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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-24

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] Expert committees to present reports on Greek-Turkish relations soon, Pangalos says
  • [02] Demirel reiterates proposal for non-aggression pact between Greece, Turkey
  • [03] Agreement difficult for EU's 15, Premier says
  • [04] European Socialist meeting
  • [05] Albright sees progress in Greek-Turkish relations
  • [06] Pangalos welcomes possible Burns posting to Athens
  • [07] Foreign ministry to get new free operations room
  • [08] Pangalos to visit Albania ahead of next month's elections
  • [09] Police hosts anti-racism seminar
  • [10] Navy exercises in the Aegean
  • [11] Greece to revive bid to retrieve Parthenon Marbles
  • [12] Romania calls for support for EU, NATO bids
  • [13] Constantinescu awarded City of Athens gold medal
  • [14] Simitis wishes election success to French socialist party
  • [15] New border police force to be formed
  • [16] Karamanlis meets with EU ambassadors
  • [17] Fines announced by commission over Delta scandal
  • [18] Gov't rejects call to sack minister over drug comments
  • [19] Papandreou responds
  • [20] Lufthansa extends thanks to Greek air traffic control
  • [21] Greek-FYROM trade on the rise
  • [22] Athens bourse sets new historic record
  • [23] Greek industrial production on the rise
  • [24] Florina SA in fruit juice project in Bulgaria
  • [25] Gov't adopts 1.8 bln. drachmas anti-flood project
  • [26] Development minister attends IEA meeting
  • [27] O. Beinoglu SA launches new cargo depot
  • [28] Police recover 40 stolen paintings

  • [01] Expert committees to present reports on Greek-Turkish relations soon, Pangalos says

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greek and Turkish experts studying problems in bilateral relations are to present their respective reports to the Dutch European Union presidency, possibly as soon as Monday, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told a press conference yesterday.

    Mr. Pangalos expressed the hope that the Turkish group's report would contain "positive and constructive positions". He said the two groups would study each other's reports, to be exchanged via the EU presidency.

    He also reiterated Greece's "fervent wish for a solution to problems with Turkey".

    Asked to comment on an interview with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel screened on Greece's Antenna TV station last night, in which Mr. Demirel proposed the signing of a non-aggression pact with Greece, Mr. Pangalos said:

    "If the Turkish president's statements constitute an abandonment of the (Turkish policy of) casus belli, this will be a very significant development."

    He said, however, that if the abandonment of "casus belli" was accompanied by conditions such as a demand that neither country did anything to displease the other, such as Greece exercising its right to extend its territorial waters to the 12-mile limit, then this would be a step backwards, as it would be tantamount to asking Greece to adopt Turkey's position .

    Mr. Pangalos said that no politician, whether in Greece or Turkey, would want to assume the cost of a military confrontation. He also noted a warning from the US that it would intervene militarily to stop such a confrontation.

    The foreign minister drew attention to both countries' commitments to a number of international treaties obliging them to avoid military conflict.

    Asked to comment on reservations reportedly expressed by Cypriot leaders over a possible non-aggression pact between Greece and Turkey, Mr. Pangalos reiterated that any military action by Turkey against Cyprus would be considered by Greece as cause for war. However, he added that neither Greece nor Cyprus should dictate policy to each other, and that Greece should not become involved in the Cypriot election campaign.

    Finally, with regard to the proposed summer moratorium on military flights in the Aegean, the foreign minister reiterated that Greece was in favor of such a move, noting that there were still certain reservations on the part of Turkey.

    [02] Demirel reiterates proposal for non-aggression pact between Greece, Turkey

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Turkish President Suleyman Demirel yesterday reiterated an old proposal for an agreement of good neighborliness and co-operation to be signed between Greece and Turkey.

    Mr. Demirel made the statement during an interview with the private television channel Antenna aired last night.

    Questioned on whether he would agree to the prospect of a non-aggression pact with Greece, Mr. Demirel said "Yes. In fact I had proposed such an agreement to (former prime minister) Mr. Mitsotakis. A good neighborliness and co-operation pact."

