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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-24

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] G. Papandreou: No decision as yet over possible Turkish EU candidacy
  • [02] PM praises rapid growth of Greek telecoms
  • [03] No measures to deal with oil price rise
  • [04] Shell's stake in Greek market to rise after alliance
  • [05] Greek-Israeli meetings on 2004 Olympic alliances
  • [06] Hellenic Arms Industry gets ISO 9001
  • [07] Europarliament to adopt EU report on Greek debt
  • [08] Inflation worries dampen sentiment on ASE
  • [09] Central bank insurance fund buys bonds
  • [10] Bond yields fall substantially
  • [11] No political deal to enter EMU, government says
  • [12] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [13] Stephanopoulos, Simitis discuss Clinton visit results, economy
  • [14] Gov't reiterates position over Cyprus solution through UN resolutions
  • [15] Tsohatzopoulos: Greece ready to participate in WEU military units
  • [16] Greek-American leaders laud Clinton visit to Patriarchate
  • [17] Commission stresses that 'European Museum' a private initiative
  • [18] Chinese film wins top honours at Thessaloniki Film Festival
  • [19] Greek-Palestinian meeting focuses on bilateral economic, development ties
  • [20] Greek pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hannover touted

  • [01] G. Papandreou: No decision as yet over possible Turkish EU candidacy

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Athens is in the midst of 'tough talks' and has not yet decided on whether it will say yea or nay to Turkey's much-coveted candidacy status at the EU Helsinki summit next month, Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday. "This will depend on the positions and commitments which the EU will undertake over the way in which the recognition of the Turkish candidacy will be linked with the consolidation of Greek interests," Mr. Papandreou told reporters at a news conference regarding current affairs.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, meanwhile, told reporters that the likelihood of Athens approving or rejecting Turkey's EU candidacy bid was "50-50".

    "Greece's stance will depend on the stance of other sides, in relation to the issue of expansion as well as (whether there will be) the recognition of the status of chosen country for Turkey," Mr. Reppas said.

    He was referring to whether Cyprus' EU accession course would be unrelated to a political settlement and whether Turkey would be judged on the same criteria as other candidate countries.

    Government officials are in talks on the position to be taken at Helsinki, and have made clear Greece's positions on these issues, he said.

    Greece is ready to compress these views into a "yes or a no at Helsinki, in line with the stance to be taken by the other sides," he said. Mr. Papandreou reiterated that Athens fully supported Nicosia's decision to participate in UN-sponsored pro ximity talks.

    The foreign minister visits Cyprus tomorrow to meet with government officials there to relay the Greek government's positions.

    On Monday, Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides led a government delegation in talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on a general overview on developments on the Cyprus issue.

    A joint communique issued after the talks said that both sides agreed that "talks must be substantive", based on UN Security Council resolutions.

    Speaking generally of Greece's foreign policy goals, Mr. Papandreou gave particular emphasis to the need to create a "framework of legality" for the region and to pursue European incorporation. He said Greece's interests were not best served by "heroic inaction or a policy which simply reacts".

    We need an assertive policy of initiative-taking, he said.

    This policy was best expressed by President Kostis Stephanopoulos's address on Friday evening during a state dinner held in honour of visiting US President Bill Clinton, he said.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos stressed in his speech that Greece was not requesting intermediaries - simply the respect and application of law and legality.

    Mr. Clinton had underlined the need for the resolution of differences between Greece and Turkey at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, the fact that the issue of Turkey's EU candidacy depended on Greece, and given his commitments for substa ntive dialogue on Cyprus.

    These statements were also made to the Turkish audience, Mr. Papandreou noted.

    Talks between the US and Greek sides focused on issues of the greatest importance to Greece, namely, Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations and Euro- Turkish relations, Mr. Papandreou said.

    "We underlined the country's strong position and set out our views with conviction," he said. Despite Mr. Clinton's compliments on the leading role Greece was playing in the Balkans, Mr. Papandreou advised vigilance, saying: "This role is not granted but achieved."

    Asked why the US and Greece had not signed any bilateral agreements - such as on tourism or cooperation in times of natural disaster - Mr. Papandreou said final touches still needed to be put to the texts of these agreements.

    Nevertheless, Greek-US relations were at a very good level and there was a prospect of wider cooperation in the areas of resolving conflicts in the region and stabilising and reconstructing the Balkans, he said.

    "Our bilateral relations do not rest on agreements but on cooperation in the region," he said.

    Turning to the issue of terrorism and the apparent efforts in some press sectors to link a lack of progress on finding members of "November 17" with the government, Mr. Papandreou said Athens convinced the US president that it was not on trial.

