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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece condemns latest Turkish military activity in Cyprus
  • [02] Holbrooke, Miller in Athens on Monday
  • [03] Plavsic briefs Greek leadership on Bosnia
  • [04] Pangalos on Cardiff summit,Turkish reactions
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos to attend NATO meeting in Vienna
  • [06] Commercial Bank shareholders' assembly to decide Ionian's future
  • [07] Kranidiotis meets with Croatian counterpart in Zagreb
  • [08] New Democracy slight lead over PASOK,new poll shows
  • [09] General college entrance exams begin today
  • [10] Premier briefs President on Cardiff outcome
  • [11] Greece condemns bombing in Tehran
  • [12] Map exhibition in Thessaloniki
  • [13] HS project in Luxembourg to highlight Greece
  • [14] Student rally marred by violence
  • [15] Thessaloniki Jews to get $235,000 'good will' gesture from Swiss banks
  • [16] Hania conference on management of water resources
  • [17] Briefing for '98 Thessaloniki International Fair held
  • [18] Greece gives EU updated economic convergence plan
  • [19] Greek stocks rise again buoyed by Ionian Bank sale hopes
  • [20] Government plans tax-free bonds to draw retail buyers, mutuals
  • [21] Parliament hears testimony in lottery dispute
  • [22] National Bank of Greece official urges corporate bonds
  • [23] EOT publication on ancient Greek theatres
  • [24] President Clerides receives AMAN delegations

  • [01] Greece condemns latest Turkish military activity in Cyprus

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday called the presence and overflights of Turkish fighter aircraft in occupied Cyprus as "illegal."

    He added that Ankara had adopted this practice "precisely because it has enforced an occupation regime on half of Cyprus".

    In Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem announced to reporters that two Turkish fighter planes were already at the Lefkonico airport in Turkish- occupied Cyprus, while another four were on their way.

    According to a later CNA dispatch from Nicosia, six Turkish F-16s violated Cypriot airspace before landing at the site.

    A Turkish official stated the F-16s landed in the occupied areas in retaliation for the landing of Greek fighters in Paphos earlier this week, CNA reported.

    Mr. Cem further claimed that Greek actions were escalating provocations and said that the deployment of Russian-built S-300 anti-aircraft missiles system on Cyprus has an aggressive nature.

    Mr. Cem said that latest developments show that military cooperation between

    Athens and Nicosia not only threaten the Turkish Cypriots, but Turkey directly, terming military cooperation between Atherns and Nicosia "illegal."

    Furthermore, Turkey's state-run Anatolian news agency was quoted by Reuters as citing a statement by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, warning that "Greek Cypriots would be the ones who suffer from an escalation in tension (on Cyprus)".

    He was apparently referring to a brief stayover by four Hellenic Air Force F-16 fighters and a C-130 transport plane at the Paphos air base earlier this week within the framework of the Greece-Cyprus joint defence doctrine, something believed to have sparked the latest Turkish provocations.

    Replying to press questions in Athens, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the joint defence doctrine was a vested right, while the presence of Greek warplanes on Cyprus was lawful in every respect. Mr. Yilmaz said that "it is difficult for one to think that Greece dared such a thing without encouragement from someone," adding that Ankara will take all the necessary measures.

    Ankara will also contact Britain on this issue "which is a guarantor power in Cyprus and other international organisations," he added.

    Meanwhile, Greek defence ministry sources said yesterday that eight formations of Turkish warplanes, 14 F-16s and two F-4 jets, committed nine infringements of Athens FIR regulations and 11 airspace violations, mainly between the Aegean islands of Hios and Lesvos.

    The infringements and violations took place between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

    Planes in four of the formations were armed, sources said, adding that the Turkish warplanes flew in areas outside those reserved by Ankara for the holding of military exercises.

    The Turkish warplanes were identified and intercepted by 16 F-16 and Mirage- 2000 planes.

    Press report cites plans for Turkish strikes : NEW YORK (ANA - M. Georgiadou) - A major US daily reported yesterday that Turkish PM Yilmaz on Wednesday presided over a defence committee meeting to discuss retaliatory measures in light of the recent landing by the Greek planes at Paphos.

    According to the "Wall Street Journal", measures include bombing the airbase or hindering the flights of Greek warplanes to Cyprus.