    During the interview, he frequently repeated that problems in Greek-Turkish relations can be resolved through dialogue.

    "We are ready to improve our relations with Greece, starting a dialogue and taking all necessary measures. We keep our word on what we proposed in the past."

    In Turkey's view, he said, the sovereignty of 130 small islands and rocky islets in the Aegean is questionable. He said this issue must be handled first with dialogue and accused Greece of attempting to occupy the islets.

    Mr. Demirel said the issue of the island of Gavdos was an isolated incident which must not be generalized. Questioned on the Imia islets and on why Turkey's claims to the 130 islets appeared in 1996, he said the issue has existed since the 1930s and 1950 s, adding that if Greece had not gone ahead with settling the islands, the January 1996 Imia crisis would never have occurred.

    "In our view, the sovereignty of these islands is open," he said. When asked why his country refuses to refer the issue to the International Court at The Hague, he said "let us discuss first and we might reach some conclusions. We might find some solutions."

    On the question of Turkey's refusal to clarify which are the so-called "gray zones", Mr. Demirel said "if someone wants to find out which ones they are then Turkey will certainly announce them."

    Questioned on Turkey's statement that Greece's extension of its territorial waters to 12 miles would be casus belli, the Turkish president said this has been so for many years.

    "Whether the Aegean Sea becomes a Greek lake is an issue of vital importance to Turkey," he said.

    [03] Agreement difficult for EU's 15, Premier says

    Noordwjik, The Netherlands (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    There was a "willingness" to agree on a revision of the Maastricht Treaty, but it was unlikely it would be reached between European Union (EU) members at the June summit in Amsterdam, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday.

    Speaking to the press following a special summit of government leaders called by the Dutch EU presidency, Mr. Simitis said "there is a political willingness to reach final agreement, but many issues remain unsolved, and it is not expected that there will be a final agreement on June 16-17".

    The current meeting has called together government leaders to pave the way for the revision of the Maastricht Treaty, which was signed in 1992.

    "What was sought at this day's meeting was the institutional revision of the community and the guaranteeing of the effectiveness of its operations," Mr. Simitis said.

    He pointed out that the effectiveness "can be guaranteed without reducing the number of European Commission members and at the same time by strengthening the role of its president."

    This referred to another topic on the meeting's agenda, of the distribution and importance of the voting power of representatives from member-states, and the possibility of allowing each state at least one member on the Commission.

    Mr. Simitis expressed satisfaction that indications showed the revised treaty would mention the European Union's aim to "preserve common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the Union according to the principles of the United Nat ions founding charter, and the strengthening of security in the Union under any of its forms."

    [04] European Socialist meeting

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Premier Simitis was represented by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou at a European Socialist leaders meeting in Noordwjik earlier yesterday.

    Mr. Papandreou told the press that the presence of the Socialists in the European Council was enhanced by the recent landslide election victory of the British Labor Party, adding that this would be felt in the new reforms agreement.

    Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had his European summit debut, called yesterday for a "radical shift" in the European Union to re-focus on concerns of real interest to its citizens, such as jobs.

    His Labor party's election victory over the Conservatives has been welcomed in Europe as crucial to the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) negotiations, which have slowed due to British objections to deeper EU integration.

    Mr. Papandreou said British foreign policy showed evidence of change, especially in the fields of social policy and the inclusion of a social protocol in the new treaty.

    He said however that European socialists held differing views over certain issues such as defense and the integration of the Western European Union to the EU.

    He added that the Socialist leaders would have the opportunity to sound each other out at the IGC talks in Sweden on June 4-7 and in Amsterdam on the eve of the summit.

    [05] Albright sees progress in Greek-Turkish relations

    Washington, 24/05/1997 (ANA - A. Ellis)

    US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said yesterday she believed there has been progress in Greek-Turkish relations.

    "I think we have seen some fairly positive steps, in terms of some improvement in Greek-Turkish relations and we hope very much this trend continues," she said during a press conference shortly before departing for Europe yesterday.

    Ms Albright described Greece and Turkey as "very important NATO allies", adding that "we have great need and trust of both of them, and it is obviously much better when their relations are in a good track."

