|Thursday, 17 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-02-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece to demand fair trial for Ocalan, political solution for Kurds
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)Athens yesterday pointed to a diplomatic counter-offensive aimed at ensuring the rights of rebel Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan and highlighting the political struggle of the Kurdish people.
Among the moves expected over the next few days are a letter from PM Costas Simitis addressed to his European Union counterparts explaining the circumstances and developments of the past week, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.
The letter will underline the need for the European Union to take action through specific initiatives to protect the rights of Mr. Ocalan in Turkish detention and to ensure that he receives a fair and open trial in line with the rules accepted internati onally.
Greece will also raise the issue of the rights of Abdullah Ocalan at the European Union's Council of Ministers meeting on Monday with the aim of forging a joint position supporting the political struggle and rights of the Kurdish people and protection f or Abdullah Ocalan, including a fair and just trial from the Turkish state with the presence of international observers.
"We will also broaden the dimension of the protection of human rights vis-a- vis Turkey's relations with the European Union with the main point of reference being the rights of the Kurdish people," the statement read.
"The protection of the individual rights of the Kurds and the seeking of a political solution to the problem of the Kurds can be included in the prerequisites for a deepening of Turkish-EU relations."
Finally, the statement noted that Greece will act at the European Parliament to place pressure on Turkey to ensure a fair trial for Mr. Ocalan as well as the political rights of the Kurds.
"We will also be active at other international organisations, such as the Council of Europe and others," it said. Stephanopoulos' appeal: President Kostis Stephanopoulos has made a personal appeal to European Union member- states, Wa-shington and Moscow to ensure that Turkey provides humane treatment and a just trial for Abdullah Ocalan.
"I address the leaders and governments of the member-states of the European Union as well as the United States of America and Russia to request their effective intercession with Turkish authorities, to ensure the humane treatment of the prisoner Abdulla h Ocalan, president of the PKK and that the conduct of his trial is in line with the generally acceptable procedural ru-les," Mr. Stephanopoulos' statement read.
"The manner in which the detainee is being paraded about on Turkish television stations is deplored by all and gives rise to distressing thought about what is to come.
"European states may have had the right to not accept Abdullah Ocalan on their territory, however, they also have the obligation to demand that Turkey enact all the rules which foresee the protection of the rights of each person, whether guilty or innoc ent, terrorist or fighter, both in their detention as well as during their trial," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.
The Greek president's appeal will be conveyed through diplomatic channels.
Athens News Agency
 Purchase agreement for US-made Patriot missiles signed
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)The purchase contract for four US-made long-range Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems (Patriot PAC-3), worth US$887 million was signed yesterday.
The contract was signed by the general armaments department's general director Ioannis Sbokos and the vice-president of Raytheon, William Swanson, the manufacturing company of the missile system.
The ceremony was attended by the defence ministry's civil and military leadership, US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns, several Raytheon executives and representatives of Greek firms participating in the programme.
The total programme, amounting to $917 million, includes the leasing of three firing units and materials from the United States. An option exists for the purchase of another two missile systems, in which case the total cost will amount to $1.139 billion .
The 'Patriots' will start being delivered as of September 2001 and delivery will be completed in May 2002, with all systems being fully operational.
Three used missile systems leased for a period of three years will by delivered by June to cover immediate operational needs. They will be in operational readiness and will have 96 missiles which will be provided gratis at the end of the leasing period.
The government said exchange revenues amounting to $17 million over a period of 10 years will be saved from the transfer of technological know- how, while the eight Greek firms involved will have the opportunity of also participating as sub-contractors i n the production of other Patriot systems from future orders by third countries. The amount from the joint participation is expected to reach one billion dollars for 24 Patriot units. The government also claimed that the total amount of offset benefits re aches 120 per cent of the procurement's total value.
The Greek firms due to participate in the joint production of the systems are Intracom, EBO (on two occasions), ELBO, Metka, Sonak, Siemens and ELFON.
In another development, Intracom signed a separate contract with Raytheon yesterday concerning the procurement programme for the Patriot PAC-3 missile systems obtained by the Greek military. The contract covers a three- year period.
