Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-11-27
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 27/11/1998 (ANA)
- Greece and Cyprus hold top-level talks in Athens
- Athens support for Italian handling of Ocalan issue
- Simitis-Klima meeting set for Dec. 2, prior to Vienna EU summit
- Greek soldiers in NATO force to be stationed in FYROM
- Central bank forecasts rapid drop in inflation
- Titan Cement in Bulgaria
- OA management contract signed between gov't, state-run carrier
- Greece to see better days under EMU, Simitis says
- Hellenic Petroleum posts 100 pct consolidated profit jump Jan-Sept
- Equities resume upward course
- GSEE: 22% of unemployed in Greece higher education graduates
- Farmer shoots dead Albanian cattle rustler
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece and Cyprus hold top-level talks in Athens
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on
Friday held talks on the Cyprus problem attended also by the leaderships of
the two countries' foreign and defence ministries.
As expected, no statements were made after the meeting concerning Nicosia's
plans to procure and install Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to
bolster the island republic's defence.
The plans have been criticised by the United States and European countries
which say it will only increase tension. Turkey has openly threatened that
it will prevent deployment of the defensive missiles.
During today's talks the two sides ascertained an escalation of Turkish
intransigence, Simitis said, citing in particular a recent proposal by
Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash for the creation of a confederation in
Simitis said neither Greece nor Cyprus had anything to gain from the
tension, but that Turkey did.
"Any defence measures taken are aimed solely at bolstering the island's
defence and ensuring the peaceful settlement of the Cyprus problem. We
remain true to the commitments we have undertaken within the framework of
the (Greece-Cyprus) joint defence doctrine," Simitis said.
Athens support for Italian handling of Ocalan issue
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that he supported Rome
extending political asylum to Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah
"Greece is in favour of political asylum being given to Mr. Ocalan," Mr.
Simitis said, adding: "Italy has handled the matter properly." Mr. Simitis
was responding to questions from the foreign press at an annual Foreign
Press Association luncheon hel d yesterday.
The prime minister was harshly critical of the Turkish reaction to the
Italian government's handling of the Ocalan issue, underlining that
European leaders had to evaluate these reactions.
He called them "intense, exaggerated and almost violent".
"(European leaders) must make clear that in relation to Turkey-EU relations
these tactics will not be allowed to pass," Mr. Simitis said.
He noted that Turkey had reacted in a similar fashion recently against the
European Union when it was left off the list of candidate-countries, acting
with the rationale of, "if we are not a chosen country there will be no
Simitis-Klima meeting set for Dec. 2, prior to Vienna EU summit
The preparation and issues at the Vienna European Council, to be held on
Dec. 11-12, will be discussed in Athens on Dec. 2 between Prime Minister
Costas Simitis and Austrian Chancellor and European Union President Viktor
The latter is touring the capitals of the remaining 14 EU member-states as
of Wednesday for the same reason.
Mr. Klima considers the employment policy, the euro and the "Agenda 2000"
as issues of primary interest at the Vienna European Council, with which
the Austrian EU presidency will be concluded.
Greek soldiers in NATO force to be stationed in FYROM
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told Parliament yesterday
that Greece would participate with a contingent of 40-45 soldiers in a N
ATO force to be stationed in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The contingent will be set up to protect more than 2,000 OSCE observers in
the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the NATO force under French command would comprise
a total of 250 troops and had nothing to do with "NATO's supposed
intervention in Kosovo" as borne out by the fact that it will be based in
Central bank forecasts rapid drop in inflation
The Bank of Greece expects a rapid fall in inflation in the first six
months of 1999 and an annual rate below 2.0 percent by the end of the
The central bank's governor, Lucas Papademos, submitting the bank's interim
report on monetary policy for 1998 to Parliament President Apostolos
Kaklamanis on Friday, said that the aim to contain inflation below 2.0
percent by the end of next year was "feasible".
Papademos noted that the issue of relaxing interest rates would be examined
by the bank's monetary council in its regular meeting in two weeks'
Kaklamanis said that the Greek people was making "unbearable" sucrifices in
anticipation of economic progress and that it was doing so without
Titan Cement in Bulgaria
Plevchem, a Cyprus-based company, has purchased a 34 percent equity stake,
worth 8.2 million US dollars, in Bulgarian cement company Pleven Cement,
based in the northern city of Pleven, Bulgaria's public works ministry said
in a statement on Friday.
Plevchem is a member of Greek cement producer Titan, which already controls
49 percent of the Bulgarian company.
Plevchem's annual production is estimated at 360,000 tonnes.
OA management contract signed between gov't, state-run carrier
Goals and guidelines for debt-ridden Olympic Airways and OA's subsidiaries
over the next five years are included in a management contract signed
yesterday by the government with the state-run companies' administrations.
Targets include an increase in revenues from an increase in passenger
volume, attraction of more affluent travellers, as well as a decrease in
expenditures through the implementation of new staff regulations.
The main directives and strategies included in the plan are the restructuring
of OA's route network, a "radical" improvement in the state-run national
air carrier's image and services, including the inclusion of new aircraft.
National Ecomony Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Transport Minister Tassos
Mantelis signed the agreement on behalf of the government.
