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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-05-08

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, 08/05/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Better Greek-Turkish relations if Ankara changes attitude
  • Greek-US defence talks end in Crete
  • Greek-Turkish business meeting at end of May
  • Greek charge d'affaires to reopen Baghdad embassy
  • Papantoniou: Greece close to achieving Maastricht criteria
  • Annual fur trade turnover above $150 million
  • V. Papandreou on Softex, Elefsina shipyards privatisations
  • Tourism had beneficial effects on Greek wines and spirits
  • IMF delegation briefed on economic prospects
  • Info campaign in light of upcoming tourist season
  • Santer will be asked to promote Black Sea, Balkan development
  • Partial privatisation for tax-free shops
  • Work progressing at Olympic Stadium for IAAF World Championship
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Better Greek-Turkish relations if Ankara changes attitude

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday said a different attitude from Turkey towards Greece could lead to notable progress in relations between the two countries.

He was commenting on a meeting Tuesday in Strasbourg between Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and the Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Onur Oymen.

The two men had met on the sidelines of a Council of Europe ministerial summit.

"The meeting was held in a good atmosphere but this should not lead to a misunderstanding over the policies of the two men," warned Mr. Reppas.

Greek-US defence talks end in Crete

The main phase of Greek-American talks covering defence issues was concluded on Crete yesterday with no "specific agreements reached," according to National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis.

Shortly after the departure of his US counterpart, Principal Deputy Secretary of Defense Jan Lodal Mr. Apostolakis addressed a press conference and referred to the talks and discussions held on security in the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans, NATO's reorganisation and expansion, bilateral issues as well as issues regarding armaments programmes.

"We left the issues on which we did not reach an agreement for our staffs to process and raise them again at the meeting next year," he said.

Replying to questions, Mr. Apostolakis said "it is known that almost all friends and allies are trying to influence us to contact Turkey, and they do the same thing with the neighbouring country, to resolve our issues. This also occurred now, but we reached no decision.

"We listened to each other's views. We tried to convince them, and I believe that we did convince them over the just way we are handling the issues related to the Aegean and Turkey in general. We told them about the steps we have taken and the steps that Turkey must take to enable us to get out of the deadlock," he added.

Asked whether efforts aimed at influencing are translated into pressures, he said that "periods when our country received pressures are over."

Replying to a question on whether the US delegation requested something specific from Greece, Mr. Apostolakis said "they simply say as an example: 'you have a problem with violations in the Aegean. Can we possibly find another way so that the Turks can use the right to fly in international air space without violating international rules and national air space?'

"We explained to them that we insist on ICAO's rules, which are applicable all over the world, internationally recognised and accepted."

Mr. Apostolakis said that he explained to the US side that flights by Greek aircraft over Cyprus were completely different from the flights of Turkish aircraft. He said that the Turkish aircraft violate the national sovereignty of Cyprus," while we are invited and have the consent of the Cypriot government.

"The request for warplanes not to fly over Cyprus in all exercises is universal. It has been put to the Cypriot government and it is that government's...responsibility to deny or accept it," he said.

Greek-Turkish business meeting at end of May

A group of Greek and Turkish businessmen will get together to discuss details concerning a forthcoming business meeting to be held in Izmir, on May 24-25.

In another development, 25 children from Cesme are currently visiting Hios with their parents.

Greek charge d'affaires to reopen Baghdad embassy

Greece has sent a diplomat to reopen its embassy in Iraq, closed since the 1991 Gulf War.

"The (Greek) embassy will be fully operated," Christos Skoursis, the newly appointed charge d' affaires, said yesterday. Greece along with other western countries closed down their diplomatic missions in Baghdad after the 1991 Gulf War, which chased occupying Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.

Mr. Skoursis said the embassy would open after settling some procedures. He did not elaborate.

Papantoniou: Greece close to achieving Maastricht criteria

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday said the Greek economy "is one step away from achieving the Maastricht criteria which will allow our participation in economic and monetary union by the year 2001, at the latest."

He made the statement during the annual Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) awards presentation.

The awards are presented to "self-starting businessmen", "businesses with tradition" and the businesses with the best results in their sectors.

During his speech, EBEA president G. Papathanasiou said the economy had improved over the past three years.

Annual fur trade turnover above $150 million

The annual turnover for fur businesses in the Kastoria area has ranged between US$150 and 180 million in past few years. Businesses involved in the sector believe that an annual turnover of $600 million is a feasible target in the event of an immediate ex pansion of their markets and a settlement of their debts by the state.

The Federation of Kastoria Fur Producers will organise the 22nd International Fur Exhibition from May 13-18. A total of 125 exhibitors will participate from a number of countries around the world, including Italy, Canada, the United States, Spain and Germany.

The production of furs has been an important economic activity in the Kastoria region over the past 30 years and, according to the president of the region's Fur Federation, Panayiotis Pavlou, the sector has 2,500 businesses which employ over 15,000 work ers.

