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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-19

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 to Ecevit: Turkey should respond to Athens' recent goodwill gestures
  • [02] Long-awaited Clinton visit to Athens begins today
  • [03] Tsohatzopoulos: Cyprus proximity talks unrelated to possible Turkish EU candidacy
  • [04] Greek-American leaders' response to Wash. Post editorial
  • [05] Vartholomeos receives Prodi
  • [06] Stocks fall on inflation worries
  • [07] Euro jumps against dollar
  • [08] National Bank of Greece in alliance with Egyptian bank
  • [09] Gov't to crack down on misleading promotion
  • [10] Symposium held on Greek-Japanese business ties
  • [11] Intracom in Japanese education project
  • [12] Minoan Flying Dolphins buys new ships
  • [13] Panafon Money Show '99 conference in Kavala
  • [14] New mutual fund for growth small caps
  • [15] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Simitis to Ecevit: Turkey should respond to Athens' recent goodwill gestures

    ISTANBUL, 19/11/1999 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis told his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit yesterday that Athens has made a series of goodwill gestures to improve relations with Turkey and that there should be a response.

    Addressing reporters here after a 45-minute meeting with Mr. Ecevit on the sidelines of an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit, Mr. Simitis said: "I clarified to Mr. Ecevit that Greece has made a series of moves for the imp rovement of relations with Turkey. There should be a response for this process to continue." He added that Athens supported Turkey's European vocation, as it believed EU-Turkish cooperation would benefit both sides.

    "Greece supports Turkey's EU prospects because it believes that European Union cooperation with Turkey will benefit both the EU and TurkeyIBesides, the Greek position is that, in the long term, all the countries of Europe must take part in the European Union," Mr. Simitis said.

    "However," he added, "we want such a cooperation with the European Union to be effected under such terms and processes that will ensure cooperation and friendship so that there will be no problems".

    Mr. Simitis said he and Mr. Ecevit had a "very friendly" discussion that focused on "the problems; the issues occupying both countries".

    "Such issues and problems include those concerning the Aegean, Cyprus and implementation of the rules of internatonal law in the regionIThe issue of the (Aegean) continental shelf, the questioning of International law's validity, was one of the central topics discussed," Mr. Simitis said.

    He added that Greece proposes the initiation of a discussion on the continental shelf issue, within a specified timeframe, which if not met, will result to the issue being referred to the International Court at the Hague.

    Mr. Simitis also noted the positive development in recent months between the two countries, particularly in cooperation related to the earthquakes.

    The Greek premier said he pointed out that the two countries collaborated after the devastating earthquakes that recently hit in both countries, "and that was very positive".

    Mr. Simitis said he also referred to the Greek government's decision to send an additional 150 prefabricated homes to help house the earthquake- stricken in Turkey.

    "I also consider as very positive the (low-impact) discussion that has commenced on a series of issues, such as economic cooperation, tourism and combatting crime," he said, adding that another round of the consultations and discussions would be held so on, "and I hope there will be a positive result on common action related to those issues."

    Mr. Simitis, who arrived in Istanbul on Wednesday, said that in the few hours he had been in Turkey "I ascertained that the Turkish people desire friendship and cooperation with the Greek people, precisely as the Greek people do".

    "I believe that it is our duty to listen to this demand of the two poeples, to take it seriously into account and to respond in such a way so as to create a solid framework for peace and friendship," Mr. Simitis said.

    Mr. Simitis also said that he an unscheduled meeting with US President Bill Clinton and discussed several issues, including Turkey's possible candidacy to the European Union and the Cyprus problem, adding that discussions will continue in Athens.

    Ecevit : Also speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Ecevit said he and the Greek premier had a very fruitful and warm discussion.

    "The Greek assistance during the recent disastrous earthquakes that hit our country was very important for our country and people, and I expressed by gratitude to the prime minister," Mr. Ecevit said, adding that the earthquakes and the cooperation built on them with the mutual extension of assistance "show-ed that cooperation between the two peoples is destiny".

    He also recalled a joint Greek-Turkish proposal to the UN for the establishment of a joint emergency action and rescue team for quake disasters, saying that a UN vote was due in the next few days "and we will have the first example of Greek-Turkish coop eration in this area".

    Mr. Ecevit said the ongoing low-impact dialogue between Greek and Turkish foreign ministers "had commenced long before the earthquakes and gave rise to major ho-pes".

    "This climate of cooperation created immediately after the destructive earthquakes has given impetus to the dialogue between the two foreign ministers," he added.

