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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Foreign,defence policy dominate meeting chaired by premier
  • [02] Simitis in Yalta for high-ranking BSEC meeting
  • [03] Athens reiterates support for Ljubljana's Euro-Atlantic prospects
  • [04] Palestinian official criticises Jerusalem Patriarch for alleged land sales
  • [05] Euro-Med conference sessions begin in Sicily
  • [06] Turkish navy chief cites 4 recent meetings with Greek counterpart
  • [07] Greek-American leaders call for end to official US remarks on S- 300s
  • [08] Parliament pushes for 'black paper' detailing Turkish violations of Lausanne Treaty
  • [09] Wartime reparations discussed with visiting German MPs
  • [10] Germany's von Weizsaecker speaks on Greek-German relations
  • [11] Archbishop chairs Holy Synod meeting
  • [12] Premier visited by film director Angelopoulos
  • [13] Ministerial meeting on European forests ends in Lisbon
  • [14] Athens monument considered for Andreas Papandreou
  • [15] Greek industry representative at Stockholm conference of employers' union
  • [16] Lithuania charter flights to Crete
  • [17] Commission estimates completion of main highway, Egnatia projects around 2004
  • [18] OA pilots' interest in purchasing carrier's shares
  • [19] Code of ethics for mutual funds market
  • [20] OTE announces handsome profits
  • [21] Greek central bank intervenes to soak up liquidity, buoy drachma
  • [22] Workers to keep jobs in Ionian Bank's privatisation, gov't says
  • [23] Deputy calls on Ionian Bank's customers to withdraw deposits
  • [24] Prosecutor orders enquiry into flood damage in northern Greece
  • [25] Spending on advertising rises 9.44 pct in Jan-May
  • [26] EU gives Greece 326 blue flags for clean beaches
  • [27] Turnover rises in Greek fixed asset market
  • [28] Greek stocks end higher, fuelled by construction
  • [29] Transport conference to start in Thessaloniki today
  • [30] Former German president expects Greece to meet EMU deadline
  • [31] Athens court rules against Citibank on credit card charges
  • [32] Royal Olympic contract for 2 vessels
  • [33] Series of earthquakes southeast of Thessaloniki
  • [34] Piano concert for Philippine library
  • [35] USOC honorary chairman Leroy Walker in Athens
  • [36] Police officer, accomplices led before prosecutor on bank robbery charges
  • [37] 1.6 bln dr. lottery winner surfaces

  • [01] Foreign,defence policy dominate meeting chaired by premier

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday chaired a high-level government meeting on a wide range of issues related to foreign and defence policy, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas later said.

    Participating in the meeting were Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos. The agenda included developments on the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations, the armed forces' procurements programme and NATO structures.

    Mr. Reppas said that the meeting confirmed that government policy on these issues was correct and would not change.

    Responding to reporters' questions, Mr. Reppas said that the issue of confidence-building measures in the Aegean was not discussed and neither was the Cypriot government's decision to install S-300 missiles. "This (latter) issue has been repeatedly exa mined by both the Cypriot and Greek governments and nothing has changed," Mr. Reppas said.

    "The issue is one that is related to Cypriot defence and one that is examined in the framework of relations between Greece and Cyprus," he added.

    Also attending the meeting were Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis and the chief of the national defence general staff Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis.

    Mr. Pangalos told reporters after the meeting that it had been held in the wake of the NATO foreign ministers' summit and in the light of the forthcoming NATO defence ministers meeting.

    Athens denies reports of vessel's inspection : Meanwhile, Athens also denied press reports that a Greek-flagged cargo ship had been stopped at sea and inspected by a British helicopter while sailing off the coast of Cyprus en route to Larnarca.

    "There has been a major misunderstanding," Mr. Reppas said.

    He said that a British naval helicopter had approached the vessel "Raphael" in the course of a search and rescue exercise, but that the captain of the ship had not understood the helicopter's intentions.

    According to an ANA report from Nicosia on Tuesday, a local private television station said Raphael skipper Emmanuel Kordoras maintained that he was asked to provide cargo documents, believing his ship was being searched for Russian S-300 missile compon ents.

    Mr. Reppas said that the misunderstanding had been resolved after explanations were given.

    British deny 'inspection' claim : NICOSIA (ANA/CNA) - In a related development, British officials in Cyprus yesterday described the reports as "complete fabrication with no basis in fact".

    In a press release, they added that the Wessex helicopter was on a routine search-and rescue training flight.

    "The MV Raphael was aproached by a RAF Akrotiri-based helicopter and a request was made by radio to lower a RAF cargo-master onto the deck and then lift him back off. There was nor reply from the vessel to the request and so the helicopter then flew awa y", it adds.

    British officials stated that contrary to the reports "no instructions were issued to the MV Raphael and no-one boarded the ship".

    They also say that such requests are daily occurrence, as "the professionalism of the helicopter crews can only be maintained by regular training flights involving real ships at sea".