    Finally, the report states that Nicosia noted that the Greek fighters had returned to Greece while at the same time protesting the anchoring of Turkish warships and submarines in Turkish-occupied ports on the island republic.

    Cypriot reaction : NICOSIA (ANA/CNA) - Commenting on the latest developments, Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianides condem-ned the Turkish actions, including the anchoring of Turkish warships in occupied Kyrenia and Famagusta, as "illegal" and said the governmen t will make all necessary representations.

    In a written statement, Mr. Stylianides stresses that the government "is asking the necessary diplomatic action", concerning the violations of the island republic's airspace.

    "The government is calmly monitoring Turkish attempts to create artificial tension", Mr. Stylianides said, adding:

    "It also reiterates its insistence on implementation of international law and points out the relevance of its proposal for the demilitarisation of Cyprus".

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Holbrooke, Miller in Athens on Monday

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Richard Holbrooke, nominated yesterday by President Bill Clinton as US ambassador to the United Nations, is due to arrive in Athens on Monday accompanied by State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller, the government announced yesterday.

    Mr. Holbrooke, in his capacity as US presidential envoy on the Cyprus problem, recently visited the divided island republic in an unsuccessful effort to get the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities back to the negotiating table.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Plavsic briefs Greek leadership on Bosnia

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    The case of Bosnia should be a patent lesson to the parties involved in the present Kosovo crisis, Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic said yesterday, following talks with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    "Nobody has the right to experiment with the peoples in the region," Ms Plavsic told reporters after the meeting, at which both sides agreed to undertake efforts to maintain peace in Kosovo and the Balkans.

    Mr. Pangalos said an end had to be put to hostilities and clashes and individual rights and democratic freedoms had to be consolidated. The two also discussed the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, implementation of the Dayton accords and bilater al relations.

    Ms Plavsic said the situation in her country was "extremely sensitive", claiming that there was "a selective implementation" of the Dayton Accords under way.

    She criticised interpretation of "the spirit" of Dayton, saying the accords had to be applied to the letter by all sides.

    She added that many of those being sought by the International Court of The Hague for war crimes had given themselves up and that there was cooperation with The Hague on the issue.

    She said, however, that the Court's decisions would be to some extent politically motivated.

    Mr. Pangalos also said Greece was working on opening a consulate in Banja Luka.

    Earlier, Ms Plavsic had talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Sources said Ms Plavsic briefed the Greek premier on the situation in Bosnia and exchanged views on the crisis in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Pangalos on Cardiff summit,Turkish reactions

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Turkey's reactions to the outcome of the EU summit in Cardiff apparently showed that Ankara was beginning to understand how European procedures worked.

    Efforts were made at the summit to persuade Greece to lift its veto of EU funds for Turkey and facilitate closer ties between the EU and Ankara.

    However, Athens insisted on adherence to decisions taken at last December's summit in Luxembourg, when Turkey was told that its EU candidacy would depend on whether it improved its human rights record and relations with Athens.

    Turkish Deputy Premi er Bulent Ecevit after the summit thanked the British presidency for its efforts and noted that a 1963 agreement gave Turkey the right of full EU membership.

    On his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said the Cardiff summit included "positive developments" for Turkey, adding that Ankara would respond to the good will shown by some EU member states.

    Mr. Pangalos, meanwhile, categorically rejected press reports claiming that Cardiff decisions would make it possible for Greece's veto on funds for Turkey to be side-stepped.

    He also strongly attacked a Greek permanent employee at the European Commission, whom he declined to name, saying it was his idea that the Commission could formulate another legal basis in order for EU funds to be released to Turkey. After initia lly examining the matter, Mr. Pangalos continued, the Commission realised that this was not possible.

    Mr. Pangalos said the Greek employee had for years been acting in this manner, wanting to show that he was not motivated by national interests, while he accused the employee of being "an enemy of Greece".

    Yilmaz says Aegean CBMs in effect : ISTANBUL (ANA - A. Kourkoulas) Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said yesterday that the agreement on confidence-building measures in the Aegean continues to be in effect.

    In a report from Bucharest yesterday, the Anatolian news agency said that in reply to relevant questions, Mr. Yilmaz said measures recently agreed to in the framework of the NATO alliance will continue to be in effect.

    "Turkey is faithful to this agreement, despite the fact that Greece's latest action (Greek fighters landing in Cyprus) does not coincide with the spirit of the agreement," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos to attend NATO meeting in Vienna

    VIENNA 19/06/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is scheduled to attend a high- ranking NATO meeting here, set to take place from June 20-24.

    NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, the presidents of Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, NATO members' representatives as well as Partnership for Peace (PfP) member-states' defence and foreign ministers will also participate.

    According to Austrian officials the basic issue on the agenda is entitled "Challenge to the Security of a New NATO".

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Commercial Bank shareholders' assembly to decide Ionian's future

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Commercial Bank's general shareholders' assembly will convene today at a central Athens hotel to decide whether to privatise Ionian Bank, a Commercial subsidiary.

    Meanwhile, the Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) called a 24-hour strike today and a rally to protest the bank's privatisation. According to press reports, the government has secured a necessary majority for the bank's privatisation, while the bank employees' unions, which oppose the move, hold less than 1 per cent of Ionian's shares.

    Union officials are considering future actions, while as they noted all will be judged from the stance of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and OTOE on the issue.

    In a related development, dock workers, postal employees and Greek Railways Organisation (OSE) staff will begin a series of strikes to protest possible privatisation at state enterprises.

    Finally, technicians at the civil aviation authority will strike on Saturday and Sunday, demanding overtime pay for the past five months.

    PASOK reaction : PASOK cannot move ahead by winning empty victories,party Secretary Costas Skandalidis stressed yesterday, during a conference of PASOK-affiliated labour union leaders.

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou noted the need for structural changes and added that the privatisations of state enterprises are based on policies planned by late premier Andreas Papandreou.

    Finally, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou, speaking at a prefectural party event, said that "if Simitis fails, we all will have failed."

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Kranidiotis meets with Croatian counterpart in Zagreb

    ZAGREB 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis held talks with his Croatian counterpart Ivo Sanader here yesterday, focusing on bilateral relations, recent developments in the wider region and the course of relations between the EU and Croatia.

    On the question of increasing tension in Kosovo, both officials expressed concern over the situation, saying it may have unfavourable consequences for all countries in the region and confirmed their adherence to a peaceful solution to the crisis.

    Referring to Croatia's European prospects, Mr. Kranidiotis expressed a hope that the country will soon be in a position to meet preconditions set by the EU in the framework of "regional rapprochement" in its relations with other countries in southeaster n Europe.

    He also said that Athens encourages the safe and unimpeded resettlement of Serb refugees in their homesteads.

    On his part, the Croatian minister expressed Zagreb's support in principle for Greece's candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council over the 1999-2000 period. Mr. Kranidiotis will be meeting Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic today .

    Athens News Agency

    [08] New Democracy slight lead over PASOK,new poll shows

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party is leading in voters' preferences with 29.1 percent against 23.7 percent for the ruling PASOK party, according to a nationwide opinion poll conducted by MRB. The two main parties are followed by the Democratic Socia l Movement (DHKKI) with 6.0 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 5.7 percent, the Coalition with 4.8 percent, and Political Spring with 1.6 percent.

    A total 6.3 percent said they would cast a blank ballot, 4.1 percent would vote for another party, 7.5 percent were undecided, and 8.3 percent declined to respond.

    With respect to political party leaders, the poll showed an almost across- the-board decline, with Prime Minister Costas Simitis's popularity plunging to 28.4 percent from 36.1 percent in a similar MRB poll in December 1997.

    Main opposition ND leader Costas Karamanlis, in second place, also fell from 40.6 percent six months ago to 31 percent, KKE leader Aleka Papariga remained firmly in third place with 16.1 percent from 20.1 percent in December, Coalition leader Nikos Cons tantopoulos dropped to 46.5 percent from 51.3 percent, and Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras, a former ND deputy, fell to 17.8 percent from 28.3 percent.

    The only party leader to gain was Dimitris Tsovolas, a former PASOK MP who heads the DHKKI party, whose popularity jumped from 41.7 percent six months ago to 45.8 percent.

    On privatisations, 26.8 percent of those polled considered them "definitely necessary', 35.3 percent "probably necessary", and only 13.2 percent "definitely unnecessary", while 54.8 percent considered Greece's entry in EMU the country's primary priority , 46.6 percent believed that the 2001 targets would be achieved, and 58.2 percent agreed with Greece joining the euro currency mechanism.

    Dip in popularity only 'temporary', government says : Asked to comment on the results of the poll later, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the drop in popularity of the ruling party and the prime minister was "temporary".

