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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-27

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

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1400), January 27, 1998

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece unveils international economic relations targets
  • [02] Greek stocks end lower hit by money market turbulence
  • [03] Government debt lower than target in 1997
  • [04] Premier steadfast on utilities' restructuring, strike today
  • [05] ... Unions adamant over strike
  • [06] ... Gov't response
  • [07] Tsohatzopoulos meets with Czech counterpart Lobkowicz
  • [08] Danielle Mitterrand speaks at anti-racism conference in Athens
  • [09] G. Papandreou cites EU interest in Turkey
  • [10] Cook on Turkey
  • [11] British initiative on Turkish participation at Euro-Conference
  • [12] ... Cem
  • [13] Gov't rejects Turkish proposal for dialogue before recourse to The Hague
  • [14] Karamanlis to brief President on ND foreign policy positions
  • [15] ... KKE
  • [16] Gov't comments on latest poll published by Athens daily
  • [17] Simitis, President to meet Athens 2004 organizing c'tee tomorrow
  • [18] Premier chairs meeting on sports draft bill
  • [19] Simitis meeting with Skandalidis, Kaklamanis
  • [20] Premier to meet with Danielle Mitterrand today
  • [21] State Dept. comments over Paphos air base, Turkish threats
  • [22] Athens informs Council of Europe of citizenship change
  • [23] Papadopoulos promises more decentralization of public services
  • [24] Successful 'Polis' exhibition headed to Cyprus
  • [25] Greece, Bulgaria discuss customs co-operation
  • [26] Permanent Mount Athos exhibition announced
  • [27] Studies center for Turkish crimes against humanity
  • [28] Chilean delegation in Athens for talks on tourism, trade
  • [29] Duty Free Shops' bourse floatation nears final stage

  • [01] Greece unveils international economic relations targets

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's foreign economic policy aims to promote economic relations with countries in the Balkans, Mediterranean and the Black Sea Area, National Economy Under-secretary Alekos Baltas said yesterday.

    He underlined that the government's foreign economic policy included the creation of a common legal framework to promote and protect investment and avoid double taxation, ministerial meetings, credit facilities programs and administration of community programs.

    It also called for participation the Black Sea Co-operation Organization and a US-led initiative for co-operation in southeast European states (SECI).

    Mr. Baltas presented Greece's first international commerce company, INTRADE SA, set up to promote business activity in the Balkans, the Black Sea, central and eastern Europe and the Middle East.

    The company plans to open offices in countries in these regions.

    INTRADE's start-up capital totals 300 million drachmas.

    Shareholders include Commercial Bank of Greece, Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO), Ergo, Hellafarm, Orizon, Dodoni, Proodeftiki, Interexport-Perla Hellinikon Alas, Suphur Hellas, Semeli, Pittas, Heltrab Co, TCL Agencies, Adelco, Pamona, Kyknos and Florina.

    Speaking to the ANA, HEPO President Ioannis Tzen expressed hope that the new company will be a pilot for the creation of other companies of international trade within the framework of the relevant law. He also underlined that the new company's aim is to help small- and medium-sized enterprises in international presence and in security major contracts.

    [02] Greek stocks end lower hit by money market turbulence

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities lost considerable ground on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday hit by renewed turbulence in the domestic money market.

    Bankers reported capital outflows totaling 120 million US dollars at the drachma's fixing while interest rates moved higher in the domestic interbank market.

    The Greek currency fell 0.16 percent against the ECU. It was 0.15 percent lower against the DMark but strengthened by 0.79 percent against the US dollar.

    The general index ended 1.40 percent off at 1,427.79 points with most sector indices losing ground.

    Banks fell 2.29 percent, Insurance dropped 1.45 percent, Leasing ended 1.03 percent off, Constructions fell 1.62 percent, Industrials eased 0.95 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.91 percent down, Holding fell 0.90 percent and Investments rose 1.77 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.50 percent.

    Trading was moderate with turnover 13.3 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 155 to 64 with another 15 issues unchanged.