    They also point out that its helicopter squadron based at the Akrotiri "provides a comprehensive maritime search-and-rescue facility for the whole of the eastern Mediterranean".

    It adds that in 1997 RAF helicopters were involved in more than 40 rescue missions around Cyprus and 25 lives were saved.

    "The reports are complete nonsense", base spokesman Mervyn Wynn Jones said.

    Britain has retained two bases on the island on the southerhn coast under the 1960 Treaty of Establishment of the Cyprus Republic.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Simitis in Yalta for high-ranking BSEC meeting

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is leaving for Yalta today to represent Greece at a conference of the heads of state and government of the 11 Black Sea Economic Cooperation Pact (BSEC) member-states.

    Members will tomorrow sign the charter of a new internatinoal regional organisation, upgrading BSEC.

    New conditions prevailing in the broader region of the Black Sea after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the need for economic cooperation to face the serious structural problems of the economies of the area have given a significant impetus to efforts over recent years to create a strong regional organisation.

    It must be stressed, however, that the signing of the new charter tomorrow will not mean anything substantial if not backed by the necessary political will to implement it.

    In the preamble, member-states express their will for cooperation on several levels, committing themselves to respect the UN Charter, international treaties, principles for security and peaceful co-exist-ence, public order and environmental protection.

    The council of minsters, conferring every six months, is invested with effective responsibilities, and ado-pts decisions with unanimity.

    It is envisaged that the Black Sea Commerce and Development Bank, based in Thessaloniki, and the International Centre for Black Sea Studies, based in Athens, will undertake an active role in the development of various activities, mainly economic.

    Greece, Russia, and Turkey (the three nations behind the idea of the Council) wield increased wei-ght in the new organisation. Athens also aspires to provide a bridge between BSEC and the European Union.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Athens reiterates support for Ljubljana's Euro-Atlantic prospects

    LJUBLJANA 04/06/1998 (ANA - M. Savva)

    Slovenia enjoys Greece's backing for its accession to Euro-Atlantic institutions, according to results from a meeting yesterday between National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Slovenian counterpart Alojz Krapez.

    Apart from talks between the two ministers, discussions were also held between delegations from the two ministers. According to reports, Slovenia's accession to NATO was discussed, a process supported by Greece. Slovenia is not among the countries selec ted to join NATO immediately. However, there is optimism that the next phase of the alliance's enlargement will include it. Developments in the wider Balkan region were also discussed and particularly the crisis in Kosovo. It appears that the views of the two countries coincide on these issues.

    Slovenia is one of the countries of former Yugoslavia which was quicker in escaping the crisis and emerged relatively unharmed, while it is a candidate country to join the European Union.

    The two countries' delegations were due to meet again late last night and today and, according to reports, the signing of a defence cooperation agreement is being discussed, which is expected to be completed within the year. The two defence ministers were due to attend a dinner yesterday and meet again today. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos will meet with the country's Foreign Minister Boris Frlec today, as well as with the President of the Republic of Slovenia Milan Kucan.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Palestinian official criticises Jerusalem Patriarch for alleged land sales

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    An adviser to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat yesterday criticised Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Diodoros for selling Church property to Israeli developers, in what he said was a policy that could fatally harm the Mideast peace process.

    Basha Ab u Sharif,an author and adviser to Mr. Arafat, told reporters in Athens that Diodoros had already sold land in Jaffa for US$22 million and was in talks to sell property belonging to the Profitis Elias monastery to an Israeli company for another US$30 mill ion. The sale, along with Israeli settlements already in the area, Mr. Sharif said, would consolidate Israel's presence in the Palestinian sector of Jerusalem.

    "The sale of this land could cancel the peace process for good," Mr. Sharif said during a joint press conference on the Mideast peace process with leading Israeli peace activist Uri Avneri.

    "This is land that was donated by Palestinian Christians to the Patriarchate for it to be used in accordance with its religious needs and not for sale.

    "The Greek government and the Greek Orthodox Church are duty-bound to immediately recall the Patriarch before the repute of the Patriarchate is damaged in the eyes of the Palestinian people. This is a disgrace and a scandal," Mr. Sharif said.

    A representative of the Palestinian Authority in Athens said that the issue of the land sales had been the focus of discussions between the Palestinian Authority and the Greek government for the past two years but could provide no further details.

    Mr. Sharif said Palestinians' "law foresaw the death penalty" for any person selling Palestinian land to Israelis or foreigners and that if the Patriarchate's policy continued "we will not be able to guarantee the life of the Patriarch".

    "Greece can play a significant political role in the consolidation of peace, due to its traditional ties with Israelis and Palestinians," Mr. Avneri said.

    Both men laid blame for the failing peace process with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling for the immediate return of land conquered by Israel in 1967 and for Jerusalem to be the capital for both Palestinians and Israelis.

    "Mr. Netanyahu says he wants peace but he is not ready to pay the price," Mr. Avneri said.

    He called for support for the Israeli peace movement's boycott of products produced on Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, saying he hoped that the European Union would also exclude settlement-produced products from a recently-signed.

