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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-02-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Simitis: No gov't intention to sell majority stake in OTE
  • [02] Nation's foreign currency reserves jump to Dr 21.6 bln
  • [03] Commercial Bank to seek binding offers in Ionian privatisation
  • [04] Stocks end down in profit-taking, Ionian rumours
  • [05] T-bill rates plunge in heavy demand
  • [06] Hellenic-British Chamber holds finance seminar
  • [07] Goody's, Olympic Catering may join forces for 2004 Olympics
  • [08] Germanos Group sues Unifon for Dr 41 bln
  • [09] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [10] Gov't condemns bomb attack near Turkish consulate
  • [11] Turkish reply
  • [12] Gov't on S-300 installation in Crete
  • [13] Greek MPs voice support for Ocalan
  • [14] Dayton agreements,Kosovo the focus of Pangalos' talks in Belgrade
  • [15] Deputy Defence Minister Apostolakis predicts `transitional period` for region
  • [16] Greek-US sports protocol signed
  • [17] Parliament discussion begins on Treaty of Amsterdam
  • [18] Harrier eagle protection programme
  • [19] Archbishop of America Spyridon arrives in Athens
  • [20] First step towards hotel 'star' system taken
  • [21] Int'l food, beverage fair opens tomorrow
  • [22] Contract with Canadian firm for Thessaloniki metro coaches

  • [01] Simitis: No gov't intention to sell majority stake in OTE

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that the government did not intend to sell a majority stake in the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to private investors, although he noted that some changes may be made in the future to make the state-run telecoms utility more competitive.

    The premier was speaking to reporters after a lengthy meeting with OTE's board at the organisation's headquarters.

    Expressing the view that OTE was successfully operating in the face of international competition, Simitis referred to the organisation's major investments in Romania, Serbia and Armenia.

    He congratulated OTE management and employees, saying they had made a major contribution to the organisation's development.

    Commenting on an upcoming fourth sale of OTE shares, a 10 per cent package which will increase the private sector's stake to 45 per cent, the PM said the government was trying to considerably reduce the state's participation in such enterprises.

    He also observed that with current technology, new subscribers could have a telephone line in a matter of five days, while this waiting time will drop to three days with full digitisation of OTE's switchers.

    He further underlined OTE's new services with emphasis on the number 1502, a telphone service for the issue and delivery of birth certificates, police records and other official documents.

    Asked about developments in the government's privatisation programme, the PM said attempts were made amid full transparency, quoting as an example Ionian Bank and saying: "I believe we are on the right track."

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Nation's foreign currency reserves jump to Dr 21.6 bln

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    The country's foreign currency reserves on January 31 were 21.6 billion dollars, sharply higher than 18.2 billion dollars on December 31, the Bank of Greece said in a statement yesterday.

    January's inflows of 3.4 billion dollars reflected interest by investors abroad in domestic bonds and stocks, and therefore their confidence in the economy, economists said.

    Current account shows 221 mln dollar surplus in Jul-Aug 1998 : The current account showed a surplus of 221 million dollars in July-August 1998 against a deficit of 720.8 million dollars in the same period of 1997, the Bank of Greece said in a statement yesterday. The central bank attributed the improvement to a decl ine in the trade deficit, a rise in European Union inflows and an increase in foreign currency from tourism. The trade deficit in July-August was 2.538 billion dollars, declining by 11.1 percent against the same period of 1997.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Commercial Bank to seek binding offers in Ionian privatisation

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    State-owned Commercial Bank of Greece is to invite binding offers next week in an international tender to privatise its subsidiary, Ionian Bank. Commercial's financial adviser, JP Morgan, said in a statement yesterday that the call for potential bidders would be published in the week beginning February 15. The deadline for non-binding offers in Ionian's 51 percent privatisation was on Monday, ending the first phase of the sale. The bidders' names were not released. Expected to take part in the tender were Alpha Credit Bank, EFG Eurobank with Ergobank, and the Bank of Piraeus Group. The first attempted sale of Ionian fell flat when the bids offered were considered to be too low. The sale is central to the government's wide-ranging privatisation plan to shrink the public sector and aid entry into European economic and monetary union.
    Athens News Agency

    [04] Stocks end down in profit-taking, Ionian rumours

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Equities ended yesterday's session sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange hit by profit-taking and rumours of unsatisfactory non-binding offers in a privatisation tender for Ionian Bank.

