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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-05-15

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, 15/05/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Athens dismisses Turkish reaction to newly-weds' plans
  • Sofia meeting urges inviolability of borders in Balkans
  • Papandreou to visit FYROM, Albania next week
  • Bombs explode at Athens tax office
  • Greece sends emissary to China
  • PM Simitis speaks with Finnish counterpart on Kosovo
  • Ruling socialists announce Europarliament ticket
  • New Commission president Prodi due in Athens
  • Archbishop Christodoulos scathing of 'hypocrisy'
  • Business must help anti-inflation drive
  • Renewed interest in construction pushes bourse up
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Athens dismisses Turkish reaction to newly-weds' plans

Athens on Friday dismissed Turkey's reaction to reports of a plan by a Greek couple to marry and settle on a Greek islet in the eastern Aegean. "Greece's positions on the Aegean are well-known and remain steadfast. The Greek government safeguards national interests. In any case, a wedding cannot constitute ground for political discussion and even more so, a field for creating problems," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said. The reports, aired by several Greek TV channels, said the couple planned to marry and settle on the islet of Plati, located between the Greek islands of Kalymnos and Pserimos in the Dodecanese chain. Earlier, a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman in Ankara had charged that Greece was aiming to change the status of geographical formations in the Aegean

Sofia meeting urges inviolability of borders in Balkans

Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his counterparts from Bulgaria, Nadezhda Mihailova, and Romania, Andrei Plesu, on Friday expressed support for a political and peaceful solution to the Kosovo conflict based on recent proposals by the G8 foreign ministers, during talks held at the "Starkelovo Gnezhdo" resort near Sofia. Addressing reporters after the meeting, Bulgarian foreign ministry spokesman Ratko Vlajkov said the three ministers underlined the need for the inviolability of existing borders in the Balkans to be honoured both at present and in the future.

Papandreou to visit FYROM, Albania next week

Foreign Minister George Papandreou will visit the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania next week, to be followed by visits to Moscow, Washington and Beijing. The tour is part of efforts to promote a political - diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis. On Tuesday he is also due to meet French counterpart Hubert Vedrine in Paris. Greece is convening an international conference on the humanitarian problem resulting from the Kosovo crisis in Thessaloniki next month. Mr. Papandreou has said that European Union member-states, the US and Russia have agreed to the convening of the conference and that China might also be invited, along with representatives of the United Nations, the European Commission and international non-governmental organisations.

Bombs explode at Athens tax office

Two home-made explosive devices comprising a number of camping gas cannisters and gasoline exploded at a tax office on Friday evening near Omonia square, central Athens. According to police reports there were two simultaneous explosions on the third and fourth floors of the tax office, caused by two incendiary devices. Office doors and the stairwell were damaged but no one was injured. The fire was quickly extinguished by the fire brigade.

Greece sends emissary to China

A special emissary of Foreign Minister George Papandreou left for Beijing on Friday to deliver a message from Papandreou to his Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan. The emissary, Sotiris Mousouris, will meet with senior Chinese government and foreign ministry officials on the need to strengthens diplomatic efforts for a political settlement in Kosovo. Mousouris, a former assistant to the UN secretary-general, will emphasise the need for the involvement in this process of the UN Security Council, of which China is a permanent member.

PM Simitis speaks with Finnish counterpart on Kosovo

The government said that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had been in telephone contact on Friday with his Finnish counterpart, Paavo Lipponen, concerning onging efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated that Greece was in favour of a peaceful settlement to the crisis and was of the view that a political solution should be sought within the framework of UN resolutions and initiatives such as the G8 draft peace agreement. Finland's president, Martti Ahtisaari, has recently come to the fore as a possible leading mediator in efforts aimed at a peaceful settlement of the crisis. Finland assumes the rotating EU presidency on July 1 but is not a NATO member.

Ruling socialists announce Europarliament ticket

Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced on Friday the ruling socialists' ticket for next month's European Parliament elections and said it aimed at providing continuity and renewal. Heading the ruling party's list is present European Parliament deputy and university professor Dimitris Tsatsos and MP Yiannis Souladakis. A total of four PASOK EuroMPs are up for re-election to the Parliament. Also on the list are Deputy National Economy Minister Alekos Baltas and the former head of Greenpeace's office in Greece, Ilias Efthymiopoulos. European Parliament elections will be held across Europe June 10-13 for the 626-member assembly.

New Commission president Prodi due in Athens

New European Commission president Romano Prodi is expected in Athens on Monday to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and opposition party leaders. Government sources said Prodi and Simitis would discuss selection criteria for new commissioners. No final decision however is expected on who will be Greece's new commissioner. The sources said that the new commissioner would be named after European Parliament elections in mid- June.

Archbishop Christodoulos scathing of 'hypocrisy'

Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece on Friday launched a stinging attack on NATO, using the example of Cyprus to accuse the Alliance of double standards and hypocrisy. Addressing a congregation in the Church of Aghios Nikolaos in Alexandroupoli, a port in north-east Greece near the border with Turkey, Christodoulos referred to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia saying: "This relentless supposed implementation of international law, is unfortunately quite selective. In one case they show sensitivity while in another, insensitivity - at the expense of human values."

Business must help anti-inflation drive

A number of business sectors could lower their profit margins to help in an effort to achieve the inflation criterion this year, Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Friday. Speaking to reporters following a meeting with National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Venizelos said he expected oil prices to fall and that inflation was an issue for everyone in the market. He noted that "reducing labour cost per unit product has contributed to a fall in inflation." Venizelos said that the government would seek reaffirmation, on a daily basis, of a "gentlemen's agreement" between the ministry and Greek businessmen to contain prices.

Renewed interest in construction pushes bourse up

Equity prices ended a volatile week higher on Friday supported by strong buying interest for construction shares and smaller capitalisation stocks. The general index ended 0.89 percent higher to 4,032.22 points, off the day's highs. Traders said the market easily remained around the 4,000 level because of a current high liquidity and positive prospects for the construction sector. The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.81 percent higher. Although volatility was subdued in the last trading session of the week a total of 91 issues ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

WEATHER

Fair in most parts of Greece on Sunday but becoming gradually cloudy over the mainland in the early evening with rain and local storms in the northern Ionian, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. Some local fog early in the morning. Winds westerly, light to moderate. Athens fair, with temperatures ranging from 17-34C. Generally fair in Thessaloniki but possibility of showers in the evening, temperatures from 15-28C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Friday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          303.294
Pound sterling       490.822
Japanese yen (100)   249.686
French franc          49.208
German mark          165.038
Italian lira (100)    16.671
Irish Punt           409.855
Belgian franc          8.002
Luxembourg franc       8.002
Finnish mark          54.289
Dutch guilder        146.475
Danish kr.            43.440
Austrian sch.         23.458
Spanish peseta         1.940
Swedish kr.           36.055
Norwegian kr.         39.323
Swiss franc          201.674
Port. Escudo           1.610
Can. dollar          207.526
Aus. dollar          202.348
Cyprus pound         559.190
Euro                 322.787
(S.S.)
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