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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-08-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 28/08/1999 (ANA)


  • Greek, FYROM premiers meet in Prespes
  • Cabinet approves Dr 15 trillion development plan
  • EU presidency briefed on Greek initiative backing aid to Turkey
  • Gov't: No change in financial protocol veto
  • Greek navy chief in Turkey
  • More aid on way to Turkey
  • Greek-Albanian economic cooperation committee to convene in October
  • Papazoi: 'Cultural Olympics' to be held in ancient Olympia
  • New Archbishop of America Dimitrios to be enthroned on Sept. 18
  • Farmer's honesty rewarded by grateful emigrant
  • Letters by Greek personalities discovered in Vienna
  • Athens Derivatives Exchange officially launched
  • Bourse ends historic week
  • Offer of tax-free bonds
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Greek, FYROM premiers meet in Prespes

The prime ministers of Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) met briefly in the northern town of Florina on Saturday to discuss ties between the two countries.

On the agenda for the meeting lasting several minutes between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his FYROM counterpart, Ljupco Georgievski, were expanding bilateral economic and trade links and attaining Balkan peace and stability.

At the same time, the two leaders avoided broaching sensitive issues due to the brief duration of the meeting and the fact that presidential elections will be held in FYROM on October 31, a Greek diplomatic source said.

Also present at the meeting held in Florina's archaeological museum were Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his FYROM counterpart, Aleksandar Dimitrov.

After the talks, Simitis told reporters that the two countries were on very good terms, which, as neighbours, they should maintain. He added that he hoped bilateral problems would have a positive outcome.

The premier also said that ties between Greece and FYROM could act as a paradigm for relations between countries in the Balkans.

Georgievski, who described the talks as "ideal", commented that recent problems in the bilateral economic sector would very soon be overcome, creating a framework for Greek companies to invest in FYROM.

The two premiers were in Florina to attend an annual arts festival held in nearby Prespes.

On Saturday evening, they were due to attend a concert by renowned Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis to be staged on an islet in one of the Prespes lakes.

After the concert, Simitis is expected to become the first of 200 signatories to a proposal that Theodorakis should receive the Nobel Peace Prize this year.

Georgievski was quoted as saying that the foreign ministers of Greece and FYROM should promote a conservation effort for the lakes in Prespes, which span the border between the two countries.

Cabinet approves Dr 15 trillion development plan

The cabinet endorsed a regional development plan worth 15 trillion drachmas for projects spanning 2000 to 2006, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Friday.

"The face of Greece will continue to change at a very rapid pace. Its development potential will receive major reinforcement, citizens will find themselves in a better position, and the country will gain fresh vitality," Mr. Simitis told reporters after the five-hour cabinet meeting.

Approved was the allocation of funds for the plan, which the government will submit to the European Union for endorsement. Financing is expected from the EU's third Community Support Framework.

The total of 15 trillion drachmas envisages 12.5 trillion from the state and the EU, pending approval, and an anticipated 2.5 trillion drachmas from the private sector.

Mr. Simitis said the programme gave priority to upgrading human resources (education, combatting unemployment etc), infrastructure (major public works), industry, technology and trade.

Also of importance were boosting competitiveness in agriculture, improving the quality of life for the public, and bringing information technology to the private and public sectors.

The prime minister underlined the importance of the private sector taking part in the projects, especially in sectors like tourism.

Deputy National Economy Minister Christos Pahtas told reporters that of the 12.5 trillion drachmas expected from the state and EU, 4.7 trillion had been allocated to basic infrastructure, of which 3.4 trillion would be absorbed by the environment and public works ministry, and 1.2 trillion by the transport ministry.

Human resources had been allocated more than 2.0 trillion drachmas, agriculture 1.35 trillion drachmas, and the environment 1.0 trillion drachmas.

Remaining funds are destined for health and welfare, energy, manafacturing- services etc.

Again of the 12.5 trillion drachma total, the sectors of development, human resources and quality of life had received a third each, Mr. Pahtas added.

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told the Athens News Agency that a key aspect of the development plan was to help complete major infrastructure works underway.

The projects are the Egnatia Way, the Patras-Thessaloniki motorway, metro networks for Athens and Thessaloniki, the Rio-Andirrio bridge link, and modernisation of the railways.