    Ms Albright reiterated that the Cyprus problem is a priority for the US and noted that the resolution process must be promoted this year.

    The Cyprus question, she said, "is again a priority issue for us, even though the dispute is on the books for a long time".

    She stressed that the US has "felt that this was an important year in terms of trying to move the process forward," adding that she is "considering how to deal with this issue."

    Ms Albright disclosed that the US Presidential Emissary for Cyprus Richard Beattie has been appointed as her advisor for the reorganization of State Department issues, adding that she is considering whom to name in his place.

    [06] Pangalos welcomes possible Burns posting to Athens

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday responded positively to reports that State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns will be appointed ambassador to Greece in the summer, saying he had a "personal liking" for the US official.

    US administration officials said yesterday that Mr. Burns was expected to be named ambassador to Greece in the summer, replacing Washington's present envoy, Thomas Niles. Meanwhile, Mr. Pangalos told a press conference yesterday that he would fly to Paris on Monday to attend an OECD ministerial meeting before traveling on to Lisbon on Wednesday to represent Greece at the NATO foreign ministers meeting.

    The agenda of the NATO meeting will focus on preparations for the Alliance summit in Madrid in early July.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Pangalos said no meetings had been scheduled on the sidelines of the Lisbon meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller or other counterparts, but did not rule out such meetings eventually taking place.

    [07] Foreign ministry to get new free operations room

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday announced major decisions concerning the structure, organization and operation of his ministry, including the setting up of a modern "operations center" for use in crisis situations. The operations center, Mr. Pangalos said, will be housed in the basement of the ministry building in the center of Athens.

    He added that the cost of the center would not burden public finances, since the project would be paid entirely by the president of the Athens Medical Center, George Apostolopoulos, in the form of a donation.

    Work on the center will begin this year, Mr. Pangalos said, adding that it will be equipped with modern telecommunications systems and operate in close collaboration with the corresponding center at the defense ministry. Mr. Pangalos also announced changes to the entrance requirements for embassy attachi candidates.

    In addition to the present requirement of two working languages, candidates will also have to have a basic knowledge of economics, reflecting the emphasis which the ministry wishes to place on economic diplomacy.

    [08] Pangalos to visit Albania ahead of next month's elections

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is to visit Albania early next month, he announced at a press conference yesterday. He said his visit would probably take place on June 3, following the European Union Foreign Ministers' Council in Brussels.

    Asked whether he would meet with Albanian President Sali Berisha, the foreign minister said he would be meeting with all leaders, while if possible he would also visit Greek forces participating in the multinational force there.

    Meanwhile, commenting on press reports to the effect that Italy was involving itself in the Albanian election campaign, Mr. Pangalos said that the Italian ambassador in Athens had denied such an involvement, while the Italian envoy in Tirana had made a statement declaring that his statements quoted in the press had been distorted.

    The foreign minister dismissed the view that "Greek and Serbian circles" had caused the upheaval in Albania, saying that there were no real ultra-nationalist forces in Greece, apart from a few isolated voices. Commenting on reports of illegal visas being issued by diplomatic staff in Albania, Mr. Pangalos drew attention to the ministry's limited ability to investigate such activities. However, he said there had been such accusations in the past but only in two or three cases had they been specific. An investigation of the allegations had indicated that they concerned circles outside the consulate.

    The minister defended the staff at Greece's consulates in Albania who he said were generally above suspicion. "While this does not mean that some of them might not be led astray, this could happen within any group of people, even politicians or journalists," he concluded.

    [09] Police hosts anti-racism seminar

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Greek police hosted a one-day meeting on racism and xenophobia at the General Police headquarters yesterday. The meeting, attended by policemen from all ranks, was coordinated by Panteio University rector Emilios Metaxopoulos, who said Greece "hosts and embraces every foreigner, when that person contributes to the society of his new homeland".

    Panteio professor of Sociology and Criminal Law Iakovos Farsedakis condemned the use of personality tests by psychologists, especially on the intelligence quotient factor, for purposes of discrimination.