    "You can not compare the policies being applied (by the government) with the 'policy of speech-making' by the opposition," Mr. Reppas said.

    Mr. Reppas pointed to the large percentage in favour of the basic aims of government policy, namely, inclusion in economic and monetary union and a programme of structural changes to the economy.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos also commented on the poll results, saying the drop in popularity had come at a crossroads in the government's four-year term.

    He said he was convinced that the government would recover lost ground and called on those supporting main opposition New Democracy to ask some tough questions about the opposition party's positions. "Compare the stance it is taking on the privatisation of Ionian Bank and the protests by teachers on the abolition of the waiting list and the new exams with the government's and decide: Can this party govern?" Mr. Pangalos said.

    Christodoulos leads in the popularity stakes : Greece's outspoken new Archbishop Christodoulos is the most popular public figure in the country, according to MRB.

    Christodoulos topped the popularity vote with 73.3 percent of the 2,000 respondents polled, followed by Athens mayor Dimitris Avromopoulos with 70.1 percent.

    Mr. Avramopoulos's main opponent for the Athens mayorship in October municipal elections, Maria Damanaki, the former leader of the Coalition of the Left and Progress who has the backing of the ruling PASOK party in her mayoral candidacy, trailed with 32 percent.

    Third in line was equally outspoken Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis with 53.2 percent, followed by high-powered lawyer and former main opposition New Democracy MP Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who successfully spearheaded Athens campaign to host the 2004 Olympic Games, with 51.8 percent.

    In fifth place was Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos with 46.3 percent, followed by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou with 45.3 percent, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos with 44.6 percent, former ND deputy George Souflias with 39.2 per cent, Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos with 37.3 percent in 9th place, and Justice Minister Evangelos Yannopoulos with 34.4 percent.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] General college entrance exams begin today

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    General university and college-level technical institutes entrance exams are set to begin today for more than 170,000 high school graduates, Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis announced yesterday.

    The public order ministry, meanwhile, announced that all traffic limitations in the city's centre will be lifted for examinees and supervising teachers.

    Available spots in universities around the country are about 65,000, while a new open university system set to begin next September will allow further access to higher education.

    The Greek Constitution does not allow for the recognition of degrees awarded by branches of foreign universities operating in Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Premier briefs President on Cardiff outcome

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday briefed President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on the latest developments in national issues and on the domestic front, and the outcome of the European Union summit in Cardiff.

    "In Cardiff, there were the expected developments as well as unexpected events. The result was positive, and so was the climate," Mr. Simitis said to Mr. Stephanopoulos, who asked the premier if he was satisfied as they entered the Presidential Mansion for their one-hour meeting.

    Mr. Simitis told reporters later that he briefed the president on all foreign policy matters and domestic developments "the positive developments at Cardiff, the positive developments in the economic indicators, and the effort for structural changes, which the government will continue with persistence and consistency".

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Greece condemns bombing in Tehran

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas yesterday reiterated Greece's steadfast position on condemning all terrorist activity, referring to a recent attack in Tehran by the Mujahedeen Khalq group.

    Replying to a press question, Mr. Bikas said Athens' steadfast position is to condemn terrorist actions from wherever they may come from, and stressed the Greek government's sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

    According to a Reuters dispatch, Iran announced on Wednesday that the group attempted to bomb the Tehran headquarters of the Revolutionary Guards hours after an explosion at an Islamic revolutionary court killed three people.

    State television said a second blast occurred on Tuesday night in an administrative building in the Iranian capital, causing "some damage".

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Map exhibition in Thessaloniki

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Approximately 100 priceless maps will be on exhibition at the Governor's House in Thessaloniki until July 15.

    The maps are loan from the National Library of France, the French Institute of Thessaloniki, the Chartographical Scientific Society of Greece and the Macedonia-Thrace ministry, as well as private collections

    "The map is a product of civilisation equal to books," Aristotelian University Prof. Evangelos Livieratos said at the exhibition's opening.

    The maps depict regions of Greece from the 16th century to date, while a segment of the exhibition is comprised of a stamp collection depicting the history of modern Greece.

    It was also noted that the first map of the earth was created in antiquity by the Ionian Greeks on the western Asia Minor coast, which depicted a flat, round earth.

