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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-09-13

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 13/09/1997 (ANA)


  • Greece grants initial two billion drachma loan to Albania
  • Albanian FM: improved relations noted
  • Athens: Yilmaz remarks part of 'dead end' Turkish policy
  • OTE revenues increase
  • Gov't comments on terms of IOC contract
  • Greek wholesale prices rise to 5.2 pct yr/yr in July
  • Greek stocks climb, rallying after correction
  • Greek aluminium industry has Dr 500 bln turnover
  • Greece to give Serbia Dls 100 million for roadbuilding
  • Greece swamped by proposals for EU-funded energy plan
  • Bank of Crete purchase bid by Piraeus Bank
  • AGET-Iraklis cement co. sales increase
  • Lower transit cargo prices decided for Piraeus
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Greece grants initial two billion drachma loan to Albania

Greece presented Albania with two billion drachmas (seven million dollars) as urgent economic aid for the Albanian state, and said relations with Tirana were developing "in a most favourable manner".

"This is an element which Greece considers definitive for its foreign policy," Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said, handing over the money to visiting Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo after their one-hour meeting on Saturday.

Mr. Milo, who is on a three-day official visit to Greece, the first by an Albanian foreign minister since civil unrest wracked the neighbouring country earlier in the year, also met earlier with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Speaking to reporters after their meeting, Mr. Pangalos said the Greek president had extended an invitation through Mr. Milo for his Albanian counterpart to visit Greece in the first half of 1998.

He said that, apart from the two billion drachmas, committees of experts from both countries would be meeting soon to thrash out the details of 18 million drachmas worth of Greek loans promised to Albania to aid in the implementation of public works projects in Albania.

Mr. Pangalos and Mr. Milo called their meeting "the most favourable development in Greek-Albanian relations in recent times".

Among these, Mr. Pangalos said, were plans for contacts between the public order ministries of both countries to "maintain law on both sides of the border", a planned visit by the chief of the Albanian armed forces to discuss the reform and reorganisation of the Albanian military with his Greek counterparts.

Albanian FM: Improved relations noted

Mr. Milo said that bilateral relations were at "their best point ever", thanking the Greek people and government for "standing by Albania in its difficult times".

"This was a historic stance and something the Albanian people are not likely to ever forget," Mr. Milo said.

He called on Albanians residing and working in Greece to abide by Greek laws and "act honourably". At the beginning of the year there was an estimated 400,000 Albanians in Greece, although that figure may have increased following the violence and mayhem in the neighbouring country, after thousands lost their life savings in collapsed 'pyramid' investment schemes.

Mr. Milo invited back Greek investors who had fled Albania in the wake of the unrest, assuring them that "the situation is now under the control of the Albanian government. We will take all the necessary steps to protect your businesses," he said.

Athens: Yilmaz remarks part of 'dead-end' Turkish policy

Greece said yesterday that statements by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz threatening the annexation of the occupied north of Cyprus were "no surprise". "(These statements) are an indication of the dead-end policy that Turkey is following in issues which concern us, particularly Cyprus," Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou told reporters. "The international community is awaiting respect of international law. I hope Turkey realises that only if it follows the rules of international law will it find a response to its course towards Europe," he said.

OTE revenues increase

Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's (OTE) revenues from telephony services over the first half of the year increased by 15 per cent, according to figures released yesterday.

At the same time, a rates policy is being considered for 1998.

The average burden for the consumer will not exceed 2.5 per cent although it has not yet been clarified whether the rates freeze being planned by the government for all public utilities (DEKO) will also apply to OTE.

In the first half of the year, OTE received 218.89 billion drachmas from telephony compared to 190.55 billion drachmas over the corresponding period last year.

The net increase is 12 per cent since the rates for 1997 increased 3 per cent on average. Telephone movement in units over the same period increased 16.2 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 1996 (more than 23.67 billion units in 1997 as against more than 20.34 billion units in 1996).