    Journalist Theodoros Karzis pointed out that "the famed German miracle would have been unattainable without 500,000 Greek immigrants, three million Turks and the rest of the multi-national mosaic which formed the basic labor force."

    [10] Navy exercises in the Aegean

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Navy will hold exercises in the Saronic Gulf and the greater Aegean area on May 25 to 30, the Navy General Staff announced yesterday. The exercises are part of the annual training of the fleet, and had been scheduled for a long time.

    [11] Greece to revive bid to retrieve Parthenon Marbles

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos told Parliament yesterday that Athens would submit a fresh request to the new British government for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum.

    Replying to a question tabled by a Coalition of the Left and Progress deputy, Mr. Venizelos said the government would undertake a series of initiatives for the return of the marbles, which were handed to Lord Elgin by the Ottoman rulers in the early 19t h century.

    Mr. Venizelos said he would be sending a letter to the British government within the next few days and on June 30 would discuss the issue with his British counterpart on the sidelines of the meeting of European Union culture ministers.

    "I do not believe that the negative position adopted by the new British government is final," Mr. Venizelos said.

    [12] Romania calls for support for EU, NATO bids

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Visiting Romanian President Emil Constantinescu yesterday asked for the Greek Parliament's assistance in Bucharest's bid to join the European Union and NATO, during talks with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    Mr. Constantinescu, who is on a three-day visit to Greece, received assurances during talks on Thursday with President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis that Athens would support Romania's efforts to join NATO and the EU.

    In his talks with Mr. Constantinescu yesterday morning, Mr. Kaklamanis referred to the "great possibilities" which the two countries have to contribute towards consolidating co-operation and peaceful co-existence in the Balkan region.

    Commenting on the issue of security in Europe, Mr. Kaklamanis said the continent needed a security system "of a higher level, over and above NATO, in which all European countries participate."

    "Merely shifting the dividing lines of the Cold War eastwards is no answer to the problem of collective security in Europe," he added. Mr. Kaklamanis accepted an invitation from Mr. Constantinescu to visit Romania at the head of an all-party parliamentary delegation.

    [13] Constantinescu awarded City of Athens gold medal

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos awarded the City of Athens gold medal of merit to the Romanian president at the Old Town Hall yesterday.

    "An Athenian is not just any person born in this city, but any person who has struggled for the higher values born in this city: democracy, freedom and respect for human dignity. These principles and values are recognizable in your political action," the mayor said in his address.

    Mr. Constantinescu said he was honored especially because "for each of us, Athens will always be the place where modern civilization was established. This is where the democracy and European values which we are promoting together today were born."

    [14] Simitis wishes election success to French socialist party

    Beauvais, (ANA - G. Zitouniati)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis last night wished the French socialist party success, during its last pre-election rally before the first round of ballots.

    In a message delivered by Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, currently on a visit to France, Mr. Simitis stressed the importance of the elections, not only for France but also for the European Union "which is going through a difficult phase." Socialist parties, he said, must unite their forces for a stronger and fairer Europe.

    [15] New border police force to be formed

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister George Romeos said yesterday that his ministry will create a police force to guard Greece's borders to meet increased surveillance needs created on the country's northern and eastern borders.

    Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Mr. Romeos said roughly 1,000 police officers will be hired in October for a five-year period for the force.

    Replying to criticism by ND deputies on cases of corruption detected in the Greek Police (ELAS), Mr. Romeos announced the creation of an internal affairs service for the Greek police, which will examine reports of corruption and will be able to refer the cases to court.

    Mr. Romeos added the government intends to examine a series of responsibilities currently held by the police in order to cede them to municipalities and municipal police forces.

    The opposition criticized the public order ministry's policy, accusing the government of treating the security forces in an unfair, inhuman, dissenting and mocking way.

    [16] Karamanlis meets with EU ambassadors

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy President Costas Karamanlis met with the Ambassadors of EU member-states to Athens over a working luncheon yesterday, focusing on issues of mutual interest.

    Mr. Karamanlis said the meeting had also a symbolic meaning, stressing the main opposition's "firm European orientation."

    He said New Democracy desired a more active role in the European integration process.

