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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-09-01

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, 01/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece sets out objections to Cyprus confederation idea
  • Woman being interrogated for alleged espionage
  • Financial crisis will not derail Greek economy
  • Greece still on track for EMU - gov't
  • Wall Street plunge reverberates in Athens
  • FM: Greece ready to support Russia
  • Airport security, upgrades a priority
  • Greek, French premiers speak on `Democratic Socialism`
  • Tsohatzopoulos begins visit to Tunisia
  • Finnish president to pay official visit
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece sets out objections to Cyprus confederation idea

Greece on Tuesday set out its objections to a Turkish and Turkish Cypriot proposal for a confederation of two states on Cyprus, saying the idea was an indication that the Turkish side continued to insist on "extreme positions". "I don't believe this sort of action aids Turkey in joining international legality. Turkey is continuing along its lonely road," Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told reporters after briefing President Costis Stephanopoulos on foreign policy issues. Greece on Monday joined Cyprus in rejecting the idea of a confederation, proposed at a joint press conference by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash immediately after their talks in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia.

Woman being interrogated for alleged espionage

The government today confirmed a report in Athens daily Avriani that Greek authorities had arrested and were investigating a woman for espionage on the island of Lesvos. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the competent authorities were examining the issue and that he had nothing further to announce. Avriani said the Greek woman from the mainland Greek town of Agrinio had been arrested on holiday on Lesvos for filming military bases and installations on the island.

Financial crisis will not derail Greek economy

The Greek economy is still on course for economic and monetary union and the economic targets set by the government will be met, National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou said today, following an extensive meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Papantoniou said "there is nothing to indicate that Greece will not be a member of EMU on January 1, 2001" and that although the international financial crisis appeared to be set to continue, there were clear indications that the situation was under control.

Greece still on track for EMU - gov't

The government said today that there was no issue of changing the timeframe for Greece's inclusion in economic and monetary union (EMU) and reiterated its commitment to making EMU by 2001. Speaking to reporters during his regular press briefing, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the government was concerned over high interest rates as a result of the crisis, which could have an adverse effect on the course of inflation. "We believe, however, that we will achieve our goals in the time that has been allocated and there is no cause for concern at the present time," Reppas said. The government will continue to implement its policies, he added.

Wall Street plunge reverberates in Athens

Wall Street's second biggest plunge in history on Monday hit all western markets including the Athens Stock Exchange. Greek equities ended 3.81 percent lower at 2,092.61 points, sharply off the day's lows of 2,010. Trading was heavy with turnover at 58.1 billion drachmas. Sector indices lost substantial ground. Banks fell 3.99 percent, Insurance dropped 4.93 percent, Investment was 4.52 percent off, Leasing plunged 7.48 percent, Industrials were 3.28 percent lower, Construction fell 4.75 percent, Miscellaneous eased 4.29 percent and Holding dropped 5.50 percent. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 4.53 percent lower.

FM: Greece ready to support Russia

Greece is prepared to participate in any procedure to help Russia out of its financial crisis, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said today, citing traditional ties of friendship between Athens and Moscow. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with President Costis Stephanopoulos on foreign policy, Pangalos said there was concern in all European capitals over the crisis. "If the West does not help Russia, the consequences will be unpropitious and all will be forced to pay the cost," Pangalos said in reference to Tuesday's meeting between the U.S. president and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Airport security, upgrades a priority

Greece is determined to improve the standard of service, security and facilities at its airports, Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis said today, at a conference on airport security organised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO. Greece has allocated some 1.5 billion dollars to modernise airports over the next three years and the new Athens international airport at Spata - due to go into operation on March 1, 2001 - as well as another four airports servicing international flights will be supplied with state-of-the art security systems, Mandelis said.

Greek, French premiers speak on 'Democratic Socialism'

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his visiting French counterpart Lionel Jospin last night agreed that Europe is, historically and ideologically, the privileged action-field for socialists and the first changes which will lead to reforms necessary for the transformation of societies in the economic, political and cultural fields are taking place within Europe. The two premiers were addressing a one-day event in Athens organised by the ruling PASOK party on "Democratic Socialism: Prospects for the Left and the Role of the 'Society of Citizens' in the Europe of 2000".

Tsohatzopoulos begins visit to Tunisia

Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos begins a three-day visit to Tunisia today, at the invitation of his Tunisian counterpart Ben Yahia. The two men will discuss bilateral relations and the security conditions in the region and will sign an agreement on military cooperation between the two countries. The Greek defence minister will meet with Tunisian President Ben Ah, Parliament President Foued M'Bazaa, the ruling RCD party's secretary general Abdelaziz Ben Dhia and Foreign Undersecretary Sadoc Fayala.

Finnish president to pay official visit

Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari will pay an official visit to Greece from Sep. 14 to 17, an announcement said here yesterday. It will be the Finnish president's first visit to Athens, taking place in return of a visit to Finland by President Kostis Stephanopoulos in Nov. 1996. Apart from issues of a bilateral nature, discussions are expected to focus on recent developments in Russia, the situation in Kosovo and the Balkans and issues relating to the European Union in view of Finland taking up the union's rotating presidency in the second half of 1999.

WEATHER

Fine weather throughout the country today with cloud increasing in central and northern Greece and possible occasional rainfall in the north. Athens will be warm and humid with temperatures between 21-31C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 22-29C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 304.078 British pound 504.234 Japanese yen (100) 212.685 French franc 50.963 German mark 170.822 Italian lira (100) 17.289 Irish Punt 427.969 Belgian franc 8.284 Finnish mark 56.177 Dutch guilder 151.399 Danish kr. 44.878 Austrian sch. 24.284 Spanish peseta 2.012 Swedish kr. 37.240 Norwegian kr. 38.263 Swiss franc 207.531 Port. Escudo 1.668 Aus. dollar 172.112 Can. dollar 194.908 Cyprus pound 577.344

(M.P.)


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