Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-29
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 29/10/1998 (ANA)
- Greece marks 58th anniversary of entry into WWII
- Greece submits memo on EU-Turkey relations
- Ankara peeved over Greek memo at EU
- NATO's 'Dynamic Mix '98' concludes
- V. Papandreou: Social dimension of European unification imperative
- G.Papandreou lauds Bulgaria's progress towards a united Europe
- Karamanlis warns ND dissenters
- Slovenian PM Drnovsek in Athens
- Kaklamanis-Kyprianou meeting in Athens
- Wooden vessel crammed with Kurdish illegals intercepted off Crete
- Athens conference on renewable energy sources
- Greek equities end higher
- Interest rates decrease
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece marks 58th anniversary of entry into WWII
Greece yesterday celebrated the 58th anniversary of "Ochi" (No) Day,
marking the country's entry into World War II after rejecting an ultimatum
by the fascist Italian government.
The Oct. 28, 1940 anniversary was celebrated with church te deums and
parades in Athens and other cities, and a military parade in Thessaloniki
before President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, who also took the
In a message on the occasion Mr. Stephanopoulos predicted a continuation of
tension in Greek-Turkish relations, while speaking in Thessaloniki on
Tuesday evening. Mr. Stephanopoulos, addressing a dinner held in his honour
by the commander of the Third Army Corps, Lt.-Gen. Athanasios Skarafingas,
linked Ankara's provocativeness to Turkey's upgraded role emanating from
"oil interests." He also expressed concern over military cooperation
between Turkey and Israel.
Greece submits memo on EU-Turkey relations
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos submitted a 48-page memorandum on
relations between the EU and Turkey to the Union's Council of Ministers in
Luxembourg on Monday, citing all parametres of the two sides' relations, as
well as Greek-Turkish issues, the Cyprus question, the Kurdish issue,
The memorandum reminds Athens' partners of positions and views which have
been expressed by Turkish officials against Greece. However, according to
sources in Brussels, the memo can be described as an indirect reply to
efforts by the European Commission to change the legal basis for funding
The European Commission is attempting to sidestep Greece's veto by changing
the legal basis for funding Turkey and, to this end, it prepared two
regulations the second of which includes Turkey in developing countries and
anticipates funding amounting to 135 million Ecu, while in parallel it sets
out that the relevant decision will be taken with a special majority and
not with a unanimous vote.
Among others, the memorandum submitted by Athens mentions the following
concerning the Customs Union between the EU and Turkey:
"It should be underlined that the Customs Union was established on the
political will of the member-countries of the European Union to promote
relations with Turkey. This political will was based on the assumption that
Turkey will behave in a way accept able to the European countries and will
respond to their desire to see an amelioration in the Greek-Turkish
relations, a positive attitude of Ankara towards the Cyprus problem, a
sincere effort to ameliorate the human rights standards in Turkey and an
acc eptable way to find a solution to the problem in the southeast part of
"In the two and a half years that have elapsed since the enter into force
of the Customs Union nothing has happened in those fields.
"The situation in southeast Turkey is becoming every day more tense, the
human rights record of Turkey is one of the worst in the world, Ankara is
obstinate in blocking all efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem,
and Turkey's attitude to Greece is aggressive, provocative and hostile.
"As far as the financial regulation is concerned, the bottom line for
Greece lies in the fact that no obligation stands from the moment Turkey -
immediately after the Customs Union Agreement was ratified by the European
Parliament - formulated direct claims on the territory of a member state,
landed troops on Greek territory in support of these claims, and risked
military confrontation with Greece. This hardly constitutes an attitude of
good neighbourliness and effectively absolves the European Union from any
mechanistic contractual obligation of financial assistance.
Ankara peeved over Greek memo at EU
Ankara launched a comprehensive verbal attack against Athens yesterday with
an announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry referring to the Cyprus
issue, the Muslim minority in Thrace, Greek-Turkish relations and the oft-
repeated claim of Greek aid to terrorist groups.
The outburst emanated from a memorandum circulated by Athens earlier in the
week at the European Union's Council of Ministers, entitled "Relations
Between Turkey and the EU."
