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 yesterday. Government sources, howver, ruled out, 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 Mr. 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 Athens had formulated an opinion as to how these relations could be developed.
Greek Defence Minister won't be able to make to Ankara
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will not be able to accept an invitation from his Turkish counterpart to attend the 3rd International Defence and Air Force show in Ankara next week.
Sources said Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' agenda was quite full and that ministers did not usually attend such events.
According to the sources, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' regrets have already been sent to Ankara, as well as his thanks for the invitation.
Most of Greek north-south highway ready for use by 2000
More than 500 kilometres of a road network linking Patras, Athens and Thessaloniki to the northern Greek border post of Evzones will be open to traffic by the year 2000, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said yesterday.
Mr. Laliotis expressed satisfaction over progress in the project, which is included in the trans-European networks (TENs).
He said the government had secured more than 300 billion drachmas in funds for the project. The European Union would provide 180 billion through the second community support framework and the rest would be covered by the state.
The total length of the road network is estimated at 730 kilometres taking into account a 40 km short cut that will span Maliakos bay. The link is expected to be a co-financed tunnel, rather than a bridge, budgeted at 150 billion drachmas, with operation by the contractor.
Mr. Laliotis underlined the road project had been drawn up according to the latest standards with special concern for conserving the environment and archaeological sites.
Greece to amend award of shipping licences
Greek Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis said yesterday that he intended to change the status of shipping licences to ply passenger routes ahead of the abolition of cabotage in the year 2004.
Mr. Soumakis was commenting on a recent proposal by shipowner Gerasimos Strintzis asking for the removal of cabotage restrictions for certain domestic lines.
The ministry had formed a special committee to examine the issue along with shipowners. Its task would be to harmonise the procedure of granting shipping lines licences, Mr. Soumakis said.
He stressed that the same policy would be applied to foreign ships after the year 2004 as provided by a European Union directive on shipping transport.
Greek stocks climb after correction
Greek equities resumed their upward trend on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday after Tuesday's slight correction.
Traders said buying was focused in the construction sector but pointed out that investors were looking for bargains in medium-sized firms listed on the market. The general index closed 0.61 percent higher at 1,691.59 points, with all sector indices scoring gains.
Banks rose 0.39 percent, Leasing was 1.55 percent higher, Insurance ended 0.02 percent up, Investment rose 0.36 percent, Industrials gained 0.99 percent, Construction jumped 3.96 percent, Holding rose 0.63 percent and Miscellaneous was 3.73 percent up.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.46 percent higher.
Trading remained heavy and turnover was 24.4 billion drachmas.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 148 to 73 with another 23 issues unchanged.
Vis, Hellenic Biscuits, Spirou Wines and Diekat scored the biggest percentage gains, while Papastratos, Britania, Mouriades and Ippotour suffered the heaviest losses.
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's shares fell 80 drachmas to 6, 650. National Bank of Greece ended at 34,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 18,550, Alpha Credit at 20,050, Delta Dairy at 4,265, Titan Cement at 16,505 and Intracom at 14,360.
State signs ammunition deal with Pyrkal
Greece's national defence ministry has signed a 2.2 billion drachma contract with state-run PYRKAL yesterday for the supply of ammunition to the air force.
Ioannis Sbokos, chief executive of the department of arms procurement in the defence ministry, said that the agreement implemented a policy designed by the ministry to support domestic arms manufacturers.
PYRKAL is expected to sign new deals worth 3.3 billion drachmas along with three-year contracts worth more than 20 billion for the supply of new co- produced ammunition within the year.
US optimistic over Greek-Turkish relations
The United States will continue its role as a mediator between Greece and Turkey and its efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue, outgoing US ambassador to Athens Thomas Niles said in an interview published yesterday.
The Athens daily "Ta Nea" quoted Mr. Niles as saying that there had been some progress in direct talks between the two sides on Cyprus, and despite expected difficulties the US was not discouraged.
His government believed that Cyprus' accession talks for the European Union (EU) should provide assistance in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.
In terms of Cyprus' decision to deploy Russian-made S-300 missiles on the island for defence purposes, Mr. Niles said the US did not doubt the republic's right to defend itself, but "the usefulness of the decision to purchase this military equipment un der the aspect of the efforts to solve the Cyprus issue".
A solution to the Cyprus issue "would benefit Turkey, because it would create a stronger link between itself and the EU, while Cyprus could in itself become a bridge between Turkey and the EU instead of being a barrier, as it is today," he explained.
Mr. Niles' tenure as ambassador ends next month. He will be replaced by former US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, pending approval by the US Congress.
Issues concerning ethnic Greeks in Ukraine discussed
The leader of the Social Democratic Party of the Ukraine and former Ukrainian prime minister Pavel Lazarenko met with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday for a discussion of bilateral relations as well as issues concerning the 400,000 ethnic Greeks living in the country.
Mr. Lazarenko is also president of the local parliament of Nipropetrovski.
