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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 17/09/1997 (ANA)


  • Greek, Turkish FMs to meet in New York next week
  • Central bank: Inflation will make end-1998 target
  • Greece to borrow 300 bln for 2004 Olympics
  • Regional journalism conference to be held
  • Georgian president arrives in Thessaloniki
  • Shevardnadze calls for Greek investments in Georgia
  • Greece and Georgia sign transport, communications accord
  • Russian Air Force planes arrive for joint flights
  • Eurodeputies on status of Mt Athos
  • EOT gears up for 2004 Olympics, tourist seasons
  • Greek teams win UEFA cup matches
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Greek, Turkish FMs to meet in New York next week

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is to meet with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced today.

Informed sources ruled out, however, a tripartite meeting with the participation of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright or any other US official.

The two ministers are to discuss bilateral relations including economic cooperation, on which Cem has said Turkey has prepared a package of proposals. Mr. Reppas said proposals on economic issues had also been put forward by individuals in the private sector. He added that the Greek government had formulated an opinion as to how these relations could be developed.

Asked to comment on Cem's accusations that Greece was responsible for the fact that the Madrid communique had not been adhered to, Reppas said:

"These statements by Mr. Cem are to be expected. Turkish officials have destroyed the climate in Greek-Turkish relations with their thoughtless and damaging statements."

"Greece," he added, "is pleased when countries, including Turkey, respect international law. If Turkish foreign policy indicates respect for international law and order, then this will be a step forward. However, that remains to be seen."

Meanwhile, with regard to predictions by British envoy on the Cyprus issue Sir David Hannay that the Cyprus issue would be resolved within two years, Reppas said the government both wished and hoped that Sir David would contribute to such an outcome.

However, he advised the British envoy to evaluate the views of the Turkish Foreign Minister who has maintained that two years would not be long enough.

Central bank: Inflation will make end-1998 target

Greek consumer price inflation is likely to slip by the end of the year from August's 5.6 percent, helping the socialist government to achieve its target of three percent by end-1998, central bank governor Lucas Papademos said.

The decline in inflation, which would begin in September, meant that the target for 1998 was feasible but monetary authorities were seeking ways to accelerate the fall, Papademos told reporters.

He was speaking after a two-hour meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis also attended by the premier's economic adviser, Tassos Yannitsis, and the Bank of Greece's two deputy governors, Panayotis Thomopoulos and Nikos Garganas.

Cutting inflation is central to the government's policy of aligning the country's economy with other European Union partners and joining economic and monetary union.

Replying to questions, Papademos said no concrete economic measures were brought up at the meeting, which aimed to forge monetary and economic policy guidelines.

Greece to borrow 300 bln for 2004 Olympics

Greece, which is to host the 2004 Olympics, will need to borrow 300 billion drachmas in order to help finance the event, Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos said.

Replying to a reporter's question, Papademos said the estimate stemmed from offsetting revenue and expenditure, also accounting for a time lag between outlays and receipts.

Papademos was speaking after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on forging monetary and economic policy guidelines.

The International Olympic Committee early in September voted Athens as host city for the Games. Around 80 percent of infrastructure needed is already in place or being built.

Regional journalism conference to be held

More than 40 journalists from the Mediterranean, Balkan and European Union countries will take part in a conference organised by the Association of European Journalists in collaboration with the Greek Press Ministry and mass media, to be held Monday and Tuesday at the Zappeion Hall.

The theme of the conference is "The role of journalists in light of the Mediterranean's importance in the process of European integration".

Main speakers include Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, European Parliament vice-president Paraskevas Avgerinos, Athens News Agency general director Andreas Christodoulides, Foreign Press Association of Greece president Evangelos Antonaros, Association of European Journalists international president Athanassios Papandropoulos, ANA director Nikoas Voulelis, director of the European Commission's representation in Athens Marios Kamhis, and a number of Greek and foreign journalists.

Georgian president arrives in Thessaloniki

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said in Thessaloniki today that his visit to Greece had been "extremely fruitful".

"In these meetings we have created a very good institutional basis which will enable us to renew the ancient relations between Greece and Georgia," said Shevardnadze of his contacts in Athens and those of the delegation members accompanying him.

He was welcomed at Thessaloniki airport this afternoon by Minister for Macedonia and Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos, the city's mayor Constantine Kosmopoulos and Prefect Kostas Papadopoulos, in a short visit before flying by helicopter to visit Mount Athos.

Petsalnikos thanked the Georgian president for the strong interest he has shown in maintaining Greek culture in Georgia and for making the Greek language one of the official languages taught in Georgian schools.

The minister announced that five scholarships would be awarded to Georgian graduates who wish to study Greek culture at universities in Macedonia.

Earlier today, Shevardnadze was made an honorary member of the board of directors of the Andreas Papandreou Foundation. The presentation was made by Foreign Undersecretary George Papandreou, son of the late statesman.

The Andreas Papandreou Foundation was set up in memory of the former Greek prime minister and founder of the ruling Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), who died last year, for the purpose of conducting studies on educational issues, awarding scholarships for studies in international law on conflict-solving issues, and promoting relations between the academic community and those active in politics.

Shevardnadze is expected back in Thessaloniki from Mount Athnos late this afternoon for a meeting with Kosmopoulos and a visit to the Archaeological Museum.

Shevardnadze calls for Greek investments in Georgia

Shevardnadze yesterday called for investments by Greek firms in his country, where he said steps are being taken to ensure economic stability and peace in the broader region.

Addressing members of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Shevardnadze stressed the importance of further developing bilateral economic and trade relations.

