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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-01

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, 01/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Moldovan president begins Greek visit
  • Protests planned for Clinton visit
  • PM to meet U.S. ambassador Tuesday
  • Greece committed to mine removal
  • Government denies early election deal
  • Finmin denies economic policy changes
  • Thessaloniki hosts Stability Pact meet
  • Greek equities bounce back
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Moldovan president begins Greek visit

Moldova's President Petru Lucinschi arrived in Athens today on a two-day state visit and talks with the Greek government leadership. Lucinschi, who is heading a delegation of Moldovan businessmen, kicked off talks here with a meeting this morning with his host, President Costis Stephanopoulos, after which he embarked on discussions with prime minister Costas Simitis. He is scheduled to address the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) this afternoon, after which he will attend an official dinner in his honour to be hosted by Stephanopoulos. After Stephanopoulos and Lucinschi's meeting, Greece and Moldova signed a protocol of cooperation between the two countries' foreign ministries as well as to cooperation agreements in the agricultural sector, involving economic, technical and technological cooperation in the foodstuffs and animal feed sectors.

Protests planned for Clinton visit

U.S. policy in the Balkans will be the focus of a variety of protests and demonstrations to be held before and during U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Greece later this month. According to a statement from groups including the Greek Committee for International Detente and Peace, the Actors Guild, the Greek Writers Society and the Union of National Resistance Fighters, Clinton will be greeted by the slogan "Murderer of the Balkans Out". A 'people's court' will be held to 'try' Clinton and U.S. policy in the Balkans at a demonstration scheduled for November 8 in central Syntagma Square. A rally and protest march will be held on November 13, the day Clinton and his entourage arrives.

PM to meet U.S. ambassador Tuesday

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will receive U.S. Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at his office, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. Reppas said the meeting was being held on the request of the U.S. ambassador and would discuss issues related to preparations for the November 13-15 visit to Greece by U.S. President Bill Clinton. Reppas told reporters that the programme for Clinton's visit had yet to be finalised.

Greece committed to mine removal

Greece has a standing policy on removing land mines and will forge ahead with this policy, the government said on Monday, a day after six illegal immigrants were killed trying to enter the country. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters on Monday that minefields would be cleared as soon as a relevant agreement was ratified by Parliament. Six Iraqi Kurds were killed on Sunday and 15 injured when they strayed into a minefield in northeastern Greece after illegally crossing the border from Turkey. Survivors said they had paid two Iraqi immigrant traffickers a fee of $3, 600 to ferry them across the Evros river.

Government denies early election deal

The government on Monday denied rumours that it was considering a deal with the opposition which would avert early elections in March when parliament votes on a president. "The government wants this Parliament to elect a president of the republic and believes this is possible," spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. "The prime minister himself has said it repeatedly. The government's mandate will be completed in September 2000." Reppas was responding to reporters' questions in relation to comments by Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos in an interview published over the weekend in which there could be a party compromise over the re-election of incumbent President Costis Stephanopoulos and the holding of elections in June.

Finmin denies economic policy changes

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou today dismissed weekend press reports over changes in the government's fiscal and foreign exchange policies and reiterated Greece's steady course towards participation in EMU. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to review the convergence course and next year's budget, Papantoniou said that next March the government would submit to the European Commission its application for participating in the euro and that an EU summit in Lisbon in June would decided on the country's entry in the third stage of economic and monetary union. Papantoniou said that the government would submit its 2000 draft budget to parliament on Wednesday.

Thessaloniki hosts Stability Pact meet

A politically and economically important two-day international conference on the reconstruction of South East Europe starts in Thessaloniki on Tuesday at the Ioannis Vellidis conference centre. Bodo Hombach, the German Stability Pact coordinator, will address the conference with politicians and businessmen both expecting to hear specific pledges on the reconstruction of Balkan countries, with many of them urgently needing financial help in the aftermath of civil clashes and NATO's air campaign against Yugoslavia. US ambassador to Greece, Nicholas Burns will also address the conference on Wednesday, highlighting the American role in promoting financial help towards the region. National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou will detail a Greek plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans.

Greek equities bounce back

Equity prices rebounded strongly on Monday helped by big rises in international markets and officials' comments over the government's fiscal and foreign exchange policy. The general index ended 3.46 percent higher at 5,630.27 points, near the day's highs. Turnover was a moderate 258 billion drachmas. Traders said the market moved steadily higher during the session in contrast with the previous week's wide fluctuations. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks jumped 5.48 percent higher, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks soared 3.17 percent to 2,868.04 points.

WEATHER

Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country on today with scattered cloud in some areas. Winds northerly, northeasterly, light to strong. Gale force winds are expected in parts of the Aegean Sea. Mainly sunny in Athens with temperatures from 13-24C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 10-22C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          313.512
Pound sterling       512.844
Japanese yen (100)   298.255
French franc          49.913
German mark          167.402
Italian lira (100)    16.910
Irish Punt           415.724
Belgian franc          8.116
Finnish mark          55.066
Dutch guilder        148.572
Danish kr.            44.057
Austrian sch.         23.794
Spanish peseta         1.968
Swedish kr.           37.710
Norwegian kr.         39.638
Swiss franc          204.248
Port. Escudo           1.633
Can. dollar          212.685
Aus. dollar          201.148
Cyprus pound         567.662
Euro                 329.060
(M.P.)
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