    The European Commission said last month that the EU should stop any imports from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories which benefited illegally from trade privileges granted to Israel proper.

    The European Commission adopted a policy paper that said traders had complained that preferential-tariff imports supposedly from Israel actually contained goods from the West Bank and Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

    Mr. Netanyahu said then any European move aimed at stopping what Brussels says looks like export fraud "will put an end to any attempt of the European Union to have any kind of facilitating role in the (Middle East) peace process".

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Euro-Med conference sessions begin in Sicily

    PALERMO 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Middle East peace process was the main topic of discussions here yesterday afternoon during a Euro-Mediter-ranean conference, attended by ministers from 27 participating countries.

    In today's session, ministers are expected to look into issues relating to the EU's MEDA programme for financial assistance to non-EU Mediterranean countries.

    Turkey was represented by a "permanent undersecretary" - a position equivalent to a ministry's secretary general - a fact that received unfavourable comments, including ones by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who said Turkey has entered in to a deadlock as it cannot participate appropriately in European-level meetings.

    Regarding security, participants will seek to promote the drafting of a Euro-Mediter-ranean charter for peace and stability. They are also expected to discuss issues related to "the measures for building a partnership", previously known as confidence an d security building measures.

    The conference is also expected to tackle the peace process in the Middle East, in which the EU is seeking to play a stronger role.

    Regarding cooperation in the economic sector, the aim is to increase EU investement - on which the Commission has issued country guides - and the creation of a free trade zone in the Mediterranean until 2010. Disbursement of 1.5 billion Ecu, earmakred for Mediterranean countries under the MEDA programme is not considered to be proceeding satisfactorily.

    Another parameter of Euro-Med economic cooperation is the signing of separate agreememnts with the various countries.

    Regarding the third axis, consideration of cooperation is based on the rationale that security cannot be promoted throughout the region without a rapprochement on commonly acceptable values, such as democratic institutions and protection of human rights.

    Greece is preparing the second conference of culture ministers in the Euro- Med partnership in Rhodes in September, after last November's meeting of representatives in the audio-visual media sector in Thessaloniki.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Turkish navy chief cites 4 recent meetings with Greek counterpart

    ANKARA 04/06/1998 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    Turkish navy chief Rear-Adm. Salim Dervisoglu yesterday revealed that he has met his Greek counterpart, Rear-Adm. Georgios Ioannidis, four times over the last month-and-a-half for talks on various issues of mutual interest.

    "I have met my Greek counterpart four times in the last mongh-and-a- half...You may describe it as a coincidence. There are developments concerning our profession in our relations," he said in reply to a question if he would meet Rear-Adm. Ioannidis privately on the sidelines of a meeting of naval chiefs from countries in NATO's southern flank (Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, and the vice-commander of the US Sixth Fleet), which began in Istanbul yesterday.

    "We are satisfied. Naturally, we are not politicians. Policy, at a state level, is implemented by those in office. We have no involvement," he added.

    Also responding to questions, Rear-Adm. Ioannidis stated that he would stick to issues on the agenda during the meeting, entitled "Macromet '98", and held for the first time outside Italy.

    The Romanian, Albanian, Georgian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian navy chiefs are also attending as observers.

    Issues to be discussed include the future structure of NATO, developments in the operational framework of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme and other matters related to dialogue in the Mediterranean.

    The Greek naval chief is expected to return to Athens on June 7.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Greek-American leaders call for end to official US remarks on S- 300s

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek-American leaders have urged US President Bill Clinton to intervene and stop US officials from making statements about the deployment of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Cyprus, saying that such statements "tacitly encourage Turkish aggression".

    The Washington-based National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes, in a letter to Mr. Clinton released in Athens yesterday, said that "If Turkey in the coming months again attacks its small defenseless neighbour, Cyprus, as Turkey says it will, these America n officials will bear some of the responsibility".

    "For American officials to deal with this matter by criticising Cyprus' plans to install defensive missiles and saying nothing critical about Turkey's threatening military overflights, Turkey's illegal military occupation of Cyprus or Turkey's stated plans to attack Cyprus, is tantamount to providing tacit justification for the attack Turkey is planning against Cyprus," the letter states.

    "When such blame-the-victim statements come from the world's only remaining superpower," the letter went on, "voices for peace in Turkey are weakened and voices for aggression (are) encouraged".

    The Greek-American leaders called on the US president to "personally intervene now to stop this aggression-encouraging policy of blaming the victim rather than after Turkish aggression has occurred, as you did in the case of Imia (islets)".

    "The way some of our (US) officials have blamed the victim on the issue of the Cyprus defensive missiles is a microcosm of our country's larger traditional policy which inadvertently provides support for aggressors and undercuts non-aggressors in Turkey .

    "The record shows clearly that the only time in the last two-and-a half decades that moderate, non-aggressive Turkish voices surfaced temporarily in the Turkish media was when American policy began to take a firm stand against such aggression. The aggressors in Turkey are increasingly destabilising the region," the letter said.

