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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-11-26

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] FM Papandreou: Any decision on Turkey's EU prospects must promote Cyprus' accession
  • [02] Electricity rates down to contain inflation
  • [03] Credit expansion eases slightly in September
  • [04] Interest rates seen falling sharply by end-2000
  • [05] PM sees economic progress continuing
  • [06] Stocks finish up in jittery trade
  • [07] Bonds rangebound in dull trade
  • [08] EFG Eurobank reports 600 pct profit jump
  • [09] Vernicos Yachts posts 80 pct profit rise
  • [10] Hellenic Bottling reports lower profits
  • [11] Vetanet to seek listing on parallel market
  • [12] Gov't measures for support of SMEs
  • [13] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [14] Greece meets Schengen Criteria
  • [15] Karamanlis outlines ND positions on upcoming Helsinki summit
  • [16] Athens voices opposition to death sentence for Ocalan
  • [17] SAE int'l assembly in Thessaloniki early next month
  • [18] Italian Deputy Defence Minister Bruti on conditions for Turkey's EU course
  • [19] Information bureau for foreign residents

  • [01] FM Papandreou: Any decision on Turkey's EU prospects must promote Cyprus' accession

    NICOSIA, 26/11/1999 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed here yesterday that whatever stance the Greek government decides to take early next month at the EU summit in Helsinki regarding Turkey's possible EUcandidacy, it should certainly back efforts for a settlement of the Cyprus problem as well as bring the island republic closer to EU accession.

    Mr. Papandreou arrived on Cyprus for a two-day visit involving talks with the government and opposition party leaders over the latest developments ahead of the Dec. 10-11 Helsinki summit.

    Following a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides in Nicosia, Mr. Papandreou said that rapprochement between Greece and Turkey cannot be achieved unless the Cyprus problem is solved, but noted that this does not mean that the two countries must not attempt to improve their relations.

    Mr. Papandreou said previous EU decisions that its relations with Turkey are affected by the Cyprus problem still stand, while he added that Athens will decide on Turkey's candidacy at the Helsinki summit after it first sees the final terms.

    On his part, Mr. Kasoulides underlined that the two governments "will operate within a spirit of full cooperation and understanding". In a related development, both ministers welcomed 16 Turkish Cypriot reporters that entered into the government-controlled part of the island republic for the press conference.

    "I cannot call you compatriots," Mr. Papandreou told the Turkish Cypriot reporters, "but I can wish that you are soon members of the EU with your compatriots, the Greek Cypriots."

    Referring to Turkey's bid to become a candidate state following the Helsinki summit, Mr. Papandreou said "we will decide in Helsinki when we see these final terms of this candidacy."

    He added that Turkey's desire to become part of Europe "should be shown in practice", noting that this "certainly will be assessed in Helsinki depending on how it is expressed."

    On the same issue, Mr. Kasoulides said Greece and Cyprus "will weigh what is to our advantage", while Athens will take its decision "accordingly".

    Asked what reciprocal measures Athens expects from Ankara, he said "we want to see willingness on the part of Turkey.

    "We cannot have a final rapprochement, a true rapprochement between our two countries (Greece and Turkey) unless the Cyprus issue is addressed and resolved and that does not mean we cannot improve bilateral relation, which is what we are trying to do," he added.

    Mr. Papandreou also said the Cyprus issue "is not a Greek-Turkish problem; it is an international problem, however, it is the heart of the problems which keep our two countries from coming together."

    He said this position "is understood by the international community," before adding that the Cyprus problem is at the core of Greek diplomacy.

    "Cyprus' EU accession course is the first and maybe only new element we have had in the last 25 years that is beginning to break this deadlock in the Cyprus problem," the Greek minister stressed.

    Earlier, on arriving in Nicosia, the Greek foreign minister said that his visit pre-empted two important events: the December 3 start to proximity talks on Cyprus and the Helsiniki EU summit a week later. "I hope to be informed and to inform and declare that our position is steady: Solidarity with Cyprus," he said.

    "I seek the solidarity of all in the difficult negotiations which we have before us at HelsinkiIWhe-ther we say yes or no - and our answer has not yet been decided - our position is that our struggle is side by side with Cyprus.

    "Whatever the outcome at Helsinki, it is certain that we will have taken a step closer to realising the vision of Cyprus," he said.

    On his part, Mr. Kasoulides said that Greece and Cyprus "were in the same boat" and that they would proceed together.

    "I want to send a message to all those who have the false impression that there may be a breach in relations between Athens and Nicosia," he noted, adding: "That is never going to happen."