Intracom, in the framework of implementing the programme, has undertaken to manufacture and incorporate the main electronic equipment subunits for the Patriot PAC-3 system, as well as the telecommunications complex, the linkage of information coordinati ng data, etc.
In parallel, Intracom will develop and manufacture the control and testing equipment necessary for manufacturing the above subunits for the Patriot PAC-3 system.
According to an announcement by Intracom, with this agreement the company is established as the sole (outside the US) manufacturer of the electronic subunits for the Patriot system.
Athens News Agency
 Papandreou says Kurds need rights
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)Greece's new foreign minister, George Papandreou, said yesterday that the European Union should help Turkey solve its problem with its Kurdish minority as Europeans would -- with freedom, not oppression. "When you are talking about minorities you do not s uppress them, you allow them to express their rights," he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"We (the European Union) have a relationship with Turkey. What do we do in this relation to contructively help Turkey deal with this problem in a European manner?" he said.
Mr. Papandreou was speaking a few hours after being sworn in as foreign minister to replace Theodoros Pangalos who was forced to resign on Thursday.
Mr. Papandreou, formerly Mr. Pangalos's number two, has said he was kept in the dark about Greece's role in the affair. He said he would explain the broad outline of how Greece ended up protecting Ocalan, who was wanted in Turkey for leading a 14-yea r separatist war, to an EU foreign ministers meeting starting in Luxembourg tomorrow. But he said he also wanted his EU colleagues to examine the Kurdish problem and to help ensure that Ocalan gets a fair trial, possibly with international observ ers.
"Even though Ocalan is no longer in our lap, the Kurdish problem is there and the trial is in front of us," he said. "The ...Ocalan issue is now a member state question."
He said he saw no change in Greece's relations with Turkey as a result of the Ocalan affair, with the focus still being on Turkey's occupation of northern Cyprus and its territorial claims in the Aegean.
"These issues have been there, are still there, and will continue to be...problems as long as things don't change."
He said that change would have to come from Turkey, which wants to join the EU but has been told to improve its human rights and relations with Greece first.
"We want to see them close (to the EU), but we want to see them make changes," he said.
Athens News Agency
 Greece points to Turkish deficit of democracy in returning Ankara's barbs
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)Greece lashed back at Turkey yesterday, saying that it had a lot more to show for itself in the area of democracy than Ankara did.
"We all know the tragic conditions under which the Republic of Greece was established and today institutions function properly, in contrast to Turkey where one can discern a 'deficit in democracy'," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.
He was responding to comments by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem on the Ocalan affair. "Turkish propaganda libelling Greece has not borne fruit because it is nothing more than a production line of bogus arguments," Mr. Reppas said.
Athens News Agency
 New cabinet meets in the wake of Ocalan uproarAthens, 20/2/1999
The new members of the Cabinet were sworn in at noon yesterday in the presence of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, following Thursday's reshuffle.
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece officiated for the first time in a Cabinet swearing in ceremony since taking over the helm of the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece last May.
Mr. Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis had a brief, private discussion after the ceremony.
The new Cabinet went into its first meeting, chaired by Mr. Simitis, immediately afterwards.
Speaking to reporters after chairing the cabinet meeting, Mr. Simitis said "it is now the time for initiatives".
He said the government was fully aware of the situation and understood and shared the "deep bitterness" concerning developments in the Ocalan affair, while stressing that the "true facts" of the issue and the country's image had been distorted.
"Greece carried out its moral duty in full, despite the fact that the country faces a most acute problem because of the Turkish threat," Mr. Simitis said.
The only country which should not have had to be faced with a dilemma was Greece, he said.
"Unfortunately, neither the European Union nor any other party took initiatives to confront the situation all these months that Ocalan was travelling around looking for an aiport at which to land," he added.
The premier said Greece's solidarity with the Kurdish people was a given fact which required no proof.
Mr. Simitis reiterated that while it would have been a mistake to grant Ocalan asylum, Greece had a self-evident obligation to give the rebel Kurd leader humanitarian assistance.
However, the premier continued, the government found itself facing a fait accompli, "which is why an investigation is being conducted and responsibility will be attributed because Ocalan entered Greece illegally, a fact which could have resulted in Turk ey launching a propaganda campaign claiming that Greece was maintaining relations with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)".
