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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-08-23

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

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1270), August 23, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Denktash preconditions unacceptable, Van den Broek says
  • [02] Niles confident over improvement in Greek-Turkish relations
  • [03] Simitis chairs PASOK political secretariat meeting
  • [04] Arab League General Secretary to visit
  • [05] Karamanlis, Souflias discuss ND reorganization
  • [06] Synaspismos leader in Albania next week
  • [07] Greek-Australian researcher's success
  • [08] Shipowner Ventouris arrested in child custody battle
  • [09] Retired Albanian army officer arrested for child labor trafficking
  • [10] Controversial education bill tabled in Parliament
  • [11] Slight damage from earthquakes in Kozani, Grevena
  • [12] European congress on rivers opens in Alexandroupoli
  • [13] Tzoumakas promises torched Seikh Sou forest will be restored
  • [14] Second equity capital increase for DEP
  • [15] Inform-Lykos interest in Intertyp
  • [16] Variola claims more sheep in Evros
  • [17] Heating fuel bill again fails to muster Parliamentary majority
  • [18] Salomon Bros. give Greek state telecom buy recommendation
  • [19] Sigma recommendation for OTE shares
  • [20] Greek jobless rate rises to 6.99 pct in July yr/yr
  • [21] Greek stocks shed 1.63 pct, sink below 1,600 pts.
  • [22] 1.49 bln. Dr for road-building, flood prevention works

  • [01] Denktash preconditions unacceptable, Van den Broek says

    Nicosia, 23/08/1997 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis/CNA)

    European Union Commissioner for external relations, Hans Van den Broek, yesterday accused Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash of setting preconditions on talks about Cyprus' future.

    In a statement, Mr. Van den Broek expressed deep concern with the "disappointing outcome" of the second round of UN-led direct talks aiming at a comprehensive Cyprus settlement.

    In his statement, following a report to the UN Security Council by the Secretary General's special advisor on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez, regarding the outcome of Cyprus peace talks, the EU Commissioner said he was deeply concerned with the Cyprus peace efforts.

    Mr. Van den Broek said the precondition set by Mr. Denktash, who implied the freezing of an EU decision to start accession negotiations with Cyprus in early 1998, was unacceptable and he reconfirmed that negotiations would be launched by beginning of next year, as agreed by the EU in March 1995.

    The Commissioner responsible for relations with Cyprus and Turkey also criticized the signing of an "association agreement" between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state, which threatens partial annexation of the Turkish-occupied areas if accession negotiations go ahead with the legal government of Cyprus, as not being conducive to creating the right negotiating climate.

    The agreement was signed a few days before last week's five-day, face-to-face talks between President Glafcos Clerides and Mr. Denktash in Switzerland.

    President Clerides and Mr. Denktash had a first round of direct negotiations in the US in July.

    Mr. Van den Broek underlined "that a window of opportunity now exists to build a framework for a mediated settlement to the protracted Cyprus problem," before the start of accession talks, noting that Cyprus' adhesion to the EU would be in the interest of both communities on the island.

    He also said attempts to frustrate any progress, even of a procedural nature, as demonstrated last week, in Switzerland, are detrimental to the whole population of Cyprus. To this respect, the EU official recalled the recent pledge by the Turkish government to play a constructive role in the search for a negotiated Cyprus solution, and stressed that such a role would also favor the deepening of the relations between the EU and Turkey.

    Mr. Van den Broek strongly urged the two parties to reach an early agreement on the continuation of direct talks and pledged the European Commission's full support for further efforts to be undertaken by Mr. Cordovez.

    In the meantime, he noted that the Commission, in consultation with the government of Cyprus, will continue its bi-communal activities and projects aimed at informing the Turkish Cypriot community about the advantages of EU accession.

    [02] Niles confident over improvement in Greek-Turkish relations

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    US ambassador in Athens Thomas Niles said yesterday that "the process which began in Madrid is alive, and we believe that progress will continue", in referring to the most recent developments in Greek-Turkish relations.