    The luncheon was also attended by ND Parliamentary Group's Secretary General Stavros Dimas, the party's International Relations Secretary Marietta Yiannakou-Koutsikou and Mr. Karamanlis' advisers on diplomatic issues, Petros Moliviatis and Dimitris Petrounakos.

    [17] Fines announced by commission over Delta scandal

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Nine individuals and three listed companies were ordered by the Capital Market Commission to pay a total of 720 million drachmas in fines for involvement in the Delta Securities scandal of last November.

    Delta's inability to meet its cash obligations, amounting to 2.6 billion drachmas, brought its collapse and closed the Athens Bourse for the first time ever on November 9, 1996.

    Following a report by three independent auditors from abroad, the fines were reduced for charges including trading on insider information, distorting the market and spreading false and inaccurate rumors.

    The individuals fined were the following (amount of fine in parentheses):

    - Vassilios Kostopoulos, in connection with Magrizos company shares (150 million drachmas). - Constantine Georgakis, in connection with Parnassos and Atemke shares (150 million). - Constantine Varypombiotis, in connection with Parnassos shares (100 million). - Spyridon Yiassafakis and Emmanuel Hadzakis, in connection with Magrizos (60 million and 40 million, respectively). - Evangelia and Chryssoula Georgaki, in connection with Parnassos and Atemke shares (10 million each). - Ioannis Markopoulos and Lambros Frangos, in connection with Parnassos shares (25 million and 15 million, respectively).

    The following securities companies listed in the Athens Stock Exchange were fined:

    - Ioniki, 90 million drachmas - Sigma, 50 million drachmas and - Euroxx, 30 million drachmas.

    The commission also delivered written reprimands to Devletoglou, Ethniki and Kappa Securities for not acting with the necessary care to protect the market from prearranged transactions.

    The commission has placed all securities companies listed above on a three-month probation for violations of the professional code of conduct.

    [18] Gov't rejects call to sack minister over drug comments

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    The government yesterday strongly reacted to a demand by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga for the removal of Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou because of the views he expressed in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana use.

    "Ms. Papariga and the KKE would be advised to do and speak less so that they will be compromised less," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, while underlining that the positions expressed by Mr. Papandreou were his own personal views.

    Mr. Papandreou said in an interview with a Greek magazine that the use of marijuana should be decriminalized and people allowed to grow the plant for their own personal use.

    In many instances, Mr. Reppas said, politicians act as dictated by their conscience. What is important, the spokesman added, is "policy not individuals".

    "Government policy on the issue of narcotics has a specific basis, namely the findings of the relevant all-party committee and the issue does not lend itself for quarrels," Mr. Reppas said.

    The spokesman rejected criticism from Ms Papariga that Mr. Papandreou was using his position to promote his personal views, stressing that the minister had expressed the same views on numerous occasions in the past.

    When asked to comment on the matter, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos underlined that Mr. Papandreou had expressed his views "as a citizen" and therefore there could be no question of linking them with his remaining a minister or not.

    Mr. Pangalos also stressed that Mr. Papandreou had on many occasions in the past expressed the same views, adding that the issue of narcotics was one of conscience.

    "Personally, I feel uncomfortable when a party comes along and says 'this is my party view'. It's a nightmare," Mr. Pangalos said.

    [19] Papandreou responds

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Mr. Papandreou's press office later attributed criticism to his views from the media and politicians to "a slanderous attempt at distortion".

    An announcement said Mr. Papandreou's critics were trying to present the minister as supposedly "inviting young people to cultivate marijuana".

    "Not only does Mr. Papandreou not encourage the use of marijuana, he goes much further by rejecting alcohol and tobacco," the announcement added.

    The announcement underlined that Mr. Papandreou's view that users should become "disentangled" from their relationship with dealers was an old one which had been discussed in Parliament as well as at science conferences.

    "Mr. Papandreou expresses his views without petty political considerations," the announcement said, adding that "the conclusion from the rhetoric of recent days is that ignorance and prejudice kills". The announcement urges Mr. Papandreou's critics to consider the long list of drug deaths, put an end to their "witch-hunt", contemplate the problems facing youth with candor and to opt for dialogue rather than confrontation.

