Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-24
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 24/07/1997 (ANA)
- Greece says FYROM name issue still "open"
- Govt: Cyprus problem a "central point" of Greek-Turkish relations
- Athens pleased with US House resolution on Cyprus
- Main opposition party walks off procurement committees
- Cabinet to discuss liberalisation of energy market
- Lebanon's Hariri begins official visit today
- Female survivors of WWII labour camps call for restitution
- Ancient fish-farm discovered on Lesvos
- Greek telecom to award digital deal by August 1, sources say
- Greek business group sees mixed economic outlook
- Athens '97 IAAF Championship figures
- Sounion to Crete on windsurf board
- FOREIGN EXCHANGE
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece says FYROM name issue still "open"
The government said today that the issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia ''remains open'' and that the views of Athens and
Skopje on the matter did not as yet coincide.
''The issue is the subject of handling within the framework of the
initiative of Cyrus Vance,'' government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said,
replying to reporters' questions.
Commenting on relations between Greece and FYROM, Reppas said that they
were guided by the bilateral interim agreement, adding that progress had
been made since the signing of the agreement, particularly in the economic
and trade sectors.
Replying to other questions, Reppas said there was ''room for agreement''
on the name issue, while reiterating that Greece had entered the talks
under Vance with its known position of not accepting the name ''Macedonia''
or some derivative.
''For the moment, the views of the two sides do not converge,'' Reppas said,
adding that talks on the issue could not be allowed to carry on forever.
''It is up to Mr. Vance to undertake the appropriate initiatives to resolve
the issue,'' Reppas said.
Govt: Cyprus problem a "central point" of Greek-Turkish relations
The Cyprus problem constitutes a ''central point'' in Greek-Turkish
relations, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today, when asked to
comment on statements by the US special coordinator for Cyprus, Thomas
Replying to questions on Greek-Turkish relations and the role of the United
States, Reppas said that the US was in contact with both governments and
was contributing to the restoration of a climate of understanding between
the two countries ''without there being direct contact between the two
Reppas added that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would contribute
to the further rapprochement between Athens and Ankara ''which Greece deems
to be desireable''.
Asked about the possibility of a further meeting between Prime Minister
Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleiman Demirel, the spokesman said
''there is no such meeting on the horizon''.
Simitis and Demirel recently signed a joint communique, later described as
a declaration of intentions, on the sidelines of the NATO summit in
Athens pleased with US House resolution on Cyprus
The government yesterday welcomed as "very positive" a US House of
Representatives resolution on the Cyprus problem, which calls for the
demilitarisation of the island republic and withdrawal of the Turkish
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that if the points contained in
the resolution constituted "active elements of US foreign policy, then a
permanent and viable solution of the Cyprus problem may be attained".
The spokesman noted, however, that similar texts had in the past been
adopted by representative bodies of the United States "but they were not
implemented in the country's foreign policy".
The US House plenary passed on Tuesday with a majority of 417 votes in
favour, 4 against and 14 abstentions Concurrent Resolution 81, which was
approved last month by the House International Relations Committee and
initiated by its chairman, Ben Gilman.
The House resolution (the Senate concurring) calls on the Congress to
"reaffirm its view that the status quo on Cyprus is unacceptable and
detrimental to the interests of the US in the eastern Mediterranean and
It considers that "lasting peace and stability on Cyprus could be best
secured by a process of complete demilitarisation leading to the withdrawal
of all foreign occupation forces, the cessation of foreign arms transfers
to Cyprus and provide the altern ative internationally acceptable and
effective security arrangements as negotiated by the parties".
Main opposition party walks off procurement committees
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis said today his
party would walk out of the parliamentary state procurements committees in
protest at what he charged was a lack of transparency in procurement
''The present system of contracting and executing state procurements is
riddled, deficient and non-transparent,'' Karamanlis said after a meeting
of the ND Transparency Committee.
''Despite the high-sounding commitments undertaken by the government many
years ago regarding the creation of an independent administrative authority
(to supervise procurements), it has turned a deaf ear,'' the ND leader
Karamanlis said that instead of the government going ahead and establishing
this authority, the Cabinet recently deemed the present situation to be
satisfactory, ''thereby consolidating the impression that it is preserving
the system of non-transparency, in effect fulfilling suspicious party
For this reason, he added, ND's representatives would no longer participate
in the relevant parliamentary committees.
Karamanlis also announced the undertaking of a political and parliamentary
initiative aimed at setting up an independent public administrative
authority and the strengthening of the State Audit Council ''in order for
there to be transparency in the use of public money and respect for the
money of the Greek taxpayers''.
Cabinet to discuss liberalisation of energy market
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair a Cabinet meeting tomorrow on the
liberalisation of the energy market and the country's defence industry,
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said today.
Reppas said the Cabinet may discuss the issue of the construction of
electrical power generating plant in Florina, northern Greece.