"The advantageous geographic positions of both Georgia and Greece, similarities in certain sectors of the economy, as well as the historic links between the two states create favourable conditions for the development of those relations," said Mr. Shevar dnadze, who is also president of Georgia's foreign investments council.

The sectors that lend themselves to investments, he noted, include infrastructure projects, telecommunications, heavy industry, mining and banking.

The Georgian president said he looked forward to the opening of the Black Sea Commerce and Development Bank in Thessaloniki, given its potentially positive benefits for the countries of the region.

According to the Athens Chamber, trade between Greece and Georgia has increased significantly over the past two years. The volume of trade since 1994 has more than doubled, exports to Georgia have tripled although imports from Georgia have stayed at relat ively stable levels.

In 1996, imports from Georgia came to US$7.4 million while Greek exports to the country totalled US$18.84 million.

Greece mainly exports fuel, farm products and industrial products to Georgia.

Greece and Georgia sign transport, communications accord

Greece and Georgia yesterday signed a transport and communications agreement.

The accord signed between Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis and his Georgian counterparts, Transport Minister Herab Anteisvili, and Communications and Post Offices Minister Pridon Injia provides for a post office link in Thessaloniki which is considered the centre between the two countries. It was also agreed that cooperation between the two countries in the wider transport and telecommunications sector will be widened.

Mr. Mantelis discussed the expansion of cooperation to railroad commercial transport with the operation of a sea link, the operation of a bus route between Athens-Thessaloniki-Tbilisi, with a frequency of four times a week and an air link between Tbilisi and Athens and Thessaloniki through Georgian Airlines on a weekly basis.

It was also agreed to promote cooperation in the telecommunications sector where an agreement to construct a telecomms cable some 600 km long was recently implemented. The project is being funded by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) and is being implemented by its subsidiary Hellascom.

Russian Air Force planes arrive for joint flights

Five Russian Air Force planes arrived in Greece yesterday within the framework of exchanges between the two countries.

Two Sukhoi 27s, two Sukhoi 30s and an Ilyushin military transport plane landed at Tanagra airbase shortly after 4 p.m.

During their stay, Greek and Russian pilots will have the opportunity to carry out flights as co-pilots in the two-seater Sukhoi 30s and the Hellenic Air Force's Mirage 2000s.

The Russian aircraft will depart from Greece on Sept. 19, while Greek Mirage 2000 aircraft are expected to visit Russia in the spring of 1998.

Eurodeputies on status of Mt Athos

Thirty-five Eurodeputies from all 15 member states of the European Union have called on the EU Council of Foreign Ministers to make a joint declaration ensuring that the special status of the monastic community of Mount Athos, northern Greece, is maintained.

Coalition of the Left Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos proposed that the declaration be included in the Amsterdam treaties and that it take into consideration the special status of Mount Athos, which "is a particular expression of a common cultural heritage".

EOT gears up for 2004 Olympics, tourist seasons

Athens has a great opportunity in hosting the Olympic Games of 2004 that should be taken advantage of, without leading to unchecked building activity, National Tourism Organisation (EOT) secretary general Nikos Skoulas warned yesterday.

Mr. Skoulas said that it might be necessary to lift a ban on building more hotels in central Athens in order to provide more five-star accomodations for visitors attending the Olympics.

"We must not, however, do excessive things, nor be led into building rooms for three weeks only that will then become mausoleums," he added.

He proposed that a convention centre be built so that Athens could stage more conferences, conventions and exhibitions.

According to tourism figures, there were indications that 1997 would post a 10 per cent increase in tourist arrivals compared to 1996. However, he said revenues from foreign exchange did not follow suit.

In terms of recent Olympic Airways strikes and delays, Mr. Skoulas said the government was holding "intensive negotiations" on creating one or more multi-share charter carriers, based on the successful Turkish model, that would be privately run but with government support as well.

Among other innovations, regions would be encouraged to take over their own tourism promotion, similar to a programme pioneered in Greece by Crete, while the ministry of foreign affairs was soon expected to sign an agreement creating a slot for tourism attaches in embassies overseas.

Other plans the government has, he said, were to sell or lease on long-term basis the majority of EOT's assets in real estate, such as the Xenia Hotel in Lagonissi, off the Athens to Sounion highway, and the leasing of the Alimos marina.

Greek teams win UEFA cup matches

PAOK of Thessaloniki posted an unexpected victory against Britain's powerhouse Arsenal last night, beating the London team 1-0 in the first leg of their UEFA cup matchup.

Costas Fratzeskos scored for PAOK in the 61st minute. The match was attended by 40,000 fans. The second game will be played in London in two weeks. In a second UEFA matche OFI of Irakleio beat Hungary's Ferencvaros 3- 0. The second game will be played in Hungary in two weeks.


Partly cloudy weather with spells of sunshine will prevail throughout the country today with scattered showers in the Ionian Sea, mainland Greece and the northern Aegean Sea. Winds, northerly, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be partly cloudy and windy with temperatures between 18-28C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 16- 24C.


Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 277.591 Pound sterling 442.968 Cyprus pd 528.776 French franc 46.622 Swiss franc 190.836 German mark 156.612 Italian lira (100) 16.063 Yen (100) 230.342 Canadian dlr. 199.392 Australian dlr. 198.926 Irish Punt 414.378 Belgian franc 7.590 Finnish mark 52.312 Dutch guilder 139.083 Danish kr. 41.132 Swedish kr. 36.206 Norwegian kr. 37.819 Austrian sch. 22.246 Spanish peseta 1.856 Port. Escudo 1.541


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