    "Your taking such an action can stop the promised Turkish military strike and can, as well, move the Cyprus settlement (effort) past its current Turkish roadblock," the letter reads.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Parliament pushes for 'black paper' detailing Turkish violations of Lausanne Treaty

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee yesterday adopted a proposal to publish a "black paper" containing Turkey's violations of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne in relation to Greece.

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Ioannis Varvitsiotis tabled the proposal, stressing that it should be send to other national parliaments and international organisations.

    The committee also decided to include crimes committed against the Greek residents of Istanbul, Asia Minor, Imvros and Tenedos as well as the Black Sea Greeks' (Pontians) genocide.

    The issue is expected to be discussed at the plenum.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Wartime reparations discussed with visiting German MPs

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday told visiting German MPs that Bonn needed to resolve the issue of Greek claims of wartime reparations from Germany as well as clarify its position over the repayment of a war-time loan taken out by the Nazis during the WWII occupation of Greece. Mr. Kaklamanis was speaking to a delegation from the Bundestag's legal committee, which is on an official visit to Greece for talks on legal and European policy issues.

    Mr. Kaklamanis briefed the MPs on the public feeling on the issue of reparations and the loan. He said it was an issue that needed to be resolved so as not to cause problems to good bilateral relations and "hoped the German government would reconsider" the issue.

    A representative of the delegation said he would brief the Bundestag on the issue.

    In 1995, then prime minister Andreas Papandreou told the foreign ministry to raise the issue of the occupation loan at a state level, expressing the hope that an "understanding" could be reached with Germany "which is a partner in the European Union".

    A drive by local government bodies for private citizens to file suit with Germany for damages suffered during the Nazi occupation has garnered much public support but received little sympathy in Bonn. Last year, a court in the central Greek city of Livadeia ordered Germany to pay $32 million in reparations to the village of Distomo, where 214 residents were executed by occupying Nazi soldiers on June 10, 1944.

    However, the German government said it would not comply with the Greek ruling.

    Bonn's rejection came as the latest blow to several Greek citizens' attempts to secure individual compensation claims for their suffering during the Nazis' 1941-1944 occupation.

    Greek cities suffered from hunger during the occupation and many villages were razed and their residents executed for fighting the Nazis or cooperating with the resistance movement.

    The delegation is also scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Public Order Minister George Romeos and members of the Greek Parliament.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Germany's von Weizsaecker speaks on Greek-German relations

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Former German president Richard von Weizsaecker focused on the role of Greece and Germany during a speech last night at the Athens Concert Hall.

    His address was attended by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, several ministers, politicians, ambassadors and academics.

    The former German president was very positive in his references to the Greek government, terming efforts being made by Athens to promote the convergence of the Greek economy with the EU as "worthy of admiration" .

    Mr. Weizsaecker also said it is up to Turkey to create those preconditions to enable progress in Greek-Turkish relations, adding also that it is in Greece's hands whether it will close or open the door linking Turkey with the Europe.

    Summing up, Mr. Weizsaecker said the German people are prepared to support Greece in its effort towards its European course, and do not forget neither how much Greece suffered in the war nor that it was among the first countries which extended a hand for reconciliation.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Archbishop chairs Holy Synod meeting

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos chaired a meeting of the Permanent Holy Synod of the Church of Greece for the second day.

    According to an announcement by the Metropolitan of Serres Maximos, the president of the committee investigating the finances of the Church, Metropolitan of Karystia Serapheim, announced to the high priests that the report will be submitted to the Synod by June 25.

    Metropolitan Maximos said that the upgrading and modernisation of the radio station of the Church was discussed and a committee has already been prepared to examine the issue.

    It was also decided that the archbishop will visit the islands of Samos and Ikaria between June 20-22, at the invitation of the Metropolitan of Samos Efsevios.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Premier visited by film director Angelopoulos

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday received film director Theo Angelopoulos at the Maximos Mansion.

    Mr. Angelopoulos' latest film, the Greek-language "Eternity and a Day", was awarded the "Golden Palm" for best motion picture at the recent Cannes Film Festival.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Ministerial meeting on European forests ends in Lisbon

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    The 3rd ministerial conference on the protection of Europe's forests ended yesterday in Lisbon with the adoption and signing of a general declaration recognising the importance of forests for environmental balance as well as economic and social development.

    The conference was attended by representatives from all European countries.

    According to an announcement by the agriculture ministry, Europe's nations committed themselves to promoting the social and economic aspects for sustainable management of forests.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Athens monument considered for Andreas Papandreou

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Athens' municipal council decided yesterday to issue a nationwide tender for a design leading to a statue or bust of former prime minister and PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou.

    A monument in honour of the late premier will be erected at a central Athens park near the intersection of Patission and Alexandras Avenues.

