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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-09

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>


Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
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  • [01] Santer: EU-Cyprus talks on accession will start six months after IGC
  • [02] Visit to CEDEFOP headquarters
  • [03] Inflation falls to lowest in 32 years in April
  • [04] State securities to carry single-digit interest rates
  • [05] Parliament hosts first public dialogue on Europe's future
  • [06] Papandreou-Patijn talks
  • [07] G. Papandreou, Cavanaugh note 'positive signs' on Cyprus issue
  • [08] US positive to latest development in Greek-Turkish relations
  • [09] Synaspismos calls for clarification of orders given to 'committee of experts'
  • [10] Gov't says Simitis has full support of deputies on national issues
  • [11] EDEK leader Lyssarides meets with Greek opposition leaders
  • [12] Greece to participate in PfP exercise in FYROM
  • [13] FYROM PM
  • [14] SAE's A. Athens comments on solution for Cyprus
  • [15] Kaklamanis meets with AHEPA president
  • [16] Simitis chairs cabinet meeting focusing on state procurements
  • [17] New police division to monitor highway traffic
  • [18] Interpol conference on crimes against children ends in Thessaloniki
  • [19] Gov't says no increase of subsidies to insurance funds
  • [20] European-Latin American business co-operation initiative
  • [21] Greece takes out $1.25 billion loan
  • [22] Agriculture issue discussed

  • [01] Santer: EU-Cyprus talks on accession will start six months after IGC

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    European Commission President Jacques Santer said in Athens yesterday that negotiations for Cyprus' EU accession will begin as scheduled, six months after the completion of IGC talks, even if there is no political agreement for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Santer, who spoke to reporters upon his arrival yesterday afternoon, said the European Union's commitment would be kept.

    He said, however, that he hoped for a political solution to the problem prior to the Cyprus' accession to the European Union.

    The European Commission has compiled a very positive report on Cyprus, he said, adding that "there is no problem in Cyprus gaining accession to the European Union."

    Regarding Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and Greece's hopes to participate in the single currency, he said that economic indicators of the country presented a considerable improvement.

    "The results and the indicators of the Greek economy are heading in the right direction," he said.

    Mr. Santer arrived in Greece in order to attend events marking the Day of Europe, celebrated on May 9.

    He has already held a meeting with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, and is due to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis today as well as with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis in Thessaloniki tomorrow.

    The Commission president also had a half-hour meeting with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday.

    [02] Visit to CEDEFOP headquarters

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Mr. Santer is also due to visit the Thessaloniki headquarters of the European Center for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) on Sunday.

    This evening, Mr. Santer will address the annual general assembly of the Federation of Northern Greek Industries (SEBE), while on Saturday he will also visit Mount Athos.

    On Sunday, he will tour several Thessaloniki's museums before leaving Greece.

    [03] Inflation falls to lowest in 32 years in April

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    The annualized rate of inflation fell to 5.9 per cent in April, the lowest rate since November 1965, when it stood at 5.6 per cent, the National Statistics Service (ESYE) announced yesterday.

    ESYE added that the consumer price index rose by 0.9 per cent in April, compared to 1.0 per cent during the same month last year.

    This small difference caused inflation to fall to 5.87 per cent, rounded up to 5.9 per cent.

    ESYE's secretary general, N. Karavitis, predicted inflation will fall further this month, to around 5.6 per cent in May.

    ESYE is currently considering what impact projected increases in public utility rates will have on the inflation rate, one of three Maastricht-mandated conditions for European Monetary Union.

    In order for inflation not to be adversely affected, rates should not be increased by more than 4.5 per cent, which is the figure set as a goal for the annual rate of inflation this year.

    According to ESYE, the most significant price increases were those of milk, at 3.0 per cent, fresh fruit (3.8 per cent), potatoes (11.3 per cent), vegetables (6.7 per cent), the mandatory contribution to the state-run radio and television network (ERT) billed through electric bills (33.3 per cent), hotel rates (8.4 per cent) and holiday packages at 7.6 per cent.

    [04] State securities to carry single-digit interest rates

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis yesterday announced that the interest rate for one-year Treasury bills would fall for the first time to a single-digit figure from the present 10.25 per cent in June.

    At the same time, Mr. Christodoulakis announced the state's borrowing program from mid-May to mid-June.

    On May 19, he said, bonds with interest coupons - index-linked to inflation - would be issued for the first time with duration of five and ten years. The securities, he added, will be made available through public subscription.

    The bonds will have a fixed real annual return of 4.0 per cent and the capital will be readjusted yearly according to the rate of inflation. The 4.0 per cent will be calculated annually on the readjusted capital and paid on a yearly basis with the settled interest coupons.

