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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-08-28

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

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

August 28, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] Samaranch satisfied and happy with Athens 2004 Games
  • [02] ATHOC 2004 - Press briefing - Games' success - Kenteris - Annus
  • [03] Jonathan Edwards, Britain's former Olympic champion in the Triple Jump, says Athens 2004 Olympic Games 'one of the best in history'
  • [04] PM Karamanlis, PASOK leader Papandreou congratulate Greece's Manjani for winning javelin bronze medal
  • [05] Tourism Ministry organizes a "Greece-China Night" in Athens
  • [06] Oxford school to present odes by Pindar at Olympic Games closing ceremony
  • [07] Olympic Games are not just about medals, Aruba team tells ANA - Public order minister Voulgarakis made honorary member of team
  • [08] Post-Olympic use of infrastructure dominates presentation of book on Olympic projects
  • [09] SEGAS vice president finishes testifying on Kenteris-Thanou case
  • [10] Canadian says Parthenon Marbles campaign will continue after Athens Olympic Games
  • [11] Archbishop Christodoulos visits Olympic Village
  • [12] Gov't tables draft bill on athletism
  • [13] Premier meets Serbian president
  • [14] Greek FM sends condolences to Russian counterpart
  • [15] PM departs for island of Tinos for two-day vacation
  • [16] Roussopoulos says blast at church in occupied Cyprus poisons climate of conciliation
  • [17] Papandreou and Papadopoulos discuss Cyprus problem in Athens
  • [18] PASOK holds meeting to form position on post-Olympic era
  • [19] Pacifist organizations protest planned visit to Greece by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
  • [20] EU Commission president designate visits Mount Athos
  • [21] Development minister presents energy-mining sectors to foreign investors
  • [22] Athens Business Club: Gov't opts for economic diplomacy to draw investors, spur exports
  • [23] Greek Agricultural Minister meets Italian counterpart
  • [24] Siemens to expand software production in Greece
  • [25] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise, make up lost ground
  • [26] Composer Mikis Theodorakis leaves Athens hospital

  • [01] Samaranch satisfied and happy with Athens 2004 Games

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    IOC honorary president Juan Antonio Samaranch said on Friday that he was not only satisfied with the Athens 2004 Olympic Summer Games but also happy because Greece has managed to present excellent Games to the world.

    Replying to questions on "Sky 100.3 FM", Samaranch said the IOC was doing its job regarding anti-doping control.

    Invited to comment on the fact that spectators on Thursday were chanting the name of Costas Kenteris, who handed in his accreditation after a no-show for an anti-doping control test, Samaranch said the IOC was not disappointed by the peoples' reaction at the Olympic Stadium.

    The IOC is doing its job on the doping issue, has been fighting against steroids for many years now and will continue to do so, he added.

    [02] ATHOC 2004 - Press briefing - Games' success - Kenteris - Annus

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Giselle Davies, Director of Communications of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said on Friday that Athens has so far staged "extremely successful Games", adding that "it is clear we have success here."

    "It is clear from the first days of the competition and from the wonderful look of the city that Athens has hosted extremely successful Games. The IOC has a Games Study Commission which has a number of recommendations, some of them already implemented here in Athens and others to be implemented in Turin, Beijing and forward until 2012. I think it is clear we have success here and for the future we have the process in place to ensure this success," she said when asked what the IOC has learnt about small countries like Greece hosting an event of this magnitude.

    On the number of positive doping cases so far, she said that there have been nine positive doping cases and this number reflects only a small minority of the athletes, since there are over 10,000 athletes competing in the Games.

    "Every time an athlete is caught by the IOC for not playing by the rules is a vindication of the fact that the IOC's fight against doping is working and it is a victory for the clean athletes who are out there competing," she noted.

    On the attitude of the spectators last night at the men's 200m final, when people cried out the name of Greek Olympic medalist Costas Kenteris (who handed over his accreditation pending investigation into allegations of breach of IOC anti doping rules), she said "emotion is linked with sport. Sport is about passion and emotion. Clearly there was some emotion yesterday. We must sometimes differentiate emotion from the facts and the decisions that an organization has to take."