    "The Clinton visit showed us, in fact, that the contrary was true," Mr. Papandreou said, adding that there was cooperation between the two countries and that a bilateral police cooperation agreement would soon be signed. He also criticised oppo sition parties for the violence on Friday evening, saying it was one thing to express a different opinion and quite another to actively oppose the country's national interests.

    "We support the fact that parties want to express their views and conduct opposition against the government but, some times, the way they choose to do this undermines our very laws," the foreign minister said.

    "I wonder how much the country's bargaining positions were undermined by the violent incidents broadcast around the world on Friday evening," Mr. Papandreou added.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] PM praises rapid growth of Greek telecoms

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greek telecommunications services are a match for their European equivalents, reflecting the expansion of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation abroad and a high growth rate in mobile telephony, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday.

    In a speech at the inauguration ceremony for the transport and communication ministry's new building in Athens, Mr. Simitis also said that the mobile telephone sector was developing rapidly through new investments and increased competition.

    "We are installing an interconnecting Internet network to include 250 schools in the next two months and more than 4,500 schools in less than two years from now," he said.

    The network will also include links to all university and research centres in the country and foreign universities.

    Referring to the Post Office Savings Bank, Mr. Simitis said the government was in the process of signing international strategic alliances in Europe as part of a restructuring programme in the financial services, packages and e-commerce divisions.

    Mr. Simitis said the government's investments in public transport totalled 65 billion drachmas annually, sharply up from 713 million drachmas in 1992.

    "There are 310 new buses currently running in the streets of Athens, a number that will reach 750 by the end of 2000," he said.

    Mr. Simitis added that all trolley-buses will have been replaced with new technology vehicles by the end of the year and announced the procurement of the first 300 "green buses" fuelled by natural gas.

    He expected the launch of the new Athens metro early in January next year.

    Turning to Hellenic Railways Organisation, Mr. Simitis said it had finally started to transform itself through construction of a new rail network across the country.

    The plan envisages a double track network operating with electric-powered, high-speed trains.

    Turnaround of Olympic Airways : "Our policy priority was to transform Olympic Airways into a viable and competitive airline," Mr. Simitis said.

    "We managed to stabilise its financial condition without taking into account the political cost, and we did not hesitate to appoint a board with international experience," he noted.

    Mr. Simitis said that Olympic Airways would relocate to a new airport being built for Athens at Spata and was also proceeding with a plan to renew its fleet.

    He warned, however, that the national carrier would either have to restructure and become competitive or remain on the sidelines and be punished for its shortcomings.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] No measures to deal with oil price rise

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday that the government would not take any fiscal measures to cope with inflationary pressures due to a rise in global oil prices.

    The minister added that the oil problem would not jeopardise meeting the inflation criterion for entry into the 11-member euro zone on January 1, 2001, the government's self-imposed target date.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Shell's stake in Greek market to rise after alliance

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Shell European Oil president Adrian Loader said in London that Greece was a major market for his company and a new alliance with Texaco would benefit its place in an emerging European market.

    Texaco International Marketing and Manufacturing president Eugene Cenetano said that the two companies' exchange of assets would strengthen its presence in southeastern Europe, Reuters news agency reported.

    Shell hopes that the deal will increase its market share in Greece to 20 percent from 14 percent.

    Texaco's outlets in Greece will now be called Shell.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Greek-Israeli meetings on 2004 Olympic alliances

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Israeli embassy yesterday launched a three-day conference on business alliances with Greek firms ahead of the 2004 Olympics to be hosted by Athens.

    Israeli Ambassador Ran Curiel told the conference that trade relations between the two countries had shown a major improvement in the last two years.

    Israel was Greece's main export destination in the Middle East, and Greece was a significant market for Israeli exports to the European Union.

    The state of relations created a sound base for the development of tripartite partnerships in the Balkans, Mediterranean and Middle East.

    Mr. Curiel said that the Olympics were a major business opportunity for Israeli firms.

    Attending the conference were representatives of Israeli companies from sectors including construction, project design, telecoms, environmental technology and security systems, the ambassador said.

    The representatives would be briefed by the 2004 Olympics organising committee and meet officials from 50 Greek companies, Mr. Curiel added.

    Deputy National Economy Minister Rhodoula Zissi said that despite the healthy level of bilateral trade relations, there was still plenty of room for expansion.

    The organising committee's president, Panayotis Thomopoulos underlined Greece's stable economic climate, which inspired confidence in foreign investors.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Hellenic Arms Industry gets ISO 9001

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Hellenic Arms Industry SA has been awarded the ISO 9001 quality assurance certificate for its plants in Eyio, Lavrio and Mandra, the company said in a statement yesterday.

