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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-12-07

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, GREECE, 07/12/1999 (ANA)


  • EU must understand, help solve Greek-Turkish differences
  • Greece to issue first 20-year bond
  • Equities slump as new pricing method launched
  • SAE third int'l assembly begins in Thessaloniki
  • Twinning between chambers from Thessaloniki, Bursa
  • Kavala man sentenced to life for killing his American fiancee
  • Mother sentenced to 14 years for murdering her daughter
  • UN: Proximity talks: either a breakthrough,or failure


EU must understand, help solve Greek-Turkish differences

Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed yesterday that Turkey's European Union candidacy could be endorsed if the Union understood and considered Athens' differences with Ankara "not as bilateral but European", as well as undertaking an obligation to deal with them.

"If the European Union registers a commitment to deal with such problems in the decicions of the Helsinki summit, Turkey could be recognised as a candidate country, otherwise there will be deadlock," he stated after a session of the 15 EU foreign ministers.

The Council failed to reach agreement on the subject, as Athens remained firm regarding the conditions for the endorsement of a Turkish candidacy.

Mr. Papandreou reiterated to reporters afterwards that the Greek government had not yet decided whether to grant approval for such a candidacy, saying that negotiations were continuing until the last moment, with all issues "open".

The Greek minister warned that Greece's EU partners would be responsible for any possible failure at Helsinki on account of "not properly assessing the significance of the issues we raised".

Greece to issue first 20-year bond

Greece will issue its first ever 20-year bond on January 11, 2000, an indication of how far the country has come in its battle to tame inflation, Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday.

A major fall in inflation over the past few years and a healthy outlook for the economy had permitted issue of the 20-year bond, which will carry an interest rate of slightly less than 6.0 percent, Mr. Christodoulakis told a news conference.

The bond will be auctioned on January 11, 2000 and is expected to attract long-term investors including banks, insurance firms and investment companies. The finance ministry will announce the exact rate of the bond a week before the tender.

Equities slump as new pricing method launched

Equities ended yesterday's session lower on the Athens Stock Exchange on the first day of implementation of a new method to determine closing prices.

The general index ended 1.28 percent lower at 5,489.02 points. Turnover was around 342 billion drachmas.

The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks dropped by 0.74 percent to 2,070.96 points.

The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.41 percent lower at 2,749.61 points. Again, shares that are often the butt of speculation soared with more than 50 hitting the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit. National Bank of Greece ended at 22,920 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24,800, Titan Cement Company (common) at 37,450, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,400, Intracom at 13,000, Panafon at 3,800 and H ellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,810.

SAE third int'l assembly begins in Thessaloniki

With addresses and speeches from the country's leadership, the third international assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) convened in the northern city of Thessaloniki yesterday.

The meeting - dubbed the 'Council of Hellenism', according to President Kostis Stephanopoulos - is being attended by hundreds of representatives of overseas Greek communities from Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas.

At present, there are an estimated 17 million Greeks in Greece and abroad, while the meeting has drawn participation from the sectors of business, science, Greek studies as well as the arts and letters.

Mr Stephanopoulos spoke of "patriotism, which is nothing but the love of all Greeks, both at home and abroad", and thanked overseas Greeks for all that they have offered to the land of their ancesters and efforts to preserve their bonds with Greece.

He also congratulated SAE for its aid to who are "experiencing ordeals" in countries of the former USSR and called on all to multiply their efforts to enable churches, schools and preparatory schools teaching Greek to be built in areas of Albania populated by ethnic Greeks, such as Himare and Korce.

Prime Minister Costas Simitis told the assembly that his government was working on resolving the long-standing demands of sections of the expatriate Greek community.

According to reports, these include the donation of land for building homes for repatriated Greeks in eastern Thrace, the Aegean islands and Macedonia.

The issue of the extension of Greek nationality to those of Greek descent but residents elsewhere is also one which the government is considering. Mr. Simitis said that wherever the formal extension of nationality was not possible, Athens would bestow a special identity card for those of Greek descent, which would allow them residence and work privileges in the country. "Greece is no longer a country which sends away its children, but a country to which many from other countries are drawn, and this s hows how far we have come," Mr. Simitis said.