    On the same issue Michalis Zacharatos, ATHOC General Manager of Media Communications and Look of the Games said that Greeks have proven that they applaud and cheer all athletes, without any distinction.

    With regard to Hungarian athlete Adrian Annus from Hungary, gold medal Hammer Throw, Davies said that the IOC has indeed asked the Hungarian Olympic Committee about his whereabouts. Annus is said to have refused to produce a new sample for testing.

    IOC - Doping: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned the Hungarian gold medalist in men's hammer throw, Adrian Annus, that it would take away his medal unless he gives a new sample by this afternoon.

    The 31-year-old athlete did not follow anti doping procedures after the event.

    Since 30 July, when the Olympic Village opened, 21 athletes have been expelled or withdrawn from the 2004 Olympic Games because of the use of prohibited substances or for breach of the rules relating to anti doping control procedures.

    [03] Jonathan Edwards, Britain's former Olympic champion in the Triple Jump, says Athens 2004 Olympic Games 'one of the best in history'

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Just last year, at the World Championship in Paris, Jonathan Edwards, Britain's former Olympic champion in the Triple Jump, put an end to a career full of glory, titles and distinctions and started a "mortal" life. Edwards, reached the peak with regard his athletic life and henceforth is adjusting to more earthly matters, that of politics.

    The world renowned former British athlete in the Triple Jump is in Athens, not to jump further than anyone else in an event where he won world and European championships but also Olympic medals creating at the same time a world record, but to comment on the Athens 2004 Olympic Games for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) network.

    Shortly before Friday's start of the track and field program at the Olympic Stadium, Edwards accepted to speak to the Athens News Agency on his new life and about the Olympic Games.

    "It is not at all difficult for me to watch a final as a spectator, or to be exact as a commentator. I really enjoy it. I'm pleased and 'full' with what I have achieved in my career and I don't feel at all a 'void'. I won everything and I have no complaint," Edwards said. He also described the Athens 2004 Olympic Games as one of the best in history. "I can say with certainty that the Athens Olympic Games are one of the best in history. They are one of the Games which I will certainly keep in my memory as exceptional. Despite initial negative forecasts, Athens hosted very good Olympic Games."

    [04] PM Karamanlis, PASOK leader Papandreou congratulate Greece's Manjani for winning javelin bronze medal

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Friday congratulated Greece's Mirela Manjani for winning the bronze medal in the women's javelin.

    Premier Karamanlis in his message said:"Mirela Manjani believed in her strength, she struggled against adversities, was vindicated and was rewarded with yet another Olympic win. I express my warmest congratulations to our Olympic champion."

    In his message, Papandreou said:"Congratulations Mirela on your great success. You surpassed all the difficulties and showed yet again the enormous potential of Greek sport."

    In statements afterwards, 28-year-old Manjani said:"I dedicate the medal to the people. They gave me great strength and great spirit. I passed a difficult year with injuries. Today however I let myself free and managed to reach a medal. The time has now come for me to relax and go on holidays."

    [05] Tourism Ministry organizes a "Greece-China Night" in Athens

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    A few days before the Athens Olympic Games come to a close and as the city of Athens prepares to hand over the Olympic flag to the city of Beijing - host city of the 2008 Olympics - the Ministry of Tourism organized a "Greece-China Night" at Zappeion Hall in Athens on Friday evening.

    "Welcome to this historic building which hosted the athletes who competed in the first modern Olympics," Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said, addressing the Chairman of the Chinese National Tourism Administration (CNTA) He Guangwei, members of the 2008 Beijing Organizing Committee and journalists who were among the evening's attendees.

    "Tonight's event symbolizes the cooperation between the two countries - two countries which are the poles of civilization at opposite ends of the world," Avramopoulos added.

    Hoping to strengthen tourism within the context of the Olympic Games, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the cities of Athens and Beijing in early June, and included discussions on the possibility of operating direct flights between Athens and Beijing, Avramopoulos explained. "We aim for Greece to become the gate of entry to Europe for Chinese tourists," he added.

    "We consider ourselves privileged to have your country as our cultural interlocutor," Avramopoulos said, wishing the Chairman and the Beijing organizers good luck and assuring them that Greece is confident that Beijing will stage one of the best Olympic Games ever.

