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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-12-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, GREECE, 14/12/1999 (ANA)


  • Greece: only difference with Turkey is Aegean continental shelf
  • FM says Greece desires intensification of cooperation with Turkey
  • Papandreou hopes to visit Ankara early in the New Year
  • Karamanlis says Turkey got what it wanted at EU summit
  • Cem: Greece and Turkey can solve differences through negotiations
  • Ecevit criticises Turkish Cypriot leadership
  • Papandreou pays tribute to late alternate foreign minister
  • Blair urged to return the Parthenon Marmbles to Greece
  • Greek-Turkish group welcomes EU decision on Turkey
  • ETBAbank ready for Athens bourse entry
  • Equities surge on Turkey, hope of rate cut
  • Greece joins executive committee of world trade fair group
  • Unemployment in Piraeus at 19.5 pct
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Greece: only difference with Turkey is Aegean continental shelf

Greece reiterated yesterday that the only valid difference with Turkey that it recognised was the delimitation of the Aegean continental shelf.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that Turkey could, if it so desired, seek recourse to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, provided it recognised the body's jurisdiction.

Greece was not obliged, he added, to consent to discussing any issue raised by Turkey.

References in the Helsinki EU summit conclusions to border differences as an issue which the International Court could concern itself with was not directed to EU member-states but to candidate member-states, Mr. Reppas clarified.

If there is to be dialogue between the two countries, Mr. Reppas said, it was Turkey's obligation, under the Helsinki agreement, to approach the issues in a peaceful manner.

The government believed that the results of the Helsinki agreement were satisfactory and more than covered Greece's positions, he said.

"We're not saying that all the problems have been solved; but we are in a better situation today than we were yesterday," he said.

FM says Greece desires intensification of cooperation with Turkey

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, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt appearing yesterday.

In this direction, Mr. Papandreou offered Greece's assistance based on its own experiences from EU accession.

According to the newspaper, Mr. 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.

"There are similarities between the two countries and common elements concerning mentality, and Turkey could benefit from our experience," Mr. Papandreou was quoted as saying.

He said it was of vital importance to Greece that Turkey's candidacy did not remain a candidacy "just on the papers", adding that Greece's endorsement was endorsement of a "genuine" candidacy, which meant a "true" rather than a "pretextual" prospect for Turkey's joining the EU.

But he added that it would take a "long time" for Turkey's course to reach the stage of full membership.

Papandreou hopes to visit Ankara early in the New Year

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 yesterday.

"I hope to make it in January...we're setting a target for January," Mr. Papandreou was quoted as saying to the newspaper.

The foreign minister said half of the bilateral agreements - which have come out of so-called 'low-impact' talks between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministries - would be signed in Athens and the other half in Ankara.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem is expected to visit Athens for the signing of these agreements.

According to diplomatic sources, the texts of the five bilateral agreements refer to tourist cooperation, the environment, issues of security for citizens, economic cooperation and cooperation in the scientific and technological fields, avoidance of dou ble taxation, investment protection, shipping cooperation and cooperation in the energy sector.

Karamanlis says Turkey got what it wanted at EU summit

Analysing Turkey's acceptance as a European Union candidate member-state at the EU Helsinki summit over the weekend, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said yesterday that "in essence the balance is negative for Greece since Turk ey got what it wanted without conditions and exchanges, while Greece limited itself to an in principle positive statement over the Cyprus issue which, however, also has questionable formulations".

Speaking at an extraordinary press conference, Mr. Karamanlis proposed a meeting of political party leaders, saying that "we are entering a difficult path with many dangers and for this reason a minimum consensus is necessary and the definition of a longterm national strategy."

Mr. Karamanlis accused the government of abandoning steadfast Greek positions which had been shaped by the Karamanlis, Papandreou and Mitsotakis administrations over the past 25 years and in essence accepted that border differences exist which should be resolved with an across-the- board political dialogue without conditions being set for respect for international law, international treaties, the lifting of the threat of the use of force and the abandonment of Ankara's unilateral claims.

"We opened the door of Europe for Turkey, while it is continuing to threaten and claim sovereign rights of Greece," Mr. Karamanlis said.

Mr. Karamanlis said that regarding the Cyprus issue Turkey is reiterating its unacceptable positions that it has been resolved with the invasion and occupation of 1974 and is continuing to dispute 151 islands and islets.

Cem: Greece and Turkey can solve differences through negotiations

Greece and Turkey will now be able to resolve any differences through negotiations, international mediation and use of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said here yesterd ay.

"Although, until recently Greece claimed that the only (Greek-Turkish) problem is that of the continental shelf and that the only way to resolve it was seeking recourse to the International Court at The Hague, now because of the mutual understanding between Athens and Ankara we are in the position to resolve our problems by other means as well," Mr. Cem said.

"Such ways are negotiations, International Arbitration, mediation and in the event that no solutions is found then the International Court at The Hague," he added.

"The year 2004 is not the year of seeking recourse at The Hague, rather it is the year of evaluation of the issue's course by the European Council," Mr. Cem said.

"Greece and Turkey will cooperate to promote their common interests," he said, reiterating, however, Ankara's positions on the Cyprus problem, claiming that the stance of the European Union regarding Cyprus' candidacy to the Union does not come in conflict with Turkey's policy.

Ecevit criticises Turkish Cypriot leadership

Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit yesterday criticised the strong reaction of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, following the results of the Helsinki summit.

