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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-09-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece reiterates it opposes formation of alliances and exes in region
  • [02] Greece to launch a derivatives market in 1999
  • [03] National Mortgage Bank chief expected to head Greek state telecom
  • [04] Greek stocks jump in thin trade lifted by markets abroad
  • [05] Greek economy, banking unscathed by Russian crisis fallout-banker
  • [06] Aspis Bank soars 99 pct in trading debut on Athens bourse
  • [07] Greenpeace activists released in brawl over toxic slag
  • [08] Hellenic Technodomiki to raise its share cap by Dr 15.4 bln
  • [09] Boutaris cites company upturn as reason for share jump
  • [10] 1998 state budget now has 175 bln dr. surplus
  • [11] Bonds auction of 10-year duration
  • [12] Tsohatzopoulos says Greek Air Force handles effectively Turkish violations in the Aegean
  • [13] Pangalos calls on Turkey to respect European values
  • [14] Greece, Iran, Armenia sign new memorandum of understanding
  • [15] Venizelos attends EU culture ministers meeting in Austria
  • [16] PM discusses 'society of citizens'
  • [17] Papandreou,Burns discuss prospects of US investments in Greece, situation in Balkans
  • [18] Papariga accuses PM of applying neo-liberal policy
  • [19] Mitsotakis delivers warning on EMU
  • [20] Greece,Bulgaria,Romania sign protocol in the fight cross-border crime
  • [21] Greece ratifies CoE protocol abolishing capital punishment
  • [22] Greece, Albania sign cooperation protocol
  • [23] Commandos to travel to Cyprus on mission of solidarity
  • [24] Cyprus economy doing well despite adverse condition on island, ambassador says
  • [25] Couple charged with child abuse

  • [01] Greece reiterates it opposes formation of alliances and exes in region

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday reiterated that it was opposed to the formation of alliances and axes in the region and called for multilateral cooperation.

    Referring to Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's official visit to Israel, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Athens welcomed assurances from Tel Aviv and Ankara that their bilateral cooperation was not directed at any third party.

    Mr. Reppas said however that "Greece maintains its reservations until this is proved in practice". Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai denied a report on Monday that visiting Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was seeking Israeli support if hostilities erupted with Greece over the stationing of missiles in Cyprus.

    Mr. Reppas said that the dangers of a destabilisation in the eastern Mediterranean region are real as long as the present situation of division and occupation remains on the island of Cyprus, responding to statements in Israel by Mr. Yilmaz that the dep loyment of Russian S-300 missiles by Nicosia on the island could bring about wider regional destabilisation.

    "It is the right and duty of the Cypriot government to defend Cyprus," Mr. Reppas said.

    He added that violations of Athens airspace yesterday by Turkish warplanes was "the sort of activity which indicates that Turkey does not want to contribute to defusing the situation but in fact provokes and attacks."

    Turning to a forthcoming visit by U.S. State Department coordinator on Cyprus Thomas Miller, who visited the region in August, Mr. Reppas said that he hoped Mr. Miller's visit would be "productive and constructive and would this time take into serious account the proposals of the Greek government".

    Since Mr. Miller's last visit, Mr. Reppas noted there had been some developments, including the recent proposal by the Turkish side for a confederation on Cyprus, a proposal rejected out of hand by both Greece and Cyprus.

    The U.S. position on this proposal, he added, was defined by accepting the 1977 and 1979 summit agreements and in the U.S.'s intention to find a resolution to the division of Cyprus on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    Tsohatzopoulos : National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said that the Turkish-Israeli cooperation in the form of an axis provokes reactions from all other countries of the region.

    The creation of the axis "is confirmed from the moment Turkey uses high Israeli technology to support its own unilateral claims against many nations in the region. This creates a problem, is a source of instability provoking a crisis and dangers for the region." Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said that the Turkish-Israeli cooperation should create concerns not only for the Israelis but for the international community since Turkey exploits the cooperation to promote its own ends in an unacceptable manner.

    Turkish jets infringe Athens FIR : Eleven formations of Turkish warplanes infringed the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and were immediately identified and intercepted by Greek jetfighters, defence ministry sources said yesterday.

    The sources said that 20 Turkish F-16s, four F-4s and two R-F4s (aerial photography planes) carried out 14 infringements of the Athens FIR over the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Lemnos and Samothraki.

