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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-18

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, 18/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis, Ecevit meet in Istanbul
  • Greek-Turkish relations on agenda of Clinton visit
  • Government defends protest ban
  • Thessaloniki gears up to protest
  • FM Papandreou to Cyprus next week
  • Two arson attacks overnight
  • Israeli companies focus on 2004 Olympics
  • Greek stocks fall on inflation worries
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis, Ecevit meet in Istanbul

Prime Minister Costas Simitis said today that Greece supported Turkey's European Union vocation as it believed EU-Turkish cooperation would benefit both sides. "Greece supports Turkey's EU prospect because it believes that European Union cooperation with Turkey will benefit both the EU and Turkey, " Simitis told reporters after a 45-minute meeting with Turkish premier Bulent Ecevit in Istanbul on the sidelines of an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in the Turkish city. Simitis said that he and Ecevit had a "very friendly" discussion that focussed on "the problems, the issues occupying both countries".

Greek-Turkish relations on agenda of Clinton visit

The responsibility for better Greek-Turkish relations lies with Ankara and it is exactly this that will be underlined when Prime Minister Costas Simitis and U.S. President Bill Clinton meet in Athens, the government said on Thursday. "Mr. Simitis will request the understanding and acceptance of Greek positions from the U.S. side," government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou. Clinton arrives for a 24-hour visit on Friday afternoon. The visit includes talks with Simitis, President Costis Stephanopoulos and senior government officials.

Government defends protest ban

The government on Thursday defended its decision to bar protests during U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Athens, beginning on Friday afternoon. "The government has said from the outset that citizens have an irrevocable right to demonstrate their opposition, but the state too has the duty to ensure the country's interests," government spokesman Yannis Nikolaou said. Nikolaou pointed out to reporters that the then New Democracy government had implemented a similar ban in 1991 for the visit of U.S. President George Bush. "Whoever believes that President Bush was 'good' and President Clinton is 'bad', should come out and say so openly," Nikolaou said.

Thessaloniki gears up to protest

The U.S. president has no plans to visit the northern Greek capital of Thessaloniki but the city's 'Committee of Groups against the Clinton Visit' is planning to protest anyway. Representatives of the committee warned the government on Thursday that they would hold solidarity protest marches in the city, if the government refused to back down on its decision to prevent protestors in Athens from reaching the U.S. Embassy during planned protests on Friday. The Thessaloniki protest has been scheduled at the same time as the Athens protest. Protestors there plan to march to the city's U.S. consulate.

FM Papandreou to Cyprus next week

Foreign Minister George Papandreou is scheduled to visit Cyprus next Thursday, according to an ANA dispatch from Nicosia. The focus of talks Papandreou will have on the island will be the forthcoming EU summit in Helsinki and developments on the Cyprus issue. Papandreou is to meet with President Glafcos Clerides and his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.

Two arson attacks overnight

An insurance company offices and the van of a courier company were torched in two separate incidents this morning, police said. They said unidentified persons threw a molotov cocktail through a broken window in the ground- floor former office of Nordic American Standard insurance company in Neo Faliro, near Piraeus, at about 2:00 a.m., causing damage but no injuries. Police said three fire engines with 10 firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, which caused damage estimated at about one million dr. An organisation calling itself "Filiki Eteria" (Friendly Society) later claimed responsibility for the attack. Two hours later, unidentified persons poured gasoline over a small van belonging to the DHL courier company as it was parked in the Kato Patissia suburb of Athens, and then set fire to it.

Israeli companies focus on 2004 Olympics

A seminar aimed at promoting business cooperation between Greece and Israel in view of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games opens in the Greek capital next Tuesday, it was announced today. Representatives of 25 Israeli companies specialising in such sectors as construction, security systems, informatics and communication, project planning, environmental technology and fire safety will be in Athens for the day-seminar and are scheduled to meet with 50 corresponding Greek firms. The seminar is being held under the aegis of the Israeli embassy in Athens in cooperation with the Israeli Exports Institute and the Greek-Israeli Chamber of Commerce.

Greek stocks fall on inflation worries

Equity prices remained under pressure for the third consecutive session on Thursday pushing the market below the 5,600 level. The general index ended 1.46 percent lower at 5,571.67 points, off the day's lows of 5,548.63 points with turnover at 312 billion drachmas. Analysts attributed the market's negative climate to worries over the impact of rising oil prices on the inflation rate. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks fell 0.78 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.45 percent to 2,748.75 points.

WEATHER

Overcast weather will prevail throughout the country today with rain and storms in western Greece, the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea and the Dodecanese islands. Winds westerly, southwesterly, strong. Possibility of rain in the afternoon in Athens with temperatures between 16-23C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 13-17C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Thursday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          313.710
Pound sterling       509.571
Japanese yen (100)   297.044
French franc          49.739
German mark          166.819
Italian lira (100)    16.850
Irish Punt           414.276
Belgian franc          8.088
Finnish mark          54.874
Dutch guilder        148.054
Danish kr.            43.876
Austrian sch.         23.711
Spanish peseta         1.961
Swedish kr.           37.597
Norwegian kr.         39.777
Swiss franc          203.682
Port. Escudo           1.628
Can. dollar          214.371
Aus. dollar          201.455
Cyprus pound         565.440
Euro                 326.269
(M.P.)
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