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

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, 11/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • PM comments on Clinton visit
  • Clinton visit focus of inner cabinet meeting
  • Economic, military cooperation on agenda
  • Former Turkish FM in Athens
  • Turkey, Cyprus, Kosovo discussed
  • 16 illegal immigrants arrested
  • Bomb scare in Thessaloniki
  • Wholesale prices rise 1.1 pct in September
  • ELBO, EAB privatisations at tendering stage
  • Greek stocks end lower on technical worries
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

PM comments on Clinton visit

U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Greece, now scheduled to take place on November 19, is to Greece's benefit and the government desires a good climate in bilateral relations, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Thursday. "Greece's role in the region, bilateral cooperation, Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations are on the agenda of this visit. We believe we must be present in the region and this is the role we seek to present," Simitis said. Greece will develop its positions in its meetings with the U.S. President as it will in bilateral meetings it will have in Istanbul on the sidelines of the OSCE summit. Simitis addressed critics of the Clinton visit, saying that they were not taking a pragmatic or principled approach to the event.

Clinton visit focus of inner cabinet meeting

The inner cabinet will focus on the issue of U.S. president Bill Clinton's visit to Greece next Friday at its meeting tomorrow, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Friday. Reppas said the political aspect of the U.S. president's visit remained as is. As far as the issue of scheduling went, he added, the government was not dogmatic about dates but lent emphasis to the actual visit and the attempt to keep open channels of communciation. The week's postponement provides the opportunity for better programming of the visit and exploitation of the intervening period to create the right climate for the visit to be cosntructive and effective, he said.

Economic, military cooperation on agenda

Bilateral economic and military cooperation and cooperation on combatting terrorism are on the agenda of talks Clinton will have with Greek government officials, foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis told reporters on Thursday. Cyprus developments, Greek-Turkish relations, Turkey's relations with the European Union and developments in the Balkans also all have a place on the agenda of the talks the U.S. president and his staff will have with the government when they arrive next Friday. The Greek government believes that the decision, announced Wednesday, to put back Clinton's arrival for a week, would contribute to defusing the atmosphere that has been created over Clinton's first ever visit to Greece.

Former Turkish FM in Athens

Foreign Minister George Papandreou will meet with former Turkish foreign minister Hikmet Cetin on Friday, the foreign ministry said. Cetin is in Athens for an awards ceremony held by the Abdi Ipekci committee on Greek- Turkish rapprochment. Papandreou will also meet tomorrow with his Finnish counterpart responsible for European Affairs and then with European Commissioner for the intergovernmental conference Michel Barnier.

Turkey, Cyprus, Kosovo discussed

Turkey's bid for EU membership, Cyprus' course to EU accession and Kosovo were at the centre of talks between foreign minister George Papandreou and Dutch counterpart Jozias van Aartsen in The Hague during a working dinner last night. Papandreou told reporters afterwards that he had the opportunity to exchange views with van Aartsen, and had "ascertained that Greece and the Netherlands' hold similar positions on a series of issues concerning EU enlargement and institutional reform". Regarding Turkey's bid for EU membership, Papandreou said the Dutch side favoured granting Turkey candidate-country status at the Helsinki summit, but at the same time believed that the candidacy should be accompanied by a 'road map' clearly setting out the conditions under which negotiations for Turkish EU accession could commence in the future.

16 illegal immigrants arrested

Harbour authorities early today arrested 16 Iraqi illegal immigrants and the Turkish boat-runner as he attempted to disembark them on a remote beach on the island of Kos. Harbour authority officials said two Greek coast guard boats patrolling the Aghios Phokas region spotted a small vessel, with its navigation lights switched off, near the island's coast at 1:45 a.m., and immediately approached and immobilised it. A search revealed the vessel was carrying 16 Iraqi illegal immigrants -- 10 men, two women and four children -- who were taken into custody, while the vessel's Turkish captain, 31-year-old Ulker Nihat, was also arrested. The officials said the the Iraqis told them they had paid Nihat 2,000 dollars each to be transported from Turkey to Greece.

Bomb scare in Thessaloniki

Police in Thessaloniki said on Wednesday that bomb experts caused a controlled explosion on a suspect vehicle parked near the Turkish consulate in the northern Greek capital but found no evidence of a bomb. Passers-by alerted the police to report wires placed in a bag underneath a car parked on the main street in the vicinity of the Turkish consulate, police said. Police said no explosive device was found in connection to the suspect car after the explosion.

Wholesale prices rise 1.1 pct in September

Greece's wholesale prices index increased by 1.1 percent in September from the previous month for a year-on-year rise of 2.3 percent, the National Statistics Services said today. The average increase of the index in the period January-September 1999 was 1.5 percent compared with the same period last year, sharply down from 4.0 percent and 3.2 percent in the corresponding periods in 1998 and 1997, the NSS said.

ELBO, EAB privatisations at tendering stage

A partial privatisation in Hellenic Vehicles Industry and Hellenic Aerospace Industry is expected to be completed by the end of January 2000, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said today. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou to discuss the privatisation procedures, Tsohatzopoulos said the programme was at a tendering stage.

Greek stocks end lower on technical worries

Equity prices ended Thursday's session lower reversing an early advance on the Athens Stock Exchange. Market sources attributed the fall to uncertainties over the operation of a new electronic trading system, due to begin operations on Friday, with several securities firms saying they were not fully informed of its function. The general index ended 0.83 percent lower at 5,657.06 points, with turnover at 384.572 billion drachmas. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks dropped 3.24 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.07 percent to 2,770.84 points.

WEATHER

Overcast weather and rain will prevail in most parts of Greece today. Sunny spells in eastern Macedonia, Thrace, the Aegean and Dodecanese islands. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean sea. Partly cloudy with sunny spells in Athens and temperatures between 13-19C. Same in Thessaloniki with small possibility of rain and temperatures from 11-15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          313.303
Pound sterling       507.686
Japanese yen (100)   298.027
French franc          49.686
German mark          166.641
Italian lira (100)    16.832
Irish Punt           413.835
Belgian franc          8.079
Finnish mark          54.816
Dutch guilder        147.896
Danish kr.            43.844
Austrian sch.         23.686
Spanish peseta         1.959
Swedish kr.           37.640
Norwegian kr.         39.819
Swiss franc          202.586
Port. Escudo           1.626
Can. dollar          212.367
Aus. dollar          200.622
Cyprus pound         563.952
Euro                 325.922
(M.P.)
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