    [20] Lufthansa extends thanks to Greek air traffic control

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Lufthansa German Airlines has officially thanked Greek Air Traffic Control for improving the punctuality of flights departing Athens airport from 30 to 93 per cent.

    "While only about 30 per cent of the Lufthansa planes leaving Athens in Summer 1996 were punctual, in January 1997 the rate increased to 77 per cent and in February and March even up to 93 per cent...," Lufthansa said in an official letter dated May 13.

    The letter noted that in February and March 1997, 93 per cent of all Lufthansa departures from Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion left on time.

    "Our passengers appreciate that they can rely again on our services. The image of Greek Traffic Control has risen tremendously and last but not least, our company is happy that punctuality is back again to international standards," Lufthansa said in the letter.

    [21] Greek-FYROM trade on the rise

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Trade between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is steadily improving and is forecast to reach $300 million in 1998 from $180 million last year.

    According to figures released yesterday by the National Statistics Service (NSS), Greece ranks fourth in FYROM's external trade after Germany, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Slovenia.

    The European Union is the biggest trade partner of the neighboring country. FYROM's exports to the EU account for 42.7 percent of total exports, while imports from the 15-member union represent 38.7 percent.

    The NSS notes that FYROM's trade with the EU is greater than with the former Yugoslav republics, with exports to those countries accounting for 33.1 percent of the total and imports 21 percent.

    [22] Athens bourse sets new historic record

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Athens Stock Exchange made history on Friday with the general index breaking two records as it surpassed the previous all-time high of 1,684.31 points, set in July 5, 1990, and breached the 'psychological' barrier of 1,700 for the first time in history.

    The index closed at 1,727.70 points, up 2.60 percent, to show a total gain of 85.08 percent since the start of the year.

    The president of the Shareholders' Union, Dimitris Karagounis, told the ANA that "the rise in share prices is not merely a temporary phenomenon, rather it reflects the steady fall in inflation and interest rates, expectations of high corporate profits during 1997 and the stable economic policies pursued by the government".

    He also predicted the continuation of the upward trend in the medium- and long-term, despite temporary correction and setbacks.

    Analysts said that the 2,000 target for the end of the year remained realistic due to the upcoming new flotation of OTE's shares. They also noted that despite the spectacular jump of the market during the first five months of the year the average P/E ratio remained at the very attractive level of 12 percent. Trading remained at voluminous levels and turnover reached 32.4 billion drachmas. Most sector indices scored gains, once again led by banks with an increase of 2.65 percent. Insurances rose 1. 58 percent, Investment jumped 5.18 percent, Industrials increased 1.85 percent, Holdings ended 0.68 percent higher, Miscellaneous rose 1.19 percent, but Leasing was unchanged and Construction fell 0.29 percent.

    The Parallel Market index ended up 0.22 percent. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 132 to 96 with another 28 issues remaining unchanged. Bank of Piraeus, Sarandopoulos and Ekter scored the biggest gains at the upper limit of daily fluctuations, while Intertyp and Viokarpet suffered the heaviest losses of the day.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 38,500, Commercial Bank at 14,750, Ergobank at 21,350, Alpha Credit Bank at 22,155 and OTE at 7,095 drachmas.

    [23] Greek industrial production on the rise

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Industrial production in the European Union increased by 0.5 percent on average in December 1996 to February 1997 compared to the previous three-month period, according to Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency.

    Greece marked a steady improvement on a monthly basis showing a 0.2 percent increase in industrial production during the same period.

    Sweden, Finland, Britain and Germany showed strong increases, while industrial production fell in Belgium and Italy.

    Eurostat said that industrial production in the 15-member bloc had shown a steady monthly gain since last summer. During the same three-month period, US production rose 1.2 percent and in Japan the increase was 1.9 percent.

    [24] Florina SA in fruit juice project in Bulgaria

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Florina SA, a Greek fruit juice production company, has bought Hlebozavod-4, a former bakery in Bulgaria, for $640,000.

