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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-09-16

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] Situation in Albania improving,border forces on alert
  • [02] Gov't to allow for market turmoil in 1999 budget, lower deficit goal
  • [03] Kranidiotis: Cyprus will not burden economically the EU
  • [04] Simitis, Arsenis visit Galatsi high school
  • [05] Pangalos arrives in New York
  • [06] Finnish President Ahtisaari meets with Kaklamanis, Avramopoulos
  • [07] Trolley, subway drivers work stoppage
  • [08] US ambassador reiterates view over Greek sovereignty of Fournoi
  • [09] FBI director to visit Greece
  • [10] Greek-Bulgarian cooperation in police, customs sectors
  • [11] British defence secretary promotes overflights moratorium for Cyprus
  • [12] Opposition walks out of Parliament debate on subscriber TV
  • [13] Gas turbine begins operation at Lavrion
  • [14] Stet Hellas SA seeks bourse entry
  • [15] EU's Kinnock arrives in Athens tomorrow
  • [16] Greek stocks drop on profit-taking, lack of buying interest
  • [17] Rate drops to 12.27 pct in 6M T-bill auction
  • [18] State media to undergo cost-cutting overhaul
  • [19] Rail company launches container service to Thessaloniki
  • [20] Alexandroupoli to host Mediterranean economy conference
  • [21] More natural gas for Attica power stations
  • [22] Gov't releases funds for major highway, flood prevention works

  • [01] Situation in Albania improving,border forces on alert

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    The situation in Albania appeared to improve yesterday following the latest political turmoil and if this trend continues the crisis might be totally defused, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said Greece's armed forces were in a state of advanced readiness, although he noted that there were no indications of a wave of refugees fleeing Albania into Greece.

    There were also no indications that the ethnic Greek community was in any danger, he added.

    Meanwhile, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who was visiting military installations in northern Greece, said that the Greek peacekeeping force is not just secure but is also safeguarding stability and security along with other delegations and inter national organisations.

    He added that this is an unfavorable moment in the development of Albania and underlined that for a year both the international community and Greece have attempted to systematically support in a political and technical level the strengthening of democracy.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also said that the international public opinion must be mobilised to defend democracy.

    Finally, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos accepted main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis' request for a briefing, to take place today, on developments in Albania.

    In addition, Mr. Reppas, referring to reports that one-time Albanian president Sali Berisha had called on Greece and Prime Minister Costas Simitis "not to get involved", emphasised that the prime minister had no involvement whatsoever in the internal af fairs of Albania.

    The news agency AFP reported that Mr. Berisha charged that Albanian police were using Greek police patrol cars, alleging that Athens was involving itself in the crisis.

    Greek police have donated two jeeps, 20 motorcycles and eight patrol cars to Albania after a bilateral agreement on June 19. The vehicles were to be used by the Albanian police in policing the Greek-Albanian border.

    Nano : In a related development, Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, in a televised address, stated that he will not resign and that the "coup de etat organised by Sali Berisha and his armed group failed..."

    Mr. Nano stressed that "the forces of order will hit crime without mercy...no government, which was elected by free and democratic elections, can accept an ultimatum from a terrorist group."

    Anastasios : Archbishop of Tirana and All Albania yesterday called for cool- headedness and self-restraint so as to overcome the crisis in Albania, while he underlined the need for respect for democratic procedures.

    He added that the "feelings of revenge darken the mind and lead to a bloody cycle. It is unfair for the Albanian people to be destroyed once again in just a few years."

    On his part, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said the latest crisis in Albania is an "exceedingly unfortunate development for the entire region, particularly Greece."

    Speaking to reporters after meeting with visiting Finnish President Matti Ahtisaari, Mr. Kaklamanis said Athens desired normality and democratic order in the neighbouring country, adding that the latest reports from Tirana were optimistic.

    Greece is doing all it can "so that there are no adverse effects on the Greek minority in Albania or on the Greek people living near the Albanian border," he added.

    Local official released : In a related development, kidnappers released southern local government official Yanni Dakos, whom they had abducted recently along with his nephew.

    An ANA dispatch from Ioannina reported that the two men were in good health, although Mr. Dakos had received several blows to the head and body.

    Reports of gunfire : Officials at the Kakavia border post on the Greek- Albanian border reported hearing gunfire and occasional explosions coming from the Albanian side, an earlier ANA dispatch from Ioannina reported.