    A video presenting the emblem for the 2008 Beijing Games followed, before Guangwei delivered his brief address.

    "Congratulations to Greece for organizing these Games with such success," the CNTA chairman said. "Let the Olympic Torch be the symbol of love between our two countries," he continued, comparing relations between the two countries as a bridge of peace and friendship.

    Guangwei said that Beijing hopes to give the Olympic Games a "new breath" through tourism and reminded everyone present of the world's appointment in Beijing in 2008.

    The evening continued with Greek folk dances performed by the Lyceum of Greek Women and ended with a buffet of Greek and Chinese specialties.

    [06] Oxford school to present odes by Pindar at Olympic Games closing ceremony

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    The poet Pindar used to compose odes for athletes' victories at Ancient Olympia during the Olympic Games. Centuries later, and at the Athens Olympic Games closing ceremony on Sunday, a school from Oxford will present odes by Pindar to honor the memory of the great poet.

    "Pindar was the greatest poet in his time and he was invited often to create victory odes for the Olympic Games," said Armant d'Anjour, a professor of history at Oxford's Jesus College.

    Verses from Pindar's odes will be recited at the closing ceremony by Marie Glen Hague, one of the most longstanding members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and former fencing champion, who has repeatedly expressed her admiration for Ancient Greece.

    [07] Olympic Games are not just about medals, Aruba team tells ANA - Public order minister Voulgarakis made honorary member of team

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    The Olympic Games are not just about medals and sports, they are about meeting people and fellow athletes from all over the world, about sharing thoughts and experiences, and Athens, with its long history, impressive monuments and smooth organization of the 2004 Games, is the perfect place for this interchange, according to the Olympic athletes of the small, exotic Caribbean island of Aruba.

    The Aruba team toured the Zappeion Press Centre on Friday, had an exclusive interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA), and decorated another VIP visitor, Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, with their team's pin, making him an honorary member of the Aruba Olympic Team. The athletes said they were very impressed by the Zappeion facility and their visits and informative discussions with officials at the ATHOC, Patras Cultural Capital of Europe 2006, Thessaloniki Expo 2008 and Olympic Truce pavilions, and the Votsis Foundation's exhibition.

    [08] Post-Olympic use of infrastructure dominates presentation of book on Olympic projects

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    With the Olympics nearly over, the government's central concern is now focused on the post-Olympic management of the infrastructure that Greece has created to host the Games, Deputy Environment Minister Themistocles Xanthopoulos said on Friday during a press conference to present a comprehensive volume listing the entire range of Olympic projects - from stadiums to transport networks - entitled "The Victory Projects".

    "I myself could not believe that so much could be done in such a short space of time and so well, with such high quality," he said, describing the frantic last-minute efforts to complete everything on time. He stressed that all sides had pulled together to create the infrastructure that had worked flawlessly during the Games, proving wrong gloomy predictions about 'half-finished' Olympics that had dominated press reports in the run-up to the Games .

    He also noted that the Environment and Public Works ministry had shouldered the major burden of these preparations, which he said accounted for some 80 per cent of the total and covered sports facilities, complex transport and road-building infrastructure, as well as extensive improvements to public spaces within the greater urban area of Athens, such as revamping squares, creating disabled access and planting trees and greenery.

    Deciding who would now manage this costly infrastructure and quickly passing the necessary legislation before it started to decline was now an urgent priority, Xanthopoulos said.

    General Secretary for Information Panos Livadas highlighted the benefits Greece would reap from its Olympic effort, stressing that the image of the country worldwide was now that Greeks could work together and achieve.

    "We have once again placed ourselves on the map and made the world aware of us," he said, noting that Greece had developed and that the entire global community had been there to see.

    Apart from the physical infrastructure, he added, the legacy of the Games included the state-of-the-art training and know-how acquired by the Greek workforce and business, the transformation undergone by the public sector, which had been forced to drop past practices and work quickly, and a blossoming and valuable spirit of volunteerism that the Olympics had inspired.

    Livadas said the government was placing priority on a unified communications policy to 'reposition and rebrand' Greece to follow through and promote these relative advantages, one that would ensure that the message sent out was not fragmented.