    Meanwhile, government spokesman Mihalis Papapetrou said "both the Greek and Cypriot government believe that the beginning of talks on Cyprus by themselves are not enough for Greece to consent to Turkey's designation as an EU candidate country."

    In the evening, Mr. Papandreou was due to speak at the University of Cyprus on the topic of "Answering Modern-day Challenges: Cyprus, Greece and Europe".

    His schedule today includes meetings with Mr. Clerides, who spoke in Athens with Prime Minister Costas Simitis earlier in the week, Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos and the leaders of the Cypriot House's parties.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Electricity rates down to contain inflation

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday it would halve a tax on diesel used to produce electricity and lower household electricity charges by 7.5 percent in order to ease inflationary pressures from rising world oil prices. Under an amendment submitted to parlia ment by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the tax on diesel to produce electricity will be cut to 41,000 drachmas from 83,000 drachmas per thousand litres, effective on December 1.

    The reduction aims at containing electricity rates paid by consumers to forestall inflationary pressures ahead of the country's planned entry into the euro zone on January 1, 2001.

    The government is to apply to the European Union for entry in March 2000 and a decision is expected in June of the same year.

    The amendment was contained in a government bill to deregulate the electricity market.

    The 7.5 percent cut in consumer electricity bills also comes into effect on December 1. Mr. Papantoniou did not name the duration of the measures.

    The minister that the government's main policy target was to contain inflation.

    "We have to protect consumers from events (rising oil prices) not linked with economic developments in Greece." he said.

    "A sharp rise in international oil prices has significantly burdened the consumer price index, although it has not cast any doubt on our target of participation in EMU," he noted.

    The minister attributed rising oil prices to both political and economic reasons; the first linked to Iraq's decision to suspend oil exports and the second to OPEC's efforts to boost oil revenues.

    Mr. Papantoniou said that oil prices had exceeded any rational levels and expressed the hope that there would be no further unpleasant developments in the future.

    Mr. Venizelos said the decision was an anti-inflationary measure that would aid the public. He said that the 50 percent reduction in diesel oil tax would burden the state budget by 18.8 billion drachmas annually, while the cut in electricity bills would cost 8.0-10 billion drachmas.

    The minister urged the public to help in the government's effort to contain prices.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Credit expansion eases slightly in September

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Total credit expansion slowed slightly in September, the Bank of Greece said in a statement yesterday. The year-on-year rate of expansion was 10.1 percent from 10.3 percent in the previous month.

    Private sector credit in September edged up to 14 percent from 13.6 percent in August, the central bank said.

    Foreign currency loans grew by 33.1 percent in the same month from 30.4 percent in August, the Bank of Greece said.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Interest rates seen falling sharply by end-2000

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Real interest rates will fall to 6-7 percent by the end of 2000 from 12-13 percent at present, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    Speaking to reporters after announcing key anti-inflation measures with Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Mr. Papantoniou said that interest rates would fall rapidly next year, benefitting small- and medium- sized enterprises highly dependant on bank borrowing.

    He also announced that changes to penalty interest rates would be made following consultations with the Hellenic Banks Association.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] PM sees economic progress continuing

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis believes that the economy is moving on the right track and forecast that it will maintain its progress in the future, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said the prime minister told a cabinet meeting that a rise in international oil prices could not have been predicted and that no-one could know the outcome.

    Mr. Simitis stressed, however, that the economy should be able to deal with increased inflationary pressures resulting from higher oil prices if the government adhered to its policies.

    Mr. Reppas said the prime minister also underlined the importance of macro- economic and interest rate convergence with the rest of the European Union.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Stocks finish up in jittery trade

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    The market remained nervous yesterday largely ignoring a positive report by the European Commission on the Greek economy and a decision by Standard & Poor's - the US credit ratings agency - to upgrade the country's rating.

    The general index ended 0.68 percent higher at 5,418.60 points after hitting an intra-day high of 5,460 points and an intra-day low of 5,267 points. Turnover was a moderate 257.7 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+1.11 pct), Leasing (-0.43 pct), Insurance (+1.41 pct), Investment (+1.35 pct), Construction (-1.27 pct), Industrials (+0.47 pct), Miscellaneous (-0.11 pct) and Holding (+0.10 pct). The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks rose 0.18 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.10 percent up at 2,661.81 points.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 162 to 147 with another 20 issues unchanged.

    Remek, Xylemporia, Ermis, Zampa, Lambrakis Press, Mosholios, Mouriadis and Macedonian Textiles were among several issues which ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    Development Invest and Thrace Plastics ended at the day's limit down.