    Alumil, European Credit and Radio Athina scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's upper limit of 8.0 percent, while Lambropoulos, Sarandopoulos, Etma and Atemke suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,000, Ergobank at 13,650, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,740, Delta Dairy at 2,650, Titan Cement at 13,685, Intracom at 14,800 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,530.

    [03] Government debt lower than target in 1997

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's central administration debt fell to 119.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) or 30,040 billion drachmas in 1997, down from 120.2 percent or 39,339 billion expected by last year's budget.

    The general government's debt also fell by one percentage point below 109 percent of the country's GDP, Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday.

    In a speech during a banking conference in Athens, Mr. Christodoulakis stressed that the government's debt would fall further to show a clear declining trend, a precondition for participating in European Economic and Monetary Union.

    He predicted that the government's average monthly borrowing requirements would fall to 867 billion drachmas in 1998, down from 1,052 billion last year, for a decline of 18 percent.

    Mr. Christodoulakis also pointed out that public debt's composition improved in 1997 in terms of average duration of state securities. Long-term issues accounted for 60 percent of domestic debt in 1996, rising up to 75 percent last year along with a rise in average duration from 4.5 to 5.5 years.

    He presented the finance ministry's decisions on a new regulation for the operation of primary dealers in the Greek bond market to start before the end of the month and measures to streamline the country's bond derivatives market.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said primary dealers should comply five basic criteria: first, present minimum own capital up to 30 billion drachmas, second, operate their own dealing room and back office, third, constant presentation at the country's primary state securities market, fourth, guarantee absorption of a minimum 3.0 percent annually of international issues and fifth, cover at least 2.0 percent annually of all state securities derivatives market.

    [04] Premier steadfast on utilities' restructuring, strike today

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday appeared determined to proceed with changes and restructuring in state-run utilities' (DEKOs) labor relations, amid increasing reactions by trade unions, culminating in a 24-hour strike today.

    "Measures for DEKOs are a structural change. The Greek people have paid hundreds of billions to these enterprises to operate", the premier told reporters yesterday, before attending an annual reception hosted by the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Indus try.

    The premier stressed that the country's inclusion in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and Greece's equal participation in a united Europe required constant structural changes on the way the state and society functioned.

    "Employees at these enterprises (DEKOs) should realize that Greece's interest is their own interest as well, that stability and development were the target serving the interests of everyone", the PM said.

    The event was also attended by President Kostis Stephanopoulos, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, former premier Constantine Mitsotakis, as well as several ministers, government officials and businesspeople.

    [05] ... Unions adamant over strike

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    The 24-hour strike by DEKOs and state-owned banks will go ahead, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece president said yesterday, warning that the unions would withdraw from "social dialogue" with the government if proposed legislative provisions changing the status of workers were not withdrawn.

    At a press conference yesterday, GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos spoke of "an anti-democratic reversal of enormous political significance" and urged National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou to consider "where he was leading the ruling party".

    Mr. Papantoniou has said the changes had been decided upon by the entire government, had been approved by the prime minister and would not be changed.

    However, negotiations have been continuing on the sidelines and the unions are hoping for a formula that will defuse the current tension. Unionists have said they are in favor of improvements to public enterprises, but based on a modernization plan and on a 1996 law which they say offers possibilities that have not yet been tested.

    They reject accusations that the strike is aimed at defending vested interests, claiming that the average wage in public enterprises is no higher than that in the broader public service and that labor relations have deteriorated to their lowest point in recent years.

    GSEE is to take recourse to the International Labor Organization and to the Greek courts to have the proposed legislation declared unconstitutional.

    Public transport will also come to a halt for the entire 24 hours today, while on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the city bus crews will be on strike from the beginning of the day's shift until 9 a.m. and from 9 p.m. until the close of the night shift.

    [06] ... Gov't response

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said later that the government would continue to defend the institution of 'social dialogue' between government, employers and unions.

    However, he added, its faith in social dialogue did not mean it would cease to govern.

    "After dialogue, comes the time for decision," Mr. Reppas said. "And it is the government's responsibility (to make decisions)."

    Mr. Reppas refused to comment on statements by ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis that "some in the government were making surprise initiatives and decisions."

