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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-02-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Grece announces that it will raise Ocalan ussue at General Affairs Council
  • [02] Albright reiterates US support for bizonal, bicommunal federation solution in Cyprus
  • [03] Commission requests Ocalan issue be raised with at Council of Ministers' meeting
  • [04] G. Papandreou finishes talks in Vienna, heads for Bonn
  • [05] Stephanopoulos denies Greek involvement in Ocalan's capture
  • [06] Ocalan's associates unharmed in Nairobi
  • [07] Karamanlis calls for debate on Greek foreign policy
  • [08] Human rights groups on Ocalan case
  • [09] Treaty of Amsterdam overwhelmingly approved
  • [10] State Dept refuses details on Ocalan issue contacts
  • [11] Burns honours Intracom for contributions to Fulbright
  • [12] Cooperation protocol between Genoa, Barcelona and Athens
  • [13] 1998 budget's primary spending keeps below target
  • [14] Investment firms show 20 pct jump in market value
  • [15] Inform Lykos reports 1998 profit of Dr 2.0 bln
  • [16] Aspis Invest to boost share capital by Dr 3.15 bln
  • [17] Stocks post gains in wake of slump
  • [18] International banking groups agree to closer cooperation
  • [19] Despec Hellas buys 50 pct of Grup Multimedia Systems
  • [20] Citibank in Greece opens 10th loans centre
  • [21] 'Social dialogue' to begin on Feb. 25
  • [22] Titan, Lafarge to buyout Egyptian cement maker
  • [23] Conference to focus on trends in European money markets
  • [24] Most public hospitals back to normal after doctors paid
  • [25] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Grece announces that it will raise Ocalan ussue at General Affairs Council

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Athens will raise the issue of the capture in Kenya of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan at Monday's meeting of the EU's General Affairs Council, government spo-kesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    The Greek government will be represented at the meeting by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who will also raise the issue of the conditions under which the Kurdish leader is being held in Turkey and his forthcoming trial.

    In the meantime, Mr. Reppas said Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who is still in bed with the flu, will today chair a joint meeting of the inner Cabinet and the ruling PASOK party's political secretariat.

    On the issue of Mr. Ocalan's capture, Mr. Reppas provided full coverage to Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos' handling of the situation.

    Eight PASOK deputies have called for Mr. Pangalos' resignation following Mr. Ocalan's capture in Kenya and subsequent transfer to Turkey early Tuesday morning.

    "Mr. Pangalos performed his duties in a responsible and effective manner. He followed the government's policy and safeguarded the country's interests in the best possible way," Mr. Reppas said.

    The spokesman said there was no question of Mr. Pangalos resigning.

    Referring to certain aspects of the Ocalan affair, Mr. Reppas said the rebel Kurd leader and his associates had forcefully pressed to be allowed to settle in Greece permanently, "and certain parties, acting in an irresponsible manner, had given him the impression that he would be able to do so."

    Dismissing vehement criticism of the government, Mr. Reppas said it would not accept a proposal for the establishment of a fact-finding committee.

    Replying to reporters' persistent questions, the government spokesman said several of Mr. Ocalan's associates, who were with him at the Greek ambassador's residence in Nairobi, had already left, while others had remained "but are not hostages".

    Mr. Reppas said the latter associates carried travel documents issued by other countries "and they have not requested Greek travel documents".

    The circumtances under which Mr. Ocalan was captured have not been fully clarified, Mr. Reppas said, adding that it was not "the right moment" to refer to the actual facts.

    He said he did not know if foreign agents were watching the Greek ambassador's residence and reiterated that Mr. Ocalan had not protected himself adequately.

    Mr. Reppas said the Greek ambassador remained in Nairobi, despite a call by Kenya for his recall.

    The spokesman said all the vehicles in the convoy which accompanied Mr. Ocalan to Nairobi airport were Kenyan and the Greek ambassador was following the convoy in his own car.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Albright reiterates US support for bizonal, bicommunal federation solution in Cyprus

    WASHINGTON 18/02/1999 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright yesterday reiterated Washington's support for UN efforts towards a solution to the protracted Cyprus problem based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

    Speaking to the press following a meeting with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Ms Albright said "the United States and Cyprus have enjoyed very close relations for years, and we have an extensive trade relationship, we cooperate to fight crime, drug trafficking and terrorism, and we have a common interest in building a Europe that is united, prosperous and free, a Europe in which all Cypriots fully participate.

