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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-10-27

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, 27/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Papandreou-Cem contacts in Thessaloniki today
  • Tsohatzopoulos: Ankara must make goodwill gesture now
  • Constantopoulos received by Demirel in Ankara
  • New FT index for Athens bourse
  • Stocks drop on inflation jitters
  • Civil servants' salaries up 2.5 pct
  • Olympic Catering set for second float
  • Varvaressos to hold IPO
  • Greek leadership on `OXI Day`, Thessaloniki liberation anniversary
  • Gov't defends purpose of Clinton visit
  • Simitis in Bulgaria next week
  • Naval standards, banners returned to Russia
  • Delos lions to be moved today
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Papandreou-Cem contacts in Thessaloniki today

The Greek and Turkish foreign ministers - meeting today on the sidelines of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact conference in Thessaloniki - are expected to evaluate results of the third round of "low-policy" contacts between diplomats from each nation's foreign ministry.

FM George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem will meet in the northern Greek capital.

The last round, conducted in both countries' capitals and concluded in Athens yesterday, included discussions on issues related to tourism, the environment, economic and commercial relations, culture, cooperation in the multilateral regional field and combatting organised crime, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and terrorism.

According to a joint communique, "the talks were conducted in a friendly and business-like atmosphere", and "included updating the contractual framework of Greek-Turkish relations as and when appropriate, as well as defining specific areas where cooperation could be initiated in the short or longer term".

It was decided to establish working groups related to the above fields and aimed at further elaborating draft texts already exchanged, while conclusions will be ratified in the fourth round, tentatively scheduled to begin some time in December.

Tsohatzopoulos: Ankara must make goodwill gesture now

With both Cyprus and Turkey turning their sights on joining the European Union, Ankara must seize the opportunity now to agree to European standards on respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence between peoples, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday.

He added that for Greece the right of return of refugees and the restoration of freedom and democracy in a united free Republic of Cyprus, which would join the European Union, were inalienable aspects of any resolution of the Cyprus problem.

The minister was speaking in Thessaloniki, where he attended a church service marking the feast day of the city's patron saint.

The defence minister said Greek citizens had every reason to look forward to the coming of a new millennium.

Constantopoulos received by Demirel in Ankara

Turkish President Suleyman Demirel yesterday received a Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) delegation headed by party leader Nikos Constantopoulos.

The Turkish leader stressed that good intentions must be turned into practice and the positive climate shaped in Greek-Turkish relations should be duly utilised.

He added the atmosphere for developing Greek-Turkish relations was "suitable", saying that "resolving differences between us is possible", while he extended his thanks for "the interest shown by the Greek people and the Greek government to Turkey after the disastrous earthquake."

"Our relations will become better in the coming years," he said.

Mr. Constantopoulos spoke of "an interesting phase in Greek-Turkish relations" and stressed that "this positive situation should find response in politics."

New FT index for Athens bourse

A new Financial Times stock index is to be introduced into the Athens Stock Exchange within the next two months, named the FTSE/ASE 40.

The new index for medium capitalisation stocks will complement the existing FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chips and heavily traded shares.

In the future, the FTSE/ASE 40 will be used as a base for futures trading on the Athens Derivatives Exchange, like its predecessor.

Stocks drop on inflation jitters

Equity prices remained under mild pressure yesterday reflecting investors' worries over the outlook for inflation and developments in international markets.

Trading was nervous with the general index ending 0.96 percent lower at 5, 524.32 points, off the day's low when losses were 2.0 percent. Turnover was a moderate 311 billion drachmas.

On the other hand, the Leasing and Banks sectors scored gains, up 2.20 pct and 1.06 pct respectively.

Other sector indices ended as follows: Insurance (-0.55 pct), Investment (- 2.02 pct), Construction (-0.67 pct) and Industrials (-2.35 pct).

The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks increased 0.62 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks fell 0.29 percent to 2,777.53 points.

National Bank of Greece ended at 22,380 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 22, 595, Commercial Bank at 23,690, Titan Cement (common) at 35,000, Hellenic Petroleum at 5,050, Intracom (common) at 13,920, Minoan Lines at 9,835, Panafon at 4,000 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,850.

Civil servants' salaries up 2.5 pct

Civil servants' salaries will increase an average 2.5 percent next year, Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday at a meeting with the civil servants union (ADEDY).

Mr. Christodoulakis pledged that the government would pay rises ranging from 2.1 to 2.9 percent for an average weighed rise of 2.5 percent.

The pay increases represent a minimum of 166 drachmas and a maximum of 366 drachmas daily.

He said that the government's proposals, including tax cuts, would increase the purchasing power of civil servants with pay rises exceeding the inflation target for the year 2000.

ADEDY president G. Koutsoukos said that the government's proposals did not meet his members' demands.

Olympic Catering set for second float

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis yesterday decided to float a second stake in Olympic Catering on the Athens bourse through the sale of an additional seven percent of its equity.

