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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-02-05

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, 05/02/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • 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
  • Weather
  • 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 weekend.

"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 NATO's backing.

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 their birthplace".

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 Parthenon Marbles.

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 programme .

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 Greece.

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 social insurance.

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 higher.

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 Plc.

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.

WEATHER

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.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

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

(C.E.)


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