Mr. Simitis said the "principal duty" had been to protect the country's national interests but acknowledged that mistakes were made, for which the government had accepted its share of responsibility.
Stressing that the conditions in which Mr. Ocalan was being held in Turkey was now a priority issue, Mr. Simitis said immediate initiatives would be undertaken in this respect.
"The international community and the European Union have an obligation to ensure that Mr. Ocalan receives a fair trial," the premier said.
The prime minister explained this position saying that countries had a responsibility because their refusal to accept the PKK leader was common and no solution was found to the problem. He added that the EU should be a guarantor in efforts to tackle the
Mr. Simitis said he had already been in contact by telephone with German Chancellor Gerhard Schro-eder and his French and Austrian counterparts, Lionel Jospin and Viktor Klima, concerning the need for initiatives to be undertaken to ensure that the rule s of law are applied by Turkey in its handling of Ocalan. Reppas: Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said after the Cabinet meeting that Greece would "force-fully" raise the Kurdish problem and the fate of Mr. Ocalan in order to provide good services and not "to create an impression" which would merely undermine effor ts.
Mr. Reppas said initiatives had been undertaken in the past but "no one was interested", but now that the situation was bleaker, "the EU has the obligation to confront the issue".
He added that Mr. Jospin, in a telephone conversation with Mr. Simitis, had said he was considering undertaking an initiative on the Kurdish issue.
Referring to the circumstances prior to Mr. Ocalan's capture in Kenya, Mr. Reppas reiterated that the government found itself having to deal with an issue which had been created by others because it could not avoid it.
The spokesman said the government had done everything possible to create conditions of security for Mr. Ocalan, but despite its efforts, the outcome had not been successful.
Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Reppas said the government was making every effort for the best possible solution regarding four of the PKK leader's associates, who are still in the Greek embassy in Nairobi. Opposition criticism: The premier's statements on the Ocalan affair elicited widespread disapproval by all opposition parties, while main opposition New Democracy (ND), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) demanded the government's res ignation.
ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos noted what he called "contradictions between today's (yesterday's) statements by the premier and those of (last) Tuesday."
KKE issued an announcement stating that "Mr. Simitis, even though he is primarily responsible for the handing over of Mr. Ocalan, did not show any sensitivity and humbleness toward the Greek people by giving even personal explanations."
Coalition for the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said that Mr. Simitis "continues not to have the political virtue and courage to tell the truth and continues to provoke the hurt feelings of the Greek people."
DHKKI leader Dimitris Tsovolas said "the prime minister and his government, even though they damaged with their disastrous handling of the Ocalan affair national interest and shamed the Greek people and Hellenism, now have the audacity to vilify those w ho kept the pretexts."
Athens News Agency
 Greek intelligence service head resigns
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)The head of the National Information Service (EYP), Haralambos Stavrakakis, submitted his resignation yesterday after it was requested by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the wake of the capture and transfer to Turkey of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocal an.
Announcing the resignation, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Mr. Simitis also underlined the need for a "radical overhaul" of Greece's intelligence services.
The resignation follows those of three ministers on Thursday over their role in the Ocalan affair. V. Papandreou: New Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday that EYP will undergo a thorough reorganisation in terms of both personnel and structure, stressing that the Ocalan affair was the "swan song" of an organisation which was rooted in the past.
"My political choice for EYP will be a thorough reorganisation on the basis of the criterion that it should serve the interests of the Greek people. Many changes have to be made at the levels of both personnel and structures, " Ms Papandreou said during a handing over ceremony at the interior ministry. The former development minister said the government would do everything in its power to shed light on every facet of the Ocalan affair. "We are not looking for scapegoats. The whole truth will be revealed, " she said. EYP falls under the jurisdiction of the interior ministry.
Athens News Agency
 New ministers sworn-in, outgoing ministers` comments
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)During a cerem ony for the handing over of the foreign ministry to George Papandreou yesterday, outgoing FM Theodoros Pangalos thanked his aides and staff, while saying that during his three-year tenure a "great number of issues had been successfully handled and that th e country's interests had been promotedI"
"Three years later, the ministry has no relation to what it was in the past, having been transformed into a modern tool of foreign policy, which will continue improving," he said, referring also to a shrinking budget for the foreign ministry.
