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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-09-06

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, 06/09/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece should work for timely entry into euro zone, PM says
  • Opposition reactions to Simitis speech
  • Olympics good chance for Greece - organisers
  • EU ministers accept Papandreou's proposal for quake aid to Turkey
  • Kudos from Clinton for quake aid
  • Simitis urges re-election of President Stephanopoulos
  • Incumbent president the north's favourite
  • Papantoniou voices optimism on Greek economy
  • Greece condemns climate of instability in Kosovo
  • Israeli-Palestinian meeting ends in climate of mutual promises
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Greece should work for timely entry into euro zone, PM says

Greece should consolidate the political and economic stability it has achieved by working for timely entry into the euro zone, in turn spurring economic and social growth, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Saturday. In his annual economic policy speech at the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, Mr. Simitis said that aligning with the 11-member euro bloc would provide the country and economy with a buffer from upheaval abroad, allowing the government to accomplish its goals of a 15-trillion-drachma investment plan in 2000-2006 and higher social spending.

Opposition reactions to Simitis speech

Reacting to the prime minister's speech on Saturday, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos spoke of panic and criticised him of placing the country in an undeclared pre-election period of indeterminable time and at the same tim e involving the institution of President of the Republic in his partisan petty evaluations. The Coalition of the Left and Progress said Mr. Simitis turned the rostrum of the 64th TIF into a pre-election balcony. Democratic Social Movement DHKKI leader Dimitris Tsovolas accused the prime minister of making insipid pre-election promises.

Olympics good chance for Greece - organisers

The 2004 Olympic Games constitute a great challenge and a great opportunity for Greece, providing the country with a chance to show the world its image of Greece as a regional leader, senior members of the Athens 2004 Organising Committee said on Monday. Vice-president Niki Tzavella and managing director Costas Bacouris on Monday held a news conference on the Games' preparation on the sidelines of the 64th Thessaloniki International Fair. Both stressed that Greece companies would also have the opportunity to collaborate with leading companies in the lead-up to the Games and through Games projects. This sort of collaboration, they said, would provide Greek firms with the requisite knowledge that would hold them and their workforces in good stead for years later.

EU ministers accept Papandreou's proposal for quake aid to Turkey

Greece yesterday welcomed acceptance by European Union foreign ministers of its proposal that earthquake-stricken Turkey should receive reconstruction aid from the 15-nation bloc. The officials supported the proposal put forward by Foreign Minister George Papandreou at an informal meeting in Finland that debated the EU's ties with Turkey. The ministers were not empowered to take decisions. Papandreou told the ministers that the government, which was eager for the EU to grant Turkey earthquake aid, had already agreed with the EU's executive Commission the amount of assistance and the method of payment. The monies would be given to the Turkish government and to non-governmental Turkish organisations, he added. The aid will total nearly 200 million euros in the form of grants and another 600 million euros in loans from the European Investments Bank.

Kudos from Clinton for quake aid

U.S. President Bill Clinton has sent a letter to Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis congratulating him on the Greek help offered to Turkey in the wake of the devastating August 17 earthquake. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters that Clinton had congratulated the government on the "important" humanitarian work it had undertaken for Turkey, saying it had furthered prospects for greater rapprochement between the two countries.

Simitis urges re-election of President Stephanopoulos

Prime Minister Simitis yesterday urged the country's political parties to re-elect President Kostis Stephanopoulos in order to avoid early elections in March, a move that could jeopardise the economy and entry into the euro zone in 2001. Mr. Simitis told a news conference that the president had been a success in his post. He had respected constitutional procedures and was welcomed by the majority of the public. The ruling PASOK party had proposed that Mr. Stephanopoulos should be re-elected by parliament in line with public opinion, and saw no reason for a change in president, he said.

Incumbent president the north's favourite

Current president Costis Stephanopoulos is the most favoured candiate in next year's presidential elections according to an opinion poll in the northern Greek capital of Thessaloniki published today. The poll carried out by "Kapa Research" for the local daily "Angelioforos tis Makedonias" (the Macedonia messenger), two out of three inhabitants in Thessaloniki favour Stephanopoulos' re-election. According to the poll, 61.6 percent favoured Stephanopoulos continuing as president, followed by 17.4 percent for Dimitris Avramopoulos, the current mayor of Athens, 10.6 percent for Constantine Mitsotakis, the former premier and current honorary president of the main opposition New Democracy party and 4.3 percent for Leonidas Kyrkos, a candidate of the Coalition of the left and progress. Some 8.1 percent said they would vote for no one.

Papantoniou voices optimism on Greek economy

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou predicted that the Greek economy will enjoy development rates in the region of 5 per cent over the next seven years (2000-2006). In an exclusive statement to the Sunday newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis", he said the Greek economy's productivity will be upgraded substantively with the third Community Support Framework and that for this reason "I believe it is simple for our country to go ahead with development rates in the region of 5 per cent compared to 3.5 per cent at present." Papantoniou said in his statement that continuous vigilance is necessary to prevent the overheating of the Greek economy.

Greece condemns climate of instability in Kosovo

Greece on Saturday condemned the prevailing climate and instability in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. "There is a climate in Kosovo which shows that the international factor has not yet achieved its targets," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said in the northern port city of Thessaloniki. "There is a high degree of liquidity and instability and I must say that the pace of disarming the UCK is not the most satisfactory. The peacekeeping military forces stationed there should show increased zeal to enable all citizens having their homes in Kosovo to return as soon as possible and live without facing the slightest danger," he added.

Israeli-Palestinian meeting ends in climate of mutual promises

The fourth meeting of Israeli and Palestinian personalities held within the frame work of the "Athens Dialogue" ended here yesterday in a climate of mutual promises for common efforts to assist the Middle East peace process. Participants, which included former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, welcomed Saturday's signing of a deal in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat that puts stalled Middle East pea cemaking back on track after weeks of tortuous negotiations. In a common declaration, the participants recognised the Palestinian people's legitimate right for self determination, while the Palestinians stated that their goal would be the establishment of an independent democratic state alongside Israel.

WEATHER

Mostly sunny weather is forecast for today, although mainland Greece and the northern Aegean can expect scattered showers and short-lived storms. Winds northerly, light to moderate. Scattered cloud in Athens with a chance of showers with temperatures from 20-31C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures at 17-27C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          303.006
Pound sterling       488.659
Japanese yen (100)   276.113
French franc          49.367
German mark          165.571
Italian lira (100)    16.724
Irish Punt           411.177
Belgian franc          8.027
Finnish mark          54.464
Dutch guilder        146.947
Danish kr.            43.555
Austrian sch.         23.533
Spanish peseta         1.946
Swedish kr.           37.081
Norwegian kr.         38.742
Swiss franc          202.765
Port. Escudo           1.615
Can. dollar          202.070
Aus. dollar          195.612
Cyprus pound         561.928
Euro                 323.828
(M.P.)
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