    The proceeds will be taxed at 7.5 per cent.

    On June 2, Treasury bills with a single-digit interest rate will be issued, Mr. Christodoulakis said, while in mid-June a series of 10-year bonds will be issued at a fixed interest rate which has not yet been determined.

    To date, the state has only issued three-, five- and seven-year bonds with a fixed rate of interest.

    According to the General Accounts Office, the state will collect at least 500 billion drachmas from the issues.

    [05] Parliament hosts first public dialogue on Europe's future

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    EU Energy Commissioner Christos Papoutsis said yesterday that the Community's expansion towards Cyprus and countries in central and eastern Europe was of great historical and political importance.

    "It constitutes a necessary development for peace and stability on our continent," Mr. Papoutsis told a special session of Parliament, held within the framework of public discussions on Europe's future.

    Mr. Papoutsis said the issue of enlargement should be placed within a specific framework and time schedule, which would enable the countries in question to adapt to the EU in a smooth manner.

    Referring to the EU budget and structural funds, Mr. Papoutsis warned that "in our effort to tear down the walls which separate the EU from the other countries of Europe, we must be careful not to erect new walls within the Community". Mr. Papoutsis was categorical in his opposition to the concept of a "two-speed" Europe, noting that the indications regarding the performance of member-states' economies were "hopeful".

    "We must, however, continue our efforts and insist on strict adherence to the criteria laid down for accession to the third stage of EMU for all countries," he added.

    The session was opened by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and was also addressed by the president of the Parliamentary committee on European affairs Loukas Apostolidis, the Vice-President of the European Parliament George Anastasopoulos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Dutch European Affairs Minister Michel Patijn.

    The session, the first time Parliament has held a special session as part of the public dialogue on Europe's future and organized with the co-operation of the European Parliament and European Commission representation in Greece, was held on the occasion of Robert Schumann Day today.

    Addressing the session yesterday morning, Mr. Papandreou said Greece had expressed its support for EU enlargement southwards, firstly with Cyprus' accession, as well as towards central and eastern Europe and the Balkans.

    "We have also adopted the position in favor of the rebuilding of relations of security in Europe and the accession of new members in the south. We are promoting co-operation between the EU and the Western European Union (WEU), within the framework of the perspective of the latter being incorporated in the former. Co-operation which we do not see taking place far from NATO, but rather as a process for strengthening security in the continent and the strengthening of its ties with NATO," Mr. Papandreou said .

    In order for there to be true democracy among the EU member-states, Mr. Papandreou continued, there must be "an institutional system of substantial equality".

    "This means respect for the principle that each member-state should contribute one commissioner, that the recognized principle at the Council of Ministers should not be violated, that states participate in the council with the same rights, and that the Union which we build will be a new type of creation, in which the cultural equality of different states and traditions is recognized..." Mr. Papandreou said. He added Greece had submitted a special memorandum to the IGC concerning the strengthening of the position of young people in the Europe of today.

    Addressing the session earlier, Mr. Patijn said the present Dutch EU presidency was optimistic that the summit in Amsterdam would have a successful outcome which would pave the way for the commencement of negotiations for the next phase of EU enlargement with the countries of central and eastern Europe and Cyprus.

    Mr. Patijn said also that the new EU treaty would contain a new chapter exclusively devoted to the issue of employment.

    In a related development, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputies yesterday objected to Parliament's two-day public discussion on the future of Europe, saying that the speakers scheduled to address the chamber brought the conclusion that the discussion was "a monologue by those who support the Maastricht Treaty".

    An announcement said the event was occurring "in the framework of a wider attempt by the European Union to turn around the negative climate that the Maastricht Treaty has created".

    [06] Papandreou-Patijn talks

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Mr. Papandreou later had talks with Mr. Patijn on the inter-governmental conference (IGC) for the revision of the Maastricht Treaty.

    Reports said there was a wide coincidence of views on the course of negotiations within the framework of the intergovernmental conference.

    Political developments in the European Union and their effect on IGC talks were examined as were issues regarding transparency in the EU, justice issues, the powers of the Council of Ministers, employment and social issues.

    An extraordinary European summit will be convened in the Netherlands on May 24-25 to examine issues related to the IGC.

    Mr. Patijn met with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou for talks on the IGC.

    The two men discussed the effect of political developments in the European Union on consultations regarding the revision of the Maastricht Treaty.

    Mr. Patijn also met with Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis on the course of the European Union and the initiatives of the Dutch presidency.

    Mr. Kranidiotis briefed Mr. Patijn on the Greek positions on Cyprus and Greek-Turkish affairs.

