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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-31

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 1404), January 31, 1998

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Gil-Robles cites need for protection of EU's external borders
  • [02] ... Robles press conference
  • [03] ... Meetings with Simitis
  • [04] Gov't remains adamant on DEKO amendment
  • [05] Papaioannou on DEKO amendment
  • [06] Protests planned for USS La Salle
  • [07] Holbrooke: Crisis resolving models difficult to apply on Cyprus issue
  • [08] European Awards to 11 Greek scholars
  • [09] Support from NGOs requested for SE European stabilization
  • [10] Group claims responsibility for car torchings
  • [11] State Dept. human rights report released
  • [12] EU's 'Tempus' program profiled in Komotini
  • [13] Kaklamanis says work conditions at private mass media miserable
  • [14] British ambassador on EU-Turkish relations
  • [15] Archaeological research presented in Thessaloniki
  • [16] Archaeologist: Salamina cave definitely identified with Euripides
  • [17] OA flight delays, cancellations expected on Monday
  • [18] 226 Albanian illegal immigrants arrested in 24 hours
  • [19] Greek, Albanian farm sector co-operation on the right road
  • [20] European Network of Wine Cooperatives meets in Athens
  • [21] Unions threaten further strike action
  • [22] Greek stocks end up in lackluster week
  • [23] General Bank co-operation with Interamerican
  • [24] Alpha Credit forex loan rates
  • [25] Mortgage bank to renew bonds
  • [26] Israel lauds increasing bilateral trade ties

  • [01] Gil-Robles cites need for protection of EU's external borders

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    European Parliament President Jose Maria Gil-Robles yesterday stressed the importance of adopting a joint foreign and defense policy for the protection of the EU's external borders, while he praised Greece's contribution in this direction.

    He was addressing a meeting of Parliament's standing committee on European affairs, which was specially convened in his honor.

    Describing the issue of EU-Turkey relations as "difficult", Mr. Gil-Robles said Ankara must fulfill the terms laid down for accession regarding human rights, respect for democratic principles and minorities and put an end to its occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

    Replying to a question on Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Gil-Robles underlined that the Aegean islands constituted the European Union's external borders.

    Meanwhile, according to sources, Mr. Gil-Robles discussed EU enlargement, EU-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem during a luncheon given afterwards in his honor by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Sources said Mr. Papandreou and Mr. Gil-Robles, who is in Greece on a three-day official visit, also discussed the institutional role of the European Parliament in securing balance for the European edifice.

    Mr. Papandreou also briefed the Europarliament president on the Greek government's initiative to promote an international truce during the Olympic Games, as in ancient times.

    [02] ... Robles press conference

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Mr. Gil-Robles, in Greece at the invitation of Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, expressed satisfaction over his contacts with the nation's political leadership.

    According to reports, Mr. Gil-Robles had the most substantive talks with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    Replying to press questions regarding Greek-Turkish and EU-Turkey relations, Mr. Gil-Robles said "Greece, which benefited objectively from decisions at the Luxembourg summit, should act (magnanimously) as the victor against Turkey."

    He said Turkey is in effect going through a pre-election period resulting in instability and exaggeration in its position but he hopes the elections, he believes will take place soon, will provide its policy with new dynamism.

    Harmonizing himself with the position of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain on the European Conference issue, Mr. Robles made it clear that the preconditions set for the participation of candidate-countries, and consequently for Turkey as well, do not constitute conditions which must apply before the opening conference on March 12 but a framework of principles.

    He expressed the desire that dialogue with Turkey will be maintained and a breakthrough will take place for its more substantive participation in the entire spectrum of European activities.

    On the question of Cyprus' accession negotiations, Mr. Robles clarified that "the interlocutor of the EU is its legal government" but expressed a wish that the Turkish Cypriot side will also participate.

    Replying to a question on the "absence" of the EU during periods of tension and crisis in Greek-Turkish relations, he said that in essence, there is no common foreign policy and defense policy in Europe and in practice the sole security body is NATO.