The incoming minister had warm words for his predecessor.
"No one disputes Theodoros Pangalos' contribution," Mr. Papandreou said, adding that he considered unacceptable all allegations that he had intended events in the Ocalan affair to end where they ended. "
He also said Mr. Pangalos' work was very important, particularly in European affairs, the Balkans, Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue and especially over the structure of the ministry.
In a related development, outgoing public order minster Philippos Petsalnikos said yesterday that the evacuation of Kurdish refugees camped out in Athens' Koumoundourou Square only a few hours before the arrest of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in
Kenya on Monday was "purely coincidental", and had been planned by the health ministry for public sanitation reasons. He made the statements during the handing over of the ministry to new minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis.
He also cited the premier's view that he himself had no responsibility in the Ocalan's affair, but had to resign.
Mr. Petsalnikos said Mr. Chrysohoidis' previous experience in the development ministry's trade department guaranteed his success in his new post, also.
Evangelos Venizelos, handing over the culture ministry to Elisavet Papazoi, provided an extensive account of the work done during his tenure.
He further cited his successor's experience as minister for the Aegean and ambassador to Cuba. Ms Papazoi said with reference to a recent visit to Bilbao's Modern Art Museum that Greece, with its potential, "could create many Bilbaos, only if we acquire d consciousness of our huge cultural richness."
Later, Mr. Venizelos assumed his new duties as development minister, stressing that he would safeguard and continue the work of his predecessor, Vaso Papandreou, who shifted to the interior minister.
Ms Papandreou stressed what was needed in the face of recent developments was unity in a forward-looking policy, so there would be no submission to centres wishing to serve foreign interests.
Athens News Agency
 G. Papandreou receives Turkish ambassador
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)George Papandreou held his first meeting with the Turkish ambassador to Athens Ali Tuygan in his capacity as new foreign minister, shortly after assuming the post yesterday.
According to diplomatic sources, the meeting was held at the Turkish envoy's request and lasted a quarter of an hour. The same sources said Mr. Tuygan congratulated Mr. Papandreou on the assumption of his new duties and requested a strengthening of secu rity measures around Turkish diplomatic missions in Greece.
On his part, Mr. Papandreou informed Mr. Tuygan that Athens intends to raise the issue of respect for the human rights of the Kurds, as well as the need for intervention by the European Union for a fair trial for Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in Turkey , at the conclave of EU ministers, to be convened in Brussels tomorrow.
According to press reports, this issue will be discussed during a working dinner the 15 foreign ministers will be having tomorrow night.
Athens News Agency
 Europarliament delegation calls for fair trial for Ocalan
ISTANBUL, 20/2/1999 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Eurodeputy Pieder Dankert who is heading a European delegation in the joint parliementary EU-Turkey committee called on Turkey to observe its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe and guarantee that the death pe nalty not be imposed on Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.
He also called for a fair and public trial with free access to his legal defence.
"A fair and transparent trial of Mr. Ocalan will be a basic step in opening a new chapter in relations between the EU and Turkey", the Dutch Eurodeputy said.
During the 44th meeting of the joint parliamentary committee discussion focused on Europe's strategy on Turkey.
Participating Greek Eurodeputies Eirini Lambraki, Constantinos Hatzidakis and Nikitas Kaklamanis underlined the problems arising from the way Mr. Ocalan was arrested, as well as the conditions under which he is being detained and the independence of the state security courts.
Although the committee commended Ankara's efforts to implement Custom Union legislation and reassured that decisions to boost Customs Union will be implemented, it stressed that any application to join the EU must fulfil the same set of criteria for all countries.
Additioanlly, the European delegation stressed that the Kurdish issue should be resolved in diplomatic means.
Athens News Agency
 Pangalos cites `great sadness` at Ocalan capture following his dismissalAthens, 20/2/1999
Former FM Theodoros Pangalos expressed "great sadness" at the capture of rebel Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan as well as what he called the "rejoicing in Turkey" over the event.