    A number of Albanians - mostly women and children - passed through the post to Greece yesterday, but officials said the number was far less than expected.

    They added that this was so probably due to reports that armed men have set up roadblocks on roads into Kakavia to rob those fleeing the violence.

    Meanwhile, two Albanians - a police official and an employee of the defence ministry - injured in Monday's riots in Tirana were transported to the Ioannina Hospital for treatment.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Gov't to allow for market turmoil in 1999 budget, lower deficit goal

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday that turmoil in world markets stemming from Russia's political crisis had forced the government to introduce a contingency fund into its 1999 budget, lowering the deficit target.

    The budget will contain a provision of 200 billion drachmas, which had not been planned before the crisis, in order to meet contingencies arising from any market turbulence, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    The extra amount would bring 1999's budget deficit target lower than the 2.4 per cent of GDP originally planned, he said.

    In addition, the contingency fund would be amassed through cuts in spending, while no new taxes would be introduced, as the government has already promised.

    Mr. Papantoniou was speaking after chairing a meeting on implementation of this year's budget and formulation of the 1999 budget.

    The meeting was attended by Deputy Finance Ministers George Dys and Nikos Christodoulakis, and Deputy National Economy Ministers Christos Pachtas and Alekos Baltas.

    According to government sources, the officials discussed curbs on spending, which has exceeded budgetary targets. At the same time, revenue showed a surplus of 170 billion drachmas in January-August.

    The budget for 1999 would aim at cuts in public spending, the sources said.

    Mr. Pachtas told reporters that 1999's public investment programme would total 2.2 trillion drachmas from 1.96 trillion in 1998.

    He said that this year priority would be given to spending on projects co- financed by the European Union, and that funding would be tight for other projects.

    Reactions : In a related announcement, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) criticised the statement by Mr. Papantoniou regarding the 1999 state budget.

    KKE said the government's announcement means "that the consequences of the crisis of capitalism will be paid by the working people, while the plutocracy will gain."

    KKE added that "the already hacked social expenditures will be curbed" and that "in the event of unforeseen developments the economic oligarchy will be subsidised again to support its profits."

    On its part, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) criticised the government.

    Synaspismos said that the "difficult years have no end and that the citizens feel towards government announcements that they are viewers of the same film."

    The party added that once again the victims are salaried people, pensioners, health, social care and the public investment programme.

    In a similar announcement, the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) spoke of an unfair restrictive economic policy by the government, which has no substantive result for the Greek economy and society.

    DHKKI said that with its insistence not to adjust tax-free amounts and taxation scales, the government is in essence calling on the usual "tax pack animals", namely, salaried people, pensioners and in general the underprivileged Greeks to shoulder new social burdens.

    At the same time, it added, an official report by the European Union's statistical service shows the gap separating "the few rich from the many poor in our country."

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Kranidiotis: Cyprus will not burden economically the EU

    NICOSIA 16/09/1998 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday that Cyprus will not create very high expenditures for the European Union's budget after accession. Addressing the Development Bank's general assembly here on the iss ue of "The Prospects of Europe: Greece and Cyprus, a Dynamic and Supplementary Relation", Mr. Kranidiotis said that whatever expenditures will be channelled in their largest part in the northern part of Cyprus, being the less developed. He said that for Cyprus to obtain economic benefits, it will go ahead quickly and systematically with the adjustment of the economy to the facts and claims of the big united market of Economic Monetary Union.

    Mr. Kranidiotis added that Europe, Greece and Cyprus are faced with new prospects, opportunities and challenges on the threshold of the 21st century since the global system, as he said, appears to lack institutional bases of stability, the European Union with the establishment of EMU and enlargement is emerging as the exclusice factor of stability.

    The participation of Greece and Cyprus in this system means an extension of the system in the wider region of the Mediterranean and Balkans.

    The performances of the Greek economy, despite whatever problems, are positive and allow for the realistic assessment that the country will be the 12th member of the unified currency euro in the year 2001. With its accession to the euro, Greece will have fulfilled a basic policy target and will have irrevocably safeguarded its position in the new European system as a full and equal member.