    Commenting on EU enlargement, Mr. Robles said that "acquired rights" will not be harmed regarding support for other countries by the EU, while on the question of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), he explained that there are no restrictions and that whichever country corresponds to criteria at whatever moment can also proceed individually towards the euro zone.

    [03] ... Meetings with Simitis

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Earlier in the morning, Prime Minister Costas Simitis briefed Mr. Gil-Robles on Athens' efforts to meet Maastricht targets and on the course of Greek-Turkish relations.

    Mr. Gil-Robles also met with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, who outlined Greece's positions on its relations with Ankara, noting that ND did not agree with referral of all the issues to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    Mr. Karamanlis further briefed the Europarliament president on ND's positions regarding the political and economic union of the European Union.

    [04] Gov't remains adamant on DEKO amendment

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday said that structural problems of utilities and public enterprises (DEKOs) need immediate solutions, otherwise they will not be ready to face upcoming challenges.

    However, he emphasized that the government does not wish to come into conflict with any social group. In addition, the government spokesman said party discipline will not be demanded during a vote on the controversial amendment affecting labor relations and collective bargaining in DEKOs.

    This was one of the Cabinet's conclusions after yesterday's four-hour meeting, where progress of the government's work was also assessed.

    Mr. Reppas also said Athens' international standing remains robust, in contrast to that of Turkey, which is facing internal troubles, saying the government's policy on Greek-Turkish relations was successful and thus will continue.

    Mr. Reppas said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis asked Cabinet members to co-operate toward common goals and to show solidarity.

    Finally, Mr. Reppas denied a press report claiming Mr. Simitis and National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos are at odds.

    [05] Papaioannou on DEKO amendment

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, Labor Minister Miltiades Papaioannou stressed yesterday that the DEKO amendment is binding for the government.

    He added that a six-month limit set by the amendment demonstrates the government's will to restructure ailing DEKOs after a grace period of six months.

    Mr. Papaioannou said, however, that the labor ministry's priority will be to change DEKO regulations through collective agreements and with the proposed amendment.

    In a related development, according to press reports, main opposition New Democracy's leadership decided to call for a roll-call vote Monday on the amendment.

    Other reports stated that high-ranking ND cadres Stephanos Manos, George Souflias and Dora Bakoyianni, who have expressed support for the amendment, will not vote against it, although it wasn't specified if they will vote in favor or simply abstain.

    On his part, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, who met with General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) leaders yesterday, said the amendment will create a serious social and political problem. He also referred to "political authoritarianism" on the part of the government.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Demetris Tsovolas said his party's views on the amendment are those of GSEE, namely, completely against the amendment.

    [06] Protests planned for USS La Salle

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Thessaloniki Committee for International Detente and Peace (EDYETH) yesterday announced it would stage a demonstration on Saturday to coincide with the arrival of the US Sixth Fleet flagship "USS La Salle" and the ongoing visit of US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.

    The flagship arrives on Saturday for a five-day port of call, its first to the northern Greek port city.

    During the flagship's visit, Sixth Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Charles Abbot will pay courtesy calls on government officials and host a reception on board the La Salle, to be attended by Mr. Burns. In an announcement, EDYETH said the demonstratio n, being organized in collaboration with the Youth Action for Peace organization, was "to protest US intervention in Greece".

    "US envoy Burns could not be absent from this fiesta of servility, since, in his recent statements, he made it clear that this is his purpose: even more open governing of our country by the American multinationals and the imposition of the blood-tainted

    New Order in the Balkans," the announcement said, urging all Thessaloniki inhabitants to join the protest.

    The La Salle has been deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and has engaged in operations in the Middle East, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm before and during the Gulf war.

    [07] Holbrooke: Crisis resolving models difficult to apply on Cyprus issue

    New York, 31/01/1998 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Special US presidential envoy on the Cyprus issue Richard Holbrooke addressed an event at Columbia University on Thursday, stressing that the various models of resolving crises cannot be easily applied for the Cyprus issue because they disregard local and practical factors.

    He added that the problem can only be resolved if the two communities and Greece and Turkey decide to discuss these issues.

