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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-10-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 23/10/1996 (ANA)


  • Inner cabinet discusses Greece`s initiatives in the Balkans and the E.U.
  • President Stephanopoulos briefs Polish officials on Greece's foreign and economic policies
  • Greek' Turkish businessmen call for change in climate between Athens and Ankara
  • Exhibition of Greek products in Cyprus
  • Increase in Greek telecom rates
  • A.S.E. sells its wares in New York


    Greece yesterday said it would work towards establishing stability and peace in the Balkan region and resolutely dealing with any provocations, from whichever direction they may come from.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday's inner cabinet meeting dealt at length with Greece's presence in the Balkans and that Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos outlined plans for bilateral and multilateral regional cooperation as well as initiatives Greece could undertake in the economic sector and to assist in the modernisation of neighbouring countries' institutions.

    Mr. Pangalos, who recently returned from a three-day tour of countries of former Yugoslavia, briefed the inner cabinet on the results of his visits, saying that Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia wanted closer relations with Greece and an eventual inclusion in the European Union.

    The meeting discussed the government's priorities based on the axes defined by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the government's policy statement in Parliament last week.

    The first of these axes, Mr. Reppas added, include the government's policy for a strong Greece that will contribute to regional stability and peace and deal with any provocations, particularly from Turkey.

    The remaining axes, the government spokesman said, included a policy for the country's equal participation in the European Union in view of the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference, institutional modernisation, social policies, and policies for the quality of life.

    Economic policy, armaments

    The government spokesman said that National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou pledged to submit within the following fortnight, a series of proposals on the government's economic policy for discussion to the cabinet and the inner cabinet.

    Mr. Simitis met with Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos earlier yesterday to discuss the ministry's planned armaments programme and funding priorities for the defence ministry. The meeting was attended by Mr. Papantoniou, Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis and Chief of the General Staff Athanasios Tzoganis.

    Mr. Reppas said that another two meetings on the same issue would be held before it went before the Government Council for Defence (KYSEA) for a final decision.

    Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos started the second day of his three- day official visit to Warsaw yesterday with a working breakfast with Polish Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz which focused on bilateral and Europea n issues.

    Later in the day, Mr. Stephanopoulos delivered an address to the Polish Parliament focusing mainly on Greece's foreign and economic policies.

    Lending strong support to the goals of the Maastricht treaty, the Greek president said implementation of these goals within the set time limits "forces us to opt for an economic policy of austerity measures."

    During the day, Mr. Stephanopoulos had meetings with Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati and the presidents of the Polish Parliament and Senate.

    Dismissing the possibility for a revision of the Lausanne Treaty, attempted by Turkey, Mr. Stephanopoulos said Greece did not accept dialogue "on Turkey's unfounded claims" regarding issues related to Greek territorial sovereignty.

    Under the Turkish threat, Mr. Stephanopoulos stressed, "our country is forced to prepare itself for the possibility of a military attack."

    Regarding relations between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM, Mr. Stephanopoulos reiterated Greece's strong opposition to the use of the term 'Macedonia', expressing hope that the name issue will be solved.

    Referring to Greece's relations with the European Union, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that "the European Union did not play an appropriate role in the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East," the president added, "because it lacked a common defence and foreign policy."

    Strongly condemning the formation of a two-tier Europe which will discriminate against the weaker European states, Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed disagreement at the proposed abolition of consensus on issues of national interest.

    President to lay wreath at Auschwitz

    Today, Mr. Stephanopoulos will visit Katowitze and the wartime camp of Auschwitz - Birkenau where he will lay a wreath at the monument of nations.

    Meanwhile, the Greek business delegation accompanying the president, headed by Association of Greek Industries (SEB) president Iason Stratos, yesterday held talks of an exploratory character concerning possible Greek investments.

    President of the Greek Association of Young Businessmen Thanasis Lavidas said in Istanbul yesterday that tension in Greek-Turkish relations prevented the development of economic ties between the two countries.

    Mr. Lavidas, currently visiting Istanbul at the head of a Greek businessmen delegation for meetings with Turkish businessmen also referred to the "strong presence" of Greek businessmen in southeastern Europe.

    Turkish industrialist Rahmi Kots, who is also president of the "Greek- Turkish Business Council," said that businessmen in both countries could play an important role in eliminating tension in Greek-Turkish relations.

    "Development of Greek-Turkish relations will be to the benefit of both countries," said Mr. Kots.

    "I believe," he added, "that diplomats in both countries will be able to find ways to deal with the problems without prejudice."

    "The Istanbul meetings indicated that there could be cooperation in certain sectors," said businessman Simeon Tsomokos, citing the sectors of tourism and foodstuffs, and joint ventures in third countries between construction companies.

    Members of the Turkish Industries Association said that Turkish businessmen were faced in their country with an environment of political instability and difficulties emerging from the effects of political developments in business activities, as well as a generalised anxiety on the future course of the country.

    Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis today, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced yesterday.

    Mr. Lilic, who will be stopping over in Athens on his return from a visit to African nations, requested the meeting with the Greek prime minister to discuss issues concerning the development of the bilateral relations and the promotion of bilateral coop eration, a Yugoslav foreign ministry announcement from Belgrade said.