    "As I have repeatedly stated, it is my view that there is no serious conflict of interests between Greece and Turkey. What is important is that there be continuity to the dialogue between our countries, between our nations, and that we have concrete and positive results," the Turkish premier said.

    He said "there is no one in Turkey who has territorial designs against Greece. In addition, we must keep constantly in mind that we are both NATO member-countries".

    "I have the feeling that it would be more proper to give priority to issues that concern the bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey," Mr. Ecevit said, adding however, that "there is also the Cyprus issue, which it would be good not to burden these relations with. Besides, that is in the field of authority of the United Nations secretary general." He also expressed belief that the work commenced jointly in the sectors of the economy, tourism, history and other areas "will soon have produced specif ic fruit".

    "Having the hope that very soon we will have specific results in the sectors encompassed by the dialogue, I would like to express my gratitude to the prime minister for the time he devoted to me and visited me," Mr. Ecevit said.

    Finally, according to a late evening dispatch by the Anadolu news agency from Ankara, several foreign leaders, with French President Jacques Chirac as the most prominent among them, called on Turkey to accept the jurisdiction of the International Cou rt of Justice at The Hague and the Copenhagen criteria concerning human rights.

    Karamanlis : On his part, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis said in Athens that Mr. Ecevit's statement, namely, that Turkey does harbour any territorial claims against Greece, is "deceptive".

    "This is exactly what he said before he (Ecevit) fabricated the totally unfounded theory of 'grey zones' (in the Aegean), so it is not a good will gesture to give up on an unfounded fabrication," Mr. Karamanlis said.

    The ND leader added that the US president should abandon the "equal distance policy between Athens and Ankara".

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Long-awaited Clinton visit to Athens begins today

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    US President Bill Clinton is expected to arrive in Athens today at 6:30 p.m. for an official 24-hour visit.

    Mr. Clinton, who is accompanied by his wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea as well as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, will have talks with Greek leadership on Saturday morning before delivering an address at a central Athens hotel where he will also be staying.

    Meanwhile, the government said responsibility for better Greek-Turkish relations lies with Ankara and it is exactly this that will be underlined when Prime Minister Costas Simitis meets with the US president.

    "Mr. Simitis will request the understanding and acceptance of Greek positions from the US side," acting government spokesman Yiannis Nikolaou said.

    Karamanlis-Clinton meeting tomorrow : US President Bill Clinton and main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis are scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Athens.

    Mr. Karamanlis has stated that during his discussions with the US president he will raise issues regarding Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus problem and the role of Greece in the Balkans.

    Gov't defends protest ban : In a related development, the government also defended its decision to bar protests during Mr. Clinton's visit to Athens.

    "The government has said from the outset that citizens have an irrevocable right to demonstrate their opposition, but the state too has the duty to ensure the country's interests," Mr. Nikolaou said.

    He also pointed out that the then New Democracy government had implemented a similar ban in 1991 for the visit of US President George Bush.

    "Whoever believes that President Bush was 'good' and President Clinton is 'bad' should come out and say so openly," Mr. Nikolaou added.

    Thessaloniki : Although the US president has no plans to visit the northern port city of Thessaloniki, the so-called "Committee of Groups against the Clinton Visit" is planning to protest anyway. Representatives of the group warned yesterday that they would hold protest marches in the city if the government refused to back down on its decision to prevent protesters in Athens from reaching the US embassy.

    Thessaloniki protesters plan to march to the city's US consulate.

    They called the decision to ban protests "undemocratic" and clai-med that the government was prepared to provoke violence.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Tsohatzopoulos: Cyprus proximity talks unrelated to possible Turkish EU candidacy

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed yesterday that upcoming New York proximity talks between Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash would have no impact on talks regarding Turkey's possible EU candidacy.

    "We are pursuing the accession of the Cypriot Republic to the European Union regardless of the political solution on the Cyprus problem. These are two distinct things, we should not link them to each other," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said after a meeting with his visiting Cypriot counterpart Socrates Hasikos.

    He said it was still "too early" to draw any conclusions on the effect of recent activity over the Cyprus issue.

    "One thing is certain: there will be talks on the essence of the Cyprus problem," he said.

    Next month's EU summit in Helsinki is critical, not only because of discussions of Turkey's candidate status but also on how Cyprus' unhindered course to membership in the EU would be ensured, he added.

    The Greek defence minister reiterated that Athens supported the prospect for Turkey's accession to the EU "based on the conditions that we have already set, as well as on the conditions set by the EU."