    Enlargement with Cyprus and the countries of eastern Europe constitutes the other great challenge for the EU. The accession of Cyprus to the EU will constitute a catalytical event, both politically and economically for the island.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Simitis, Arsenis visit Galatsi high school

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Just a few days after the beginning of the school year, Prime Minister Costas Simitis paid a visit yesterday to the 4th high school in the near Athens district of Galatsi for a first-hand discussion with students, teachers and parents.

    Mr. Simitis was accompanied by Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, as well as Education Undersecretary Yiannis Anthopoulos and Undersecretary to the PM's office George Paschalidis.

    "We have embarked on a major effort to reform the educational system...for in the new era, knowledge takes on an increasingly important roleIwe are establishing an educational process which enables students to adjust to the world of knowledge, take initia tives and develop a critical way of thinking," Mr. Simitis told students.

    Mr. Arsenis' talks with the school audience focused on the method of entry to tertiary education.

    A student representative asked for the state's constant attention and support, while teachers noted that text books needed improvement.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Pangalos arrives in New York

    NEW YORK 16/09/1998 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos arrived here yesterday afternoon to attend the 53rd General Assembly of the United Nations.

    On the sidelines of the meeting, Mr. Pangalos will have contacts with foreign diplomats and EU member-states' representatives. His schedule, apart from a speech at Columbia University, includes meetings with leading members of the Greek-American community, as well as with Archbishop of America Spyridon.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Finnish President Ahtisaari meets with Kaklamanis, Avramopoulos

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday received visiting Finnish President Matti Ahtisaari, citing the excellent level of relations between the parliaments of the two countries. Mr. Ahtisaari expressed his satisfaction over the close cooperat ion between the parliaments of Greece and Finland and noted that he discussed with Mr. Kaklamanis ways "to make the people, and especially the youth, interested in day-to-day issues and politics." He also stressed the need for the strengthening national parliaments' role and European intergration. The Finnish president also noted that the international community must support the effort for a just solution to the Cyprus problem.

    On his part, Mr. Kaklamanis expressed the hope that Cyprus' accession talks will be concluded by the time Finland assumes the presidency of the European Union in 1999.

    Finally, Mr. Kaklamanis underlined that it is necessary for the international community to follow a mutual course so as to reconstitute the territorial integrety of Cyprus.

    Afterwards, Mr. Ahtisaari was bestowed the golden key of the city of Athens during a ceremony at the Athens Town Hall.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Trolley, subway drivers work stoppage

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Trolley bus employees (ILPAP) will call a work stoppage from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, while ISAP employees (subway and green buses) will hold a work stoppage from 12 noon until the end of the day. The union of employees of the Athens Urban Transport Orga nisation (OASA blue buses) issued an announcement yesterday stating that it will not participate in the mobilisation.
    Athens News Agency

    [08] US ambassador reiterates view over Greek sovereignty of Fournoi

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns reiterated yesterday that the Fournoi islands in the eastern Aegean are unequivocally Greek. "The islands are inhabited by Greeks and it is common knowledge that they are Greek," Mr. Burns said, during a visit to Samos. He was responding to a reporters' question about Turkish claims over Fournoi and three other Greek islets earlier this year.

    Ankara disputed Athens' sovereignty of four islands during a meeting on March 26 in the Turkish capital between a Greek embassy diplomat and a Turkish foreign ministry official. During the course of the meeting, called so Athens could lodge a formal pro test with Ankara about violations of Greek airspace by Turkish aircraft, the Turkish official raised the issue of Greek military helicopters landing on five islands in the region, which he referred to by using Turkish names.

    The Greek diplomat asked if he was implying whether the islands in question were Turkish, only to receive the reply that they had Turkish names.

    It turned out that four of the islands were in fact Greek, inhabited by Greek citizens and part of Greece by virtue of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) and the Treaty of Paris (1947).

    Athens News Agency

    [09] FBI director to visit Greece

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Louis Freeh, will begin a two-day visit to Greece on Thursday, the US embassy in Athens stated. Mr. Freeh, who is currently on an official European tour,will have talks on issues of mutual inter est with Greek government officials heading law enforcement. Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday inaugurated a new military camp at the Tyhero site, Evros prefecture. In his address, the minister said that the Greek armed forces are changing, becoming more flexible and effective through advanced equipment and training. Interest rates achieved a considerable downward trend during yesterday's auction for treasury bills of a six-month duration and amounting to 60 billion drachmas. Bids were made by banks (the so-called main market negotiators) amounting to 138 billion dra chmas, meaning more than double the amount requested.
    Athens News Agency

    [10] Greek-Bulgarian cooperation in police, customs sectors

    SOFIA 16/09/1998 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    An agreement in principle exists between the prime ministers of Greece and Bulgaria, Costas Simitis and Ivan Kostov, respectively, for bilateral cooperation by police and customs authorities for passengers and commercial transpo rters crossing from future new checkpoints on the Greek-Bulgarian border.