"I feel a great sadness at the arrest of Abdullah Ocalan as well as the rejoicing of the enemies of liberty and democracy," Mr. Pangalos said in a latenight interview on a private television programme Thursday night, hours after he was dismissed from th e foreign ministry post over his handling of the Ocalan affair.
Asked about his thoughts in the wake of his resignation, Mr. Pangalos said he had been the target of "rabid hatred" from a number of MPs, including some from the ruling PASOK party.
The ferocity of a widespread press attack in the wake of the Ocalan affair, he claimed, left him with the impression that it had been a pretext for "a settling of scores".
However, he also admitted that he had been deeply affected by the climate created in the wake of the affair.
"It was so intense and so painful that when Mr. Simitis requested my resignation on Thursday morning, I just listened and gave it to him," he said.
He underlined that the handling of the Ocalan issue had been a collective affair and he revealed that a 'crisis management group' had been specially created.
The group included himself, the ministers of interior and public order (both of whom were also sacked on Thursday), as well as the secretary general of the Cabinet.
On the other hand, he said he felt he had received full support from the prime minister, explaining that being asked to resign was not a punishment but the result of the premier's evaluation that that it was best for the party and the government.
Asked about the prime minister's role in the entire matter, Mr. Pangalos said he could not see how "developments could go any further", intimating that a Simitis resignation would simply have led to a "Kurdisation" of Greek political life.
The resignation of three key ministers, he added, should have satisfied everybody.
"I supported (the prime minister) from the beginning, I continue to support him and I will support him at the congress," Mr. Pangalos said, referring to the ruling party's congress due to be held on March 18.
The opinion that Greece should have immediately informed the European Union of the presence of Mr. Ocalan in Greece, he said, was "senseless".
"Most European countries, as well as the United States, have and continue to have the opinion that Ocalan should have been arrested and sent to Turkey," he said.
Expressing the opinion that the Turkish authorities will exploit to the full the Ocalan affair with revelations of supposed Greek support of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), Mr. Pangalos said new FM George Papandreou would have to call for a full dis cussion of the Kurdish issue at the next General Affairs Council.
Athens News Agency
 Two IOC officials express satisfaction over 2004 progressAthens, 20/2/1999
Two senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials yesterday expressed satisfaction with the progress of preparations for the 2004 Athens Games.
"Greece is sticking tightly to the timetable and we are fully satisified with the progress of works. We are in daily contact with the (Greek) Organising Committee and are constantly monitoring progress," Jacques Rogges, president of the IOC coordinating committee, told a news conference.
Commenting on a proposal by new Foreign Minister George Papandreou for an "Olympic truce" similar to a rite observed in antiquity during the holding of the Olympic Games, Mr. Rogge said "we want to convey a message for peace through the Games. Mr. Papan dreou has begun a very important initiative to make Olympia the headquarters for an Olympic truce".
The second IOC official, Gilbert Felli, director of events and head of liaison with international federations, said the IOC always tried to keep to the original plans made by each host city "but when necessary, changes are made".
He added however that when changes were made, there was always some concern about meeting deadlines.
Mr. Rogge gave an idea of what is expected from the Athens 2004 Games by saying:
"The focus of the Sydney 2000 Games will be the athletes themselves. You Greeks can offer, in addition to this, your unique culture and the Olympic Spirit which underlies the Olympic Games. We expect that with the Athens 2004 Games the IOC will overcome its current crisis."
Athens News Agency
 National Bank buys Chase Manhattan branch in Romania
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)National Bank of Greece yesterday announced the acquisition of Chase Manhattan Bank's branch in Bucharest, Romania.
National Bank will operate a dealing room, also offering services in corporate portfolio management, imports and exports and interbank services.
It already operates its own branch in Bucharest.
The US bank's customers included multinationals and large domestic companies. It was active in import-export business and in interbank services.
National Bank is seeking expansion in the Balkan region as part of a strategy to become a powerful international regional bank and an intermediary between international investors and Balkan markets.
It also operates branches in Albania and Bulgaria.
Athens News Agency
 Dutch minister says Greece on track for EMU entry
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)Greece may participate in European economic and monetary union (EMU) in 2001 if it remains committed to convergence, Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm told a Hellenic-Dutch Business Association meeting in Athens on Thursday evening.