    "Greece says 'yes' to the prospect of Turkey joining the EU, however, with a simultaneous commi tment that some conditions will materialise, and also that commitments will be made on the part of the EU regarding the course of the Cyprus problem," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    Mr. Hasikos told reporters that talks also covered US President Bill Clinton's visit to Greece, and how this could contribute to resolving the Cyprus problem.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek-American leaders' response to Wash. Post editorial

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    Several top Greek-American leaders expressed their criticism with a paid advertisement in yesterday's "Washington Post", a response to an editorial in the same paper last week regarding urban terrorism in Greece.

    "The allegation that Greek governments 'do not want to find' a repeat political killer is even more unreasonable...(as terrorists) killed a Greek prime minister's son-in-law," the paid opinion piece read.

    "It took our (the US) government...18 years to find the 'Unabomber,' and then only when his brother turned him in...it does not mean that we 'do not want to find' the bomber," they added.

    "Greece always has been there for the United States, for example, in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and even Bosnia and Kosovo - one of only seven nations, out of 191 in the world to do so. And, if we treat them right, Greece will always be there," the advertisment stated.

    The article was signed by 24 Greek-American leaders and was addressed to the Washington Post and the US pulbic.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Vartholomeos receives Prodi

    ISTANBUL, 19/11/1999 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    European Commission President Romano Prodi met with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at the Phanar yesterday, a meeting sources described as "cordial".

    Talks reportedly included the issues of human rights and religious freedom in Turkey, the re-opening of the Halki Theological Academy and Turkey's European prospects.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Stocks fall on inflation worries

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices remained under pressure for the third consecutive session yesterday, pushing the market below the 5,600 level.

    The general index ended 1.46 percent lower at 5,571.67 points, off the day's low of 5,548.63 points, with turnover at 312 billion drachmas.

    Analysts attributed the market's negative climate to worries over the impact of rising oil prices on the inflation rate.

    Shares in the Leasing sector were badly hit with the index ending 3.35 percent lower.

    Other sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-1.69 pct), Insurance (-1.64 pct), Investment (-1.54 pct), Construction (-0.92 pct), Industrials (-1.64 pct), Miscellaneous (-0.63 pct) and Holding (-0.57 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks fell 0.78 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks fell 1.45 percent to 2,748.75 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 206 to 91 with another 26 issues unchanged.

    A total of 15 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while another four ended at the day's limit down.

    Esha, Techniki Olympiaki and NEL Lines were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,300 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 25, 440, Commercial Bank at 23,430, Titan Cement (common) at 37,050, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,650, Intracom at 13,400, Panafon at 3,680 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,365.

    Futures turnover tops Dr 3.0 bln : A total of 543 futures on the FTSE/ASE 20 index were traded at the Athens Derivatives Exchange yesterday, totalling 3.1 billion drachmas.

    Contracts expiring in December 1999 and January 2000 were the most heavily traded.

    Prices ended as follows: November 1999, 2,753.46: December 1999, 2,823.90; January 2000, 2,837.89; March 2000, 2,868.00; July 2000, 2,913.23; and September 2000, 2,955.46.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Euro jumps against dollar

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    The euro's steep rise against the US dollar internationally was the focus of attention in the domestic foreign exchange market yesterday.

    At the central bank's daily fix, the euro gained against the drachma.

    The European single currency was set at 328.960 drachmas from 328.900 drachmas in the previous session and 328.710 drachmas on Tuesday.

    The dollar nosed up versus the drachma.

    The US currency was set at 316.340 drachmas from 316.240 drachmas a day earlier and 318.160 drachmas on Tuesday.

    Bonds flat in lacklustre trade : Trade in the secondary bond market remained thin yesterday with most securities holding roughly the same levels.

    The benchmark 10-year bond was trading around 99.05, showing a yield slightly lower than 6.48 percent a day earlier from 6.44 percent on Tuesday.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 155 basis points from 156 basis points in the previous session and 154 basis points on Tuesday.

    Electronic trade rose to 11.0 billion drachmas from 4.0 billion drachmas in the previous session, 9.0 billion drachmas on Tuesday and 15 billion drachmas on Monday.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] National Bank of Greece in alliance with Egyptian bank

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    National Bank of Greece, a blue chip on the Athens bourse, said yesterday it was forming a venture capital firm with the National Bank of Egypt.

    The new company will initially have a share capital of 50 million US dollars, with both banks holding equal stakes.

    The announcement was made in Alexandria, Egypt by governor Theodoros Karatzas for the Greek bank and his counterpart Mahmoud Abdel Aziz for the Egyptian bank.

    The venture capital fund will invest in high-growth companies operating in Egypt in order to aid them join the Egyptian bourse within five to seven years.

