop and there should be an
open dialogue in search of a solution acceptable to all sides.
Mr. Pangalos reminded that Greece had raised the issue of Kosovo with the
European Union four years ago which, however, "always shows a disposition
"The EU has grave responsibilities for not tackling the problem in time,"
Mr. Pangalos added.
US initiative to defuse tension in Cyprus
The US government will take an initiative to defuse tension on Cyprus, the
president of the European Union (EU) Council said here yesterday.
Austrian FM Wolfgang Schussel told a Europarliament Foreign Affairs
Committee meeting that the EU has agreed on this initiative.
He revealed that the decision was taken at a meeting in Washington last
Friday between the EU troika's political affairs chiefs and their US
The EU troika is made up of the former presidency (Britain), the current
presidency (Austria) and Germany, who will take over the next six-month
rotating EU presidency in January.
Mr. Schussel said that they had agreed "to make every effort to discourage
the arms race" in Cyprus and that "the Americans would take action to
Greece proposes new coastal road link to Albania
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday proposed the construction of
a new road to link the northwestern Greek port of Igoumenitsa to Trieste
via Albania in order to boost investments and exports.
At the start a two-day visit to Tirana, Mr. Pangalos told Albanian Foreign
Minister Paskal Milo that the Greek government would work to secure
European Union financing for the joint project. The new road would run
along the Dalmatian coast.
The two officials also discussed the construction of three new border posts
on the Greek-Albanian border and the creation of a free-movement zone along
a 25-kilometre stretch of the border.
Accompanying Mr. Pangalos to the neighbouring country is a 16-member
delegation of Greek businessmen who are due to have talks with members of
the Albanian government on spurring business links.
Across-the-board cooperation between Greece and Albania was robust and many
commitments under bilateral protocols had been met, Mr. Pangalos told
New Orthodox Metropolitans appointed in Albania
The first official members of the Autocephalus Albanian Orthodox Church's
Holy Synod held their inaugural meeting here Saturday, after the enthronement
of Metropolitan Ignatios of Berat, Vlore and Kaninis.
During the historic meeting, the Holy Synod decided to accept the
resignations of Metropolitans Alexandros of Gjirokaster and Christodoulos
of Korce, who were rejected by the Albanian government as they were not
It should be noted that Ignatios is an Albanian national and speaks
In their place, the Holy Synod appointed Albanian nationals Ioannis Peluci,
43, and Kosmas Kirio, 77.
The first is the assistant director of the Albanian Church's Theological
Academy and a graduate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America Holy Cross
School of Theology. The second is the bishop of Appolonia, who had
continued to perform his religious duties during the severe persecution of
the Hoxha regime.
Greek expatriate politicians arrive for conference
The second session of the World Hellenic Interparliamentary Union started
in Vouliagmeni resort, south of Athens, yesterday.
The event is attended by 40 Greek expatriate politicians elected to foreign
parliaments and hailing from Australia, Canada, the United States, Ukraine,
Albania, Georgia, Romania, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina, Peru, the
Netherlands, Sweden, Yugoslavia and Lithuania.
The session was inaugurated by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou
who said that issues concerning multi-culturalism were discussed at the
session, namely, respect for the culture of each people separately. He
added that not only to maintain our right to culture but also to strengthen
the tolerance of the foreigner from another.
"It is necessary for us to practically utilise Greek diaspora. Not that it
has not had a strong presence in affairs in Greece until now, but we will
strengthen the utilisation of Greek potential to enable us to be linked to
latest developments at a world level," Mr. Papandreou said.
The morning session was also attended by the organisation's president and
Australian State MP Demetri Dollis and the president of the Council of
Overseas Hellenes (SAE) Andrew Athens.
The Greek expatriates showed particular interest in Greek national issues,
underlined the aggressiveness of Turkey and referred to the issue of a
nuclear plant being established in a neighbouring country and the dangers
attached to it. They also comment ed on the olympic truce and the Olympic
The second session will be concluded on July 27 since the participants will
visit Thrace, Hios and Cyprus as of July 25.
Finally, Mr. Papandreou said an Internet site will be created showcasing
issues of concern for expatriate Greek politicians, while an information
bulletin regarding Athens' relations with countries in which the expatriate
politicians reside will be dist ributed every three months through Greek
Tzoumakas requests more EU money for forests' protection
Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday requested larger and
more effective EU funding for the protection of European forests from
Mr. Tzoumakas stated his request during the first meeting of the agriculture
The ministers also discussed the issue of quotas, focusing on milk
Finally, they dealt with the current farm credits system, and how it will
be affected by the introduction of the euro.
More fishermen in Greece per capita than rest of EU
Greece has the highest per capita ratio of fishermen in the European Union,
according to yesterday's Eurostat announcement.
Eurostat noted that 1 per cent of the Greek workforce, or about 40,000
individuals, are fishermen, while another 10 per cent are employed in the
Figures also noted that the average per capita consumption of fish in
Greece stands at 24 per cent, while the EU average is 22 per cent.
According to the report, seafood production rose by 124 per cent during the
1970-1995 period, while the largest producer is Denmark with 25 per cent of
the Union's 8.1-million-ton total.
Intrakom, Alpha Credit cooperation
Two of the most visible business groups in Greece, Intrakom and Alpha
Credit, are turning their attention to sectors of the Greek informatics
sector, especially in terms of developing products and services in the
According to reports, this alliance has already been finalised, utilising
know-how in the local software market of Intrasoft and Delta Informatics, a
subsidiary of Alpha Credit group, in developing and supporting services for
Business penetration of the sports market by the two groups will be carried
out through the creation of a joint company entitled Infospor. The two
companies will participate in the company on a 50-50 basis, without the
possibility of small stakes for in dividuals ruled out at a later
Strintzis Lines share capital increase
An unscheduled general assembly of Strintzis Lines yesterday approved an
increase in the company's share capital by 2.9 billion drachmas.
