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

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, 09/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece opposed to formation of alliances in the region
  • Tsohatzopoulos, Papandreou slam Turkish-Israeli cooperation
  • National Mortgage Bank chief to head Greek state telecom
  • Greek stocks jump in thin trade lifted by markets abroad
  • Bonds auction of 10-year duration
  • Pangalos calls on Turkey to respect European values
  • Greece, Iran, Armenia sign new memorandum of understanding
  • Papandreou, Burns discuss prospects of US investments in Greece
  • Greece, Bulgaria, Romania sign protocol to fight cross-border crime
  • Greece ratifies CoE protocol abolishing capital punishment
  • Greece, Albania sign cooperation protocol
  • Commandos to travel to Cyprus on mission of solidarity
  • Couple charged with child abuse
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece opposed to formation of alliances in the region

Greece yesterday reiterated that it was opposed to the formation of alliances and axes in the region and called for multilateral cooperation.

Referring to Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's official visit to Israel, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Athens welcomed assurances from Tel Aviv and Ankara that their bilateral cooperation was not directed at any third party.

But Mr. Reppas said that "Greece maintains its reservations until this is proved in practice". Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai denied a report on Monday that visiting Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was seeking Israeli support if hostilities erupted with Greece over the stationing of missiles in Cyprus.

Mr. Reppas said that the dangers of a destabilisation in the eastern Mediterranean region were real as long as the present situation of division and occupation remains on the island of Cyprus. He was responding to statements in Israel by Mr. Yilmaz that the deployment of Russian S-300 missiles by Nicosia on the island could bring about wider regional destabilisation.

"It is the right and duty of the Cypriot government to defend Cyprus," Mr. Reppas said.

He added that violations of Athens airspace yesterday by Turkish warplanes was "the sort of activity which indicates that Turkey does not want to contribute to defusing the situation but in fact provokes and attacks."

Tsohatzopoulos, Papandreou slam Turkish-Israeli cooperation

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday that the Turkish-Israeli cooperation in the form of an axis provoked reactions from all other countries of the region.

The creation of the axis "is confirmed from the moment Turkey uses high Israeli technology to support its own unilateral claims against many nations in the region. This creates a problem, is a source of instability provoking a crisis and dangers for the region." Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said that the Turkish-Israeli cooperation should cause concern not only for the Israelis but for the international community since Turkey exploits the cooperation to promote its own ends in an unacceptable manner.

National Mortgage Bank chief to head Greek state telecom

The governor of state National Mortgage Bank of Greece, Vassilis Rapanos, is expected to become the new chairman of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

Mr. Rapanos, an associate professor at Athens Economics University, told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday that he had accepted the appointment. His predecessor, Dimitris Papoulias, has resigned.

Greek stocks jump in thin trade lifted by markets abroad

Greek equities ended sharply higher on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday reflecting an improved performance in international markets, but trade was thin. Traders said buying was focused on industrial blue chips, and that foreign institutional investors were seen returning into the market.

The general index ended 2.51 percent higher at 2,180.35 points in turnover of 30.5 billion drachmas.

Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 1.88 percent, Insurance soared 3.89 pct, Investment was 1.57 pct higher, Leasing increased 2.78 pct, Industrials jumped 3.78 pct, Construction rose 0.50 pct, Miscellaneous ended 2.12 pct up and Holding rose 2.16 p ct.

The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 2.12 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue-chip index ended 2.20 percent higher at 1,327.87.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 163 to 64 with another 21 issues unchanged.

Aspis Bank, which made its trading debut, leapt 99 percent. The eight percent volatility limit does not apply to new listings.

Papoutsanis, Bank of Athens, Hellenic Bottling, Aspis Invest, Keranis, Elmec Sport, Etma and Strintzis Lines scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

National Bank of Greece ended at 41,200 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,100, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,200, Ionian Bank at 10,500, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,850, Delta Dairy at 3,325, Intracom at 10,785, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,710 and Titan Cement at 19,000.

In the domestic foreign exchange market, the drachma was firmer against key foreign currencies, especially against the DMark and Ecu.

Bonds auction of 10-year duration

The Finance Ministry successfully carried out a bonds auction of a 10-year duration with the re-opening of the March 26, 1998 issue having a stable interest rate and amounting to 100 billion drachmas.