    Eskimo and Panafon were the most heavily traded stocks.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,900 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 24, 060, Commercial Bank at 21,900, Titan Cement (common) at 36,950, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,565, Intracom at 13,000, Minoan Lines at 9,130, Panafon at 3, 815 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,380.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Bonds rangebound in dull trade

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bonds in the domestic secondary market showed little movement in lacklustre trade yesterday with institutional investors abroad still keeping out of the market.

    Trade had perked up in the previous session on news that Standard & Poor's, the international ratings agency, had upgraded Greece. The news halted a sell-off, allowing securities to gain around 30 to 40 basis points in active trade by domestic players.

    Yesterday, the benchmark 10-year bond was trading above 99.05, showing a yield of 6.57 percent, the same as in the previous session, from 6.61 percent on Tuesday.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 138 to 140 basis points from 138 basis points a day earlier and 151 basis points on Tuesday.

    Electronic turnover in the secondary bond market was 26 billion drachmas from 53 billion drachmas in the previous session and 56 billion drachmas on Tuesday. Sell orders accounted for 16 billion drachmas of yesterday's turnover.

    Minor inflows seen in forex market : Small inflows were reported into the foreign exchange market yesterday, nudging up the drachma in otherwise uneventful trade.

    The market again apparently brushed off Wednesday's news that Standard & Poor's had ugraded Greece's credit rating.

    At yesterday's central bank daily fixing, the European single currency was set at 328.600 drachmas from 328.700 drachmas in the previous session and 328.800 drachmas on Tuesday.

    The dollar rose against the drachma in line with the US currency's ascent in global markets.

    The US currency was set at 321.890 drachmas from 321.140 drachmas a day earlier and 318.320 drachmas on Tuesday.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] EFG Eurobank reports 600 pct profit jump

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    EFG Eurobank, a listed member of the Latsis Group, said yesterday that its consolidated net pre-tax profits in January-September rose to 88.3 billion drachmas, up 600 percent on the same period of last year.

    The bank said in a statement that the parent company's pre-tax profit rose to 85.2 billion drachmas in the same period of this year. Assets rose to 2.6 trillion drachmas, up 91 percent on January-September 1998.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Vernicos Yachts posts 80 pct profit rise

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Vernicos Yachts SA yesterday announced a spectacular 80 percent increase in its nine-month profits to 477 million drachmas from 265 million drachmas in the same period last year.

    Yacht charter revenues totalled 346.4 million drachmas from 246.2 million in 1998, an increase of 40 percent, while total sales rose to 903.8 million from 397 million last year, up a spectacular 127 percent.

    The company expects its consolidated net profits for 1999 to exceed 500 million drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Hellenic Bottling reports lower profits

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Hellenic Bottling SA yesterday reported a 3.5 percent decline in its nine- month consolidated pre-tax profits after minorities to 36.8 billion drachmas.

    Its consolidated profits before tax, financial expenses and amortisation, however, rose 6.7 percent compared with the same period last year to 66.9 billion drachmas.

    Sales volume fell by 6.2 percent in the period January-September. Hellenic Bottling said that domestic profits rose fractionally to 27.7 billion drachmas.

    In Ireland, profits totalled 12.5 billion, in Nigeria losses were 1.2 billion drachmas, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Yugoslavia profits rose to 980 million drachmas and in the Yugoslav Republic losses totalled 430 million drachmas.

    Its Bulgarian subsidiary posted a 12.6 percent rise in profits to 2.6 billion drachmas, but in Romania and Russia the company showed losses of 1.7 billion and 3.9 billion drachmas, respectively.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Vetanet to seek listing on parallel market

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Vetanet ABEE, an organised structure systems company, plans to seek listing on the parallel market for smaller capitalisation stocks of the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The company has appointed Telesis Securities as consultant and main underwriter to the plan.

    Vetanet is planning the vertical integration of production, expansion in foreign markets and a strong presence in real estate.

    The company expects to show a turnover of 2.2 billion drachmas this year, with profits at 300 million drachmas.

    It has forecast a rise in turnover and profits in 2000 to 3.5 billion and 450 million drachmas, respectively.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Gov't measures for support of SMEs

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    A series of measures aimed at supporting small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were approved during yesterday's cabinet meeting.

    The measures were later announced by National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    The main innovation is the creation of guarantee capital for SMEs which will be in the form of an societe anonyme company and will function as an institutional investor.

    The guarantee capital for SMEs will be initially provided with capital amounting to 30 billion drachmas. Handicraft federations, commercial societies, chambers of commerce and social partners will be called on to participate in its operation.

    According to Mr. Venizelos, the new institutional investor will be able to accumulate up to 800 billion drachmas from loans which in turn will be channelled to the activities of such firms.

