Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-07-14
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 14/07/1998 (ANA)
- Russia, Cyprus reaffirm readiness for delivery of S-300 missiles
- Morgan Stanley reaffirms positive outlook for Greek economy
- Greek stocks return to record territory
- Greek businessmen urged to combat inflation
- State security rates fall again
- Italy-Greece electricity network link
- G. Papandreou on Vienna's intent for EU enlargement
- Gov't reaction to reports of joint Turkish-Israeli air exercise
- Tsohatzopoulos interview with 'Defence News'
- Kranidiotis in Far East
- Two bombs explode at Athens court complex
- Shipowner shot, competitor arrested
- Virgin offers Greek holiday packages for Britons
- Only 3% of Greek firms ready for EMU
- Balkan airlines inaugural flight from Sofia to Thessaloniki
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Russia, Cyprus reaffirm readiness for delivery of S-300 missiles
The leaders of Russia and Cyprus yesterday confirmed the two countries'
readiness to proceed with implementation of an agreement for deployment of
Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on the island republic.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides had a
20-minute meeting at the Kremlin yesterday.
Mr. Yeltsin's aide, Sergei Prikhodko, said after the meeting that "it was
confirmed what had been repeatedly agreed: the two parties' readiness to
honour the earlier assumed obligations."
Mr. Prikhodko noted that the military-technical cooperation between Russia
and Cyprus "is an integral part of our inter-state relations".
The Cyprus government signed a contract with Russian manufacturers in
January 1997 for the purchase of S-300 surface-to-air missiles, in a bid to
bolster Cyprus' air defences. They are scheduled to be deployed later this
Mr. Prikhodko said the two presidents expressed satisfaction and there was
identity of views on the prospects and ways to solve the Cyprus problem.
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov said his country's ties with
Cyprus are on a very good level and does not think anything can disrupt
Mr. Primakov added that talks with Mr. Clerides would cover in greater
detail the issues discussed at yesterday morning's meetings Mr. Clerides
had with President Yeltsin.
The Cypriot President is in Moscow since Saturday at the invitation of the
Russian capital's mayor, Yury Luzhkov.
He will return to Cyprus today.
Morgan Stanley reaffirms positive outlook for Greek economy
Morgan Stanley, a US investment bank, reaffirmed a positive climate on the
Greek economy in international markets with economic forecasts far more
optimistic than those of the Greek government.
In its report on the Greek economy, Morgan Stanley estimates that inflation
could drop to 2.0 percent from May 1999, a prediction exceeding the Bank of
Greece's target for an inflation rate of 2.0 percent by the end of
The bank also expects a rapid de-escalation of short-term interest rates in
the domestic money market, with three-month lending rates at or below 11.0
percent from 12.7 percent currently in the Greek interbank market.
Foreign analysts also expect a drop in Bank of Greece's intervention rate
by two percentage points from its current level of 13 percent.
Greek stocks return to record territory
Greek equities broke into new record territory on the Athens Stock Exchange
resuming their upward trend following Friday's small correction.
The general price index ended 0.70 percent higher at 2,685.65 points, while
turnover totalled 70.7 billion drachmas.
Analysts expect the market to break the 2,700 level in the next few
Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 0.95 percent, Leasing plunged 5.18
percent, Insurance increased 1.35 percent, Investment fell 2.46 percent,
Industrials ended 1.36 percent up, Construction eased 0.60 percent, Holding
rose 0.42 percent and Miscellaneous ended 1.02 percent higher.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.45 percent off.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index rose 0.16 percent to 1,632.59.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 127 to 116 with another 11 issues
National Bank of Greece ended at 47,700 drachmas, Ergobank at 32,895, Alpha
Credit Bank at 28,620, Ionian Bank at 19,310, Delta Dairy at 3,810, Titan
Cement at 23,000, Intracom at 12,900, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,715 and
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,900.
Greek businessmen urged to combat inflation
Greece's National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou
yesterday urged Greek businessmen and citizens to pull together to contain
Keeping inflation down is a "crucial issue, that must be everyone's
knowledge and duty," he said.