    The dicision was taken after a proposal by former Athens mayor Dimitris Beis, and was endorsed by current Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    The council also gave a relevant committee a month's time to come up with a proposal to rename a central Athens street after Papandreou.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Greek industry representative at Stockholm conference of employers' union

    STOCKHOLM 04/06/1998 (ANA - N. Servetas)

    The president of the Federation of Athens and Piraeus Industries, Costas Yiannidis, told reporters here at the end of an annual assembly of the federation of employers' organisations from European capitals that bureaucratic issues become counter-incentives for investments.

    "In Greece, industry has good prospects, generally speaking...On the other hand, however, we get tangled in bureaucratic issues which become counter- incentives for investments," he said.

    The issue examined at this year's assembly was an improvement in relations between the federation of employers from European capitals with local administration and facilitating conditions of cooperation for European businesses.

    The federation was created 10 years ago and this year's assembly was attended by representatives of employers' organisations from 14 European capitals.

    "After every general assembly we achieve better results and the work being done starts to show with the passing of time," Mr. Yiannidis said.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Lithuania charter flights to Crete

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Crete as a tourist destination is apparently gaining ground in new markets, as interest has been shown in Lithuania as well as by Russia.

    The Greek consulate in Stockholm has already received a letter from a Lithuanian firm, which will carry out charter flights to Crete in cooperation with a Greek tourist agent. According to the Greek tour operator, the Lithuanian firm has decided to sche dule one charter flight a week to Crete, starting from June 18 to Sept. 30.

    Aspis Bank's pre-tax profits totalled 237 million drachmas in 1997 as opposed to only 23 million drachmas in 1996.

    Total assets increased by 56 per cent and reached 61 billion drachmas, while deposits totalled 51 billion drachmas compared to 26 billion drachmas in 1996.

    The bank will increase its share capital in an effort to land on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Aspis Bank has 12 branch offices and five more are scheduled to open in 1998.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Commission estimates completion of main highway, Egnatia projects around 2004

    BRUSSELS 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Patra-Athens-Thessaloniki highway and the Egnatia Motorway projects are expected to be completed around the year 2004, according to a report on the course of inter-European transport networks, presented here yesterday by EU Commissio ner Neil Kinnock. According to the European Commission's report, inter-European networks projects are divided into three categories: projects which have almost been completed; those expected to be completed around 2005, and whose financing has been secure d for most of their part; those to be completed after 2005 and whose method of financing remains uncertain.

    The European Commission lists the two Greek projects in the second category, given that work has been scheduled. Both projects have already received and will receive substantive economic support by the Cohesion Fund and the European Regional Fund, as well as loans from the European Investment Bank. The report said that Athens intends to find new sectors of strengthened cooperation between the public and private sectors for the funding of both motorways.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] OA pilots' interest in purchasing carrier's shares

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    With Olympic Airways (OA) pilots presenting themselves as prospective shareholders of the ailing national carrier, the president of the Association of Civil Aviation Pilots (EXPA) said yesterday that investors had approached the association proposing to a ssist its members in buying OA shares.

    The government has not placed shares of the ailing national carrier up for sale but has warned that OA will close if a five-year cost-cutting programme is sabotaged by unions.

    Ioannis Athanasopoulos, who made the statement during an interview with a radio station, was asked whether he had a legitimate right to speak on behalf of OA and whether the ministers of national economy and transport were aware of this development.

    He responded by assuring that both ministers were aware of the latest moves, adding that he preferred the ailing carrier to be sold to the private sector than continue to operate under a state-appointed administration. He further observed that the state had purchased OA from Aristotle Onassis in excellent condition, with the company now in dire straits.

    Asked whether those private investors wishing to assist the association in purchasing OA shares actually were in a position to buy a package of shares, Mr. Athanasopoulos repeated that if the offer was considered favourable, then "we have the ability to do so".

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Code of ethics for mutual funds market

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Capital Markets Commission and the Union of Institutional Investors are attempting to establish order in the mutual funds market and among portfolio investment companies with a code of established practices, publicised yesterday. The purpose of the co de is to safeguard the market's operation and support the development of the capital market and safeguard the application of management exclusively for the benefit of investors. The mutual funds management companies (AEDAK) as well as portfolio investment companies (EECH) must prevent the use of confidential information for the personal benefit of their board members, administrators, as well as of individuals employed in the above companies. Advertising mutual funds will not include inaccurate, misleading or exaggerated indications or figures and will not exploit the lack of experience or knowledge or the fears and worries of the public.
    Athens News Agency

    [20] OTE announces handsome profits

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, OTE, has produced profits amounting to 42,505,000,000 drachmas in the first quarter of the current year. According to assessments by the administration, turnover increased from 12-15 per cent during the first quarter compared to the corresponding period in 1997. According to the organisation's programme, 1.4 million new digital lines will be installed in 1998. The percentage covers about 70 per cent of all telephone lines, while by the end of 1998 the percenta ge of digitalisation is expected to reach 100 per cent.

