Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-09-13
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 13/09/1998 (ANA)
- Greece takes delivery of US missiles
- PM rallies party ahead of local elections
- Greece may see public expenditure cutbacks in 1999 budget
- Briton accidentally stabbed to death in Porto Heli bar
- Int'l peace conference begins in Athens
- Greece's policy in the Balkans discussed at Cabinet meeting
- Simitis meets with Shimon Perez
- FYROM defence minister on military cooperation with Greece
- Ecumenical Patriarchate-Church of Greece talks in Athens end
- Albanian prime minister speaks to ANA
- Greek market defies European declines
- Greek investments steadily rising in the Balkans
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece takes delivery of US missiles
Greece on Sunday took delivery of five ground-to-ground Atacams missiles
from the United States, the first consignment of a 19-billion drachma order
for 40 of the missiles.
The state-of-the-art missiles for use by the army have a range of 165
kilometres and are launched from mobile M270 units. Aim and launch are
carried out electronically.
The all-weather missiles are designed to hit high-priority targets
including administrative and control installations and munitions depots.
The missiles were delivered at the SEDES military airport in the northern
city of Thessaloniki.
A delivery ceremony was attended by National Defence Minister Akis
Tsohatzopoulos and the head of Greek army staff, Lieutenant General
PM rallies party ahead of local elections
Prime Minister Costas Simitis has called on the ruling PASOK party's
leadership, members and friends to rally ahead of prefectural and municipal
elections in October at a meeting of the National Council of PASOK.
The premier said that the upcoming elections were important in terms of
strengthening new institutions in local government.
He added that the elections are would be a place of confrontation for
people who had worked for the establishment of those institutions versus
those who wanted local administration subjugated to the central government.
The prime minister said that PASOK's accomplishments would be judged at
general elections in 2000, and not now.
Greece may see public expenditure cutbacks in 1999 budget
Prime Minister Costas Simitis did not rule out the possibility of certain
special measures being taken concerning public expenditure cutbacks, a move
expected to appear in the 1999 state budget, if the situation of the world
economy continues to remain unstable.
Referring to the guidelines of the new budget during Friday's cabinet
meeting, Mr. Simitis said that the situation on the international scene was
unpredictable and was characterised by great uncertainty in many parts of
the world (Russia, Japan and s outheast Asia).
"There will be turbulence and for this reason we must be particularly
careful," he said.
Mr. Simitis said that such an unfavourable development can lead to
increased state expenditures for interest rates (which will have to remain
relatively high for "defensive" reasons and in this way burdening the
servicing of the public debt).
In this context, he said the possibility exists of taking certain measures
in the expenditures sector, but definitely not in that of revenues.
"In no way will new taxes be imposed," he said.
Briton accidentally stabbed to death in Porto Heli bar
A young British tourist was accidentally stabbed to death on Saturday by an
English girl while dancing at a bar in the seaside resort of Porto Heli in
the Peloponnesus opposite the island of Hydra, police said.
The girl, Natalie Holland, 28, of Stobarnet, was holding a pen-knife with
which she played and joked while dancing with her partner Daniel Raymond
Littlewood, 23, of London. At one point the knife pierced his chest,
fatally injuring him, a police report said.
The woman was arrested and the man's body was sent to Athens for an
Int'l peace conference begins in Athens
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and US Ambassador to Athens
Nicholas Burns both referred to the issue of Cyprus in addresses they made
on Friday during the international conference called the Athens Summit '98
Peace Conference being organise d in Athens for the fourth consecutive
At the opening of the conference, always held at the Pnyx, Mr. Burns
clarified his view that no diplomatic problem is unsolvable and that for
the issue of Cyprus to be resolved leaders in Athens, Ankara and Nicosia
must copy the actions of former South African president F.W. De Clerk and
former Israeli pri me minister Shimon Peres, both of whom were present at
the event, who contributed towards the normalisation of difficult problems
in their countries.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos referred to the regions which, while wanting to, cannot
resolve their problems in a peaceful way such as countries in Africa, Asia,
Cyprus and the Balkans.
He said that crises in these regions will not be resolved with actions by
the international community and supported the creation of cooperation
institutions in the Balkans and the Middle East.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos insisted on the importance of the crucial, as he called
it, meaning of deterrence, adding that 40 per cent of occupied Cyprus
necessitates the defensive shielding of Cyprus and Greece.