    The map exhibition will open in other cities around Greece as well.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] HS project in Luxembourg to highlight Greece

    BRUSSELS 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Third grade students at the Athenee high school in Luxembourg in cooperation with the French-language "Le Jeudi" weekly and the Greek embassy's press bureau are cooperating on a publication highlighting Greece.

    Other pages feature works by Homer, Hesiod, Nikos Kazantzakis and Mikis Theodorakis as well as interviews by the Greek ambassador to Luxembourg Demosthenes Konstantinou and that country's Foreign Minister, Jacques Poos.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Student rally marred by violence

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    A student rally in downtown Athens yesterday evening erupted into violence when a group of self-styled anarchists firebombed a police patrol car, causing severe burns to its driver, who was rushed to hospital.

    Within minutes chaos broke out with riot police chasing rioters through the streets. A group of riot squad officers later seized a suspect a short distance away from the burning patrol car and started hitting him with police clubs, according to reports.

    Groups of anarchists then started appearing from side streets around Kaningos Square and hurling dozens of firebombs at stores in the area and at parked cars. In the same way, they disappeared in sidestreets and reappeared later with fresh supplies of firebombs, eyewitnesses said.

    Reinforcements were called in and another eight platoons of riot police were rushed to the scene, forcing rioters back, with clashes limited to isolated incidents.

    Fifteen youths were arrested during the disturbances and were taken to police headquarters for questioning.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Thessaloniki Jews to get $235,000 'good will' gesture from Swiss banks

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    A group of Swiss banks has decided to grant financial support of 235,000 US dollars to Thessaloniki Jews who survived the Nazi Holocaust as a good will gesture.

    The sum is part of funds totalling 1.5 million dollars approved by the group as "aid" for Jewish Holocaust survivors around the world.

    The money is being given at a time when the world Jewish community is increasing pressure for the return of Holocaust victims' bank deposits.

    Large Swiss banks, the World Jewish Congress and lawyers for Holocaust victims have launched talks - brokered by the United States - on a global settlement of Nazi-era claims.

    The president of the Jewish community in Thessaloniki, Andreas Sefiha, told the ANA that although the sum allocated by the group of Swiss banks was very small "we should not belittle the significance of the move, which reflects good intentions and most likely portends a possible positive outcome to talks on an overall settle-ment of claims arising from Jewish deposits in Swiss banks".

    A prerequisite for the actual disbursement of the financial aid to survivors is that they are "in need". Today, only 62 survivors of the Holocaust live in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki. It is estimated that approximately 300,000 Jewish survivors of the Holocaust are currently living in Europe, the USA and Israel. Of the 1.5 million dollars approved for survivors, 60 per cent is to be given to Jews of the former socialist countries of eastern Europe who are considered to be in a particularly difficult financial situation.

    Asked to comment on the fact that Thessaloniki Jews had received no compensation whatsoever for property seized by the Nazis, despite the fact that post-war Germany made a payment of one billion dollars to a Jewish organisation in New York for distribut ion among Holocaust victims, Mr. Sefiha said "there has indeed been an injustice".

    He dismissed however press reports of a "Jewish conspiracy", saying it was "self-evident that Jews would not conspire against each other".

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Hania conference on management of water resources

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) and the Municipal Water and Drainage Co. of Hania organised a conference here yesterday on managing water resources and local administration.

    The conference focused on the need for establishing national policy to tackle the problem of a decrease in water reserves.

    Both European and Greek policies on water reserve management were analysed, as well as the role played by local administration in this sector.

    Stressing the importance of good water quality, speakers said that production processes, industry, the energy sector, agricultural irrigation and tourism depend greatly on the availability of adequate quantities of good quality water.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Briefing for '98 Thessaloniki International Fair held

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) will again feature all of its traditional aspects this year, focusing on turning the event into a meeting place for Greek and foreign business people as well as visitors from neighbouring countries.

    The main highlights of this year's TIF, held every September, were presented yesterday by HELEXPO President and Managing Director Antonis Kourtis.

    The trade fair's commercial and business advantages will be highlighted by its multi-faceted composition, which will be stressed by the second annual construction companies' conference.

    In addition, an electronic equipment hall will be organised for the fourth consecutive year and will occupy three pavilions.

    Mr. Kourtis said that there will also be a car exhibition.

