Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-02-05
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 05/02/1999 (ANA)
- Greece to join Kosovo peace force if Paris accord reached
- Apostolakis predicts continuing crises emanating from Ankara
- Euro-MP arrives in Athens for talks on Parthenon Marbles
- Samothrace mayor wants 'Winged Victory' back
- Spyridon visit to Athens
- Hunting issue raised by groups
- Papantoniou confident of Greece's EMU accession
- Athens Chamber asks gov't to step up economic reform
- Sanyocom becomes OTEnet's Internet rep
- Spending on media advertising rises 24.21 pct in January
- Stocks edge down in technical correction
- Mutual fund assets rise in January report
- UK firms to take part in Infacoma trade fair
- Alumyl Mylonas to form joint venture with Egyptian firm
- Private construction activity increases
- Ionian Bank to facilitate environment-friendly investments
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece to join Kosovo peace force if Paris accord reached
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that Greece would join an
international peacekeeping force in the troubled Yugoslav province of
Kosovo if the two parties involved agreed after talks in France this
"If there is agreement between the two parties then Greece will take part,"
Mr. Simitis said after talks yesterday with NATO Secretary General Javier
Solana, which focused on Kosovo.
The premier said he had reiterated to Mr. Solana Greece's positions in
favour of a political settlement of the crisis in the Yugoslav province of
Kosovo and underlined the importance of agreement being reached between the
parties to the conflict.
Mr. Simitis reiterated Athens' position that the solution which should be
sought is the one which respects existing borders, and expressed opposition
to any ideas in favour of independence for the province.
He added, however, that wide-ranging autonomy should be granted to Kosovo
similar to that the province enjoyed in the past.
Any military intervention in Kosovo demands "legally valid procedures"
which the Greek side believes will not be secured without the consent of
the parties directly involved, Mr. Simitis said.
Mr. Simitis expressed Greece's full support for the Rambouillet talks which
are scheduled to begin on Saturday. In view of the fact that the Balkans is
a region which continues to be characterised by great fluidity, he added,
"a special effort should be made so that principles are adopted and
implemented which will guarantee peace and security."
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Simitis said he had also
discussed international developments, NATO's new strategy and structure and
confidence-building measures (CBMs) in the Aegean.
Expressing satisfaction at his talks with Mr. Simitis, Mr. Solana said the
international community had undertaken peace initiatives to find a
diplomatic solution to the Kosovo problem and the Rambouillet talks had
In reply to questions about CBMs in the Aegean, Mr. Simitis said talks were
still in progress and progress had been made on some points. Expressing the
view that the talks will at some point bring the required result, he
stressed that patience was needed.
Mr. Solana too said that some progress had been made and that talks would
continue. He observed that the imminent adoption of NATO's new command
structure in itself constituted a confidence-building measure.
The NATO chief said the recent decision by Cyprus President Glafcos
Clerides not to deploy Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on the divided
island contributed to efforts on CBMs.
Apostolakis predicts continuing crises emanating from Ankara
Deputy National Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis predicted that the
Turkish regime will continue to follow its own solitary path, creating or
stirring up crises with Greece.
Mr. Apostolakis made his assessment on Greek-Turkish relations in an
interview with the monthly defence magazine "Defence and Diplomacy", while
at the same time referring to the armed forces' new structure, measures
concerning the improvement of conditi ons for permanent staff and training.
He also took the opportunity to call on Turkey to change its attitude and
function as a state of law.
Mr. Apostolakis said that the introduction of new systems in the country's
arsenal differentiates the structure of forces and increases the armed
forces' effectiveness in confronting the Turkish threat.
Commenting on the programme for the creation of new modern units, Mr.
Apostolakis said that the high cost of creating them will secure the
compression of expenditures in the depth of time and at the same time there
will be better operational functioning for the armed forces.
Euro-MP arrives in Athens for talks on Parthenon Marbles
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday expressed his gratitude to
visiting British Eurodeputy Alfred Lomas as well as to other Euro-MPs for
"holding up high the banner for return of the Parthenon Marbles".
Mr. Venizelos said intense pressure was exercised worldwide on Britain and
that "all this is understood by Tony Blair's government, which sees British
public opinion in favour of the return of the Marbles, politically, this is
the most significant argument," Mr. Venizelos concluded.
Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos said yesterday that all indications
pointed to the materialisation of the request for the return by Britain of
the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
"All efforts regarding the Parthenon Marbles must be based on optimism,
good reasoning and a correct strategy and all indications are pointing to
the materialisation of the request sometime", Mr. Avramopoulos said after
meeting with the British Euro-MP.
