Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-01-20
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 20/01/1998 (ANA)
- Kinkel: Ankara should take continental shelf issue to the Hague
- Athens says Ankara's position over Aegean exercises 'irrational'
- Head of 2004 Olympics organising committee named
- PASOK backs Damanaki for Athens mayor, Lazarides in Thessaloniki
- Albania welcomes Greek offer to host Kosovo talks
- Pangalos-Miller talks focus on Cyprus
- Karamanlis again points to 'tax raid' by gov't
- Greek officers evaluating Russia's Sukhoi-30
- Greek support for Italian entry into first phase of EMU
- Rome says no opposition to connecting Greek, Italian power grids
- Renewed confidence pushes stock prices higher
- Tourism authorities plan aggressive marketing campaign
- Israeli tourism conference begins in Athens
- Plays by Turkey's State Theatre to be staged in Athens
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Kinkel: Ankara should take continental shelf issue to the Hague
German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel called on Turkish Prime Minister Mesut
Yilmaz to take the first step in what he called the key problem of the
Aegean islands' continental shelf and accept recourse to the International
Court at The Hague.
"Yilmaz, being the prime minister of the larger country, should now be in a
position to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague
for a decision to be taken over the Greek-Turkish dispute concerning the
continental shelf of the islands of the Aegean," he said.
In an interview published in a Frankfurt daily yesterday, Mr. Kinkel said
restoration of relations between Turkey and the European Union passes
through the easing of tension in relations between Greece and Turkey and
the resolution of Greek-Turkish diff erences.
Mr. Kinkel believes that tension between Turkey and Greece "constitutes the
nucleus of the problem in relations between Turkey and the EU."
At the same time he assesses that "the conjuncture is more favourable than
ever", since the two countries are headed by Prime Ministers Costas Simitis
and Mesut Yilmaz.
Athens says Ankara's position over Aegean exercises 'irrational'
Greece yesterday described the stance adopted by neighbouring Turkey
concerning the holding of military exercises in the Aegean as "irrational"
and "much more than inconsistent".
"Irregular military action contributes to the exacerbation of Greek-Turkish
relations," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said when asked by
reporters about the possibility of Ankara holding further military
exercises in the Aegean.
Mr. Reppas advised Ankara to refrain from using military forces as it had
done up to now. Athens, the spokesman clarified, was not proposing some
moratorium but wants respect for international law and international
treaties and for Turkey to show good faith.
Asked to comment on the banning of the Turkish main opposition Welfare
Party, Mr. Reppas said it illustrated once again the lack of democracy in
Turkey and confirmed that institutions were not functioning in the
"This decision may cause further political instability in Turkey and
consequently, worrying developments are on the horizon as far as Greek-
Turkish relations are concerned," Mr. Reppas said.
Head of 2004 Olympics organising committee named
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday announced the establishment of two
committees to organise and supervise the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Mr. Simitis announced the decision after a meeting with President Kostis
Stephanopoulos, under the aegis of whom a national olympics committee will
operate, while it will be chaired by Mr. Simitis. Under the plan, such a
committee will monitor preparati on and evaluate Olympics-related works
The main responsibility for the organisation and execution of the works
will be undertaken by the "Athens 2004" organising committee, which will
operate as a societe anonyme. It will be headed by Stratis Stratigis, a
former New Democracy and Democratic Renewal Party (DHANA) deputy. The other
members of this committee will be announced later this week. Mr. Simitis
said Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who headed Athens' Olympics 2004
bid committee, would be a member of the national committee, a fter
her "personal request not to participate in the organisational
committee, due to personal reasons".
"It is the government's desire to set up an efficient and flexible scheme
which will guarantee the preparation and execution of the games under a
regime of absolute transparancy and control," Mr. Simitis said, adding that
"this set-up meets that aspiration, as Greece's goal is to prove that it is
capable of successfully completing the task it has undertaken".
The new president of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games committee, Stratis
Stratigis, 64, is an attorney by profession, and holds a doctorate in
economics and maritime law. He speaks German, English and French.
PASOK backs Damanaki for Athens mayor, Lazaridis in Thessaloniki
Ruling PASOK's executive bureau yesterday approved the Athens, Thessaloniki
and Piraeus candidates for municipal elections slated for October.
