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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Simitis calls upcoming Clinton visit beneficial for Greece
  • [02] Athens cries foul over BM damage to Parthenon Marbles
  • [03] Greek-American leaders on Clinton visit
  • [04] Greek, Dutch FMs discuss EU-Turkish relations, Cyprus
  • [05] Milosevic praises support from Greek people to Yogoslavia
  • [06] Wholesale prices rise 1.1 pct in September
  • [07] Public investments total Dr 1.9 trillion Jan-Oct
  • [08] ELBO, EAB privatisations at tendering stage
  • [09] Greek stocks end lower on technical worries
  • [10] Drachma noses up in robust demand
  • [11] Morgan Stanley backs drachma parity revaluation
  • [12] Alpha Credit Bank launches first branch in Albania
  • [13] Greece, Germany seek better transfer of knowhow
  • [14] Minoan Flying Dolphins to get new ships
  • [15] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [16] Catholic leader on pope's desire for rapprochement with Orthodox world
  • [17] Gov't cites support for joint hosting of 'Euro 2008' with Turkish federation

  • [01] Simitis calls upcoming Clinton visit beneficial for Greece

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    US President Bill Clinton's visit here, now re-scheduled for Nov. 19, is to Greece's benefit and the government desires a positive climate in bilateral relations, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed yesterday.

    "Greece's role in the region, bilateral cooperation, Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations are on the agenda of this visit. We believe we must be present in the region and this is the role we seek to present," Mr. Simitis said.

    The Greek government will develop its positions in its meetings with the US president as it will in bilateral meetings it will have in Istanbul on the sidelines of the OSCE summit, the premier said.

    Mr. Simitis addressed critics of the Clinton visit, saying that they were not taking a "pragmatic or principled approach to the event." "I do not agree with the view that Mr. Clinton should come here offering something," Mr. Simitis said. "This is a view that is reminiscent of clientele relations...Some see international relations only as relations of patronage and seek patrons and godfathers. We do not need either patrons or godfathers. We are supported by international law, on the need to have peace in the region and to avoid conflict," he said.

    Responding to questions on recent demonstrations against the visit, Mr. Simitis said:

    "Greece is a country in which the expression of opinion is free and for this reason there will be no restrictions on it," he stressed, adding however, that the country must make good on its reputation of having a great tradition in hospitality. " The government's goal is a good climate. The main opposition avoids undertaking its responsibilities and its only interest is the party's exploitation of the visit," Mr. Simitis said.

    The premier said the stance taken by leftist parties over the Clinton visit had not been characterised by "responsibility" and said the visit was "a very important event".

    Stephanopoulos : President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, currently on a three-day visit to Slovenia, yesterday denied press reports that he was 'annoyed' by the government's handling of Mr. Clinton's visit to Greece, an ANA dispatch reported from Ljubljana.

    "I am not annoyed at all", Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    "I wouldn't be surprised if there were such press reports, since often the presidency is credited with unpleasant or pleasant impressions that have nothing to do with the presidency at all".

    He also refused to comment on the one-week postponement of Mr. Clinton's visit, saying: "Statements were made by both sides - the Greek and the US side - that I believe fully represent the facts".

    As stated above, Mr. Clinton is now due in Greece on Nov. 19, following the White Houses' acceptance of a Greek proposal for the change.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said that the official dinner for the US president will be hosted by the presidency of the republic and that Mr. Clinton will have separate meetings with him and Mr. Simitis.

    He also refused any comment on the demonstrations planned in Athens to protest Clinton's visit and said that "this is the business of political parties...I do not intervene. Each party follows its policy, is responsible for its actions and exercises its rights".

    Replying to questions over the government's alleged consideration to not allow protest marches to the US embassy, the Greek president said that "these are government policy issues and I think that to this moment the government has taken a specific stance, which is known to you. If the government's stance changes, all of us will be informed about it".