    [07] Tsohatzopoulos meets with Czech counterpart Lobkowicz

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos met his Czech counterpart Michal Lobkowicz in Prague yesterday, the first day of his three-day official visit to the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    The Greek defense minister's visit takes place at the invitation of his counterparts of both countries.

    Discussion between the two officials focused on issues relating to safeguarding peace and security in Europe and the two countries' participation in the SFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.

    After the meeting, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed Greece's political willingness to approve as soon as possible Prague's admission protocol to NATO and contribute actively to negotiations for the country's EU accession.

    Other issues discussed included bilateral co-operation in the fields of education, armaments and the defense industry, while a relative military co-operation agreement will be signed by the two men today.

    The Greek minister later had successive meetings with Czech Foreign Minister Yaroslav Sendivi, as well as Parliament president and leader of the social democratic party, Mr. Zema.

    Today's agenda includes meetings with the Czech prime minister, the senate's leader and the Czech President Vaclav Havel.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos will then leave for Bratislava to meet his Slovak counterpart.

    [08] Danielle Mitterrand speaks at anti-racism conference in Athens

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    The president of the France Liberte Foundation, Danielle Mitterrand, addressed a conference entitled "Racism Against Democracy" at a downtown Athens hotel yesterday afternoon, saying that the words every anti-racist must have in mind are "knowledge, tolerance and solidarity."

    Ms Mitterrand, a guest of the Strategic and Development Studies Institute - A. Papandreou (ISTAME), focused on the new form of racism developing in modern democracies which is related to market globalisation and neo-liberalism.

    She said the modern market economy is leading four fifths of mankind to desperation, adding that democracy does not protect the citizen but submits to the laws of the market.

    Referring to the Kurdish issue, Ms Mitterrand said France Liberte is proceeding with demarches, is trying to shed light on the problem and denounces acts of barbarism taking place against the Kurds both in Turkey and Iraq.

    Ms Mitterrand, who was addressed and welcomed by ISTAME President Yiannis Souladakis, said Europe cannot support the so-called Turkish republic, which is a military dictatorship in reality.

    "The Turkish democrats are showing an open mind and are recognizing dangers, but we must all contribute and the Greek government must exert more pressure so that the so-called Turkish republic will become a real democracy," she said.

    The event was attended by ministers, deputies and personalities from all sectors.

    [09] G. Papandreou cites EU interest in Turkey

    Brussels, 27/01/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Union's 15 member-state foreign ministers held a public discussion on the British EU presidency's action plan for common foreign policy issues, while Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou referred to the EU's interest in Turkey.

    "The EU's interest in Turkey is justified, but this must not lead us to a decrease in the demands we have from it as a country eligible for accession," he said.

    "It is a regrettable fact that Turkey has not achieved necessary progress so far despite its ties with Europe which start from the Association Agreement with the EU," he said, adding that the 15 must encourage Turkey to take necessary steps which will allow it to participate in the European Conference.

    Referring to the issue of Cyprus' accession to the EU, Mr. Papandreou said that accession negotiations will strengthen efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue and noted in parallel that even if Cyprus does not need special economic aid to join the EU it must be strengthened in certain sectors of its economy.

    Presenting the plan of action at the beginning of the meeting, Britain's presiding Foreign Minister Robin Cook said that "points of friction" exist between the EU and Ankara but a satisfactory framework of dialogue must be found.

    He said it is in the interest of both Turkey and all the European nations that this dialogue takes place and political forces in Turkey must be encouraged which are oriented towards Europe.

    [10] Cook on Turkey

    Brussels, 27/01/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    After the end of the Foreign Ministers Council session, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said there are no special pre-conditions for Turkey's participation in the European Conference.

    He also noted that "it is not appropriate at this moment to go into the legal aspects of the decision at the Luxembourg summit," and what was of priority was "for Turkey to accept the invitation to participate in the conference".

    He added that irrespective of the conference, the European Commission would work out in the forthcoming period measures for boosting EU-Turkish economic co-operation.

    Greek diplomatic circles here indicated however that Turkey's relations with the Union in general, have been linked by Summit Council decisions to concrete conditions.