Speaking to reporters following a meeting with Bank of Greece governor
Lucas Papademos and Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis, Mr.
Papantoniou expressed his satisfaction over economic progress.
Commenting on monetary policy, he forecast that interest rates would follow
the course of inflation. Mr. Papantoniou also urged businessmen to follow
the example set by bankers and fo rge alliances and larger groups.
State security rates fall again
Greek bond yields fell further during a finance ministry auction of three-
and six-month state bills on Monday.
Three-month interest rates fell to 11.5 percent from 11.8 percent, while
six-month rates dropped to 11.7 percent from 11.9 percent.
Italy-Greece electricity network link
Italy and Greece will link their electricity networks through an underwater
cable to supply Greece with Italian power.
ABB, a Swedish/Swiss engineering company, has signed a 100 million US
dollar contract with Italy to build two high voltage power stations.
The two stations, of 500 Megawatts each, will transform electrical power to
current before it is transferred through the underwater cable to Greece.
Operation is scheduled by the end of 2000.
The cable will extend from Galatina in notheastern Italy through the
Adriatic Sea to Arahthos in Greece. The Greek-Italian power link is the
first energy programme to be implemented in the framework of a European
Union trans-European network programme , aimed at developing cross-border
infrastructure systems in the single European market.
The project is funded by the European Commission and the European
G. Papandreou on Vienna's intent for EU enlargement
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said Greece fully supports the
Austrian EU presidency's intention of starting substantive negotiations
with six candidate countries (five eastern European ones and Cyprus) in
Speaking at the EU's General Affairs Council here yesterday, Mr. Papandreou
said the Council must focus its attention on the timely preparation, until
the Vienna summit, on a progress report which the Commission must table
during the course of the acces sion process.
Referring to the issue of the cost of enlargement, Mr. Papandreou said that
he agrees with his British counterpart that the cost of enlargement "must
not daunt the 15" but added that this means that "the political will exists
for the necessary funds to be found for enlargement to be carried out
The Greek minister added that the international community has not shown the
necessary will to stop increasing the Turkish military presence in occupied
During the morning session, Swedish Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm-Wallen
expressed concern over the installation of the S-300 missiles in Cyprus.
She said their planned deployment creates concern over the developments and
reactions which will follow, stressing that this deployment creates
additional tensions in the region.
Mr. Papandreou also said that the Greek side has proposed the creation of a
"no fly zone" over Cyprus which, as he said, would "directly resolve the
issue raised with the S-300s", reminding that Turkey has also rejected this
Gov't reaction to reports of joint Turkish-Israeli air exercise
The government said yesterday that if press reports regarding a specific
Turkish-Israeli military exercise were correct, both countries would be
offering poor services to the cause of peace and security in the southeastern
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas was commenting on Turkish press
reports regarding an exercise involving Turkish warplanes at an Israeli
base, the scenario for which is allegedly air strikes against targets in
Cyprus if Nicosia proceed with plans to install Russian-made S-300 anti-
aircraft missiles on the island.
The Turkish daily "Hurriyet" wrote that six F-16 Turkish fighters conducted
exercises at an Israeli training centre and practised maneuvers to destroy
the Russian-made S-300 missiles.
The Israeli embassy in Athens later categorically denied the content of the
articles published yesterday by the Turkish newspapers "Hurriyet" and
"Milliyet", saying they had no basis in reality.
Tsohatzopoulos interview with 'Defence News'
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told a US-based magazine last
week that Greece will not further increase defence expenditures, following
the conclusion of the current arms procurement programme in 2002.
The Greek minister, in an interview with the "Defence News" magazine, said
Greece cannot increase expeditures since they are the highest, per capita,
in the region.
He added that the government will focus on the economic development of the
country and an increase of GNP.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, referring to the S-300s, noted that he supports the
idea of a "no-flight zone" over the Republic of Cyprus.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos gave the interview during his official visit at the
United States, where he toured defence industry installations.
Kranidiotis in Far East
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis today begins a tour of countries
in Central Asia and the Far East, aimed at securing support to Athens'
application for a non-permanent membership on the UN Security Council
during the 1999-2000 session.