    "We also share a critical interest in bringing about a diplomatic resolution to the Cyprus problem. For we cannot meet our broader goals so long as Cyprus remains unresolved," she said.

    "Today, Foreign Minister Kasoulides and I discussed the prospects for moving forward on the settlement process. The United States firmly supports the UN efforts for a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation."

    "I told the Foreign Minister that President (Glafcos) Clerides' courageous decision not to deploy the S-300 missiles on Cyrpus has opened new opportunities to find a resolution for the Cyprus problem.

    "I stressed that the President and I are both personally interested in helping to move ahead. Last December President Clinton pledged strong American support for UN Secretary General (Kofi) Annan's initiative to reduce tensions and seek a settlement," she said.

    "The United States is firmly committed to doing all we can for peace. We continue to work with both sides in public and in private, and we will encourage both to negotiate creatively and flexibly. And we will not hesitate to bring to the table whatever contributions we can make ourselves, " she said.

    On his part, Mr. Kasoulides said "Cyprus, being conscious of its size, has proven all along that it can be a reliable and constructive friend. The people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, have the right to enjoy freedom, peace and stability like any other people in the world."

    "I have discussed with Secretary Albright a number of ways through which the American Administration can work actively for the implementation of the last Security Council resolutions, according to President Clinton's public statement to that effect," Mr . Kasoulides added.

    Amended contract for S-300s signed in Moscow : MOSCOW (ANA - D. Constantakopoulos) - A Cypriot defence ministry delegation and representatives of the Russian weapons maker Rosvooruzhenie have signed an amendment to an original contract for purchase by Cyprus of the S-300 missiles, allowing for their deployment on Crete instead of the island republic.

    The signing marked the end of two days of negotiations here between Cypriot Defence Minister Yiannakis Chrysostomis and Rosvooruzhenie officials. Also present in the talks was Greek director general of armaments.

    Talks centred on issues related to the execution of the 1997 contract for the S-300s, introducing a number or required changes.

    Athens New Agency

    [03] Commission requests Ocalan issue be raised with at Council of Ministers' meeting

    BRUSSELS 18/02/1999 (ANA - P. Pantelis/M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission has asked External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek to raise the Ocalan issue before the Council of Ministers, meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

    "We must not forget that whatever happens in the next few days and months will have tremendous repercussions on the Kurdish population in Turkey, as well as those Kurds living in the European Union. We must also not forget that the issue concerns a man who, irrrespectively of whether one agrees with his views and actions, is a symbol for the Kurdish people. At last, Europe must assume its responsibilities in relation to these developments," said Commissioner Christos Papoutsis, who promoted the initiat ive.

    "During the last six months, member-states showed reluctance to grant Ocalan politial asylum, not managing to agree on a political approach to the issue, such as an international trial, as it had been proposed, and, as I believe, would have been the right political approach. Now, the European Union must adopt a clear political position, and with a view to this we must focus our efforts in two directions. First, it must be made clear to Turkey that the development of this issue, and respect for demorat ic principles, human rights and the principles of law, will crucially affect its furtther relations with the European Union.

    "Secondly, the European Union must now undertake a more specific initiative in the direction of a political solution of the Kurdish issue, otherwise we risk being accused of using double standards, beign always prepared to discuss Bosnia and Kosovo, but not showing the same zest for the human rights of Kurds in Turkey," Mr. Papoutsis argued.

    Mr. van den Broek reiterated the need for a "fair trial" for Mr. Ocalan, but stressed that violence should be condemned wherever it originiated.

    The European Comission, finally, agreed to urge Turkey to adopt all the necessary measures in order to ensure that the issue would evolve according to the general principles of international law, democratic principles and human rights, including the rights of defendants.

    Euro-MP Alavanos heads to Turkey : Meanwhile, Euro-MP Alekos Alavanos will travel to Istanbul today to present a Europarliament committee's resolutions on PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    The European Parliament committee on foreign affairs, defence and security, convening in Brussels yesterday, adopted resolutions calling on Turkish judicial authorities to guarantee humane treatment of the captured Kurd rebel leader.

