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A.N.A. Bulletin, 13/02/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 812), February 13, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Simitis due in Brussels next week for talks with Santer, Dehaene

  • [2] New Democracy

  • [3] Baykal to tour Europe this week

  • [4] Kohl, Juppe discuss Aegean tension

  • [5] External borders are EU borders, German alternate FM says

  • [6] Romeos: border issue will be raised at IGC

  • [7] Meeting with premier

  • [8] Greece watchful as Turkish exercise gets underway in Aegean

  • [9] Greek exercise

  • [10] SAE president meets with Stephanopoulos

  • [11] Samaras briefed on Imia incident

  • [12] Kaklamanis discusses closer ties with Moldova

  • [13] State Dep't spokesman says referring Imia dispute to court a 'reasonable option'

  • [14] AHEPA conference focuses on US-Greek ties

  • [15] Greek-Americans celebrate founding of World Council

  • [16] Prominent Greeks and Turks sign joint call for better ties

  • [17] FYROM office head meets with Pangalos

  • [18] Premier welcomes decision on congress

  • [19] Papandreou's health continues to improve

  • [20] Armenian Patriarch arrives in Thessaloniki

  • [21] OTE workers stage strike today against plans for share float

  • [22] OTE, Intrakom sign four-billion-drachma contract

  • [23] Papantoniou welcomes Cypriot activity in Greek business

  • [24] Bidding for state securities triples offer


  • [1] Simitis due in Brussels next week for talks with Santer, Dehaene

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will begin his tour of European capitals next week when he meets with European Commission president Jacques Santer, the first in a round of talks he has planned to have with European leaders regarding the recent tension in the Aegean.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that the inner cabinet would convene today to discuss defense policy and Mr. Simitis' tour, which begins on February 21 with a visit to Brussels.

    Apart from Mr. Santer, Mr. Simitis will also have talks with Belgium's Premier Jean-Luc Dehaene. On February 22, Mr. Simitis will fly to Bonn for talks with Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

    Asked about a reported US proposal to refer the issue of Imia to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Mr. Reppas replied:

    "The idea may be interesting. It will be examined, just as all ideas are examined which aim at de-escalating tension."

    However, he added "the Greek government is fully exercising all its sovereign rights."

    Asked to comment on PASOK's Secretary Costas Skandalidis' statements on Sunday to the Central Committee meeting that any further Turkish expansion on Cyprus would be a cause for war, a statement which is not included in the government's policy statements, Mr. Reppas said there was no disagreement between the government and the party, "since PASOK's policy is the government's policy."

    "Besides," Mr. Reppas said "these issues are included in the government's foreign policy and have been discussed in the best possible fashion during the recent meeting between the prime minister and the Cypriot president Glafcos Clerides."

    Meanwhile, Mr. Simitis yesterday had one hour of talks with Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos on national issues and the Coalition's proposals on the country's foreign policy.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Constantopoulos said he stressed the need for a foreign policy council, the undertaking by the government of initiatives within the framework of the inter-governmental conference (IGC), changes in the Greek political system and the government's economic policy.

    [2] New Democracy

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party yesterday called on Mr. Simitis to provide "explanations" concerning what it alleged was a secret agreement concluded by the premier on the night of the Imia islet crisis.

    ND spokesman Vassilis Manginas urged Mr. Simitis to explain "what he is concealing from the Greek people and what exactly is contained in the agreement he concluded on the night of the crisis in the Aegean."

    The opposition party's call was prompted by a statement Sunday by National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis, who called on Mr. Simitis to make public the content of his discussion with US President Bill Clinton on the night of the Imia crisis.

    Mr. Arsenis said that such a statement would clarify impressions created as a result of statements by US officials and foreign press reports implying that the agreement to disengage included other conditions.

    Mr. Manginas claimed that Mr. Arsenis had "clearly intimated that the prime minister concluded a secret agreement".

    In other statements, Mr. Manginas lashed out against the prime minister accusing him of lacking the "strength to confront the bitter truth and all that his associates have said against him", referring to a request from opposition leader Miltiades Evert to a televised debate with the prime minister.