    The Turkish aircraft were intercepted by Greek warplanes and, in seven cases, developed into aerial dogfights, the sources said.

    Earlier yesterday, a pair of Turkish aircraft were spotted by Greek radars and Greek airforce fighters took off to intercept them, the sources said.

    National airspace between Chios, Lesvos and Samos was violated on three occasions by two formations of Turkish aircraft later, defence ministry sources said.

    The two F-4s and two F-16s, all of which were unarmed, were intercepted by Greek air force fighters. In one instance, the interception developed into a dogfight.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greece to launch a derivatives market in 1999

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece is to widen the scope of its financial markets through a pilot operation beginning in January 1999 to launch derivatives trading.

    The Athens Derivatives Exchange SA (ADEX) is expected to begin full operations by the spring, the new market's chairman, Petros Alexakis, told a news conference yesterday.

    Initially, ADEX is expected to offer futures and options based on the FTSE/ASE-20 blue-chip index, currently in use at the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Later, the derivatives market will offer options on 10-year bonds, contracts on three-month Athibor interbank rates, options on equities, regional derivative products including the Balkans and Cyprus, and stock lending products.

    ADEX and the Athens Derivatives Exchange Clearing House (ADECH), a derivatives trading settlement firm, were set up in 1997 with separate equity capital totalling 11 billion drachmas.

    The Athens Stock Exchange holds a 35 percent stake in each company, with Greek banks owning 28 percent in ADEX and 30 percent in ADECH, brokerages 14 percent and 9.0 percent respectively, and institutional investors 7.0 and 4.4 percent respectively.

    InfoQuest, a Greek software company, in cooperation with the Stockholm Stock Exchange and ASYK, a subsidiary of the Athens bourse, are responsible for installing the market's electronic trading system, called OASIS.

    The system, ensuring speed and security of transactions, is being used in a number of foreign derivative markets including Sweden, Austria, Australia, Italy and Hong Kong. It will also be implemented in Toronto and Seoul.

    Mr. Alexakis said that the new derivatives market will soon begin a promotion programme offering investors detailed information on operation of the market.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] National Mortgage Bank chief expected to head Greek state telecom

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    The governor of state National Mortgage Bank of Greece, Vassilis Rapanos, is expected to become the new chairman of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

    Mr. Rapanos, an associate professor at Athens Economics University, told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday that he had accepted the appointment. His predecessor, Dimitris Papoulias, has resigned.

    Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis asked a parliamentary committee to begin endorsement procedures for Mr. Rapanos' appointment. The outcome will determine when he formally assumes the post.

    In a letter to the ministers of national economy and communications dated August 19, Mr. Papoulias said that he was returning to academia as he believed he had completed his task in his 30-month stint at OTE.

    The firm has carried out a costly investment programme to upgrade infrastructure since entering the Athens Stock Exchange. It has broken into new markets including mobile telephones and Internet services.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek stocks jump in thin trade lifted by markets abroad

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended sharply higher on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday reflecting an improved performance in international markets, but trade was thin. Traders said buying was focused on industrial blue chips, and that foreign institutional investo rs were seen returning into the market.

    The general index ended 2.51 percent higher at 2,180.35 points in turnover of 30.5 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 1.88 percent, Insurance soared 3.89 pct, Investment was 1.57 pct higher, Leasing increased 2.78 pct, Industrials jumped 3.78 pct, Construction rose 0.50 pct, Miscellaneous ended 2.12 pct up and Holding rose 2.16 p ct.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 2.12 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue-chip index ended 2.20 percent higher at 1,327.87.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 163 to 64 with another 21 issues unchanged.

    Aspis Bank, which made its trading debut, leapt 99 percent. The eight percent volatility limit does not apply to new listings.

    Papoutsanis, Bank of Athens, Hellenic Bottling, Aspis Invest, Keranis, Elmec Sport, Etma and Strintzis Lines scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Vis, Sportsman, Daring, Klaoudatos, Constantinidis, Britannia, Doudos, Eskimo, Gekat and Fintexport suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 41,200 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,100, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,200, Ionian Bank at 10,500, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,850, Delta Dairy at 3,325, Intracom at 10,785, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,710 and Titan Cement at 19,000.

