Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-18
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 18/07/1997 (ANA)
- EU position on Cyprus' accession welcomed
- Greek contingent in multinational force to return from Albania
- Greek-Argentine agreement on nuclear energy signed
- Czech Prime Minister on unofficial visit
- US State Dept. on Ecevit visit to occupied Cyprus
- Athens condemns latest airspace violations by Turkey
- SAE gets permanent offices in Thessaloniki
- Europarliament draft resolution on Greek forest fires
- Private sector to manage some EU-funded state projects
- Yfantis unit to open in Romania
- Greek drachma stabilises, interbank rates drop
- Tourist arrivals up 7 percent in Rhodes
- Greek industries show drop in 1996 profits
- IAAF 85th anniversary in Athens
- FOREIGN EXCHANGE
NEWS IN DETAIL
EU position on Cyprus' accession welcomed
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday hailed the European
Union's position that negotiations on Cyprus' accession to the Community
should begin, as originally agreed, six months after the signing of the
At the same time, he welcomed statements by European Commission President
Jacques Santer and Commissioner Hans van den Broek, according to which
Cyprus cannot be held "hostage" as a result of Turkey's stance.
In particular, Mr. van den Broek told the European Parliament Wednesday
that the Commission cannot hold Cyprus hostage due to lack of cooperation
by the Turkish side regarding a settlement of the protracted Cyprus
Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Papandreou said also that Greece was in
favour of accession negotiations beginning simultaneously for all eleven
prospective member states.
The Commission has recommended that membership negotiations for an expanded
EU should begin with Cyprus, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia
and Slovenia next year.
As far as the EU's relationship with Turkey is concerned, Mr. Papandreou
said, this will be examined in detail during the discussion of the
Commission's "Agenda 2000" report on enlargement, noting that a special
report had been drawn up on the further development of the Community's
relations with Turkey.
Within the framework of this discussion, Mr. Papandreou continued, it will
be examined whether Turkey will have a "special" relationship with the EU,
or whether this relationship will constitute an advanced form of Customs
Union ("Customs Union plus," as it is referred to in Community lingo). The
Commission's report on EU-Turkish relations contains references to the need
for a relationship of good-neighbourliness (on the part of Turkey) with
Greece, as well as for a settlement of the Cyprus problem and respect by
Ankara for human rights and democratic institutions.
The "Agenda 2000" is expected to be given the final seal of approval at the
EU summit in December.
Greek contingent in multinational force to return from Albania
Withdrawal of the Greek contingent in the 8-nation protection force in
Albania will begin Monday, July 21, following completion of the force's
mission, it was announced yesterday. The gradual pullout of Greek troops
will be completed on August 8. The multinational force, comprising troops
from Italy, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Romania, Austria, France and Denmark,
was deployed in mid-April to protect humanitarian aid arriving in the
strife-torn Balkan country and assist OSCE observers monitoring general
elections last month.
Greek-Argentine agreement on nuclear energy signed
Greece and Argentina yesterday signed a bilateral agreement providing for
cooperation in the peaceful applications of nuclear energy.
The agreement was signed for Greece by the president of the Greek Atomic
Energy Commission, Prof. Anastasios Katsanos, and on behalf of Argentina by
Buenos Aires' ambassador to Athens Francisco Jorge Bullrich. The agreement
aims at promoting cooperation in developing basic research, applied
research, technology and know-how in the peaceful application of nuclear
energy. Argentina has a highly developed nuclear programme covering nuclear
fuel and the construction and supply of nuclear reactors. Prof. Katsanos
clarified, however, that Greece had not changed its policy opposing the
establishment in the country of nuclear reactors for power generation.
Czech Prime Minister on unofficial visit
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus arrived here yesterday on
an unofficial visit and had talks with Greek counterpart Costas Simitis
before lunching with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos. Although no
statements were made after the meetings, informed sources said discussion
focused on issues related to the commencement of the procedure for NATO and
European Union enlargement.
US State Dept. on Ecevit visit to occupied Cyprus
US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns yesterday appealed to Turkish
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to use his forthcoming visit to the
Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus for promotion of a positive atmosphere
that emerged from the signing of the Simitis - Demirel communique and the
Clerides-Denktash talks last week.
"The situation in Cyprus this summer is calm, in contrast to last year.
There are positive signs emerging from last week`s talks in Troutbeck,
where (Cyprus) President Clerides and (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Mr.