    Gov't spokesman : Meanwhile, the inner cabinet will focus on the issue of Mr. Clinton's visit to Greece on Friday at its meeting today, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    He added that the political aspect of the US president's visit remained as is. As far as the issue of scheduling went, he added, the government was not dogmatic about dates but lent emphasis to the actual visit and the attempt to keep open channels of communciation. The week's postponement provides the opportunity for better programming of the visit and using the intervening period to create the right climate for the visit to be constructive and effective, he said.

    Any violent event or any event which will embarass people or institutions would have overshadowed the visit, he said, adding that it was pointless to compare the amount of time President Clinton would be in Turkey to the amount of time he would spend in

    Greece, since the US president was attending a conference.

    The amount of time he will spend in Turkey at the end of the conference is similar to the time he will spend in Greece, he said.

    The government spokesman clarified that Mr. Clinton would be spending the night in Greece and leaving on Nov. 20.

    Asked whether Washington had expressed any concern over the adequacy of security measures for the US president, Mr. Reppas said this was not true.

    "All the measures to ensure Mr. Clinton's programme is executed normally have been taken," he said.

    He also denied that there was any difference in view between the two sides over what would be discussed during Mr. Clinton's visit to Athens. He also denied that the foreign ministry had drafted its own agenda for the meetings.

    Responding to a question on whether there would be meeting between the Greek, Turkish and US leaders at the OSCE summit, Mr. Reppas said no such meeting had been scheduled.

    He added, however, that such summits provided opportunities for various meetings and could not rule out the possibility of a meeting which would provide a forum for an exchange of political views.

    "But right now," he said, "there is no preparation under way for such a meeting."

    In a related development, Greek diplomatic sources said yesterday that bilateral economic and military cooperation and cooperation on combatting terrorism are on the agenda of talks Mr. Clinton will have with Greek government officials

    Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations, Turkey's relations with the European Union and developments in the Balkans also all have a place on the agenda of the talks the US president and his staff will have with the government.

    In addition, sources clarified that the reasons for the change in scheduling was due to political, not security, concerns.

    "With the postponement, the visit can return to its original context," the same sources said.

    The Greek side had already informed the US that the dates of Nov. 13-15 presented certain difficulties due to annual celebrations marking the 1973 November 17 students' uprising against a military junta ruling Greece.

    In a related development, the prime minister chaired a meeting with ministers which sources said focused on security measures during the US president's visit.

    Karamanlis-Simitis meeting : Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday harshly criticised the government for its handling of Mr. Clinton's visit to Greece.

    Speaking after a half-hour meeting with Mr. Simitis, Mr. Karamanlis told reporters the "postpo-nement" and "downgrading" of the Clinton visit was "nationally harmful", adding that it was inconceivable that "petty party expediencies should come before the national interest".

    He also indirectly criticised the recent wave of demonstrations protesting US policy and the Clinton visit, saying that "national interests are not safeguarded either by government whispers or extreme reactions".

    The ND leader said Mr. Simitis gave the impression of being "inca-pable of handling national issues of major importance" and criticised him of "not boldly raising his voice".

    He said the Clinton visit could prove beneficial for Greece "if we take the opportunity to put forward the Greek positions". But prerequisites for that were correct preparation of the visit and for the government to speak up clearly, he said.

    "And the government failed in the former, while with respect to the latter it appears it does not have the stature to raise its voice".

    The US, on the other hand, "must realise that the policy of (keeping) equal distances vis-a-vis Greece and Turkey encourages Turkish aggressiveness and provocativeness", Mr. Karamanlis said, adding that Ankara remained expansionist with respect to the Aegean, and intransigent with respect to Cyprus "which in addition to being unjust for Greece, primarily hurts stability in the region".

    He added that Greece could not help open the EU door for Turkey "if the Luxembourg conditions are not met, and Ankara's expansionist and undemocratic attitude does not change".

    Mr. Karamanlis said there were also concerns regarding Kosovo, as the developments were leading to a change of borders and further destabilisation of the region.

    "So long as we do not have a voice, our national interests will be undermined" Mr. Karamanlis said, underlining his party's view that the need for a national council on foreign policy to be convened was "being proved correct once again."