    The certification, awarded by the Hellenic Standardisation Organisation, was a two-year procedure covering design and production.

    The Group expects to obtain the same certificate in the near future for its two other plants, which belong to subsidiaries, located in Kymi and Kefallovrysso, Epirus, the statement said.

    In addition, the company is carrying out one billion drachmas' worth of investments, backed by the European Konver programme, at its Epirus plant.

    The investment is to purchase advanced technology machinery that is able to produce the euro coin, which is composed of two metals.

    The euro programme will ensure contracts for at least five years, Hellenic Arms Industry said.

    Finally, the company is to take part in trade fairs in Paris (Millipol '99) on November 23-27, and in Athens at the Kifissias Avenue exhibition centre on November 26-29, the statement said.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Europarliament to adopt EU report on Greek debt

    BRUSSELS, 24/11/1999 (ANA/P.Pantelis)

    The European Parliament is expected to adopt a European Commission recommendation to abolish Greece's excessive debt status, PASOK Eurodeputy George Katiforis said in the Belgian capital yesterday.

    Mr. Katiforis has been appointed by the European Parliament's Economic Committee as rapporteur for the European Commission's annual report on the EU economy, due to be formally presented to the Europarliament today by Pedro Solbes, EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs.

    "After the important decision to abolish the status of excessive debt, the Commission's report has made positive forecasts on the Greek economy and especially the inflation criterion, the last hurdle in our country's progress towards EMU participation," Mr. Katiforis said.

    "As rapporteur for the report, I expect that the European Parliament will adopt the Commission's position. It is a common view among my colleagues - members of the Economic Committee - that Greece will soon be a member of the euro", he noted.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Inflation worries dampen sentiment on ASE

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices came under strong pressure yesterday to end sharply lower, hit by worries over the impact of rising oil prices on the inflation rate.

    The general index ended 1.26 percent down at 5,532.44 points, off the day's low of 5,480 points. Turnover was 344 billion drachmas.

    Shares in the Investment and Industrials sectors were badly hit while the Insurance and Miscellaneous sectors ended 2.24 and 0.86 percent higher, respectively.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-1.28 pct), Leasing (-0.46 pct), Investment (-2.77 pct), Construction (-0.24 pct), Industrials (-2.17 pct) and Holding (-0.78 pct).

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks fell 1.39 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks eased 0.83 percent to 2,693.72 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 236 to 82 with another 10 issues unchanged.

    A total of 10 issues ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up, while another 14 ended at the day's limit down.

    General Warehouses was the most heavily traded stock.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,100 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24, 300, Commercial Bank at 22,490, Titan Cement (common) at 37,500, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,550, Intracom at 13,890, Minoan Lines at 9,500, Panafon at 3, 900 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,275.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Central bank insurance fund buys bonds

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Giving the stagnant bond market a shot of adrenalin was a 19 billion drachma purchase of paper by the Bank of Greece Workers Social Insurance Fund.

    The bonds purchased by the fund carried terms of three years, five years, 10 years and 15 years.

    A day earlier, bonds in the secondary market had shed around 50 basis points with institutional investors still edgy about an anticipated rise in consumer price inflation, despite forecasts of a decline in the harmonised index, the gauge for euro zone entry.

    The benchmark 10-year bond was trading below 99.05, showing a yield of 6.61 percent from 6.62 percent in the previous session and 6.58 percent on Friday.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 151 basis points from 154 basis points a day earlier and 154-156 basis points on Friday.

    Electronic turnover in the secondary bond market was 56 billion drachmas from 24 billion drachmas in the previous session and 6.0 billion drachmas on Friday.

    Drachma edges up vs euro, dollar : The drachma edged up yesterday against both the euro and the dollar.

    In the previous session, demand had been seen in the drachma, prompting the central bank to intervene to curb its ascent.

    At yesterday's central bank daily fixing, the European single currency was set at 328.800 drachmas from 329.000 drachmas in the previous session and 328.850 drachmas on Friday.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Bond yields fall substantially

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Seven-year bond yields fell substantially in yesterday's regular weekly auction of state securities by the finance ministry.

    The average weighted interest rate of the seven-year bond, worth 135 billion drachmas, fell to 6.83 percent from 7.49 percent in the previous auction of October 19.

    The annual coupon was 6.0 percent.

    Bids submitted by the market's primary dealers totalled 358 billion drachmas, more than two times the amount sought, evidence of continued demand for Greek state bonds.

    The auction was a reopening of the original February 19, 1999 issue.

