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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-23

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, 23/10/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Europarliament votes to eliminate frozen credits for Turkey
  • Pangalos arrives in Moscow for bilateral talks
  • New navy landing vessel launched
  • Turkish warplanes attempt to disrupt Greece-Cyprus manoeuvres
  • Int'l conference on Med cooperation opens in Alexandroupolis
  • OTE flotation presented in New York
  • IOBE: Greece's prospects for EMU accession
  • Parliament approves bill on Land Register
  • Stocks end higher
  • Panafon, Telestet focus on ASE listing
  • Greek companies purchase majority share of FYROM bottler
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Europarliament votes to eliminate frozen credits for Turkey

The European Parliament yesterday adopted an amendment by the Budget Committee eliminating credits earmarked for Turkey from the EU's budget reserves, citing a lack of legal ground.

In the past, such credits to Turkey were "frozen", pending acceptance of terms and conditions set by the Union. Eurodeputies voted 365 for the amendment, 165 against, while 10 abstained.

PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannis Roumbatis said that the vote proved that Euro-MPs were not willing to "overlook human rights violations, the oppression of the Kurdish people, the dissolving of every sense of democracy and the threatening attitude of Turkey to ward a member-state, in the name of expediency."

Main opposition New Democracy Eurodeputy Timos Christodoulou said that yesterday's vote should not lead us to joyful celebrations, since the Council of Ministers can create the legal grounds, thereby overturning the decision of the Euro-Parliament.

He added that what is important for Greece is to decide what policy it will follow within and outside the Union,so as not to provide arguments to the Commission, which yesterday approved a financial protocol towards Turkey, claiming that Greece accepted such decisions at the Cardiff summit.

Coalition for the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos said that EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek and the Commission as a whole yesterday received a strong political answer from the Europarliament in regards to Turkey's funding.

Mr. Alavanos added that he hoped the Europarliament will in the same way discard the "new regulations of the Commission".

Pangalos arrives in Moscow for bilateral talks

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos arrived in Moscow yesteday for talks with the new Russian government including the situation in the Balkans and Greek-Russian economic cooperation.

He will also sign two cooperation agreements, one on cooperation between the foreign ministry archives of the two countries, and one on mutually upgrading each other's consulates.

Mr. Pangalos arrived in Moscow after a one-day visit to Chisinau, Moldova, where he had similar talks with the Moldovan government.

The Chisinau talks with the president, prime minister, foreign minister and parliament president of Moldova focussed mainly on bilateral realtions, EU- Moldova relations, and regional issues.

At present there are 33 Greek enterprises active in Modova, while the Commercial Bank of Greece recently opened a branch there.

Greek companies have undertaken the construction of a petrol terminal on the Danube, while Greek private telecom Intracom has organised the Lotto numbers lottery in Modlova and the Hellenic Bottling Company (3E) has opened a Coca-Cola bottling plant.

Speaking in Moscow at a joint press conference with Mr. Pangalos, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov issued a strong warning to what he called Albanian "terrorists" in the Serbian province of Kosovo to conform with the decisions of the United Nations an d the six-nation Contact Group on the Balkans.

Mr. Pangalos too expressed concern at the recent upsurge in military activities of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army.

Agreeing with Mr. Ivanov, Mr. Pangalos underlined the need for "balanced rather than one-sided initiatives", adding that it had been necessary to discourage the use of "excessive force" by Belgrade while taking measures to prevent "terrorist acts" by the Albanian side.

Mr. Ivanov and Mr. Pangalos signed two protocols, one providing for the establishment of a Greek consulate general in Moscow and a Russian one in Greece, and the other for the preparation and joint issuing of a collection of documents from the historical archives of the two countries' foreign ministries.

New navy landing vessel launched

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday said that five new Hellenic Navy landing vessels will cover the armed forces' need for continued and stable sea transport of personnel and military equipment.

Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' statements came during the launching of the navy's newest landing ship, delivered yesterday at the Elefsina shipyards.