    Opposition reactions to Simitis' statements : ND party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said the prime minister's statements betrayed "full ideological and political confusion."

    "He cannot dispel the impressions from his most serious omissions in the handling of national issues of major significance. If Mr. Simitis had clear positions and goals, the international stature of the country would not have been hit," he said.

    A Communist Party of Greece (KKE) statement referred to a round of 'bargaining' during the upcoming Clinton visit which would leave the country's sovereign rights, Cyprus and the Balkan peoples as the only losers, as the party claimed.

    "The only gu arantor of solutions not detrimental to popular and national interests is the Greek people who struggle with their resolute pressure," the KKE statement read.

    The Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) charged that the prime minister had opted "to cover up the truth to shift responsibilities to the parties of the opposition, which he stubbornly kept away from the handling of national issues".

    "The real reasons for the postponement concern the agenda of discussions and the contradictory picture emanating from the various government centres, " Synaspismos said in a statement.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said he saw an effort to shift responsibilities to the smaller opposition parties, charging the government with "the humiliation of the Greek people due to the uncontrolled activities of Americ an secret services and other US mechanisms during the last few days in our country."

    Attack on KKE offices reported : The government yesterday condemned the attack against a Communist Party of Greece (KKE) office off a central Athens avenue by six masked assailants yesterday afternoon.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the attack was a "despicable act against democratic legality, and is the work of forces wishing to undermine the country's normal course..."

    The Coalition of the Left and DHKKI also condemned the attack, while KKE blamed the government, saying it is cultivating "with its cadres' propaganda" the ground for such acts.

    According to reports, six suspects armed with clubs and pipes broke into the KKE bureau on Acharnon street and injured three individuals in the offices at the time.

    The suspects reportedly fled after the incident, while the three men, aged 81, 47 and 23, were hospitalised.

    A police investigation is pending.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Athens cries foul over BM damage to Parthenon Marbles

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek government announced yesterday that conclusions of a recent investigation conducted by experts on the British Museum-housed Parthenon Marbles were "not pleasant at all".

    Culture Minister Elizabeth Papazoi, speaking during the presentation of British author William St Clair's book, entitled "Lord Elgin and the Marbles", said that a microscopic and in-depth examination conducted by a delegation of Greek experts on the Mar bles revealed damage from excessive cleaning and scrubbing.

    She said that according to the findings, cleaning of the sculptures in 1937 and 1938 has caused immeasurable and irreversible damage to the Marbles' patina.

    Mr. St Clair said during a press conference that "the scrubbing of surfaces was conducted in full violation of official guidelines and continued for a period of at least 16 months".

    A 100-page report including the conclusions of the experts' examination will be officialy presented in London at the first-ever symposium focusing on the Parthenon Marbles, set for the end of November.

    According to the findings of the Greek experts, and corroborated by Mr. St Clair, London's smog also exerted a particularly harmful effect on the Marbles in the 19th century. The Parthenon friezes, which date from between 447 BC and 432 BC, were tak en from atop the Acropolis in Ottoman-occupied Athens, then a sleepy village in the levantine Near East, by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.

    Greece now requests the return of the Marbles to Athens, their place of origin.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Greek-American leaders on Clinton visit

    WASHINGTON, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greek-American leaders yesterday expressed their satisfaction that US President Bill Clinton will visit Greece during his trip to the region next week.

    The week's postponement is considered as bringing the US president to Athens after Turkey, something one Greek-American community leader said may afford the opportunity for "positive progress to report to Greece" on the Cyprus issue.

    "We are pleased to hear that President Bill Clinton will still be visiting Greece during his trip to Turkey (for the OSCE summit) and other countries in the region next week," said Andrew Athens, the president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and national chairman of the United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC).

    "We understand that some encouraged the president to skip his visit to Greece. His overruling of that recommendation says something about his commitment to Greece," Mr. Athens said.

    Philip Christopher, president of the International Coordinating Committee- Justice for Cyprus and of the Pancyprian Association of America, warned that "the Cyprus issue cannot wait."