Twinning between chambers from Thessaloniki, Bursa

The chambers of commerce from Thessaloniki and Bursa, NW Turkey, yesterday signed a protocol for closer cooperation, as a process of their twinning was finalised.

The agreement between the two chambers was signed during a special event at Thessaloniki's chamber.

During his address, Thessaloniki Chamber president Dimitris Bakatselos said economic relations between the two countries are at a good level, while noting that Greek exports to Turkey reached $320 million, while imports towards Greece reached $370 million.

He added that during the first half of 1999, Greek imports from Turkey decreased by 14 per cent compared to last year, while Greek exports to Turkey increased by 5 per cent during the same period.

Kavala man sentenced to life for killing his American fiancee

A Drama court in northern Greece yesterday sentenced a 24-year-old former cruiseship's purser to life in prison for the murder of his US fiancee.

The court convicted Kavala native Giorgos Skiadopoulos for the murder of his girlfriend Julie-Marie Scally, 30, whose body was found decapitated.

Judges did not accept motions by defence attorneys to consider his previous spotless criminal record.

Skiadopoulos claimed he killed Scully, a former model, out of jealousy because she wanted to visit her home while he was on a cruise.

The lead prosecutor, however, noted that the motive for the crime was not clarified.

Mother sentenced to 14 years for murdering her daughter

An Athens court yesterday sentenced a 43-year-old woman repatriated from Tashkent to 14 years in prison for strangling her teenage daughter and attempting to kill her 20-year-old son.

As a migitating circumstance, the court accepted that Valentini Siamani committed the homicide while in a confused state of mind and while suffering from depression.

According to reports, on Dec. 14, 1998 the woman waited for her daughter Luba to return to their home in the Athens suburb of Holargos in the early morning, before strangling the 15-year-old in her bed with a scarf. Police said the woman then changed her daughter's clothes, washed her and combed her hair before placing the body under the bed so that her son, Sergei, would not see it.

Her son arrived at the residence some time later and was hit over the head by his mother with a statuette, although he managed to resist and immobilise her arms.

In court statements, the woman claimed her daughter, a drop-out, was turning into a juvenile delinquent and was involved with drugs - supposedly her motive.

UN: Proximity talks: either a breakthrough,or failure

The UN-led proximity talks on Cyprus will go on until the two parties involved either feel they can no longer make progress or the have a breakthrough to announce .

In his daily press breifing Fred Eckhard, Spokesman of the Secretary- General said the meetings will continue on a daily basis, adding that there is a tentantive schedule for 10 days, which will be extended if necessary.

Mr. Eckhard said that over the weekend Mr. de Soto met with each of the parties, citing however the "news blackout so we cannot talk about the substance of the talks".

Referring to the talks, Mr. Eckhard said "I expect they will continue to take place on a daily basis with meetings first with meeting one party, then with the other, and they (the two leaders) will go on until they feel the can no longer make progress or until they have a breakthrough to announce".

Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash are participating in the proximity talks which aim at preparing the ground for a comprehensive settlement.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 27 per cent of the island republic's territory.


Overcast weather and rain will prevail throughout Greece today. Light snowfall in the mountainous regions of central and northern Greece. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Scattered showers in Athens with temperatures between 9-16C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 2-9C.


Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          321.368
Pound sterling       517.229
Japanese yen (100)   314.821
French franc          49.671
German mark          166.591
Italian lira (100)    16.827
Irish Punt           413.709
Belgian franc          8.077
Finnish mark          54.799
Dutch guilder        147.852
Danish kr.            43.793
Austrian sch.         23.678
Spanish peseta         1.958
Swedish kr.           37.924
Norwegian kr.         40.202
Swiss franc          204.069
Port. Escudo           1.625
Can. dollar          216.196
Aus. dollar          202.710
Cyprus pound         566.174
Euro                 325.822
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