    According to a statement by the Privatization Organization of Sofia, the deal is the biggest privatization project it has signed since the start of the year.

    Payment for the deal was in cash handed over during the signing of the contracts. The bakery will be transformed into a fruit juice production unit at a cost of four million US dollars.

    The new unit is expected to create 130 new jobs in the next five years. Hlebozavod-4's installations have a surface area of 8,000 square meters on a 36,000-square meters site, located in a suburb of the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

    [25] Gov't adopts 1.8 bln. drachmas anti-flood project

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek government has endorsed credits of 1,836,920,000 drachmas as part of a long-term project to carry out flood prevention works around the country, including reconstruction after severe floods in January.

    The latest projects, which are due to be tendered by the Public Works ministry, are as follows:

    * Reconstruction of a major highway in the industrial Aspropyrgos area near Piraeus (1.5 billion drachmas)

    * Reconstruction of the Krikelioti river bed, Evrytania prefecture (45 million drachmas)

    * Engineering studies for bridge repairs in the prefectures of Phthiotida, Korinthia and Achaia (120 million drachmas)

    * Construction of walkways over drainage ditches, Evia prefecture (10 million drachmas)

    * Reconstruction of the Karpenisioti river bed and its tributaries, Evrytania prefecture (110 million drachmas)

    * Building work at Paramythia heliport, Thesprotia prefecture (21.24 million drachmas)

    * Building work at Keramitsa heliport, Thesprotia prefecture (30.68 million drachmas)

    [26] Development minister attends IEA meeting

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Energy ministers from leading industrial countries met in Paris to discuss government policies in the energy sector in the framework of a constantly changing international environment and the fight against global warming.

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou represented Greece in the 24-nation International Energy Agency, which meets at ministerial level once every two years.

    The Greek minister stressed that globalization of the energy market and liberalization under way in the sectors of electricity and natural gas had created new circumstances for government energy policies, but that energy should retain the nature of a utility.

    Referring to the problem of the changing global climate, Ms. Papandreou stressed the need for international co-operation in facing the problem, and the obligation by developed countries to commit themselves to significantly reducing emissions by the year 2010.

    This would follow the example set by European Union member-states agreeing to reduce emissions by 15 percent by that time.

    The Greek minister urged a revaluation of the relationship between society and the environment.

    [27] O. Beinoglu SA launches new cargo depot

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    A new private cargo transit depot serving the needs of Balkan states will be launched on May 31 in the Sindos industrial zone near Thessaloniki. Orfeus Beinoglu SA's transit depot, comprising an office building and a warehouse with a loading capability of 20,000 cubic meters, is built to the latest European standards and is fully equipped to service both transit and interstate commerce.

    The Greek company was founded in 1923 and has a workforce of 300 people. Orfeus Beinoglu SA has made investments in real estate and equipment totaling 15 million drachmas and its 1996 turnover exceeded seven billion drachmas. The company has opened branches in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Beirut, Istanbul and Sofia during the last decade, and has plans for new investments in Skopje and Tirana.

    Orfeus Beinoglu's activities include road, air and sea transport all over the world, logistics and customs services and transit transport to the Balkans.

    [28] Police recover 40 stolen paintings

    Athens, 24/05/1997 (ANA)

    Some 40 priceless paintings stolen from Goulandris-Horn Foundation in 1994 were recovered by police yesterday when they raided a central Athens flat.

    The artworks - from a Mytilini museum - were stolen around March 17-18, 1994, in what the press at the time called the "theft of the century".

    Police arrested Grigoris Rousopoulos, 45, from Kozani. Rousopoulos escaped from the Korydallos prison where he was being held in remand in January 1994, fleeing to Italy with fake travel papers. He was arrested in Italy and extradited to Greece where he served another two months on remand in Trikala jail.

    Also found in Rousopoulos' apartment were a number of paintings and some jewelry from a recent theft in Ayia Paraskevi and from others in the Athens area.

    Police said Rousopoulos also had in his possession an exercise book filled with newspaper and magazine cuttings on artworks, jewelry, with notes on where these were held.

    End of English language section.

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