The conference will be continued at the Asteras Hotel in Vouliagmeni
Greece's policy in the Balkans discussed at Cabinet meeting
Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday chaired a Cabinet meeting on
Greece's policy in the Balkans.
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told the meeting there had been great
progress over the past two years and that Greece was one of the leading
trading partners for Balkan countries and held a strategic position in the
investment of foreign capital.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said indicators so far showed Greece's
progress in the economic and commercial cooperation field and that efforts
would continue in the same direction.
Northern Greece in particular holds a strong position in becoming a centre
for regional growth, Mr. Pangalos said.
Greece has developed strong ties with the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, becoming the country's second largest trading partner and
leading foreign investor, Mr. Reppas said.
The issue of FYROM's name was "not as tense as in the past", Mr. Reppas
said, adding the hope that UN-sponsored talks on the issue would be
Mr. Pangalos also announced that a total of six new customs posts would
open on the Greek border, three towards Bulgaria and three towards
Simitis meets with Shimon Perez
Prime Minister Costas Simitis held talks on Friday with former Israeli
Prime Minister Shimon Peres, with whom he discussed issues concerning the
peace process in the Middle East, as well as international developments.
FYROM defence minister on military cooperation with Greece
Lazar Kitanovski, Defence Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia (FYROM), said he considers a NATO exercise starting at the
Krivolak army camp on Saturday as constituting solidarity for his country's
policy, as well as support for the role played by FYROM as a factor of
peace in the region. Twenty-five NATO (including Greece) and Partnership
for Peace countries will be participating in the exercise.
In a statement to the Greek media, Mr. Kitanovski spoke of wide cooperation
with Greece in the military sector and securing mutual trust.
Mr. Kitanovski expressed the hope to be able to hold private talks with
Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos in Skopje on September
26, during the meeting of defence ministers from Balkan countries where, as
he believes, a finalised agree ment will be signed for the creation of the
multinational Balkan force, provided that its headquarters is determined at
a meeting of experts taking place in Rome these days.
Ecumenical Patriarchate-Church of Greece talks in Athens end
The talks between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece
concluded in Athens on Friday after reaching landmark decisions for their
The two delegations decided that the director of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's
office in Athens will be appointed by the Patriarch's office, while the
Brussels office of the Church of Greece will be operating autonomously from
These decisions have brought to a close decades-long disagreements between
the mother and daughter churches.
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos is due to visit Greece next year.
Albanian prime minister speaks to ANA
Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano said on Friday that there will be peace
in the Balkans when there will be prosperity in the regions that are hard
hit by conflict today.
In an exclusive interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) Mr. Nano said
that "prosperity can come only through wideranging democratic reforms. It
is the means to put an end to conflicts, which are exploited by the
"The misery of peoples is the best weapon in the hands of dictators. The
Serbs are learning this, today, in Kosovo. We learned it during the
communist dictatorship," he added.
Mr. Nano also said that there was a need for mutual understanding and
European orientation, which will guarantee freedom of movement of both
goods and people. He added that "between Albania and the other two
countries (Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - FYROM),
today there is free cross-border movement, guarante ed by bilateral
Finally, Mr. Nano stressed that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is not the
only representative of the Kosovo Albanians, while he added that the
majority of the people there wanted peaceful co-existence.
Mr. Nano, who was on an official visit here, headed a delegation of
Albanian businessmen and journalists to participate in the events of EXPO
'98 dedicated to his country, while he also met with several Portuguese
dignitaries and held a press conference for Portuguese and foreign
Greek market defies European declines
Greek equities ended lower on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday hit by
renewed turmoil in international markets.
Traders warned that a new wave of external pressures was emerging on
worries over the political future of US president Bill Clinton, threatened
by an impeachment procedure in Congress.
The general index ended 2.40 percent off at 2,157.21 points to show a 2.90
percent gain in the week - the only European stock market to end higher.
Credit Suisse First Boston, a Swiss investment firm, suggested long-term
investments in Greek equities and called the Athens stock market a
"paradise" among emerging markets.
Turnover was thin at 36.7 billion drachmas. The week's turnover totalled
190.67 billion drachmas to a daily average of 38.1 billion, down from 55.5
billion the previous week.
National Bank of Greece ended at 40,100 drachmas, Ergobank at 23,900, Alpha
Credit Bank at 23,390, Ionian Bank at 10,525, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,750,
Delta Dairy at 3,030, Intracom at 10,920, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,650 and
Titan Cement at 18,500.