    [07] G. Papandreou, Cavanaugh note 'positive signs' on Cyprus issue

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Positive signs concerning the Cyprus issue, relations between Turkey and the European Union were noted by both Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and US State Department envoy Carey Cavanaugh, after a meeting in Athens yesterday.

    Mr. Papandreou referred to Mr. Cavanaugh's "significant contribution" towards efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue as well as Greek-Turkish relations."

    At yesterday's meeting, he added, there had been a general review of developments in both issues, as well as of the procedure for Cyprus' accession to the European Union. The US official praised the Dutch EU presidency's proposal for the formation of a committee of experts to examine Greek-Turkish relations, the outcome of which, he said, would depend on the two respective governments. Mr. Cavanaugh also referred to "positive messages" arising from efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue, drawing particular attention to work in that direction by the UN secretary general.

    Mr. Cavanaugh also expressed satisfaction with yesterday's talks in Crete with Defense Under-secretary Dimitris Apostolakis, saying that significant decisions had been made to expand bilateral military co-operation.

    The US State Department southeastern Europe bureau chief also had a meeting with main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis.

    [08] US positive to latest development in Greek-Turkish relations

    Washington, 09/05/1997 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns yesterday reiterated what he called the positive stance being adopted by the United States regarding the recording of Greek-Turkish differences by a "committee of experts" from both countries.

    Questioned, Mr. Burns stressed there are many proposals aimed at improving the climate between the two countries, saying that "the US is encouraging Greece and Turkey to meet and discuss the many proposals which have been in order to try and reduce the tension between them.

    "When Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was ambassador to the United Nations, she visited the eastern Mediterranean in July '96 and presented some proposals for the reduction of the tension between Greece and Turkey and we hope that these and other proposals will be taken up."

    Commenting on the forthcoming meeting in Washington between the foreign ministers of the US and Cyprus in June, Mr. Burns said Ms Albright "will be very happy" to see Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides on June 6.

    The two are expected to discuss the current situation in Cyprus and the recent mediation developments by the UN, "which we strongly support," he said, as well as manners in which the US can participate positively in resolving the Cyprus issue.

    [09] Synaspismos calls for clarification of orders given to 'committee of experts'

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday called on the government to clarify what political orders have been given to the recently approved "committee of experts", expected to exchange memos on Greek-Turkish differences.

    He added that while there is no information, diplomatic movements are being undermined.

    Mr. Constantopoulos made the statement immediately after a briefing by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    The Synaspismos president added that the government should agree to hold a meeting of political party leaders, headed by the president of the republic.

    He added that his party supports the improvement of relations between Greece and Turkey, adding that bilateral dialogue must be held in the framework of international law, without threats, as this is the best means of protecting national interests without arbitrators.

    [10] Gov't says Simitis has full support of deputies on national issues

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas denied yesterday that the prime minister had limited scope in defending national issues due to a letter by 32 PASOK deputies challenging government policy on Greek-Turkish relations.

    But he said Prime Minister Costas Simitis should have the full support of his deputies when promoting the country's foreign policy in international fora.

    Mr. Reppas said the key words were "sensitivity and subtlety," adding that letters to the prime minister should be signed.

    Regarding Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis, who publicly disagreed with the government's handling on Greek-Turkish relations and called for a party meeting to discuss policies, Mr. Reppas said Mr. Arsenis, a former PASOK national defense minister, had expressed his views for a more effective foreign policy but there was no disagreement on the core of policies.

    "We agree with his positions," Mr. Reppas said.

    [11] EDEK leader Lyssarides meets with Greek opposition leaders

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    The visiting president of the Cypriot socialist party EDEK, Vassos Lyssarides, met yesterday with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, saying afterwards that the Cyprus issue was at a particularly difficult stage, which would determine future developments.

    He predicted "unexpected initiatives and expected pressures".

    The EDEK leader called for a coordinated policy from political parties in both Greece and Cyprus.

    He later met with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga and Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas which, according to reports, included assessments that a "back-stage" solution is being promoted for the Cyprus issue.

    In a statement afterwards, Ms Papariga said plans exist to partition Cyprus, which will be linked to the process for accession to the European Union. On his part, Mr. Tsovolas said an identity of views was ascertained with Mr. Lyssarides.

    [12] Greece to participate in PfP exercise in FYROM

    Skopje, 09/05/1997 (AFP/ANA - M. Vihou)

    Greece is to participate in a "Partnership for Peace (PfP)" exercise in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) between May 11-17, an official announcement stated yesterday.

    The exercise, code-named "Rescuer '97", is being organized by the United States and FYROM, and is based on a scenario envisioning "a large earthquake in the south of FYROM", the announcement added.

