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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-10-29

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, 29/10/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • WEU conference praises Greece's role in Balkans
  • Greece and Turkey are taking positive steps in ongoing dialogue
  • President calls on Ankara to change its position on Cyprus issue
  • Gov't says no hitch in Clinton visit preparations
  • KKE holds rally protesting upcoming Clinton visit
  • Airbus on maiden flight forced to return to Athens
  • Alexander the Great gold coin found in Turkey
  • Kritikos denies Turkish TV claim he visited northern Iraq Oct. 21
  • Central bank releases money supply figures
  • Mutual fund assets show increase
  • Fitch IBCA upgrades Greece to 'BBB+'
  • Bank of Greece governor optimistic over course of inflation
  • Equities end week moderately higher
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

WEU conference praises Greece's role in Balkans

The conclusions of a conference on the security situation in Southeast Europe that ended in Chania, Crete on Friday contained praise of Greece's role in helping to consolidate peace in the Balkans. The conference, which opened on Wednesday, was organised by the political and defence committees of the Western European Union (WEU). In a resolution adopted by a majority, the members of the WEU Parliamentary Assembly urged the international community to work for the inviolability of existing borders in the Balkans, the protection of minorities in the region with no discrimination and the consolidation of democracy in all Balkan countries. Parliamentary Assembly president Luis Maria de Puig said Greece was the strongest country in the Balkans, both politically and economically, and had already contributed greatly to restoring peace in the region.

Greece and Turkey are taking positive steps in ongoing dialogue

Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem met in Thessaloniki on Wednesday afternoon on the sidelines of a Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) pact foreign ministers conference and expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the talks between senior foreign ministry officials of the two countries. The two men agreed that positive steps have been made and appeared determined to advance the process of Greek-Turkish dialogue. Assessing the course of the discussions which have taken place between the commissions of the two ministries, Mr. Papandreou said "I can say that we are satisfied with the course of these discussions" and that this was an indication that there are many sectors of common interest which could conclude in agreements.

President calls on Ankara to change its position on Cyprus issue

President Kostis Stephanopoulos called on Ankara to take specific steps such as changing its position on the Cyprus issue and accepting UN Security Council resolutions in order for Greece to consent to Turkey's European rapprochement. Speaking in Thessaloniki at the traditional dinner given in his honour by the Commander of the 3rd Army Corps on Wednesday night, on the eve of the traditional military parade for the celebration of the October 28 1940 anniversary, President Stephanopoulos said that "sentiment should not prevail in the country's national interests when, indeed, the neighbouring country is the first to follow this example". He expressed the hope that the European Union will request from Turkey, as a precondition for its candidacy and for Greece's consent for this candidacy, to recognise the importance of human rights and democratic processes applied in the western world.

Gov't says no hitch in Clinton visit preparations

The Greek government on Friday said that no hitch had arisen in preparations for US President Bill Clinton's visit to the country next month. Replying to reporters' questions, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Athens had not been the recipient of any expression of concern of any kind from Washington. Asked whether the government intended to take measures to prevent any possible demonstrations, Reppas replied that Greek citizens had the right to freely express their views. "It is the government's belief that the visit should proceed smoothly and for this reason, as always happens in such cases, the competent services take the necessary measures to maintain order," Reppas said, adding that this too would be the case with regard to Clinton's visit to Greece.

KKE holds rally protesting upcoming Clinton visit

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Thursday held a rally to express its opposition to the visit of US President Clinton to Greece next month. The rally took place during events commemorating the World War II October 28 "OHI" Day in the city and was held on a street parallel to the military parade held traditionally in the northern Greek capital, on this day. Participants at the rally also protested Greece's aid to the NATO forces in Kosovo.

Airbus on maiden flight forced to return to Athens

An Olympic Airways (OA) airbus A-340 on its maiden flight was forced to turn back to Athens international airport on Friday after the crew reported problems with the radar system. The recently delivered airbus was on its first flight with destination Sydney via Bangkok. The problem with the aircraft's radar was observed as the airbus was flying over the northeast Aegean island of Chios. The crew jettisoned fuel in the sea and the aircraft returned safely to Athens. The passengers were able to resume their journey after being transferred to another aircraft.

Alexander the Great gold coin found in Turkey

A gold coin dating back to the era of Alexander the Great was found in Bodrum, Turkey, during renovation work taking place on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the Ottoman Empire at the "Ottoman Tower" in the region. According to an announcement by the Turkish mobile telephone company Turksel, which has undertaken to fund the works, "it is a coin from the era immediately after the enthronement of Alexander the Great." The director of Bodrum's museum Oyuz Alpozen told the Turkish news agency Anadolu that one side of the coin, estimated as belonging to the year 336 and weighing 8.6 grams, depicts Athena and the other the name of Alexander written in Greek."