Although the Board of Directors of the Public Power Corporation (DEH) has
unanimously approved construction of the plant, objections to the project
have been voiced within the ruling PASOK party.
Lebanon's Hariri begins official visit today
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is due in Athens today on a two-day
official visit, during which he will have talks with Premier Costas Simitis,
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced yesterday. Mr. Hariri will
also have talks with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, the
Female survivors of WWII labour camps call for restitution
A report by 16 Greek women who had been incarcerated in Nazi forced labour
camps during World War II was filed at the Europarliament yesterday by
Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) Eurodeputy Alekos
The report calls on the European Parliament to intervene and request from
Germany "to proceed to financial compensation and the restitution owed
The women state in the report that "most of the Greek women who had worked
as hostages in forced labour camps in Hitler's Germany are no longer alive.
There are only 16 of us, and we are near the close of our lives."
Ancient fish-farm discovered on Lesvos
Archaeologists conducting excavations on Lesvos have discovered what they
believe is an ancient fish-farm at the Makry Yialo site, dating back to
The find comprises a series of structures, believed to be holding tanks,
connected with each other by means of a small canal running along one
At points along the canal, there are holes allowing the sea water and fish
Similar finds, but of the later Roman period - called vivarium - have been
found in the past on Crete.
Greek telecom to award digital deal by August 1, sources say
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) is expected to appoint a
supplier for 600,000-1,800,000 digital switches by August 1 as part of a
fast track investment plan for 1997-1998 worth 135 billion drachmas, OTE
OTE's traditional suppliers Intracom and Siemens are so far tipped to win
the contract, which is due for debate by OTE's board in three meetings
starting on Thursday, the sources told the Athens News Agency. They said
the state telecom was likely to use direct award for the contract because
forging long-term agreements with suppliers or calling an international
tender would delay the procurement, which is urgently needed.
The board's second and third meetings to discuss the award would be held on
Tuesday and Friday next week, the sources said.
OTE president Dimitris Papoulias has informed Prime Minister Costas Simitis
of progress in the state telecom's investment plan and fresh needs that
have arisen, they said.
Greek business group sees mixed economic outlook
The PASOK government has brought the economy closer to alignment with other
European Union countries but its policies have led to distortions that
could damage the market, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA)
In its six-monthly economic report, EVEA identified deficits in the balance
of payments as the economy's main economic problem.
The trade group welcomed a gradual decline in consumer price inflation but
forecast the trend could reverse from October, jeopardising the government's
target of 5.5 percent inflation for December.
EBEA urged the government to adopt the following measures in order to curb
- Cuts in public spending rather than tax hikes to remedy fiscal imbalances
- Broader measures to combat inflation, breaking a dependence on foreign
exchange policy and price restraint by public utilities as anti-inflationary
- Curbs on privileges for state utilities that have virtual monopoly
- Backing for free competition
- Improvement of the labour market's institutional framework to spur
recruitment of the young
- Modernisation of public administration through technological and
- Opening the education system to international competition
- Change in philosophy behind the social insurance system.
Athens '97 IAAF Championship figures
Staging the August 1-10 World Athletics Championships in Athens will cost
4.8 billion dr., including the 800 million drachma cost of the opening
ceremony, Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras said yester- day.
Receipts of three billion dr. are anticipated from ticket sales, 500
million dr. fom athletes' accomodation and a large sum from the renting of
various facilities. Approximately one billion dr. were invested in
modernising the Athens Olympic Sports Complex, 500 million on sports
infrastructure and equipment for the new anti- doping control centre, and
500 million on athletics equipment.
Sounion to Crete on windsurf board
Greece's windsurfing Olympics gold medallist Nikos Kaklamanakis sets sail
from Cape Sounion on July 30 for a two-day 200 nautical mile journey to
Crete on his surfboard aiming, as he said, to advertise the beauty of
Greece all over the world and to boost Athens' candidacy for the 2004
Kaklamanis will surf the 120 miles to Santorini in 6-8 hours on the first
day of the journey, covering the remaining 80 miles to Heraklion, Crete in
5-7 hours on the following day.
Fair weather is forecast over the whole of the country today, with
northerly winds, moderate in the east and becoming strong to very strong in
the southeastern Aegean. Athens will be mostly sunny with temperatures
ranging from 22 to 35 C. The same for Thessaloniki with temperatures 20-33
Wednesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.137
Pound sterling 476.140 Cyprus pd 530.918
French franc 45.940 Swiss franc 190.930
German mark 154.831 Italian lira (100) 15.935
Yen (100) 245.550 Canadian dlr. 205.999
Australian dlr. 208.419 Irish Punt 418.386
Belgian franc 7.499 Finnish mark 52.626
Dutch guilder 137.511 Danish kr. 40.670
Swedish kr. 36.131 Norwegian kr. 37.666
Austrian sch. 22.010 Spanish peseta 1.840
Port. Escudo 1.535