Mr. Avramopoulos called Mr. Lomas an important personality of the European
Parliament, "fighting his own battle with reliable arguments to achieve the
dream of all civilised people for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to
Mr. Lomas, is played a key role in lobbying for a petition signed on Jan.
15 by 339 Eurodeputies for the return of the Parthenon friezes.
Samothrace mayor wants 'Winged Victory' back
The mayor of the small northeastern Aegean island of Samothrace yesterday
reiterated the issue of returning the "Winged Victory" statue back to the
island, in a letter to EU Commission Christos Papoutsis.
Georgios Hanos requested the aid of the Commission and the Europarliament
for the repatriation of the 190 BC head-less statue, as in the case of the
According to a Reuters dispatch from Paris, Louvre spokesman Christophe
Monin rejected the demand, saying "we have not been notified, as far as we
are concerned this demand does not exist."
At present the statue is displayed at the museum's main staircase.
Spyridon visit to Athens
Archbishop of America Spyridon will visit Athens next week, aimed at
developing cooperation and stable relations between Athens and expatriate
Hellenism, according to a statement he made to the Archdiocese's radio
Talks between Spyridon and members of the government will focus on
cooperation with Greece for the improvement of education in the US to
secure the viability of the Greek language and the question of more
frequent contact between the new Greek generation with the motherland, as
well as the exchange of visits between young people in the US and
Hunting issue raised by groups
The heads of the Greek Ornithological Society (EOE) and the Greek Centre
for Treating Wild Animals and Birds (EKPAZP) detailed yesterday the
situation created to date from hunting, poaching and recent conflicting
decisions by the Council of State and the agriculture ministry on the
hunting of migratory birds in February.
EOE director Costas Vassilakis commented on the Council of State's decision
to ban the hunting of 18 migratory birds to their locations of reproduction
in February and the ministry's decision immediately afterwards to revoke
the council of State's decision.
"It is a joke made in bad taste. The ministry ignored the Council of State
because of pressure exerted by a small but armed minority," he said.
Hunters have already proposed the amendment of the Directive on the
Protection of Wild Birds, while the start to a European campaign has been
announced to collect two million signatures with the purpose of preventing
the amendment of the directive and to request the removal from the hunting
list of those whose numbers are showing a serious decrease in Europe.
The reason for the campaign was the submission at the European Parliament
of 1.5 million signatures by French, Spanish, Italian and Greek hunters who
requested hunting to be free from July until February.
Papantoniou confident of Greece's EMU accession
National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday stressed that he
was certain of Greece's accession to the Economic Monetary Union (EMU) on
Jan. 1, 2001.
During his address at the "Active Citizens' Movement", the minister said
the accession to EMU will be an event of greater historical value than
Greece's accession to the European Economic Community, since "it is the
product of a national effort."
The minister, however, expressed concern over the impact of a slackening of
the effort for accession.
Athens Chamber asks gov't to step up economic reform
The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a report yesterday that
the government needed to step up changes it is bringing about in the
economy, including fiscal revitalisation, tax reform, and an overhaul of
The country would not be fully prepared to enter the 15-nation European
Nation in 2001. Therefore complacency should be avoided and pre-election
concessions avoided, Chamber president Yiannis Papathanasiou told a
presentation for the six-monthly report.
At the same time, Greece's EMU entry was likely in 2001 due to a positive
political climate in the EU, Mr. Papathanasiou said.
Sanyocom becomes OTEnet's Internet rep
Sanyocom, a subsidiary of Sanyo Hellas Holdings, yesterday became the
commercial representative of Internet services and products for OTEnet, the
state telecom's Internet provider.
Sanyocom is already the commercial representative of Cosmote, the Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation's mobile phone subsidiary.
In 1998, Sanyocom contributed 3.0 billion drachmas in turnover to the Sanyo
Hellas' consolidated sales.
Spending on media advertising rises 24.21 pct in January
Spending on media advertising nationwide rose by 24.21 percent in January
to 28.8 billion drachmas against the same month of last year, Media
Services SA said in a report released yesterday.
The monthly report showed that television commercials again accounted for
the lion's share of spending, totalling 11.7 billion drachmas, or 40.80
percent of the market.
Ranking second was spending on advertisements in magazines at 10.4 billion
drachmas, or 36.06 percent of the market.
Newspapers and radio stations followed with spending totalling 5.3 billion
drachmas and 1.3 billion drachmas respectively.
The products or services that drew the biggest spending were Bodyline,
Eleftherotypia, Hyundai, Silhouette and Johnnie Walker.