Current production in the sector exceeds 1.5 million fur overcoats a year and the main markets are countries from the former Soviet Union, together with traditional markets, such as Canada and the Far East.

V. Papandreou on Softex, Elefsina shipyards privatisations

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday that the privatisations of the Softex paper mills and of the Elefsina shipyards will be carried out under the best possible conditions, particularly for workers.

Ms Papandreou made the statement after a meeting held yesterday morning, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

The decisions were announced to the workers by Development Undersecretary Anna Diamantopoulou.

"The formal aspect of the procedures has been completed. What remain are some last moves," she said.

Tourism had beneficial effects on Greek wines and spirits

Tourism has had a beneficial effect on the sale of Greek wines and spirits, with Germany absorbing 90 per cent of ouzo exports to EU member states and 80 per cent of Greek wines. Mr. Yannis Boutaris, President of the Greek Wine Association said yesterday. He also emphasised the role played by Greek restaurants in Germany, which serve only Greek wines.

Ouzo exports in 1995 (11 million litres) brought in foreign exchange valued at 4.5 billion drachmas.

Exports to Germany in particular are expected to increase further as a result of a Foreign Trade Organisation promotion campaign budgeted at 500 million drachmas.

IMF delegation briefed on economic prospects

Inflation will be running at a 5.8-5.9 percent annual rate in April according to predictions on figures due to be released today.

The prediction for May is that inflation will decrease even further and will decrease to 5 per cent by autumn.

Meanwhile, experts from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who are in Athens collecting information on the course and prospects of the Greek economy, were briefed on the course of inflation. The IMF delegation has already expressed their satisfaction over the decrease achieved in inflation.

Info campaign in light of upcoming tourist season

The INKA Tourist Protection Service and the General Federation of Consumers of Greece (GOKE) received 6,403 complaints during last year's tourist season, it was reported yesterday.

For this reason and to mark the beginning of the 1997 tourist season, INKA/GOKE has begun a campaign to brief all enterprises concerned with tourism, such as hotels, restaurants and hostels. The campaign involves seminars, information leaflets and educational material, while a "client satisfaction form" will be made available, in order to allow customers to comment on the establishment.

Santer will be asked to promote Black Sea, Balkan development

The Association of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE) is to propose to European Commission President Jacques Santer cooperation between the European Union, the Greek government and the business world of northern Greece with the aim of developing the Balkans and the countries of the Black Sea region.

The proposal will be put to Mr. Santer when he visits Thessaloniki on Friday. The Commission chief will be the main speaker at SBBE's annual general meeting to be held on the same day.

SBBE President Nikos Efthymiadis told a press conference that proposals will be put to Mr. Santer concerning EU enlargement and Greece's role, the way in which Greek businessmen will develop activities and the way in which the EU will become more active in the region.

"In order to confront the fierce competition from the Far East and the United States, the EU must strengthen the positive effects of economic integration...," Mr. Efthymiadis said.

Mr. Santer will for the first time participate in events to be organised in Greece on the occasion of Robert Schumann Day on May 9.

Partial privatisation for tax-free shops

The partial privatisation of tax-free shops, known as KAE, has been announced. KAE shares will be registered with the Athens Stock Exchange, as was done with the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

Tendering for a fiscal adviser for the KAE privatisation will be announced next week.

The partial privatisation will amount to up to 25 per cent of the share capital. KAE posted profits of 15.2 billion drachmas in 1996, while profits are expected to reach 19 billion drachmas in 1997.

Work progressing at Olympic Stadium for IAAF World Championship

Officials said yesterday that work on Athens' Olympic Stadium facilities has been progressing rapidly since the beginning of April, in view of the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships due to be held there in early August.

The tartan track has been completely replaced on two of the warm-up tracks, and work on the third is nearing completion. The track of the central stadium, where all the events will be held, will have been replaced by May 18.

Part of the stands are being transformed in order to provide facilities for media representatives from throughout the world, while facilities for cameras are being installed both in the stands and by the long-jump pits.

All the facilities will have been tried and tested by July 20, the third and last day of the Greek national championships.

In another development, the US television network NBC has asked for an extra 40 accreditations for the championships, in order to bring its staff up to 130. The US network will have an area of 1,600 square metres at its disposal.

WEATHER

Partly cloudy weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today except in the northwest and north of the country with the possibility of intermittent rain. Winds will be southerly, strong to gale force. Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures between 16-26C. Possibility of rain in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15-24C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 271.143 Pound sterling 443.860 Cyprus pd 529.827 French franc 46.666 Swiss franc 185.737 German mark 157.510 Italian lira (100) 15.917 Yen (100) 216.702 Canadian dlr. 196.436 Australian dlr. 210.334 Irish Punt 409.894 Belgian franc 7.634 Finnish mark 52.360 Dutch guilder 140.026 Danish kr. 41.360 Swedish kr. 34.918 Norwegian kr. 38.136 Austrian sch. 22.382 Spanish peseta 1.865 Port. Escudo 1.566

(C.E.)


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