    Christos Hatziemmanuil, representing Hellenic Olympic Properties SA that will be responsible for the management of the sports facilities created for the Olympics, stressed that there remained the task of drawing up detailed estimates of the cost, most of which directly burdened the tax-payer. He said noted that many of the projects used in the Olympics had not been officially turned over to the state and accepted and that additional work might be needed in some cases to complete them.

    He also stressed the immaterial benefits from the Games, pointing out that the logistical capacity to organize major projects could now be listed as a new competitive advantage for Greece.

    "From a pleasant destination with 'Zorba' inhabitants, were are now seen as a modern country with high level organization and infrastructure," he said, announcing a promotion campaign highlighting 'Greece of wonders'.

    On the use of the facilities, he said this needed a systematic approach, in order to avoid flooding the market with services that were in direct competition with each other and said the focus would be on tourism, culture, sports and high-level recreation. He said management of the facilities should be achieved through cooperation between the state and private-sector, with strict observance of fiscal discipline. He also stressed the potential of such facilities in assisting the development of under-privileged areas, such as Ano Liosia and Nikaia.

    Representing the Greek business community, Federation of Greek Industry chairman Odysseas Kyriakopoulos called for a strategy to pass Olympics infrastructure to the private sector and not burden the state budget with the cost of their maintenance. He said the management of the projects by the state sector was a worrying prospect, noting that the state had so far failed in all attempts at business endeavor.

    He said an integrated strategy for the management of Olympic facilities with specific goals was required and reiterated the need for specific laws against bureaucracy, underlining that the state had to extricate itself from the legal framework it had created and create an environment that was friendly to business, stressing that less red tape and more 'security' for capital was more important in this effort than tax incentives.

    [09] SEGAS vice president finishes testifying on Kenteris-Thanou case

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Yiannis Stamatopoulos, a Vice President of the Hellenic Amateur Athletic Association (SEGAS) and deputy chef de mission of the Greek Olympic team, finished giving his testimony to Public Prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis on Friday regarding the case of Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, the Greek athletes who missed a doping test on August 12. Stamatopoulos spoke of "mistakes and omissions" in the way the case was handled, as he exited the public prosecutor's office after seven hours of testimony.

    He refused to clarify further, citing the confidential nature of the inquiry, but added that Kenteris and Thanou are great athletes "whose reputation must not be marred."

    [10] Canadian says Parthenon Marbles campaign will continue after Athens Olympic Games

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Steve Ashton, Secretary of the Canadian Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, has vowed that the dream of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece will never die and that the campaign for their return will continue after the Athens Olympic Games.

    Ashton noted in a statement on Friday that he was disappointed but not discouraged that the Marbles were not returned in time for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    "The campaign for the return of the Marbles is stronger than ever. World opinion, including British opinion is with us," said Ashton, a Canadian born in Britain.

    Ashton, who is the Minister of Water Stewardship in Manitoba, Canada, said that "our message today is that our dream will never die. If it takes 1 year or 10 years or 100 years we believe that one day the British government and the British Museum will make history by returning the Marbles to Greece where they belong."

    Closing his statement, he praised Greece for hosting the best Olympic Games of the modern era, saying that "history will record that 2004 was the year of the Greeks. As the Athens 2004 Olympics draws to a close the world has been reminded of how much the Greeks have given the world. We have been reminded that Greek history and culture is the world's history and culture. That is why I appeal to people throughout the world to join us in our continuing campaign to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece where they belong."

    [11] Archbishop Christodoulos visits Olympic Village

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Archbishop Christodoulos visited the Olympic Village on Friday, where he praised the Greek athletes and made a special reference to the work of the volunteers, hoping it would spread to other sectors of society.

    The Archbishop, who was accompanied by Nafpaktos bishop Ierotheos, was received at the Olympic Village by Attiki bishop Panteleimon and the Village's mayor Ioannis Manos.

    After touring the premises, the Archbishop met with head of the Greek Olympic team Yiannis Papadoyiannakis and said, "We are proud of all our athletes. Even those who did not receive a medal but did their best."