    In the domestic foreign exchange market, the drachma was firmer against key foreign currencies, especially against the DMark and Ecu.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Greek economy, banking unscathed by Russian crisis fallout-banker

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's economy and banking system are unscarred by a political and financial crisis in Russia that has buffeted markets, governor Theodoros Karatzas of National Bank of Greece said yesterday.

    Speaking to reporters after briefing the prime minister on progress in the country's largest commercial bank, Mr. Karatzas said he was optimistic that normality would soon return to international markets.

    He counselled investors to be patient, calm and optimistic about the impact of the crisis on markets.

    Asked whether interest rates were likely to fall, Mr. Karatzas replied: "We'll see what happens".

    Shareholders of state-run National Bank of Greece, a blue chip on the Athens Stock Exchange, are due to hold a repeat assembly today to approve the absorption of National Mortgage Bank, its subsidiary.

    National Mortgage Bank's shareholders approved the merger plan on August 20.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Aspis Bank soars 99 pct in trading debut on Athens bourse

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Private Aspis Bank's share gained 99 percent in its first trading day on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday.

    The stock ended at 2,189 drachmas from a listing price of 1,100 drachmas.

    The bourse permits a newly-listed share to fluctuate freely in its first three days on the market. It imposes a daily 8.0 percent higher and lower volatility limit for other listed companies.

    Aspis Bank operates 13 branches and employs around 150 staff. Its shareholders' equity at the end of 1997 was 6.2 billion drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Greenpeace activists released in brawl over toxic slag

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Twelve Greenpeace environmental activists were released by coastguard authorities yesterday after a takeover of industrial loading facilities near Volos from which toxic slag was allegedly dumped into the sea off the island of Evia.

    The activists, who had occupied the unit belonging to Larco, a ferronickel producer, were not charged. They had sailed to the loading facility at the company's port near its Larymna factory aboard the Sirius, one of Greenpeace's ships.

    The public prosecutor ordered their removal from the port, which serves Larco's plant, on Monday night.

    Costas Dombros, a Greenpeace spokesman, told reporters: "We were not even asked to testify as to the motives of our actions and we were released".

    The activists had blocked loading operations by state-controlled Larco, an exporter whose main customers are Europe's main steelmakers.

    Greenpeace has accused the firm of allegedly unloading millions of tonnes of waste into the sea north of Evia, which had created a major ecological problem in the sea off Evia. The National Aquatic Research Centre has reportedly claimed that no problem exists.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Hellenic Technodomiki to raise its share cap by Dr 15.4 bln

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Hellenic Technodomiki SA, a listed engineering contractor, is to raise its share capital by 15.4 billion drachmas by issuing 11 million new common shares with a sale price of 1,400 drachmas per share.

    The firm said in a statement yesterday that the new capital would be used to buy a majority stake in TEB, another listed engineering contractor, and to exploit Technodomiki's real estate.

    Capital would be also used to finance the company's participation in major infrastructure projects in Greece, increasing turnover, and allowing expansion abroad. Equipment also would also be upgraded.

    The company wishes to take part in tenders for projects linked to the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted by Athens; and projects under the European Union's Third Community Support Framework funds.

    Technodomiki's board said that the purchase of TEB would create the country's largest construction group.

    The two companies have a 15.5 percent stake in two major projects; construction of the Rio-Antirrio bridge and the Attica ringroad.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Boutaris cites company upturn as reason for share jump

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Boutaris winemaker said yesterday that the company's improved performance linked to debt rescheduling and an upcoming share capital increase had led its stock to gain 117 percent on the Athens Stock Exchange since July 31.

    The Boutaris Group was replying to a query from the Athens Stock Exchange, which noted the common and preferred stock's meteoric rise despite a decline in the general index and market volatility.

    Boutaris plans to raise its share capital by 1.4 billion drachmas in the near future, and has converted its main short-term debt to banks into long- term, moves it told the bourse would improve its creditworthiness.

    In addition, the share's rise was due to successful sales of Mythos, the company's new beer, which sold well in the summer and consolidated its position in the domestic market, Boutaris said.

    The company had also carried out a restructuring to concentrate its activities into one firm, Boutaris Commercial SA, leading to a reduction in product sales and distribution costs.

    The firm said improved performance was reflected in first-half consolidated results.