    Referring to the country set to be honoured at this year's event, Mr. Kourtis said that its selection is not by chance but constitutes the continuation of bilateral contacts at government and partnership level, adding that preconditions are being examin ed for HELEXPO to organise a Greek Enterprise Exhibition in one of China's major cities and preferably Shanghai.

    On the question of the business plan and strategic planning, Mr. Kourtis said that they have been sent to the National Economy Ministry and a study is expected by a fiscal adviser, namely, Ionian Finance.

    HELEXPO is extending its exhibition activities abroad and, buoyed by the favourable outcome of Greek business and trade exhibitions in Skopje, Plovdiv and Kiev, is planning exhibitions in Belgrade and Bucharest.

    He also referred to the prospects presenting themselves for Greek enterprise exhibitions in countries of the Middle East, which became apparent with the extension of the "POLIS" exhibition in Nicosia.

    HELEXPO is also considering possibilities of organising trade exhibitions in Dubai and Tel Aviv, and has already signed a contract with an Israeli company to attract exhibitors and selected commercial visitors for all HELEXPO events.

    Economic crime investigators yesterday discovered some 55,000 kilos of smuggled transit fuel during checks on the oiler "Jet IV", belonging to the firm Mamidakis Jet Oil.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Greece gives EU updated economic convergence plan

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday gave the European Union an updated plan to align its economy with the 15-nation bloc, forecasting that all convergence targets will be met in 1999.

    The 1998-2001 convergence plan given to the EU's Commission and monetary committee says that alignment criteria can be met by end-1998 except for consumer price inflation, which is feasible in 1999.

    The government hopes to take Greece into the EU's economic and monetary union by January 1, 2001.

    The plan, which updates a 1994 revised economic convergence programme, takes into account the repercussions of a 13.8 percent devaluation of the drachma on March 14 when the currency joined the EU's exchange rate mechanism as a stepping stone to EMU.

    According to the updated plan, average consumer price inflation is expected to drop to 4.5 percent in 1998, 2.5 percent in 1999, 1.9 percent in 2000, and 1.7 percent in 2001.

    The public sector deficit (general government) is expected to drop to 2.4 percent of gross domestic product in 1998, 2.1 percent of GDP in 1999, 1.7 percent in 2000, and 0.8 percent in 2001.

    The public debt is predicted to total 107.8 percent of GDP in 1998, 105.8 percent in 1999, 102.5 percent in 2000, and 99.8 percent in 2001.

    Interest rates on 12-month treasury bills should fall on average to 9.5 percent in 1998, 7.5 percent in 1999, 6.5 percent in 2000, and 5.5 percent in 2001.

    Other targets contained in the convergence plan are as follows:

    • GDP to grow by 3.5 percent in 1998, 3.7 percent in 1999, 3.5 percent in 2000, and 4.5 percent in 2001
    • Unemployment to total 9.8 percent of the workforce in 1998, falling to 9.3 percent in 1999, 8.6 percent in 2000, and 7.5 percent in 2001
    • Monthly labour costs will rise by 3.5 percent in 1998, 1.5 percent in 1999, 1.2 percent in 2000, and 1.1 percent in 2001.
    • General government revenue to total 38.8 percent of GDP in 1998, 38.9 percent of GDP in 1999, 38.8 percent in 2000 and 38.6 percent in 2001.
    Athens News Agency

    [19] Greek stocks rise again buoyed by Ionian Bank sale hopes

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended higher yesterday for the third consecutive session reflecting optimism that shareholders of state-owned Commercial Bank of Greece will endorse the sale of a majority stake in Ionian Bank, its subsidiary.

    The general index ended 2.0 percent higher at 2,475.12 points with sector indices scoring gains across the board. Trading was moderate with turnover at 50.3 billion drachmas.

    The market sees the sale of Ionian Bank and protests by workers as a test of the government's grit in carrying out a wide-ranging privatisation plan to aid entry into the European Union's economic and monetary union.

    Commercial Bank's shareholders' meeting, called to endorse Ionian's privatisation through the bourse, is due to be held today at a central Athens hotel.

    Both Commercial Bank and Ionian Bank are listed on the Greek bourse.

    Banks ended 2.36 percent up, Insurance rose 1.0 percent, Investment was 2.71 percent higher, Leasing soared 8.0 percent, Industrials increased 1.09 percent, Construction ended 2.38 percent up, Miscellaneous ended 1.76 percent higher and Holding rose 2.1 4 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.43 percent higher. The FTSE/ASE 20 index jumped 2.15 percent to 1,479.54.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 178 to 62 with another 18 issues unchanged.

