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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-04-20

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 20/04/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Rest of Greek troops off to Albania
  • Cyprus, Aegean two separate issues, Pangalos says
  • Commission report on EU economies to cite progress in Greece
  • Domestic tourism programme by EOT
  • ND concerned over government plans for "experts" committee
  • Simitis to visit Bonn
  • Medecins sans Frontiers 'refugee camp' in Thessaloniki
  • Papantoniou concludes official part of US tour
  • Santer to visit Greece in early May
  • Second will found
  • False shortages plaguing Greek market
  • Greek department store in Pristina
  • Civil aviation work stoppages cancelled
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Rest of Greek troops off to Albania

The second part of the Greek contingent of the multinational force that will oversee the distribution of humanitarian aid in Albania is due to leave tomorrow.

The 520 men will board two Hellenic Navy vessels at the port of Thessaloniki, and will land at either Vlore or Durres, depending on the security situation.

The first part of the Greek force, meanwhile, remains at Fieri, awaiting the green light from the Italian command to move to Vlore. Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will visit the Greek contingent on April 28.

Cyprus, Aegean two separate issues, Pangalos says

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Friday denied any knowledge of a US initiative for a "package deal" regarding the Aegean and Cyprus, saying any such approach on two separate issues, which concerns two different countries, was unacceptable.

He was replying to reporters' questions after a meeting at the foreign ministry on the Cyprus issue, also attended by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis, and a delegation of Cypriot officials headed by newly appointed Foreign Minister Yiannakis Cassoulides.

Mr. Cassoulides confirmed that there have been absolutely no contacts with Washington connecting the two issues. He said he had briefed his Greek counterpart on the current UN-led proximity talks in Cyprus for the finding of common ground, and the goodw ill gestures that might be made during substantive negotiations. He also reiterated that the Cypriot government intends to avoid during this period of consultations any actions that might upset the climate of tranquillity.

Referring to the idea of a moratorium of military flights over Cyprus, Mr. Cassoulides said his government had rejected the proposal because such any such moratorium equated illegal Turkish overflights with legally sanctioned flights by Greek planes, but noted that Nicosia was prepared not to act on the basis of "unilateral decisions".

Finally, Mr. Cassoulides said it was not yet clear whether the current proximity talks on the finding of common ground would yield any results.

"This will become apparent in three weeks time," he said.

Commission report on EU economies to cite progress in Greece

BRUSSELS (ANA - M. Spinthourakis) The European Commission on Wednesday will release its annual report on the guidelines of economic policy for EU member-states.

According to a copy obtained by the ANA, regarding the Greek economy the Commission acknowledges that "steps of progress have been made in recent years," particularly in reducing inflation, but stresses that "reinforced efforts are needed in order to bring inflation to the official targets of 4.5 per cent at the end of 1997 and to below 3 per cent by the end of 1998."

With respect to public finances, the report states that "sustained efforts on a wide range of fronts are required, including reinforced efforts to widen the tax base, to increase the efficiency of tax administration and of the tax collection system, to curb government spending and to pursue and extend privatisation plans."

Domestic tourism programme by EOT

The Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) on Friday presented its "April 1997-March 1998" domestic tourism programme, offering Greeks and expatriate Greeks the possibility of low-cost vacations within Greece.

The programme, according to EOT Secretary General Nikos Skoulas, is aimed at bringing the people closer to the "(natural) beauties of their homeland, " as well as keeping Greek tourists in Greece and extending the tourist season.

ND concerned over government plans for 'experts' committee

The main opposition New Democracy party on Friday criticised the government over its handling of Greek-Turkish relations, saying that the formation of a committee of experts to study bilateral problems gave rise to "concern and fears".

"There is an obvious danger that the committee will become the agent of an unconditional dialogue without any specific legal framework. Then the government will be faced with the dilemma of whether to make unacceptable concessions or to break off the di alogue, inevitablyresulting in a deterioration of Greek-Turkish relations," said an announcement.

It added that the government was being led into a dialogue with Turkey without even knowing its exact content or prospects, and referred to what it called conditions of secrecy, as well as dissent within the government.

Simitis to visit Bonn for talks

BONN (ANA - P. Stangos) Prime Minister Costas Simitis will visit Bonn on April 24 at the invitation of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. German government spokesman Peter Hausmann said Mr. Simitis and Mr. Kohl would have an approximately two-hour meeting which would focus on "issues of European and security policy in view of the serious decisions pending for the European Union and NATO".

Mr. Hausmann however did not rule out other issues also being discussed, since the agenda would be open.

Later the same day, after his talks with Mr. Kohl, Mr. Simitis will meet with the leader of Germany's opposition Social Democrats (SPD) Oskar Lafontaine.

The following day, April 25, Mr. Simitis will be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Marburg in the state of Hesse for his contribution to jurisprudence.

Medecins sans Frontieres 'refugee camp' in Thessaloniki

The international Medecins sans Frontieres organisation is to set up a mock refugee camp in downtown Thessaloniki from April 23 to May 4, in order to display the daily life of millions of refugees worldwide who have found sanctuary in the organisation's c amps.