    Mr. Holbrooke said "the US, the UN and the European Union must undertake leading roles to tackle the problem before it is too late" as was the case in Bosnia, where it was not possible to prevent a confrontation.

    Speaking about his book on the Bosnian issue, to be published in May, Mr. Holbrooke stressed that the war in Bosnia was absolutely predictable and said "if in the future we have some confrontation in the eastern Aegean, as was the case in the near past,

    I assure you that this will also be something which the international community should have anticipated and prevented. The Bosnian issue was the consequence of the failure (intervention) of various governments.

    [08] European Awards to 11 Greek scholars

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    The European Awards of the European Studies Promotion Foundation and the Greek University Union of European Studies were given yesterday to 11 Greek scholars for the first time.

    The recognition come for diplomatic postgraduate work and doctoral dissertations on issues concerning European orientation.

    European Parliament President Jose Maria Gil-Robles addressed the event briefly and referred to the importance of vocational training in combating unemployment.

    Addresses were also made by the PEES president, the director of the European Commission's office in Greece and British ambassador in Athens Sir Michael John Llewelyn Smith.

    [09] Support from NGOs requested for SE European stabilization

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) representative yesterday requested NGOs' support for the European Commission's stability initiative in southeastern Europe.

    Panayiotis Roumeliotis' request came at a meeting initiated by the Mediterranean Women's Study Center (KEGME).

    Mr. Roumeliotis also said that the goal of NGOs' coordinated action is the promotion of the European idea and peace in the Balkan region through programs of bilateral and multilateral relations.

    [10] Group claims responsibility for car torchings

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    An organization calling itself "Con-scientious Arsonists" has claimed responsibility for 40 firebomb attacks against private and state-owned vehicles over the past two months, authorities said yesterday.

    A police spokesman said a leaflet by the shadowy group was found by cleaning personnel on Thursday night at the entrance to the Piraeus Labor Center.

    The leaflet called for the release of four self-styled anarchists, including 27-year-old Nikos Maziotis, arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of involvement in a series of bomb attacks and for illegal possession of weapons, explosives and subversive mate rial.

    The group warned that unless the four were released, the "burning nights in Athens will continue", adding that their target was "the agencies of authority".

    In the leaflet, the group claimed responsibility for the firebomb attacks against and torchings of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) offices, cars of police officers, diplomatic cars belonging to the embassies of Algeria, Brazil, Italy, Austria, France, Syria and the Philippines, against school cars and on vehicles belonging to a number of television stations.

    On their part, senior police officers stressed that detecting suspects acting on a "hit-and-run" basis entails significant difficulties, adding that the only thing they can do for the time being is to increase and intensify patrols both in downtown Athens and in the suburbs.

    According to reports, 1,500 policemen will be included in the measure, of whom at least 500 will patrol on foot, either uniformed or wearing civilian clothes. Particular importance is also placed on investigations taking place continuously by police motorcyclists. Athens News Agency

    [11] State Dept. human rights report released

    Washington, 31/01/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    An annual report by the US State Department on human rights, unveiled yesterday, again pointed to what it called certain types of discrimination in Greece against minorities and restrictions in exercising religious freedom.

    With the exception of minorities, Washington's annual "report card" stressed that absolute freedom of expression exists in all other sectors of social life in Greece.

    "Discrimination against minorities continued to constitute a problem. The government officially recognizes only the Moslem minority which is noted in the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. It refuses to officially accept the existence of other ethnic groups. primarily Slav-speaking people, under the characterization of a minority," the report read.

    Greece is also criticized for the use of Article 19 of the Citizenship Code (recently abolished) by which Greek citizenship has been stripped in the past from Greek citizens of a different ethnic origin who leave the country permanently.

    "On other issues, apart from the issue of ethnic minorities, Greece generally enjoys a tradition of full public debate and dynamic free press.

    Satirical and opposition newspapers frequently attack the political leadership. Members of ethnic, religious and language minorities publish magazines and other publications freely, frequently in their mother tongue," the State Department's cadres judged.