EU presidency briefed on Greek initiative backing aid to Turkey

Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday addressed a letter to his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen, informing her of a Greek initiative to press for Commission support to quake-stricken Turkey.

Finland currently holds the six-month European Union rotating presidency.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Papandreou briefed the Finnish minister over the Greek proposal, set to be presented at the Council of Foreign Ministers' meeting, scheduled for Sept. 4 in Finland.

According to reports, Mr. Papandreou also contacted Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem over the proposal.

The same reports noted that Mr. Cem thanked Mr. Papandreou for Greece's help to date in confronting the Aug. 17 disaster.

Gov't: No change in financial protocol veto

The Greek government reiterated yesterday that its policy concerning the long-standing veto of a European Union financial protocol to Turkey had not changed. Athens insists that Ankara must first improve its human rights record and abandon its often aggressive stance towards Greece before it considers lifting its veto of the EU funds allocated to Turkey.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stressed, however, that Athens would help to ensure that the EU supports Turkey financially.

He added that the country would also continue to contribute humanitarian aid, medical supplies and rescue teams to its quake-stricken neighbour.

Greek navy chief in Turkey

Hellenic Navy Chief of Staff Vice-Adm. Georgios Ioannidis was applauded in Ankara yesterday during a ceremony where he presented a commemorative plaque to his outgoing Turkish counterpart, Adm. Sa lim Dervisoglu.

The Greek naval chief will remain in Turkey as an official guest until Aug. 29.

More aid on way to Turkey

Aegean Minister Stavros Benos yesterday announced that his ministry will coordinate efforts of local governments and non-gevernmental organisations of the Aegean archipelago in providing aid to Turkey.

Finally, the regional administration of eastern Macedonia and Thrace has begun to collect aid for Turkey.

According to officials, Turkish authorities have already contacted and provided a list of needs for the regional administration closest to Turkey.

Greek-Albanian economic cooperation committee to convene in October

A Greek-Albanian economic cooperation committee will convene in Athens in October, the national economy ministry announced yesterday.

The announcement marks a further step in the improvement of bilateral relations following Prime Minister Costas Simitis' one-day visit to Tirana on Tuesday, during which two cooperation protocols were signed.

The ministry said the convening of the economic cooperation committee had been agreed by both countries.

Papazoi: 'Cultural Olympics' to be held in ancient Olympia

Culture Minister Elisabeth Papazoi reiterated yesterday from Thessaloniki that ancient Olympia will host the "Cultural Olympics".

Ms Papazoi, on a two-day visit in the northern Greek city, said the organisation of the first Cultural Olympics, as well as those to follow, will be undertaken by Greece with the support of UNESCO and the International Olympics Committee.

She added that Culture Olympic offices will also be established in Thessaloniki.

Finally, Ms Papazoi said progress has been made in the negotiations for the purchase of the Kostaki collection of Russian avant-garde art, which will be housed in the Thessaloniki Contemporary Art Museum.

New Archbishop of America Dimitrios to be enthroned on Sept. 18

Newly elected Archbishop of America Dimitrios will be enthroned on Sept. 18 at a ceremony at the Patriarchate of Constantinople, located in the Fanar district of Istanbul. Former Archbishop Iakovos will officiate at the relevant event.

Dimitrios stressed that he will attempt to instill a climate of cooperation, unity and peace among the Greek Orthodox faithful of America.

Regarding his relationship with former Archbishop Spyridon, he termed it excellent.

Farmer's honesty rewarded by grateful emigrant

A retired farmer who found a wallet containing a small fortune at the side of the road on Friday was suitably rewarded by the grateful owner, a Greek emigrant to the United States.

George Symeonidis, 73, from Trilofo, Pieria was travelling to Katerini with his 40-year-old son this morning when he noticed a small black object at the side of the road.

The object turned out to be a leather wallet containing 12,360 US dollars, 200,000 drachmas, two gold chains, two gold rings and various personal documents.

Symeonidis handed the wallet in to the police who contacted the owner, Theodoros Yiannasimidis, 61, a resident of Boston, USA who was staying at the village of Ano Aghios Ioannis, Pieria.

Overcome by gratitude, Yiannasimidis warmly thanked Symeonidis and gave him 1,000 dollars as a reward.

