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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-05-05

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, 05/05/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • IMF delegation begins Athens visit
  • Greek-Yugoslav mining agreement signed
  • 32 Political Spring members defect to New Democracy
  • Mikis Theodorakis taken ill
  • No real progress in Greece-Turkey meeting, Reppas says
  • Greek-US talks in Crete
  • Prices on Athens bourse hit seven-year high
  • Greek, Polish defence ministers meet
  • Danger of delays to domestic flights
  • Greece's Jewish holocaust victims honoured at ceremonies
  • Sixty-five dead in road accidents since April 24
  • Weather
  • Greek first division soccer results
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

IMF delegation begins Athens visit

A five-member International Monetary Fund delegation today began its round of contacts in Athens on the course and prospects of the Greek economy.

Reports said the delegation considered the government's estimates and forecasts for the course of inflation, investments, deficits and Gross Domestic Product to be "realistic".

The government believes that the state of tax revenues will improve this month, following disappointing rates of inflows since the beginning of the year.

The delegation is scheduled to meet with officials from the State Audit Council, the Bank of Greece and industrialists, as well as government and ministry officials before their departure on May 15.

The report will be released towards the beginning of July.

Greek-Yugoslav mining agreement signed

A substantial agreement was signed this morning between the Greek company Mytilineos S.A. and the Yugoslav state mining group RHMK Trepca, the state export organisation General Export and the Jugobank.

Under the terms of the five-year agreement, valued at $517 million, the Greek company is to develop and modernise Yugoslavia'a mines, along with supplying the latest mechanical equipment, the processing of ores at Trepca's installations and the promotion of the finished product on the international market.

The agreement was signed at the National Economy Ministry in the presence of senior ministry, banking and business officials from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

32 Political Spring members defect to New Democracy

A total of 32 Political Spring members - including a number of failed candidates at last year's national elections - today left the party and rejoined main opposition New Democracy.

Among the 32, all of whom are from the Serres prefecture, is former minister Nikos Kleitos, who held a high-ranking post within the party.

A New Democracy press release said the group had responded to ND leader Costas Karamanlis's public call on Political Spring party members to work with ND.

Political Spring was established in 1992 by former New Democracy foreign minister Antonis Samaras. A number of then ruling party New Democracy MPs defected to the new party, leading directly to the loss of the Mitsotakis government's majority in Parliament and the calling of general elections.

Political Spring garnered 4.87 percent of the vote in the subsequent elections and held 10 seats in Parliament but failed to surpass the 3.0 percent threshold in last year's elections which would have given it representation in Parliament.

Mikis Theodorakis taken ill

Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis has cancelled a concert tour of Europe after suffering respiratory problems during a three-hour concert in Berlin yesterday.

According to Theodorakis' physician, Dr. Christos Kalaitzis, the composer's condition is stable, although he is "in immediate need of tests and therapy".

"His life is not in danger, but he must stop immediately," said Dr. Kalaitzis.

Late last month Theodorakis had announced his intention to give a concern in the buffer zone dividing the island of Cyprus, along with Turkish singer Zulfi Livaneli, aimed at promoting understanding and rapprochement between Greece and Turkey.

No real progress in Greece-Turkey meeting, Reppas says

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, commenting on an article in yesterday's newspaper To Vima on last week's meeting between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers, said no real developments or progress had arisen from that meeting.

Reppas said that although Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller had not reiterated the term "casus belli" with regard to Greece's right to extend its territorial waters to the 12-mile limit, this did not amount to a commitment, nor could it be perceived as one.

Meanwhile, with regard to the current visit by US State Department official Carey Cavanaugh, Reppas clarified that no talks had been scheduled with government officials in Athens. Cavanaugh is in Greece to attend the annual bilateral defence talks, which this year are to be held in Crete.

The official announcement of individuals who will compose the so-called "committee of experts" is expected to be the first move on the part of both Athens and Ankara, and will likely take place in the next few days.

The meetings of the committee will start immediately afterwards and will be aimed at, according to initial planning, preparing a joint report on processes proposed to resolve Greek-Turkish problems.

The Dutch EU presidency announced last week the decision by Greece and Turkey to appoint a committee of experts each.

Turkish diplomat Sukru Elegtag and jurist Suat Bilge are reportedly Ankara's representatives. On the part of Greece, the names of the professors Dimitris Fatouros and Costas Ioannou are being discussed.

What is of primary importance is an agreement on the processes on handling the issues of the Imia islets and the continental shelf of the eastern Aegean through the international court at The Hague.

Greece, which is steadfastly pursuing this path, is widely expected to raise these issues with the committee. According to all indications,the European Union's member-states also agree with Greek positions and would be pleased to see Turkey consenting to having these issues examined by the international court at The Hague. European governments have on many occasions urged Turkey since the Im ia crisis broke out in January 1996 to move in this direction, but were either met with Ankara's negative stance or its reservations.

The Greek government, as was also ascertained during the inner cabinet meeting last Friday, will not negotiate the country's sovereign rights, replying in this way to concern expressed by the opposition in recent days.

Special reference was made to Greece's right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles. According to reports publicised this week, Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller had requested from Greece at the EU- Turkey Association Council in Luxenbourg to make a statement that Athens waived this right, in order to enable Ankara to withdraw its threats of war. The Greek government refused to make such a statement.