    Finally, Metica Ltd told the bourse that voting rights and share capital it owned in Boutaris was 9.46 percent, or 574,510 common shares, from August 31, out of a total of 6,072,000 common shares.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] 1998 state budget now has 175 bln dr. surplus

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    The 1998 state budget now has a surplus amounting to 175 billion drachmas as a result of the considerable 18.2 per cent increase in state revenues in August.

    The surplus in revenues is expected to reach 200 billion drachmas at the end of the year and will facilitate the government's moves to go ahead, to the degree necessary, with an additional decrease in the special consumption tax on heating oil in autumn to secure a drop in inflation to 4.5 per cent at the end of the year.

    Finance Undersecretary George Drys, who publicised data on the course of revenues, clarified yesterday that the new budget will not anticipate new taxes and let it be understood that the main burden for a decrease in the deficit to meet the target set in 1999 will fall on curbing expenditures.

    He also said that the Finance Ministry is not examining neither an increase in the tax-free amount nor any scenarios concerning tax exemptions and benefits.

    Revenues received over the January to August period this year increased by 15.25 per cent compared to an annual target of 10.85 per cent anticipated in the budget.

    This difference results in a surplus of 175 billion drachmas, which was 140 billion drachmas until July.

    According to the data, the increase in revenues over the above period is primarily due to an increase in tax withheld from salaried services and as a result revenues from income tax increased by 24.19 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Bonds auction of 10-year duration

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    The Finance Ministry successfully carried out a bonds auction of a 10-year duration with the re-opening of the March 26, 1998 issue having a stable interest rate and amounting to 100 billion drachmas.

    Strong interest was shown from abroad which covered the amount issued 3.6 times, since bids amounting to 364.8 billion drachmas were submitted and of which bids totalling 115.3 billion drachmas were accepted.

    The average interest rate for the issue reached 8.26 per cent, while the average price for the bonds was 102.05, showing an upward trend.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Tsohatzopoulos says Greek Air Force handles effectively Turkish violations in the Aegean

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said there is no reason for concern over Turkish violations in the Aegean. Speaking in Corfu yesterday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that they were Turkey's usual reactions which wants to show in practice from time to time its dynamic presence in the Aegean, disputing airspaces between 6 and 10 miles. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that these violations are handled effectively by the Air Force.

    However, he said that these initiatives show a differentiation in Turkey's position. He said that lately Turkey is going ahead with a more unfavourable and more aggressive position against Greece and the Republic of Cyprus, trying to blackmail the Europ ean Union to extract a milder handling of its accession prospects. He went on to say that the defence adequacy of the Greek armed forces and Greece's seriousness and strength in the region do not allow Turkey to move at a more dangerous level than a tactical move aimed at satisfying its own targets.

    Replying to a question on how tension between the two countries can be eased, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "a serious and responsible government is necessary which will have the strength of its people. Unfortunately, I can not say this for the present T urkish government which is at the moment in a way subject to influence by the military which is substantively obliged to support it. Only when there will be a genuine expression of the people and a new government which will express the views and demands of the Turkish people will we be able to discuss substantively. And I hope we will find breakthroughs."

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Pangalos calls on Turkey to respect European values

    TEHRAN 09/09/1998 (ANA - A. Podimata)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday accused Turkey of being interested only in the economic aspect of its relations with the European Union and called on it to respect European values.

    "Turkey claims that it is a European nation, it wants to enter the European Union, but is interested only in the economic and funding aspects," Mr. Pangalos said during a joint press conference with Iranian and Armenian Foreign Ministers Kamal Kharrazi and Vartan Oskanian.

    He said that anyone who was "interested joining such families as that of the EU must learn to respect the values and responsibilities, which all the European countries have".

    Any such nation must respect human rights as well as the rights of minorities and to apply the rules of International Law, he added.

    Mr. Pangalos also said Turkey wants a Europe "a la carte".

    Mr. Pangalos reiterated that Greece supports the immediate resumption of talks for the resolution of the Cyprus problem and the application of all relevant United Nations decisions and resolutions.

    He added that "Turkey refuses dialogue and refuses to apply the resolutions of the UN, aspiring to keep the island divided and to retain its military presence there."

    Referring to Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Pangalos said that "when one creates a problem, one must show the way to its solution" while he stressed that Turkey has a "package" of territorial claims against Greece.