    Apart from this new form of loaning, Mr. Papantoniou and Mr. Venizelos also decided to establish a network of business development centres.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: November 25, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             319.315 326.718
    Can.Dollar            217.982 223.036
    Australian Dlr        202.492 207.187
    Pound Sterling        516.534 528.510
    Irish Punt            413.898 423.495
    Pound Cyprus          566.075 579.200
    Pound Malta           744.030 775.031
    Turkish pound (100)     0.057   0.059
    French franc           49.694  50.846
    Swiss franc           203.752 208.476
    Belgian franc           8.081   8.268
    German Mark           166.667 170.531
    Finnish Mark           54.825  56.096
    Dutch Guilder         147.919 151.349
    Danish Kr.             43.831  44.847
    Swedish Kr.            37.936  38.816
    Norwegian Kr.          39.968  40.894
    Austrian Sh.           23.689  24.238
    Italian lira (100)     16.835  17.226
    Yen (100)             306.032 313.128
    Spanish Peseta          1.959   2.005
    Port. Escudo            1.626   1.664
    
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              319.315 326.718
    Montreal              217.982 223.036
    Sydney                202.492 207.187
    London                516.534 528.510
    Dublin                413.898 423.495
    Nicosia               566.075 579.200
    Paris                  49.694  50.846
    Zurich                203.752 208.476
    Brussels                8.081   8.268
    Frankfurt             166.667 170.531
    Helsinki               54.825  56.096
    Amsterdam             147.919 151.349
    Copenhagen             43.831  44.847
    Stockholm              37.936  38.816
    Oslo                   39.968  40.894
    Vienna                 23.689  24.238
    Milan                  16.835  17.226
    Tokyo                 306.032 313.128
    Madrid                  1.959   2.005
    Lisbon                  1.626   1.664
    
    Athens News Agency

    [14] Greece meets Schengen Criteria

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Greece meets all necessary Schengen Pact criteria for its full integration into this European Union system, which allows for the unrestricted travel of EU citizens to all signatory member-states.

    According to a decision of a Schengen joint committee of permanent representatives arrived at yesterday, Greece will join the pact on Jan. 1, 2000, although several secondary airports in Greece's provinces will not be included in the initial phase but will be integrated by March 2000.

    The decision will be officially approved during a meeting of the same committee at the ministerial level on Dec. 2-3 in Brussels.

    "It is a new and important upgrading of our country within Europe. The unification of Greek territory with the rest of the Schengen territory will complete our country's inclusion into a democratic region of guaranteed security," Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos said.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Karamanlis outlines ND positions on upcoming Helsinki summit

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis noted yesterday that Greece should join Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in time and participate in whatever core is created in each case, such as Schengen or a defence structure.

    Mr. Karamanlis was speaking at an event organised by the Constantine Karamanlis Foundation last night in the presence of President Kostis Stephanopoulos and former premiers Constantine Mitsotakis and George Rallis.

    Mr. Karamanlis said Greece's target should not merely be a "nominal convergence'.

    Referring to next month's EU Helsinki summit, Mr. Karamanlis said the possibility of Turkey being granted candidate status for EU accession means the upgrading of Euro-Turkish relations, while the real target is Turkey's de facto linkage to the Common Foreign Affairs and Defence Policy apparatuses, which will lead Ankara to full participation in defence and diplomatic issues in the EU.

    He added that Turkey's equal stature with with other candidate countries, although being gradual, will pose the danger of equal distances being created between the EU, Greece and Turkey. In practice, he said, it will abolish the concept of solidarity to wards Greece.

    Mr. Karamanlis said if all this is evaluated, together with existing trends for the new form of governing (limitation of veto, commissioners), it reveals that "we are before the possibility of Greece's overall downgrading before Turkey."

    He said the characterisation of a candidate country for accession does not constitute a goodwill gesture but a considerable concession when, indeed, it is made without practical exchanges.

    Commenting on Cyprus' EU accession course, Mr. Karamanlis said that Cyprus joining the EU as soon as negotiations are over, with a specific timetable and regardless of a solution to the Cyprus issue or progress which will have been achieved, should be a top priority at the Helsinki summit. He underlined that the start to intercommunal dialogue cannot and should not be considered as something given in exchange.

    Simitis : Prime Minister Costas Simitis is confident that Greece's strategy ahead of the EU summit in Helsinki will bring the desired result, and bases this confidence on the result of his and Foreign Minister George Papandreou's talks with the leaders of other Eur opean Union nations.

    Mr. Simitis told a Cabinet meeting yesterday that he and Mr. Papandreou had found "understanding" of Greek positions in talks ahead of the EU summit, which is expected to discuss Turkey's listing as a candidate country.