Strong interest was shown from abroad which covered the amount issued 3.6 times, since bids amounting to 364.8 billion drachmas were submitted and of which bids totalling 115.3 billion drachmas were accepted.

The average interest rate for the issue reached 8.26 per cent, while the average price for the bonds was 102.05, showing an upward trend.

Pangalos calls on Turkey to respect European values

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday accused Turkey of being interested only in the economic aspect of its relations with the European Union and called on it to respect European values.

"Turkey claims that it is a European nation, it wants to enter the European Union, but is interested only in the economic and funding aspects," Mr. Pangalos said during a joint press conference with Iranian and Armenian Foreign Ministers Kamal Kharrazi and Vartan Oskanian.

He said that anyone who was "interested joining such families as that of the EU must learn to respect the values and responsibilities, which all the European countries have".

Any such nation must respect human rights as well as the rights of minorities and to apply the rules of International Law, he added.

Mr. Pangalos reiterated that Greece supports the immediate resumption of talks for the resolution of the Cyprus problem and the application of all relevant United Nations decisions and resolutions.

He added that "Turkey refuses dialogue and refuses to apply the resolutions of the UN, aspiring to keep the island divided and to retain its military presence there."

Referring to Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Pangalos said that "when one creates a problem, one must show the way to its solution" while he stressed that Turkey has a "package" of territorial claims against Greece.

Mr. Pangalos said that Turkish President Suleyman Demirel "recently claimed that Turkey inherited from the Ottoman Empire all islands, islets and rock- islets which it had under its sovereignty and were not named in treaties."

Greece, Iran, Armenia sign new memorandum of understanding

The second meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Iran and Armenia - Theodoros Pangalos, Kamal Kharrazi and Vartan Oskanian respectively - came to a close in Tehran yesterday with the signing of a new memorandum of unders tanding which constitutes a continuation of the one signed during the first tripartite ministerial meeting in Athens on December 22, 1997.

Addressing a joint press conference afterwards, the three foreign ministers expressed satisfaction over progress achieved in all sectors of tripartite cooperation and over considerable work achieved by the four committees created after the first ministerial meeting in Athens and which are the communications, tourist cooperation, industry and technology and economy and energy committees.

The foreign ministers of Greece, Iran and Armenia agreed yesterday to extend their cooperation to other sectors and to create one more committee to preoccupy itself with environmental protection, health and the handling of industrial accidents and natur al disasters with the cooperation of corresponding national organisations from each country.

Issues discussed included relations between Iran and Afghanistan (following the abduction of Iranian diplomats and a journalist from the Iranian consulate in Kabul), military cooperation between Israel and Turkey, the situation in Bosnia, the Kosovo crisis and combatting terrorism.

All three foreign ministers expressed strong reservations over military cooperation between Israel and Turkey. Mr. Kharrazi, who will meet Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem in Tehran on Saturday, said that the main topic in talks concerns the worsening of relations with Afghanistan and the effort to locate and free the Iranians who have been abducted by the Taleban.

"This does not mean that we do not have serious differences with Turkey," Mr. Kharrazi said, referring in particular to military cooperation between Israel and Turkey.

Papandreou, Burns discuss prospects of US investments in Greece

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns discussed relations between Greece and the US, the situation in the Balkans and the investment climate prevailing in Greece at the Foreign Ministry yesterday.

Mr. Papandreou said afterwards that he and Mr. Burns discussed issues concerning the prospects of American investments in Greece and the wider Balkan region, as well as joint investments in this region by Greece and the US. They also discussed issues regarding the Thessaloniki International Fair.

On his part, Mr. Burns said that he briefed Mr. Papandreou on the participation of American companies in the TIF.

Mr. Burns said that "for a long time American companies abstained (from investments in Greece), but the Greek economy is being enlarged, restructured and modernised and therefore it is a very good place for Americans to invest."

Greece, Bulgaria, Romania sign protocol to fight cross-border crime

A protocol of close cooperation in the fight against cross-border crime in the region of the Balkans was signed yesterday by the public order minister of Greece, George Romeos, and the interior ministers of Bulgaria, Bogmil Bonev and of Romania, Gavril Dezeu.