    [12] EU's 'Tempus' program profiled in Komotini

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    The National Youth Foundation, in its capacity as the national unit for the support of the European Union's 'Tempus' program, will organize a conference on the program on Feb. 4 at the University of Thrace in Komotini.

    The 'Tempus Tacis' program is aimed at contributing to the development of third-stage educational systems in the new independent states of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia.

    It is a section of the Tacis program, the EU's initiative providing funding for the transfer of know-how aimed at developing a free market and a democratic society.

    The program appeals to third-stage educational establishments in Greece, whose participation is essential.

    [13] Kaklamanis says work conditions at private mass media miserable

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday compared work conditions in private mass media outlets to those of a "galley", saying relations were also not transparent.

    Mr. Kaklamanis made the remarks following a tabled question by Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Orestis Kolozov over journalists' pension and insurance coverage by private media.

    Mr. Kaklamanis said there are five to six businessmen who wish to "dwarf" the political world so they can conduct their business without problems, "enslaving" employees and turning them into "blind tools" for their own pursuits.

    On his part, Mr. Reppas said that until the licensing of private television stations is completed, the number of media-related employees at stations cannot be calculated.

    [14] British ambassador on EU-Turkish relations

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Turkey's relations with the European Union are "a challenge" for the British presidency, London's ambassador in Athens Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith said yesterday, during an event at which several Greek scientists were presented with European awards of achievement.

    "We strongly believe that it is in the interests of the European Union and its member-states, and also of Turkey, that the Union's links with Turkey should be improved and strengthened," Sir Michael said.

    "There should be dialogue. In other words, we agree with Greece that Turkey has a European orientation and we are trying to find a way to give it substance. The European Conference is one possible way. The strategy for Turkey set out in the conclusions of the Luxembourg summit is another." The British ambassador said the question of where Turkey stands in relation to the European Union was "one of the large issues" facing Turkey and the EU today.

    [15] Archaeological research presented in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    French archaeologist J.Y. Empereur yesterday presented in Thessaloniki the results of his team's 10-year research in Alexandria.

    The archaeologist claimed that the famed tomb of Alexander the Great is at the palaces of the Ptolemies, buried under modern Alexandria.

    He added that finding the tomb is not as important as in what condition will it be found in, expressing fears that it probably was totally destroyed by grave robbers.

    Mr. Empereur's tone changed when he announced the remarkable underwater finds of the Pharos - the lighthouse of Alexandria. He said that his team found 70-ton stone blocks and giant statues of the Ptolemies among other building materials of the until recently lost Pharos.

    The lecture is part of the "Alexander and the East" exhibition, which was part of last year's Thessaloniki Cultural Capital of Europe events. The exhibition will close today.

    [16] Archaeologist: Salamina cave definitely identified with Euripides

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Peristeria cave on the island of Salamina, first brought to light in September 1997, is fully identified with the hermitage of Euripides, one of antiquity's great tragic poets, according to professor Yiannis Lolos, the excavator of the site.

    According to the report, Mr. Lolos says the site was most likely to have been the place where Euripides wrote one of his most prominent works, "Hippolytus".

    "Of major importance," stresses the report, "is no doubt an embossed Roman vessel. Its engraved decor on the whole of its external surface includes stereotypical, but lively scenes from the open air baths of Dionysus, the patron god of ancient drama," t he report, submitted to Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos a few days ago, states.

    Most of the ceramic findings and jewelry of various types goes back to the Roman era, during which the site was elevated into a sacred area.

    They also include one of the oldest silver artifacts ever discovered, dating from the Neolithic era.

    [17] OA flight delays, cancellations expected on Monday

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Many Olympic Airlines flights scheduled for Monday may be canceled, while others may be delayed due to a four-hour work stoppage called by OA stewards.

    Representatives of the airline's stewards decided yesterday to take part in the 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. work stoppage called by General Confederation of Workers of Greece.

    [18] 226 Albanian illegal immigrants arrested in 24 hours

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Police in Epirus, northern Greece have arrested 226 Albanian illegal immigrants in the past 24 hours and sent them back to their country via the Kakavia border post.