    Referring to the doping issue, Archbishop Christodoulos said "our athletes are in need of our love and support" and cautioned against making statements before anything has been proven.

    [12] Gov't tables draft bill on athletism

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Cultural ministry on Friday submitted to parliament a draft legislation aimed to amend various articles of an existing law and implement new regulations on athletism issues in the country.

    Under the draft legislation, the government seeks to combat violence in athletic venues by obliging, among others, athletic organizations to participate with their own mechanisms in the security of games.

    The draft bill also provides for a solution to athletic unions' certified debt towards public sector bodies, by arranging for their repayment in 120 or 80 monthly tranches.

    [13] Premier meets Serbian president

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    The president of Serbia-Montenegro congratulated on Friday Greek prime minister Costas Karamanlis on the very good organization of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Speaking after a meeting with Karamanlis, the president said he enjoyed the Games and the results were excellent.

    The two leaders discussed bilateral issues, the situation in the Balkans and the Olympic Games.

    FM Molyviatis meets Serbia and Montenegro president, German party leader: Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis met on Friday morning with the President of Serbia and Montenegro, Boris Tadic, and with Germany's Liberal Free Democrats party leader Guido Westerwelle.

    The two politicians congratulated the Greek minister on what they teemed the excellent hosting of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and exchanged views on the international situation.

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou also met with Tadic at his office in parliament.

    [14] Greek FM sends condolences to Russian counterpart

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greek foreign minister Petros Molyviatis sent on Thursday a message of condolences to his Russian counterpart with regard to the air tragedy the country has suffered.

    A lot of people died when two Russian aircraft crashed within moments of each other earlier this week.

    [15] PM departs for island of Tinos for two-day vacation

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis departed for the island of Tinos at noon on Friday for a two-day vacation. The prime minister will be returning to Athens at noon on Sunday since he is scheduled to meet U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in the afternoon, while in the evening he will be attending the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games.

    [16] Roussopoulos says blast at church in occupied Cyprus poisons climate of conciliation

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greek Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Friday that an explosion at a church in the Turkish-occupied town of Morphou in Cyprus "poisons the climate of peaceful cohabitation in the country, which is necessary for the search for a solution."

    A bomb exploded at the entrance of the Christian Orthodox Church of Agios (Saint) Mamas in the town of Morphou, west of the capital Nicosia, breaking windows and damaging the church's entrance.

    The church has been in the limelight in the recent weeks in both sides of the divide following a decision by Morphou Bishop Neophytos to conduct religious rites at the church on September 1st and 2nd to celebrate the saint's name day.

    There are conflicting views in the government-controlled areas of the Republic about the proposed religious rites to be held at the occupied church. The Morphou Municipality has said it is up to the people to determine whether they want to attend or not.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has said the reopening of the church, turned into a museum by the illegal regime in the occupied north, signals the return of Greek Cypriots to the occupied areas.

    [17] Papandreou and Papadopoulos discuss Cyprus problem in Athens

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Main opposition party PASOK supports the people of Cyprus in their struggle for a viable solution of the Cyprus problem, the party's President George Papandreou said on Friday.

    Speaking after a meeting in Athens with President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, Papandreou said they discussed future developments in Cyprus that are important both for the EU and the UN, such as co-operation with the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and the date Turkey is requesting to start accession negotiations with the EU.

    Papandreou said he would be meeting in Athens with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, to discuss the Cyprus problem and convey some of Papadopoulos' thoughts.

    Asked what stance Cyprus would be taking regarding Turkey's EU bid, Papandreou said "Mr. Papadopoulos has publicly stated that he is not the one who will obstruct Turkey's EU course."

    "I would say that such a course for Turkey would open new opportunities and hopes so that, through a European process, we can find a solution to the Cyprus problem. It is neither an easy matter nor an automatic case and of course Mr. Papadopoulos says there should be changes to the Annan plan. Now, what these changes are and when they can come about, if they can, is another question. Of course we discussed all this in depth," he added.

    Papandreou also said Papadopoulos congratulated Greece on excellent Olympic Games, noting that the Cypriot President has been to about five Olympics and believes the Athens Games were the best he had seen.