Denktash spent some time together. We consider that trends in Cyprus are
positive, and very much hope that Mr. Ecevit will use this visit to
strengthen this constructive and positive trend," he stated.
Although he avoided criticising Mr. Ecevit for the visit to the occupied
areas, Mr. Burns said in reply: "I didn't say we agree with the visit".
Commenting on Mr. Ecevit`s recent threat that Turkey would annex Turkish-
occupied northern Cyprus if accession negotiations started with the EU, Mr.
Burns implied that he does not agree with this position, stressing that
"this is perhaps the reason why we are asking him to be positive and
Referring to the joint communique signed in Madrid between Greek Prime
Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, Mr. Burns
said: "We hope that in the Madrid spirit Greece and Turkey will proceed to
some practical steps to improvet heir relations with each other. The US
expects from Greece and Turkey to respect each other's territorial
integrity and sovereignty."
Athens condemns latest airspace violations by Turkey
Incidents such as the latest Turkish violations of Greek airspace over the
Aegean are contrary to the spirit emanating from the joint communique of
Madrid, government spoke-sman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.
The violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes since the issuing of
the communique "compromise" Ankara, Mr. Reppas said. Greece and Turkey
issued a joint communique on bilateral relations on the sidelines of the
NATO summit in Madrid, following talks between Prime Minister Costas
Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel.
The spokesman called on all forces in Turkey which support the spirit of
the Madrid communique "to work in order for this spirit to become an
integral part of Greek-Turkish relations, so that it cannot be undermined
SAE gets permanent offices in Thessaloniki
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou will inaugurate the permanent
headquarters of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) on Sunday
evening in Thessaloniki.
The ceremony will be attended by SAE president Andrew Athens, Macedonia-
Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and Secretary General for overseas
Greeks Stavros Lambrinidis.
The new offices are at the building of the Macedonia-Thrace Bank.
Europarliament draft resolution on Greek forest fires
The European Parliament yesterday adopted a draft resolution on the recent
fires in Greek forests, which burned tens of thousands of stremma of forest
and farm land, proposed jointly by Greece's Eurodeputies.
The draft resolution calls on the European Commission to provide economic
relief to residents who lost property in the recent fires, as well as to
help with reforestation and fire-protection measures.
Private sector to manage some EU-funded state projects
A pioneering programme for Greece was launched yesterday when the
government called on the private sector to jointly fund and run state
projects that receive European Union financing.
During a press conference at the European Commission offices in Athens,
Development Minister Anna Diamantopoulou said the Company for Developing
Private Infrastructures in Northern Greece (EAIYBE) will manage and be
responsible for the projects.
EAIYBE is based in Thessaloniki and its members include chambers of
commerce, banks, industries and others in the area. It is headed by Nikos
Efthymiadis, until recently the president of the Federation of Industries
in Northern Greece.
Ms Diamantopoulou said the programme would absorb nine billion drachmas,
half of which would come from the EU's European Regional Development Fund.
The rest would be made up by private investments.
For the time being, activities would concentrate on projects in northern
Greece, Ms Diamantopoulou said, because of its proximity to developing
markets and its key location but may be extended to other areas depending
on its success.
Ms Diamantopoulou said it was the first time the government was turning
over the management of Community funds in Greece to private hands, although
social responsibility would be a major priority.
The areas targeted for the projects include all major infrastructures in
Greece, such as ports, exhibition and storage areas, free-trade zones,
energy networks, telecommunications, and services linking research and
Outlining its programme, Mr. Efthymiadis appealed to all interested
investors to submit their proposals independently or jointly with state
agencies until Sept. 25, for a preliminary selection of projects.
The finalised forms of chosen projects should be submitted by Nov. 24.
Agreements will be finally signed by the end of the year, he said.
Proposals must involve investments worth at least 500 million drachmas, and
the investor will be responsible for managing the project for five years
after its completion.
Mr. Efthymiadis said interest had been expressed in creating free-trade
zones at the borders with Albania and Bulgaria, to help local businesses
avoid time-consuming customs procedures in bilateral trade, among
Interested parties should contact EAIYBE at 1, Plateia Morichovou,
Thessaloniki, tel. 031-539817.
Yfantis unit to open in Romania
The processed meat products manufacturer Yfantis will establish a new
production unit in Romania, it was announced yesterday, with the total
initial investment expected to reach one billion drachmas.