    Mr. Alavanos, a Eurodeputy representing the Coalition of the Left and Progress, will represent the European Parliament at the joint committee meeting with the Turkish national assembly.

    The Europarliament committee called for Mr. Ocalan's trial to be fair and public, for the accused to be given the right to choose his own lawyer and that European Parliament members be allowed to visit him.

    It also reminded Turkey of its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe not to apply the death penalty.

    The committee also noted that a political solution was needed to the Kurdish issue and that a just solution would be definitive for the future of relations between the European Union and Turkey.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] G. Papandreou finishes talks in Vienna, heads for Bonn

    VIENNA 18/02/1999 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou left for Bonn yesterday for talks regarding the safety of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish problem and bilateral issues.

    Early in the morning, Mr. Papandreou was briefed by Greek ambassador in Vienna Yiannis Yennimatas, after the ending of an occupation of the Greek embassy by about 40 Kurdish protesters, preceded by marathon negotiations.

    Austrian Interior Minister Karl Schlegl said the PKK had managed to coordinate its activity internationally, and this should lead authorities to conclusions regarding their improved consultation.

    Mr. Papandreou stated later that he had also been in communication with his Dutch counterpart in order to coordinate efforts regarding the occupation of the Greek embassy in The Hague, which ended later in the day. This brought the number of Greek dipl omatic missions in Europe still occupied by Kurdish protesters to three, namely, the embassies in London and Berne, and the consulate in Zurich.

    Meanwhile, according to an ANA dispatch from Melbourne, Australian authorities had filed charges against 65 people of Kurdish origin, including 30 women and two children, for illegally invading and ocupying the Greek consulate in Sydney early yesterday morning.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Stephanopoulos denies Greek involvement in Ocalan's capture

    VIENNA 18/02/1999 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday categorically denied allegations that Greece "handed over" rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan to Turkey, although he conceded that there could have been "mistaken h andling" in Athens' actions.

    Speaking to reporters accompanying him on the return of a three-day official visit to Austria he cut short after the PKK leader's arrest in Kenya, Mr. Stephanopoulos said he was "saddened" when he heard television stations blaming Greece over the develo pments in the affair. "I do not accept it (the allegations), just as the national conscience of any Greek does not accept it. I don't know whether there were mistakes in the handling, but I do not accept that we turned him over," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    The Greek head of state said there needed to be a convincing response to the allegations, adding that mistaken handling was possible in a difficult situation.

    Asked to comment on Kurd representatives' statements that the Kurds now saw Greece as their enemy, Mr. Stephanopoulos stressed that "this misundersrtanding must be resolved not only for the sake of our relations with the Kurdish people, but also for the sake of Greece's reputation".

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said he had been briefed on the developments in the Ocalan issue at dawn Tuesday by the Greek government via deputy Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who accompanied him on his Austria visit.

    The president also asked his Austrian counterpart Thomas Klestil to exercise his influence on the country's justice minister in order for Kurdish protesters not to be persecuted if they released hostages in the Greek embassy. He returned to Athens early yesterday afternoon from Vienna, where he cancelled the unofficial leg of his visit.

    Mr. Papandreou left Vienna for Bonn for consultations with the German government.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Ocalan's associates unharmed in Nairobi

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Reports that Kenyan authorities were preparing to arrest four Kurds in the Greek embassy in Nairobi and turn them over to the Turkish authorities forced Parliament's external affairs committee to hastily cut short a discussion of developments regarding Ab dullah Ocalan's arrest in Kenya and handover to Turkey.

    Later reports said two of the four women had departed Kenya and had arrived at their destination safely, while the other two - both with foreign passports - were still at the Greek ambassador's compound in Nairobi.

    Former PM Constantine Mitsotakis had passed on to the committee of the "informa-tion", prompting a discussion on whether Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos should go to the ministry to deal with the matter.

    Mr. Pangalos said he had nothing to add to his Tuesday statement.

    The committee agreed to discontinue its session for Mr. Pangalos to return to the foreign ministry to deal with the situation.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Karamanlis calls for debate on Greek foreign policy

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis reiterated yesterday a call for an off-the-agenda Parliamentary debate on Greek foreign policy in view of the capture of rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    The call was contained in a letter submitted to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, which also charged that the government was following "a dangerous and failed foreign policy."

