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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-16

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, 16/09/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Situation in Albania improving, border forces on alert
  • Kranidiotis: Cyprus will not burden econimically the EU
  • Pangalos in New York
  • Finnish President Ahtisaari meets with Kaklamanis, Avramopoulos
  • US ambassador reiterates view over Greek sovereignty of Fournoi
  • Greek-Bulgarian cooperation in police, customs sectors
  • British defence secretary on overflights moratorium for Cyprus
  • Opposition walks out of Parliament debate on subscriber TV
  • EU Transport Commissioner due in Athens
  • Greek stocks drop on profit-taking, lack of buying interest
  • Rate drops to 12.27 pct in 6M T-bill auction
  • Rail company launches container service to Thessaloniki
  • Alexandroupolis to host Mediterranean economy conference
  • More natural gas for Attica power stations
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Situation in Albania improving, border forces on alert

The situation in Albania appeared to improve yesterday following the latest political turmoil and if this trend continues the crisis might be totally defused, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

Mr. Reppas said Greece's armed forces were in a state of advanced readiness, although he noted that there were no indications of a wave of refugees fleeing Albania into Greece.

There were also no indications that the ethnic Greek community was in any danger, he added.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who was visiting military installations in northern Greece, said that the Greek peacekeeping force is not just secure but is also safeguarding stability and security along with other delegations and inter national organisations.

He added that this is an unfavorable moment in the development of Albania and underlined that for a year both the international community and Greece have attempted to systematically support in a political and technical level the strengthening of democracy.

In addition, Mr. Reppas, referring to reports that one-time Albanian president Sali Berisha had called on Greece and Prime Minister Costas Simitis "not to get involved", emphasised that the prime minister had no involvement whatsoever in the internal affairs of Albania.

The news agency AFP reported that Mr. Berisha charged that Albanian police were using Greek police patrol cars, alleging that Athens was involving itself in the crisis.

Greek police have donated two jeeps, 20 motorcycles and eight patrol cars to Albania after a bilateral agreement on June 19. The vehicles were to be used by the Albanian police in policing the Greek-Albanian border.

In a related development, kidnappers released southern local government official Yanni Dakos, whom they had abducted recently along with his nephew.

An ANA dispatch from Ioannina reported that the two men were in good health, although Mr. Dakos had received several blows to the head and body.

Meanwhile, two Albanians - a police official and an employee of the defence ministry - injured in Monday's riots in Tirana were transported to the Ioannina Hospital for treatment.

Kranidiotis: Cyprus will not burden economically the EU

Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday that Cyprus will not create very high expenditures for the European Union's budget after accession. Addressing the Development Bank's general assembly here on the iss ue of "The Prospects of Europe: Greece and Cyprus, a Dynamic and Supplementary Relation", Mr. Kranidiotis said that whatever expenditures will be channelled in their largest part in the northern part of Cyprus, being the less developed. He said that for Cyprus to obtain economic benefits, it will go ahead quickly and systematically with the adjustment of the economy to the facts and claims of the big united market of Economic Monetary Union.

Mr. Kranidiotis added that Europe, Greece and Cyprus are faced with new prospects, opportunities and challenges on the threshold of the 21st century since the global system, as he said, appears to lack institutional bases of stability, the European Union with the establishment of EMU and enlargement is emerging as the exclusice factor of stability.

The participation of Greece and Cyprus in this system means an extension of the system in the wider region of the Mediterranean and Balkans.

The performances of the Greek economy, despite whatever problems, are positive and allow for the realistic assessment that the country will be the 12th member of the unified currency euro in the year 2001. With its accession to the euro, Greece will have fulfilled a basic policy target and will have irrevocably safeguarded its position in the new European system as a full and equal member.

Pangalos in New York

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos arrived in New York yesterday afternoon to attend the 53rd General Assembly of the United Nations.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Mr. Pangalos will have contacts with foreign diplomats and EU member-states' representatives. His schedule, apart from a speech at Columbia University, includes meetings with leading members of the Greek-American community, as well as with Archbishop of America Spyridon.