    Through the digitalisation of its network, OTE will increase its revenues per telephone line by about 15 per cent. In another development, OTE is planning to install another million digital centre lines, raising the network's digitalisation percentage t o about 90 per cent by early 2000.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Greek central bank intervenes to soak up liquidity, buoy drachma

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, intervened in the domestic money market yesterday draining around 2.5 trillion drachmas of liquidity in order to sustain the drachma's rally against most foreign currencies.

    It soaked up the cash in the interbank market in a depo offer of 13.75 percent, driving up the overnight rate to 27 percent.

    The Wednesday tender is weekly.

    The move confirmed the central bank's determination to keep the national currency high as part of its anti-inflationary policy, traders said.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Workers to keep jobs in Ionian Bank's privatisation, gov't says

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    The government has pledged that no redundancies will result from the sale of Ionian Bank but the privatisation will not be called off, Labour Undersecretary Christos Protopapas told journalists in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    Workers at Ionian have staged a rolling strike since May 11 in protest at the government's decision to sell a majority stake in Ionian rather than merge it with Commercial Bank of Greece, its parent. Both banks are listed.

    Mr. Protopapas was reaffirming a statement on Tuesday by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou after a new round of talks began with officials of Ionian's union, the national bank workers' federation and the General Confederation of Greek Labour.

    Under the government's proposal, jobs at the bank will be safeguarded by incorporating the bank's existing labour regulations into a sale contract.

    After the talks, Ionian's staff association president, Yiannis Markakis, said union lawyers would have to study the implications of the government's proposal, but the strike would continue because workers still opposed the sale of the bank.

    In the past, the government had said it would safeguard jobs for only two years following the sale of Ionian through bidding on the Athens bourse.

    The week ahead is marked by strikes over the government's wide-ranging privatisation plan by workers in firms in the list of firms slated for sale. All banks are due to strike on June 12.

    Asked to comment on anti-reactions to privatisation in the ranks of the ruling PASOK party, Mr. Protopapas said: "It is reasonable for a large party like PASOK to contain different viewpoints. However, its decision- making groups work democratically and we must be committed to those decisions."

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Deputy calls on Ionian Bank's customers to withdraw deposits

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    An independent deputy yesterday urged Ionian Bank's customers to withdraw their deposits from the embattled bank and transfer them to private domestic or foreign banks.

    "(Ionian's customers) should immediately withdraw their deposits and place them in a private bank, or in one of the many foreign banks operating in Greece," said Stephanos Manos, a former New Democracy economy minister.

    Mr. Manos accused National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou of succumbing to pressure from Ionian Bank's trade unionists.

    Workers at the bank have staged a strike since early May to oppose the planned privatisation of the bank. The government said yesterday it was willing to safeguard jobs when the bank was sold by incorporating the bank's existing labour regulations in to a sale contract.

    "This would negate any benefits that privatisation of the bank could bring, " Mr. Manos said.

    He claimed that Mr. Papantoniou and union leaders had essentially cancelled Ionian Bank's sale and undermined any future privatisation attempts.

    "Only when the majority of the public begins to react against deals between politicians and trade unionists at Ionian Bank, Olympic Airways and elsewhere is there any hope of changing things in Greece," Mr. Manos said.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Prosecutor orders enquiry into flood damage in northern Greece

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    A public prosecutor in the northern town of Alexandroupolis has ordered an urgent preliminary enquiry into whether state authorities were to blame for three billion drachmas worth of losses to farmers after severe flooding earlier this year.

    The enquiry was launched in the wake of charges by farmers and their trade union representatives that flood-prevention works endorsed by the government were not carried out in the prefecture of Evros, allowing the damage to 100,000 stremmas of spring and winter cultivations.

    The state-funded projects worth six billion drachmas had been approved by the public works and other ministries, the farmers said.

    But a failure to carry out the projects, combined with a weakening of embankments from earlier floods in February, meant that a torrent of water was released into the fields, destroying entire crops, they said.

    Alexandroupolis public prosecutor Io Romeou told journalists yesterday she would decide on the basis of findings in the preliminary enquiry whether or not to launch a full-scale investigation.

    The town's police department has begun questioning civil engineers employed by the state, engineering contractors and local government officials in connection with the case.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Spending on advertising rises 9.44 pct in Jan-May

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Spending on advertising in domestic mass media totalled 143.2 billion drachmas in the first five months of 1998, marking a 9.44 percent rise from the corresponding period last year.

    Television commercials accounted for 69 billion drachmas, or 48.24 percent of total spending, followed by magazines (30.18 percent), newspapers (16.81 percent), and radio (4.78 percent).

    Expenditure on advertising in May totalled 37.5 billion drachmas, up 5.88 percent from 35.4 billion in May last year.

    The sum covered ads for 3,606 products of which 1,017 were on TV, 2,264 in magazines, 958 in newspapers and 376 on the radio.

    Hellenic Petroleum, which is about to seek a part listing on the Athens bourse, topped the list of spenders in May at 365 million drachmas, followed by Amstel beer, Bodyline, Panafon, Heineken beer, Silhouette, Telestet and Skip detergent.

