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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-03-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papantoniou-stock market
  • [02] Athens-Washington protocol
  • [03] British MPs - Parthenon Marbles

  • [01] Papantoniou-stock market

    28/03/2000 15:10:30

    The Athens Stock Exchange will move upwards in the next few months to the benefit of all those currently in the market if Pasok is re-elected in the upcoming general elections, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Tuesday.

    Papantoniou said the ruling PASOK party inspired citizens as it guaranteed the market and the Greek economy.

    "The stock market's prospects are positive because the economy is in a good shape, inflation is falling, budget revenues rising, interest rates will fall further and Greece is entering EMU," he said.

    "Market nervousness has an expiration date and it is April 9, the day PASOK will win the elections. Confidence in the market will be restored," he said.

    He said that the main opposition ND party's pre-election programme would cost more than 1.6 trillion drachmas, according to General State Accounting Office's estimates.

    Papantoniou reiterated that the Greek economy could face risks if ND won the elections and urged voters to carefully weigh all the risks before casting their votes.

    He added that the ruling PASOK government's social spending programme would burden the country's budget by 690 billion drachmas in the period 2000-2001, a sum he noted was totally compatible with the government's EU convergence programme.

    He also said that the social spending programme would be extended in the years 2002 and 2003.

    [02] Athens-Washington protocol

    28/03/2000 13:16:48

    Athens and Washington D.C. on Monday signed a protocol of friendship and cooperation, during a four-day visit by Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos to the US capital.

    The protocol, signed by Avramopoulos and his Washington D.C. counterpart Anthony Williams, said the two mayors agreed that their respective cities further develop their friendly ties, aimed at mutually beneficial cooperation in all sectors of interest to the residents of the Athens and Washington D.C.

    [03] British MPs - Parthenon Marbles

    28/03/2000 12:59:17

    The return of the Parthenon Marbles dominated, as expected, contacts here on Tuesday between a committee of visiting British MPs and two Greek ministers, with the latter terming discussions as a ?tentative first step at dialogue? over a cultural ?Gordian Knot? separating Athens and London.

    Although the head of the British House of Commons select committee on culture, media and sport emphasised during a brief press conference that the committee neither represented nor exercised government policy, the Greek side nonetheless termed the contacts a ?very good omen?.

    The committee will issue a non-binding report over its inquiry on the topic of ?cultural property: return and illicit trade?, complete with recommendations, to the Blair government.

    Asked to define the difference between cultural property ?historically removed? as opposed to ?acquired as a result of illicit trade?, British MP and committee chair Gerald Kaufman said this definition lay at the heart of the matter, adding that the Marbles controversy would be solved when ?we have an answer to that question (of definition).?

    Both Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi noted in their initial remarks that Greece only requests the return of the Parthenon friezes, as paramount elements comprising the uniqueness of the Parthenon edifice, and not other cultural treasures displayed in foreign museums. They also called discussions with the 10-member British MP delegation ?friendly and constructive.?

    The return of the exquisite Classical friezes that adorned the temple dedicated to the goddess Athena atop the Acropolis for centuries has been a ?battle cry? for successive Greek governments for the past two decades. The late Greek culture minister and film star Melina Mercouri catapulted the issue into the international spotlight in the early °80s.

    However, the British Museum in London, where the friezes are on display, has adamantly refused to discuss the probability of the Parthenon MarblesĘ return, while subsequent British governments have also been hesitant or even hostile to pressure the museumĘs board over the issue ∑ even after recent exposes detailing poor maintenance by the museumĘs staff in the late 1930s.

    The Parthenon friezes, which date from between 447 BC and 432 BC, were removed from atop the Parthenon in Ottoman-occupied Athens in the early 19th century by British diplomat Lord Elgin, who then sold them to the British Museum.

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