    The average weighed price of the bond was 95.796 and its minimum accepted price was 95.750.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] No political deal to enter EMU, government says

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek economy has the highest growth rate in the European Union and it will not need political negotiations to participate in economic and monetary union, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said US President Bill Clinton's words of praise on the economy were justified.

    Referring to the impact of rising oil prices on inflation, Mr. Reppas said the economy's healthy condition enabled the country to deal with such problems.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 23, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             315.773 323.095
    Can.Dollar            214.847 219.829
    Australian Dlr        201.421 206.091
    Pound Sterling        513.181 525.080
    Irish Punt            414.150 423.752
    Pound Cyprus          564.448 577.535
    Pound Malta           735.779 766.436
    Turkish pound (100)     0.056   0.058
    French franc           49.724  50.877
    Swiss franc           203.722 208.445
    Belgian franc           8.085   8.273
    German Mark           166.768 170.635
    Finnish Mark           54.858  56.129
    Dutch Guilder         148.009 151.441
    Danish Kr.             43.858  44.875
    Swedish Kr.            37.918  38.797
    Norwegian Kr.          39.916  40.842
    Austrian Sh.           23.704  24.253
    Italian lira (100)     16.845  17.236
    Yen (100)             301.628 308.621
    Spanish Peseta          1.960   2.006
    Port. Escudo            1.627   1.665
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              315.773 323.095
    Montreal              214.847 219.829
    Sydney                201.421 206.091
    London                513.181 525.080
    Dublin                414.150 423.752
    Nicosia               564.448 577.535
    Paris                  49.724  50.877
    Zurich                203.722 208.445
    Brussels                8.085   8.273
    Frankfurt             166.768 170.635
    Helsinki               54.858  56.129
    Amsterdam             148.009 151.441
    Copenhagen             43.858  44.875
    Stockholm              37.918  38.797
    Oslo                   39.916  40.842
    Vienna                 23.704  24.253
    Milan                  16.845  17.236
    Tokyo                 301.628 308.621
    Madrid                  1.960   2.006
    Lisbon                  1.627   1.665
    Athens News Agency

    [13] Stephanopoulos, Simitis discuss Clinton visit results, economy

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday said the outcome of US President Bill Clinton's recent visit to Athens last week was positive.

    The premier and Mr. Stephanopoulos held a 50-minute meeting during which they discussed issues concerning Greek foreign relations, including an evaluation of the Clinton visit, and domestic developments, chiefly in the economic sector.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said he hoped the Clinton visit would bring positive results, as he greeted the premier, while the premier said he shared the president's view, noting that "there were clear messages".

    "But good intentions are not enough," he added.

    Afterwards, Mr. Simitis said they had discussed matters concerning Athens' international relations as well as domestic developments, particularly in the economy.

    Greece, he said was on a steady course, "although matters arise along this course, such as the rise in oil prices".

    "But we can overcome these matters if we are optimistic, have consistency and firm goals. And we do have all of these. This is why I believe that we can look to the future with certainty and optimism," the premier said.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Gov't reiterates position over Cyprus solution through UN resolutions

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday reiterated that a solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem should be sought within the context of UN resolutions.

    He was replying to questions in connection to statements by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who reportedly said that a solution to the Cyprus problem was still distant, and to remarks by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who reportedly said he would go to New York to meet with the UN secretary general only.

    The government spokesman said "the division of Cyprus is the shame of Europe", adding that "the Cyprus issue is a difficult issue, that is why it has remained unresolved for so many years". As for Mr. Denktash, he said "he is the extremely negative fa ctor in efforts for a resolution to the problem", and that with his attitude "he is just making it more known that he is not willing to contribute in seeking a solution". Mr. Reppas said anyone who could influence the Turkish Cypriot leader should do so now.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Tsohatzopoulos: Greece ready to participate in WEU military units

    LUXEMBOURG, 24/11/1999 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Military units of the Western European Union (WEU) will be formed within 2000, and Greek armed forces will be ready to participate in them, Defence Ministrer Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday.

    Speaking at the WEU's ministerial council session here, he said Greece was an ardent supporter of the idea of a "European defence," the conditions for which are now mature. Regarding armaments programmes, on which he chaired a committee session, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos noted that countries even outside WEU, like Israel, had expressed an interest in participating. "Continuous mergers of European companies producing defence equipment and the sharpening of competition with US companies prove the need for coop eration of the greatest possible number of European nations in defence programmes, " he said.

    Sources said that the basic conclusion which emerged from the sessions was that a large number of European nations now possessed the political will for a speedy formulation of a "European identity" on defence issues, although many problems of military, political or institutional nature remained.