    Athens Bank, Bank of Piraeus, Rilken, Alpha Leasing, ETBA Leasing, Vassilopoulos, Mediterranean Invest and Development Invest scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Mouzakis, Desmos, Corinth Mills, Benroubi, Intertyp, Levenderis, Barba Stathis, Ridenco and Parnassos suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 40,600 drachmas, Ergobank at 26,060, Alpha Credit Bank at 27,710, Ionian Bank at 13,910, Commercial Bank at 22,460, Delta Dairy at 4,010, Titan Cement at 19,000, Intracom at 11,550 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organis ation at 7,650.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Government plans tax-free bonds to draw retail buyers, mutuals

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament has adopted an amendment allowing the government to issue longer- term, tax-free state bonds that cannot be resold on the secondary market, the finance ministry said in a statement yesterday.

    The ministry and the central bank have yet to set rules for the new non- transferable bonds of two or more years duration that will ensure that the original buyer retains them until maturity, the statement said.

    The new bond was created to attract retail investors and mutual funds into longer-term state securities, it said.

    Other bonds will continue to have their interest taxed under the same system.

    The parliamentary amendment was voted through on Wednesday.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Parliament hears testimony in lottery dispute

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    A parliament committee yesterday heard testimony in connection with allegations of foul play in a scratch lottery contract between the state and the private Intracom Group.

    During the hearing, the Group's owner, Socrates Kokkalis, told the committee that the lottery was operating smoothly and earnings were paid in full both to winners and to the state.

    He denied that the company operating the scratch lottery had acted illegally or was avoiding transparency, and charged that his company was the target of unfair attack.

    The lottery scheme was a worldwide success ranking sixth internationally in 1994 and seventh in 1995, Mr. Kokkalis said.

    He also said that the state earned 37 billion drachmas annually from the lottery and predicted that the state's profits for the next five years would total 170 billion drachmas.

    Former Finance Undersecretary Petros Doukas, who signed the original contract early in the 1990s under a different government, said that the agreement was in line with the state's interests. The agreement was later amended.

    The "Eleftherotypia" daily newspaper has carried allegations of foul play in the deal. Its publisher and executive editor declined to appear before the committee, citing ethical reasons.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] National Bank of Greece official urges corporate bonds

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Deputy Governor of National Bank of Greece, Nikos Karamouzis, yesterday urged the swift institutionalisation of corporate bonds along the lines of state securities.

    Tax rules would have to be changed in order to equalise a new corporate bond market with existing tax on state bonds, Mr. Karamouzis said.

    He was speaking on the final day of a conference on Greek financial markets organised by Delos Communications with FTSE International and the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The sponsors were National Bank of Greece and Sigma Securities.

    Among speakers at the conference were FTSE International's Managing Director Mark Makepeace; Paul Raphael, Managing Director of Investment Banking and Capital Markets at Merrill Lynch International; and Panayotis Gennimatas, Vice-President of the Europe an Investment Bank.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] EOT publication on ancient Greek theatres

    Athens 19/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) will publish a photographic album entitled "Greece-Cultural Heritage-Ancient Theatres" in eight languages.

    Interested parties must apply to EOT to specify the number of copies they want and the language they prefer - among English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Dutch and Greek.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] President Clerides receives AMAN delegations

    NICOSIA 19/06/1998 (ANA/CNA)

    President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides yesterday received the delegations that took part in the 7th General Assembly of the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN).

    The Assembly was held in Limassol this week, during which the Cyprus News Agency took over the presidency of the Alliance until June 1999.

    President Clerides briefed the delegates on the Cyprus problem and its latest developments and answered relevant questions.

    Earlier, the delegations visited Nicosia Mayor Lellos Demetriades and the demarcation line.

    The mayor told the delegates that "it is not an easy job to run a city that is divided".

    He told them the municipal authorities contacted the Turkish Cypriot side in 1977 "to see how we could make life easier" for the whole of Nicosia.

    He pointed out, however, that contacts have been broken off now, due to the obstacles posed by the occupation regime.

    Asked how cooperation between the two sides can work since the problem is political, Mr. Demetriades said that mayors are like "housewives" and leave the political decisions "up to their husbands".

    Athens News Agency

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