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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-10-14

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, 14/10/1999 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLIES

  • Athens: Cyprus the touchstone in further Greek-Turkish progress
  • Stephanopoulos received by supreme Iranian religious leader
  • Tsohatzopoulos begins high-level talks with Israeli leadership
  • Six UN observers, including Greek officer, abducted in Abkhazia
  • Intellectual property rights trampled in Greece, seminar concludes
  • Archaeological Council calls for new Acropolis museum tender
  • Alleged 'cult vessel' docks in Rhodes, members say they are
  • SE Europe gets first electronic trade conference
  • Stocks finish up on rate cut hopes
  • Lambrakis allies with advertisers, sets up digital firm
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Athens: Cyprus the touchstone in further Greek-Turkish progress

    The government yesterday said that despite the improved climate in Greek- Turkish relations the Cyprus problem remained the touchstone of any further progress.

    Speaking after holding talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides in Athens yesterday, Greek FM George Papandreou referred to "the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations which created a different atmosphere between the peoples of the two coun tries and decreased tension in bilateral relations."

    Mr. Papandreou said the Cyprus issue is an issue of foremost importance and reiterated that Greek-Turkish relations cannot be normalised unless there is progress over the long-standing problem.

    Mr. Papandreou further said that Athens and Nicosia are cooperating steadfastly for the promotion of Cyprus' accession negotiations and pointed out that island republic's accession course is a process parallel to efforts to resolve the island's political problem.

    On the question of the political problem, he said that we are in anticipation of invitations being sent to the two sides by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

    Mr. Kasoulides pointed out that the talks held in Athens provided the opportunity for the situation concerning the Cyprus issue to be reassessed, both in connection with Cyprus' accession course and the political problem. He reiterated that the upcoming OSCE summit and President Clinton's visit to Greece is a real window to opportunity, despite the fact that the window has become smaller from the point of view of time.

    Stephanopoulos received by supreme Iranian religious leader

    A meeting between President Kostis Stephanopoulos and the religious leader of Iran, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, dominated the Greek president's second day in the Mideast country.

    The meeting was of considerable importance considering that Ali Khamenei was inaccessible, until recently at least.

    The importance given by the Iranians to the role Greece, as a European Union member-state, can play was visible yesterday morning during the inauguration of the Greek-Iranian economic forum, when a representative of Iranian businessmen called on Mr. Stephanopoulos, as representing Greece, to mediate with the EU to help show Tehran's credibility concerning its international accords. This, he said, would contribute decisively towards attracting investors.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos spoke of the importance of developing Greek-Iranian relations and insisted on the need of promoting private initiative.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos had the opportunity of making a detailed presentation of Greek positions on such issues as Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue and the situation prevailing in the Balkans, when this was requested of him by former Iranian leader Ali Akbar Hasemi Rafsanjani.

    Tsohatzopoulos begins high-level talks with Israeli leadership

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos began an official three-day visit to Israel yesterday, expressing from the onset a hope for a new era in bilateral relations.

    "The two countries are approaching each other. The two peoples have a great deal to offer through their common experience in handling crises and threats. I believe, without exaggerating, that indeed we are laying the foundations for a new relationship between Greece and Israel with this visit," he told reporters.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was received by Israeli President Ezer Weizman at noon and exchanged views on all issues concerning the wider geostrategic situation in the region, as well as the Middle East issue.

    Later, he met with the president of the Israeli Knesset's foreign affairs and defence committee, Dan Meridor, for talks on all issues concerning the Balkans, the Caucasus region and the Middle East. Tsohatzopoulos will meet Israeli Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ehud Barak today. Later, he will visit military industries in the country as well as Hazerim air base.

    Six UN observers, including Greek officer, abducted in Abkhazia

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday condemned the abduction of six United Nations observers - including a Greek officer - in Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.

    "I wish to condemn in the most categorical manner the abduction of the team of UN observers by unknown gunmen in Abkhazia...We are following the matter closely for their immediate and safe release," he said.

    Reports said the team members, including observers from Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Uruguay, were abducted by nine gunmen 75 km northeast of Sukhumi, together with their Russian interpreter and after their helicopter came under fire. A Georgian foreign ministry spokesman said the abductors were asking for a ransom of $200,000 to release the observers.

    Intellectual property rights trampled in Greece, seminar concludes

    Participants at a two-day seminar in Athens on the protection of intellectual property in broadcasting and over the Internet heard both foreign and Greek officials paint a bleak picture for Greece in terms of copyright infringements and what they said was the "complete disregard " for payment of fees and dues.

    The seminar, organised by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Intellectual Property S.A, (AEPI) brought to the Greek capital the leadership of CISAC - Confederation International des Societes d' Auteurs et Compositeurs - including Herman von Bulow, the organisation's chairman and Eric Baptiste, its secretary-general.