    The two firms also agreed to aid passenger shipping links between Greece and Alexandria, a move that would help to boost tourism between the two countries.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Gov't to crack down on misleading promotion

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    The development ministry is to slap fines starting at 160 million drachmas on companies that mislead consumers by mail about their services or products.

    The firms will also be barred from a register of companies selling by mail order.

    The move follows complaints received by the ministry's consumer general secretariat that led to an enquiry.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Symposium held on Greek-Japanese business ties

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    A symposium was held in Athens yesterday to help boost business relations between Greek and Japanese companies.

    The conference, which was part of the national economy's Hermes programme, was on Japan's economy at the dawn of 21st century.

    Also organising the event were the Central Union of Chambers of Greece, the Japanese Embassy, and the Japanese External Trade Organisation (JETRO).

    Inaugurating the symposium was Deputy National Economy Minister Rhodoula Zissi, who pointed out the advantages of Greece as a destination for Japanese investors and the development of Japanese corporate activities here.

    In addition, Japanese firms could form joint ventures with Greek enterprises in order to operate in the Balkans, Black Sea countries and Middle East.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Intracom in Japanese education project

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    Intracom, a blue chip on the Athens bourse, is taking part in a Japanese education ministry project to provide schools in the country with the Internet via satellite. The Greek telecommunications and high technology firm is working with Matsushita Communi -cation Industrial, the parent of Panasonic, in the project that employs Intracom's IoS-Internet software. Intracom said in a statement yesterday that the two firms won an international tender for the project.
    Athens News Agency

    [12] Minoan Flying Dolphins buys new ships

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    Minoan Flying Dolphins yesterday announced the purchase of four ships, taking its fleet to 67 vessels.

    With the new acquisitions that will ply routes in the Cyclades and Saronic Gulf, the company now has 34 fast ferries, 29 standard passenger and vehicle ferries and four Ro-Ros.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Panafon Money Show '99 conference in Kavala

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    Panafon Money Show '99 will be held in Kavala, northern Greece, this weekend.

    The financial and development forum is co-organised by local authorities in Kavala and by Organotecnica SA, under the auspices of the Macedonia-Thrace ministry.

    The conference will be attended by representatives of the Athens Stock Exchange, the Athens Derivatives Exchange, the Thessaloniki Stock Exchange Centre and business representatives from all over the country.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] New mutual fund for growth small caps

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    Mutual fund manager Nationale-Nederlanden yesterday launched a new domestic equity fund, which is called Dynamic Enterprises-Domestic Equity, for investors seeking to participate in small- and medium-sized listed companies with strong growth potential.

    The new mutual fund's investment strategy will focus on identifying companies with growth rates higher than the market average.

    The stocks are likely to be in the information technology, construction and distribution sectors, or new listings, or merger and acquisition targets.

    Nationale-Nederlanden manages a total of eight mutual funds in Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 19/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 18, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             313.809 321.085
    Can.Dollar            213.330 218.276
    Australian Dlr        200.354 205.000
    Pound Sterling        509.293 521.101
    Irish Punt            414.351 423.958
    Pound Cyprus          565.242 578.347
    Pound Malta           731.202 761.669
    Turkish pound (100)     0.056   0.058
    French franc           49.749  50.902
    Swiss franc           203.672 208.395
    Belgian franc           8.089   8.277
    German Mark           166.849 170.718
    Finnish Mark           54.884  56.157
    Dutch Guilder         148.082 151.515
    Danish Kr.             43.876  44.893
    Swedish Kr.            37.791  38.667
    Norwegian Kr.          39.799  40.722
    Austrian Sh.           23.715  24.265
    Italian lira (100)     16.853  17.244
    Yen (100)             296.568 303.444
    Spanish Peseta          1.961   2.007
    Port. Escudo            1.628   1.666
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              313.809 321.085
    Montreal              213.330 218.276
    Sydney                200.354 205.000
    London                509.293 521.101
    Dublin                414.351 423.958
    Nicosia               565.242 578.347
    Paris                  49.749  50.902
    Zurich                203.672 208.395
    Brussels                8.089   8.277
    Frankfurt             166.849 170.718
    Helsinki               54.884  56.157
    Amsterdam             148.082 151.515
    Copenhagen             43.876  44.893
    Stockholm              37.791  38.667
    Oslo                   39.799  40.722
    Vienna                 23.715  24.265
    Milan                  16.853  17.244
    Tokyo                 296.568 303.444
    Madrid                  1.961   2.007
    Lisbon                  1.628   1.666
    
    Athens News Agency

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