According to its official budget for 1997, OTE expects total revenues amounting to 840 billion drachmas (738 billion drachmas last year) and net pre-tax profits totalling 315 billion drachmas.

Gov't comments on terms of IOC contract

The government will have the first say in setting up the organising committee for the Olympic Games of 2004, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

Mr. Reppas said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had personally given guarantees to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the Games.

The prime minister said that if the Games were organised by Athens and the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) only, then those two should have to undertake the entire cost. Because this was not possible, the government would have a decisive role to play, even though all necessary agencies would be represented in the organisational committee, Mr. Reppas said.

Asked whether the IOC contract obliged Greece to accept the entry into Greece of unwelcome persons, such as ex-king Constantine (a member of the IOC), Mr. Reppas replied that all citizens with legal documents may visit Greece.

Referring to a statement by Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos that Greece would need loans of some 320 billion drachmas to carry out the Games, the spokesman explained there was no deficit, and that the governor simply suggested loaning because a return of any revenues would take a long time.

He also said Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras had informed him that the contracts IOC had agreed on with sponsors during the first week following the decision for the bid exceeded US$1.1 billion, as against an estimate of US$800-900 million.

Greek wholesale prices rise to 5.2 pct yr/yr in July

Greek wholesale price inflation rose to 5.2 percent year-on-year in July from 4.3 percent in June and 6.4 percent in July 1996, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said.

Average wholesale inflation in January-July fell to 3.4 percent from 6.6 percent and 8.7 percent in 1996 and 1995 respectively, it said.

Wholesale price index

July 97 June 97 July 96 Month-on-month 0.2% 4.3% - 0.6% Year-on-year 5.2% -0.1% 6.4% Index (1980=100) 890.1 888.0 846.1

Greek stocks climb, rallying after correction

Greek equities resumed their upward trend after a two-day correction on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Buying interest was once again focused in construction and industrial issues helping most other sectors to rebound. The general index closed 0.83 percent higher at 1,654.65 points.

Banks rose 0.18 percent, Leasing fell 0.19 percent, Insurance increased 1.70 percent, Investment ended 1.93 percent higher, Industrials rose 1.56 percent, Construction jumped 3.77 percent, Holding was 2.20 percent up and Miscellaneous rose 0.14 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.76 percent higher.

Trading remained heavy and turnover was 22.8 billion drachmas.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 121 to 90 with another 25 issues unchanged.

Bank of Athens, Sysware, Hellenic Sugar and Pouliades scored the biggest percentage gains, while Benroubi, Pairis, Sarandopoulos and Xylemporia suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 34,400 drachmas, Ergobank at 18,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 19,500, Delta Dairy at 4,100, Titan Cement at 15,850, Intracom at 13,600 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,830. In the domestic foreign exchange m arket the US dollar fell 0.67 percent against the drachma following a sharp depreciation of its parity in international markets.

Greek aluminium industry has Dr 500 bln turnover

The Greek aluminium industry's total turnover is 500 billion drachmas, accounting for 1.7 percent of the country's gross domestic product, the Greek Aluminium Union (GAU) said at Thessaloniki international trade fair.

Greek aluminium exports accounted for 9 percent of total exports, or 17 percent of industrial and manufactured products. Greece ranks eighth in the world aluminium industry, while the country's bauxite production accounts for 1/3 of European production.

GAU's chairman Ch. Christodoulou told a seminar on aluminium at the trade fair that the sector had great growth potential in developing and producing finished aluminium products.

The Greek industry should undertake this task in order to survive and prosper in the international market, he said.

Christodoulou pointed out that aluminium production had doubled during the last decade from 53,000 tonnes in 1986 to 105,000 tonnes last year.

More than 8,000 enterprises operated in Greece with a total workforce of 40, 000.

Greece to give Serbia Dls 100 million for roadbuilding

The Greek government will provide credits worth 100 million US dollars to fund construction of a new motorway in Serbia.

A consortium of Greek contractors, led by Meton and Aktor, signed a memorandum for the creation of a joint venture with Serbia's ministry of public works.