    Mr. Niles made the statements to reporters after accompanying a visiting delegation of US Congressmen for talks with main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, focusing on the Cyprus problem and Greek-Turkish relations.

    There will be problems along the way. No one believed that this process would be easy and without difficulties, nor that the problems would automatically be resolved," he said.

    On the Cyprus problem, the US ambassador said Washington had a clear commitment and would work for a settlement.

    "Richard Holbrooke will now act as President Clinton's special envoy and we shall continue to work to find ways so as to consolidate the understanding attained in Madrid. You must be prepared for the problems which will arise throughout the process, as we are," Mr. Niles said.

    He is scheduled to turn over his post as ambassador to former US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns on Sept. 27.

    Earlier, the head of the visiting US House of Representatives delegation expressed concern over the Cyprus issue and the Aegean.

    "We are concerned with tensions in the Aegean and the Cyprus issue, and are seeking a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem," Congressman Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) said after talks with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    Mr. Menendez is heading the delegation of US House of Representatives' Foreign Relations Committee members, who were briefed by Mr. Kaklamanis on Greek-Turkish relations and developments on the Cyprus issue.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Menendez stressed Washington's interest in its bilateral relations with Athens, adding that Greece "is a very important ally of the US and NATO".

    Mr. Kaklamanis told reporters he had underlined to the congressmen the intransigence displayed by the Turkish side which, he said, "in essence has canceled out not only the spirit but also the letter of the Madrid communiqui with its provocative stance regarding the Aegean, the threat of war (emanating) from its intransigent stance, Turkey's aggressive position with its landing fleet stationed opposite the Greek islands, and its intransigence on the eve of the Clerides-Denktash meeting, which was chose n by Ankara, guiding this international criminal, (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash, through its decision to begin incorporation of the occupied part of Cyprus with Turkey.

    "We are here in Greece because we do not intend to wash our hands of the matter," Mr. Menendez told Mr. Kaklamanis.

    [03] Simitis chairs PASOK political secretariat meeting

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis chaired yesterday a five-hour meeting of ruling PASOK's political secretariat held with the participation of National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    The meeting focused on the government's economic policy for 1998, developments in Greek-Turkish relations and the recent talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    The meeting also discussed the program for compulsory mergers between municipalities and the reconstruction of the party.

    The meeting was also attended by PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis, Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    The political secretariat will reconvene on Monday.

    [04] Arab League General Secretary to visit

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis will meet with Arab League General Secretary, Abdel Meguid, on Monday.

    During his stay in Athens, Mr. Meguid will also have talks with Parliament Vice President Panagiotis Kritikos.

    [05] Karamanlis, Souflias discuss ND reorganization

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis had a meeting yesterday with former rival candidate for party leadership George Souflias on the reorganization of the party.

    According to informed sources, differences of opinion were expressed with regard to the number of sectors needed to be created, although the meeting was reportedly held in "a good climate".

    [06] Synaspismos leader in Albania next week

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos will pay an official visit to Albania between August 27-29.

    Synaspismos' leader will be received by the new President of Albania, Rexhep Mejdani, the president of the neighboring country's parliament as well as other political party leaders.

    In statements to a private network yesterday regarding foreign policy in general, Mr. Constantopoulos foresaw difficult conditions in Greek-Turkish relations, for which he said Greece must be prepared.

    He also called on the government to formulate a clear strategy for Balkan, Mediterranean and Greek-Turkish relations.

    Commenting on statements by the national economy minister on Thursday concerning the 1998 budget, Mr. Constantopoulos said that the government had called for yet another year of austerity, whose victims would again be low-income people, while tax fraud and the black economy were still uncontrolled.

    [07] Greek-Australian researcher's success

    Melbourne, (ANA- S. Hatzimanolis)

    Research into the effects of a vaccine against breast cancer developed by Greek-Australian Dr. Vasso Apostolopoulou has produced encouraging results in a tests carried out on 30 women in the state of Queensland.