Developments in past weeks have shown that two new factors have surfaced. Firstly, that a new climate has been created between Greece and Turkey. The meetings and talks between the two countries' foreign ministers and contacts between officials of the t wo governments are taking place in a very good climate. Turkey, and even its military leaders, are avoiding to use harsh words in referring to Greece.

The reason for this is known. Greece, in contrast to major powers in the EU, has stated that Turkey's position is in Europe and this has created positive reactions in the neighbouring country.

The second factor concerns the position observed by Greece's EU partners. In recent times both smaller and larger EU countries have approached Greek positions more than in the past and this is due to the briefing campaign started by the government since the beginning of the year.

It is also due to the fact that the dialogue process which has started between Greece and Turkey has highlighted the just arguments of Greece to a great degree in connection with the Aegean and Greek-Turkish problems in their entirety.

Greek-US talks in Crete

A US delegation headed by Principal Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defence John Lodal arrives in Crete this afternoon to attend the annual high-level consultations within the framework of bilateral defence cooperation.

The group will be welcomed by Greek Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis, who may also meet today with the US State Department official responsible for southern Europe Carey Cavanaugh.

The four-day Greek-American talks, which begin tomorrow at the Creta Maris hotel in Hersonisos, will be attended by senior diplomats and officers of the three forces.

Prices on Athens bourse hit seven-year high

Prices at the Athens Stock Exchange reached a seven-year record high today, breaking the 1500 point barrier. Trading closed at 1,518.42 points, an increase of 2.25%. Today's turnover was 22.1 billion drachmas.

Banks rose by 2.24%, leasing by 4.88%, insurances by 0.01%, investments by 1.27%, constructions by 1.98%, industrials by 1.55%, various by 2.36%. Holdings ended 1.16% higher.

Greek, Polish defence ministers meet

Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos met this morning in Warsaw with his Polish counterpart Stanislaw Dobrzanski for talks that concentrated on Poland's bid to join NATO, for which Greece expressed support.

According to informed sources, the two sides discussed the upgrading of bilateral visits and training for military officials. With regard to the Greek armed forces' supplies, Poland has proposed the supply of a transport helicopter, transport aircraft and radar aircraft. The proposal is expected to be examined next month during a visit to Warsaw by the Greek armed forces chief of staff and members of the General Directorate for Supplies.

Danger of delays to domestic flights

Olympic Aviation staff are holding rotating work stoppages from 05.00 to 17.00, which are expected to cause delays and cancellations of flights, some of which will be carried out with skeleton staff.

The airline staff are demanding the development of the company, a subsidiary of the national carrier Olympic Airways. If their demands are not satisfied, they will hold more strike action on May 12 and 19.

Meanwhile, the national railway (OSE) staff are to hold four-hour work stoppages on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week (from 12.00 to 16.00)., in protest over the company's failure to sign a new collective labour agreement.

Greece's Jewish holocaust victims honoured at ceremonies

The Jewish victims from Thessaloniki that died in Nazi concentration camps during World War II were honoured by the city's Jewish community yesterday in the presence of several government officials, deputies and representatives of local government.

During a memorial ceremony at the Monastirioton synagogue, six concentration camp survivors lit six candles for the Jewish victims that were exterminated in the Nazi camps.

Earlier, the president of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, Andrea Sefiha, lit a symbolic candle for the approximately 50,000 Jews from Thessaloniki who perished at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.

Sixty-five dead in road accidents since April 24

Road accidents throughout Greece from April 24 until yesterday claimed 65 fatalities, including 100 serious injuries.

Some 516 traffic accidents were recorded. According to officials, the death toll for the Easter holiday was the worst to date.

WEATHER

Sunny weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today, but will get partly cloudy in the afternoon over mainland areas starting from the west. Winds will be westerly, light to moderate and local fogs in the morning. Athens will be mostly sunny with light westerly winds and temperatures ranging from 14-29C. Same for Thessaloniki with temperatures between 10- 28C.

Greek first division soccer results

Pyrgos-Olympiakos 0-5 AEK-PAOK Thessaloniki 1-2 Aris Thessaloniki-OFI Crete 1-2 Kavala-Panathinaikos 0-4 Ionikos Piraeus-Kastoria 5-1 Edessa-Heraklis Thessaloniki 3-4 Athinaikos-Apollon Athens 3-2 Xanthi-Veria 3-2 Panahaiki Patras-Kalamata 0-0

Standings: Olympiakos 75 pts AEK 66 OFI 62 Panathinaikos 57 PAOK 57 Kavala 52 Pyrgos 44

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 272.522 Pound sterling 439.754 Cyprus pd 530.720 French franc 46.860 Swiss franc 185.365 German mark 157.996 Italian lira (100) 15.968 Yen (100) 214.867 Canadian dlr. 196.515 Australian dlr. 213.216 Irish Punt 409.041 Belgian franc 7.659 Finnish mark 52.473 Dutch guilder 140.472 Danish kr. 41.515 Swedish kr. 34.809 Norwegian kr. 38.398 Austrian sch. 22.456 Spanish peseta 1.874 Port. Escudo 1.575

(M.P.)


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