    The letter further maintained that the handling of the Ocalan affair by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos "had brought shame on the country, created grave dangers and made enemies even out of the enemies of our enemies.

    "The government is totally incapable of handling emergency situations and follows tactics which jeopardise the country's interests," Mr. Karamanlis said in the letter.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Human rights groups on Ocalan case

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    The international community, and the governments of all OSCE countries in particular, are collectively responsible for the Kurdish people's continuing drama and the development in the Ocalan case, the Greek Helsinki Agreements Watch said yesterday in a jo int announcement with the Greek Group for Minority Rights.

    According to the two organisations, in refusing to grant political asylum to Ocalan and bring him to justice for what he is charged with (and doing the same for the Turkish authorities for their criminal acts againts the Kurds), the European and North American governments showed that "no government in the world sincerely respects human rights. All of them merely invoke them when they are in line with their interests or their electoral pursuits."

    In their announcement, the two organisations denounce the US government for constituting an accessory and moral accomplice and praiser of Turkey's crimes against the Kurds, "a stance making it accountable to every law- abiding body of justice."

    They also denounce the European Union for making "hypocritical" appeals for a fair trial for Ocalan in Turkey. In parallel, they note that the Kurdish leadership, accepting support by "known intolerant Greek nationalists who have proved in other issues thet they have no respect for human rights", deals a blow at the international appeal of the Kurdish struggle "and with its position it once again confirms the impression that it lacks democratic sensitivities itself."

    Lastly, the two organisations condemn the attacks against Greek consulates in Europe by Kurds and call on the Greek government to place responsibilities in all directions and remove from its ranks "all those who with their repeatedly callous position harm it, as well as Greece's international image."

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Treaty of Amsterdam overwhelmingly approved

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    After a five-day debate, interspersed with long intervals on the latest developments in the Ocalan affair, Parliament early this morning overwhelmingly approved the Treaty of Amsterdam, with 246 votes in favour, 19 against and 9 abstaining.
    Athens News Agency

    [10] State Dept refuses details on Ocalan issue contacts

    WASHINGTON 18/02/1999 (ANA-T. Ellis)

    Responding to reporters questions, State Department spokesman James Foley yesterday refused to be drawn on details of the US government's contacts with Greece during the recent developments on the Ocalan issue.

    "I will not go into the substance of our diplomatic contacts on the issue. I think that the Greek government has spoken on its moves and explained that it acted on the basis of humanitarian reasons. Again, I will not comment on what we may have disc ussed privately with the Greek government, " he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Burns honours Intracom for contributions to Fulbright

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Foundation US ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns honoured the Intracom group and its founder, Socrates Kokkalis, yesterday for the telecoms firm's contribution to the US-based Fulbright Foundation.

    In the framework of the foundation's scholarship programme, Intracom has supported postgraduate studies since 1996 (at master's and doctorate levels) for 16 Greek students at major universities in the United States in the sectors of telecommunications, informatics and new technologies.

    The event was attended by representatives of the country's political, cultural and business sectors.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Cooperation protocol between Genoa, Barcelona and Athens

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    A friendship and cooperation protocol between Athens, Barcelona and Genoa was yesterday signed in Athens by the cities' respective mayors.

    "It is up to us to put in actual practice the broader cooperation protocol we signed today, by extending it in the future through the participation of more cities for the sake of our citizens today and tomorrow, for Europe, for our history," Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos said.

    Athens, Barcelona and Genoa will each play a leading role in 2004, as they will host the Olympic Games, world cultural congress and Cultural Capital of Europe institution, respectively.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] 1998 budget's primary spending keeps below target

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Primary spending in the budget rose by 6.5 percent in 1998, just below a target of 6.9 percent growth, the finance ministry said in a statement yesterday.

    The year's expenditure showed that the government's measures to contain public spending had proved effective, the statement said.

    At the same time, revenue collected by bodies including local authorities and social insurance funds rose sharply by 12 percent, it said.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Investment firms show 20 pct jump in market value

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Investment firms in January posted a rise in market value to 387.7 billion drachmas, up 64.6 billion drachmas, or 20 percent, the Institutional Investors Union said in a statement yesterday.

    The net asset value of the sector's 16 firms rose to 374.3 billion drachmas, showing a rise of 38.8 billion drachmas, or 12 percent, the statement said.