    The countries involved - Albania, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey - will participate in the exercise through the supply of personnel and materials, transportation of the injured, repairing road axes and the protection of aid against theft.

    The Greek contingent will deal with transporting the injured using the Axios River, the announcement said.

    "Greece's participation in this exercise was decided on after the organizing countries committed themselves to referring to the host country as 'FYROM'," it added.

    [13] FYROM PM

    Skopje, 09/05/1997 (AFP/ANA - M. Vihou)

    Speaking to Greek reporters visiting Skopje Wednesday at the invitation of the FYROM press ministry, FYROM Prime Minister Branco Crvenkovski said "we cannot accept a name other than our constitutional name."

    Mr. Crvenkovski said that since Greece has recognized the independence and sovereignty of the country, in essence it has also recognized "the right of every people to decide on their name because, otherwise, it conflicts with the conception of the independence of a country", he said.

    He said there is goodwill on behalf of his country in negotiations being carried out in New York with mediation by Cyrus Vance, but "there are limits which cannot be exceeded."

    He did not elaborate further.

    Mr. Crvenkovski said developments in bilateral relations to date are positive since the signing of the interim agreement in New York. He expressed optimism over the future of relations in all sectors and stressed that "a historic opportunity to promote rapprochement between the Balkans and the European Union and to strengthen Balkan countries economically" is being presented to Greece.

    [14] SAE's A. Athens comments on solution for Cyprus

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    The president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), Andrew Athens, estimated yesterday that if discussions on Cyprus do not progress for the problem's resolution by the island republic's election this autumn, all discussions will be postponed until 1998.

    Mr. Athens made the statement during a press conference in Thessaloniki before the opening of the SAE's five-day meeting yesterday afternoon.

    He also expressed his satisfaction on the position taken by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

    During the SAE conference, the body's members are to meet with government officials in order to discuss problems faced by expatriate Greeks and by the SAE, 17 months after its creation.

    The president of SAE's US branch, Christos Tomaras, said the body has already begun recording the names of all Greek expatriates, who amount to roughly 770,000 families in North America and Canada alone.

    He added that the US branch is planning an event during which expatriates will be briefed on investment opportunities in Greece.

    The SAE branch in America issues a weekly report on the Internet on the condition of the Greek economy. The web site's address is

    [15] Kaklamanis meets with AHEPA president

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    President of the Greek Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis held a meeting yesterday with American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) President Mr. Makris. Mr. Makris is currently visiting Greece at the head of a four-member AHEPA delegation.

    Mr. Kaklamanis briefed Mr. Makris on the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations and praised AHEPA's contributing role to promoting Greece's national issues.

    Mr. Makris said overseas Greeks would continue efforts in the direction of making Greece's positions better understood by foreign governments.

    The AHEPA president was also received by main opposition ND party leader Costas Karamanlis.

    [16] Simitis chairs cabinet meeting focusing on state procurements

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired a three-hour cabinet meeting yesterday, focusing on greater transparency in state procurements and improvement in the country's agricultural policy.

    During his regular press briefing afterwards, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said phenomena of conflict have been observed between business interests which are turned into political and party disputes and as a result society is inconvenienced and the political setting is muddled.

    He said that during the PASOK government in particular such accusations have existed which merely camouflaged business interests which were not satisfied. Mr. Reppas said the government aims at pursuing inter-party agreement on the issue with the utilization of the existing institutional framework and individual improvements, wherever necessary, with a view to achieving transparency and avoiding delays in the procurement process.

    He said the existing institutional framework is more than adequate, adding that Parliament's Institutions and Transparency Committee will be activated more in the future, while the possibility is being considered that when Parliament ratifies procurement contracts it will not do so solely at the government's initiative. Moreover, the Auditing Council will be provided with more experts to enable it to do its work more effectively in the future.

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas made a prolonged address on agricultural policy at the cabinet meeting, also in light of the Agricultural Policy Council on May 16-17. He presented a package of settlements in support of young farmers.

    Mr. Reppas said that by September 1 the process of preparing a farmers' register according to initial plans will have been completed. He further said that after relevant European Union funds have been secured early pensioners will have their pensions in creased from 75,000 to 100,000 drachmas a month.

    Lastly, the cabinet discussed the issue of the standardization and transfer of farm products.

    [17] New police division to monitor highway traffic

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister George Romeos yesterday announced the formation of a special traffic police division to monitor traffic on the country's two main national highways in an effort to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities.

    When the special unit is set up in the next few days, Mr. Romeos told Parliament, a patrol car will monitor traffic at 30-kilometer intervals along the length of the Athens-Thessaloniki and Athens-Corinth motorways.