    Mr. Pangalos said that Turkish President Suleyman Demirel "recently claimed that Turkey inherited from the Ottoman Empire all islands, islets and rock- islets which it had under its sovereignty and were not named in treaties."

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Greece, Iran, Armenia sign new memorandum of understanding

    TEHRAN 09/09/1998 (ANA - A. Podimata)

    The second meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Iran and Armenia - Theodoros Pangalos, Kamal Kharrazi and Vartan Oskanian respectively - came to a close in Tehran yesterday with the signing of a new memorandum of unders tanding which constitutes a continuation of the one signed during the first tripartite ministerial meeting in Athens on December 22, 1997.

    Addressing a joint press conference afterwards, the three foreign ministers expressed satisfaction over progress achieved in all sectors of tripartite cooperation and over considerable work achieved by the four committees created after the first ministe rial meeting in Athens and which are the communications, tourist cooperation, industry and technology and economy and energy committees.

    The foreign ministers of Greece, Iran and Armenia agreed yesterday to extend their cooperation to other sectors and to create one more committee to preoccupy itself with environmental protection, health and the handling of industrial accidents and natur al disasters with the cooperation of corresponding national organisations from each country.

    The Iranian foreign minister stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation in the political sector with the purpose of promoting peace and stability in the region.

    Issues discussed included relations between Iran and Afghanistan (following the abduction of Iranian diplomats and a journalist from the Iranian consulate in Kabul), military cooperation between Israel and Turkey, the situation in Bosnia, the Kosovo cri sis and combatting terrorism.

    All three foreign ministers expressed strong reservations over military cooperation between Israel and Turkey. Mr. Kharrazi, who will meet Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in Tehran on Saturday, said that the main topic in talks concerns the worsening of relations with Afghanistan and the effort to locate and free the Iranians who have been abducted by the Taleban.

    "This does not mean that we do not have serious differences with Turkey," Mr. Kharrazi said, referring in particular to military cooperation between Israel and Turkey.

    Referring to the issue at Tehran airport, Mr. Pangalos said that the three countries look upon this agreement with great reservation, believing that it is a "military alliance" which does not honour international agreements and certainly does not help in improving the situation in the region.

    Mr. Pangalos held bilateral meetings with his Iranian and Armenian counterparts yesterday. Today, he will be meeting the first Deputy President of the Iranian government Dr Habibi and Iranian Parliament President Ali akbar Natek-Nouri.

    The three foreign ministers will also be received by the country's President Mohamad Hatami.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Venizelos attends EU culture ministers meeting in Austria

    VIENNA 09/09/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who is currently here to attend a three-day EU informal council of culture ministers in the Austrian city of Linz, told the Athens News Agency yesterday that funding by both national and EU budgets was the most important aspect in promoting Europe's cultural cooperation.

    The EU's new programme-framework for culture in 2000-2004 and its funding will be the main subject of discussions between the 15 culture ministers.

    On the sidelines of the meeting, Mr. Venizelos will also discuss issues relating to the organisation of the Euromediterranean Conference of Culture Ministers, to take place on Rhodes, Sep. 25.

    Mr. Venizelos, at the close of the meeting, along with his EU counterparts, will watch the perfomance of Mikis Theodorakis' "Canto General", which is the highlight of the European Cultural Month, organised this year in Linz.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] PM discusses 'society of citizens'

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Ruling socialist PASOK party State Deputy and the head of the "Network for the Centre-Left" Paraskevas Paraskevopoulos discussed with Prime Minister Costas Simitis an assumption of initiatives addressing the "society of citizens."

    In a statement after meeting Mr. Simitis yesterday, Mr. Paraskevopoulos said that the initiatives to be assumed will be directed at radical opinion movements and sensitivity movements on issues preoccupying wider forces of society and which exceed parti san limits.

    He said that it will be an effort to upgrade the role of citizens with participation and activities in wider issues such as Economic and Monetary Union and European orientation.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Papandreou,Burns discuss prospects of US investments in Greece, situation in Balkans

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns discussed relations between Greece and the US, the situation in the Balkans and the investment climate prevailing in Greece at the Foreign Ministry yesterday.

    Mr. Papandreou said afterwards that he and Mr. Burns discussed issues concerning the prospects of American investments in Greece and the wider Balkan region, as well as joint investments in this region by Greece and the US. They also discussed issues re garding the Thessaloniki International Fair.