Japan and China are included in Mr. Kranidiotis' tour.
Voting for the election of non-permanent members of the Security Council
will take place at the UN General Assembly in September.
Two bombs explode at Athens court complex
Two explosive devices went off at the Athens court complex off Evelpidon
street at around 7 p.m. and shortly before 8 p.m. yesterday, causing
damages but no injuries, authorities said.
An unidentified caller had earlier phoned the "Athinaiki" daily and the
private television station "Star" to warn of the first but not the second
blast. The caller did not claim responsibility on behalf of any group,
However, a later caller to an afternoon newspaper said the shadowy group
"Liberation Army" was behind the bombings.
Meanwhile, police are checking for more bombs, fearing other blasts may
According to a police commander, officials are not ruling out the
possibility that the explosions are connected to the shots fired at the
office of prosecutor Georgios Gerakis, who is conducting an investigation
into alleged police corruption.
Police believe that the second blast was a setup, aimed at injuring or
killing police officers, but luckily no officers were in that building at
the time of the blast.
Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos, who arrived on the scene a short
time later, strongly condemned the attack.
Shipowner shot, competitor arrested
A local shipowner, injured by unidentified gunmen late Sunday night, was
recovering at a hospital and reported out of danger after undergoing
surgery, doctors said.
Doctors at Tzanneio Hospital told ANA that Costas Agapitos was "out of
danger after lengthy surgery that lasted into the early morning hours",
during which "two bullets were removed from his legs and another from his
The 40-year-old shipowner was shot by two men riding a motorcycle as he
drove his car in Piraeus.
Mr. Agapitos, whose family owns the Agapitos Lines passenger ferries, was
able to identify the assailants and believed the attack to be the work of
Shipowner Vangelis Ventouris, 39, was later arrested at his Piraeus office
after the victim named him as his attacker.
According to sources, the suspect - who lost most of his vessels about two
years ago because of unpaid debts - told police he had nothing to do with
the murder attempt.
Virgin offers Greek holiday packages for Britons
While he may not have been successful in building a hotel at the island of
Hydra, Virgin's Richard Branson is touting Greece as an ideal vacation spot
for the British by promoting a series of attractive holiday packages,
according to the Macedonian Press Agency.
The program, called Virgin Sun Holidays, is to be available as of May 1,
1999 and will offer holidays on the islands of Crete, Corfu and Rhodes.
Only 3% of Greek firms ready for EMU
Only three percent of Greek businesses appear to be ready to accept the
challenge of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and only six percent fully
aware of the changes that are to take place at a European level when the
EMU becomes a reality, the Macedonian Press Agency reported on Monday.
According to figures provided by the European Federation of Accountants,
other European Union businesses are well ahead of Greek firms in the game,
as one-third of them report that they are ready for the changes EMU will
Balkan Airlines inaugural flight from Sofia to Thessaloniki
Bulgaria's transport undersecretary was among the first passengers on an
inaugural Balkan Airlines flight from Sofia to Thessaloniki yesterday.
Balkan Airlines will operate the schedule three times a week, flying a 40-
seater Antonov planes.
Bulgarian official Apic Garabedian said the new route will contribute to a
further boosting economic relations between the two states, while the
Antonov planes may be replaced by Boeing aircraft later if traffic
Sunny weather with rising temperatures reaching 37 degrees Celcius on the
mainland and up to 34C on the islands are forecast for today. Athens, sunny
and hot with temperatures will between 21-38C. Same in Thessaloniki with
temperatures from 19-36C.
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 298.136
British pound 487.846 Japanese yen (100) 209.381
French franc 49.162 German mark 164.677
Italian lira (100) 16.711 Irish Punt 414.656
Belgian franc 7.990 Finnish mark 54.201
Dutch guilder 146.171 Danish kr. 43.249
Austrian sch. 23.420 Spanish peseta 1.942
Swedish kr. 36.968 Norwegian kr. 38.698
Swiss franc 194.715 Port. Escudo 1.611
Aus. dollar 182.181 Can. dollar 201.674
Cyprus pound 562.464