    The general index ended 3.09 percent off at 3,219.91 points.

    Turnover was 123.6 billion drachmas and volume 28,481,099 shares. Bank shares were badly hit. Ionian Bank's share price fell 5.2 percent followed by Commercial Bank with a 3.6 percent loss. Sector indices lost ground. Banks dropped 3.87 percent, Leasi ng fell 1.20 percent, Insurance ended 0.35 percent off, Investment eased 0.93 percent, Construction ended 0.39 percent up, Industrials fell 2.71 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.88 percent down and Holding plunged 3.74 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 3.20 percent down. The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 3.32 percent off at 2,042.95 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 153 to 135 with another 8 issues unchanged.

    Thessaliki, Viosol, Mytilineos and Allatini were the most heavily traded stocks. Elfico, Marfin, Xylemporia, Corinth Spinning Mills, Atticat, Ermis, Lambropoulos, Development Invest and Gekat were among 27 stocks which hit the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Aspis Housing, Halyps Cement, Bank of Athens, Ekter, Etma, Ideal, Anek Lines, Piraeus Leasing, Kambas and Bank of Central Greece suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,200 drachmas, Ergobank at 24,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 35,060, Ionian Bank at 16,300, Titan Cement at 23,245, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,310, Intracom at 15,700, Minoan Lines at 7,660, Panafon at 9,745 and Hellenic Telecoms at 8,100.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] T-bill rates plunge in heavy demand

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Average weighted yields dropped substantially in yesterday's auction of three- and six-month treasury bills by the finance ministry.

    The three-month average weighted yield was 9.5 percent from 11.07 percent in the previous auction on December 22.

    Primary dealers submitted bids totalling 228 billion drachmas, six times higher than the 40 billion sought by the ministry, which accepted bids totalling 48 billion drachmas.

    The six-month average weighted yield was 9.54 percent from 10.46 percent in the previous auction on December 8.

    Bids submitted totalled 206 billion drachmas, five times more than the amount sought. The ministry accepted bids totalling 48 billion drachmas.

    Bankers said the new drop in short-term interest rates paved the way for a cut by Bank of Greece in its money market intervention rate.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Hellenic-British Chamber holds finance seminar

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    The Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce and British Embassy in Athens are to hold a seminar on February 24 to look at financial regulations in a rapidly changing competitive environment. Helping to organise the seminar are the Athens Stock Exchange and Union of Greek Banks. Among the speakers are Deputy Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, capital markets commission chairman Stavros Thomadakis and deputy central bank governor Panayotis Thomopoulos. Further details available on 7210361.
    Athens News Agency

    [07] Goody's, Olympic Catering may join forces for 2004 Olympics

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Goody's,a listed Greek fast food chain, and Olympic Catering yesterday agreed to sound out a possible alliance in providing catering services for athletes in the Athens 2004 Olympics.

    The two companies are planning to fund feasibility studies that will also look into possible alliances in catering services for trains and rail stations using modern food technology.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Germanos Group sues Unifon for Dr 41 bln

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    The Germanos Group has sued Unifon, the main commercial associate of Panafon, a listed mobile phone operator, for 41 billion drachmas' worth of damages, sources said. The case is due to be heard by the end of the year.

    Germanos is seeking both direct compensation and loss of profits stemming mostly from income from mobile phone subscription airtime before the two firms ceased to work together in October last year.

    Two months ago, Unifon filed a suit against the Germanos Group, seeking around 32 billion drachmas in compensation for alleged breach of contract in terminating the two firms' business dealings. Germanos is now working with Panafon's competitors, Cosmote and Telestet.