    [11] British initiative on Turkish participation at Euro-Conference

    Brussels, 27/01/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The British EU presidency is to begin a round of contacts with the aim of persuading Turkey to participate in the opening session of the European Conference in London, set for March 12.

    If Turkey insists on its negative stance, then it will not be issued with an invitation to attend, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told reporters after the EU Foreign Ministers' Council session yesterday.

    Mr. Pangalos appeared particularly guarded on the possibility of a change in Turkey's stance before February 23, when the Council will discuss the matter again in light of the results of the British presidency's efforts.

    During yesterday's session, many foreign ministers, particularly those of France, Italy and the Netherlands stressed the need for efforts to change the Turkish stance.

    Mr. Pangalos reacted strongly to a suggestion by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini that a solution of the Cyprus issue should be linked with the island republic's EU membership negotiations, due to begin in March.

    He reminded Mr. Dini of relevant EU decisions, and advised him to treat such issues with "greater seriousness"..

    However, speaking to Italian reporters yesterday afternoon, Mr. Dini stressed that negotiations with Cyprus will begin on the basis of past agreements.

    Referring to the European Conference, Mr. Pangalos said the basic issues to be discussed during the European Conference would be drugs, security, illegal immigration, environmental protection, regional coo-peration and the economic policies of prospective members, generally in line with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's proposal.

    He noted that the conference would be open and would concern any country expressing an interest in participating, provided they accepted the principles set at the Luxembourg summit.

    Concluding, the Greek foreign minister said he believed that all countries that would go to London would have no problem in confirming adherence to the "principles of Luxembourg", and expressed the hope that the same would happen with Turkey.

    Regarding Greek-Turkish differences, Mr. Pangalos said Greece had accepted the general jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague, and any country in the world could seek recourse there on condition it also accepted its jurisdiction.

    "We are legally in order, and if Turkey accepted this internationally widespread and normal procedure it would have improved its relations with the EU," he added.

    [12] ... Cem

    Bonn, 27/01/1998 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    In a related development, visiting Tur-kish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem told Turkish correspondents that Ankara did not intend to revise its decisions regarding suspension of political dialogue with the European Union, or its refusal to accept an invitation to participate in the European Conference.

    "The decisions we adopted after Luxembourg protected Turkey's honor and found the support of the Turkish people," he said.

    Mr. Cem is meeting his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel this afternoon.

    [13] Gov't rejects Turkish proposal for dialogue before recourse to The Hague

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday rejected a proposal by Turkey to hold a bilateral political dialogue before referring Greek-Turkish differences to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    "We will not discuss issues that have already been settled on the basis of international treaties or international law," said Mr. Reppas. Referring to statements by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Sunday that Greek-Turkish differences could be solved by seeking recourse to international arbitration, Mr. Reppas said that Greece's policy of a "step-by-step" approach to these issues still held as it was the "correct policy".

    He said that Mr. Pangalos had simply indicated to Turkey that if it believed it had any disputes with Greece it should refer those issues to the International Court rather than resort to "aggressive and provocative" military action. Greece, he added, would present its own positions on each of the issues which Turkey might raise, particularly those related to security.

    Any discussion of those issues before Turkey recognized the jurisdiction of the International Court, he said, would be held "in a vacuum". However, Mr. Reppas did not think it likely that Turkey would in fact accept that jurisdiction.

    In response to a question, Mr. Reppas stressed that Greece's airspace and the fortification of Greece's Aegean islands were not among the issues that could be discussed at The Hague.

    [14] Karamanlis to brief President on ND foreign policy positions

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis will meet President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos today to brief him on ND's positions regarding national issues, particularly Greek-Turkish relations.

    Meanwhile, at a meeting with the party's regional leaders, Mr. Karamanlis accused Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos that in his interview with the Turkish newspaper "Milliyet" he described a change in the country's foreign policy doctrine, adding that "while until some time ago the government insisted on a 'step-by-step' resolution of Greek-Turkish differences, we are now seeing that the foreign minister is choosing a package solution even for problems which Ankara is creating for our country and are related to the country's territorial integrity, security and national defense."

