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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-12-13

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, 13/12/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • PM briefs president on Helsinki outcome
  • Greek business world welcomes developments
  • FM: Greece to play active role in Turkey EU bid
  • FM to visit Ankara early in 2000?
  • Greek minister urges Blair to return Marbles
  • Piraeus unemployment rate at 19.5%
  • Three mayors killed in car accident
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

PM briefs president on Helsinki outcome

The decisions taken at the Helsinki summit on Friday have created a new footing for regional stability and better prospects for economic cooperation, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said today. Simitis, speaking after briefing President Costis Stephanopoulos on the outcome of the crucial EU summit, said that a "very good framework" had been created at Helsinki and that Greece would do its best to exploit the opportunities being created. Turkey became an EU candidate country on Friday, after the EU accepted three terms outlined by Greece. These included that Cyprus' bid for EU membership be dissociated from whether the island's political problem had been resolved and a timeframe for resolution of unilateral Turkish territorial claims which includes their referral to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Greek business world welcomes developments

Panayotis Koutsikos, co-chairman of the Greek-Turkish Business Council, on Monday expressed the satisfaction of the Greek business community over the outcome of the EU summit in Helsinki, at which Turkey was upgraded to candidate country. In a letter to his Turkish counterpart Sarik Tara, Koutsikos conveyed the satisfaction of Greek businessmen "on the positive development noted at the summit in Helsinki, a development which we believe will contribute effectively to a lasting improvement of the climate of good neighbourliness and cooperation between the two countries".

FM: Greece to play active role in Turkey EU bid

The Greek government desires intensification of cooperation with Turkey and wishes to actively support Turkey's efforts to become a member of the European Union, Greek foreign minister George Papandreou said in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt appearing Monday. In this direction, Papandreou offered Greece's assistance based on its own experiences from EU accession. According to the article, Papandreou has already discussed with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem the prospect of "transfer of knowhow" with respect to helping Turkey adapt to the 'acquis Communautaire".

FM to visit Ankara early in 2000?

Foreign Minister George Papandreou hopes to be able to visit Ankara to sign bilateral agreements on a range of issues early in the New Year, daily Ta Nea reported on Monday. Ta Nea quoted Papandreou saying that previous commitments, including the Parliament debate on the 2000 budget, which gets under way on Friday and ends on December 21, would prevent his travelling to Ankara before the end of the year. "I hope to make it in January...we're setting a target for January," Papandreou was quoted as saying to the newspaper.

Greek minister urges Blair to return Marbles

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday urged British Prime Minister Tony Blair to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, saying that such a gesture would consolidate the British leader's position on the world stage. "I observed to Mr. Blair that if he hopes to play the role of a world leader, and he truly aspires to this role, then an initiative in the direction of the Marbles was the best way to go," Venizelos, who is a former culture minister, said after a meeting with Blair at Downing Street. "I believe he paid careful attention to what I said," the Greek minister said. "I think he has understood the great importance Greece gives to the Marbles." Venizelos is in London for a two-day official visit focusing on bilateral economic, commercial and bilateral relations.

Piraeus unemployment rate at 19.5%

The unemployment rate in the wider Piraeus region is running at 19.5 percent, the port city's Labour Centre said on Monday. According to the centre's figures, unemployment was hitting those with secondary education hardest, follwed by those with tertiary education. Of the 20-24 age group, 41.4 percent were unemployed, the centre said. Of those aged 25-29, the rate was 30.1 percent; in the 30-44 age group 17.4 percent and in the 45-64 age group, 7.8 percent.

Three mayors killed in car accident

Five persons were killed, three of them mayors of towns in the northern Greek prefecture of Karditsa, were killed Monday in a car crash on the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway, police said. They said all five died when their car, for as yet unknown reasons, veered into the opposite lane and collided with an oncoming truck just outside Aghios Constantinos. The car caught fire and all five passengers were incarcerated, police said. The passengers included the mayors of the towns of Selanon, Kambou, and Mouzakiou, a leading local farm trade unionist and an unidentified woman.

WEATHER

Rainy weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today. Winds westerly, southwesterly, moderate to strong. Mostly sunny in Athens with temperatures from 7-17C. Possibility of scattered showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3-12C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          321.378
Pound sterling       522.109
Japanese yen (100)   314.643
French franc          49.770
German mark          166.920
Italian lira (100)    16.861
Irish Punt           414.528
Belgian franc          8.093
Finnish mark          54.908
Dutch guilder        148.144
Danish kr.            43.900
Austrian sch.         23.726
Spanish peseta         1.962
Swedish kr.           38.059
Norwegian kr.         40.265
Swiss franc          204.312
Port. Escudo           1.629
Can. dollar          218.101
Aus. dollar          204.178
Cyprus pound         565.837
Euro                 326.467
(M.P.)
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