    The union attributed the improvement in figures to the Athens Stock Exchange's robust performance.

    The investment companies sector posted a premium of 3.6 percent at the end of January against a discount of 3.7 percent at the end of December.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Inform Lykos reports 1998 profit of Dr 2.0 bln

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Inform Lykos, a hi-tech printer listed on the Athens bourse, posted in 1998 profits of 2.0 billion drachmas and turnover of 8.2 billion drachmas, managing director Nikos Lykos told a corporate presentation to the Union of Institutional Investors yesterday .

    In 1999, the company expects to see sales of 12 billion drachmas and profits above 2.5 billion drachmas, Mr. Lykos said.

    The company currently holds more than 40 percent of the domestic print market, which is worth 18 billion drachmas, he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Aspis Invest to boost share capital by Dr 3.15 bln

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Aspis Invest, a member of the Aspis Bank Group, plans to increase its share capital by 3.15 billion drachmas through a rights issue for existing shareholders, it said yesterday.

    Three new shares for every two old will be issued at 1,200 drachmas each, the company said in a statement.

    Aspis Invest's management will also propose a dividend payment of 320 drachmas per share on 1998 profits.

    The two proposals are subject to approval by a general shareholders' meeting due on March 10.

    Profits until February 15 totalled 500 million drachmas, the statement said.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Stocks post gains in wake of slump

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Equities resumed their upward course on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday following a sharp correction in the previous session.

    Dealers said investors bought blue chips in the industrial and leasing sectors and smaller capitalisation stocks.

    The general index ended 0.99 percent higher at 3,430.46 points. Turnover was 137.458 billion drachmas and volume 31,107,889 shares.

    Sector indices scored gains.

    Banks rose 0.10 percent, Leasing soared 8.0 percent, Insurance increased 3.77 percent, Investment ended 0.39 percent up, Construction rose 0.59 percent, Industrials ended 2.71 percent higher, Miscellaneous increased 4.72 percent and Holding rose 1.26 pe rcent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 5.14 percent up while the FTSE/ASE 20 index rose 0.18 percent to 2,130.31.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 189 to 93 with another 13 issues unchanged.

    Thessaliki, Hellenic Petroleum, Strintzis and Macedonian Spinning Mills were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Intracom, Hellenic Petroleum, Hellas Can, Ridenco, Nematemboriki, Klonatex, Attica Bank and Gnomon hit the day's 8.0 percent limit up. Eskimo, Fintexport, Koumbas, Xylemporia, Corinth Spinning Mills, Athinea, Viosol and Mouzakis suffered the heaviest l osses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,230 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 34, 595, Ergobank at 24,500, Ionian Bank at 17,000, Titan Cement at 23,480, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,682, Intracom at 19,926, Minoan Lines at 7,600, Panafon at 9,695 and Hellenic Telecoms at 7,900.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] International banking groups agree to closer cooperation

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Banking representatives from 13 countries in the Black Sea region, the Balkans and the Mediterranean yesterday agreed to cooperate more closely in order to face challenges posed by the global economy.

    The secretary general of the Hellenic Banks Association, Ioannis Manos, who chaired the International Banking Forum held in Athens, called for a regular meeting every two years.

    Representatives noted the problems their countries faced in reorganising their economies and creating a new legal framework suitable for the development of banking systems.

    The forum was attended by banking representatives from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Israel, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, Turkey, Slovenia, Romania, Autonomous Palestinian Territories, Lebanon and Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Despec Hellas buys 50 pct of Grup Multimedia Systems

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Despec Hellas, a distributor of computer consumer products, yesterday announced it was buying a 50 percent stake in Grup Multimedia Systems.

    It said in a statement that the purchase would be effected through an exchange of shares, and through participation in an upcoming share capital rise by the target firm.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Citibank in Greece opens 10th loans centre

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Citibank in Greece said yesterday that it had launched its 10th loans centre in Athens.

    The bank said in a statement that the centre's predecessors had proved popular with consumers by offering rapid service in credit cards and products including consumer, housing and car loans.

    The new centre is located in Kaningos Square.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] 'Social dialogue' to begin on Feb. 25

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou will declare the start to "social dialogue" on changes in income tax on Feb. 25 at a meeting to take place at the State General Accounting Office in the presence of agencies and trade union organisations.