"The citizens of all the countries regard security as an ultimate good. It is our obligation to provide it to them", Mr. Romeos said during a press conference after the signing.

Expressing his satisfaction at the signing of the cooperation protocol, the Greek minister said that the course to be followed from now on will prove the three governments will to fight organised crime.

The protocol envisages the implementation of a system and exchange of information to prevent and investigate into different forms of organised crime, terrorism, as well as production and trafficking of illicit drugs, an announcement of the Bulgarian interior ministry said.

It added that the protocol also provided for cooperation between the three countries in the fight against arms smuggling, money laundering and illegal financial operations and theft of cultural property.

Greece ratifies CoE protocol abolishing capital punishment

Greece ratified yesterday a protocol of the Council of Europe (CoE) Treaty on Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, which abolishes capital punishment.

The protocol, to become effective on Oct. 1, means the formalisation of what has been approved of long ago. The abolition of the death penalty had been ratified by the Greek parliament in 1993 and the last execution in Greece took place in 1973.

Greece, Albania sign cooperation protocol

Greece and Albania yesterday signed a protocol of cooperation aimed at providing Greek support to Albania in its efforts to join European and Atlantic organisations. The protocol, the first ever concluded by the Albanian government with a European Union country, was signed in Athens by Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Albanian counterpart, Ilir Meta.

Mr. Meta told reporters later that the situation in Kosovo had been on the agenda of his talks with Mr. Papandreou.

"Our thoughts are that there must be greater activity from the international community for a political and peaceful resolution in the region," he said.

Regional cooperation has great significance for progress, Mr. Papandreou said, adding that Greece and Albania were working closely in the framework of this cooperation for regional stability.

Commandos to travel to Cyprus on mission of solidarity

Eight rubber dinghies carrying 40 reserves commandos will travel to Cyprus for the second consecutive year, crossing the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean, on a mission of solidarity to the people of Cyprus. The message they will convey is that "Cyprus is near and freedom is not negotiable."

The mission, called "Kimon '98" leaves the Floisvos area at 1 p.m. tomorrow after a ceremony is held for the delivery of the sacred flame from the Marathon Memorial to be taken to Cyprus.

They will pass from rocky islets and the islands of Naxos, Rhodes, Castellorizo and Samos before arriving in Cyprus.

The whole undertaking will be under the aegis of the Municipality of Athens and has the support of the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrisostomos and the defence ministries of Greece and Cyprus.

Couple charged with child abuse

A Greek couple were charged with child abuse and illegal detention yesterday after police found their three children living in "horrific conditions".

Alerted by neighbours, police raided what they described as "a shack" in the Athens suburb of Petroupolis.

They found two boys, aged 16 and 14, and a girl, aged 10, weak from hunger, unwashed and bearing signs of physical abuse. They were immediately transferred to the Children's Hospital for treatment.

Police said the three children had been forced to lie on their beds for extremely long periods of time, even when they needed to relieve themselves.

The children were virtual prisoners in the shack, police said, with padlocks having been placed on windows and doors.

The children's parents, Panayiotis Yiannakoudis, 41, and his wife Christina, 36, were unable to adequately explain their actions when they were brought before the prosecutor.

Sources said the couple who suffer from severe mental problems will face court on Friday, after they asked for and received three days to prepare their defence.

WEATHER

Scattered clouds in western, northern and central Greece, turning to rain or storms. Otherwise, fair weather will prevail in most parts of the country with a small drop in temperatures. Athens partly cloudy with possible rain in the afternoon and temperatures between 20-31C. Thick cloud in Thessaloniki with possible rain in the evening and temperatures from 19- 28C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 294.0490 British pound 487.489 Japanese yen (100) 221.295 French franc 50.687 German mark 169.930 Italian lira (100) 17.211 Irish Punt 425.548 Belgian franc 8.240 Finnish mark 55.927 Dutch guilder 150.591 Danish kr. 44.608 Austrian sch. 24.154 Spanish peseta 2.003 Swedish kr. 36.766 Norwegian kr. 37.962 Swiss franc 207.764 Port. Escudo 1.660 Aus. dollar 173.997 Can. dollar 192.547 Cyprus pound 573.951

(C.E.)


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