Stocks edge down in technical correction
Equities ended yesterday's session slightly lower reversing a seven-day
record rally on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Traders said the market finally succumbed to profit-taking after several
unsuccessful attempts to stage a downward correction.
The general index ended 0.39 percent off at 3,293.21 points after gaining
13.32 percent in the previous seven sessions.
Turnover was 147.5 billion drachmas and volume 23,906,102 shares.
Sector indices were mixed.
Banks fell 0.08 percent, Leasing rose 0.64 percent, Insurance eased 1.93
percent, Investment dropped 0.82 percent, Construction jumped 3.85 percent,
Industrials fell 1.65 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.37 percent up and
Holding rose 0.91 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.10 percent
National Bank of Greece ended at 20,600 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 37,
600, Ergobank at 25,550, Ionian Bank at 18,000, Titan Cement 23,850,
Hellenic Petroleum at 2,290, Intracom at 15,700, Minoan Lines at 7,305,
Panafon at 10,080 and Hellenic Telecoms at 8,460.
Mutual fund assets rise in January report
The net assets of domestic mutual funds in January increased by 248.18
billion drachmas, or 2.76 percent, to 9,250.86 billion drachmas, Ionian
Bank said in a report released yesterday.
The net assets of growth funds rose 23.50 percent in January, while fixed-
income and money market mutual funds' assets increased 1.54 percent,
Ionian's monthly report said.
On the other hand, the net assets of foreign investment funds dropped 10.07
percent in the same month.
The report said that January's total mutual fund assets accounted for 49.73
percent of all drachma private deposits reported in November 1998.
UK firms to take part in Infacoma trade fair
Companies from the UK are to take part in Infacoma 99, a construction and
building materials trade fair to be held in Thessaloniki on February 10-12,
the British Embassy's press office said in a statement yesterday.
The companies are Baxi Air Management, Chapman Taylor Partners, Cotech (UK)
Ltd, Geo Robson & Co Ltd, Holt JCB Ltd, Idenden International-Evode Ltd,
Kalon Group, Plashapes, Rycroft, SGB International, Skylon and Tensid UK
In addition, twenty four companies including those taking part in the trade
fair will visit Athens on 8-10 February for trade contacts. They are from
the construction, medical and car accessories sectors.
Further details on the companies are available from the embassy's
commercial section on 7272637.
Alumyl Mylonas to form joint venture with Egyptian firm
Alumyl Mylonas announced yesterday that it had signed an agreement with
Eipal of Egypt, an aluminium firm, to set up a joint venture.
The Greek firm is to have a 51 percent stake in the venture, a factory that
is to launch operations in 2000.
Private construction activity increases
Private construction activity in Greece increased by 0.4 per cent in
November 1998 compared to November 1997, the National Statistics Service
(ESYE) announced yesterday.
In addition, overall private construction activity increased by 7.2 per
cent in November 1998 from October 1998.
Private activity for the first 11 months of 1998 rose by a significant 9.3
per cent year-on-year, as Attica led the country with 14.1 per cent,
followed by Macedonia with 11.9 per cent.
Activity was reported as decreasing in central Greece and Evia by 7.8 per
cent, and Aegean islands by 4.4 per cent.
Ionian Bank to facilitate environment-friendly investments
Ionian Bank has announced a cooperation agreement with the European
Investment Fund for promotion in Greece of the "Development and Environment"
funding programme, which aims to orient and facilitate businesses towards
investments friendly to the environm ent.
The scheme exclusively concerns new investments in fixed capital and
equipment, which aims either at direct environmental benefits (savings in
energy or natural resources, soil or water protection, restriction of
contamination etc), or to the developm ent of productive equipment which
can be used for the protection of the environment and the manufacturing of
products with environmental characteristics.
The programme is addressed to small and medium sized enterprises which
employ up to 100 people. The funding ceiling is one million euros (336
million drachmas) and the minimum five million drachmas. The repayment
period is between three and 10 years.
Overcast weather is forecast in most parts of Greece today with scattered
rain in the east and south. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Mostly
sunny in Athens with temperatures ranging between 2-13C. Overcast in
Thessaloniki with temperatures from 0-10C.
Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.166
Pound sterling 463.581 Japanese yen (100) 249.428
French franc 48.642 German mark 163.136
Italian lira (100) 16.478 Irish Punt 405.132
Belgian franc 7.909 Finnish mark 53.663
Dutch guilder 144.786 Danish kr. 42.908
Austrian sch. 23.187 Spanish peseta 1.918
Swedish kr. 35.849 Norwegian kr. 36.906
Swiss franc 199.070 Port. Escudo 1.591
Aus. dollar 181.114 Can. dollar 187.706
Cyprus pound 549.568