The PASOK-backed candidates for the three municipalities will be Maria
Damanaki,the former leader of the Coalition of the Left and a current
deputy for that party, current Kalamaria Mayor Thrasyvoulos Lazaridis and
Christos Fotiou, respectively
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who said
current Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos paid more attention to
appearances rather than the problems of Athens citizens and that Pireaus
residents were not happy under Stelios Logothetis over the last few
Albania welcomes Greek offer to host Kosovo talks
Albania yesterday welcomed an offer by Greece to host talks between
Yugoslavia and Albania over Serbia's troubled region of Kosovo.
"Initiatives contributing to the (solution) of the Kosovo issue are
welcomed by the Albanian government," said Vladimir Prela, political
advisor to Socialist Prime Minister Fatos Nano.
"I think the Kosovo issue could be solved step by step and through
However, Mr. Prela said there was as yet no formal invitation from Greece,
which on Friday offered to host talks on Kosovo, a southern province of
Serbia where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs nine to one.
The Greek offer came after U.S. envoy Robert Gelbard on Thursday urged
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to open a dialogue between Serbs and
Albanians to defuse rising tensions.
A wave of violence over the past year has prompted fears among Western
governments that Kosovo could become the next flashpoint in the Balkans
after the devastating wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Greek Alternate Foreign
Minister George Papandreou said Athens would be willing to bring together
Mr. Milosevic, Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Ibrahim Rugova, the
leader of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.
Mr. Papandreou said Greece agreed with the European Union position on
Kosovo -- that it should remain part of Yugoslavia but with wide-ranging
autonomy, which Serbia revoked in 1989. Greece hosted a summit of regional
leaders on the island of Crete last year at which Mr. Milosevic and Mr.
Nano discussed Kosovo.
Pangalos-Miller talks focus on Cyprus
US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller yesterday
held talks with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Undersecretary
Yiannos Kranidiotis on the Cyprus issue.
Details of the talks were not disclosed, while sources said that Mr. Miller
briefed the Greek officials on the results of his contacts in Ankara early
Washington's ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns was also present at the
meeting, as was Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Ambassador Alexandros
Filon and the ministry's head of the Greek-Turkish affairs department,
Ilias Klis. Mr. Miller departs today for Washington.
Karamanlis again points to 'tax raid' by gov't
Speaking to his party's Parlimentary group yesterday, main opposition New
Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis referred to a lack of boldness and
indecisiveness on the part of the government to promote a policy of
structural changes in the economy.
He said that the currency crisis was due to the lack of confidence in the
Greek economy, and claimed that fiscal policy has already been overturned
due to increases in interest rates. He spoke of a tax raid on the part of
the government, which does not restrict public waste, but neither does it
proceed to privatisations.
Mr. Karamanlis stressed that in the last two years, there have been 60 new
tax burdens which hit directly those needing breaks and need a different
and humane social phase.
He claimed that the policy of the government was contrary to development
and leads to a further increase in unemployment.
He accused the government of being unable and not willing to sever the
umbilical cord with the forces that benefit from today's decadence, and
said that the present tax system must be simplified with a parallel
reduction in tax rates.
Greek officers evaluating Russia's Sukhoi-30
Several Greek pilots are testing the third generation Russian-built Sukhoi-
30 warplane as of yesterday, after being briefed on the ground all last
A group of Hellenic Air Force officers, including both technicians and
pilots, are in Russia to evaluate the fighters.
The Sukhoi-30 is one of the five warplanes being currently evaluated by the
Hellenic Air Force.
Greek support for Italian entry into first phase of EMU
Athens announced its support for Italy's participation in the first phase
of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), while it considers the broadest
possible EMU participation of EU members desirable, National Economy
Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said after the EU's Economy and Finance
Ministers' Council (ECOFIN) session in Brussels yesterday.
The basic issues examined during the session was the ratification of the
convergence programme of the Italian economy and the British presidency's
Regarding the latter, Mr. Papantoniou stressed that Greece agreed with the
EMU implementation programme but considered particularly important the
proposed measures for bolstering employment which are among the basic
priorities of the British presidency.
The minister reported to the Council that the Greek government intends to
table in Parliament "an ambitious programme of offering employment
opportunities to 200,000 young people between 20 and 27".
He also said that Greece accepts fiscal discipline as one of the basic
economic options of the EU, but on the other it wishes recognition of the
fact EMU will result in the creation of increased needs in sectors of
member-states' economic and social policy.
"We say yes to restricting waste, but we wish increased financing of
policies and the policy of cohesion in the Community," he noted.
