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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-05-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

ATHENS, GREECE, 19/05/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Clinton backs comprehensive approach for Greek-Turkish relations
  • Balkan situation dominates Tsohatzopoulos talks in Sweden
  • Greek-Romanian defence talks in Athens
  • Cypriot defence minister tours ELBO facility
  • 'Integrated world strategy' urged to counter capitalism
  • Pontians request monument for 1914-1923 genocide
  • Bayer to hold homage to aspirin on Kos on its 100th birthday
  • FPA honours Tsatsaronis
  • Eurostat report on Union's most inexpensive markets
  • OTEnet-Ericsson cooperation
  • V. Papandreou announces billions for development on Crete
  • Greece vows to push for EMU entry backed by electorate
  • Greek business leaders want more privatisations
  • Greek 15-year-old bond sells well, paves way for 20-year paper
  • Greece presents economy to lure Japanese investors
  • Greek stocks gain ground on medium-cap stocks
  • Ecuador last country to book for Posidonia
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Clinton backs comprehensive approach for Greek-Turkish relations

Both the US president and Britain's Prime Minister stated yesterday that problems relating to Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus and Ankara's European aspirations have to be tackled in a comprehensive manner and not in isolation.

Britain's leadership also backed the idea that Turkey should be given "a very clear signal" about the EU's "true intentions" and expressed "deep concern" about the situation in Cyprus. London is the current holder of the European Union's rotating presidency.

"I do not think we can solve one problem in isolation from the other. I think we must move forward on all these problems - Cyprus, the Aegean, jurisdiction on disputes and the role of Turkey on Europe's future," US President Bill Clinton told a press conference yesterday. He was in Britain for the G7 plus Russia summit over the weekend and the subsequent meeting of the six-nation Contact Group.

Asked if EU-Turkey ties were discussed at yesterday's talks between the EU and the US, Mr. Clinton reiterated his administration's position that "there ought to be efforts for Turkey to move closer to the EU".

"The US believes that there should be an honorable settlement to the Cyprus impasse", Mr. Clinton said.

Balkan situation dominates Tsohatzopoulos talks in Sweden

The situation in the Balkans, Turkish intransigence and the fact that neighbouring countries are neither members of NATO nor the EU make it necessary for Athens to study the formation of "collective security institutions" on Europe's perimetre, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said in Stockholm yesterday.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos arrived in Sweden late on Sunday night for a two-day official visit and talks with his Swedish counterpart Bjorn von Sydow and Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallen.

In talks yesterday morning with Mr. von Sydow, the emphasis was on the establishment of "institutions of regional cooperation and security" within the framework of Partnership for Peace programmes.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said there were many common points in the way Greece and Sweden viewed and dealt with critical situations, while stressing that the situation in southeast Europe and the Aegean was completely different to that in northwest Europe and the Baltic.

Greek-Romanian defence talks in Athens

National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis held talks yesterday with Romanian chief of general staff, General Constantin Degeratu, focusing on bilateral relations and the enlargement of NATO with the accession of Balkan countries.

Mr. Degeratu is currently on an official visit to Greece at the invitation of his counterpart, chief of the national defence general staff, Wing Commander Athanasios Tzoganis.

Expressing satisfaction with the good level of bilateral relations, Mr. Apostolakis reiterated Greece's support for Bucharest's bid to join international and European organisations, beginning with NATO, since Romania's accession would strengthen securit y and stability in the region.

Cypriot defence minister tours ELBO facility

Cypriot Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou visited the Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELBO) outside Thessaloniki yesterday and met with the state-run company's president, Lykourgos Sakellaris.

Mr. Sakellaris informed the Cypriot minister of ELBO's programmes, including the timetable for delivery of 188 multi-purpose vehicles the island republic has ordered.

`Integrated world strategy` urged to counter capitalism

Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis proposed that an "integrated world strategy" should be socialists' answer to what he referred to as "world capitalism".

He was addressing the Socialist International meeting here yesterday. The main topic of discussion at the Oslo meeting concerns "interna-tional solidarity".

According to Mr. Kranidiotis and other speakers as well, the current system tends to produce more conflicts, poverty, corruption and misery instead of stability, peace, democracy and prosperity.