    [18] PASOK holds meeting to form position on post-Olympic era

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Main opposition party PASOK held a meeting on Friday to form a unified position on the post-Olympic period and all that happened before and during the Athens 2004 Olympic Summer Games.

    PASOK senior officials said that a struggle will begin on Monday against ruling New Democracy regarding the post-Olympic era, noting that "we have to work together to win."

    They added that PASOK's duty is to present a post-Olympic vision for the country, noting that the historical chapter Greece is going through has "the political signature of PASOK."

    Among other measures, the opposition party intends to launch a series of "large-scale communication and parliamentary initiatives."

    [19] Pacifist organizations protest planned visit to Greece by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Pacifist organizations and trade union bodies staged a rally in front of the Athens University and a march to Parliament on Friday night to protest the planned visit to Greece by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell who will be attending the closing ceremony of the Athens Olympic Games on Sunday.

    The demonstrators termed the U.S. secretary "persona non grata" and the rally an "anti-war welcoming." Speakers at the event said this characterization suits the representative of a major power "which has not respected international rules and human life all over the world."

    Slogans were chanted against the Bush administration, while it was stressed that the U.S. president cannot use the Olympics in his election campaign in the United States and to seek support since, as it was pointed out, he has already been isolated in his own country.

    The demonstrators demanded with their slogans "an end to the occupation of Iraq", "an end to any plan on the involvement of Greece in this issue" and "an end to the restriction of democratic freedoms with the Zeppelins and the cameras which have surrounded the capital."

    According to the demonstrators' initial plans, the march was to reach the U.S. embassy. The police, however, deployed powerful riot police forces and prevented the demonstrators from going any further than Parliament.

    Limited incidents occurred in front of Parliament when the demonstrators attempted to break through the police cordon. Riot police repelled the demonstrators, initially with their shields and then with stun grenades.

    [20] EU Commission president designate visits Mount Athos

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, European Union Commission president designate, paid a private visit on Friday to Mount Athos and told monks that the EU would back efforts to safeguard the heritage of the monasteries.

    During his brief visit, he met with representatives of the various monasteries at Mount Athos and then he visited the Holy Monastery of Xenophon.

    Barroso assumes office on 1st November 2004.

    [21] Development minister presents energy-mining sectors to foreign investors

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greek Development Deputy Minister George Salagoudis on Friday presented the country's advantages and its favorable prospects of investing in the energy sector to representatives of large financial groups, currently in Athens.

    The presentation was made during a special event held at the Development ministry. Addressing the event, Salagoudis referred briefly to the country's comparative advantages, both in the energy and mining sectors, as a base to expand business activities throughout Southeastern Europe and reiterated the government's political will to create a stable and clear regulatory framework aimed at attracting foreign investments.

    Ministry officials, later presented in detail investment opportunities offered in the sectors of electricity, natural gas, oil, renewable energy sources and of the country's natural resources.

    In his speech, the Greek minister stressed that Greece was characterized by a stable political and economic environment. "Our country is a catalyst in expanding such a safe environment throughout Southeastern Europe. The government has decided to make the most efficient use of the country's comparative advantages due to its economic and geopolitical position".

    "We regard the energy sector as a privileged business sector. Greece offers investment opportunities covering almost all aspects of energy, such as electricity, natural gas, oil, renewable energy sources and natural resources," Salagoudis noted.

    He also stressed the country's comparative advantages in the mining sector, with significant deposits in products such as lignite, boxite, iron-nickel products, betonite, marble and others.

    "We move fast with a deregulation of markets according to European policy. In this process the role of foreign capital in significant. The Greek business world is ready to cooperate with large international groups and the Greek government is encouraging the inflow of such capital," he stressed.

    Salagoudis presented the government's initiatives in creating the necessary preconditions to successfully attracting investments, such as simplicity and clarity of a regulatory framework and modernizing a system of investment incentives. "The principles of reforming a tax and development framework already have been presented by the Prime Minister and we expect them to act as a catalyst in achieving our goals," Salagoudis added.