Finnish President Ahtisaari meets with Kaklamanis, Avramopoulos

Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday received visiting Finnish President Matti Ahtisaari, citing the excellent level of relations between the parliaments of the two countries. Mr. Ahtisaari expressed his satisfaction over the close cooperat ion between the parliaments of Greece and Finland and noted that he discussed with Mr. Kaklamanis ways "to make the people, and especially the youth, interested in day-to-day issues and politics." He also stressed the need for the strengthening national parliaments' role and European intergration. The Finnish president also noted that the international community must support the effort for a just solution to the Cyprus problem.

Mr. Kaklamanis expressed the hope that Cyprus' accession talks will be concluded by the time Finland assumes the presidency of the European Union in 1999.

Finally, Mr. Kaklamanis underlined that it is necessary for the international community to follow a mutual course so as to reconstitute the territorial integrety of Cyprus.

US ambassador reiterates view over Greek sovereignty of Fournoi

US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns reiterated yesterday that the Fournoi islands in the eastern Aegean are unequivocally Greek. "The islands are inhabited by Greeks and it is common knowledge that they are Greek," Mr. Burns said, during a visit to Samos. He was responding to a reporters' question about Turkish claims over Fournoi and three other Greek islets earlier this year.

Ankara disputed Athens' sovereignty of four islands during a meeting on March 26 in the Turkish capital between a Greek embassy diplomat and a Turkish foreign ministry official. During the course of the meeting, called so Athens could lodge a formal protest with Ankara about violations of Greek airspace by Turkish aircraft, the Turkish official raised the issue of Greek military helicopters landing on five islands in the region, which he referred to by using Turkish names.

The Greek diplomat asked if he was implying whether the islands in question were Turkish, only to receive the reply that they had Turkish names.

It turned out that four of the islands were in fact Greek, inhabited by Greek citizens and part of Greece by virtue of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) and the Treaty of Paris (1947).

Greek-Bulgarian cooperation in police, customs sectors

An agreement in principle exists between the prime ministers of Greece and Bulgaria, Costas Simitis and Ivan Kostov, respectively, for bilateral cooperation by police and customs authorities for passengers and commercial transpo rters crossing from future new checkpoints on the Greek-Bulgarian border.

Additionally, the finance ministries of the two countries are cooperating in cracking down on gangs of smugglers.

According to the Bulgarian news agency BTA, this was stated by Mr. Kostov after his meeting with the US State Department's adviser on issues of southeastern Europe Richard Shifter and the presidium of the Coordinating Business Council (SES) and the Init iative on Economic Cooperation in Southeastern Europe SECI, known as the "Shifter plan", in Sofia yesterday.

British defence secretary on overflights moratorium for Cyprus

British Defence Secretary George Robertson said that he will request with "emphasis from the Turkish government to examine the idea of a moratorium" for military overflights in Cyprus, adding that he will discuss the same is sue with the Greek government today.

The British secretary is paying an official visit to Ankara at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Ismet Sezgin.

Commenting on the possible deployment of the Russian-made S-300 anti- aircraft system on Cyprus, he said that "we believe that it is something that would be better not to happen because it will add tension to an already tense region in the world."

Mr. Robertson held talks yesterday with the Turkish defence minister, the Turkish foreign minister and members of the Turkish general staff.

Opposition walks out of Parliament debate on subscriber TV

Parliament's opposition parties walked out of the legislature's summer session last night during debate on a bill regarding the provision of subscriber radio and television services.

Earlier, a main opposition New Democracy party objection to the bill's discussion during the summer session as inappropriate was rejected in a show-of-hands vote.

Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas accused ND of avoiding to take part in the debate because of a lack of positions and proposals.

He recalled that Parliament's scientific committee had given its approval for the bill's discussion in the summer session.

Mr. Reppas further said that the bill had been forwarded to oppostion parties two months ago but his ministry had received no reply.

EU Transport Commissioner due in Athens

European Union Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock will begin an official two-day visit to Greece tomorrow.