    "New Democracy persists on substantial talks" he said and accused the prime minister of "hiding."

    He further said that if the prime minister wished to take the issue to Parliament, instead of having a televised dialogue with Mr. Evert, he could assume the initiative.

    Speaking earlier to reporters, Mr. Reppas said the prime minister did not rule out the possibility of such a dialogue.

    The spokesman, however, lashed out against Mr. Evert, criticizing him of "taking pleasure in a policy of entertainment and creation of impressions which serves only his interests and ignores the problems of the country."

    He added that Mr. Evert could raise the issue in Parliament, "in order to promote his positions and contribute to the formulation of a better national policy, in his view, but refused to do so."

    [3] Baykal to tour Europe this week

    Ankara, 13/02/1996 (ANA-A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Foreign Minister Deniz Baykal will tour Europe this week, according to Turkish foreign ministry spokesman, Omer Akbel.

    The Turkish minister is expected to hold meetings with his British counterpart Malcolm Rifkind, NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana and EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek.

    Mr. Akber said the meetings will focus on an exchange of views on Turkey's foreign policy.

    A Reuters dispatch from Ankara quoted a foreign ministry official as saying yesterday that "Mr. Baykal will relate our views about disputes over the Aegean Sea and Turco-Greek relations, of course the Kardak crisis is an important recent example. The vi sit was prompted by the European Commission declaration."

    Referring to the European Commission's message of solidarity with EU-member Greece over the recent Aegean crisis, he added that "this is an unfortunate statement by the European Commission ...and this was by nature in no way to contribute positively to efforts to find a resolution to the question."

    "This was a solidarity expressed without any serious analysis as to the merits of the case ... simply for the fact that Greece is a member of the Union."

    Meanwhile, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel criticized Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's statements on the Aegean issue, according to the newspaper "Hurriyet."

    Commenting on Ms Ciller's proposal that Greek claims on the islets in the Aegean should constitute a cause for war, Mr. Demirel said: "To be pro-peace does not express weakness. A war can be made any time, meaning that this is the last choice. Before war, all other ways should be examined."

    In Ankara, meanwhile, an ANA dispatch reported Ms Ciller called for the "comprehensive handling of all Aegean-related issues."

    Noting that "there may be isles and islets in the Aegean the status of which is unclear," Ms Ciller said talks should be held with Greece in this event.

    "The Aegean should be considered in its entirety," Ms Ciller told reporters yesterday.

    "There are certain isles, islets the status of which is not known and therefore there should be negotiations over this issue," Ms Ciller said.

    "For the islands, isles and islets which under one name or another have been given to Greece under agreements, there is no problem," she said.

    "But if there are isles in the Aegean," she added, "the status of which is not known and it is not proved under agreements that they belong to Greece, then these should be examined through consultations the soonest."

    [4] Kohl, Juppe discuss Aegean tension

    Bonn, 13/02/1996 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    The Aegean crisis came up during a meeting between German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and French Prime Minister Alain Juppe in the German capital yesterday.

    Speaking to the press on the content of his talks with Mr. Kohl, Mr. Juppe said:

    "We agreed that it would be best if dialogue and self-restraint prevailed between the two countries."

    Asked to comment on a German proposal for the endorsement of a "solidarity clause" in the new European Treaty, as this is provided in the NATO and the Western European Union treaties, Mr. Juppe appeared cautious when he said:

    "We will consider this proposal in detail and prepare an answer..."

    [5] External borders are EU borders, German alternate FM says

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    German Alternate Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer said here yesterday that the external borders of all European Union member states on the perimeter of the EU were also the external borders of the EU.

    "Of course the external borders of all our member states are external borders of the European Union. What we need is clarity about these external borders and I hope this clarity can be achieved in a peaceful manner," Mr. Hoyer said after talks with his Greek counterpart George Romeos.

    "Clarity is a clear and unique legal interpretation by both or by all sides. Obviously, if there are differences of interpretation, these differences must be settled," he added.