NATO's 'Dynamic Mix '98' concludes
One of NATO's biggest annual exercises formally ended on Tuesday after
involving, for the first time since 1982, joint ground manouevers by troops
from the three countries of the alliance's southern wing.
The exercise, codenamed 'Dynamic Mix '98', took place at a time when NATO
was preparing for possible intervention in the troubled Yugoslav province
Speaking on the last day of the exercise, the newly appointed commander-in-
chief of NATO forces in southern Europe, US Adm. James O. Ellis, said the
initial assessment was that the objectives of the exercise had been fully
He added that the exercise would not be over until the conclusions had been
discussed in Izmir, Turkey, by representatives of all participating
countries. The exercise, conducted in Greece, Italy and Turkey, began on
Oct. 1, with manouevers continuing until Oct. 21.
Taking part were air, land, naval and amphibian forces from 11 NATO member-
states: Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Spain, Turkey, Britain and the United States.
Some 5,000 military personnel participated in the exercise with 62 warships
and 170 aircraft.
V. Papandreou: Social dimension of European unification imperative
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou stressed on Tuesday that the recent
informal EU summit in Poertschach, Austria had ascertained the imperative
need to reactivate the social dimension of European unification, and
signalled an essential turn and reorientation of EU policy towards that
Ms Papandreou, a former European Commissioner responsible for social policy,
said that in recent years, the social dimension of European integration
that had been promoted through the European Charter on Social Rights during
her term of office had been abandoned due to the prevalence of a restrictive
policy aimed at meeting Maastricht criteria, and due to a liberal
perspective concerning the operation of the labour market.
Following the adoption of the Social Charter by Britain, which had strongly
opposed it at the time under its strict adherence of the rules of the
market, Ms Papandreou said, "today Europe has a commonly accepted and
cohesive social policy, which gives a nswers to the critical problems of
G.Papandreou lauds Bulgaria's progress towards a united Europe
The fourth meeting of the Association Council between Bulgaria and the
European Union was held in Luxembourg on Tuesday.
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou represented Greece.
The main conclusion reached from the meeting is that Bulgaria is achieving
progress in certain sectors of its economy such as tax policy and industry.
However, there are a series of problems which render its accession course
difficult, including the operation of the Bulgarian nuclear plant at
Speaking to the press, Mr. Papandreou underlined Bulgaria's positive steps
towards its accession to united Europe, adding that during Tuesday's
meeting a series of issues of particular concern to Greece were discussed
such as the Kosovo crisis and the repercussions of the Russian crisis on
the Bulgarian economy.
He said that the Russian crisis did not affect the Bulgarian economy in
particular because to a great degree it has replaced its economic relations
with Russia with corresponding relations with EU countries.
Mr. Papandreou also said that the issue of illegal immigration was
discussed at the meeting.
Karamanlis warns ND dissenters
Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis warned internal
party dissenters on Tuesday night that on ND's course towards assuming the
government's reins he will not tolerate disputes.
"On the course towards tomorrow, which is aimed at creating a strong and
dignified government that will give inspiration to the people there is no
place for complacency and rest. Whoever thinks that he is tired of the past,
either due to personal bitter ness or to other reasons can sit aside," Mr.
Karamanlis told party cadres in Thessaloniki, adding that "all this is not
just words as some might think." Mr. Karamanlis also referred to Economic
and Monetary Union (EMU), saying that Greece's accession is an unquestionable
necessity. However, he said that what is of primary importance is
protection of citizens' security and property as well as the problems of
the economy and education.
Slovenian PM Drnovsek in Athens
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek begins an official visit to Greece
Mr. Drnovsek is scheduled to meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos,
Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis
and Athens Ma-yor Dimitris Avramopoulos.
It will be the first official visit by a Slovenian prime minister to Greece
and comes after visits by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Defence
Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to Slovenia earlier this year.
Mr. Drnovsek's visit is expected to focus on Slovenia's efforts to join the
European Union. Greece is one of the countries that has not yet ratified
the EU agreement with Slovenia but is expected to place the issue on
Parliament's agenda soon.
Kaklamanis-Kyprianou meeting in Athens
Developments over the Cyprus issue were the focus of talks on Tuesday
between the parliament presidents of Greece and Cyprus, Apostolos
Kaklamanis and Spyros Kyprianou, respectively, in Athens.