Mr. Kinnock is due to meet Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis and Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis.

He will also meet representatives of the Union of Greek Shipowners and Union of Passenger Shipowners.

In addition, the commissioner will tour the site of a new international airport being built for Athens at Spata, and meet informally with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

Greek stocks drop on profit-taking, lack of buying interest

Greek equities changed direction to end lower on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday reflecting a lack of fresh buying incentives in the market.

The general index ended 1.19 percent down at 2,198.62 points, reversing an early jump of more than 1.0 percent scotched by profit-takers elbowing into the market.

Trading, otherwise light, was bolstered to 60.9 billion drachmas by block trades in Bank of Central Greece and Heracles Cement, worth 25 billion drachmas.

Sector indices ended mixed. Banks fell 1.24 percent, Insurance eased 0.89 percent, Investment ended 1.10 percent off, Leasing jumped 4.39 percent, Industrials fell 1.32 percent, Construction ended 0.61 percent down, Miscellaneous fell 0.18 percent and H olding rose 0.62 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.60 percent off, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index dropped 1.38 percent to 1,332.96.

Broadly, decliners led advancers by 157 to 86 with another 17 issues unchanged.

National Bank of Greece ended at 40,515 drachmas, Ergobank at 25,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,800, Ionian Bank at 10,450, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,760, Delta Dairy at 3,165, Intracom at 11,900, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,645 and Titan Cement at 18,610 drachmas.

Rate drops to 12.27 pct in 6M T-bill auction

Interest rates dropped in an auction of six-month treasury bills held yesterday by the finance ministry for paper worth 60 billion drachmas.

Bids submitted by the domestic market's primary dealers totalled 138 billion, and the average weighted rate fell to 12.27 percent, sharply lower than 13.20 percent in the previous auction.

Rail company launches container service to Thessaloniki

Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) is to launch a new non-stop service for containers between Athens and Thessaloniki on October 1, it said in a statement yesterday.

The once daily train will only carry containers and is to link Aghioi Anaryiri station in Attica with Thessaloniki station, itself a link to the Balkans and the rest of Europe.

"This new rail link will save time, and improve the quality and security of container services. The charges are competitively low," state-owned OSE said in the statement.

Alexandroupolis to host Mediterranean economy conference

Government officials, diplomats and business representatives from 76 states in the Balkans, Mediterranean and Black Sea are expected to attend a conference on Mediterranean cooperation and economic development to be held on October 22-25 in Alexandroupoli , northern Greece.

The conference on the prospects for a new economic area after 2000 is organised by the Institute of Mediterranean Cooperation with the support of the European parliament, European Investment Bank, Institute for Mediterranean Studies and local authorities.

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, also chairman of the conference's organising committee, noted the need for economic cooperation among Balkan, Mediterranean and Black Sea states accompanied by closer links in culture and education.

More natural gas for Attica power stations

Greece's Public Power Corporation, the state electricity utility, yesterday announced the phased start of operations for a station in Lavrio, 60 kilometres south of Athens, powered by natural gas.

When the introduction of natural gas is completed at Lavrio in coming months, capacity for Attica will rise by 570 MegaWatts.

The natural gas power project for Attica including other stations aims to improve the stability and capacity of the power grid network, avoiding the risk of power cuts.

WEATHER

Good weather will prevail throughout Greece on today with scattered cloud in the east and south of the country. Winds northwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens will be sunny with temperatures between 19-27C. Light cloud in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 17-25C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 287.263 British pound 483.838 Japanese yen (100) 216.593 French franc 50.860 German mark 170.475 Italian lira (100) 17.271 Irish Punt 426.758 Belgian franc 8.266 Finnish mark 56.048 Dutch guilder 151.191 Danish kr. 44.753 Austrian sch. 24.205 Spanish peseta 2.009 Swedish kr. 36.954 Norwegian kr. 38.269 Swiss franc 206.832 Port. Escudo 1.664 Aus. dollar 172.013 Can. dollar 191.357 Cyprus pound 575.558

(C.E.)


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