    Asked if Bonn had any procedure to propose, Mr. Hoyer said:

    "It is not up to us, because we are not mediators in this question. But one thing is quite clear. Within a union and also within an alliance like NATO, we are required to use peaceful means to solve serious problems and of course it is also a burden to us to see that our Greek friends have this problem."

    Mr. Hoyer's statements follow the latest crisis in Greek-Turkish relations when Ankara disputed Greece's sovereignty of the rocky islet of Imia, leading to a tense stand-off in the Aegean.

    [6] Romeos: border issue will be raised at IGC

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Mr. Hoyer's talks with Mr. Romeos focused on issues related to this year's inter-governmental conference (IGC) for the revision of the Maastricht Treaty.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Romeos said "naturally, we placed great emphasis on the issue of borders," adding that following the latest crisis in the Aegean, Greece considers the issue to be of paramount importance at the IGC.

    "Our position is clear, the EU must recognize statutorily that it has external borders and secondly, the new treaty must contain a clause (providing for) mutual assistance for the protection of the borders," Mr. Romeos said.

    Mr. Romeos also made clear to Mr. Hoyer that Greece would not facilitate nor agree to the release of the funds provided under finance protocols with Turkey and would set certain conditions.

    Referring to the March 6 agreement for the EU-Turkey customs union, Mr. Romeos stressed that the accord expressly stated that in order for the union to become operative, Turkey must behave in a manner in line with the principles of good-neighbourliness.

    "We believe that not only with Ankara's latest hostile act in the Aegean but also with its entire behavior, this basic condition remains unfulfilled and therefore the finance protocols cannot go ahead, nor can anything else currently pending in the EU with respect to the customs union with Turkey," Mr. Romeos said.

    He added that the Italian presidency of the EU "understands our position" and will not raise the issue for approval at the next General Affairs Council meeting on February 26.

    Following his talks with Mr. Romeos, Mr. Hoyer gave a lecture on the IGC in which he called for greater transparency, implementation of the principle of subsidiarity, enhanced participation of the European Parliament in decision-taking and the need for a "defense identity" for Europe.

    Mr. Hoyer said that a prestigious figure should be appointed Secretary-General of the Joint Foreign Policy and Security Policy body, adding that this would be discussed within the framework of the IGC. He stressed that the Western European Union (WEU) should be incorporated at the earliest in the EU, noting that the Community needed a security and defense dimension.

    Referring to the convergence criteria for the third stage of EMU, Mr. Hoyer said that if the criteria were to be discussed again "we will lose the momentum to create monetary union."

    [7] Meeting with premier

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Mr. Hoyer also met with Prime Minister Costas Simitis last night.

    Their discussion included preparations for the IGC, as well as the prime minister's visit to Bonn next week.

    Mr. Hoyer made no comments after the meeting.

    He was accompanied by German Ambassador to Athens Leopold von Bredow, while Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who is to meet with Mr. Hoyer this morning, was also present.

    [8] Greece watchful as Turkish exercise gets underway in Aegean

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Greek forces are discreetly observing Turkish warships participating in a military exercise in the Aegean's international waters since yesterday morning.

    According to reports, specific orders have been issued to deal with possible Turkish provocations. The first day of the "Sevik Pens" air and naval exercise, however, was completed without incident, while defense officials said Turkish forces' maneuvers in the area were expected. The same sources stated that Turkish aircraft also did not flagrantly violate Greek airspace or international flight traffic regulations, saying Turkish maneuvers were common for a medium range military exercise.

    One violation was noted, according to reports, when a Turkish patrol boat entered Greek waters off the islet of Imia before being chased away by a Greek coast guard vessel. Hellenic Navy sources denied a report that two warships were dispatched to the a rea to intercept the patrol boat.

    The Turks' exercise was scheduled before the recent heightened Greek-Turkish crisis over Imia's sovereignty.

    Military sources in Ankara told the Turkish press the exercise "is not of a tactical nature," but is a training exercise for the crews of warships in the area. The same sources stated that no urgent situation is occurring in the region.

    In reference to Ankara's military maneuvers, Greek National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis on Sunday confirmed that Greece had been notified of the Turkish exercise and had issued a permit.

