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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-03

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 03/05/1999 (ANA)


  • Civilian casualties drives home need for diplomacy
  • Greece as safe as any European country - Athens
  • Greek govt, businesses meet on Balkans reconstruction
  • PM Simitis still the best option, poll shows
  • Former conservative premier agrees Simitis best choice
  • British vacationers undeterred by neighbourhood conflict
  • Greek image to get one billion drachma face-lift
  • Greek equities surge on peace hopes
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


Civilian casualties drives home need for diplomacy

Greece on Monday said the bombing of a bus by a NATO warplane in Kosovo in which at least 34 people died was "the sole consequence" of war and should make more imperative the need to find a diplomatic solution. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas expressed grief for the victims of Saturday's attack on the bus full of civilians as it crossed a bridge 20 km. north of Pristina, but stressed that "we should not merely restrict ourselves to such expression". At the same time, Reppas described as "a very positive act" Yugoslavia's decision to release three US soldiers held captive for 32 days. The three were released on Sunday on the orders of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Greece as safe as any European country - Athens

Greece is at the same level as other European Union countries with respect to security and public order, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Monday when asked to comment on a US State Department report on extremism worldwide. Reppas added that "others" were also working in Greece within the framework of international conventions aimed at combatting terrorism. "Therefore," the spokesman said, "the issue of effectiveness is not a matter which concerns exclusively the Greek authorities."

Greek govt, businesses meet on Balkans reconstruction

National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou today anticipated that the Yugoslav crisis was "nearing its end", and called on Greek businessmen to coordinate their efforts to preserve the Greek presence in the Balkans. He also said during a meeting with Greek businesspeople that Greece would seek reparations from the EU for the losses suffered by the economy due to the war. The two sides decided during the meeting to set up an "action team" to coordinate the participation of Greek enterprises in the reconstruction of Serbia, initially, and the wider region. Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) president Jason Stratos said the action team would be reinforced at technical level.

PM Simitis still the best option, poll shows

Prime Minister Costas Simitis is still the top choice for premier of the country, according to an opinion poll published today in the mass circulation afternoon daily Ta Nea. Simitis was polled the most adequate person for premier with 36.6 percent against 33.9 percent for main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis. The poll, conducted by V.PRC, said 64 percent of those questioned believed the PASOK government will complete its 4-year term in office regardless of the results of Europarliament elections scheduled in June. The poll showed that 25.6 percent considered the government's performance as satisfactory, up from 13.8 percent in a similar V.PRC poll in January, while the premier's popularity also jumped some 20 percentage points to 45.1 percent.

Former conservative premier agrees Simitis best choice

Prime Minister Costas Simitis got kudos from an unexpected quarter on Monday, when former conservative prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis praised him for being the best prime minister the ruling socialists could provide. "Mr. Simitis is the best PASOK has and as a prime minister he has many pluses," Mitsotakis said in an interview, published in Athens daily Ta Nea. However, Mitsotakis added, Simitis has failed to convince he can handle crisis situations. "He stalls, gets into difficulty and many times fails...but I can't see who in PASOK would be in a position to do any better," he said. Mitsotakis also had praise for Simitis's policies and, deflecting criticism that his praise was inappropriate for the honorary president of conservative opposition New Democracy, said: "I am not anybody's lieutenant. I want the right policies to be applied and it is this that I will support.

British vacationers undeterred by neighbourhood conflict

No war in the neighbourhood is going to stop the British from their annual holiday in the Greek sun and the arrival of 1,600 Britons at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport on Monday is proof positive of that. The six charter flights which arrived in Thessaloniki on Monday were a good omen for the region's tourist industry, which is concerned that NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia will undercut a steadily growing industry. Tourist agents in northern Greece say that the number of British holidaymakers due up to October are in line with last year's figures and that there have been no cancellations. The Germans were also coming in similar numbers; 1,000 had arrived last weeek and another 2,000 were expected on Thursday.

Greek image to get one billion drachma face-lift

Greece's Press and Media Ministry has allocated one billion drachmas for a 12-month campaign aimed at changing the perceptions of Greece overseas, a ministry official said on Monday. "The aim of the campaign is to create a favourable climate which will allow us to pursue our national interests," ministry secretary-general Yiannis Nikolaou told participants at a conference for expatriate Greek media in Thessaloniki. The press ministry's information campaign will be directed to policy makers in the U.S., Germany, Britain and France, as well as other countries.

Greek equities surge on peace hopes

Equity prices soared to new records on Monday reflecting market's confidence over a diplomatic solution to the Yugoslav crisis. Traders said the market had already discounted positive developments in Kosovo in the previous week. Fresh capital massively entered the market as investors, who remained on the sidelines in recent weeks, rushed in to position themselves in an optimistic market. The general index ended 188.91 points, or 5.22 percent higher to a new record of 3,806.33 points, surpassing its previous record of 3,774.29 from March 19. It was the 23rd record this year. Analysts said the breaking of the 3,800 level opened the way to reach the historic level of 4,000 this year. Turnover was 157.304 billion drachmas and volume 31,560,261 shares.


The weather today is expected to be warm, humid and sunny with local cloud in the west, centre and north of the country increasing. Showers are possible in the north and northeast. Winds southerly mild to moderate. Warm and humid in Athens with temperatures ranging from 16C to 31C. Same in Thessaloniki with a light cloud and temperatures ranging from 13C to 30C.


Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          308.332
Pound sterling       497.147
Japanese yen (100)   257.701
French franc          49.666
German mark          166.574
Italian lira (100)    16.826
Irish Punt           413.668
Belgian franc          8.076
Luxembourg franc       8.076
Finnish mark          54.794
Dutch guilder        147.837
Danish kr.            43.974
Austrian sch.         23.676
Spanish peseta         1.958
Swedish kr.           36.682
Norwegian kr.         39.588
Swiss franc          202.837
Port. Escudo           1.625
Aus. dollar          203.208
Can. dollar          210.329
Cyprus pound         563.947
Euro                 326.767
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