    Ministry officials presented, in detail, the conditions prevailing in domestic markets. For the electricity sector, officials said that Public Power Corporation has a dominant position in the market, with competition likely to come from independent energy units, such as a 400 MW energy unit, currently built by Hellenic Petroleum in Thessaloniki. The unit is expected to be ready for operation in 2005. The officials said that according to experts' projection demand for electricity was expected to rise by 4.0 percent annually both in medium- and long-term, creating the need for the introduction of a 400 MW power station every two years.

    The mining sector is considered of national importance by the government, with significant foreign exchange benefits because of its export character and with big contribution to employment, official said. Development ministry's main target is to create a stable regulatory framework, based on EU laws and directives.

    Greece is a country with a rich potential in renewable energy sources and the ministry plans to make a more efficient use of this, given the fact that Renewable Energy Sources serve simultaneously a series of political goals, crucial for the country (environmental protection, local development, attracting foreign investments).

    The sector, however, failed to grow due to lack of long-term planning and coordination. The new government, officials said, was determined to implement an aggressive policy to promote Renewable Energy Sources.

    Consumption of natural gas is expected to rise from 2.2 bln cubic meters currently to 4.5-5.5 bln cubic meters by 2010 in Greece, with large quantities of natural gas expected to be used by new electricity production stations to be build in the next five years. Infrastructure investments in the sector are projected at around 1.3 billion euros by the year 2010, including a pipeline linking Greece with Turkey and another with Italy, and expanding a current transportation system.

    In the oil sector, research has shown that hydrocarbon fields exist in various parts of the country (Prinos, Katakolo, Epanomi), with research drillings still at very low levels. Annual consumption of oil products in Greece totals 19 million tones, of which 3.6 million are imported (mainly heating oil), with the rest covered by Greek refinery production.

    [22] Athens Business Club: Gov't opts for economic diplomacy to draw investors, spur exports

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    The government plans to use economic diplomacy as a tool to help attract investment and boost exports, Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis said on Friday.

    "We are restructuring the central service that handles economic diplomacy into a policy-making centre," Stylianidis told the Athens Business Club 2004, set up to encourage corporate links during the Olympics.

    "Even diplomats on the political side will be judged in their career evaluation on the basis of performance in economic diplomacy as well," he said.

    Part of the government plan includes creation of a database with the Association of Northern Greek Exporters, which will operate on a pilot basis in 15 Greek economic and trade bureaus around the world, and then in remaining diplomatic missions. With the project due for completion in October, the database will give Greek exporters access to timely information on their target markets.

    [23] Greek Agricultural Minister meets Italian counterpart

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Greek Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Friday met with his Italian counterpart Giovani Alemanno, currently in Athens for the Olympic Games.

    The two government ministers, accompanied by Italy's Ambassador to Greece Gian Paolo Cavarai, discussed bilateral issues ahead of an informal Farm Ministers' Council to be held in Holland, September 6-7.

    The Greek minister earlier had approved ministry actions to support Greek fishermen, at a total cost of around six million euros.

    [24] Siemens to expand software production in Greece

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Siemens plans to set up a large software production centre in Greece, employing around 400 people, company officials told Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis.

    The Greek minister met with the German group's chairman H. Von Pierer on Monday, in Athens to watch and Olympic Games. During the meeting, company officials presented a plan to create a software production centre in the country, expanding its domestic production activity. Siemens operates a small software centre, employing 20 people, in Greece.

    Morgan Stanley, the international financial group, also said it planned to open a representation office in Greece.

    [25] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks rise, make up lost ground

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher in renewed buying, making up some lost ground from previous weeks, traders said.

    Players focused on high capitalization paper including Public Power Corporation and Cosmote.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,321.19 points, showing a rise of 0.74 percent. Turnover was 80.5 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.81 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.22 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.47 percent down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 138 to 115 with 96 remaining unchanged.

    On a weekly basis, the general share index rose by 4.21 percent.

    [26] Composer Mikis Theodorakis leaves Athens hospital

    Athens, 28/8/2004 (ANA)

    Renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis left the Evangelismos hospital in Athens at noon on Friday after being admitted last Friday suffering from gastrointestinal disorders.

    He was treated for his problem in a special ward and will continue to take medication recommended to him by doctors at his home.

    Theodorakis had been admitted again to the Evangelismos hospital about two weeks ago and had been operated on for a gallbladder condition.


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