The ministers also discussed the financial condition of public utilities supervised by the transport ministry.

Varvaressos to hold IPO

Varvaressos SA-Naoussa Spinning Mills, a textiles company, yesterday announced it would seek listing on the main market of the Athens bourse through an initial public offering starting on November 2 and ending on November 5.

The plan, approved by the Athens bourse and the capital market commission, envisages the issue of 2,576,270 common shares at a nominal value of 200 drachmas each.

A total of 2,453,590 shares will be offered to the public while another 122, 680 shares are destined for the company's staff through a private placement.

The company's total shares will rise to 10,305,079 after the share capital increase.

National Bank of Greece is acting as the main underwriter to the IPO, with Alpha Finance as consultant.

Greek leadership on `OXI Day`, Thessaloniki liberation anniversary

President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday paid tribute to the country's heroic efforts during the liberation of Thessaloniki from Ottoman rule in the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars and during World War II.

"Greece's heroic resistance against the axis forces in 1940, as well as the liberation of Thessaloniki in 1912, proved that Greeks maintain significant reserves of ancestral virtues and fight with heroism when it concerns regaining or maintaining their freedom," he added.

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in his message that "we Greeks have shown on the battlefields in 1940, and then in the resistance, that we can struggle for our visions and build our future with trust."

"The eve of the third millennium finds Europe with a completely different geographical and political landscape from that which it experienced on the eve of the Second World War and during the Cold War period: that of the gradual unification of the conti nent in all sectors," he said.

In his message on the occasion of the Oct. 28 national holiday, the anniversary of the outbreak of war between Greece and Italian troops in 1940, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis referred to Greece's role as a force pursuing peace, democracy, stability, prosperity, respect for human rights and adherence to international law.

In a similar message, the Coalition of the Left said "today, our country needs a processed national strategy and a minimum national understanding through the creation of a national foreign policy council. The surge in xenophobia and racism which is also knocking menacingly at our door as well requires a new big movement of humanity and solidarity."

Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras said October 28 "teaches duty. The supreme duty to the motherland which understands nothing of compromises, offsetting and backtracking."

Gov't defends purpose of Clinton visit

The government yesterday said opposition party criticism of US President Bill Clinton's visit to the country from November 13-15 was out of line.

"It is not justified," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters. "This visit will be of benefit to the country as important issues will be discussed and these discussions may help in the resolution of problems."

He underlined that asking for a cancellation of the visit was out of the question and that any "events" should not blacken the visit.

"The expression of political views can not be conducted through the exercise of force or threat. These acts are to be condemned," he said.

The US president will be in Greece at the same time as events get under way to mark the 26th anniversary of the student uprising at Athens Polytechnic in November 1973. The annual events culminate in a march to the US embassy on November 17 which has sometimes been marred by violence.

Simitis in Bulgaria next week

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will meet here with Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and Romanian President Emil Constantinescu next week to discuss conditions in the region, the Bulgarian government announced yesterday.

Naval standards, banners returned to Russia

Greece yesterday handed over to Russia several 19th century naval standards and banners kept safe by a Greek woman resident of Algiers, a foreign ministry statement said yesterday.

The historic items, along with others of ecclesiastical use, were part of property kept in an apartment in the Algerian capital bequeathed to the Greek state and maintained as a chapel by the Greek embassy in the city. They were turned over to Russian ambassador to Greece Mihail Botcharnikov by the Greek foreign ministry.

A statement said Russia had agreed to reciprocate by returning the archives of Thessaloniki's Jewish Community for the period between 1870 and 1942. The latter had been uncovered in Berlin by Red Army troops in 1945 and kept in Moscow ever since.

Delos lions to be moved today

A complicated operation to move five ancient marble lions from the island of Delos in order to save them from further damage will get under way today.

Strong Cycladic winds and sea breezes over the centuries have damaged the lions, which are thought to date back to the 6th and 7th centuries BC. Only five are in a reasonable condition today, while only half of another two can be saved and a further thr ee are in fragments.

Replicas of the statues will be placed along the road the lions guard on Delos. The 'Lions Way' is a popular drawcard for the thousands of tourists who visit the island annually.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather with scattered cloud will prevail throughout the country today with the possibility of rain in the afternoon in northern Greece. Winds variable, light to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 17-29C. Possible scattered showers in the afternoon in Thessaloniki and temperatures from 16-24C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          307.837
Pound sterling       510.781
Japanese yen (100)   294.227
French franc          49.899
German mark          167.351
Italian lira (100)    16.904
Irish Punt           415.598
Belgian franc          8.114
Finnish mark          55.050
Dutch guilder        148.527
Danish kr.            44.033
Austrian sch.         23.786
Spanish peseta         1.967
Swedish kr.           37.754
Norwegian kr.         39.650
Swiss franc          204.764
Port. Escudo           1.633
Can. dollar          209.014
Aus. dollar          200.726
Cyprus pound         566.035
Euro                 327.310
(C.E.)
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