    [9] Greek exercise

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, Greek forces begin a planned landing craft exercise today code-named "Aegialos 2/96" that includes participation of a battalion of marines.

    The exercise will take place in several Aegean sea areas and concludes on February 19.

    [10] SAE president meets with Stephanopoulos

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    World Hellenism Council (SAE) president Andrew Athens yesterday briefed President Kostis Stephanopoulos on the council's efforts concerning the latest Greek-Turkish crisis, particularly its contacts with White House officials.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos was given the assurance by the SAE presidium that the organization will do everything possible to support Greece's interests and make the country's positions known.

    Mr. Athens arrived here yesterday heading a delegation to open the Council's office in Thessaloniki.

    [11] Samaras briefed on Imia incident

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Opposition Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras was briefed yesterday on the Imia incident and the future plans of the Greek armed forces by the political and military leadership of the national defense ministry.

    Following the briefing, Mr. Samaras told reporters that "the Greek people may feel safe and proud of its armed forces."

    He further said that the government and the parties should let "the military do its work unhindered."

    [12] Kaklamanis discusses closer ties with Moldova

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday discussed bilateral issues with his counterpart from Moldova, Petri Lukinski, who is currently on a three-day official visit to Greece at the head of a three-member parliamentary delegation.

    The two House speakers discussed specific proposals for the further development of bilateral relations in the political, cultural and judicial sectors.

    They also exchanged views on strengthening co-operation between the two parliaments by setting up a Friendship Group and exchanging visits by parliamentary delegations.

    Mr. Lukinski expressed thanks to Mr. Kaklamanis for the fact that Greece was among the first countries to recognize Moldova's independence in 1991 as well as for the activity of Greek businessmen in Moldova.

    [13] State Dep't spokesman says referring Imia dispute to court a 'reasonable option'

    Washington, 13/02/1996 (ANA- L. Papantoniou)

    A US State Department spokesman said yesterday that the idea of referring Greece's dispute with Turkey over the islet of Imia to the International Court at The Hague was "a reasonable one".

    Asked whether he knew anything about the issue, spokesman Nicholas Burns told reporters that although he did not have the details, he found the idea reasonable.

    "Let me look into it and find out what the governments of Greece and Turkey have told us. Our view is that it is reasonable to have the International Court at the Hague. It is essentially a forum where the issue can be referred to. Greece and Turkey will ask the Court to solve the problem. I don't know the details," he said.

    Responding to a question on whether the US supported the resolution of Greek-Turkish differences through political dialogue, Mr. Burns said: "The issue concerns Greece and Turkey. The International Court at the Hague is the appropriate forum to solve t he various problems, (and) not just that of Imia".

    [14] AHEPA conference focuses on US-Greek ties

    Washington, 13/02/1996 (ANA-L. Papantoniou)

    The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) began a two-day conference, Sunday, on relations between Greece and the US.

    The conference is taking place with the participation of a delegation from the main opposition New Democracy party, which will brief the conference on Greek positions following the recent Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean.

    Addressing the conference, Greece's Ambassador to Washington Loukas Tsilas said that "Greece will not negotiate its national sovereign rights."

    ND delegation member and former government spokesman Vyron Polydoras told the conference:

    "Our country needs all of you. Our country is in danger. You exert significant influence on the superpower known as the United States. We seek of you to exert your influence in the 'diplomatic war'."

    Mr. Polydoras said Greece was annoyed by Turkey's constant provocations as well as by the attitude of the United States.

    "It is not right or fair to treat the victim and the aggressor with the same terms," he said.

    In reference to US suggestions that the Imia issue be taken to the International Court at The Hague or other international arbitration organizations, Mr. Polydoras said:

    "How would the United States feel if the native Indians raised a Manhattan issue, which was bought for $28 by Dutch immigrants? Would the United States be willing to discuss this as a legal issue?"

    Mr. Polydoras called on the United States and the international community to show understanding of Greece's just causes.