The Greek minister named three main targets of an alternative strategy that socialists should follow: - strengthening of democracy and defending human rights - measures to prevent conflicts and promote peace - eradication of poverty and human misery

Regarding the Cyprus issue, the Greek foreign undersecretary said the recent Northern Ireland agreement and the effort to establish peace in the Middle East could be used as examples in resolving the long-running dispute.

He further called on Turkey to cooperate for a viable solution of the problem, expressing the view that Cyprus' European prospects would assist in a political solution.

Pontians request monument for 1914-1923 genocide

Black Sea region Greek (Pontians) residents of the Thessaloniki area are requesting a monument in the city to commemorate the 1914-1923 genocide of the Pontians by the young Turk movement and Kemalist forces, a date remembered today.

The request includes the placement of a monument in an area close to the Turkish consulate.

Meanwhile, Pontians are organising a rally and a symbolic take-over of the Turkish consulate.

Finally, a conference entitled "The Turkish Government and Ethinc Cleansing" is being organised in New York between June 6 to 8, by the Greek Federation of Pontic Societies and the World Council for Hellenes Abroad (SAE).

Bayer to hold homage to aspirin on Kos on its 100th birthday

One hundred years after Dr. Felix Hoffmann, a chemist at Bayer's labs, synthesised acetylsalicylic acid for the first time in a solid and pure form, Bayer is hosting an international workshop on the island of Kos marking the centennial of what has come to be known the world over as simply Aspirin.

The use of acetylsalicylic acid, the active substance in aspirin, can be traced back to Kos, the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, who was the first to discover the pain-killing and fever-reducing properties of the sap from the bark of the willow tree.

The potion he prescribed made from the willow bark was a natural, non- chemically treated form of aspirin.

After Dr. Hoffmann's discovery, aspirin became, in 1904, the first basic medication to be sold in tablet form.

FPA honours Tsatsaronis

The Foreign Press Association's (FPA) board of directors yesterday unanimously decided to award the title of honourary president to long-time foreign correspondent Kostas Tsatsaronis.

The title was bestowed to the veteran journalist during a ceremony organised in view of Mr. Tsatsaronis' retirement. He will now focus his time at directing the Athens-based, German-language publication "Athener Zeitung."

Mr. Tsatsaronis played an instrumental role in the establishment of a health care and retirement fund for foreign press correspondents.

Eurostat report on Union's most inexpensive markets

A Eurostat report on the EU's most inexpensive markets points to Portugal as the cheapest destination in the Union for food and accommodations.

According to the EU's statistical bureau, Britain has the inexpensive clothes and furniture market and Spain is the cheapest in tobacco products.

Further, Eurostat's survey found Greece is the most inexpensive country regarding public transports, while more importantly, Luxembourg features the lowest prices for vehicles.

The most expensive food market was found in Denmark, compared with Greece where fruit, vegetables and meat were the lowest in the EU.

In addition to public transports, Greece was also cheapest in terms of medical care and medicines.

OTEnet-Ericsson cooperation

A new system introduced in Greece by OTEnet in cooperation with the multinational Ericsson will allow private Internet users to have a free telephone line in order to receive normal calls while connected to the world wide web. The "phone doubler" system is being successfully used abroad and is now being imported to Greece by an OTE subsidiary.

V. Papandreou announces billions for development on Crete

Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday announced several large outlays during a tour of Crete. Specifically, she said 13 billion drachmas would go for tourist infrastructure investment, 11 billion drachmas in manufacturing infrastructure and 1.2 billion drachmas for the support of small and medium-size businesses on Crete.

She said 13 billion drachmas will be allocated for the tourist infrastructure, 7 billion drachmas will be used for hotel modernisations, while another 4 billion drachmas will be allocated for the construction of sports facilities and marinas.

Ms. Papandreou also noted the issue of the four new golf courses planned by the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) in efforts to achieve a 12- month tourist season on the island.

Speaking about the energy sector, she said that wind parks in eastern Crete will supplement the island's power grid, while the problem will be solved by the two new Public Power Corp. (DEH) plants.

Greece vows to push for EMU entry backed by electorate

Greece will maintain its drive to gain entry into the European Union's economic and monetary union, acting on a mandate from the electorate, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

The government, which aims to take the country into EMU by January 1, 2001, committed itself to spending cuts and privatisation when the drachma joined the EU's exchange rate mechanism on March 14 to ease entry into EMU.

