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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-11

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, 11/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece says it is time to bring Yugoslavia back into the fold
  • Greece to issue convertible bonds on Sept. 22
  • Greek stocks creep down in thin, edgy trade
  • Results positive in organic grape project, researcher says
  • Greece-Japan commercial transactions
  • Greek ready-made clothes promoted in Germany
  • Simitis holds talks with Cypriot EDEK party leader
  • Pangalos meets with US envoy for Cyprus
  • Finnish president begins four-day visit to Athens on Monday
  • Tsohatzopoulos announces new conscription system
  • Draft law on national land register tabled in parliament
  • Study shows Greeks least satisfied with their public health system
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece says it is time to bring Yugoslavia back into the fold

Greece yesterday said it was time to bring Yugoslavia back into the fold and criticised sanctions against Belgrade over its stance on the troubled province of Kosovo as not working.

"Yugoslavia has to be included in international life and a policy of sanctions is not effective," Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told reporters after meeting with his Yugoslav counterpart Zivadin Jovanovic in Athens.

Belgrade's recent positions on the Kosovo issue are heading in the right direction, Mr. Pangalos said. "We are ready to help as much as we can to find a peaceful solution to this difficult problem in the context of the existing borders of Yugoslavi a and with the simultaneous safeguarding of human rights and freedoms for all the population of Kosovo," the Greek minister said. Mr. Jovanovic said Yugoslavia was determined to find a peaceful resolution to the problem, to safeguard the rights of all the residents of Kosovo, regardless of religion or ethnicity, and to have full respect for international and European standards of human rights for ethnic minorities.

Mr. Jovanovic called the ethnic Albanian separatist "Kosovo Liberation Army" a "terrorist organisation which should be included on the list of similar organisations". He accused the KLA of kidnapping, torture, bomb attacks on cars and other targets and said he was convinced that the Albanian-speaking populatgion of Kosovo were becoming more sceptical of the KLA.

Turning to bilateral relations, Mr. Jovanovic and Mr. Pangalos agreed that there were strong ties between the two countries.

Economic ties between Greece and Yugoslavia were growing rapidly, with trade rising 26 percent this year, Mr. Pangalos said.

Greece is Yugoslavia's fifth largest trade partner and biggest foreign investor, he said.

Greece to issue convertible bonds on Sept. 22

The government will issue new tax-free equity convertible bonds in the domestic market on September 22 aimed at drawing retail and institutional investors into its privatisation drive.

Issue of the new bonds, named Prometoha, is aimed at spurring the government's wide-ranging privatisation scheme, which it has promised the European Union in order to gain entry into economic and monetary union by 2001.

The bonds are a new investment product that reproduce the low-risk status of government securities, at the same time offering optional conversion into the shares of any state firms joining the Athens Stock Exchange from January 1, 1999, the finance mini stry said yesterday.

The new bonds will offer high yields due to a fixed, competitive interest rate. They are tax-free whether they are converted into equity at any point after January 1, 1999, or held until expiry and then encashed, the ministry said in a statement.

The minimum investment is 100,000 drachmas, and the bonds, issued in electronic form, are negotiable. Registration is by book entry.

The paper allows an immediate preferential option on any stock of firms privatised through the bourse.

Greek stocks creep down in thin, edgy trade

Greek equities ended slightly lower in nervous trade on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday.

Traders said investors stayed on the sidelines due to lingering uncertainty over the fallout in international markets of a crisis in Russia coupled with doubts that the government could successfully carry out its privatisation programme.

The general index ended 0.17 percent lower at 2,210.36 in low turnover of 36.5 billion drachmas.

Sector indices mostly lost ground.

Banks fell 0.45 percent, Insurance eased 1.29 percent, Investment was 0.28 percent off, Leasing plunged 3.76 percent, Construction dropped 1.08 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.54 percent lower, and Holding fell 1.63 percent, but Industrials bucked the tr end to end 0.90 percent up.

The parallel market index for small cap companies jumped 1.89 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 20 index eased 0.38 percent to 1,342.90 points.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 131 to 104 with another 22 issues unchanged.

Macedonian Mills, Eltrak, Mosholios Chemicals, Boutaris, Singular and Remek scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

National Bank of Greece ended at 41,010 drachmas, Ergobank at 24,675, Alpha Credit Bank at 24,190, Ionian Bank at 10,700, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,850, Delta Dairy at 3,260, Intracom at 11,200, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,680 and Titan Cement at 18,850.

Results positive in organic grape project, researcher says

Results in a pilot programme for the organic production of grapes on the island of Crete are positive, Agricultural Science Professor Nikos Roditakis, the head of the project, told the Athens News Agency yesterday.

The project, which was financed by the European Union's Interreg II programme, was based on a pilot application for grapes used to produce wine and raisins.

The application aims to combat vine-moths (Lobesia botrana) with biological means through bacillus thuiniensis soil dusting before sowing.

The project was carried out on 43 stremmas of "soultanina" variety raisins and 47 stremmas of wine-grapes with the distribution of 1,000 kilos of bacillus to 24 wine grape and raisin producers in 13 villages throughout the prefecture of Iraklion, Crete in all crop seasons.

Agricultural guidelines were adhered to in the programme, which was directed by scientists.

An evaluation of results on completion of the cultivating season showed that soil-dusting with bacillus before sowing produced equal or better results than the use of chemicals to combat vine-moths.

The producers who participated in the programme said that they would continue with the bacillus method.