    "It is crucial that President Clinton secure some substantive movement toward a just and viable Cyprus settlement now. Without a visit to both Turkey and Greece, hope for such movement would be greatly diminished," Mr. Christopher said.

    Andrew Manatos, president of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH), on his part, said that "...now that President Clinton will be visiting Greece after Turkey, it will afford him a better opportunity to achieve the goal he seeks -- to have pos itive progress to report to Greece."

    "Greece and the United States have stood together in every major international conflict this century. The President's insistence on visiting Greece affords the US an opportunity to stand together again with Greece in bringing peace to Cyprus and the eas tern Mediterranean," he added.

    The American-Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) expressed satisfaction over Mr. Clinton's visit.

    "AHEPA is satisfied that President Clinton worked with the Greek government for re-scheduling the Athens visit for November 19-20. We regret that demonstrations (against the visit) created problems for the visit," AHEPA said in a statement.

    AHEPA also expressed hope that "during President Clinton's stay in Athens the problems created by the Turkish provocations in the Aegean and the ongoing occupation of part of Cyprus will be discussed in depth".

    Demetrios : MONTREAL (ANA) - Archbishop Demetrios of America yesterday expressed optimism on the success of Mr. Clinton's visit.

    "I am aware of the difficultues with the American president's official visit, but I am convineced that it could prove very beneficial for finding solutions to the various problems of the countries of the region," he said.

    Demetrios will also be a member of the official delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople when Mr. Clinton is received at the Patriarchate on Nov. 17, and will also attend the official dinner in Mr. Clinton's honour to be hosted by the Greek government on Nov. 19 in Athens.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek, Dutch FMs discuss EU-Turkish relations, Cyprus

    THE HAGUE, 12/11/1999 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Turkey's quest to gain EU candidacy status, Cyprus' EU accession course and Kosovo were at the focus of talks here between Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Dutch counterpart Jozias van Aartsen, during a worki ng dinner on Wednesday night.

    Mr. Papandreou said afterwards that he had the opportunity to exchange views with his counterpart, while he had "ascertained that Greece and the Netherlands' hold similar positions on a series of issues concerning EU enlargement and institutional reform ".

    Regarding Turkey's EU aspirations, Mr. Papandreou said the Dutch side favoured granting Turkey candidate-country status at the Helsinki summit, but at the same time believed that the candidacy should be accompanied by a 'road map' clearly setting out the conditions under which negotiations for Turkish EU accession could commence in the future.

    Mr. Papandreou briefed his Dutch counterpart on Greece's policy regarding Turkey-EU relations, noting that Greece desired a substantive Turkish candidacy accompa-nied by specific rights but also obligations for Ankara.

    He said he underlined the great importance placed by Greece on the smooth continuation of Cyprus' course to EU accession, stressing that Cyprus could not be kept hostage, and its EU accession course obstructed, by the Turkish Cypriot side's intransigence.

    Mr. Papandreou said that although the Netherlands had voi-ced its doubts as to the expediency of a divided Cyprus joining the EU, "there are margins for convergence of Athens' and The Hagues' views", and bilateral consultations would continue in that di rection.

    Turning to Kosovo, Mr. Papandreou said Greece and the Netherlands shared "almost identical views regarding the provision of humanitarian aid to Serbia, strengthening its democratic prospect and the gradual lifting of sanctions".

    He also did not rule out the possibility that Greece, the Netherlands and prospectively certain other countries such as France and Germany, would submit specific proposals at the next Council of EU Foreign Ministers' meeting.

    Papandreou meeting with ex-Turkish FM Cetin : Foreign Minister George Papandreou will meet with former Turkish foreign minister Hikmet Cetin today, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

    Mr. Cetin is in Athens for an awards ceremony held by the Abdi Ipekci committee on Greek-Turkish rapprochement.

    Mr. Papandreou will also meet today with Finnish FM responsible for European Affairs followed by European Commissioner Michel Barnier.

