Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-14
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 14/10/1998 (ANA)
- Premier welcomes 'unity of views' at southeast Europe summit
- Athens hails Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement for Kosovo
- Greek under-21 soccer team edges Georgia 3-2
- Progress in relations expected after Turkish elections
- Large NATO exercise ends in northern Greece
- President receives outgoing Russian ambassador Matvienko
- Gov't to adhere to tight economic policy, Papantoniou says
- Gov't expected to OK third float for state telecom within days
- Greek stocks rally in slim trade
- Greece meets EU fiscal discipline criteria for '97
- Georgian chamber leader in Greece
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Premier welcomes 'unity of views' at southeast Europe summit
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday welcomed the unity of views at a
summit of southeast European countries regarding the need to safeguard
territorial integrity in the region and work towards defusing tension
through peaceful means. Speaking to reporters after the summit meeting in
Antalya, Mr. Simitis said Albania and Yugoslavia's coincidence of views
leading to a joint declaration over the troubled Yugoslav province of
Kosovo, issued at the summit, was "an indicati on of progress".
The communique by the leaders underlined support for the decisions of the
UN Security Council and called for an immediate stop to hostilities in
Kosovo and the commencement of unconditional talks. The communique also
underlined the commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of
Yugoslavia and for the "full protection of all rights of residents,
citizens, ethnic minorities and ethnic communities, on the basis of
equality". The leaders also referred to the new Albanian government as " a
prerequisite for the further restoration of public order and the growth of
a constructive dialogue between the political forces in Albania, in the
framework of democratic institutions".
The communique also stressed the European vocation of all the nations of
southeast Europe and adopted the view, strongly expressed by Greece, that
European unification could not be complete without the inclusion of all the
countries of southeast Europe.
The communique also referred to Bosnia and reiterated the support of all
countries for the full implementation of the Dayton agreements.
Mr. Simitis stressed the presence of Greece in all countries in the region
and reminded that 3,000 Greek companies are active in southeast Europe.
The communique also hails the decision for the creation of a political
consultations mechanism on policy and security issues, as well as the
development of cooperation on issues concerning human rights, environmental
protection, political exchanges, tackling terrorism, organised crime and
other threats for stability and security in the region.
The Antalya meeting agreed on the creation of a centre for the development
of trade between countries in the region, while the ministers and prime
ministers signed relevant documents.
The creation of an advisory forum between the Parliaments of countries in
southeastern Europe was also decided and the meeting hailed the effort by
the Foreign Ministry directors to start a study for the creation of a
proclamation of good neighbourly rules for countries in southeastern
The meeting was attended by the Prime Ministers Momir Bulatovic of
Yugoslavia, Branco Cerkovski of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM), Ivan Kostov of Bulgaria, Mr. Simitis of Greece, Radu Vasil of
Romania and Mesut Yilmaz of Turkey, as well as the Foreign Ministers Ismail
Cem of Turkey, Blagoye Hatjinski of FYROM, Zivadin Jovanovic of Yugoslavia,
Nadezha Mihailova of Bulgaria, Paskal Milo of Albania, Theodoros Pangalos
of Greece and Andrei Plesu of Romania. Ivo Sanader of Croatia and Besin
Spahik of Bosnia also attended as observers.
Athens hails Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement for Kosovo
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday welcomed the agreement for
the pacification of Yugoslavia's Kosovo province, reached by Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic and US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke in
the early morning hours Tuesday.
"With a sense of relief, which, as seen by the statement issued at the end
of the Antalya summit, is shared by all the countries of the region, Greece
hails the agreement reached by Messrs. Holbrooke and Milosevic for ending
the crisis in Kosovo. In this framework, it calls on the Kosovar leadership
under Mr. (Ibrahim) Rugova to proceed to the process of peace-making, and
on UCK to now show the courage required by peace," he said in a statement.
"Greece congratulates the architects of the agreement, President Milosevic
and Mr. Holbrooke. It draws, however, attention to how near the danger of
the conflagration drew and how all margins for negotiation had to be
exhausted," he continued.
"The Greek side will make all efforts for the peace process to succeed. As
in the past, Greece will participate with men and means in the organs that
will be set up, particularly in the "Compliance Verifying Mission" of the
OSCE, which constitutes the catalytic expression of Prime Minister Costas
Simitis' initiative last June.
"Greece believes in the favourable outcome of this process, which also
constitutes an indisputable vindication of its Balkan policy, and calls on
its friends and partners in Europe and the neighbouring region to join
forces in this great task," Mr. Repp as concluded.