    According to AEPI general manager Peter Xanthopoulos, none of the major television stations in Greece or radio stations, including the state-run ERT network after 1995, pay dues for music and other related compositions. Mr. Xanthopoulos told a press conference at a downtown Athens hotel devoid of television cameras that lawsuits against Greece's major broadcasters are expected to reach Greek courts next month.

    Archaeological Council calls for new Acropolis museum tender

    The Central Archaeological Council late on Tuesday decided to call yet another competition for a long-touted Acropolis museum, the fourth such international tender.

    The decision for a new competition was taken after archaeologists on the Council agreed that antiquities in the immediate grounds of the site of the projected new museum were too valuable to be ignored.

    The new design, the council stressed, must take into consideration how to protect and showcase the artefacts found in excavations conducted since 1997. The decision was approved unanimously.

    Expressing a hope that the museum will be ready by 2004, when the Greek capital hosts the Olympic Games, Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi said that by the end of 2000 the selection process must be completed.

    The budget for the project comes to 52 billion drachmas and will be financed by the Third Community Support Framework.

    A new Acropolis Museum is a touchstone in the ongoing campaign to retrieve the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum. The museum has long said that the Marbles receive the best protection in London.

    Alleged 'cult vessel' docks in Rhodes, members say they are

    A representative of a group of pilgrims refused entry into Israel angrily denied yesterday that they were members of any cult or planning a mass suicide in the Holy Lands as claimed by Israel authorities.

    "We are Catholics and do not belong to any cult," a written statement distributed by a member of the group stated when their vessel docked in Rhodes yesterday.

    Passengers aboard the Cypriot-flagged cruiseship 'Nissos Kypros' were forbidden from coming ashore when the vessel docked in Haifa this week, after Israeli authorities claimed they feared they were cult members determined to kill themselves to mark the new millennium and hasten the coming of Christ. Cypriot authorities allowed the vessel to refuel at the port of Limassol on Tuesday before sending it on its way back to Greece.

    Speaking on behalf of the 18 Irish nationals, six Romanians and one Colombian, a visibly angered spokesman, identified as Joseph Smith, distributed the statement saying that they had planned to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the coming of the new millennium on the invitation of a Greek Catholic bishop. The statement said the group had been treated badly by the Israeli authorities but did not go into specifics.

    SE Europe gets first electronic trade conference

    The first conference in southeast Europe on electronic commerce will be held in Thessaloniki on October 22-25.

    The conference on business and the digital economy is organised by the Commercial Association of Thessaloniki with the European Commission's information society's general directorate.

    Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos is to open the conference.

    Expected to attend the conference are delegates from the private and public sectors throughout southeastern Europe and experts in the field from European and US universities.

    Stocks finish up on rate cut hopes

    Equity prices ended moderately higher in nervous trade yesterday with buying interest shifting towards shares in the banking sector in anticipation of a new round of interest rate cuts.

    The general index ended 0.45 percent up at 6,155.21 points, off the day's high of 6,227 points. It recovered from an early drop to 6,057 points.

    Dealers said investors took profits from a recent rally in small cap stocks and opened new positions in blue chips.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks fell 0.04 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks jumped 1.59 percent to 3,066.50 points. National Bank of Greece ended at 23, 900 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24,700, Commercial Bank at 27,790, Titan Cement at 38,500, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,775, Intracom (common) at 17,7 00, Panafon at 7,810 and Hellenic Telecoms at 7,300.

    Lambrakis allies with advertisers, sets up digital firm

    Lambrakis Press SA yesterday announced an alliance with eight major advertisers to promote advertising through the Internet.

    The new company, Adnet SA, will manage advertising funds for the eight firms and other contributing advertising agencies through Lambrakis' Internet portal (in.gr).

    The eight advertising firms in the alliance are BBDO, Adel Saatchi & Saatchi, Bold/Ogilvy & Mather, Olympic DDB Needham, McCann Erickson, Spot Thomson, Geo Young & Rubicam and Leo Burnett.

    In another venture, listed Lambrakis is setting up a technology holding company called Dol Digital that will contain 15 firms to include Adnet SA. Dol Digital's share capital is six billion drachmas.

    WEATHER

    Fair weather will prevail in most parts of the country today. Cloudy in northern Greece with the possibility of local rain mainly in Madedonia and Thrace. Winds variable, light to moderate. Sunshine in Athens with temperatures between 15-28C. Possibility of showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 13-25C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Thursday's rates (buying)
    U.S. dollar          303.215
    Pound sterling       501.258
    Japanese yen (100)   281.351
    French franc          49.724
    German mark          166.768
    Italian lira (100)    16.845
    Irish Punt           414.150
    Belgian franc          8.085
    Finnish mark          54.858
    Dutch guilder        148.009
    Danish kr.            43.892
    Austrian sch.         23.704
    Spanish peseta         1.960
    Swedish kr.           37.408
    Norwegian kr.         39.261
    Swiss franc          204.947
    Port. Escudo           1.627
    Can. dollar          205.106
    Aus. dollar          198.792
    Cyprus pound         564.369
    Euro                 326.170
    
    (C.E.)
    Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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