The new vessel, "Ikaria", will be inducted by 1999, while its sister vessel, "Lesvos", will be inducted within the first few months of 1999.

These "Samos" type ships can trasport 17 amphibious vehicles, 15 trucks, a helicopter and 245 troops.

Meanwhile, talks were expected to begin between the general armaments directorship and the Elefsina Shipyards for the construction of three torpedo boats and a fuel trasport ship, while based on a separate decision of the Government Council of Foreing A ffiars and Defence (KYSEA), the Skaramanga Shipyards will build submarines for the navy in cooperation with a foreign shipyard.

Turkish warplanes attempt to disrupt Greece-Cyprus manoeuvres

An unprecedented number of Turkish fighter jets on Thursday violated Greek and Cypriot air space during an ongoing joint military exercise between Greek and Cypriot forces.

The violations coincided with the Greek military exercise, code-named "Toxotis", and the Cypriot National Guard exercise "Nikiforos", in the sea region between Rhodes, Crete and Cyprus.

The manoeuvres are taking place within the framework of the two countries' joint defence doctrine.

According to reports, 80 Turkish warplanes, mostly F-16s, infringed on Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and Nicosia FIR regulations in an attempt to obstruct flights to Cyprus by Greek fighter jets participating in the exercises. On all occasions , the Turkish jets, all of which were reportedly armed, were intercepted by Greek jets.

Meanwhile, Greek fighters and bombers took part in yesterday's third day of the "Nikiforos '98" exercise.

A total of four F-16 fighter jets and two A-7 Corsair bombers flew over Nicosia, while fighters hit mock targets in the Nicosia area and will, at a later phase use live ammunition during the manoeuvres, which end on Sunday.

The joint defence pact between Cyprus and Greece provides for Greek air, sea and land cover in case of a fresh Turkish offensive against Cyprus.

Int'l conference on Med cooperation opens in Alexandroupolis

Delegates from 35 countries, observers from another 45 and various ministers are convening in Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, as of yesterday within the framework of the 3rd International Conference on Mediterranean Cooperation and Development.

The event was inaugurated by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

In his address, Mr. Papandreou stressed the special significance attributed by Greece to cultural issues, believing that the human dimension of cooperation and the promotion of the role played by non-governmental organisations and the society of citizens constitute a safe path for the building of confidence and solidarity between peoples in the region.

Referring to cooperation between the peoples in the region, he said that its target must be the exploitation of the comparative advantages possessed by the specific region for its development and its turning into a strong competitive pole.

Mr. Papandreou said that structural weaknesses, the worsening of the economic situation, as well as the demographic explosion, frequently lead to social tensions, an increase in the emigration wave, the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalism and the use of political force.

Securing conditions of law and order, strengthening trade transactions, securing conditions of an open economy which will be based on the principles of the free market and attracting international investments of prestige, both by securing conditions of political and economic normalcy and the provision of incentives, are those basic preconditions, according to main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, for the countries in the wider Mediterranean and Balkan region to develop speedily.

OTE flotation presented in New York

Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) managing director George Chrysolouris yesterday launched the presentation of the organisation's 10 percent flotation in the New York Stock Exchange to more than 70 institutional investors of North America, managing more than $6 trillion.

Yesterday's presentation of the issue, which will be managed by Salomon Smith Berney, the National Bank of Greece and Credit Suisse First Boston, was on the whole positively received.

The flotation will take simultaneously on November 2 in Greece, the US and Canada, while the price range will be announced on Sunday, October 25.

Public subscription in Greece will tgake place between October 26 and 30, on the basis of the share's highest price.

IOBE: Greece's prospects for EMU accession

Greece's prospects of joining a Economic and Monetary Union have declined compared with the previous months of 1998, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said in its latest quarterly economic report.

The report said that "the Greek economy is on track to participate in EMU, although its chances were lower compared with the previous months."

IOBE's reservations referred mainly to the possibilities of achieving the inflation and interest rates criteria.

