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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 12/11/1996 (ANA)


  • Greece, Ukraine sign friendship and cooperation agreement following Kuchma visit
  • Government defines terms for bourse's reopening
  • U.S. representative for Cyprus in Athens today
  • Justice Minister in Cyprus today
  • Greece backs EU flexible fiscal Stability Pact


    Greece,Ukraine sign friendship and cooperation agreement following Kuchma visit

    Greece and Ukraine yesterday signed a friendship and cooperation agreement following talks between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and visiting Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

    Three accords on the transport, tourism, and cultural sectors were also signed after talks between Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his counterpart, Gennady Udovenko.

    Mr. Kuchma, who arrived in Athens yesterday on an official two-day visit, said he had received the fullest support from Athens on issues that had been discussed, including the region's problems, Russian-Ukrainian relations, his country's relations with the European Union and the expected enlargement of NATO. He said particular emphasis was placed on economic cooperation and European security issues.

    Mr. Kuchma, who earlier met with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, extended an invitation to Mr. Simitis to visit the Ukraine. "The multi-dimensional character of Greek foreign policy and multi-faceted relations being developed with the countrie s of eastern Europe was very much in evidence in the talks with Mr. Kuchma," Mr. Simitis said.

    The prime minister confirmed Athens' support for Kiev's efforts to find its place in the new world emerging and noted the ties of friendship binding the two peoples and the long and dynamic presence of Hellenism in the Caucasus.

    Mr. Simitis added that the two men had also discussed Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem, agreeing that differences between the states should be resolved on the basis of the principles of international law and respect for international treaties.

    In a related development, Mr. Pangalos and Mr. Udovenko signed three agreements in the transport, tourism and cultural sectors.

    Mr. Pangalos said at the end of talks that Greece shares a number of the Ukraine's ideas related to the organisation of the international community. "We support the validity of the borders in Europe as they have been defined by international treaties an d we are opposed to whatever effort to revise them," he said. Mr. Pangalos said Greece will encourage the strengthening of relations between the Ukraine and the European Union and its progressive association with NATO. He further expressed support for its complete participation in Balkan cooperation.

    He said trade between the two countries had developed in leaps, speaking of considerable Greek investments in Ukraine and adding that plans exist to create new motorways, such as the one linking Helsinki with Athens via Kiev.

    Mr. Pangalos said this highway should be funded by the EU, by all countries using it and by a Black Sea Investment Bank to be created in 1997 and headquartered in Thessaloniki.

    On his part, Mr. Udovenko referred to the tens of thousands of Greeks living in the Ukraine who constitute an important bridge of friendship between the two countries.

    Mr. Udovenko said the signing of a friendship and cooperation agreement by Mr. Simitis and Mr. Kuchma is an important foundation stone, announcing that the mayor of Kiev, who is a member of the Ukrainian delegation, will sign a cooperation agreement wit h Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos today.

    Replying to a question on the problem posed by the Chernobyl nuclear plant, Mr. Udovenko said the biggest problem does not concern the two reactors that continue to operate but the one which exploded in 1986.

    Mr. Udovenko said the reactor has been covered with cement and continues to contain 180 tons of nuclear material in an unknown condition. He added that ways are being sought with foreign experts to extract the nuclear material from the reactor, but adde d that this will not be possible without economic aid from the international community.

    After meeting with the president and premier, Mr. Kuchma held separate meetings with main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga and ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis .

    After his meeting with Mr. Kuchma, Mr. Evert said the two men discussed the possibility of political and economic cooperation between the two countries.

    During an official luncheon given last night in Mr. Kuchma's honour by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, the Greek president stressed the traditional, friendly relations between the two countries, adding that Greece will contribute to the one-time Soviet republic's efforts for gaining access to west European and Atlantic organisations.

    In his address, among others, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that it was Greece's wish to improve relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as soon as possible.

    He said, however, that in order to improve relations, FYROM should show respect to "our history and our cultural heritage."

    Referring to Greek-Turkish relations as well as the continued Turkish occupation of a part of Cyprus, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that Ankara, by "refusing to respect the international treaties regulating the status quo in the Aegean has reached the point o f disputing our sovereign rights, causing tension in the region and not allowing for the development of harmonious relations and peaceful cooperation" in the southeastern Mediterranean.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos also referred to Greece's initiatives in the Balkans and opportunities for further development of bilateral relations between Greece and the Ukraine.

    Gov't defines terms for bourse's reopening

    The Greek government is resolved to apply the terms and conditions for the reopening of the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with which the Association of the Athens Stock Exchange Members (SMEHA) agreed on Sunday, National Econo my and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday in Brussels, commenting on the abstention of stockbrokers from trading yesterday.

    "The government and the supervisory authorities yesterday (Sunday) agreed in principle with SMEHA's governing board on the terms and conditions for its (ASE) reopening. This agreement was overturned by the stockbrokers' general assembly today (yesterday). I would like to note that as far as the government and the supervisory authorities are concerned, what was agreed upon yesterday is valid and will be applied. There will be no change as regards our positions, because it is clear that the state budget cannot shoulder the burden of every firm which breaks the law or faces financial problems," he said.

    "This, as in every stock exchange in the world, is the responsibility of the stock market itself," he added.