    Socialist parties from European Union member-states will meet with socialists from eastern European countries for the first time to discuss developments in the European Union and the issue of its enlargement.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and European Socialist Party Deputy President Akis Tsohatzopoulos will represent the ruling socialist PASOK party at the meeting in Budapest over the weekend.

    Conderence hears of alarming dimensions in fuel smuggling

    Finance Undersecretary Giorgos Drys claimed yesterday that 5,500 cases of smuggling and illegal fuel trading discovered in the last four years had cost the taxpayer 9.8 billion drachmas.

    Speaking at a conference organised by 'Kefalaio' economic magazine, he said it was worrying that the phenomenon was on the increase, with 85 per cent of cases concerning fake deliveries to ships and yachts, which enjoy tax exemption.

    Speaking at the same event, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said Greece's energy system was 60 per cent based on imported oil, and therefore the government aimed at a smooth functioning of the market and ensuring and strengthening the rules of healthy competition.

    She also stressed the importance of the Operational Programme for Energy, envisaging investments totalling 112 billion drachmas, in achieving savings equivalent to 700,000 tonnes of oil, or 5 per cent of the total distributed, representing 85 billion d rachmas in foreign exchange annually.

    Greek businessmen are showing great interest in participating in the Greek Products Exhibition , organised by HELEXPO-Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (TIF) in Cyprus from January 15-19 1997 for the fourth consecutive year.

    The exhibition will take place in Nicosia once again at the installations of the State Exhibition of Cyprus Authority AKEK and constitutes "reciprocity" for the 3rd Exhibition of Cypriot Products organised at HELEXPO's Exhibition and Convention Centre from February 28 to March 3, 1996.

    Moreover, HELEXPO-TIF services have started an informative campaign for Greek businessmen wishing to participate in the 2nd Exhibition of Greek Products which the national exhibition organisation will organise in Odessa, Ukraine, from March 21-25, 1997.

    The need to balance rates and gradually adjust them to cost, as required by law, has dictated the 4.7 per cent average increase in the services of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) as of January 1, 1997, managing director Petros Lambrou said at a press conference yesterday.

    He also claimed that the increase was necessary for OTE`s modernisation, the improvement of services, and the boosting of competitiveness.

    The new rates include an increase for city calls from 10.2 to 11.5 drachmas per 3 minutes, and a 1.78 per cent reduction for long-distance calls.

    Rates for calls to the rest of Europe are to go up by 7 per cent, while those to the US, Canada, and Australia are to come down by 18 per cent.

    Finally, subscription rates for the Hellascom digital circuit network will rise by 10 per cent, and those for Hellaspac will come down by about 15 per cent.

    Mr. Lambrou said the extra revenue the increases are estimated to yield is in the region of 22.5 billion drachmas.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday welcomed an agreement brokered by a government delegation to the dispute between Canadian firm TVX Gold and local residents opposed to the establishment of a gold processing plant in the Halkidiki region in northern Greece.

    "The government will keep its promise to protect the environment," Mr. Reppas said.

    A government delegation on Monday concluded an agreement that the gold processing plant be created as far as possible from the administrative limits of the Olympiada and Varvara villages, after local residents staged a 10-month blockade of the road lead ing to the entrance to the Kassandra mines, saying they feared the effects on local tourism and the environment. TVX Gold Hellas last week threatened to pull out of the 65 billion drachma investment by yesterday if the protests did not end.

    The Athens Stock Exchange was the focus of a working breakfast in New York yesterday, when ASE President Manolis Xanthakis, president of the Capital Market Commission Stavros Thomadakis and the deputy governor of the Bank of Greece Panayiotis Thomopoulos presented the emerging role of the ASE to institutional investors.

    Senior executives of 12 listed companies on the ASE took part in the event, outlining the present-day profile of the Greek economy and prospects for development.

    Messrs. Xanthakis, Thomadakis and Thomopoulos visited the editorial offices of the "Forbes" and "Institutional Investors" magazines and met with representatives of international brokerage firms Salomon Brothers and Merrill Lynch.

    Merrill Lynch representatives said that the ASE initiative to brief investors about Greek activity was "necessary" and that it was particularly important now that the political climate in Greece has stabilised.

    The Greek delegation was due to leave for Boston yesterday for another presentation, following a meeting with representatives of "Fortune" magazine.


    Sunny to partly cloudy with rain in the mountainous regions. Temperatures in Athens will range from 13-18C and in Thressaloniki from 10-14C.


    Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras yesterday expressed his full satisfaction regarding cooperation with the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) for the World Athletics Championship in Athens next year, following a meeting with IAAF general secretary Istvan Gyulai.

    "I am glad because we are in a climate of full confidence with IAAF delegates. We will succeed in having an impeccable organisation of the games, which will be the springboard for Greece contesting the 2004 Olympiad," he said.


    U.S. dlr 238.060 Can. dlr.176.477, Australian dlr. 189.224 Pound sterling 379.539, Irish punt 382.376, Cyprus pd 510.979, French franc 45.896, Swiss franc 188.306 Belgian franc 7.532, German mark 155.109 Finnish mark 51.743, Dutch guilder 138.290 Danish Kr. 40.521, Swedish Kr. 36.065, Norwegian Kr. 36.605, Austrian Sh. 22.049, Italian lira (100) 15.555 Yen (100) 211.455 Spanish Peseta 1.844, Portuguese Escudo 1.540.


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