Rome says on opposition to connecting Greek, Italian power grids
Italy no longer objects to the connection of the electric power grids of
Greece and Italy, Italian Finance Minister Carlos Chiampi said yesterday.
The Italian minister had a meeting in Brussels yesterday with European
Union Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies on the sidelines of an EU Council.
According to Italian sources, during the meeting with the EU Commissioner,
Mr. Chiampi said that Rome regarded that it was necessary that the project
go ahead at an accelerated pace and that Italy will place no obstacles.
Renewed confidence pushes stock prices higher
Greek equities ended substantially higher yesterday for the second
consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange reflecting the market's
relief over a recovery in international markets and a further decline in
domestic interbank interest rates.
Bank of Greece sources reported capital inflows totalling 250 million Ecus
at the drachma's fixing. The Greek currency strengthened against the DMark
and the Ecu but eased against the US dollar.
The general index closed 1.73 percent higher at 1,435.71 points pushed
higher by a 5.02 percent surge in construction shares.
Most other sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 1.87 percent, Insurance
ended 1.09 percent up, Leasing increased 1.79 percent, Investment jumped
2.62 percent, Industrials rose 1.95 percent, Holding ended 1.57 percent up,
but Miscellaneous bucked the trend to end 0.05 percent off.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.06 percent up,
while the FTSE/ASE index jumped 1.63 percent to end at 788.87 points.
Trading was heavy with turnover at 17.8 billion drachmas.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 156 to 63 with another 21 issues
Macedonian Plastics, Rokas, General Trade and Desmos scored the biggest
percentage gains at the day's upper limit, while Ideal, Development Funds
and Demetriades suffered the heaviest losses.
National Bank of Greece closed at 20,490 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,630,
Alpha Credit Bank at 14,800, Delta Dairy at 14,295, Titan Cement at 13,750,
Intracom at 14,940 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,
Tourism authorities plan aggressive marketing campaign
Hellenic Tourism Organisation (EOT) is seeking a more aggressive marketing
and public relations campaign abroad this year with the aim of attracting
increased tourist arrivals.
Nikos Skoulas, EOT's general secretary, said yesterday that Greek tourism
authorities were organising workshops seminars in 13 cities in the U.S.,
attended by more than 5,000 travel agents, a figure 40 percent larger than
the previous year. Mr. Skoulas expects increased tourist arrivals from the
US this season. EOT will spend more than 10 billion drachmas on this year's
publicity campaign abroad.
Israeli tourism conference begins in Athens
The Association of Israeli Travel Agents in cooperation with the Hellenic
Tourism Organisation is organising its annual conference in Athens from
January 19 to 23.
The conference is being attended by more than 500 Israeli travel agents.
Greece's Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday attended the
opening ceremony of the conference aimed at promoting incoming tourism in
Israel, developing bilateral tourism cooperation between the two countries
and attracting more Israeli touris ts in Greece.
Israeli tourists in Greece totalled 150,000 in 1997, an increase of 10
percent from the previous year.
Plays by Turkey's State Theatre to be staged in Athens
The National Theatre of Greece will extend its hospitality to a theatre
troupe of TurkeyYs State Theatre, which arrived in Athens yesterday to
stage two plays.
Both plays have a Greek identity, one by Dimitris Psathas "Zitite Pseftis"
(Liar Required) and the other by Terence MacNally, "Master Class", a play
about Greek soprano Maria Callas. This is the first official performance by
the Turkish theatre group in Greece, which takes place in return of a
recent sucessful tour by Greece's National Theatre in Turkey, performing
National Theatre Managing Director Nikos Kourkoulos said "politicians do
not get involved in culture", before indroducing the managing director of
Turkey's national theatres to reporters.
Both plays were a success in Turkey.
Rain is forecast for most parts of Greece today. Winds southerly,
southwesterly, strong to gale force. Drizzle in Athens with temperatures
between 9-15C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 7-
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 287.571
Pound sterling 470.069 Cyprus pd 534.291
French franc 46.584 Swiss franc 191.059
German mark 156.032 Italian lira (100) 15.854
Yen (100) 222.714 Canadian dlr. 200.086
Australian dlr. 191.357 Irish Punt 395.312
Belgian franc 7.564 Finnish mark 51.697
Dutch guilder 138.478 Danish kr. 40.960
Swedish kr. 35.623 Norwegian kr. 37.914
Austrian sch. 22.181 Spanish peseta 1.826
Port. Escudo 1.526