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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-11-23

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, 23/11/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece yet to decide on Turkey EU status
  • FM outlines Greek foreign policy goals
  • No political deal to enter EMU, government says
  • President, PM agree Clinton visit a success
  • Cyprus solution must be based on UN decisions
  • Inflation worries dampen sentiment on ASE
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece yet to decide on Turkey EU status

Greece is in the midst of 'tough talks' and has not yet given a firm answer on whether it will say yea or nay to Turkey's much-coveted candidacy status at the EU Helsinki summit beginning December 10, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Tuesday. "This will depend on the positions and commitments which the EU will undertake on the way in which the recognition of the Turkish candidacy will be linked with the consolidation of Greek interests," Papandreou told reporters at a news conference called on current affairs. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, meanwhile, told reporters that the likelihood of Greece approving or rejecting Turkey's EU candidacy bid was "50-50". Government officials are in talks on the position to be taken at Helsiniki, and have made clear Greece's positions on these issues, he said.

FM outlines Greek foreign policy goals

Foreign Minister George Papandreou gave particular emphasis to the need to create a "framework of legality" for the region and to pursue European incorporation. He said that Greece's interests were not best served by "heroic inaction or a policy which simply reacts". We need an assertive policy of initiative-taking, he said. This policy was best expressed by President Costis Stephanopoulos's address on Friday evening during a state dinner held in honour of visiting U.S. President Bill Clinton, he said. Stephanopoulos stressed in his speech that Greece was not requesting intermediaries: simply the respect and application of law and legality.

No political deal to enter EMU, government says

The Greek economy has the highest growth rate in the European Union and it will not need a political negotiation to participate in EMU, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today. Reppas said US President Bill Clinton's words of praise on the economy were justified. Referring to an impact of rising oil prices on inflation, Reppas said the economy's healthy condition enabled the country to deal with such problems.

President, PM agree Clinton visit a success

President of the Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis today said the outcome of US president Bill Clinton's visit to Athens last week was positive. Simitis and Stephanopoulos held a 50-minute meeting during which they discussed issues concerning Greece's foreign relations, including an evaluation of the Clinton visit, and domestic developments, chiefly in the economic sector. Stephanopoulos said he hoped the Clinton visit would bring positive results, as he greeted the premier outside the Presidential Mansion. Simitis said he shared Stephanopoulos' view, noting that "there were clear messages". "But good intentions are not enough," he added.

Cyprus solution must be based on UN decisions

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Tuesday said that a solution to the Cyprus problem should be sought within the context of UN resolutions. Reppas was replying to questions in connection to statements made by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who reportedly said that a solution to the Cyprus problem was still distant and to statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader who reportedly said that he would go to New York to meet with the UN secretary genaral only. The government spokesman said that "the division of Cyprus is the shame of Europe", adding that "the Cyprus issue is a difficult issue, that is why it has remained unresolved for so many years". "Now it is time to resolve it" Reppas said and he added that the Cyprus proximity talks, scheduled to be held in New York on December 3, should be substantive as determined by the UN and as confirmed by the UN secretary general.

Inflation worries dampen sentiment on ASE

Equity prices came under strong pressure on Tuesday to end sharply lower, hit by worries over the impact of rising oil prices on the inflation rate. The general index ended 1.26 percent down at 5,532.44 points, off the day's lows of 5,480 points. Turnover was 344 billion drachmas. Shares in the Investment and Industrials sectors were badly hit while the Insurance and Miscellaneous sectors ended 2.24 and 0.86 percent higher, respectively. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks fell 1.39 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.83 percent to 2,693.72 points.

WEATHER

Cloudy weather with rainfall and storms is forecast for today in mainland Greece and the northern and eastern Aegean islands, with snowfall on highground in the north. Gradual improvement expected from the west in the afternoon. Winds south, southwesterly, medium to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean. Rain and possible local storms in Athens with temperatures from 14-19C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 11-13C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          316.398
Pound sterling       512.765
Japanese yen (100)   300.824
French franc          49.755
German mark          166.869
Italian lira (100)    16.855
Irish Punt           414.402
Belgian franc          8.090
Finnish mark          54.891
Dutch guilder        148.100
Danish kr.            43.886
Austrian sch.         23.718
Spanish peseta         1.961
Swedish kr.           37.855
Norwegian kr.         39.849
Swiss franc          203.573
Port. Escudo           1.628
Can. dollar          216.018
Aus. dollar          201.515
Cyprus pound         564.091
Euro                 326.368
(M.P.)
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