Symeonidis was unable to speak due to a recent throat operation to remove a polyp.

When asked by reporters what went through his mind when he found the wallet, Symeonidis' wife, Maria, replied:

"How can you spend such a fortune? Whoever lost it needed it. In any case, all his papers were in the wallet."

Letters by Greek personalities discovered in Vienna

A researcher here has discovered several previously unknown letters by Greek personalities dating back to the early 19th century, before the Greek War of Independence.

During recent research in Johannes Wolfgang Goethe's collection of 2,000 letters and handwritten documents, Vienna University Prof. Polychronis Enepekidis discovered the letters written by several Greek scholars.

The collection included letters by Adamantios Korai, Ioannis Kapodistrias, Andreas Mustoxidis and Ugo Foskolos; it also included Goethe's traslations of Greek folk songs into German.

Athens Derivatives Exchange officially launched

Greek capital markets made a big step towards maturity on Friday with the official launch of the Athens Derivatives Exchange (ADEX).

The new futures and options market is initially aimed to big institutional investors and hopes to attract significant foreign capital.

ADEX chairman, L. Alexakis, stressed that the new market would operate as a supplement to the main market and that it would contribute to upgrade Greek capital markets internationally.

The first trading session of the derivatives market closed with a volume of 602 contracts, worth 3.4 billion drachmas slightly exceeding market makers' predictions for a value below three billion drachmas.

September futures, the nearest month, accounted for three quarters of the volume with 444 contracts. October and December futures covered the rest with 148 and 10 contracts respectively. November, March and June did not trade.

Analysts expect that traded contracts would exceed 5,000 by the time the ADEX was fully operational.

Bourse ends historic week

Equity prices ended the last trading session of a historic week with small gains unable to hold above the 5,200 record level.

The general index ended 0.42 percent higher at 5,144.01 points reversing an early decline.

Turnover was a massive 316.017 billion drachmas with 42,734,477 shares changing hands.

Dealers said the market was trying to find new support levels before its next attempt to break into new record territory next week.

The Bank sector underperformed the market to end 1.82 percent lower hit by profit taking. Other sector indices ended as follows: Leasing (+0.70 pct), Insurance (+0.36 pct), Investment (+1.29 pct), Construction (+7.27 pct), Industrials (+1.72 pct), Miscellaneous (+2.05 pct) and Holding (+3.04 pct).

The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 3.90 percent higher while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.91 percent lower at 2,801.87 points.

Broadly, advancers led decliners by 235 to 63 with another four issues unchanged.

A total of 64 stocks ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

Egnatia Bank and Mytilineos were the most heavily traded stocks.

Unisoft shares jumped 99 percent in the first day of trading on the parallel market.

National Bank of Greece ended at 23,195 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 23, 500, Commercial Bank at 29,650, Titan Cement at 34,500, Hellenic Petroleum at 3,130, Intracom at 25,620, Minoan Lines at 7,350, Panafon at 8,995 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,575.

Offer of tax-free bonds

The finance ministry will offer a new issue of tax-free savings bonds through a public offering from Thursday, 2 until Monday, 6 September.

The ministry has offered savings bonds worth more than one trillion drachmas since September 1998 when it first started issuing of this bond category mainly aimed at private investors.

The finance ministry will auction a new issue of Treasury bills next Tuesday, 31 August.


Fair weather is forecast in most parts of the country on Sunday with the Ionian Sea and mainland Greece likely to see showers or short-lived storms. Winds will be variable, light to strong. Light cloud over Athens, growing denser towards evening. Temperatures will range from 20C to 31C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki, where showers are also expected. Temperatures from 19C to 29C.


Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          309.782
Pound sterling       491.734
Japanese yen (100)   278.137
French franc          49.389
German mark          165.642
Italian lira (100)    16.731
Irish Punt           411.354
Belgian franc          8.031
Finnish mark          54.488
Dutch guilder        147.010
Danish kr.            43.592
Austrian sch.         23.543
Spanish peseta         1.947
Swedish kr.           37.222
Norwegian kr.         38.896
Swiss franc          202.294
Port. Escudo           1.616
Can. dollar          207.149
Aus. dollar          196.019
Cyprus pound         560.877
Euro                 323.967
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