    ND party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said "the steadfast Greek position is that the only problems which can be referred to the International Court at The Hague are the Imia islets and the continental shelf, while our country, when it accepted the general jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague, specifically excluded national security and defense issues."

    Mr. Spiliotopoulos said the path followed by the government is not only dangerous but also particularly slippery even for the country's territorial integrity, while he called on Prime Minister Costas Simitis to state his position on whether Mr. Pangalos ' statements constitute government policy as well as "to stop playing the role of Pontius Pilate."

    In another development, former ND leader Miltiadis Evert called for the convening of Parliament's Permanent National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee in a letter addressed to its chairman, Lefteris Veryvakis, on the occasion of Mr. Pangalos' interview with "Milliyet."

    Mr. Evert requests that the foreign minister be summoned to the meeting to provide clarifications, adding that it would be expedient for the national defense minister to be present at the meeting.

    [15] ... KKE

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    On her part, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga has addressed a letter to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, proposing an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament on foreign policy.

    Ms. Papariga stressed in her letter that developments in Greek-Turkish relations, a more active intervention of what she called the "American factor", as well as the government's stance in the framework of NATO's new structure, create justified concern on possible repercussions for the country's sovereign rights and on escalation of tension in the region.

    [16] Gov't comments on latest poll published by Athens daily

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that the confidence of the Greek people in the ruling PASOK party would be renewed at the election booths, after completion of its four-year mandate.

    "Today's (yesterday's) poll documents the preferences of public opinion at a particular point in time," government spokesman Demetris Reppas noted.

    He made the comment in response to press questions on the results of an opinion poll published in Athens daily 'Ta Nea' yesterday. The poll showed that Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the government generally had dropped in popularity, wit h Mr. Simitis garnering only 36.4 per cent popularity, compared to 59.2 last May, with 54.9 per cent of those interviewed saying they had a negative opinion of him, compared to 36.1 per cent in May.

    Mr. Simitis' popularity amongst PASOK voters also fell, from 82.3 per cent in November 1997 to 67.3 per cent.

    Main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis also dipped in the popularity stakes, garnering 43.2 per cent compared with 54.1 in September 1997.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos continued to maintain his lead as the most popular politician with 62.3 per cent, followed by Demetris Tsovolas, the leader of the Democratic Social Movement with 52.2 per cent.

    The positive opinion of the government fell from 25.2 per cent of those polled in August to 15.8 per cent in yesterday's poll, while opposition New Democracy noted a small increase in its positive opinion, up 3 percent from 10 per cent in November.

    However, those dissatisfied with ND increased from 49.4 per cent to 55.1 per cent.

    New Democracy said Mr. Simitis' sudden drop in popularity was due to the government's policies and that a drop in Mr. Karamanlis' popularity would be recovered as those who were undecided turned to New Democracy.

    [17] Simitis, President to meet Athens 2004 organizing c'tee tomorrow

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    The newly appointed president and managing director of the Organizing Committee for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Stratis Stratigis and Costas Bacouris respectively, met yesterday with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who leads the relevant inter ministerial committee.

    The agenda for the meeting included the organization and funding of the company to be set up for the 2004 Olympiad, in preparation for recommendations to be made by Bacouris and Stratigis to the board.

    The Organizing Committee is to hold its first meeting tomorrow, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, after which the committee members will meet with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    [18] Premier chairs meeting on sports draft bill

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday chaired a joint ministerial and PASOK meeting on a sports draft bill, to be tabled in Parliament shortly.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the bill tackled all sports issues, particularly those concerning professional sports, sports justice and financial transparency.

    Regarding the composition of the 2004 Olympic Games organizing committee, announced last week, Mr. Venizelos said it was based on merit, fully transparent and with new people, because the event concerned all citizens.

    [19] Simitis meeting with Skandalidis, Kaklamanis

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held talks with PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis and Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday.

    Mr. Skandalidis avoided any comment on statements by PASOK cadres assessing that the party's image is being altered with the current economic and social policy being applied, saying they were exaggerated.

    "There is a specific process, the processing of proposals, positions and views and we are trying as democratically as possible and substantively to also be effective in our work," he said.