    Both Germanos and Unifon are seeking entry into the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: February 9, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes            Buying  Selling
    US Dollar            282.482 289.031
    Can.Dollar           189.170 193.561
    Australian Dlr       182.687 186.922
    Pound Sterling       463.085 473.822
    Irish Punt           406.176 415.594
    Pound Cyprus         552.544 565.355
    Pound Malta          695.002 723.960
    Turkish pound (100)    0.074   0.077
    French franc          48.767  49.897
    Swiss franc          199.640 204.269
    Belgian franc          7.930   8.114
    German Mark          163.557 167.349
    Finnish Mark          53.802  55.050
    Dutch Guilder        145.160 148.526
    Danish Kr.            43.021  44.019
    Swedish Kr.           35.950  36.784
    Norwegian Kr.         36.996  37.853
    Austrian Sh.          23.248  23.787
    Italian lira (100)    16.521  16.904
    Yen (100)            246.145 251.852
    Spanish Peseta         1.922   1.967
    Port. Escudo           1.595   1.632
    Foreign Exchange     Buying  Selling
    New York             282.482 289.031
    Montreal             189.170 193.561
    Sydney               182.687 186.922
    London               463.085 473.822
    Dublin               406.176 415.594
    Nicosia              552.544 565.355
    Paris                 48.767  49.897
    Zurich               199.640 204.269
    Brussels               7.930   8.114
    Frankfurt            163.557 167.349
    Helsinki              53.802  55.050
    Amsterdam            145.160 148.526
    Copenhagen            43.021  44.019
    Stockholm             35.950  36.784
    Oslo                  36.996  37.853
    Vienna                23.248  23.787
    Milan                 16.521  16.904
    Tokyo                246.145 251.852
    Madrid                 1.922   1.967
    Lisbon                 1.595   1.632
    Athens News Agency

    [10] Gov't condemns bomb attack near Turkish consulate

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    The government yesterday strongly condemned a bomb attack near the Turkish conslate in the northern town of Komotini, stressing that such actions were aimed at harming Greek-Turkish relations.

    The foreign ministry, in an announcement, said the Greek government "unreservedly condemns the motives behind this attack".

    "The perpetrators of the criminal action, which aimed to strike a blow to Greek-Turkish relations, are spurred by base motives and are the pawns of circles whose target is to create anomaly".

    "A bomb has been placed at the Turkish consulate, do not disregard it..." an unknown caller told police and later repeated the same warning to a private television channel.

    A bomb disposal expert was injured slightly in the chest and hands when the bomb went off as he was trying to defuse it, and was taken to a nearby hospital.

    The Greek government, the announcement added, "expresses its sympathy to the consul general and the consulate staff, and to bomb disposal expert Sakis Karayiannidis, who was injured while trying, with self-sacrifice, to defuse the explosive device."

    The explosion occurred Monday night across the street from the consulate at 11:25 p.m. on the first floor of a half-completed building, about 20 metres from the consulate's courtyard. The area had been cordoned off by police since early in the afternoon after receiving telephone calls warning of a bomb. Similar calls had been made to radio stations in Komotini.

    The Turkish consul general in Komotini, Sari Ozkandorunlar, said Monday night's incident was "shocking."

    "I have visited the injured policeman, whose condition is good. Although the measures taken by the police are adequate, we are obliged to be more cautious," he told the conservative Turkish daily "Zaman".

    Police, meanwhile, said the explosion was caused by a small, ho-memade timebomb.

    They also stressed there was no possibility for the bomb to have struck the Turkish consulate and that the type of the explosive material used would be determined at police laboratories.

    [11] Turkish reply

    ANKARA (ANA - A. Abatzis) - Greek charge d'affaires to Ankara Mihalis Christidis was summoned yesterday to the Turkish foreign ministry following the incident.

    Ankara protested the explosion and demanded the immediate arrest of the perpetrators.

    Mr. Christidis, after presenting the Turkish ministry with the relevant announcement issued by the Greek foreign ministry on the matter, said "the target is the arrest and exemplary punishment of the perpetrators."

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ismael Cem, in a statement to a television channel, attributed the incident to what he claimed was a fascist group acting in western Thrace.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Gov't on S-300 installation in Crete

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas again stres-sed yesterday that the Russian-made S-300 missiles purchased by Cyprus will be deployed in eastern Crete. He said technical details of the S-300s' installation will be discussed next week when a Cypriot del egation and a representative of the Greek foreign ministry travel to Moscow.