    Athens News Agency

    [26] EU gives Greece 326 blue flags for clean beaches

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    The European Union has awarded Greece 326 blue flags for the quality of its beaches in 1998, up 15 from the previous year, along with seven blue flags for its marinas, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis told a news confer ence yesterday.

    Mr. Laliotis told journalists that the government had earmarked 800 million drachmas for beach cleaning operations in 29 prefectures around the country.

    In 1997, a government sponsored programme led to the removal of 17,000 tonnes of garbage from a total of 879 kilometres of beaches in 25 prefectures.

    Mr. Laliotis also announced a plan to support municipalities and local communities in drafting studies on facelifts for the country's beaches, particularly in the Attica region.

    The ministry has an Internet address this year. It is also running a media publicity campaign to raise public awareness on the importance of clean beaches.

    Athens News Agency

    [27] Turnover rises in Greek fixed asset market

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Turnover on the Athens Stock Exchange's fixed asset market was 23.5 billion drachmas in the first six weeks of its newly introduced automated operations. The period spans April 23 to June 1.

    The total exceeds last year's figure of 18.5 billion drachmas, and a total of 19.2 billion drachmas in 1993-1996.

    The electronic trading system for bonds aims to improve trading in state and corporate securities listed on the market.

    Bourse authorities plan to gradually list all bond issues on the electronic market to finally abolish an open-outcry system.

    Athens News Agency

    [28] Greek stocks end higher, fuelled by construction

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities gained ground on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday led by a wave of buying in construction shares.

    Traders said the market was also encouraged by favourable news in a government plan to privatise state-owned Ionian Bank.

    The general index ended 1.17 percent higher at 2,581.24 points with most sector indices scoring gains.

    Banks rose 1.43 percent, Insurance fell 0.92 percent, Investment eased 0.21 percent, Leasing increased 0.49 percent, Industrials rose 1.52 percent, Construction soared 6.76 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.04 percent off and Holding increased 0.27 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies jumped 2.48 percent.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 57.5 billion drachmas.

    Ionian Bank's share price jumped 7.7 percent, and Commercial Bank's price rose 5.8 percent on expectations that a plan to sell Commercial's majority stake in Ionian to a private investor would be realised soon.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 150 to 98 with another 17 issues unchanged.

    Folli-Follie, Minoan Lines, Radio Athina, Loulis, Delta Inform, Duty Free Shops and Diekat scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Lanakam, Tzirakian, Dane, Balkan Export, Viosol, Britania, Klonatex and Endysi suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 42,000 drachmas, Ergobank at 27,005, Alpha Credit Bank at 32,000, Delta Dairy at 4,500, Titan Cement at 23,290, Intracom at 23,540 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8, 680.

    Athens News Agency

    [29] Transport conference to start in Thessaloniki today

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    More than 300 transport experts, government officials, business executives and officials of the European Commission will discuss the present and future of combined transport in southeast Europe at a three-day conference in Thessaloniki starting today.

    Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis will inaugurate the conference, which is organised by Helexpo, the state's trade fair organiser, and Thessaloniki University.

    The conference is being held under the aegis of the transport ministry.

    On the agenda are a debate on problems in cross-border transport, new technologies to support combined transport, legal questions and the creation of cargo terminals.

    A business forum will also be held.

    Athens News Agency

    [30] Former German president expects Greece to meet EMU deadline

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Former German president Richard von Weizsaecker said he was confident that Greece would meet its target of joining the European Union's economic and monetary union by January 1, 2001.

    Mr. Weizsaecker, speaking at a news conference in Athens, said that following the implementation of EMU, Europe would inevitably seek political integration.

    Political union would be a continuous process of development, he said.

    Mr. Weizsaecker expressed his satisfaction over Greece's determination to participate in EMU and particularly the government's efforts to prepare the economy for the euro.

    He acknowledged, however, that such measures would be painful for the public in Greece and for some other EU countries.

    "Participation in EMU needs strict discipline in economic, fiscal and social policies," the former president said.

    He also argued that the exclusion of some EU member-states from the first wave of EMU would not lead to a two-speed Europe.

    Referring to the expansion of the European Union, Mr. Weizsaecker said that candidate states should adopt certain transition measures regarding the free movement of people.

    He said that the issue of free movement of people would greatly influence Turkey's demand to enter the EU, and the German presidency of the EU would seek a detente in Greece's relations with Turkey.

    It was vital that Turkey should take major steps towards its neighbours in order to improve its relations with the rest of Europe, he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [31] Athens court rules against Citibank on credit card charges

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Citibank called a decision by an Athens first instance court to impose a 150-million-drachma fine on the US-based multinational a mistake, following a lawsuit lodged against it by the EKPOIZO organisation and based on a law regarding consumer protection.

    The lawsuit aims at abolishing the imposition of a monthly charge on accounts having a balance below the minimum level, as well as the declaration of a series of conditions concerning the Visa and Mastercard cards as abusive.