The Greek firm has purchased land in Bucharest covering an area of 9,500
square metres through its subsidiary, Yfantis Roumania.
Work for the construction of building installations, with a total area of 2,
500 square metres, has already begun.
The Yfantis company's turnover is expected to reach nine billion drachmas
this year, compared to 7.7 billion drachmas in 1996.
Greek drachma stabilises, interbank rates drop
Tension in the Greek money market yesterday showed signs of defusing after
the drachma stabilised and interbank rates moved lower, reversing an early
jump above 13 per cent.
Bank of Greece officials said that pressure exerted on the drachma was a
surprise but proved to be short-lived. The central bank however will be
looking to tomorrow's session to reach a final conclusion.
According to unofficial estimates, total outflows during a round of
currency turmoil in May combined with Wednesday's tension were three
billion US dollars. Bank of Greece officials attributed the outflows of
capital to an international rush to buy the green currency and sterling.
The dollar stood 13 per cent higher against most European currencies since
the start of the year.
In the domestic foreign exchange market, the dollar rose to a new record of
282.14 drachmas at the central bank's daily fixing. The DMark was
fractionally higher and the ECU steady against the drachma.
Tourist arrivals up 7 percent in Rhodes
Tourist arrivals on Rhodes at the present time are up 6.9 per cent,
according to the official figures of the Dodecanese Department of the Greek
National Tourism Organisation (GNTO).
According to the figures, the number of guests at hotels on the island
presently totals 57,028, of whom 53,889 are foreigners and 3,139 Greeks.
At the same time last year, hotel occupancy stood at 53,344, of whom 50,365
were foreigners and 2,979 Greeks.
Of course the actual number of visitors currently on the island is much
higher, since many tourists are staying in rented rooms and other forms of
Tourist industry representatives believe that the number of visitors to the
island will increase during the next few days, boosted by Greeks taking
their annual leave.
In addition, a large number of independent travellers are expected from
Italy, France and the Arab countries.
Greek industries show drop in 1996 profits
Net profits of Greek industrial and manufacturing companies declined in
1996 despite the fact that the number of companies with net earnings of
more than 100 million drachmas increased by 7 percent last year, according
to a survey by Multipress.
The Greek industrial and economic survey released on Internet showed that
657 Greek industries and manufacturing companies with net profits of more
than 100 million drachmas reported cumulative earnings of 475.15 billion
drachmas last year, down on real prices from the previous year.
The report showed that manufacturers' return on capital was lower than that
of commercial firms.
It also said that the food industry was the most profitable sector of Greek
industry with one in five companies reporting net profits of more than 100
million drachmas.A total of 125 food companies showed total net earnings of
85.9 billion drachmas in 1 996. Also surveyed were 51 companies in the
chemicals sector, 49 in textiles, 49 in non-metallic minerals, 41 in
pharmaceuticals, 38 in metals and steel, 36 in clothing, 36 in printing and
35 in plastics and rubber.
IAAF 85th anniversary in Athens
The International Athletics Associations' Federation (IAAF) will celebrate
in Athens the 85th anniversary of its founding, three days before the
opening of the August 1-10 world athletics championships in the Greek
capital. The anniversary will be marked at a June 29 IAAF Congress
inaugurated by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and attended by a number of
legends of world athletics such as Czech Emil Zatopek (long distance
runner), Kenya's Kip Keino (medium distance runner), Russia's Valery
Brummel (high jump), and Americans Dick Fosbury (high jump) and Carl Lewis
(sprint, long jump).
Sporadic showers are likely in northwestern regions in the afternoon. Winds
will be southwesterly, up to moderate in the west, and northerly, of the
same intensity, in the east. Athens will be sunny with temperatures ranging
from 22-33 C, Thessaloniki will have light clouding, increasing in the
afternoon, with temperatures of 18-30 C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.883
Pound sterling 466.419 Cyprus pd 530.720
French franc 46.142 Swiss franc 188.812
German mark 155. 838 Italian lira (100) 16.041
Yen (100) 240.957 Canadian dlr. 203.519
Australian dlr. 205.696 Irish Punt 420.013
Belgian franc 7.549 Finnish mark 52.762
Dutch guilder 138.439 Danish kr. 40.908
Swedish kr. 35.946 Norwegian kr. 37.636
Austrian sch. 22.132 Spanish peseta 1.852
Port. Escudo 1.545