    Meanwhile, a 29-year-old Albanian was arrested on the Ioannina-Kozani highway for smuggling 64 Albanian illegal immigrants into the country in his lorry.

    The Albanian, identified as Amzak Isoufi, from Fieri, was due to appear later yesterday before a public prosecutor, while his 64 compatriots, who told police that they had each paid the driver 65,000 drachmas, were deported.

    In separate incidents, police arrested three Greek men - two from Athens and one from Piraeus - for transporting Albanian illegal immigrants in Greece, two in rented cars and one in his taxi.

    [19] Greek, Albanian farm sector co-operation on the right road

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Albania's Alternate Minister for Agriculture and Food, Jundi Tetsia, said yesterday that considerable steps had already been taken towards implementing a co-operation protocol signed between Tirana and Athens.

    Mr. Tetsia was speaking at a press conference against the background of his country's official participation in the 14th Agrotica exhibition in Thessaloniki.

    Underlining the importance of the agricultural sector for Albania, which currently accounts for 59.1 per cent of the neighboring country's GDP, Mr. Tetsia referred to the programs aimed at assisting agriculture in Albania which are being implemented with finance from the European Union and countries including Greece and Germany. In particular, he stressed the importance of the co-operation protocol signed by Greece and Albania which provides for an exchange of information and experience between research institutes in the two countries and co-operation in the sectors of crop cultivation, livestock production, fisheries, forest products and the processing of agricultural products.

    "The fact that Greek investments in Albania are among the most important and tiny Albania ranks ninth among importers of Greek goods shows that we have already taken steps towards implementing this protocol," he said. Replying to reporters' questions, M r. Tetsia said trade between the two countries was currently worth about one million dollars a day and Greek investments in Albania ranked second in terms of size of invested capital, after Italian investments.

    [20] European Network of Wine Cooperatives meets in Athens

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    The European Network of Wine Cooperatives' (RECEVIN) executive committee yesterday chose Ioannina and Rhodes as Greece's representatives with the group, while Argostoli, on the Ionian island of Cephalonia, and Naoussa were picked as alternates.

    RECEVIN delegates met at the Athens City Hall.

    Furthermore, the Greek Federation of Wine elected its five-member administrative board. Additionally, Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos, who presided over the meeting, announced the founding of a wine center in the city, dedicated to the history of wine in Greece.

    [21] Unions threaten further strike action

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's trade union confederation yesterday threatened further strike action if a controversial provision in a taxation bill is passed by parliament on Monday. At a meeting of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and public utility labor federations, it was also left in doubt as to whether the unions would continue the "social dialogue" with the government and employers over the next six months during which changes are to be made to personnel regulations at Olympic Airways, the Athens urban bus company (OASA), the state railways (OSE) and the postal service (ELTA).

    Unionists are also considering whether to take action such as rolling 24-hour strikes as each of the changes in the provision is debated in parliament.

    GSEE has called a rally for Monday evening to coincide with the beginning of the parliamentary debate. Transport in Athens will once again come to a standstill as the urban railway (HSAP) will stop running from 15.00, the trolley bus service (HLPAP) and OASA from 17.00, all until the end of the evening shift.

    At a meeting yesterday, GSEE asked employers' associations for wage increases equal to the rate of inflation plus the national productivity increase plus a corrective amount for losses in previous years.

    According to informed sources, this amounts to an increase of six to seven percent.

    Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) president Iason Stratos said that while employers were willing to award some pay rises under the new collective labor agreements, there was no question of these increases equaling the increase in national productivity.

    GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos stressed after the meeting that the unions were not prepared to discuss a comprehensive solution to working hours, which he said would lead to losses in overtime pay for each worker.

    Mr. Polyzogopoulos stressed that the 35-hour working week was the way to increase employment.

    [22] Greek stocks end up in lackluster week

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended a four-day retreat to end moderately higher yesterday in the last trading session of the week on the Athens Stock Exchange, led by strong interest in the construction sector.