The Dutch minister noted that the country's recent economic achievements could justifiably be called a success and that economic improvement was reflected in an increasing confidence in financial and business markets.
Mr. Zalm said the drachma was a "stable and credible currency" following its entry into Europe's exchange rate mechanism.
He said bilateral commercial relations had increased in the last few years as a result of Greece's improved economic performance.
The minister backed the Greek government's demand for the continuation of EU funding towards Europe's southern countries and stable financing for cohesion member states despite the EU's planned expansion.
However, he stressed that the Netherlands was disproportionately contributing to the EU's structural funds, and that his country was in favour of a fairer distribution of the burden among the EU's stronger economies.
Mr. Zalm said that Greece and the Netherlands were in agreement that Britain's reduced contribution to the EU budget was not justified.
Athens News Agency
 Stocks slump 3.28 pct on politics
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)Equity prices came under renewed selling pressure to end sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday.
Traders said investors reacted negatively to recent political developments linked to the capture of Abdullah Ocalan despite positive comments by foreign institutional investors regarding the market's outlook. The general index ended 3.28 percent off a t 3,248.94 points.
Turnover was 125.5 billion drachmas and volume 26,796,080 shares.
On a weekly basis the general index finished 4.24 percent lower, or 143.92 points. From the beginning of the year, the market has gained 18.68 percent.
Turnover in the week totalled 768.654 billion drachmas to show a daily average of 153.731 billion against 138.639 billion in the previous week.
Posting the heaviest losses last week was the construction sector, shedding 12.27 percent. The sector has posted the highest gains since the start of the year.
Sector indices suffered losses in yesterday's session.
Banks fell 3.09 percent, Leasing dropped 2.92 percent, Insurance ended 2.27 percent lower, Investment fell 0.88 percent, Construction plunged 6.52 percent, Industrials dropped 4.88 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.48 percent off and Holding fell 1.91 perc ent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies eased 2.49 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 2.80 percent down at 2,033.39.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 229 to 53 with another 9 issues unchanged.
Thessaliki, Eskimo, Macedonian Spinning Mills and Teletypos were the most heavily traded stocks.
Xifias, Barba Stathis, Nematemboriki, Naoussa, Aspis Invest, Klonatex and Hellenic Bottling hit the day's 8.0 percent limit up.
European Credit, Athinea, Sarandopoulos, Gekat, Hellenic Cables, Ekter, Diekat, Pantechniki, Attica Aluminium and Metka hit the day's 8.0 percent limit down.
National Bank of Greece ended at 19,400 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 32, 600, Ergobank at 23,275, Ionian Bank at 15,960, Titan Cement at 21,950, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,600, Intracom at 19,240, Minoan Lines at 7,250, Panafon at 9,400 and Hellenic Telec oms at 7,875. Bonds sink again on political uncertainty: Bond prices yesterday slumped again due to political uncertainty triggered by the Ocalan affair with long-term paper losing around 100 basis points over two sessions.
Turnover in electronic trade was 56 billion drachmas from 104 billion drachmas a day earlier.
Interbank rates were flat. The overnight rate was around 9.90 percent.
The drachma again shrugged off political upsets. It was at 322.140 versus the euro at the central bank's daily fix.
Athens News Agency
 Mobitel becomes Panafon provider
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)Panafon, Greece's largest mobile telephone operator, yesterday gained Mobitel as its sixth service provider nationwide.
Mobitel, a member of the Interamerican Group, operates hundreds of retail and service outlets around the country. Interamerican has a five percent share in Telestet, the second of three domestic mobile operators.
Competition is fierce between Panafon and Telestet.
Mobitel recently filed an appeal to the European Court of Justice against Telestet, alleging breach of an exclusivity contract.
Panafon, which started operating on July 1, 1993, had more than one million customers at the end of 1998. Its GSM technology licence to operate has a 20-year duration, beginning in August 1992.
Vodafone of the UK has a majority 55 percent share in Panafon, with France Telecom another 20 percent and Intracom of Greece 10 percent.
The remaining 15 percent is floated on the Athens and the London stock markets.