To this end, the company which is listed in the Athens bourse, will issue
14,800,000 new shares to be sold at 2,000 drachmas each.
Unemployment jumps to 9.8 percent in June
The jobless rate surged to 9.8 percent in June, or 2.86 percentage points
higher than the figure for the same month in 1997, hitting a record high in
the summer season when unemployment usually drops.
The nearest figure was 9.83 percent in March, when unemployment is
generally high. In summer the rate drops due to seasonal work.
In June, the registered unemployed were 288,299, the highest seasonal
figure recorded by the state Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED), which
collected the data.
According to OAED's director, Kostas Efstratoglou, the sharp rise appears
to be due to a rush to sign on by the unregistered jobless in order to gain
eligibility for vocational training programmes and subsidised jobs recently
announced by the government .
Greek stocks surge for third session, again post new record
Greek equities sprinted ahead yesterday for the third straight session,
easily keeping above former resistance at 2,700 points and setting another
The Athens general share index ended 1.18 percent higher at 2,770.91 points,
and the FTSE/ASE 20 index gained 1.58 percent to finish at 1,691.20 points.
Trade was moderate with turnover at 58.9 billion drachmas. Buying interest
centred on construction stocks with the sector index finishing 5.96 percent
Most other sectors recorded gains. Banks rose 2.55 percent, Leasing rose
0.20 percent, Insurance jumped 3.19 percent, Investment edged up 0.02
percent, Industrials dropped by 0.64 percent and Holding gained 3.01
Bucking the trend was Miscellaneous, which fell 1.57 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies finished 1.33 percent
National Bank of Greece ended at 50,000 drachmas, Ergobank at 33,920, Alpha
Credit Bank at 29,990, Ionian Bank at 17,950, Commercial Bank of Greece at
29,350, Delta Dairy (common) at 3,850, Intracom (common) at 12,500, Titan
Cement (common) at 23,300, H ellenic Petroleum at 2,710 and Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation at 8,510 drachmas.
State telecom workers to strike over new float
State telecom workers will stage a 24-hour nationwide strike on Thursday to
protest against a third flotation for Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation (OTE) due in the autumn.
The latest float on the Athens Stock Exchange would bring the total of
stock sold in OTE up to a maximum of 45 percent, paving the way for a
majority privatisation in the future, OTE's union said in a statement
OTE had no need to sell stock as it could fund investments from its equity
capital. The sale was aimed solely at raking in extra funds, the statement
claimed. The union called on parliament, political parties and other groups
to protest against the flotation.
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said recently
that an amendment would have to be voted through parliament allowing the
sale of more stock.
He also said the third float would mark the end of share sales to private
Auction of 15-yr bonds brings lower rate
The finance ministry yesterday auctioned 250 billion drachmas' worth of
fixed income 15-year bonds in a reopening sale for a May 20, 1998
Primary dealers offered bids worth 593.8 billion drachmas, which meant the
issue was oversubscribed by 2.4 times. The ministry accepted 280.8 billion
drachmas in bids, over its original target.
The average weighted rate for the bonds was 7.42 percent, lower than the
coupon's 7.50 rate. It was also lower than 7.70 percent in May's auction.
The average weighted price in yesterday's auction was 100.61 against 98.08
Banks received no commission for taking the paper due to a recent change in
Gov't sees tourism to Greece rising 15 pct in 1998
Tourism to Greece in 1998 has exceeded early forecasts with arrivals
expected to rise by about 15 percent against last year, Development
Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday.
Ms Papandreou, whose portfolio includes tourism, dismissed what she called
"whining" by hoteliers and travel agents who feared a decline in arrivals.
There was a 22 percent increase in the number of Britons who had chosen
Greece for their holidays this year, and a 28 percent increase in the
number of Belgian tourists, she said.
A major tour operator, TUI of Germany, had reported a 21 percent increase
in bookings to Greece from 1997, and ministry figures showed the number of
German tourist arrivals would increase by 12 percent.
Also up on last year's figures were the number of Italian (+7%) and Dutch
(+14%) tourists, Ms Papandreou said.
Greece was clearly reaping the benefits of a downturn in tourism to Turkey
but the Greek tourist industry should not rest on its laurels. Better
quality and a diversification of products were needed, she said.
Insurance firms merge
The European Credit and Eurogroup insurance companies announced that they
will go ahead with a merger through the absorption of the latter by the
According to European Credit officials, "the merger... is the first step in
our declared strategic option to play a leading role...between healthy
companies in the insurance sector as well as in the wider fiscal sector."
Following the merger, European Credit will strengthen its portfolio since
Eurogroup has a portfolio totalling 1.6 billion drachmas.
The forecast for today is sunny with temperatures ranging from 18-36 in the
west, 17-34 in the rest of the country and 21-32 on the islands. Athens
will be warm with moderate to strong winds and temperatures between 22-34C.
Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 20-32C.
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 293.305
British pound 482.211 Japanese yen (100) 211.266
French franc 49.118 German mark 164.672
Italian lira (100) 16.693 Irish Punt 414.061
Belgian franc 7.983 Finnish mark 54.163
Dutch guilder 146.037 Danish kr. 43.206
Austrian sch. 23.394 Spanish peseta 1.939
Swedish kr. 37.142 Norwegian kr. 39.986
Swiss franc 195.221 Port. Escudo 1.609
Aus. dollar 183.708 Can. dollar 197.289
Cyprus pound 561.889