    The Austin Research Institute, to which Dr. Apostolopoulou belongs, has announced that tests have begun in Melbourne on 50 men and women suffering from various forms of the disease, including not only cancer of the breast, ovaries and uterus, but lung, pancreas, prostate, bowel and other forms of cancer.

    "The aim of the new tests is to confirm data gathered by the research team from the Queensland trials, that (the vaccine) does not cause harmful side-effects and that it activates the body's white cells sufficiently to destroy the cancer. For the moment, it appears that the vaccine does not have any side-effects, which is the first positive indication," said Dr. Apostolopoulou.

    The current trials are expected to be completed within the next five years.

    Dr. Apostolopoulou will be visiting Greece in September on her way to conferences in Europe and the US. According to informed sources, the vaccine is also to be used in trials in Greece shortly.

    [08] Shipowner Ventouris arrested in child custody battle

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Pandemonium broke out in an Athens court yesterday morning after police arrested shipowner Georgios Ventouris, following allegations by his estranged wife Hara that he had kidnapped their three children and prevented her from seeing them.

    A court has awarded custody of the children to their mother. However, Mr. Ventouris allegedly took the children and hid them. He appeared in court yesterday after making an appeal against the custody ruling, based on what he said was a secret report by several child psychologists at a public hospital.

    The case was postponed to allow Ms Ventouris' lawyer to study the report. After the court session, police moved in to arrest Mr. Ventouris, whose bodyguards began to push away reporters and cameramen.

    Mr. Ventouris will face a three-member misdemeanor court today, while he may request a customary three-day postponement. It remains to be seen whether the court will free him or continue to keep him in jail.

    Representatives of the Women's Union of Greece, including Margaret Papandreou, were at the court to offer moral support to Ms Ventouris.

    [09] Retired Albanian army officer arrested for child labor trafficking

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    A retired Albanian army colonel was arrested by Patra Port Authority officials on charges of trafficking in child labor as he stepped off a passenger ferry arriving from Vlore, Albania.

    Damaz Pavli, 44, was arrested late Thursday after disembarking in Patra accompanied by two 16-year-old boys, both of whom carried false papers claiming they were Pavli's sons.

    The suspect, who authorities allege is one of the masterminds behind a child labor trafficking network, told the port officials he had come to Athens three times before, accompanying under-aged boys and girls whom he would deliver at various spots in Athens, mostly hotels. From there they would be picked up by their employers.

    Pavli would travel to Greece by boat and return overland by bus, to avoid raising suspicions, reports state. He was carrying with him numerous notes listing information on Albanian nationals and amounts they had paid him for his services as well as telephone numbers of Greek nationals. Authorities also said they found a well-made fake 5,000-drachma bill on the man.

    [10] Controversial education bill tabled in Parliament

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    An education ministry bill, introducing several controversial changes, particularly in secondary and tertiary education, was tabled in Parliament yesterday.

    The bill, among others, envisages abolition of entrance examinations for colleges and universities in 2001, as well as of the system of teaching appointments based on seniority in graduation.

    The bill has sparked strong reactions, particularly among unemployed and unappointed educators, who have already held, and are planning further protest rallies during the Parliamentary debate and at the opening ceremonies of the international trade fair in Thessaloniki in early September.

    The teachers' union has left open the possibility of a strike at the start of the school year, and is planning an information campaign to brief parents and students.

    [11] Slight damage from earthquakes in Kozani, Grevena

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Two earth tremors yesterday caused further minor damage to buildings in villages in Kozani and Grevena, northern Greece, which had been hit by the destructive 1995 quake.

    The two tremors, measuring 4 and 4.6 on the Richter scale were recorded at 06.10 and 06.18 local time yesterday. Their epicenter was 295 kilometers northwest of Athens in the area of Kozani and Grevena.

    Kozani Prefect Paschalis Mitliagas told the ANA that the tremors caused further minor damage to buildings - in twenty villages of Kozani and Grevena - which had not been repaired since the May 1995 earthquake.

    Seismologists did not appear to be concerned by the latest tremors generated by the Rymnio fault, attributing them to normal post-seismic activity in the wake of the 1995 quake.