    [15] Greek-Americans celebrate founding of World Council

    Chicago, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Over 400 local representatives of Greek-American community organizations gathered here recently to mark the historic founding of the World Council of Hellenism (SAE) in Thessaloniki last year.

    Council President Andrew Athens outlined the council's staunch position during the recent Greek-Turkish crisis and its role in the campaign against Turkish expansionism in Cyprus, while North and South America regional president Christos Tomaras stressed that Turkish arbitrariness constituted a shameful provocation which Greeks anywhere would not tolerate.

    Greek Consul in Chicago Nikolaos Zafeiropoulos and Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America stated their support and solidarity with the council.

    [16] Prominent Greeks and Turks sign joint call for better ties

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Prominent public figures in Greece and Turkey have signed a joint statement calling on the two governments to declare their faith in Europe, friendship and co-operation "as the only way to promote the interests of the two peoples, and their resolve to work in harmony with international organizations in that direction".

    The statement also calls on them "to officially and clearly declare that because of existing differences between Greece and Turkey, each country will under no circumstances encroach upon the territorial integrity and the sovereign rights of the other... (and to) rule out a military confrontation and hostile acts in general as means for solving any differences already existing or which may arise".

    The Greek list of signatories includes five university deans and 60 professors, General Confederation of Workers of Greece President Christos Protopapas, writers Marios Ploritis, Dido Sotiriou, Vassilis Vasilikos, Maro Douka, Nikos Dimou, and Spyros Plaskovitis, film directors Nikos Koundouros and Pantelis Voulgaris, composer Mikis Theodorakis, veteran left-wing politician Leonidas Kyrkos and others.

    The Turkish list includes composer Zulfi Livaneli, writer Yassar Kemal, current culture minister Fikri Saglar, three deputies, six mayors, the head of the Turkish Cypriot Socialist party, trade unionists, academics and intellectuals.

    [17] FYROM office head meets with Pangalos

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    The head of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) liaison office in Athens, Ljupco Arsovski, presented his credentials yesterday to Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    [18] Premier welcomes decision on congress

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday welcomed the decision of the ruling socialist PASOK party's Central Committee to hold an extraordinary congress on July 11-14. "This congress must mark the beginning of a new period for PASOK. What we need today is a broadly-based organization which is able to meet the challenges and needs of the times. We shall attain this target if we abandon infighting and expediencies," Mr. Simitis said.

    The Central Committee fixed the date of the congress Sunday night after a weekend of marathon consultations.

    Eight PASOK deputies, considered to be among the premier's supporters, visited Mr. Simitis yesterday afternoon for a short courtesy visit.

    The deputies were Dimitris Sotirlis, Nontas Zafiropoulos, Christos Rokofyllos, Theodoros Koliopanos, Stavros Soumakis, Loukas Apostolidis, Nassos Alevras and Evangelos Malesios.

    Meanwhile, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, commenting on press reports alleging that "the prime minister is being held 'hostage'", said that such comments did not reflect reality.

    "The prime minister said he had agreed with PASOK's secretary that the congress be held within the first six months of 1996. This was unanimously agreed yesterday (Sunday) at the Central Committee," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said, adding that "this decision no t only creates no problem, but verifies the unity of the Central Committee officials over the content of political goals."

    "We want PASOK's political and programme unity to be the basis of the party's activities which will support the government and its work and undertake to create a new relation with the citizens," the minister said.

    [19] Papandreou's health continues to improve

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    The health of former prime minister Andreas Papandreou has shown no special changes over the past 24 hours.

    According to the latest medical communiqu, his respiration has not been supported by a respirator over the past two days, he has had no fever and was continuing kinesiotherapy and respiratory physiotherapy.

    Doctors are very satisfied with the course of Mr. Papandreou's health and are optimistic that they will be able to finally close the tracheotomy with a minor operation this week and provided he does not develop a temperature.

    Mr. Papandreou will stay in hospital for at least two more weeks.

    [20] Armenian Patriarch arrives in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Armenian Patriarch Aram, who is on an official visit to Greece, arrived in Thessaloniki on Sunday.