    Additionally, the finance ministries of the two countries are cooperating in cracking down on gangs of smugglers.

    According to the Bulgarian news agency BTA, this was stated by Mr. Kostov after his meeting with the US State Department's adviser on issues of southeastern Europe Richard Shifter and the presidium of the Coordinating Business Council (SES) and the Init iative on Economic Cooperation in Southeastern Europe SECI, known as the "Shifter plan", in Sofia yesterday.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with the Bulgarian government's Deputy Prime Minister Yevgeni Bakarjiev, Mr. Shifter said that a great deal has been done over the past year and a half on progress in cooperation between countries in the region in the framework of the SECI initiative.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] British defence secretary promotes overflights moratorium for Cyprus

    ANKARA 16/09/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    British Defence Secretary George Robertson said that he will request with "emphasis from the Turkish government to examine the idea of a moratorium" for military overflights in Cyprus, adding that he will discuss the same is sue with the Greek government today.

    The British secretary is paying an official visit to Ankara at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Ismet Sezgin.

    Commenting on the possible deployment of the Russian-made S-300 anti- aircraft system on Cyprus, he said that "we believe that it is something that would be better not to happen because it will add tension to an already tense region in the world."

    Mr. Robertson held talks yesterday with the Turkish defence minister, the Turkish foreign minister and members of the Turkish general staff.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Opposition walks out of Parliament debate on subscriber TV

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament's opposition parties walked out of the legislature's summer session last night during debate on a bill regarding the provision of subscriber radio and television services.

    Earlier, a main opposition New Democracy party objection to the bill's discussion during the summer session as inappropriate was rejected in a show-of-hands vote.

    Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas accused ND of avoiding to take part in the debate because of a lack of positions and proposals.

    He recalled that Parliament's scientific committee had given its approval for the bill's discussion in the summer session.

    Mr. Reppas further said that the bill had been forwarded to oppostion parties two months ago but his ministry had received no reply.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Gas turbine begins operation at Lavrion

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    The first gas turbine at the larger Lavrion power station has begun operation with natural gas following the successful operation of the combined natural gas circle station of the smaller Lavrion station, having a capacity of 180 MW.

    The remaining two gas turbines as well as the station's steam turbine, having a total capacity of 570 MW, will become operational over the next few months.

    A capacity of 1110 MW is being additionally supplied for the Attica area with the operation of natural gas stations in this sensitive region. Namely, the 8 and 9 Keratsini units, having a capacity of 360 MW, smaller Lavrion having a capacity of 180 MW a nd larger Lavrion having a capacity of 570 MW.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Stet Hellas SA seeks bourse entry

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Stet Hellas SA, one of two private companies that launched the mobile phone market in Greece, yesterday applied to join the main market of the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The company, whose mobile operation is known as Telestet, will also seek to enter shares in the bourse that are already listed on European stock exchanges.

    The company's adviser for entry is Sigma Securities.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] EU's Kinnock arrives in Athens tomorrow

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    European Union Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock will begin an official two-day visit to Greece tomorrow.

    Mr. Kinnock is due to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis and Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis.

    He will also meet representatives of the Union of Greek Shipowners and Union of Passenger Shipowners.

    In addition, the commissioner will tour the site of a new international airport being built for Athens at Spata, and meet informally with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Greek stocks drop on profit-taking, lack of buying interest

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities changed direction to end lower on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday reflecting a lack of fresh buying incentives in the market.

    The general index ended 1.19 percent down at 2,198.62 points, reversing an early jump of more than 1.0 percent scotched by profit-takers elbowing into the market.

    Trading, otherwise light, was bolstered to 60.9 billion drachmas by block trades in Bank of Central Greece and Heracles Cement, worth 25 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices ended mixed. Banks fell 1.24 percent, Insurance eased 0.89 percent, Investment ended 1.10 percent off, Leasing jumped 4.39 percent, Industrials fell 1.32 percent, Construction ended 0.61 percent down, Miscellaneous fell 0.18 percent and H olding rose 0.62 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.60 percent off, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index dropped 1.38 percent to 1,332.96.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 157 to 86 with another 17 issues unchanged.