Greece-Japan commercial transactions

Greece's economic and commercial transactions with Japan have left a deficit for Greece since the value of Japanese products imported into Greece in 1996 amounted to about 712 million ECU, while Greece's exports were valued at 65 million ECU.

This was announced by the Japanese Overseas Trade Organisation which is participating in the 63rd Thessaloniki International Fair.

The purpose of the participation is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the conclusion of a friendship, commerce and shipping agreement between Greece and Japan in 1898.

The Japanese market is showing particular interest in such Greek products as wine and olive oil, as well as in products having high added value such as health food.

Greek ready-made clothes promoted in Germany

The Greek Overseas Trade Organisation (OPE) carried out a big advertising campaign in Germany during the June-August 1998 period this year in the framework of promoting readymade clothes in the German market.

OPE successfully organised and carried out Greek participation in the international readymade clothes exhibition CPD in Duesseldorf.

The exhibition is considered the most important of its kind in Europe with 47,000 commercial visitors from all over the world and was held between September 2-5.

Simitis holds talks with Cypriot EDEK party leader

Vassos Lyssarides, leader of the Greek Cypriot socialist EDEK party, proposed a review of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the continuing occupation of Cyprus by occupation forces as well as secrecy over the arming of Cyprus.

Mr. Lyssarides, who was speaking after holding talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis at the Maximos Mansion yesterday, said that "the Cyprus issue is an issue of invasion and occupation and not missiles", adding that any other consideration of the is sue helps Turkey and those desiring a perpetuation of the present situation.

On the question of the deployment of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles in Cyprus, Mr. Lyssarides said that "logic says that the less is said so much the better.

The missiles should have been in Cyprus and nobody should have known about them. We must not speak about details of defence preparations."

Pangalos meets with US envoy for Cyprus

Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday received U.S. State Department special coordinator for the Cyprus problem Thomas Miller.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis and U.S. ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns were present at the meeting.

No statements were made afterwards.

Finnish president begins four-day visit to Athens on Monday

The President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari will start a four-day visit to Athens on Monday and will be received by President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

The Finnish president will be accompanied by a 13-member mission of representatives of companies producing paper, timber and high technology, including NOKIA.

In a statement to the Athens News Agency (ANA), President Ahtisaari said that the economies of the two countries are supplementary, which provides opportunities for further differentiation as well as an increase in their commercial exchanges.

He said that Finland is interested in promoting high technology and know- how products in shipbuilding in the Greek market. He added that Greece is the most popular summer travel destination for the Finns.

The visit by the president of Finland coincides with the economic and political crisis in Russia, which provides Greece with the opportunity of having full information on the issue and in particular on the repercussions of the crisis in the region of northeastern Europe and the Baltic since Finland, due to its position, has a clearer picture of developments in Russian society.

Finland is also showing great interest over developments in the Balkans and Cyprus. Replying to a question by the ANA, President Ahtisaari termed relations between Greece and Finland and being good and without problems, although they are somewh at distant due to their geographical position at the two ends of Europe.

President Ahtisaari's stay in Greece will be concluded on September 17 with a visit to Crete from where he will be returning home.

Tsohatzopoulos announces new conscription system

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos announced a new system of appointments and transfers for soldiers yesterday due to take effect from the next conscription class and by which every conscript will be obliged to spend nine months of his military service in the Evros border region or on border islands. He will then be transferred to a unit having a distance of 300 km at the most from the place of his choice.

To offset the increase in border service for conscripts, the new regulation establishes an obligatory leave of absence of a small duration every two months (in addition to normal leave), as well as free tickets on all means of transport for all soldiers . Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that the principle of six-month service in border areas in effect to date "was vindicated because there was social acceptance and because it was observed to a great degree."

The new measure was considered necessary due to the demographic problem faced by the country and for the planning of a flexible and effective military requiring an increased presence of troops on the borders with Turkey.

Draft law on national land register tabled in parliament

A draft law on the national land register was tabled in Parliament by the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry yesterday, anticipating the gradual abolition of mortgage registers and their replacement by land register offices.

The draft law also defines that the final registration of real estate in a land register will take place five years after the initial statement has been made, while real estate not registered will be considered as being of unknown ownership and will come under the ownership of the state.

A report accompanying the draft bill said that main legislation is being supplemented for the modernisation of the publicity system for all real estate in the country.

The land register has also created 2,400 new jobs all over the country for a period of about 2.5 years.

Study shows Greeks least satisfied with their public health system

A London School of Economics European wide study has shown that Greeks are the least satisfied with their public health system, since only 15.5 per cent of them stated they are content with the existing system.

According to the study, Denmark's health system is the most successful according to the citizens of that country, with a 90.6 per cent of them stating their satisfaction in the system.

These as well as other findings were discussed yesterday during a conference on "The priorities in health policy," taking place in Athens.

The study revealed that the percentage of satisfaction rose in direct proportion to the funds allocated for health services.

WEATHER

Good weather with scattered clouds in most parts of the country today with increased cloudiness in the eastern and northern regions. Athens partly cloudy with temperatures between 20-29C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 19-26C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 290.170 British pound 484.751 Japanese yen (100) 214.728 French franc 50.749 German mark 170.103 Italian lira (100) 17.229 Irish Punt 426.163 Belgian franc 8.248 Finnish mark 55.919 Dutch guilder 150.734 Danish kr. 44.648 Austrian sch. 24.183 Spanish peseta 2.005 Swedish kr. 36.466 Norwegian kr. 37.875 Swiss franc 207.194 Port. Escudo 1.661 Aus. dollar 170.279 Can. dollar 192.486 Cyprus pound 573.594

(C.E.)


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