    On Nov. 15 and 16, Mr. Papandreou will attend the General Affairs Council which will provide an opportunity for him to meet with Commission President Romano Prodi.

    Developments in the Balkans, particularly Kosovo, and a proposal to gradually lift sanctions on Yugoslavia will be discussed at the session.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Milosevic praises support from Greek people to Yogoslavia

    BELGRADE, 12/11/1999 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic yesterday stressed that the Greek people deserve the utmost of respect for their wholehearted support for the people of Yugoslavia during NATO's bombing.

    Mr. Milosevic commented on relations between Yugoslavia and Greece during his meeting with former FM Karolos Papoulias yesterday, who concluded his two-day visit to Belgrade for talks with Yugoslav government and party officials.

    Mr. Papoulias travelled to Belgrade in his capacity as Parliament's national defence and foreign affairs committee chairman.

    Mr. Milosevic underlined that Greece and Yugoslavia are linked with a permanent and common target to develop close and mutual relations and cooperation in all fields, having the longstanding friendship between the two peoples as a steadfast basis.

    He added that pressures to which Yugoslavia is exposed constitute a factor of destabilisation for southeastern Europe in its entirety and should be eliminated in the interest of stability and the successful development of the entire region to enable the implementation of the Balkan countries' orientation for cooperation between them, as determined at the summit in Crete.

    Mr. Papoulias said Greece supports the strict implementation of resolution 1244 on Kosovo and condemns crimes against the Serbs and the non-Albanian population.

    Mr. Papoulias said his contacts in Belgrade were very important, but appeared concerned over the course of developments in the region of former Yugoslavia and Kosovo in particular.

    "The situation is vague and after the talks I had in Belgrade my concerns over developments in the region became more intense," he told Greek reporters.

    He said the impression he got from his talks with Mr. Milosevic is that Yugoslavia desires a continu ation of bilateral cooperation with Greece, and in the economic sector in particular, while understanding existing difficulties due to the embargo in force against Yugoslavia.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Wholesale prices rise 1.1 pct in September

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece's wholesale price index increased by 1.1 percent in September from the previous month for a year-on-year rise of 2.3 percent, the National Statistics Service said yesterday.

    The average increase in the index in the period January-September 1999 was 1.5 percent compared with the same period last year, sharply down from 4.0 percent and 3.2 percent in the corresponding periods of 1998 and 1997, the NSS said.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Public investments total Dr 1.9 trillion Jan-Oct

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    Funds approved in the public investments programme totalled 1.88 trillion drachmas in the period January-October 1999, accounting for 83.4 percent of the total programme this year, Deputy National Economy Minister Christos Pahtas said yesterday.

    This year's programme is expected to total 2.255 trillion drachmas, exceeding an earlier target of 2.195 trillion drachmas.

    Mr. Pahtas said that the rapid implementation of the government's public investments programme reflected the country's drive to boost growth.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] ELBO, EAB privatisations at tendering stage

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    A partial privatisation of Hellenic Vehicles Industry and Hellenic Aerospace Industry is expected to be completed by the end of January 2000, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou to discuss the privatisation process, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the programme was at the tendering stage.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Greek stocks end lower on technical worries

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended yesterday's session lower, reversing an early advance on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Market sources attributed the fall to uncertainties over the operation of a new electronic trading system, due to begin operations today, with several securities firms saying they were not fully informed of its functions.

    The new system aims to improve the quality and volume of transactions. It also will divide trade into normal stocks and shares under supervision.

    The general index ended 0.83 percent lower at 5,657.06 points, with turnover at 384.572 billion drachmas.

    Shares in the Investment sector came under strong pressure pushing the index down 2.39 percent.

    On the other hand, the Leasing and Holding indices rose 1.61 and 0.65 percent.

    Other sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-0.61 pct), Insurance (-0.56 pct), Construction (-0.46 pct), Industrials (-1.27 pct) and Miscellaneous (- 0.10 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks dropped 3.24 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks fell 1.07 percent to 2,770.84 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 208 to 122 with another seven issues unchanged.