The same exhibition will then go to Irakleio, Crete (May 8-11), Ioannina (May 15-18) and Patra (May 21-25).

Papantoniou concludes official part of US tour

NEW YORK (ANA) National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou concluded the official portion of his US trip Friday with an address before a group of businessmen and personalities of New York's financial and social community.

The event was organised by the Harvard Business School of the wider New York area at the Plaza hotel and was sponsored by the Commercial Bank of Greece.

Mr. Papantoniou promoted Greece's role as a pole of stability and its investment environment as well as joint Greek-US business initiatives in the Balkans and Black Sea region.

Speaking to reporters after the address, he referred to the significance of his contacts with officials of major stock market firms, such as Salomon Brothers and Morgan Stanley, as well as representatives of institutional investors, all of whom expresse d interest in the Greek initiative for the reconstruction of the Balkans.

Papantoniou's visit to Washington to promote Greece as a catalyst for development in the Balkans and the Black Sea region, according to a comment in the daily "Washington Post" yesterday.

"These are economies where there can be substantial growth if we work on financing, investment and infrastructure with private capital, government assistance and international monetary institutions," the newspaper quoted Mr. Papantoniou as saying.

"It is a no lose-situation, it would be better than doing nothing," Mr. Papantoniou added.

The Greek minister said Turkey could contribute to this large collective effort, adding that "we could agree under elementary political conditions, such as Turkey's dropping territorial claims and finding a solution to Cyprus."

Santer to visit Greece in early May

European Commission President Jacques Santer will visit Greece in May to attend, for the first time, events celebrating "European Day" on May 9.

Mr. Santer will visit Athens from May 8-11 and during his stay have talks with government and other officials.

"European Day" marked the May 9, 1950 decree issued by then French foreign minister Robert Schumann which began the process that led to the creation of the European Union.

Second will found

A second will written by Sophia Mineiko, mother of the late PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou, has been presented to and was declared as valid by an Athens court. The will, written in 1964, predates another handwritten by Mineiko in 1968 and also concerns Mineiko's home in Paleo Psychico.

The will, found a few days ago by Mineiko's niece Elli Papazachariou, leaves the house to Mineiko's granddaughter Sophia Papandreou-Katsaneva. The other will found earlier, but which predates the above, leaves the house to the four grandchildren, includ ing Sophia.

Ms Papazachariou, who is also the godmother of Sophia Katsaneva, said she found the will pinned to the back of a photograph of the late George Papandreou, father of Andreas. She also said she had witnessed the writing of the will, which leaves Andreas t he proceeds from the sale of an apartment in Athens as well as 100 gold sovereigns.

False shortages plaguing Greek market

The Consumers Institute (INKA) denounced what it called false product shortages in order to force consumers to turn to other products, as well as huge differences in the prices of similar products from one region to another.

Research conducted by INKA ascertained that differences in prices reached 53 per cent in stores in the same area and 114 per cent between shops in different cities.

According to the results of a nationwide price survey conducted by INKA and presented in Thessaloniki yesterday, the phenomenon of fake shortages in specific products is now greater than in any other past time, abolishing consumers' right to choose.

According to the survey, first place on the consumers' disappointment list is held by public administration followed by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), television, political parties, health services, education, the Public Power Corp.

(DEH) and taxi drivers.

On the other hand, Greek consumers have a very good opinion of the fire brigade, radio stations and inter-city bus services.

Greek department store in Pristina

BELGRADE (ANA - M. Mouratidis) P A Greek department store will open in Pristina in May, according to reports in Yugoslavia's press Friday.

The store would be the only centre for the distribution of Greek products in the Yugoslav market.

In a related development, the Bank of Vojvodina has undertaken to restructure the bankrupt Grimia enterprise in Pristina, and will turn the firm's commercial store (8,000 square metres) into a Greece-based department store.

One of the store's three floors will be used for wholesale sales, while a restaurant and confectionery will also operate.

Civil Aviation work stoppages cancelled

The unions of Civil Aviation Authority employees have cancelled their planned work stoppages for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, after a meeting with Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis.

The minister assured union representatives that employees will soon receive past holiday pay that is overdue, and, discounting speculation, that there are no plans for privatising of part or all of any of the country's airports.

WEATHER

Monday's weather will be cloudy, with possible rain in the northwest towards evening. Winds in the west will be moderate southerlies, strengthening towards the Ionian Sea. Temperatures will rise, and will range from 7-18C in the north, 8-22C in the Ionain and mainland and 11-21 over the Aegean. Athens temperatures will range from 12-21C and in Thessaloniki from 9- 18C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 269.011 Pound sterling 438.682 Cyprus pd 527.744 French franc 46.459 Swiss franc 183.961 German mark 156.458 Italian lira (100) 15.792 Yen (100) 213.558 Canadian dlr. 191.793 Australian dlr. 207.869 Irish Punt 416.342 Belgian franc 7.585 Finnish mark 51.792 Dutch guilder 139.262 Danish kr. 41.134 Swedish kr. 35.045 Norwegian kr. 37.861 Austrian sch. 22.242 Spanish peseta 1.855 Portuguese escudo 1.569

(Y.B.)


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