Of its service providers, Panafon owns Panavox, has a 30 percent share in Radio Korasidis Telecom, and a 25.75 percent stake in Unifon.
Its other providers are Citicom, Viafon and now Mobitel.
Telestet announced yesterday that it intended to maintain commercial links with many of Mobitel's independent representatives.
It said that only 23 percent of its new mobile contracts this year were effected by Mobitel.
Telestet's distribution network comprises Lantec, Vasilias, Clevernet, Dakos, Telepolis (a subsidiary) and Telestet Exclusives.
The firm said it was also working with the Germanos Group, which formerly was allied with Panafon.
Athens News Agency
 Bank of Athens to hold shareholders' meeting over buyout
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)Bank of Athens has called a shareholders' meeting for February 26 to seek endorsement of a merger with EFG Eurobank with the latter to be absorbed into the former.
The merger is the final phase of operational unification of the two banks that began with the acquisition of a majority stake in listed Bank of Athens by EFG Eurobank, a member of the Latsis Group, in June.
The latest step allows EFG Eurobank, which has 175 branches, to be listed on the Athens bourse.
Athens News Agency
 Ergobank share capital increase announcedAthens, 20/2/1999 9ANA)
Ergobank yesterday announced a share capital increase, with open registration beginning at the bank on Tuesday and closing on March 23.
According to a shareholders' general assembly decision, current shareholders can purchase three new shares for every 10 old ones they possessed as of Jan. 29. The price is set at 12,000 drachmas each.
Furthermore, shareholders will be given three shares as part of a bank reserves capitalisation package.
Athens News Agency
 Papaellinas purchases majority stake in Big City Corp
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)The Papaellinas group yesterday announced its entry into the data processing sector, following its draft agreement to acquire a majority stake in Big City Corp.", which is active in the computer hard drive assembly and retail sales sector.
Big City Corp. was established in 1992, and has assembled more than 17,000 computers bearing the BCC brand name. It maintains 16 retail outlets, of which 11 are franchises. Sales approached a modest two billion drachmas in 1998, while 10 new outlets wer e announced for 1999.
The Papaellinas group, primarily active in the cosmetics and stationery sectors, also announced the conclusion of an agreement to exclusively represent Christian Dior products in the Bulgarian market.
The group's activity in Bulgaria is developing in cooperation with the Sportsman clothing firm since 1994. Retail sales amounted to US$1.2 million in Bulgaria in 1998.
Athens News Agency
 Athens foreign exchange
Athens, 20/2/1999 (ANA)
Banknotes Buying Selling US Dollar 285.795 292.422 Can.Dollar 192.408 196.869 Australian Dlr 182.389 186.618 Pound Sterling 466.657 477.476 Irish Punt 405.761 415.168 Pound Cyprus 550.560 563.325 Pound Malta 703.154 732.452 Turkish pound (100) 0.075 0.078 French franc 48.717 49.847 Swiss franc 199.838 204.472 Belgian franc 7.922 8.105 German Mark 163.390 167.179 Finnish Mark 53.747 54.993 Dutch Guilder 145.012 148.374 Danish Kr. 42.997 43.994 Swedish Kr. 35.871 36.702 Norwegian Kr. 36.716 37.567 Austrian Sh. 23.224 23.762 Italian lira (100) 16.504 16.887 Yen (100) 238.606 244.138 Spanish Peseta 1.921 1.965 Port. Escudo 1.594 1.631 Foreign Exchange Buying Selling New York 285.795 292.422 Montreal 192.408 196.869 Sydney 182.389 186.618 London 466.657 477.476 Dublin 405.761 415.168 Nicosia 550.560 563.325 Paris 48.717 49.847 Zurich 199.838 204.472 Brussels 7.922 8.105 Frankfurt 163.390 167.179 Helsinki 53.747 54.993 Amsterdam 145.012 148.374 Copenhagen 42.997 43.994 Stockholm 35.871 36.702 Oslo 36.716 37.567 Vienna 23.224 23.762 Milan 16.504 16.887 Tokyo 238.606 244.138 Madrid 1.921 1.965 Lisbon 1.594 1.631
Athens News Agency