    The Council expressed satisfaction over the continuation of dialogue between WEU and Cyprus .

    "The ministers note with satisfaction the continuation of dialogue between Cyprus and WEU, which is developing in parallel with the development of relations between Cyprus and the European Union, with which membership negotiations are underway," said t he joint communique. The Turkish delegation noted its objection to this reference.

    Rokofyllos : Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos appeared satisfied with the climate of a meeting with Turkish FM Ismail Cem on the sidelines of the sessions, on the issue of EU relations with Turkey.

    "The climate of the meeting was sincere and friendly," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Greek-American leaders laud Clinton visit to Patriarchate

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greek-American leaders have expressed their satisfaction over US President Bill Clinton's recent visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate during his stay in Istanbul for an OSCE summit.

    "The visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey by the head of the world's leading nation, US President Bill Clinton, was historic and profound," World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Andrew Athens said.

    "This event says a great deal about the world's perception of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and about His All Holiness Patriarch Vartholomeos," he added.

    Vartholomeos, a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, who was sponsored for the honour by more US Congressmen than any other individual in the medal's history.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Commission stresses that 'European Museum' a private initiative

    BRUSSELS, 24/11/1999 (ANA - G. Zitouniati)

    A proposed 'European Museum' to contain exhibits of the continent's history since the Middle Ages and mostly from Europe's northwest is a private initiative, EU Education and Culture Commissioner Viviane Reding stressed yesterday.

    "The plans for the museum are based on a private initiative and statements on the subject do not bind the European Commission, which has not received any relevant report or application," she said.

    The statements came in reaction to Culture Minister Elisabeth Papazoi's address on the issue at the Union's culture ministers' council yesterday in Brussels and a relevant question tabled in the Europarliament by Greek Eurodeputies.

    Ms Papazoi expressed Athens' reservation towards the creation of such a museum in Brussels.

    "Europe is a political unit, it has a particular understading of itself, its borders and its role in the future. The problem of the historical definition of Europe is foremostly political and is related to today and not yesterday."

    The Greek minister also recalled a 1988 Europarliament decision for the creation of a European cultural centre in Greece, stressing that "the museum of Europe is a very important and essential issue to be left in the hands of a private inistitution."

    The planned museum in Brussels proposes that Europe was born during the Middle Ages, while the map of the European Union is that of Charlemagne's empire, albeit with certain exceptions.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Chinese film wins top honours at Thessaloniki Film Festival

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    A Chinese film won the "Golden Alexander" at the 40th International Thessaloniki Film Festival's foreign section, while a nostalgic of the '60s Greek movie won top honours in the Greek section.

    "Xizhao" (Shower), a film about a father-son relationship in a China undergoing modernisation, directed by Zhang Yang, won the best film award, while the Italian-French-Argentine production "Garage Olimpo", directed by Marco Bechis, placed second.

    Best director award was given to Britain's Justin Kerrigan for his "Human Traffic".

    "Peppermint", directed by 46-year-old Costas Kapakas, received top honours in the Greek film section.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Greek-Palestinian meeting focuses on bilateral economic, development ties

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    The meeting on issues of economic and technological cooperation between Greece and the Palestinian self-rule authority concluded yesterday.

    During the meeting the two sides examined the possibilities for bilateral cooperation and agreed to work for the mutual protection and promotion of investments and avoidance of double taxation.

    The Greek delegation was headed by Deputy National Economy Minister Rodoula Zisi and the Palestinian delegation by Mohammed Nasasibi.

    Sectors of cooperation include industry, health, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, energy and renewable sources of energy in particular, human potential development, maintenance of monuments and preservation of cultural heritage as well as the organisation of public administration, among others.

    The Greek side, through development aid and based on the proposals of the Palestinian development programme, will examine the possibility of project funding in the region, as well as the possibility of granting credits aimed at developing bilateral commercial exchanges.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Greek pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hannover touted

    Athens, 24/11/1999 (ANA)

    A Greek pavilion will be set up among other European stands at the 'Europe Avenue', the most prominent portion of the world Expo 2000 exhibition in Hannover between June 1 and Oct. 31, 2000.

    The exhibition, focusing on "Man, Nature and Technology" is dedicated to sciences, technology and arts, with man being the focal point.

    A total of 190 countries and international organisations will be participating in Expo 2000 and it is expected to be visited by some 40 million visitors.

    Hailing Greece's participation, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou reiterated his conviction that the country is ready for EMU entry. He also referred to the world Expo's history, which celebrates 150 years this year, stressing that the exhibition's issue reflects the principle which also governs Athens' present policy.

    Athens News Agency

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