    Mr. Skandalidis briefed the premier on the meeting he had earlier with Athens mayoral candidate and Coalition of the Left and Progress deputy Maria Damanaki, stating that he also discussed party issues with Mr. Simitis such as the meeting of PASOK's political secretariat on January 28.

    [20] Premier to meet with Danielle Mitterrand today

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to meet today at noon with Danielle Mitterrand, the widow of the late Francois Mitterrand, former President of the French Republic. Danielle Mitterrand is guest speaker at a conference on "Racism against Democracy " held in Athens yesterday by the Institute for Strategic and Developmental Studies (ISTAME) - Andreas Papandreou. She is attending the meeting in her capacity as president of the "France Liberte" foundation.

    [21] State Dept. comments over Paphos air base, Turkish threats

    Washington, 27/01/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    US State Department spokesman James Rubin expressed concern yesterday over what he called the increasing militarization of Cyprus, replying to a question on the completion of the Paphos air base and Turkish threats to attack it. "We are aware of Turkish statements on taking recourse to the UN Security Council regarding concerns over the completion of that base," he said.

    The spokesman added that "as a member-country of the UN, Turkey is eligible to raise its concerns with the UN. It is premature for us to comment without having examined all the details.

    "We are concerned over the increasing militarization of Cyprus by both sides... and we urge all parties involved to refrain from actions or statements leading to increased tension in the area, misdirecting efforts to establish peace on the island".

    Responding to another question on recent attacks against Orthodox churches in Turkey, Mr. Rubin said the State Department condemned the attacks.

    [22] Athens informs Council of Europe of citizenship change

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek government yesterday officially informed the Council of Europe of its decision to abolish Article 19 of the citizenship code. The head of the Greek delegation to the Council, Constantine Vrettos, accompanied by Greek Ambassador Prof. Demetris Konstas, handed over a letter containing the government's decision to scrap the article to the Council's Secretary General Daniel Tarschys. Under the provisions of the article, members of ethnic minorities lost their Greek citizenship if they traveled abroad intending not to return.

    Cabinet last week decided to abolish the article.

    Mr. Vrettos told Mr. Tarschys that the relevant bill would be tabled in parliament within the next few days. He said the decision would remove the last point of contention between Greece and the Council.

    [23] Papadopoulos promises more decentralization of public services

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said yesterday that the government is determined to accelerate the transfer of responsibilities from ministries to districts and local government.

    He also referred to implementation of the "Kapodistrias" plan, introduction of tougher inspections in the public sector and promotion of a new civil servants code.

    Speaking after a meeting with the political leadership of the interior ministry and the general secretaries of ministries and districts, Mr. Papadopoulos added that ministries will soon draw up a list of res-ponsibilities, which will help in reducing departments, sections and positions, while stricter criteria will be applied in hiring new civil servants.

    The minister stressed that transfer of responsibilities to the country's districts, prefectural authorities and municipalities did not mean that these should not follow the guidelines by respective ministries.

    [24] Successful 'Polis' exhibition headed to Cyprus

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    The "Polis-City '98" exhibition will open in Cyprus between April 29 and May 3 at the Cyprus State Exhibitions Authority's facilities in Nicosia.

    The event is identical to the successful HELEXPO-organized 'Polis' exhibition, set up for the first time last November in Thessaloniki by local government bodies, public organizations and suppliers to the state.

    In Cyprus, the exhibition will be organized under the auspices of the Association of Municipalities, the Association of Communities and the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    [25] Greece, Bulgaria discuss customs co-operation

    Sofia, 27/01/1998 (BTA/ANA)

    Bulgaria's customs authority chief Plamen Minev and his Greek counterpart Socrates Antoniou on Friday discussed how they could co-operate to intercept drug traffickers on their joint border.

    The Bulgarian customs authority has come up with a project to revise the 1975 Customs Agreement between the two countries. A meeting of experts in February will coordinate the final draft of the paper, Mr. Minev said.

    "We are ready to share with our Bulgarian colleagues all the knowledge and experience we have," Mr. Antoniou, the director-general of the Greek Customs Administration, said.