    On his part, Mr. Burns said that he briefed Mr. Papandreou on the participation of American companies in the TIF.

    Mr. Burns said that "for a long time American companies abstained (from investments in Greece), but the Greek economy is being enlarged, restructured and modernised and therefore it is a very good place for Americans to invest."

    Mr. Burns added that other issues were also discussed concerning bilateral relations and concluded by saying that Greece and the US are working together very productively.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Papariga accuses PM of applying neo-liberal policy

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga accused Prime minister Costas Simitis of applying a neo-liberal policy, adding that from the podium of the 63rd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Mr. Simitis announced a policy of "continuous poverty."

    Speaking to reporters on arrival at Macedonia airport in Thessaloniki yesterday, Ms. Papariga said that the prime minister's speech was "clearly neo-liberal" and that it contained no announcement except for "some crumbs in the form of charity."

    Ms. Papariga further said that "it is an affront to pensioners and the unemployed for the prime minister to believe that he can buy off their conscience with a few crumbs."

    She was due to tour the TIF's pavilions yesterday afternoon and meet with HELEXPO's administration and employees' representatives.

    Among others, Ms. Papariga will give a press conference at noon today and address a party rally in the Evosmos region in the evening.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Mitsotakis delivers warning on EMU

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Former Prime Minister and main opposition New Democracy party Honourary President Constantine Mitsotakis warned yesterday that "in the wake of latest developments in the world economy, the possibility of Greece staying outside Economic and Monetary Union is looming menacingly."

    "Joining the EMU unprepared, with political conditions and on consent is certainly a better solution than staying outside," he said.

    Mr. Mitsotakis said that the opposition must realise the dangers of our possible failure to join the EMU and called on it not to pursue "narrow partisan interests, particularly at this period."

    He said that his criticism of Prime Minister Costas Simitis is "political" and not "personal" in pointing out that "the structural changes are being delayed, denationalisations are not taking place and the state's first- stage expenditures, as a percenta ge of GDP, are increasing in past years instead of decreasing."

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Greece,Bulgaria,Romania sign protocol in the fight cross-border crime

    SOFIA 09/09/1998 (ANA/B.Borisov)

    A protocol of close cooperation in the fight against cross-border crime in the region of the Balkans was signed yesterday here by the public order minister of Greece, George Romeos, and by the interior ministers of Bulgaria, Bogmi l Bonev and of Romania, Gavril Dezeu.

    "The citizens of all the countries regard security as an ultimate good. It is our obligation to provide it to them", Mr. Romeos said during a press conference after the signing.

    Expressing his satisfaction at the signing of the cooperation protocol, the Greek minister said that the course to be followed from now on will prove the three governments will to fight organised crime.

    The protocol envisages the implementation of a system and exchange of information to prevent and investigate into different forms of organised crime, terrorism, as well as production and trafficking of illicit drugs, an announcement of the Bulgarian int erior ministry said.

    It added that the protocol also provided for cooperation between the three countries in the fight against arms smuggling, money laundering and illegal financial operations and theft of cultural property.

    Last March, the three ministers had signed a cooperation agreement in Thessaloniki.

    Greece, the only European Union member in the Balkans, pledged to assist Bulgaria and Romania in improving border controls to EU standards, as both countries aspire to join the union.

    The protocol is due to be ratified by the parliaments of the three countries.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Greece ratifies CoE protocol abolishing capital punishment

    STRASBURG 09/09/1998 (ANA/AFP)

    Greece ratified yesterday a protocol of the Council of Europe (CoE) Treaty on Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, which abolishes capital punis hment.

    The signing of the protocol, to go into effect on Oct. 1, means the formalisation of what has been approved of long ago. The abolition of the death penalty had been ratified by the Greek parliament in 1993.

    The last execution in the country had taken place in 1973.

    So far, 32 out of the 40 member-states of the CoE have abolished the death penalty, while protocols have been signed and moratoriums implemented by the remaining eight, including Belgium, Russia and Turkey.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Greece, Albania sign cooperation protocol

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece and Albania yesterday signed a protocol of cooperation aimed at providing Greek support to Albania in its efforts to join European and Atlantic organisations. The protocol, the first ever concluded by the Albanian government with a European

    Union country, was signed in Athens by Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Albanian counterpart, Ilir Meta.