Greece had long insisted on the need for a political solution to the crisis
and the exhaustion of all diplomatic means for a settlement, stressing that
it would not veto any NATO intevention, but would not provide any troops or
planes in operations either.
Greek under-21 soccer team edges Georgia 3-2
Greece's under-21 football team yesterday beat Georgia 3-2 in a European
championship qualifying match at the Nikos Goumas stadium (AEK) in Athens'
Nea Philadelphia district.
Scorers: Greece - Liolidis (28), Kostantinidis (39) and Koulakiotis (89).
Georgia - Rekozivili (31), Moudzin (45).
The same two countries' men's teams will meet today in a Euro 2000
qualifying match at the Athens Olympic Stadium - 6 p.m.
Progress in relations expected after Turkish elections
Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed yesterday that no progress in Greek-
Turkish relations would be noted until after the holding of Turkish
elections, while speaking in Antalya, Turkey.
"As long as the issue of elections (in Turkey) is pending, there can be no
solution to problems," the prime minister told reporters at the conclusion
of the two-day summit of southeast European leaders.
Mr. Simitis met with his Turkish counterpart and host Mesut Yilmaz on
Monday night. Both Greek and Turkish sides said the meeting was "positive"
despite both premiers ascertaining that the climate prevailing in Greek-
Turkish relations was not good.
Mr. Simitis said on yesterday that he had underlined that the International
Court of Justice at the Hague was available as a framework to deal with
differences over the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf and other
problems that Turkey believes it has with Greece.
The recognition of the jurisdiction of the court is a prerequisite to
Turkey being absorbed into European institutions, Mr. Simitis said.
Mr. Yilmaz, at a news conference, said that the two countries continued to
have differences of opinions on how to deal with disputes. "We request a
cataloging of all problems, Greece insists on the procedure through the
International Court," he said.
Mr. Yilmaz also denied reports in the Turkish press that he had broached
the issue of Kurdish Workers' Party "cooperation" with Mr. Simitis.
Referring to the same issue, Mr. Simitis flatly denied that Greece was
involved in any illegal activity directed against any neighbouring country,
but that it would continue to support the right of all Greeks and foreign
residents of Greece to freedom of expression.
He said that he told Mr. Yilmaz that Greece's standing position was that
Turkey's differences with Syria must be resolved through peaceful and
diplomatic means and the recourse to force could only be justified if it
had the prior approval of the UN Secu rity Council.
Large NATO exercise ends in northern Greece
The Greek portion of NATO's largest exercise in its southern wing ended
yesterday in the northern Halkidiki region of central Macedonia.
According to a scenario for the 'Dynamic Mix '98' exercise, NATO forces
were called on to maintain borders and create conditions of safe passage
for groups of hypothetical refugees.
The NATO exercise was carried out with the assistance of Greek Railways
(OSE) trains, as well as jeeps and armoured personnel carriers. "Refugees"
were examined by doctors and given clothing and food. Military forces
cordoned-off the area, checking all vehicles attempting to enter, while
they "fought-off" armed gangs trying to raid trains bringing in food and
The scenario for the entire exercise involves an attack on Turkey by a
hypothetical country south of its borders, "Yellowlandia". The government
of "Greylandia", on the northern borders of Greece, exploits the unrest to
repress its minorities. This resu lts in a wave of refugees towards the
south, reaching Greek borders while others attempt to cross the Dalmatian
coast and reach Italy.
The US reponse is immediate and NATO forces are called on to conduct
missions on three fronts: defensive and offensive in Turkey and humanitarian
in Greece and Italy. Italian Gen. Francesco Vanucci, the sub-commander of
NATO's southern flank, said at the conclusion of the exercise that NATO was
ready in the best possible manner to undertake any mission and hailed the
professionalism of the troops participating.
Gen. Vanucci said the new role the Alliance was being called upon to play
meant that it needed to be able to respond with flexibility simultaneously
in many different regions.
Greece, along with Turkey and Italy, is hosting 'Dynamic Mix '98' which
will involve forces from 11 NATO nations and is designed to improve the
southern region's capability to implement NATO strategy and to deal
simultaneously with a crisis and peace support operation.
In total the exercise will involve approximately 17,000 soldiers, sailors,
airmen and marines. Approximately 5,000 troops, 62 ships and 170 aircraft
will participate, as well as all NATO headquarters in the Southern Region.
It is directed and coordinated by the Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces
in Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH).
President receives outgoing Russian ambassador Matvienko
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday received outgoing
Russian ambassador to Athens Valentina Matvienko, part of a farewell
courtesy visit by the ambassador.
Ms Matvienko will assume the post of deputy prime minister in Russian PM
Yevgeny Primakov's government, responsible for social affairs.