    A total of 25 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while another 14 ended at the day's limit down.

    Hellenic Telecoms and Keranis were the most heavily traded stocks. National Bank of Greece ended at 21,225 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 25,000, Commercial Bank at 22,790, Titan Cement (common) at 39,400, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,940, Intracom at 14, 500, Minoan Lines at 9,910, Panafon at 3,680 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,500.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Drachma noses up in robust demand

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    The drachma edged up in strong demand yesterday, prompting the central bank to pump more of the currency into the market.

    The drachma had slumped earlier this week on a statement by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou that monetary policy would remain unchanged.

    The decline followed euphoria on rumours the drachma's central parity in the European Union's exchange rate mechanism II would be revalued in the near future.

    Yesterday, the Bank of Greece bought about 50 million euros in order to meet the heavy demand for drachmas.

    At the central bank's daily fix, the euro was set at 328.450 drachmas from 328.550 drachmas in the previous session.

    The dollar crept down against the drachma.

    The US currency was set at 315.590 drachmas from 315.830 drachmas a day earlier.

    Bonds unchanged at higher levels : Secondary market bond prices showed some volatility in light trade yesterday but managed to hold on to their new higher levels.

    Buying in recent sessions was fuelled by hopes of a realignment in the drachma's central parity in ERM II.

    Active in the market were institutional investors from abroad, who would benefit from the rumoured revaluation.

    On Tuesday, the minister's statement that monetary policy would remain unchanged depressed prices with the same foreign investors dumping around 103.5 billion drachmas of paper.

    Yesterday, the benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.58 percent, slightly down on the previous session.

    The yield spread over German bunds dropped slightly to 158 basis points.

    Electronic trade was slim at 14 billion drachmas. Buy orders accounted for 13 billion drachmas of turnover.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Morgan Stanley backs drachma parity revaluation

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the investment bank, said yesterday that a revaluation of the drachma's central parity in the European Union's exchange rate mechanism II is essential to ease the alignment of Greek short-term rates with the euro zone.

    The drachma's parity with the euro was set at 353.109 when Greece joined ERM II in March last year.

    "A readjustment is the only way to resolve the dilemma of (Greek) monetary policy," analyst Ricardo Barbieri was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.

    The government had originally said that the drachma would join the euro zone at the same parity, but rumours of an upcoming realignment have recently fuelled the domestic bond and foreign exchange markets.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said on Tuesday that monetary policy would remain unchanged.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Alpha Credit Bank launches first branch in Albania

    TIRANA, 12/11/1999 (ANA/I.Paco)

    Alpha Credit Bank yesterday inaugurated its first branch in Tirana, Albania, as part of an expansion policy in markets abroad.

    The branch is the first of five that Alpha Credit, a blue chip on the Athens bourse, is planning to open in the neighbouring country.

    The inauguration ceremony was attended by Alpha Credit Bank Group chairman Yiannis Costopoulos, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania, Albanian government ministers, and the Greek ambassador to Tirana.

    "Alpha Credit Bank's branch in Tirana will provide all banking services offered in Greece and other foreign countries," said Andreas Barntzis, the new branch's manager.

    Alpha Credit Bank has already launched branches in London, Sofia, Nicosia and Bucharest.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Greece, Germany seek better transfer of knowhow

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greek and German officials are to meet in Athens on November 23 to debate improving the transfer of technological knowhow from the north European country to Greece.

    Organising the meeting are the National Documentation Centre, the Greek Centre for the Distribution of Innovation and the German Centre for the Distribution of Innovation of Essen/Rhineland-Palatinate. The talks aim at boosting ties among Greek and Ger man companies in order to effect the transfer of knowhow.

    Attending the meeting will be company executives and representatives of universities and research centres from the two countries involved in the field.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Minoan Flying Dolphins to get new ships

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    Minoan Flying Dolphins said yesterday it had purchased three passenger and vehicle ferries from the Nomikos shipping family.

    The company had previously purchased vessels from shipowners Goutos and Agapitos.