    Mr. Meta told reporters later that the situation in Kosovo had been on the agenda of his talks with Mr. Papandreou.

    "Our thoughts are that there must be greater activity from the international community for a political and peaceful resolution in the region," he said.

    Regional cooperation has great significance for progress, Mr. Papandreou said, adding that Greece and Albania were working closely in the framework of this cooperation for regional stability.

    "We agreed on the need for solutions to be found through a dialogue, peaceful processes to ensure peace and cooperation between peoples of all the region," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Commandos to travel to Cyprus on mission of solidarity

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Eight rubber dinghies carrying 40 reserves commandos will travel to Cyprus for the second consecutive year, crossing the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean, on a mission of solidarity to the people of Cyprus. The message they will convey is that "Cyprus is near and freedom is not negotiable."

    The dinghies will leave the Floisvos area at 1 p.m. tomorrow after a ceremony is held for the delivery of the sacred flame from the Marathon Memorial to be taken to Cyprus.

    They will pass from rocky islets and the islands of Naxos, Rhodes, Castellorizo and Samos before arriving in Cyprus.

    The whole undertaking will be under the aegis of the Municipality of Athens and has the support of the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrisostomos and the defence ministries of Greece and Cyprus.

    "We are travelling to strengthen the fighting spirit of our Cypriot brothers, particularly now that conditions are adverse," the leader of the mission Alekos Kontos told reporters. The mission will be named "Kimon '98."

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Cyprus economy doing well despite adverse condition on island, ambassador says

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    Cypriot ambassador to Greece Christodoulos Pasiardis said yesterday from Thessaloniki that Cyprus is "on the one hand struggling to build a better future, while on the other striving to save its people and the place".

    The Cypriot ambassador, who was speaking during a press conference on the occasion of Cyprus' participation at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), used these words to describe his country's struggle on two fronts, to deal with continuing Turkish threats and the challenge of accession to the European Union.

    Despite the adverse condition on the island republic, however, the economy appears to be doing well, according to data given by the Cypriot embassy's commercial attache Andreas Nikolaou during the press conference.

    Presenting the dynamic growth of Cypriot economy which was currently at the four per cent mark, Mr. Nikolaou said the annual per capita income on the island was US$15,000, an amount that was higher than the equivalent figure in half the European Union member-states.

    The inflation rate in 1997 closed at 3.5 per cent, but showed easing signs in the current year. Mr. Nikolaou also compared Cyprus' minimal unemployment to the EU's current 11 per cent.

    The Cypriot official referred extensively to two important investments by Greek and Cypriot entrepreneurs in the framework of joint activities in Balkan markets.

    One of the ventures regards the establishment of a wholesale centre in Alexandoupolis, which has already been approved and is expected to be in operation in about one and a half years.

    A second similar centre, to be ready around the same time, will be built in the Promahonas region, within a free zone in the Greek-Bulgarian borderline.

    Both centres will supply duty-free products, while buyers from Balkan markets will have free access.

    Greek exports to Cyprus in 1997 amounted to 136 million Cyprus pounds, and Cypriot imports to Greece to 17 million Cyprus pounds.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Couple charged with child abuse

    Athens 09/09/1998 (ANA)

    A Greek couple were charged with child abuse and illegal detention yesterday after police found their three children living in "horrific conditions".

    Alerted by neighbours, police raided what they described as "a shack" in the Athens suburb of Petroupolis.

    They found two boys, aged 16 and 14, and a girl, aged 10, weak from hunger, unwashed and bearing signs of physical abuse. They were immediately transferred to the Children's Hospital for treatment.

    Police said the three children had been forced to lie on their beds for extremely long periods of time, even when they needed to relieve themselves.

    The children were virtual prisoners in the shack, police said, with padlocks having been placed on windows and doors.

    The children's parents, Panayiotis Yiannakoudis, 41, and his wife Christina, 36, were unable to adequately explain their actions when they were brought before the prosecutor.

    Sources said the couple suffered from severe mental problems. They will most likely be examined by a medical expert assigned by the Juvenile Court to determine whether their children may remain with them or be taken into care.

    The couple will face court on Friday, after they asked for and received three days to prepare their defence.

    Athens News Agency

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