    Reppas clarified that the missiles would remain in the ownership of the Cyprus Republic, while Greece would control the operation of the weapons system and pay for its operating cost. He said the governments of Greece and Cyprus would jointly decide how to make optimum use of the S-300 missiles but declined to say when the missiles would be installed in Crete.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Cypriot counterpart Yiannakis Chrysostomis were expected during talks in Athens yesterday and today to sign a memorandum providing for deployment of the missiles in Crete.

    Nicosia had originally ordered the missiles for deployment on Cyprus but cancelled the procurement amidst fears that it might jeopardise ongoing European Union accession negotiations.

    Following Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides' decision in late December not to go ahead with the procurement, Greece said it would be willing to install the missiles on Crete.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Greek MPs voice support for Ocalan

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    A group of Parliament MPs yesterday called for a determined and non- partisan Greek initiative to obtain political asylum for fugitive Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in Europe and to bring the thorny Kurdish problem before an international forum. While pleas for political asylum to Ocalan, support for a political solution to the Kurdish struggle in southeast Turkey and severe criticism of Ankara's policy vis-a-vis Turkey's Kurdish minority dominated addresses by participants at a press conference called by the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK), the issues of the PKK leader's whereabouts and whether he has officially asked any government - including Athens - for asylum were also raised by reporters' subsequent questions.

    "We won't deny or verify what was written (in the Greek press)...Soon everything will be made clear and official statements will be made," ERNK spokesman Rosshat Lasser said, before politely declining to state whether he knows where the Kurdish Workers ' Party leader is at present. "That is the question on everyone's mind," he replied.

    Deputies Stelios Papathemelis, a former minister, Christos Kipouros and Costas Badouvas, all from ruling PASOK, along with main opposition New Democracy's Panos Kammenos and Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) MP Tassos Intzes all spoke in favour of forcing Europe and the international community to grant Ocalan political asylum, while solving the Kurdish issue through political means based on international law and respect for human rights.

    Representatives from the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) and Political Spring (Pol.An) parties also attended the press conference, held at the Foreign Press Association's headquarters in downtown Athens.

    Meanwhile, a protest march by Kurds and supporters was organised yesterday and culminated with a rally outside the Turkish embassy in Athens. The ERNK representative also called on supporters and Greek political parties to attend a nationwide meeting of Greek-Kurdish friendship societies, set for March 27 in Athens.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Dayton agreements,Kosovo the focus of Pangalos' talks in Belgrade

    BELGRADE 10/02/1999 (ANA - A. Podimata)

    Bilateral relations between Greece and Yugoslavia, implementation of Dayton Agreements and the Kosovo issue in light of Rambouillet talks were discussed here yesterday by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his Yugoslav counterpart Zivadin Jovanovic.

    Referring to bilateral relations, Mr. Jovanovic termed them as "good", adding that cooperation in the political, economic, tourist, cultural and communications sectors was improving continuously, while he stressed the importance of a business delegation accompanying Mr. Pangalos.

    Mr. Jovanovic said he briefed his Greek counterpart on the strategy, as he called it, of his country for resolving all problems concerning Kosovo with political and peaceful means through dialogue. He said that on the basis of precisely this strategy, his country decided to send a delegation to carry out negotiations at Rambouillet.

    He further said that Yugoslavia wishes the success of these talks and pointed out that the basis for a success is full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, full respect for the equality of all nationalities in Kosovo and respect for the highest European and international standards on human rights and minority rights.

    On his part, Mr. Pangalos referred to Bosnia-Herzegovina, which he visited on Monday, and reiterated the need for full implementation of the Dayton agreements.

    Mr. Pangalos reminded that Greece has a particular sensitivity on the issue of human rights and believes that they must be safeguarded and protected absolutely in Kosovo as well as anywhere else.

    He added that sometimes the international community applies double standards on this issue and that this is certainly something which does not please Greece.

    The second point Mr. Pangalos underlined is the need for the inviolability of borders in the region of southeastern Europe and stressed that whatever agreement adopted must clearly determine that it exludes the independence of Kosovo now and in the future.