    Replying to journalists' questions as to whether the tension in Greek-Turkish relations was a danger for peace in the wider region, the Patriarch said that "international problems are solved when there is respect for justice and human rights."

    He expressed his gratitude for the humanitarian aid given by Greece to the Armenian people, and said he came to Greece to help reinforce the brotherhood between the two Orthodox peoples.

    During his visit to Thessaloniki, Patriarch Aram will meet with members of the Armenian community, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and other local officials.

    [21] OTE workers stage strike today against plans for share float

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) union of employees is staging a 24-hour nationwide strike today, asking that the government withdraw the draft bill on the partial privatization of the organization.

    The union fears that the project - the floating of 6 per cent of shares on the stock market - will open the door to further privatization in future, and is counter-proposing self-financing or reasonable borrowing to meet modernization requirements.

    They are also emphasizing the need to speed up the organization's development programme, with priority given to mobile telephone services, and calling for an immediate rise in charges for infrastructure services provided to private mobile telephone companies, arguing that while the cost to OTE is 14 drachmas per minute, the charge is as low as six drachmas.

    The union has warned it will strike throughout the duration of discussion of the draft bill in Parliament.

    Regarding pay rises in 1996, the union expressed optimism that OTE's big profits last year, and the recognition by management of the labor-intensive nature of work, will provide the basis for a satisfactory agreement.

    [22] OTE, Intrakom sign four-billion-drachma contract

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and telecommunications leader Intrakom signed three new contracts yesterday for the procurement of telecommunications equipment worth four billion drachmas.

    The first contract concerns the procurement of equipment to meet OTE's needs to provide new telephone lines and transfers which are pending due to the lack of a contributing network.

    The second one will secure the equipment necessary to serve OTE's needs in long-distance and international circuits along the Larisa-Lamia-Athens and Athens-Patras-Preveza axes.

    The last contract is for the procurement of equipment to be used for connections between digital centers to meet the needs of the armed forces, the Civil Aviation Service and mobile sea telephony.

    Installation of the equipment will have been completed within the year.

    [23] Papantoniou welcomes Cypriot activity in Greek business

    Nicosia, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    In an exclusive interview with the Cypriot 'Phileleftheros' newspaper, Greek National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said Cypriot investors were welcome to bid for shares in the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and the

    Public Petroleum Company (DEP), and welcomed the announced intention of Cypriot companies to be listed on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    He specified that such participation of any foreign nationals should be done independently, and not on the basis of prior agreements.

    "I believe that Greece and Cyprus constitute part of a single economic area," he said, adding that the closer the interests and relations of Greek and Cypriot businesses, the better it was for the two economies.

    Mr. Papantoniou said there was room for co-operation between the two countries' construction companies and banks in the Black Sea and the Middle East regions, particularly in the reconstruction of Palestine.

    He added that Greece was resolved to battle hard for the successful conclusion of negotiations of Cyprus with the European Union.

    Trade with non-EU member countries has been made easier after amendments made by Finance Under-secretary George Drys to the draft bill under discussion in Parliament.

    Based on these amendments, transit centers are created at borders, in which commercial transactions will be carried out under a special tax status.

    The discussion on the draft bill is due to be concluded sometime during the next few days.

    [24] Bidding for state securities triples offer

    Athens, 13/02/1996 (ANA)

    Bidding for state securities at the Bank of Greece's bonds auction yesterday was three times higher than the offered amount.

    Interest was strong despite a reduction in spreads by half a percentage point, a strong indication of the market's conviction that interest rates will continue to fall.

    The total amount of bids was about treble the auctioned amount (350 billion drachmas).

    In the seven-year bonds category, an amount exceeding one trillion drachmas was bid against the starting offer of 250 billion drachmas.

    Bids totaling 250 billion drachmas were accepted with basic interest rates ranging between 13.704 per cent to 13.775 per cent (365/365), as well as non-competitive offers amounting to 105 billion drachmas with an average interest rate of 13.755 per cent.

    For three and five-year bonds, only bids (amounting to 13.5 billion drachmas) having an interest rate equal or less than the basic interest rate (13.80 per cent) were accepted.

    End of English language section.

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