    Mr. Romeos also announced that the government was considering banning the circulation of large trucks at weekends and on public holidays, when many city dwellers head for the countryside in droves.

    A relevant EU directive had already been sent to the ministry of transport and communications for consideration, Mr. Romeos added. The road toll for the eleven-day Orthodox Easter holiday and Labor Day period this year was alarmingly high, with 6 5 people losing their lives in 520 road accidents. Some 740 people were injured, 145 seriously.

    Mr. Romeos said most of the fatalities took place on the secondary road network and were mainly due to speeding and illegal overtaking.

    Drunk drivers were also a factor, Mr. Romeos said, adding that in 1996 checks carried out in Attica along, 3,742 drivers were found to be over the limit.

    Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis announced on Wednesday that the government would soon table a bill in Parliament providing for the formation of a National Council for Road Safety.

    The task of the council will be to submit recommendations concerning national policy on road safety and supervise its implementation.

    [18] Interpol conference on crimes against children ends in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    An Interpol conference on crimes against children ended in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    "These days, it is easier to find a stolen car than a kidnapped child," said Norwegian law enforcement official Anne Christin Olsen, the president of the Interpol work group for the protection of children.

    During the conference, both Greek and foreign police officials spoke of the limited abilities authorities have at national and international levels to limit such crimes.

    Replying to questions during a press conference held at the end of the three-day meeting, Ms Olsen said the majority of those committing crimes against children go unpunished because of the inability of their victims to expose them.

    "The child always knows the attacker," she said, "but many times it is either dependent on him, or is afraid, or is simply not in a position to name him."

    For this reason, she added, one of the most common categories of sexual or physical abuse are handicapped children.

    Estimates put the number of child prostitutes around the world at around one million, although there are no official statistics from any country.

    Ms Olsen said police officers need better training and constant education in order to handle such crimes.

    Interpol's general secretariat in Lyon has created the first databank concerning cases of child disappearances or abductions, and it is helping to trace roughly 500 children at present, according to French police official Agnes Firnier.

    Ms Olsen denounced what she called the international community's hypocrisy, stating that although many are aware of the abuse of children, "most just don't want to know". She appealed to all countries and governments, as well as to parents to inform children of the dangers lurking both inside and outside the home.

    "Children must learn to say 'no' to whoever approaches them with a dangerous purpose," she said.

    Questioned by the ANA as to whether the case of the notorious paedophile ring in Belgium headed by convicted felon Marc Dutroux can be considered as an isolated incident or just the tip of a much larger problem, Ms Olsen said she feared such cases could come to light elsewhere as well. Roughly 70 specialized police officers from 25 countries participated in the conference.

    [19] Gov't says no increase of subsidies to insurance funds

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis said no increase will be made in subsidization of insurance funds, transport and other agencies in 1998, meaning that the total amount will remain at 1.28 trillion drachmas.

    He said that by the end of next week a circular will be sent to all ministries and agencies with instructions on data which must be tabled so that the state budget for 1998 will be prepared in the autumn.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said the ministry's aim is to have an overall and accurate picture of expenditures to be made by ministries and subsidies to be given to various agencies.

    [20] European-Latin American business co-operation initiative

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    A new initiative aimed at the development of business relations between European and Latin American countries will begin with assistance from the European Union.

    About 200 representatives of European businesses will have the opportunity of traveling to Uruguay, on Dec. 4-5 to negotiate new co-operation with roughly 300 businesses from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay.

    [21] Greece takes out $1.25 billion loan

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis yesterday announced the signing in London on May 16 of a $1.25 billion syndicated loan contracted by the Greek state from a consortium of foreign banks. The finance ministry will use the loan to refinance outstanding foreign debt totaling $1.1 billion.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said the new loan had a five-year duration with an interest rate equal to the LIBOR dollar rate with a premium of 0.25 per cent.

    [22] Agriculture issue discussed

    Athens, 09/05/1997 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas indicated after his talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and a cabinet meeting yesterday that problems pending in the agricultural sector are being resolved, while government planning is going ahead even with delays.

    "What we had said that will happen is happening," Mr. Tzoumakas said.

    According to Mr. Tzoumakas, the "black hole" in the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE), amounting to 180 billion drachmas, is being tackled. A bill to be debated in Parliament soon settles about 130 billion drachmas, which are debts owed by cooperatives, while another 50 billion drachmas will be given with state bonds.

    Mr. Simitis insisted in particular on new organizations which will be linked with European Union subsidies and the second meeting of the Agricultural Policy Council.

    End of English language section.

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