    Discussions, he told the Cabinet, are still under way at both a governmental and party level on the stance Greece will take on this issue at Helsinki.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the premier briefed the Cabinet over his meeting last week with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

    Mr. Ecevit rejected a proposal by Mr. Simitis for both countries to draft an agreement to refer the dispute over the Aegean continental shelf to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, counter-proposing bilateral talks instead.

    Mr. Reppas said that such dialogue had brought no result in the past, but that talks on the specific point of contention such as the delineation of the continental shelf "could bear fruit".

    Mr. Simitis also briefed the Cabinet on the results of US President Bill Clinton's visit, saying it had been a success for Greece and brought positive results.

    This had once again underlined the leading role Greece was taking in southeast Europe, he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Athens voices opposition to death sentence for Ocalan

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Athens yesterday expressed a hope that a Turkish court decision upholding the death penalty against rebel Kurd leader Abdullah Ocalan "would not be carried out."

    "The death penalty should not be implemented," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    "Greece always brings issues of human rights to the European Union and it has repeatedly brought the issue of the death penalty to the EU," he added.

    In a related development, a Greek Europarliament deputy said any attempt to execute Mr. Ocalan would effectively "shut the door" on Turkey's European prospects.

    "Any attempt to execute Ocalan will definitively shut Europe's door on Turkey, in as far as the Socialist group is concerned, but I also believe for the European Parliament, too," Giorgos Katiforis was quoted in an ANA dispatch.

    Mr. Katiforis said the decision by the Turkish supreme court indicated the delay on the part of the Turkish state to abolish the death penalty, particularly for political crimes.

    The Ocalan case was also referred to by German SPD Eurodeputy Yiannis Sakellariou, who said the news of the death penalty sentence being upheld and of the sale of 1,000 German-made 'Leopard' tanks to Turkey "should be of particular concern to all of us" .

    On their part, dozens of members of the Kurdish community in the Greek capital held an overnight sit-in protest outside the Athens University to protest the decision.

    A Kurdish National Liberation Front spokesman said the protest was aimed at the Turkish government but also aimed at sensitising the Greek public.

    "On our part, we have done everything agreed to to halt hostilities, a fact which is of benefit to Kurds as well as Turks," he said, adding: "We will always stand by him."

    Athens News Agency

    [17] SAE int'l assembly in Thessaloniki early next month

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    A total of 1,100 ethnic Greeks from all five continents will attend the World Council of Hellenes' (SAE) 3rd international assembly in Thessaloniki between Dec. 5-8.

    The event will be opened by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and will be attended, among others, by President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and several party leaders. Within the framework of SAE, the first world youth conference will be held on Dec. 1-2 and on Dec. 3-4 the forum of overseas Greek entrepreneurs, scientists, hellenists, artists and overseas Greek women.

    Delegates will start to arrive in Thessaloniki next week.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Italian Deputy Defence Minister Bruti on conditions for Turkey's EU course

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    Turkey's European prospects go hand-in-hand with conditions such as the respect for human rights and democratic processes, Italian Deputy Defence Minister Massimo Bruti told reporters in Athens yesterday.

    Bruti was speaking after meeting with his Greek counterpart, Dimitris Apostolakis, on issues related to bilateral defence cooperation and European defence and security policies.

    Referring to yesterday's decision by a Turkish court to uphold the death penalty passed down on Kurd rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, Mr. Bruti said that acts of humanity and tolerance were what distinguished democratic governments from others.

    Mr. Apostolakis told reporters that the decision had a political dimension and said he believed there were margins to overcome this "sensitive and crucial phase of human rights in Turkey".

    Both men said that they had agreed on the need for a distinctly European defence and security policy which would not affect the authority of the Euro-Atlantic alliance.

    Asked about reports of Italian investment interest in Greek defence industries, Mr. Bruti said Rome would facilitate any interest shown by Italian firms.

    "If there is a need from the Greek armed forces, the Italian government will advise Italian firms to set out their proposals," he said.

    Referring to Kosovo, the Italian deputy defence minister called for borders to remain as they are and said he was in favour of the implementation of the Stability Pact, the Rambouillet Accords and the UN decisions.

    He added that he opposed the partition of Cyprus and that the decision not to deploy the Russian-made S-300 missiles on the island republic late last year was the right one.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Information bureau for foreign residents

    Athens, 26/11/1999 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry has established an information bureau for foreign residents in Greece, aimed at providing information on issues related to the operation of the ministry.

    The bureau will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will provide information, advise as well as take complaints.

    The office is located at 3, Akademias St. - tel. 36.82.700. The website for the bureau is www.mfa.gr

    Athens News Agency

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