The institute notes that Greece needed structural reforms in privatisation and liberalising domestic markets.

The government, although acknowledging the need for such changes, faces difficulties in implementing the right policies because it is caught in a cross-fire, it said.

"On the one hand is the need for real economic convergence and on the other, political opposition inside and outside the government," the report said.

Stock market's prospects remain positive, despite a negative international situation, on the condition that a current international market volatility will not deteriorate, it said.

IOBE predicted that the outcome in recent municipal elections would increase difficulties in implementing a structural reforms programme in Greece.

Parliament approves bill on Land Register

Parliament voted in principle a bill on drafting the country's first ever land register submitted by the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry.

The draft bill provides for the organisation of all legal, technical and other information on all property in Greece.

All political parties voted in favour of the bill except the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which said that the project was not capable to help in the country's development.

Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis pledged that the land register project would be included in a third Community Support Framework.

He said he expected the project to absorb 200 billion drachmas in EU funds in the period 2000-2006.

He noted that since 1836 the state has voted almost 4,000 bills and decrees but the country has not yet managed to develop a full land register.

Mr. Laliotis said that the project has created 9,500 new jobs with an average employment period of 24-30 months.

Stocks end higher

Greek equities ended higher on the Athens Stock Exchange although some profit taking slowed the market's advance.

The general index ended 0.44 percent higher to 2,097.05 points in thin turnover of 35 billion drachmas. Volume was 11,001,000 shares.

Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.85 percent, Insurance fell 0.10 percent, Investment increased 2.0 percent, Leasing dropped 2.30 percent, Industrials fell 0.15 percent, Construction eased 0.20 percent, Miscellaneous jumped 2.26 percent and Holding rose 1.35 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.87 percent up.

Broadly, advancers narrowly led decliners by 122 to 117 with another 17 issues unchanged.

Panafon, Telestet focus on ASE listing

Two out of the three mobile phone operators in Greece, Panafon and Telestet, have entered the final stages for potential listing on the Athens Stock Exchange.

Panafon, joining through public subscriptions, is taking advantage of a new legal framework and is estimating that approval procedures will be expedited to allow for public subscriptions in mid November.

Telestet will not join through public subscriptions since the multinational subsidiary is using the legal framework for simultaneous introduction of shares already introduced in the several other EU member-states' bourses.

Panafon announced a 62.7 per cent increase in consolidated revenues for the first half of 1998, while turnover reached 90.4 billion drachmas, corresponding to 69.1 per cent of total revenue for 1997 (130.8 billion drachmas).

The consolidated financial data include Panavox, after Panafon bought all of its shares in December 1997.

The third mobile phone operator is Cosmote, a subsidiary of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

Greek companies purchase majority share of FYROM bottler

The Hellenic Bottling Company and Athinaiki Brewery have signed an agreement with the AD Pivara Skopje company for the purchase of 51 per cent of that company's shares.

3E has sent a letter to the Athens Stock Exchange notifying of the development.

The Pivara company produces and sells Coca Cola products (Coca Cola, Fanta and Sprite) and the Scopcko and Star Lisec beers in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Pivara's products hold the biggest percentage of the market in FYROM.

WEATHER

Scattered cloud will prevail throughout Greece today with the possibility of light rain in the north of the country. Winds variable, light to moderate, turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with few clouds and temperatures between 15-23C. Drizzle in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 13-19C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.248 British pound 472.192 Japanese yen (100) 235.640 French franc 50.640 German mark 169.627 Italian lira (100) 17.155 Irish Punt 423.584 Belgian franc 8.227 Finnish mark 55.838 Dutch guilder 150.506 Danish kr. 44.626 Austrian sch. 24.121 Spanish peseta 1.997 Swedish kr. 36.069 Norwegian kr. 37.803 Swiss franc 207.194 Port. Escudo 1.653 Aus. dollar 174.790 Can. dollar 180.802 Cyprus pound 573.396

(C.E.)


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