    Analysts said investor sentiment was dampened by the continued high interest rates on the interbank market to combat monetary turmoil. Yesterday's slight fall in interbank rates provided the market with some breathing space. The general index closed up 1.11 percent at 1,395.40 points, to show a net loss of 3.64 percent in the week.

    The general price index showed losses of 5.69% over the month of January.

    Turnover at yesterday's session was moderate at 15.6 billion drachmas.

    Banks rose 0.90 percent, Insurance rose 1.23 percent, Leasing rose 0.19 percent, Investments rose 0.62 percent, Constructions increased 2.95 percent, Industrials rose 1.38, Miscellaneous rose 0.92 percent and Holding ended 1.39 percent up.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 1.75 percent while the FTSE/ASE index closed up 0.82 percent at 761.39 points.

    The week's turnover totaled 69.259 billion drachmas to a daily average of 13.852 billion, down from 16.451 billion the previous week. On a weekly basis, the general price index fell 52.64 points or 3.64 percent.

    The sector indices losing the most ground this week were Construction (5.44 percent) and Banks (4.43 percent). Viosol, Sysware, Athinaia and Parnassos scored the biggest percentage gains, while Inerga, Metalloplastiki Agriniou, Daring and the Greek Biscuit Company suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 19,440 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,215, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,500, Delta Dairy at 2,720, Titan Cement at 12,900, Intracom at 14,865 and OTE at 5,345.

    The Athens Stock Exchange general price index lost ground over the month of January, dropping 5.69 percent with turnover also falling significantly in comparison with December. Turnover for the month amounted to 318,055 billion drachmas with an average daily turnover of 15.9 billion drachmas. In December, total turnover was 615 billion drachmas.

    Liquidity on the money market quickly made an impact on the stock exchange. Investor interest has been reserved in the wake of high interbank rates, which are expected to continue until monetary unrest has receded. Reports of an unexpected bank interest rate hike and continuing uncertainty over the cost to banks of the turmoil have also had an impact.

    Analysts said however, that reports of a fall in inflation to below 4.4 percent in January and the beginning of the government's program for a partial float of public corporations on the Athens Stock Exchange could improve the climate in the market.

    [23] General Bank co-operation with Interamerican

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    The General Bank said on Friday that it had concluded a strategic co-operation agreement with the Interamerican Group after two years of negotiations.

    A bank announcement said the collaboration would focus on promoting credit card co-operation, increasing joint lending programs and co-operation in the area of bancassurance and financial derivatives.

    The General Bank said the co-operation agreement would lay the ground for wider co-operation in insurance products and other forms of bank transactions.

    [24] Alpha Credit forex loan rates

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Alpha Credit Bank announced Friday minimum interest rates for loans in foreign exchange (Alpha 605): US dollar 8.30 percent, ECU 7.10 percent, Dmark 6.20 percent, Yen 3.30 percent and Swiss franc 3.75%.

    [25] Mortgage bank to renew bonds

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    The National Mortgage Bank will renew bonds with an expiry date of January 31, 1998 for a further year at 12.60%, a bank announcement said.

    [26] Israel lauds increasing bilateral trade ties

    Athens, 31/01/1998 (ANA)

    Israel's trade attachi in Athens expressed satisfaction yesterday over economic co-operation between Greece and Israel, while speaking at a press conference focusing on his country's participation in this year's 'Agrotica' exhibition in Thessaloniki.

    Doron Abrahami noted that in past years, and specifically since 1993, bilateral trade has increased by 50 per cent, now totaling US$300 million.

    Mr. Abrahami said Israel has become the second most important market in the Middle East for Greek exports, while Greece is in eighth position among the 15 European Union markets for Israeli products.

    He also underlined Greece's position as "the gateway of the Balkans" and the interest of Israeli businesses for co-operation with Greek enterprises with the purpose of entering Balkan markets.

    In the framework of Israel's participation in Agrotica, the Netafim company is organizing seminars for farmers over the implementation of new cultivation methods, particularly for the cultivation of bio-organic products.

    End of English language section.


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