    Mr. Antoniou said the establishment of joint customs check-points along the border was a good idea which was worth further discussion. He described his talks with Mr. Minev as particularly useful. The two agreed that heads of customs check-point s should hold regular meetings and that a telephone connection will be established among them.

    Athens is scheduled to hold a seminar for Bulgarian customs officers to familiarize them with the Greek experience and technical equipment.

    [26] Permanent Mount Athos exhibition announced

    Vienna, 27/01/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Halkidiki Prefect Vassilis Vassilakis yesterday announced the establishment of a permanent Mount Athos exhibition in the Halkidiki town of Ouranoupoli by the year 2000.

    Mr. Vassilakis said the The Holy Mount Museum will give women the ability to enjoy this unique cultural heritage.

    He added that the idea for the exhibition matured when the public turned out in great numbers to see the "Treasures of Mount Athos" exhibition, held in Thessaloniki within the framework of the "Cultural Capital '97" events.

    Mr. Vassilakis also said that Halkidiki prefecture in co-operation with the Central Macedonia Regional administration and the Hoteliers Union of Halkidiki are working to lengthen the tourist season to 12 months.

    [27] Studies center for Turkish crimes against humanity

    Washington, 27/01/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    A center for the study of Turkish genocides and crimes against humanity is to be founded by the Washington-based American Hellenic Institute Foundation, a Foundation spokesman told the ANA.

    The center will focus on the study of specific events in modern Turkish history from the 19th century onwards that have been designated as genocides and crimes against humanity.

    Studies will include the 1915-1922 genocide against the Armenians, the 1922 destruction of Izmir and the massacre of its Greek and Armenian inhabitants, the 1974 invasion of Cyprus and the ongoing occupation of one-third of the island republic by Turkish troops, and the violation of the Kurds' human rights.

    [28] Chilean delegation in Athens for talks on tourism, trade

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    A high-level delegation from Chile led by Economy and Energy Minister Alvaro Garcia is currently visiting Greece to discuss co-operation in the tourism sector as well as investment, trade, exchange of know-how etc.

    At a meeting yesterday, Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) Secretary General Nikos Skoulas said that 1.5 million Greeks travel abroad every year, while the number of tourists from Latin America to Greece is steadily increasing. Mr. Garcia, noting Chile's economic growth rate of 7 per cent, said that the number of Chileans traveling abroad rose by 11 per cent annually.

    He characterized Greece as a model for tourism development and urged Greek businesses to invest in Chile's tourism industry. Athens and Santiago signed a bilateral tourism co-operation protocol in 1994.

    [29] Duty Free Shops' bourse floatation nears final stage

    Athens, 27/01/1998 (ANA)

    Procedures for the floatation of the Duty Free Shops (KAE) on the Athens Stock Exchange are nearing their final stage.

    Public subscription for the 7,625,000-share issue, managed by the Commercial Bank of Greece, will take place between Feb. 17 and 20, while 100,000 of the shares will be distributed to employees by private placement.

    The price of shares has been set at 3,200 drachmas, while the P/E ratio, which is lower than six, is considered to make the issue particularly attractive.

    Twenty billion drachmas of the raised capital from the planned share capital increase and the floatation, estimated at 24.4 billion drachmas, will be used for the repayment of a loan with which the company bought a 50-year concession from the Greek state, until the year 2047.

    The concession concerns duty free shops that already exist or are planned at international airports, stations and ports, in which 1.66 billion will be invested in 1998. Six new outlets have been planned next year, and a further nine in 1999.

    KAE managing director Mr. Tzinieris said an aggressive dividends policy would be followed, with distribution reaching 86 per cent of profits.

    Management considers that the abolition of duty free shops for intra-EU travel in 1999 will not pose a serious problem for the company, given Greece's extensive land borders with non-EU countries.

    The likelihood is also being pointed out of a five-year postponement of the abolition due to the delay in the drawing up of a relevant study by the European Commission.

    An important role will also be played by the company's expansion to charter terminals and the return of VAT to foreign tourists before departure, rather than by post as hitherto.

    End of English language section.


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