    The third issue Mr. Pangalos touched on is that force must not be used as a threat and as an argument when negotiations are being conducted. He reiterated that talks must start for Yugoslavia's incorporation in all international organisations from which it has been excluded.

    Replying to questions from the press on the possible implementation of whatever agreement on Kosovo with military means and on the possibility of Greek participation, Mr. Pangalos said that he and Mr. Jovanovic did not discuss the issue of the implement ation of the solution since the solution is not yet in sight and reiterated that Greece will not participate in operations aimed at enforcing peace.

    "The position of my country is that we do not participate in peace enforcing situations in southeastern Europe," Mr. Pangalos said, adding that "we may participate in peacekeeping operations provided we have the agreement of the country on the soil of which the operation is taking place."

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Deputy Defence Minister Apostolakis predicts `transitional period` for region

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Deputy National Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis predicted that the next decade in this part of the world will be a transitional period characterised by uncertainty and fluidity inthe final shaping of a geostrategic environment.

    Mr. Apostolakis, who was speaking at the Army Academy (Evelpidon) yesterday on the issue of Greece on the threshold of the 21st century, reiterated that in parallel Greece has to face with the same success the challenges of its equal and substantive con tribution to European developments and the handling of the Turkish threat in the depth of time and will all means available.

    He attributed fluidity in the region to Turkey's overall policy which undermines necessary stability and to the resurgence of nationalistic visions with Greece's northern neighbours as a result of interventions or encouragement by third parties.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Greek-US sports protocol signed

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    A Greek-US protocol of cooperation in the sports sector was signed yesterday, providing for the exchange of know-how and information on sports issues.

    The protocol will also extend American assistance in developing Olympic sports that are relatively unknown in Greece, such as baseball.

    "We believe implementation of this agreement will bring good results," said Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras, who signed on Athens behalf.

    US ambassador Nicholas Burns said the protocol was very important for both countries.

    "The agreement we signed today reflects, in many ways, the common dedication of both Greece and the US to honour the Olympic tradition and to prepare our citizens for Olympic and international competition," Mr. Burns said, adding: "I am delighted that the embassy can play a small role in bringing our great American game of baseball to the birthplace of the Olympic Games."

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Parliament discussion begins on Treaty of Amsterdam

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Parliament began a five-day debate yesterday evening which is expected to conclude with the ratification of the Treaty of Amsterdam.

    The treaty, which in effect revises the Maastricht Treaty on European unification, was signed in Amsterdam on Oct. 2, 1997 by the foreign ministers of the European Union member-states.

    The principal targets of the Treaty of Amsterdam are three:

    First, to strengthen democracy within the EU by instituting policies and actions which better safeguard citizens' rights.

    Second, to create a more cohesive presence for the EU on the international scene, particularly by means of a common foreign and security policy.

    Finally, the adjustment of the EU's institutional structure in order to make it more effective in view of the future accession of countries of central and eastern Europe.

    At the intergovernmental conference, Greece submitted memoranda on the protection of personal information, development of island regions and cultural equality among EU member-states.

    Several of Greece's positions were included in the final text of the treaty.

    On its part, the Coalition of Left and Progress (Synaspismos) recommended a referendum for ratification of the Amsterdam Treaty.

    Responsing to Synaspismos' call, Alternate Minister George Papandreou said the holding of referenda in the future on prominent issues such as the Maastricht Treaty, was a possibility that should be given some serious consideration.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Harrier eagle protection programme

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    A programme to save and protect the harrier eagle in Greece, the largest bird of prey in Europe, has been underway since last October by the University of Crete's Natural History Museum and the Greek Ornithological Society. The programme is being applied in seven regions on Crete and another three regions in mainland Greece, belonging to the network "Natura 2000".

    Harrier eagles are now characterised as a "species threatened with extinction." The eagles used to be found in almost all of Greece's mountainous regions, both on the mainland and the islands.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Archbishop of America Spyridon arrives in Athens

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Archbishop Spyridon arrived in Athens yesterday on his first visit to Greece since taking over as Prelate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America three years ago.