    Mr. Papantoniou expressed the view that the severe crisis currently facing the Athens bourse is one of adjustment to a new legal framework established with laws passed in 1995 and this year, the latter of which came into effect on Nov. 1.

    "It is no coincidence that this crisis broke out following the expressed instruction for the new legal framework to be applied most strictly, and for severe sanctions to be applied in the case of those who violate the rules," he said.

    In addition, the national economy and finance minister advised stock market traders to be more careful in future and to adhere to all trading rules and procedures meticulously, as the government and justice would be very strict.

    In Athens, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated the government's "unceasing" interest in developments at the ASE, but stressed that problems faced by the market will be dealt with by the market and not by the government.

    "This is not a problem which has been created or will be solved by the government," Mr. Reppas said. "It is a problem which the Athens Stock Exchange has faced within the framework of its modernisation," he added.

    The bourse remained closed for a second successive session yesterday, as members of the Union of Stock Exchange Members (SMEXA) continued their marathon meeting on whether to abstain from trading. Reports said that the majority of members appea red to be in favour of keeping the bourse shut for the next few days.

    The ASE suspended trading on Friday for the first time in its history when SMEXA abstained following the inability of Delta Securities to cover cash obligations to the titles depository, which is responsible for clearing transactions.

    The brokers had called on the national economy ministry to ensure the correct operation of the system of clearance of transactions, claiming that the titles depository owed brokerage firms money.

    National Economy Ministry Secretary General Apostolos Fotiadis said that the government's main concern is the resumption of trading on the ASE with the full clearance of transactions.

    Mr. Fotiadis added that all investors hit by Delta's inability to meet its obligations would be reimbursed by the brokerage firms' joint-surety fund.

    Reports later said that the stock exchange would remain closed for another two days to enable all transactions to be cleared and allow the bourse a fresh start.

    The reports added that a further eight brokerage firms were involved in the 'Delta affair'.

    US representative for Cyprus due in Athens today

    Washington's representative for Cyprus, Carey Cavanaugh, is due to arrive in Athens today for talks with the Greek government.

    After his visit to Athens, Mr. Cavanaugh will continue his consultations in Ankara and then Nicosia.

    Sources said that the US official will have a meeting with Ilias Klis, the head of the Greek-Turkish relations department at the foreign ministry.

    Justice Minister in Cyprus today

    Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos will leave for Cyprus today to attend events marking the continuing occupation of a third of the island- republic by Turkish troops. Mr. Yiannopoulos will be the main speaker at an event marking the anniversary of the declaration of 'autonomy' of the pseudo-state in the occupied territories.

    The Turkish Cypriot regime in the occupied territories is not recognised by any country, other than Turkey.

    This year's events are dedicated to the memory of Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou, the two young Greek Cypriot men killed by Turkish occupation forces earlier this year.

    Mr. Yiannopoulos will be received by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and will have meetings with president of the Cyprus Socialist Party Vassos Lyssarides, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Spyros Kyprianou, as well as with Archbishop Chryso stomos. Mr. Yiannopoulos is expected back in Athens on Thursday.

    Greece backs EU flexible fiscal Stability Pact

    The European Union Economy and Finance Ministers' Council (ECOFIN) yesterday discussed in Brussels the terms and conditions for the so-called Stability Pact, and the new Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), which concerns the currencies of the member-states which will not adopt the single currency from the start.

    Disagreements emerged during the session, particularly regarding the pact involving countries which will adopt the single currency from its inception, and mainly due to the inflexible stand of the German side, who insisted on the imposition of strict sa nctions against countries which do not achieve the continuous and steady reduction in fiscal deficits.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, who represented Greece, said Athens does not disagree with the proposal for the imposition of sanctions, but noted that they must be proportionate with the breadth of the fiscal deficit and have a ceiling. He added that an account ought to be taken of "situations of extraordinary and temporary nature", the level of investment and defence expenditure, which should mitigate the severity of the sanctions.

    He stated that, in general, he was in favour of a flexible definition regarding the "situations of extraordinary and temporary nature".

    Regarding the new ERM, which will be applied from 1999 for countries that will not initially participate in the single currency, Mr. Papantoniou said it would contain significant margins of fluctuation, possibly in the order of 15 per cent, as the old E RM.

    He added that although participation in the new mechanism will be formally voluntary, in essence, it will be compulsory for the countries wishing to participate in the single currency, and stressed that the drachma will participate in the new mechanism to the degree that integration in the single currency is a declared aim of the Greek government.


    Mild and lightly cloudy, with temperatures in Athens ranging from 11-22 C and in Thessaloniki 7-19 C.


    U.S. dlr 235.868 Can. dlr.177.032, Australian dlr. 185.960 Pound sterling 388.646, Irish punt 389.856, Cyprus pd 514.154, French franc 46.358, Swiss franc 186.367 Belgian franc 7.609, German mark 156.800 Finnish mark 51.932, Dutch guilder 139.808 Danish Kr. 40.771, Swedish Kr. 35.670, Norwegian Kr. 37.279, Austrian Sh. 22.280, Italian lira (100) 15.549 Yen (100) 211.961 Spanish Peseta 1.862, Portuguese Escudo 1.549.


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