    An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded in the same region last Saturday.

    [12] European congress on rivers opens in Alexandroupoli

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    The European Congress of the Global Rivers Environmental Education Network (GREEN) opened in Alexandroupoli yesterday under the aegis of the University of Thrace.

    In opening remarks, National Economy Secretary General Apostolos Fotiadis conveyed a message by the national economy minister, saying the ministry would always remain supportive of initiatives that promote environmental education and sensitivity.

    Mr. Fotiadis said the ministry's stand is that development must proceed hand-in-hand with the protection of the environment, and pledged that the ministry would promote solutions proposed by the congress.

    Evros prefect Giorgos Dolios made special mention of the co-operation protocol between his prefecture and the Haskovo area in Bulgaria on environmental protection, and said similar contacts were being made with the Turkish side for the same purpose.

    The GREEN Congress, which ends Monday, is being attended by more than 30 scientists and specialists in environmental education from around Europe, most of whom are coordinators of the project on a national level.

    Shortly before the end of the congress on Monday, there will be an official announcement on the founding of "GREEN Europe".

    [13] Tzoumakas promises torched Seikh Sou forest will be restored

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas yesterday reiterated that the Seikh Sou forest in Thessaloniki, about half of which was burned in a recent fire, will retain its public character and that its area would be extended with compulsory purchases and reforestation programs.

    He made the statement after touring the area and in the course of a press conference, also attended by Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos, who said he had signed a protocol suspending the issuing of building licenses in the area, and that any under-construction structures would be automatically demolished.

    [14] Second equity capital increase for DEP

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    The national economy and development ministries yesterday approved the second equity capital increase in as many days for the Public Petroleum Corp. (DEP) .

    After the approval of the 20.9 billion drachma increase on Thursday, the government yesterday approved a further 20-billion-drachma increase for an on-going natural gas project, bringing the total equity capital to 200.7 billion.

    [15] Inform-Lykos interest in Intertyp

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Inform-Lykos is in the process of negotiations for the acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in the ASE-listed firm Intertyp, part of the Interamerican group.

    According to its latest balance sheet, Intertyp's net position is in the region of 600 million drachmas.

    The result of negotiations is expected to be announced in Inform-Lykos' general assembly on September 9, which will also approve an equity capital increase by at least 500 million.

    Inform-Lykos recently signed a 100-million-drachma contract for the provision of computerized materials to the national economy ministry.

    [16] Variola claims more sheep in Evros

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Another 38 sheep were slaughtered yesterday after showing symptoms of variola in the Kipoi region of Evros, bringing the total for the past two days to 607. The infected livestock were located within the quarantined area, including the villages of Gemisti, Kipoi and Vryssoula.

    Evros prefect Giorgos Dolios said a five-member committee of veterinarians which was formed immediately evaluated the situation and proposed immediate measures.

    Measures include digging decontamination trenches around the three villages, destroying animals susceptible to the disease, banning of hunting and military exercises within the protection zone, supervision and the immediate hiring of scientists and assistants.

    Mr. Dolios said the committee believes the disease was carried from Turkey, since the first pocket of infection appeared in a village by the border. Special groups have been called up to patrol the borders to prevent entry of animals and illegal immigrants who might carry the disease, which is similar to smallpox.

    Turkish authorities have been notified that all illegally entering animals will be destroyed by Greek authorities, who are also planning to dig decontamination trenches at entry and exit points of all villages lying along the borders with Turkey.

    [17] Heating fuel bill again fails to muster Parliamentary majority

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    For the third time this week, the government yesterday failed to muster a Parliamentary majority for approval of a comprehensive bill containing provisions for a variety of weighty issues, ranging from modernization of public utilities to tax exemption for heating oil.

    A large number of PASOK deputies chose to abstain from voting on an amendment to the bill, which would provide for a reduction in the period for exempting heating fuel from taxes by more than a month-and-a-half.