    Spyridon, a former Metropolitan of Italy, was elected to replace Archbishop Iakovos by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in July 1996.

    Education Undersecretary Yiannis Anthopoulos, among others, greeted him at the airport.

    Spyridon, who will stay in Greece until Feb. 15 at the invitation of the Greek government, is scheduled to meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis as well as various ministers.

    He will also hold talks with main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, other political leaders as well as Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos. The Archbishop will be guest of honour at an official reception to be hosted by US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns and will be honoured at the Athens Academy.

    Meeting with Christodoulos : Shortly after his arrival, Spyridon was received by Archbishop Christodoulos for discussions on several topics of interest between the two Greek Orthodox Churches.

    Asked about reported problems in the Orthodox Church in the United States, and specifically about opposition among US Orthodox bishops to his appointment, Spyridon said the problems were being dealt with.

    "Our Church is successfully performing its is natural for there to be problems and difficulties...only cemeteries have no problems.

    "We are dealing with them with love, enthusiasm and optimism. If you were to look at the history of the Church of America, there have always been problems in the first years of each new Archbishop...I expected worse. I can assure you that the archdiocese is in good hands...A number of dissenting voices of course have been heard - differing opinions and disagreements..." Spyridon said.

    Parliament visit : The Archbishop later visited Parliament where he was warmly received by members of the committee for Orthodoxy and the committee for expatriate Greeks.

    "The Greek-American Orthodox community is like a new great Greece, as the case used to be with Greeks in southern Italy during antiquity and Byzantium," the Archbishop told Parliament.

    Replying to questions by MPs, Spyridon underlined that Greeks should not approach the US administration only in times of need.

    The Archbishop further announced that the Archdiocese has established an office near the White House in order to boost relations with Washington.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] First step towards hotel 'star' system taken

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    A substantive step was taken yesterday towards implementing the classification of Greek hotels with the international "star" system after the Greek Tourist Organisation (EOT) delivered its proposal to the sector's representatives.

    Hoteliers' observations are expected very soon in order to enable the final phase of the proposal to be implemented.

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou announced at a press conference the proposed system resulting after a comparative study on the experience obtained by other countries.

    Ms Papandreou offered assurances that when the system will operate it will equal those applied by other European countries.

    She said there are hotels in Greece declaring themselves luxury hotels without being so, adding that this situation must end.

    EOT intends to provide a transitional period of one year as a time limit for the "star" system to be applied. Supervision for its implementation will take place at central level by EOT, probably in cooperation with a private company "to avoid pressures during the classification of hotels if control was to take place at a regional level," as she said.

    The experience of the Greek Standardisation Organisation (ELOT) on quality certification systems based on ISO might also be utilised at the same time.

    Ms Papandreou also disclosed that the corresponding classification of rented rooms with the "key" system has begun. Specifications on the first "key" were given to the relevant private body yesterday and similar specifications concerning the next "key" levels will follow soon.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Int'l food, beverage fair opens tomorrow

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou will inaugurate the International Food and Beverage Fair at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro tomorrow.

    The exhibition will be held until Feb. 15 with the participation of some 600 firms from the European Union, United States, Cyprus, Japan, Canada, Argentina, Israel and Australia.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Contract with Canadian firm for Thessaloniki metro coaches

    Athens 10/02/1999 (ANA)

    The Canadian embassy yesterday announced the signing of a contract for construction and placement of a rapid automatic transport system for the proposed Thessaloniki metro on behalf of the Bombardier company.

    The contract in question follows a contract for the purchase of 10 amphibious firefighting aircraft "Canadair 415 GR", while the value of both exceeds US$430 million.

    Bombardier will provide primary parts of the transport system for the Thessaloniki project, including 36 coaches similar to the metro coaches delivered for the Docklands network in London. The contract for the Canadair aircraft anticipates the possibili ty of five more aircraft being purchased and includes spare parts and ground maintenance and training equipment. Delivery has started, with one plane already in Greece.

    "These two sales are very important for trade between Greece and Canada and are indicative of the high level of technology Canadian industry can provide for its trade partners," a Canadian embassy release stated.

    Athens News Agency

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