The joint company will take part in an international tender for the construction of a motorway in the Balkan country. Serbian Public Works Minister Branislav Ivkovic said that the Greek companies had pledged to secure satisfactory funding for construct ion of the road. Greece has shown great interest in the project because it will significantly improve road links and transport from Greece to Europe.

Greece swamped by proposals for EU-funded energy plan

Greece's development ministry has been swamped by proposals from private companies seeking funds under its European Union funded energy saving and renewable energy programme. The call for proposals in mid-July has brought investment plans across the board with renewable energy projects being the most popular, ministry secretary general Andonis Papathanasopoulos told a news conference at Thessalonkiki international trade fair.

The programme, budgeted at 90 billion drachmas, is funded under the EU's second support framework. Sixty billion drachmas are destined for energy saving and 30 billion for renewable energy projects.

The ministry also expects more proposals on technology for energy co- production by the October 15 deadline, sparked by progress in building a national natural gas network for industrial and household use.

In the first round, spanning December 1996-March 1997, proposals for energy co-production represented only four percent of investment plans.

Eligible to apply are private concerns that wish to launch a project budgeted at a minimum 100 million drachmas for energy co-production and 20 million for energy saving technology. The ministry's subsidies range between 35 percent and 55 percent.

No further proposals will be sought until 2000 but the ministry is preparing a new programme it hopes will fall under the EU's third support package, Mr. Papathanasopoulos said.

Bank of Crete purchase bid by Piraeus Bank

A bid for the purchase of Bank of Crete was submitted yesterday by Piraeus Bank. Copies of the bid were delivered to the members of an appraisal committee for consideration.

Eurobank was the first institution to express interest in buying Bank of Crete, at a minimum price of 30 billion drachmas, but it did not submit a bid.

AGET-Iraklis cement co. sales increase

The cement company AGET Iraklis recorded a 13 per cent rise in sales (47.6 billion drachmas) during the first half of 1997 in comparison to the corresponding period last year.

The company's pre-tax profits totalled 8.68 billion drachmas, a rise of 71.7 per cent. Announcing the economic results yesterday, Aget officials told the members of the board that prospects for the second half of the year were also expected to be positive, owing to increased demand in the domestic market and abroad. AGET also said the nomination of Athens to host the Olympic Games in 2004 was expected to boost an investments programme for infrastructure projects underway across the country.

The Iraklis consortium also recorded a rising course with sales in the first half of the current year, having reached 70.35 billion drachmas, a rise of 45 per cent.

Lower transit cargo prices decided for Piraeus

The Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) has decided to establish a more favourable invoice for transit cargoes passing through the port in containers.

The new invoice, according to the number of containers transported by each company on an annual basis, is as follows:

For 1-5,000 containers: $72.50 dollars; from 5,001-20,000, $59; from 20,001- 100,000, $50.50 and from 100,000 containers and above, $43.50.

Prices include both employees' overtime work and additional charges for work done on holidays and Sundays.

OLP's new invoice allows for an increase in transit cargoes' exclusion from storage dues from nine to 15 days. The same applies to empty transit containers.

For containers having dangerous contents or a mixed content (dangerous and non-dangerous) a free seven-day stay period is established.


Mostly fine weather throughout Greece today with some cloudiness in western Greece late in the afternoon. Winds variable, light to moderate, turning strong in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Temperatures in Athens will range from 18C to 30C and in Thessaloniki from 16C to 28C. Both cities sunny.


Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 278.365 Pound sterling 446.856 Cyprus pd 529.371 French franc 46.441 Swiss franc 188.738 German mark 156.136 Italian lira (100) 15.984 Yen (100) 230.303 Canadian dlr. 200.027 Australian dlr. 201.049 Irish Punt 418.505 Belgian franc 7.562 Finnish mark 52.080 Dutch guilder 138.627 Danish kr. 41.019 Swedish kr. 36.008 Norwegian kr. 37.934 Austrian sch. 22.188 Spanish peseta 1.851 Port. Escudo 1.538


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