    Citibank claimed the practices are followed by all banks in Greece and abroad, adding it reserves the right to appeal the decision or resort to the Supreme Court.

    Athens News Agency

    [32] Royal Olympic contract for 2 vessels

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Royal Olympic Cruises and representatives of the Germany-based KFW bank will today sign an agreement to build two "fast cruise vessels" at the German shipyards Blohm & Voss.

    The Greek firm announced that the order is the largest in Greece's cruiseship sector.

    Athens News Agency

    [33] Series of earthquakes southeast of Thessaloniki

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Four earthquakes, ranging from 4.5 to 5.2 on the Richter scale, and a series of smaller tremors shook northern Greece over a 13-minute period yesterday morning. No damages were reported.

    Thessaloniki University's geophysics laboratory recorded a 4.8 Richter quake at 11:38 a.m., followed by a 4.5 quake at 11:43, a 5.2 Richter quake at 11:47 and a 4.7 Richter quake at 11:49, as well as a series of smaller shocks registering below 4 Richte r in the ensuing minutes.

    The series of quakes were centred some 135 km southeast of Thessaloniki, at a distance of 20 km south of the Sithonia Peninsula in Halkidiki.

    Thessaloniki University seismologist Manolis Skordilis said the 5.2 Richter tremor "appears to have been the main earthquake, but this cannot be stated with absolute certainty due to the small difference in its intensity with the others".

    He said the earthquakes emanated from the seismic zone known as the "Northern Aegean rift", adding that the area is seismogenic and had produced strong earthquakes measuring 7.2 and 7 Richter in December 1981 and January 1982, respectively, and a 6.8 Ri chter quake in 1983.

    The rift runs northeast-southwest off Mount Athos, turns eastward in an east-northeasterly direction, reaches Propontis and continues into Asia Minor, Mr. Skordilis said.

    Prof. Vassilis Papazachos, director of the laboratory, told ANA it was "too early to make precise evaluations because the phenomenon was still at its start," adding that assessments could be made after the first 24 hours had passed.

    Athens News Agency

    [34] Piano concert for Philippine library

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    A piano concert to finance the creation of a Philippine library in Athens is being organised by the Philippine embassy here on June 21, as part of events marking the 100th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence.

    The concert, featuring Philippine pianists Amelita Dayrit Guevarra and Carmen Dayrit Padilla, will be held at 8:30 p.m. at the Athens College Theatre, 15 Stephanou Delta St. in Psychico. Tickets are availabe at the embassy, tel: 67.21.883 - Ms Bayod.

    Athens News Agency

    [35] USOC honorary chairman Leroy Walker in Athens

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece can win the "gold medal" for organisation of the Olympic Games in 2004, according to visiting US Olympic Committee (USOC) honorary chairman and well-known athlete Leroy Walker.

    The USOC official was speaking during a reception hosted in his honour yesterday at a downtown Athens hotel.

    "I do not have the slightest doubt that Greece has all the skills to organise excellent Olympics in 2004", he said, adding that "Athens should become the distinguished international forum to prepare the strategic approach of the Olympic Games in the new millennium".

    The reception, hosted by an advertising company, was attended by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, the president of the Olympic Games organising committee Stratis Stratigis and the committee's managing director Costas Bakouris, among others.

    Athens News Agency

    [36] Police officer, accomplices led before prosecutor on bank robbery charges

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    A riot squad police officer who confessed to robbing a bank in the Goudi district and two accomplices were charged with various counts yesterday.

    Police officer Athanasios Agglelakis and construction workers Haralambos Christopoulos and Constantinos Skoularikos were led before a public prosecutor yesterday.

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos noted that the reasons behind police corruption are the continued incursions by the ruling PASOK party in the force's hierarchy.

    Athens News Agency

    [37] 1.6 bln dr. lottery winner surfaces

    Athens 04/06/1998 (ANA)

    A man claiming to be the winner of Greece's biggest numbers lottery jackpot that netted 1.6 billion dr. (5 million dollars), has finally emerged, but says he lost the ticket.

    Thomas Stamoulis, a 49-year-old snack bar owner in the northern Greek town of Serres, said he lost the "Joker" ticket under "mysterious circumstances".

    Stamoulis said he was filing an official affidavit containing details he claimed proved he was the winner.

    The winning numbers ticket was deposited anonymously at lottery agent George Sikalos' PROPO agency in Serres.

    Stamoulis said he deposited the winning numbers, together with a second lottery ticket, at Sikalos' agency between 9-9:30 p.m. on Friday, May 22, while Sikalos says the winning ticket was deposited shortly after noon that day.

    Stamoulis said he discovered that the ticket was missing the following Monday when a friend suggested they check his tickets against the winning numbers.

    Later reports said a 63-year-old resident of Serres had claimed the prize, sending his lawyer in to the lottery office with the winning ticket.

    The man, his lawyer said, wanted to remain anonymous. His lawyer revealed however that he had two (very happy) daughters and eight grandchildren.

    Athens News Agency

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