Greek investments steadily rising in the Balkans
Greek investment value in the Balkans totalled 300 million US dollars, a
national economy ministry statement said.
Investments covered all sectors of economic activity including consumer and
industrial goods, and raw materials.
Greek investment projects in the Balkan region exceeded 3,500, of which 1,
000 were considered significant.
Greek exports in the Balkans (excluding Turkey) increased by 2.3 times in
the period 1992-96, while imports rose 1.3 times.
The country's trade surplus rose 6 times in the same period to 546.2
million US dollars in 1996, sharply up from 71.1 million in 1992.
Based on 1997 figures, there were 200 Greek businesses operating in Albania
with invested capital totalling 52 million US dollars.
Greece ranked second, behind Italy, in foreign capital investments in the
country. Investments focused in manufacturing, industry and services.
Greek investments in Bulgaria accounted for 10 percent of foreign
investments in the country. Some 450 Greek businesses have invested 120
million US dollars in various sectors of the economy.
Bilateral trade totalled 512.9 million dollars in the first nine months of
1997, down from 931.1 mln in 1995 and 692 mln in 1996. Greek exports
totalled 41.39 million dollars. Among biggest investors were 3E, Intracom,
Delta Dairy, Chipita, Vardinoyiann is Group, Thrace Paper mill, Nikas,
Fanco, Goody's and Best Foods.
Three Greek banks operate branches in Bulgaria (Xiosbank, Ionian Bank and
National Bank). Commercial Bank holds a majority stake in Bulgarian
Investment Bank, while EFG Eurobank recently bought PostBank in cooperation
with US insurance group AIG.
Greek companies in Bulgaria employ 22,000 workers.
In Romania, Greek business interests totalled 1,679 with a combined value
of 58.06 million US dollars, holding the 12th place among foreign investors
in the country excluding, however, investments in the shipping sector.
Bilateral trade totalled 255.2 million dollars in the first nine months of
1997, down from 317.2 mln the same period in 1996. Greek exports accounted
for 53.3 percent of total trade.
Alpha Credit Bank operates 14 branches through Banca Bucuresti. Other Greek
banks included Commercial Bank, National Bank and Macedonia-Thrace
Greek-Yugoslav trade volume totalled 234.1 million US dollars in the first
nine months of 1997,with Greek exports accounting for 60.49 percent of the
Greece's major investment project in Yugoslavia was the purchase of a 49
percent stake in Serbia Telecom by a Hellenic Telecom and Italy's STET for
675,000 DMarks. The deal offered to buyers monopoly rights on fixed
telephone for eight years and a 20-ye ar operation of a mobile phone
Greek investments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) were
rapidly increasing following an intermediate agreement signed in 1995 in
Greece ranked third among foreign investors in FYROM after Yugoslavia and
Germany. Bilateral trade totalled 241.7 million dollars, with Greek exports
accounting for 81.68 percent.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greek contractors have undertaken construction of
two school buildings and a hospital in Sarajevo. Hellascom, a Hellenic
Telecoms subsidiary, seeks a mobile network agreement in the Serbian part
of the country and Public Power Co rporation plans a 10 million dollar
credit facility for energy projects in the same region.
Bilateral trade totalled 3.4 million dollars in the first nine months of
1997, up from 1.9 million in 1996, with Greek exports accounting for 88.23
percent of the total.
Western Greece will see cloudy weather and scattered showers on Monday,
later turning to gales or storms. The same phenomena will gradually spread
to central and northern Greece. Weather in the rest of the country will be
partly cloudy. Overcast weather in Athens with temperatures ranging from
20C to 30C. Cloud and then rain or storms later in the day are forecast for
Thessaloniki with temperatures at 18C-26C.
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 289.743
British pound 487.667 Japanese yen (100) 221.464
French franc 51.118 German mark 171.418
Italian lira (100) 17.361 Irish Punt 429.040
Belgian franc 8.310 Finnish mark 56.294
Dutch guilder 152.004 Danish kr. 44.987
Austrian sch. 24.369 Spanish peseta 2.020
Swedish kr. 36.480 Norwegian kr. 38.331
Swiss franc 208.925 Port. Escudo 1.673
Aus. dollar 173.595 Can. dollar 191.654
Cyprus pound 578.118