    The minister will invite agencies by the end of the week, calling on them to attend the meeting.

    During the meeting, Mr. Papantoniou will announce the tax sectors in which the government intends to make changes.

    On their part, the agencies will submit their own proposals on changes in taxation in separate meetings to take place with the minister and his aides.

    All the proposals will be examined by relevant committees which will assess their cost.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Titan, Lafarge to buyout Egyptian cement maker

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    The Titan cement company has signed an agreement with the French company Lafarge for a joint venture in Egypt, with the acquisition of the Beni Suef Co. which is being privatised by the Egyptian government.Titan and Lafarge agreed to establish a holding c ompany with equal stakes of 50 per cent each for the acquisition of a 76 per cent stake in the Egyptian firm, while they plan to add a second production line to increase the Egyptian plant's total production to three million tonnes annually. Beni Suef dis tributed 1.4 million tonnes of cement in the local market last year.

    Titan has been active in Egypt since 1979, when it set up a distribution centre for imported cement. Sales in Egypt are forecast to reach 800,000 tonnes this year.

    The French company is active in 65 countries worldwide, with an annual turnover of 10 billion euros.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Conference to focus on trends in European money markets

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek-British Chamber and the British embassy in Athens in cooperation with the Union of Greek Banks will hold a conference at the Athens Hilton on on Feb. 24 entitled "Financial Regulations in a Competively Changing Environment: Challenges and Effects".

    The conference aims at an exchange of views in relation to trends in European money markets, and primarily in Britain.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Most public hospitals back to normal after doctors paid

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    The crisis in the health sector is apparently ebbing as all public hospitals were back to normal yesterday, except for the "Laiko" where doctors have taken a different stance.

    After the payment of a large portion of retroactive pay earlier this year and a government decision to increase budget allocations to pay doctors' overtime, union representatives are now promoting demands related to upgraded services offered to patients through the purchase of more medical equipment, improvement of infrastructure and personnel increases.

    Public doctors' participation in yesterday's Hospital Doctors' Union general assembly was limited and amidst disagreement regarding the continuation or not of mobilisations, the meeting was interrupted due to an insufficient number of participants for reaching a decision.

    Two young Greeks have been chosen by the European Union to participate in the first year of the programme "EU-China Junior Managers Programme", which aims to train young managers in China's business environment and language.

    The programme falls within EU strategy to develop relations with the People's Republic of China.

    Christina Kouli, with a master's degree in astrophysics and Haralambos Kapachtis, with an MBA, are among another 45 people from EU countries to participate in the programme.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens 18/02/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: February 17, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes            Buying  Selling
    US Dollar            283.682 290.260
    Can.Dollar           189.373 193.763
    Australian Dlr       179.542 183.705
    Pound Sterling       463.720 474.472
    Irish Punt           405.459 414.860
    Pound Cyprus         548.576 561.295
    Pound Malta          697.955 727.036
    Turkish pound (100)    0.074   0.077
    French franc          48.680  49.809
    Swiss franc          199.893 204.528
    Belgian franc          7.916   8.099
    German Mark          163.268 167.054
    Finnish Mark          53.707  54.952
    Dutch Guilder        144.903 148.263
    Danish Kr.            42.954  43.949
    Swedish Kr.           35.898  36.731
    Norwegian Kr.         36.766  37.618
    Austrian Sh.          23.206  23.744
    Italian lira (100)    16.492  16.874
    Yen (100)            239.469 245.021
    Spanish Peseta         1.920   1.964
    Port. Escudo           1.593   1.630
    Foreign Exchange     Buying  Selling
    New York             283.682 290.260
    Montreal             189.373 193.763
    Sydney               179.542 183.705
    London               463.720 474.472
    Dublin               405.459 414.860
    Nicosia              548.576 561.295
    Paris                 48.680  49.809
    Zurich               199.893 204.528
    Brussels               7.916   8.099
    Frankfurt            163.268 167.054
    Helsinki              53.707  54.952
    Amsterdam            144.903 148.263
    Copenhagen            42.954  43.949
    Stockholm             35.898  36.731
    Oslo                  36.766  37.618
    Vienna                23.206  23.744
    Milan                 16.492  16.874
    Tokyo                239.469 245.021
    Madrid                 1.920   1.964
    Lisbon                 1.593   1.630
    Athens News Agency

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