Kritikos denies Turkish TV claim he visited northern Iraq Oct. 21

Parliament vice-president Panayotis Kritikos on Wednesday denied, as "sordidness of Turkish propaganda", claims by a private Turkish television station alleging he had visited northern Iraq on October 21 and met with leading members of the Kurdistan Worke rs' Party. "I do not reply to such kinds of provocations," Mr. Kritikos said of the claims aired by the Turkish private television station NTV. "My presence in Greece on the said date is proved by the Minutes of Parliament, the session of which I attended on the cited date," Mr. Kritikos added. He blasted the claims as "crass, provocative actions".

Central Bank releases money supply figures

Total money supply fell by 237 billion drachmas in September although the M4N index rose to 6.9 percent from 5.6 percent in August to remain below the 7-9 percent target increase for the year, the Bank of Greece said today. The M4N index was running at 7.9 percent in July. The central bank said a fall in money circulation reflected a change in investment patterns in the month and helped to restrain credit expansion in domestic money markets. The money circulation index rose 11.2 percent year-on-year in September, up from 10.5 percent in August. Credits to the private sector accelerated to 16.4 percent from 9.8 percent, in the two months respectively.

Mutual fund assets show increase

Mutual funds' assets totaled 11.95 trillion drachmas on Wednesday, 27 October showing an increase of 32.89 percent from the start of the year, Ionian Bank's statistics showed. The figures showed a slight 1.78 percent decline from the previous day, reflecting investors' reluctance due to increased volatility on the Athens Stock Exchange. Analysts expect capital inflows to return in the mutual funds' market after a steady recovery of equity prices on the Athens bourse. Domestic equity mutual funds' assets show a spectacular 882 percent rise from the start of 1999.

Fitch IBCA upgrades Greece to 'BBB+'

Fitch IBCA, the international rating agency, has upgraded Greece's long- term foreign currency rating to "BBB+" from "BBB" and its short-term rating to "F2" from "F3", removing it from Rating Alert positive. It also assigned a long-term local currency rating of "A-". The action reflects Greece's impressive fiscal consolidation, decline in inflation and high profitability of entering European Monetary Union (EMU) in 2001.

Bank of Greece governor optimistic over course of inflation

Bank of Greece's governor, Lucas Papademos, said on Wednesday he was optimistic over the course of inflation. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Mr. Papademos noted that the harmonised consumer price index (to be used in evaluating Greece's progress in fulfilling the inflation criterion) was moving smoothly. He said that harmonised inflation figures were moving within ranges that ensured fulfillment of the Maastricht criterion. He attributed recent pressures on the inflation rate, based on the national consumer price index, to temporary phenomena.

Equities end week moderately higher

A rebound in international markets helped Greek equities to end a volatile week moderately higher on Friday but failed to restore confidence in the Athens Stock Exchange.

The general index ended 0.96 percent higher at 5,442.14 points, off the day's highs of 5,540. Traders said investors remained cautious and preferred to take early profits.

Turnover was a moderate 298 billion drachmas.

Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+2.17 pct), Leasing (-0.50 pct), Insurance (-2.57 pct), Investment (-0.37 pct), Construction (+3.03 pct), Industrials (+0.82 pct), Miscellaneous (+0.37 pct) and Holding (-1.43 pct).

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 202 to 99 with another 19 issues unchanged.

A total of 30 issues ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit, while Techniki Olympiaki, Doudos and Barba Stathis ended at the day's limit down.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather with scattered cloud will prevail throughout the country on Friday. Winds northerly, moderate to strong. Fair weather with light cloud in Athens and temperatures between 15-22C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 12-20C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          308.353
Pound sterling       510.384
Japanese yen (100)   295.943
French franc          49.909
German mark          167.387
Italian lira (100)    16.908
Irish Punt           415.687
Belgian franc          8.116
Finnish mark          55.061
Dutch guilder        148.559
Danish kr.            44.053
Austrian sch.         23.791
Spanish peseta         1.967
Swedish kr.           37.853
Norwegian kr.         39.660
Swiss franc          204.635
Port. Escudo           1.633
Can. dollar          208.995
Aus. dollar          199.561
Cyprus pound         567.126
Euro                 327.380
(S.S.)
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