    Xylemboria, Loulis, Klaoudatos, Dane Sea Line, Mailis, ETBA Leasing, Tasoglou and Macedonian Plastics scored the biggest percentage gains.

    Suffering the heaviest losses were Keranis, Boutaris, Zampa, Epiphania, Eltrak, Hellenic Mills and Eskimo.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 40,515 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,800, Ionian Bank at 10,450, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,760, Delta Dairy at 3,165, Intracom at 11,900, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,645 and Titan Cement at 18,610 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Rate drops to 12.27 pct in 6M T-bill auction

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Interest rates dropped in an auction of six-month treasury bills held yesterday by the finance ministry for paper worth 60 billion drachmas.

    Bids submitted by the domestic market's primary dealers totalled 138 billion, and the average weighted rate fell to 12.27 percent, sharply lower than 13.20 percent in the previous auction.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] State media to undergo cost-cutting overhaul

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greek Radio and Television S.A. (ERT) plans to slash spending by reducing staff numbers through an early retirement scheme as part of a business plan for 1998-2003, which was released yesterday.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou, Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas, and ERT officials said after signing a management contract for the plan that the overhaul would ensure profitability and enable the firm to compete with the private sector.

    The business plan, which should produce net pre-tax profits of 17.485 billion in 2003 from 2.5 billion in 1998-99, aims to improve day-to-day operations but avoid redundancies. Workers have accepted the early retirement scheme.

    Spending on wages is to drop by 11 percent in 2000, 5.1 percent in 2001, 1.8 percent in 2002 and 7.6 percent in 2003; against a rise of 8.4 percent in 1998-1999.

    The plan targets a job growth rate of nil in 1998-99, and declines of 7.0 percent in 2000, 4.0 percent in 2001 and again 4.0 percent in 2002. In 2003 employment will be frozen.

    Under the plan, management aims to change industrial relations in order to boost productivity, decentralise operations for regional radio stations, and upgrade marketing strategies aimed at attracting advertisers.

    Mr. Papantoniou said the government hoped to sign management contracts with urban transport organisations, Hellenic Aerospace Industry and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation within the month.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Rail company launches container service to Thessaloniki

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) is to launch a new non-stop service for containers between Athens and Thessaloniki on October 1, it said in a statement yesterday.

    The once daily train will only carry containers and is to link Aghioi Anaryiri station in Attica with Thessaloniki station, itself a link to the Balkans and the rest of Europe.

    "This new rail link will save time, and improve the quality and security of container services. The charges are competitively low," state-owned OSE said in the statement.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Alexandroupoli to host Mediterranean economy conference

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Government officials, diplomats and business representatives from 76 states in the Balkans, Mediterranean and Black Sea are expected to attend a conference on Mediterranean cooperation and economic development to be held on October 22-25 in Alexandroupoli , northern Greece.

    The conference on the prospects for a new economic area after 2000 is organised by the Institute of Mediterranean Cooperation with the support of the European parliament, European Investment Bank, Institute for Mediterranean Studies and local authorities.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, also chairman of the conference's organising committee, noted the need for economic cooperation among Balkan, Mediterranean and Black Sea states accompanied by closer links in culture and education.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] More natural gas for Attica power stations

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's Public Power Corporation, the state electricity utility, yesterday announced the phased start of operations for a station in Lavrio, 60 kilometres south of Athens, powered by natural gas.

    When the introduction of natural gas is completed at Lavrio in coming months, capacity for Attica will rise by 570 MegaWatts.

    The natural gas power project for Attica including other stations aims to improve the stability and capacity of the power grid network, avoiding the risk of power cuts.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Gov't releases funds for major highway, flood prevention works

    Athens 16/09/1998 (ANA)

    The public works ministry yesterday endorsed the release of 9.7 billion drachmas to tender a section of a major highway linking Patras, Athens and Thessaloniki to the Evzoni border post, along with small flood prevention projects around the country.

    The road building project, budgeted at 8.0 billion drachmas, involves the completion of a junction and road links from Patras' bypass to nearby motorways.

    Athens News Agency

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