    The amendment reduces the original period spanning between the third week of September and the last week of April to between November 15 and March 31.

    Most PASOK deputies who opposed the change referred to the harsh weather conditions in many parts of northern Greece even in early October.

    Deputy Elias Vlahopoulos said characteristically, that the government could legislate on delaying winter by a month-and-a-half.

    Arguing for the reduction, Finance Under-secretary George Drys said it was designed to counter the huge problem in fuel smuggling, citing as one adverse example the practice whereby smugglers extracted the special coloring substance from heating fuel in order to re-distribute it as diesel.

    The other two instances in which the government failed to obtain Parliamentary approval earlier this week concerned provisions for tax evaders and extending the period of the law for the modernization of public utilities.

    [18] Salomon Bros. give Greek state telecom buy recommendation

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Salomon Brothers, a US investment firm, has given shares of Hellenic Telecommunications Organization a buy recommendation citing OTE's strong position in south European telecom markets.

    In a detailed survey Salomon was optimistic about the long-term prospects of OTE's shares, forecasting that modernization of its network based on a rapid digitalization of telephone lines and the company's entry into the cellular market would lead to a rise in profits.

    Salomon sees OTE'S profits rising 13 percent annually over the next three years on net income growth of 19.5 percent. OTE's profits are expected to total 256 billion drachmas in 1998.

    [19] Sigma recommendation for OTE shares

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    OTE's share yesterday also received a recommendation from Sigma Securities, who claimed that its current P/E ratio, standing at 13.5 was unjustifiably low by European standards.

    Sigma estimates that OTE's net half-year profits are expected to increase, while for the entire current financial year they are expected to rise by 22 per cent, reaching 210 billion drachmas.

    Sigma also argues that this rise in profitability is expected to be maintained and further increase in forthcoming years, both from domestic operations and the strategic expansion through the acquisition of shares of other telecom utilities in eastern Europe.

    [20] Greek jobless rate rises to 6.99 pct in July yr/yr

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's registered unemployed rose by 19.8 percent in July against the corresponding month last year bringing the jobless rate to 6.99 percent of the workforce, the highest since 1994, the state employment agency said yesterday.

    In its monthly report for July the agency said that the number of registered unemployed rose to 196,967 from 164,361 in July last year.

    The number of unemployed rose by 5,035 from June, and by 14,687 from May.

    The agency also reported that despite the rise in unemployment, people finding employment rose by 46,260 in July against a 33,816 drop the same month last year.

    [21] Greek stocks shed 1.63 pct, sink below 1,600 pts.

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greek equities came under strong selling pressure in the last trading session of the week driving the general index below the 1,600 mark.

    Traders said the market looked vulnerable following the government's pledge to drastically cut public spending in 1998.

    The general index closed 1.63 percent lower at 1,592.82 points to show a 3.22 percent loss on the week. Sector indices lost ground. Banks fell 1.74 percent, Leasing was 0.81 percent off, Insurance eased 0.66 percent, Investment dropped 1.66 percent, Industrials fell 1.37 percent, Construction was 1.96 percent off, Holding eased 1.36 percent and Miscellaneous eased 1.13 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.14 percent down.

    Trading was moderate and turnover was 9.9 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, declining issues led advancing ones by 144 to 51 with another 22 issues unchanged.

    Halyps Cement, Alysida and Athinea scored the biggest percentage gains while Ermis, Astir, Benroubi and Nafpaktos Mills suffered the heaviest losses of the day.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 36,550 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,600, Alpha Credit Bank at 19,260, Delta Dairy at 4,000, Titan Cement at 14,700, Intracom at 12,750 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 6,375.

    In the domestic foreign exchange market the dollar fell substantially against the drachma.

    [22] 1.49 bln. Dr for road-building, flood prevention works

    Athens, 23/08/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's public works ministry yesterday endorsed 1.49 billion drachmas to fund five road-building and flood prevention projects around the country.

    The largest single project is construction of a highway running through the prefectures of Ioannina and Arta budgeted at 600 million drachmas.

    End of English language section.

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