Gov't to adhere to tight economic policy, Papantoniou says
The government will refrain from relaxing its economic policy as any
deviation would have a negative impact on the economy, interest rates and
the drachma, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said
Commenting on the outcome of Sunday's local elections, Mr. Papantoniou told
reporters that conclusions should not be drawn from the first round of
voting. Some areas are due for a second round next Sunday.
The minister noted that the government's economic policy was based on the
mandate it received from general elections in 1996.
Turning to incomes policy in 1999-2001, he said that workers would see a
real increase in wages as in the past, which meant pay rises slightly
higher than inflation forecasts for each year.
The period spans a convergence programme designed to take Greece into
European economic and monetary union that on Monday received the approval
of EU economics ministers, a move Mr. Papantoniou described as a message of
confidence that was especially im portant for markets.
The government aims to bring Greece into the euro, the EU's single currency,
by January 1, 2001.
Mr. Papantoniou said that reducing consumer price inflation to 2.0 percent
at the end of 1999, a requirement for EMU entry, would be the most
But the government would use all means at its disposal to achieve the
target, including lowering indirect taxes.
Beyond reducing a gasoline tax in September and slashing by more than half
a heating oil tax in October, the government had yet to take further
decisions on cutting indirect taxes but was examining all the possibilities,
the minister said.
He also urged enterprises to contribute to the government's effort to
combat inflation by lowering their prices, which some supermarket owners
have already done.
Mr. Papantoniou was optimistic that all convergence targets would be met by
the end of 1999, and that the government would apply in the first half of
2000 to participate in EMU, barring any major deterioration in the global
However, no such risk was currently being forecast, he said.
Gov't expected to OK third float for state telecom within days
The government is expected within days to give the go-ahead for a third
float for Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) as part of its
privatisation plan, national economy ministry sources said yesterday.
The float, which was originally scheduled for the autumn, is to sell around
10 percent of share capital, raising the amount privatised to 35 percent of
Greek stocks rally in slim trade
Greek equities rebounded strongly on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday
reversing a three-day decline that had pushed the market 10 percent
The general index ended 2.46 percent higher at 1,782.49 points in thin
turnover of 29.3 billion drachmas.
Sector indices scored gains.
Banks rose 2.60 percent, Insurance ended 0.29 percent up, Investment jumped
2.50 percent, Leasing soared 6.15 percent, Industrials rose 2.53 percent,
Construction ended 1.45 percent higher, Miscellaneous increased 4.12
percent and Holding rose 4.04 perc ent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.71 percent
higher. The FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 2.46 percent higher at 1,055.49
Volume was 7,348,000 shares.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 174 to 49 with another 19 issues
Greece meets EU fiscal discipline criteria for '97
Greece, Spain, Portugal,and Ireland have met set targets regarding fiscal
discipline in 1997, and therefore, there is no problem regarding the
continuation of their funding from the Cohesion Fund, the European Commissi
on stated yesterday in a report regarding the fund.
The Cohesion Fund functions on the principle of conditionality, on the
basis of which its ouflows to the member-states cease if they do not
achieve their annual commitments in relation to their fiscal deficit.
The fund mainly finances projects in the sectors of transport and
environmental protection. Greece received 493.5 million ecu in 1997 for
these two sectors.
Georgian chamber leader in Greece
The president of Greece's Central Federation of Chambers (KEE) met in
Athens yesterday with his visiting counterpart from Georgia for discussions
focusing on bilateral cooperation and boosting business relations.
KEE President Paris Kyriakopoulos and Georgian Commercial and Industry
Chairman Guram Ahvlendiani also discussed Georgia's course towards a free
market economy, privatisations, major construction projects and attraction
of foreign investments in the one -time Soviet republic.
The Georgian chamber official extended an invitation to Mr. Kyriakopoulos
to visit Tbilisi.
Unsettled weather will prevail throughout Greece on Wednesday.
Winds will be variable, moderate to strong. Showers in Athens where
temperatures will range between 15-20C. Possibility of rain in Thessaloniki
where temperatures will be from 13-17C.
Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 280.924
British pound 477.946 Japanese yen (100) 235.104
French franc 51.034 German mark 171.070
Italian lira (100) 17.285 Irish Punt 427.552
Belgian franc 8.293 Finnish mark 56.227
Dutch guilder 151.746 Danish kr. 44.991
Austrian sch. 24.327 Spanish peseta 2.014
Swedish kr. 35.766 Norwegian kr. 37.468
Swiss franc 210.939 Port. Escudo 1.667
Aus. dollar 174.939 Can. dollar 182.746
Cyprus pound 582.304