Both men reiterated that the goal of the Greek side was Cyprus's accession
to the European Union, which would facilitate a settlement of the
"The Cypus problem will not be solved in Cyprus, but primarily in
Washington, and then in London and Brussels, so efforts for (Cyprus')
accession must be directed there," Mr. Kyprianou said.
Talks on coordinated activities by the Greek and Cypriot houses will
continue during Mr. Kaklamanis' official visit to Nicosia, in the middle of
Wooden vessel crammed with Kurdish illegals intercepted off Crete
The coastguard yesterday detained 263 illegal immigrants, mostly Kurds from
Iraq, that were crammed into the hold of a Lebanese-flagged wooden fishing
Authorities were alerted by the skipper of a Greek fishing boat, who had
spotted a large number of people on the deck of the 25-metre "Santa Maria"
as it was sailing off the southwest coast of Crete.
A patrol boat located the vessel shortly afterwards.
Apart from the 263 Iraqis, including 123 children of different ages, the
coastguard arrested two Syrian nationals apparently piloting the vessel and
suspected of masterminding the smuggling operation.
According to initial reports, the "Santa Maria" sailed from a port in
Lebanon. The two Syrians and the illegal immigrants will appear before a
public prosecutor in Hania today.
Athens conference on renewable energy sources
The Athens Polytechnic will organise a conference in the Greek capital on
the subject of renewable energy sources and their application in Greece,
scheduled for Nov. 30 through Dec. 2.
The conference will be attended by Development Minister Vasso Papandreou
and EU Commissioner responsible for energy Christos Papoutsis, among
The main focus of the conference is the further introduction of renewable
energy sources in the country's energy balance and the shaping of an
integrated national strategy on development of these forms of energy.
Greek equities end higher
Greek equities ended sharply higher for the second consecutive session on
the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, reflecting strong buying activity in
banks and industrials.
The general index ended 1.71 percent higher to 2,140.39 points in heavy
turnover of 46.2 billion drachmas. Volume was 11,483,000 shares.
Traders said the market was expecting a new cut in the Bank of Greece's
intervention rate by 25 basis points soon, in line with a climate of lower
rates in the European Union.
Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 2.11 percent, Insurance fell 0.33
percent, Investment was 0.08 percent off, Leasing dropped 1.31 percent,
Industrials increased 1.82 percent, Construction fell 1.01 percent,
Miscellaneous ended 0.75 percent up and Holding jumped 2.4 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.24 percent
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 137 to 90 with another 23 issues
Interest rates decrease
Interest rates fell significantly in Tuesday's Treasury bills auction held
by the Greek finance ministry.
The average weighted rate in one year T-bills fell to 11.0 percent from
11.6 percent in the previous auction.
Primary dealers offered 450.8 billion drachmas, more than double the
original aim of 200 billion. The finance ministry finally accepted bids
totalling 228.6 billion drachmas.
The fall in T-bill rates is a favourable development for the government in
its effort to contain inflation and cut long-term yields, two major EMU
Financiers agreed that although Greek 10-year bond spreads remained high at
400 basis points above the Maastricht criterion of 6.0 percent, the
situation could be easily improved on the condition that inflation would be
contained to 2.0 percent by the end of 1999.
Long-term interest rates would then follow the decline, they said.
In the domestic secondary bond market the climate was positive.
The Greek paper market remains vulnerable to moves by foreign investors.
Experts say that bond prices could be hit again in future international
turmoil and the government would like to avoid such a prospect now that the
country has entered a final stretch towards the Maastricht criteria.
Fair weather throughout Greece today turning cloudy in the western and
northern parts of the country. Winds northerly, moderate to strong and at
times very strong in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with
temperatures from 12-22C. Fair weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures
Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.873
British pound 466.796 Japanese yen (100) 233.646
French franc 50.334 German mark 168.858
Italian lira (100) 17.053 Irish Punt 420.410
Belgian franc 8.177 Finnish mark 55.532
Dutch guilder 149.574 Danish kr. 44.364
Austrian sch. 23.992 Spanish peseta 1.987
Swedish kr. 36.188 Norwegian kr. 37.043
Swiss franc 206.182 Port. Escudo 1.645
Aus. dollar 171.715 Can. dollar 181.536
Cyprus pound 572.344