The policies have triggered a wave of strikes, including an indefinite stoppage by workers of Ionian Bank who oppose its privatisation. Mr. Reppas told his daily news briefing that the belt-tightening policies also enjoyed backing from the overwhelmi ng majority of the ruling PASOK party's central committee.

Greek business leaders want more privatisations

The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday called on the government to extend privatisation, take measures to boost monetary and fiscal stability, and improve productivity and competiti-veness. The chamber said the steps were necessary to ens ure Greece's participation in the European Union's economic and monetary union by 2001.

In a letter to National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, the chamber's chairman, Yiannis Papathanassiou, stressed that Greece should adopt further structural measures if it wished to exploit opportunities and sidestep the dangers of EMU participation.

The chamber proposed a bold privatisation plan in electricity, telecommunications, air and land transport, banking, petroleum and tourism.

Greek 15-year-old bond sells well, paves way for 20-year paper

Greece successfully auctioned its first ever 15-year state bond yesterday, a move paving the way for a new series of long-term bonds with a 20-year duration. The market's primary dealers submitted bids totalling 232.6 billion drachmas, more than double the target of 100 billion drachmas sought by the finance ministry.

The authorities finally accepted bids totalling 108.3 billion drachmas.

The issue's interest rate fell to an average weighed 7.70 percent, a development welcomed by the finance ministry.

Greece presents economy to lure Japanese investors

A forum to present business and investment opportunities in Greece to Japanese companies will be held in Athens on Thursday attended by chief executive officers from both countries.

Guests at the forum, which is timed to coincide with a visit by officials of the Japanese Federation of Economic Organisations, are Development Minister Vasso Papandreou and National Economy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas.

The meeting includes presentations of business and investment opportunities in Greece by representatives of industry, banking, exports, tourism and the Athens Stock Exchange.

Another venue for investment to be outlined is Athens as host city for the 2004 Olympic Games.

It also includes an outline of investment opportunities in southeastern Europe to be delivered by the general manager of the Hellenic Centre for Investment.

Greek stocks gain ground on medium-cap stocks

Greek equities yesterday started the week with gains reflecting strong investor interest in medium capitalisation shares and two blue-chips, National Bank of Greece and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation.

The general index ended 1.24 percent higher at 2,500.44 points.

Most sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 0.88 percent, Insurance ended 3.74 percent up, Investment fell 1.86 percent, Leasing increased 1.42 percent, Industrials rose 1.28 percent, Construction was 0.21 percent off, Miscellaneous jumped 3.37 percent and Holding rose 3.18 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 2.53 percent.

Trading was light to moderate by last month's standards with turnover at 53.9 billion drachmas.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 149 to 85 with another 23 issues unchanged.

Hellenic Sugar, Giannousis, Sysware, Fourlis, Strintzis Lines, Xiosbank, Keranis, Alco and Intrasoft scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

Bank of Athens, Viokarpet, Balkan Export, Hadzioannou, Mouriades, Ridenco, Aspis Invest and Gnomon suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 49,750 drachmas, Ergobank at 26,800, Alpha Credit Bank at 31,900, Delta Dairy at 4,750, Titan Cement at 24,00, Intracom at 20,000 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8, 930.

Ecuador last country to book for Posidonia

Ecuador, which confirmed its participation in Greece's Poseidonia shipping trade fair yesterday, was the last country to book for the international event, which is taking place in the first week of June.

A total of 72 countries will participate in this year's event, housed in the Piraeus Port Authority's waterfront exhibition hall.

More than 1,450 Greek and foreign companies are to take part in the maritime fair.

WEATHER

Unstable weather continues throughout Greece today with local showers and possible storms. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Possibility of showers in Athens with temperatures between 15-23C. Rain in Thessaloniki with temperartures from 14-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 306.826 British pound 498.163 Japanese yen(100) 226.097 French franc 51.173 German mark 171.646 Italian lira (100) 17.404 Irish Punt 432.373 Belgian franc 8.317 Finnish mark 56.477 Dutch guilder 152.287 Danish kr. 45.055 Austrian sch. 24.387 Spanish peseta 2.020 Swedish kr. 39.442 Norwegian kr. 40.839 Swiss franc 205.647 Port. Escudo 1.674 Aus. dollar 190.801 Can. dollar 210.840 Cyprus pound 582.324

(C.E.)


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