Speaking to a television programme, Mr. Ecevit said that reactions were stemming from "lack of information", adding that there are "dangers that may stem from inside the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus'".

Turkey is the only country to recognise the existence of the illegal "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus - (TRNC)", which was declared in 1983 in the Turkish occupied northern part of the island republic, contrary to United Nations' resolutions.

Mr. Ecevit also said "several circles have expressed dissatisfaction against me. I am dissatisfied with those who believe that I can make concessions".

Papandreou pays tribute to late alternate foreign minister

Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday paid tribute to his late deputy, Yannos Kranidiotis, saying that the Cypriot-born politician had been instrumental in achieving gains for the divided island at last week's EU summit.

"Today we have paved open Turkey's road to Europe. The positions he dreamed of have been vindicated," Mr. Papandreou said, referring to the summit's acceptance of a Greek term that Cyprus' accession to the European Union not be dependent on a resolution of the island's division and occupation by Turkish troops.

Mr. Papandreou was speaking during a ceremony to mark Kranidiotis' memory. The late alternate foreign minister was killed in a freak air accident over Romania in September. The sudden and as yet unexplained mid-air plunge also took the lives of six others, including Kranidiotis's only son, Nikolas.

Mr. Papandreou said Kranidiotis' work had been instrumental in leading to the successes of the EU Helsinki summit on Friday.

Blair urged to return the Parthenon Marmbles to Greece

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday 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," Mr. Venizelos, who is a former culture minister, said after a meeting with Mr. Blair at 10 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."

Mr. Venizelos said he broached the issue of a return of the Parthenon Marbles with the British prime minister, following reports that he had personally ruled out a return of the 5th century B.C. artworks, carried in yesterday's Guardian newspaper.

Mr. Venizelos is in London for a two-day official visit focusing on bilateral economic, commercial and bilateral relations.

Greek-Turkish group welcomes EU decision on Turkey

Panayotis Koutsikos, chairman of the Greek-Turkish Business Council, yesterday expressed the satisfaction of the Greek business community at the outcome of the EU summit in Helsinki at which Turkey became a candidate country.

In a letter to his Turkish counterpart, Sarik Tara, Mr. 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 improv ement in the climate of good neighbourliness and cooperation between the two countries.

"We are aware, as you are, that the road from here on that will lead Turkey to full and definitive accession to our large European family is a long and difficult one, but I want to assure you that Greek businessmen, as always, will be at the side of their Turkish colleagues, offering their undivided support and looking forward to further tightening and developing our business relations," Mr. Koutsikos said.

ETBAbank ready for Athens bourse entry

ETBAbank, which is holding an initial public offer (IPO) this month, sees profits of 28 billion drachmas for 1999 and more than 40 billion drachmas in 2000, governor George Kasmas told a presentation for the company ahead of entry into the Athens Stock Ex change.

The bank's entry price has been set at 3,000 drachmas per share.

New shares for sale in the IPO total 30,081,730 with another three million stocks destined for private placement.

ETBAbank is the new name for the state owned Hellenic Industrial Development Bank.

Equities surge on Turkey, hope of rate cut

Equities soared across the board yesterday on the European Union's decision to make Turkey a candidate country, and on expectations of a domestic rate cut.

The general index ended 3.81 per cent higher at 5,624.55 points.

Turnover was moderate around 230 billion drachmas despite the price rise, which meant that the increase was due more to lower supply than to any influx of new funds, traders said.

The parallel market index for small capitalisation stocks was up 6.66 per cent at 1,899.32 points.

The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 3.15 per cent higher at 2,864.14 points.

National Bank of Greece ended at 24,100 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 26, 550, Titan Cement Company (common) at 39,900, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,800, Intracom at 13,500, Panafon at 3,970 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,025.

Greece joins executive committee of world trade fair group

Greece, for the first time, has secured a place on the executive committee of the International Trade Fair Bureau.

The elections of the world trade fair organiser's board were held in Paris.

Unemployment in Piraeus at 19.5 pct

The unemployment rate in the wider Piraeus area is running at 19.5 percent, the port city's Labour Centre said yesterday.

Hardest hit are people with secondary education, followed by those with tertiary education.

In the 20-24 age group, 41.4 percent were unemployed. Among 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.

"Unemployment is the leading priority for the Labour Centre and we have tabled recommendations to the government for measures that need to be taken, " centre president Yiannis Mihas said.

The proposals include reorganisation of the port and ship-building sectors including modernising infrastructure, training personnel, restructuring companies, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and safeguarding and increasing the number of jo bs in shipping.


Fair weather will prevail in most parts of Greece today with scattered showers in eastern Macedeonia, Thrace and the islands of the northern and eastern Aegean Sea. Winds westerly, northwesterly, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy with sunny spells in Athens and temperatures from 8-15C. Mostly fair in Thessoloniki with temperatures from 4-11C.


Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          322.648
Pound sterling       523.280
Japanese yen (100)   314.801
French franc          49.842
German mark          167.164
Italian lira (100)    16.885
Irish Punt           415.132
Belgian franc          8.105
Finnish mark          54.988
Dutch guilder        148.361
Danish kr.            43.958
Austrian sch.         23.760
Spanish peseta         1.965
Swedish kr.           38.140
Norwegian kr.         40.404
Swiss franc          204.208
Port. Escudo           1.631
Can. dollar          218.200
Aus. dollar          205.319
Cyprus pound         565.817
Euro                 326.943
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