    Minoan Flying Dolphins, a subsidiary of listed Minoan Lines, is expected in the near future to announce new alliances with companies in the passenger shipping sector.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing of: November 11, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             313.065 320.324
    Can.Dollar            213.181 218.123
    Australian Dlr        200.949 205.609
    Pound Sterling        508.202 519.984
    Irish Punt            413.709 423.301
    Pound Cyprus          565.400 578.509
    Pound Malta           740.040 770.875
    Turkish pound (100)     0.056   0.058
    French franc           49.671  50.823
    Swiss franc           202.482 207.177
    Belgian franc           8.077   8.264
    German Mark           166.591 170.453
    Finnish Mark           54.799  56.070
    Dutch Guilder         147.852 151.280
    Danish Kr.             43.817  44.833
    Swedish Kr.            37.700  38.574
    Norwegian Kr.          39.753  40.675
    Austrian Sh.           23.678  24.227
    Italian lira (100)     16.827  17.217
    Yen (100)             298.156 305.068
    Spanish Peseta          1.958   2.004
    Port. Escudo            1.625   1.663
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              313.065 320.324
    Montreal              213.181 218.123
    Sydney                200.949 205.609
    London                508.202 519.984
    Dublin                413.709 423.301
    Nicosia               565.400 578.509
    Paris                  49.671  50.823
    Zurich                202.482 207.177
    Brussels                8.077   8.264
    Frankfurt             166.591 170.453
    Helsinki               54.799  56.070
    Amsterdam             147.852 151.280
    Copenhagen             43.817  44.833
    Stockholm              37.700  38.574
    Oslo                   39.753  40.675
    Vienna                 23.678  24.227
    Milan                  16.827  17.217
    Tokyo                 298.156 305.068
    Madrid                  1.958   2.004
    Lisbon                  1.625   1.663
    
    Athens News Agency

    [16] Catholic leader on pope's desire for rapprochement with Orthodox world

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    A high-ranking Catholic Cardinal of central Europe stressed in Athens yesterday that Pope John Paul II is ready to do everything for the unity of the Christian world.

    Speaking during the start to the 29th general assembly of the council of European Catholic bishops - Consilum Conferentiarum Episcopalium Europae - Cardinal Miroslav Vlk of Prague referred to the Roman Catholic Church primate's intention to apologise from the Orthodox Church for the dreaded "Holy Inquisition" and the infamous Crusades, as part of an effort to achieve a rapprochement between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church.

    "Nobody can say that the pope does not have his arms open to all. He is ready to do everything for the unity of Christians and he has been working for this from the day of his election," the Cardinal said during the council's convening in Athens.

    He said that in 1964 Pope Paul VII and the Patriarch Athinagoras I embraced each other, while the pope had kissed the foot of the Metropolitan Meliton who had visited him in Rome as Athinagoras' envoy.

    On the question of a possible meeting with the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, the Cardinal said he is not aware whether it will take place.

    He added that in the event efforts meet with success, the meeting between the two leaders will be informal. Namely, issues concerning dogmas will not be discussed.

    The assembly is taking place at the Athens Catholic Archdiocese and will last until Sunday. Olympic Airways, Greece's state-run carrier, reportedly appears punctual lately regarding flight departure times, according to data regarding the July 30 to Nov. 4 period.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Gov't cites support for joint hosting of 'Euro 2008' with Turkish federation

    Athens, 12/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government yesterday said it would provide support to plans by its football federation to jointly bid with the Turkish federation to host the "Euro 2008" soccer championship following a meeting between the Turkish and Greek sports ministers.

    "We noted with great interest that the Greek and Turkish football federations have begun talks on jointly bidding to host the "Euro 2008", Deputy Minister for Sports Andreas Fouras said after meeting with his visiting Turkish counterpart Fikret Unlu. "We committed ourselves to providing technical support to the federations so they can prepare their bid," he said. Mr. Fouras added that Mr. Unlu would return to Athens, at his invitation, to attend the weightlifting world championships.

    Athens News Agency

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