Greece to see better days under EMU, Simitis says
Greece can expect better days following the country's entry into European
economic and monetary union (EMU) by January 1, 2001, Prime Minister Costas
Simitis said yesterday.
Addressing a Foreign Press Association luncheon, he said that the
government's policies would ensure Greece's participation in the euro, the
EU's future single currency.
"We will be able to achieve what we are seeking, as we are to some extent
doing now," Mr. Simitis said.
EMU entry would bring a 35-hour working week, transformation of the tax
system, lower taxes, a more effective employment policy, and increased
national funding to tackle unemployment, he said.
The prime minister rejected the possibility of a political deal to ensure
the country's entry into EMU: "There is no such leeway."
Hellenic Petroleum posts 100 pct consolidated profit jump Jan-Sept
The Hellenic Petroleum Group defied a slump in international oil prices to
report a spectacular 100 percent increase in its consolidated profits for
the first nine months to 32.6 billion drachmas against the same period last
The Group's chairman and managing director, Eleftherios Tzellas, told a
news conference yesterday that the results for January-September showed
that the company was achieving its business targets for the year and fully
implementing its investment programme.
The programme includes construction of a propylene unit in Thessaloniki,
which has already begun; investment in another unit nearing completion in
Komotini; and the acquisition of Mamidakis Oil on Wednesday, which has
given Hellenic Petroleum seven new storage facilities and 593 new gas
stations around the country.
Pre-tax profits of the parent company, listed Hellenic Petroleum SA, more
than doubled to 26.2 billion drachmas in January-September from 9.7 billion
Pre-tax profits of its retail subsidiary EKO-ELDA totalled 5.4 billion
drachmas and those of its research subsidiary ASPROFOS totalled 1.05
billion drachmas in the first nine months of 1998.
The group's turnover, however, fell to 523 billion drachmas from 550
billion last year, hit by a sharp fall in international oil prices in
Equities resume upward course
Greek equities resumed their upward course in Friday's slow session
following a two-day correction on the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index ended 0.95 percent up to 2,478.37 points in heavy
turnover of 62.9 billion drachmas. Volume was 14,278,000 shares.
Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 0.73 percent, Insurance fell 0.32
percent, Leasing dropped 0.65 percent, Investment soared 2.77 percent,
Construction eased 0.28 percent, Industrials ended 1.82 percent up,
Miscellaneous fell 0.49 percent and Holding increased 1.84 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.17 percent. The
FTSE/ASE 20 index rose 0.82 percent to 1,530.81.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 140 to 105 with another 18 issues
GSEE: 22% of unemployed in Greece higher education graduates
The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) Labour Institute's
director said that 22 per cent of unemployed people in Greece are
university and technical institute graduates.
Speaking at a conference on "The University and Employment" yesterday,
Savvas Robolis said that this percentage strengthens the view of those who
maintain that there must be a change in the university's orientation
towards providing vocational education and its direct linkage with the
labour market's short-term needs. Referring to the total percentage of
unemployment, he said that unemployment will increase gradually until the
year 2000, adding that according to a report by the OECD in a country with
a 10 per cent unemployment rate 6 per cent is due to the structural crisis,
2 per cent to changes in professions and 2 per cent to the relation
between the educational system and the labour market.
Farmer shoots dead Albanian cattle rustler
A stock farmer shot and killed an Albanian man and seriously wounded his
brother on Thursday after the two had stolen 70 head of cattle and were
heading for the border.
The dead man was identified as Jezin Kazo, 45. His brother, Afrim Kazo, 38,
was later found by compatriots and taken to hospital in Gyrokastr, southern
Albania where he is currently being treated.
The two Albanians from Lazarati had stolen the cattle from the Makris
brothers who have a stock farm in a mountainous region of Ioannina near the
border with Albania.
George Makris, 58, gave chase and caught up with the two Albanians as they
were herding the animals towards the border. He gave himself up to the
police late last night.
According to Makris, the Albanians had threatened him with a gun and an axe
and told him to come to Lazarati and pay them 20 million drachmas to get
the cattle back.
Makris is being held at police headquarters in Ioannina and was expected to
appear before a public prosecutor on completion of a preliminary investigation
being conducted by the Greek and Albanian police.
Meanwhile, the police and army have stepped up patrols in the area, fearing
possible reprisals from relatives of the dead Albania.
Cloudy and wet throughout Greece on Friday. Winds variable, moderate to
strong. Light rain in Athens where temperatures will range between 11-16C,
turning to storms late in the evening. Similar weather in Thessaloniki
where temperatures will be from 8-12C.
Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.891
British pound 470.188 Japanese yen (100) 232.029
French franc 49.646 German mark 166.458
Italian lira (100) 16.811 Irish Punt 413.664
Belgian franc 8.069 Finnish mark 54.794
Dutch guilder 147.669 Danish kr. 43.787
Austrian sch. 23.674 Spanish peseta 1.958
Swedish kr. 34.760 Norwegian kr. 37.763
Swiss franc 201.669 Port. Escudo 1.625
Aus. dollar 180.827 Can. dollar 186.278
Cyprus pound 563.456