It was also agreed to boost cooperation between the two countries and their parliaments within the framework of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organisation and the European Interparliamentary Orthodox Assembly. Also present at the meeting was the pr esidents of the standing parliamentary committee for overseas Greeks, Grigoris Niotis, and the parliamentary committee on Orthodoxy, Stelios
Greek OSCE observers leave for Serbia
A four-member Parliamentary delegation leaves today for Belgrade to observe the September 21 elections in Serbia, at the invitation of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The delegation comprises Parliament's second and fifth vice-presidents Panagiotis Sgouridis and Dimitris Kostopoulos, and MPs Dimitris Tsetines and George Tzitzikostas.
UNESCO ecology congress continues on Tilos
An international ecologic congress entitled "Mediterranean 2000", organised by UNESCO, is continuing on the Dodecanese island of Tilos.
Three exhibitions were inaugurated late on Tuesday night, on birds, ancient coins and notes on birds by Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci.
"The birds of the Aegean and their nests" consists of photographs of rare birds living or flying through the area seasonally.
"Greece: 2,500 Years of Ecology", with ancient Greek coins of the 5th century BC - minted in Ionia and Lydia - highlights depictions of animals and the fine natural representation abilities of ancient artists.
"The flight of the birds" is an exhibition of an Italian publication on da Vinci's notebooks on the flight of birds, shown in Greece for the first time, and comprising 36 pages with notes and drawings.
Sinai treasures exhibition inaugurated in Athens
President Kostis Stephanopoulos last night inaugurated an exhibition of treasures from the Holy Monastery of Agia Aikaterini in the Sinai Peninsula at the Benaki Museum in Athens.
Also present at the inauguration was Prime Minister Costas Simitis and opposition New Democacy leader Costas Karamanlis, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and many others.
An address was delivered by Benaki Museum director Angelos Delivorias and Archibishop of Sinai Damianos.
The exhibition will open to the public tomorrow.
Papaioannou on pensioning law, social dialogue
Labour and Social Insurances Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said yesterday that there was no question for the government of totally changingn law 2084, known as the Sioufas Law.
Mr. Papaioannou said yesterday that workers who will consolidate a pensioning right by Dec. 31, 1997 will be pensioned off with the previous status, namely, that they will not experience the unfavourable repercussions of the Sioufas Law, regardless of when they will decide to depart from their service.
He said that in the social dialogue, trade unions have raised the claim for the 20 per cent ceiling on auxiliary pensions not to take effect, adding that this is the sole claim discussed by the government.
Mr. Papaioannou said the social dialogue is proceeding with satisfactory rates in both sectors, both on development and employment issues and the insurance issue. According to his predictions, the so-called small package on the insurance issue will be ready in January, while a report by the dialogue committee on employment is expected at the end of October.
Greek artists from around the world to perform in Athens
Artists of Greek descent from around the world will meet at the Herod Atticus theatre on September 22-23 to take part in a feast of music and dancing, part of the Athens Festival.
According to Stelios Elliniadis, the organiser, 240 musicians, singers and dancers from Greek communities from the United States, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Bulgaria, the Czech republic, southern Italy, Albania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia will take part.
They will feature music ranging from the traditional to the modern, and from Greek and Greek-speaking artists.
Organisers said the response to the event was "impressive".
"They try to maintain and continue the Greek presence with the minimum available - for example, Greeks in isolated villages and towns in Ukraine," Mr. Elliniadis said.
A highlight of the event will be the presence of Antonio Greco, a visually- impaired pianist and musician from southern Italy, who will sing songs of the Greek-speaking region.
Apart from artists of Greek origin, also present will be "philhellenes" such as the rebetika troupe "Paxim" from Sweden, comprising five Greeks and two Swedes, and the "Prosehos" band from Germany, comprising five Greeks, one Moroccan and two Turks.
EU absorption rate must improve in tourism, V. Papandreou says
If absorption rates for European Union (EU) funds in investments for the "Tourism-Culture" programme are not accelerated by the end of the year, the government will redistribute the funds to other sectors with greater potential, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday.
Ms Papandreou said that the agencies responsible for tourism projects funded by the second Community Support Framework would have to accelerate procedures in order to avoid losing funds.
The secretary general for the National Tourism Organisation (EOT) Nikos Skoulas said at the meeting that both public and private sector agencies had to become more active and not lose funds to other development projects.
'Economist' to host Athens conference on quality
An international conference entitled "Quality: The Key to Success - Experience and Examples from Europe and the USA" is being organised by the "Economist" conference department in Athens on Oct. 1.
Included on the agenda will be a discussion of new practices being used in two-thirds of firms in the US and Europe in all sectors of activities.
Participants include 22 Greek and foreign speakers such as Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Undersecretary Stavros Benos, the adviser to the Greek Standardisation Organisation (ELOT) P. Theofilopoulos and the general secretary of the European Foundation for Quality Ceert de Raad.
Olympiakos beats Portugal's Porto
Olympiakos of Greece beat Porto of Portugal 1-0 (halftime 1-0) in a Group D European Champions' League match on last night attended by a crowd of 75, 000. Half-time was 1-0. The sole scorer was Stelios Yannakopoulos.