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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-07-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece-Russia-Putin-Simnitis-OVERALL LEAD-Adds Ivanov
  • [02] Tourism privatisation bonds sell well
  • [03] HDW of Germany bids Dr 40 bln for Hellenic Shipyards
  • [04] Greece to seek closer EU-Russia ties, PM says
  • [05] Foreign Exchange Rates-Wednesday
  • [06] Balkan issues dominate PM's talks with Putin in Moscow
  • [07] Athens Bourse Close: Market ends up by 1.38 per cent

  • [01] Greece-Russia-Putin-Simnitis-OVERALL LEAD-Adds Ivanov

    17/07/2001 22:01:25

    MOSCOW (ANA) - Greece and Russia on Tuesday expressed concern over the situation in the Balkans, and welcomed the recent increase in their bilateral trade.

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, winding up a three-day visit to Moscow, met Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks encompassing the situation in the Balkans, EU cooperation with Russia, and bilateral relations. Simitis also attended here an IOC General Assembly meeting to elect a new president for the organisation.

    Simitis told reporters after the one-hour meeting at the Kremlin that Athens and Moscow were worried over the situation in the Balkans, adding that he and Putin had also discussed EU cooperation with Russia.

    Europe, he said, was in a period of restructuring and discussing its future.

    "And in the European single space, we Greeks well know that Russia has belonged here for at least two centuries".

    Simitis further said that problems such as those in the Balkans, and FYROM in particular, could not be tackled without Moscow's cooperation.

    Putin spoke of the mutual sympathy and historic relations linking the Greek and Russian people, and expressed satisfaction with the Greek position on the European Single Space.

    He described the development of bilateral relations as "positive", adding this had been confirmed last year with Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos' visit to Russia and also by a 40 percent increase in bilateral trade.

    Putin further reaffirmed Russia's readiness to back the plan for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

    In statements to Greek journalists, Simitis said Greece and Russia shared common views on the Balkans and that both Athens and Moscow were committed to maintaining existing borders in the Balkan peninsula and to preserving the status quo.

    "There must not be support or indifference toward actions that seek to change the current situation by force. And this chiefly concerns Albanian extremist groups," he said.

    According to the Greek premier, Russia did not currently envisage any involvement in the crisis in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) but did believe that it should maintain a presence in the area.

    "We also believe that this Russian presence should exist," Simitis added, "as we believe that Russia should contribute its views in the Balkans and in all matters concerning Europe, in close cooperation with the EU."

    Asked about Russia's views on EU initiatives in the Balkans, Simitis said the Kremlin had expressed a desire for greater involvement.

    "If the political centre in the EU were more powerful, this contact with Russia - which did not take place - could have happened. I believe these talks showed that the Russians would also like a say and that we can help them to achieve this closer contact," Simitis added.

    Commenting on Russia's proposals for an international conference on the Balkans, the Greek prime minister reiterated that this could be useful but only if certain conditions were met; namely, that it had been well prepared beforehand with a pre-arranged agenda of issues to be discussed.

    "Otherwise, the conference could become a forum for various views that will ultimately lead to conflict."

    Greece to seek closer EU-Russia ties, PM says

    Greece will seek to raise issues of joint Russian-European interest when it takes over the EU rotating presidency in January 2003 and to foster closer ties between Europe and Russia, Simitis also said after his meeting with President Putin.

    The prime minister noted that in terms of defence policy, Europe's autonomy relied on good relations with Russia. "Greece's view is that a European defence policy is necessary, EU autonomy is necessary... a stronger EU presupposes closer understanding with Russia," he said.

    "It is obvious to anyone who looks at a map that Europe doesn't just stop at Russia's borders, with the space beyond being irrelevant. Russia has a role to play in determining Europe's future," he added.

    According to Simitis, this was an area where Greece could have a special role, not only because of its historical ties but also because it was in closer contact with and had a better understanding of Eastern Europe.

    On a bilateral level, the Greek premier noted, relations were developing satisfactorily, while as growth rates in Russia accelerated there would be more Greek investments and an increased presence by Greek business.

    He also stressed the importance of joint efforts such as the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, while he said that Putin had reaffirmed Russian interest in the project and the need to move quickly.

    Assessing the results of his visit, Simitis said it had shown "that we can find ways to work together more closely and give a new impetus to policy creation in the Balkans and Eastern Europe that will have Russia's support."

    Finally, the prime minister said he had outlined Greece's positions on Cyprus and relations with Turkey during his meeting with the Russian president, while Putin had expressed support for a solution to the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions.

    Regarding Putin's planned visit to Greece in December, Simitis said this would return last year's visit by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and that it "confirmed the very good levels of cooperation between Moscow and Athens."

    Ivanov statements

    Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov commented, later in the day, on the Simitis-Putin meeting, saying that the two leaders "expressed their common concern over conditions in the Balkans and called on the international community to do everything possible to stabilize the situation, based on the guarantees of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Balkan countries".

    "They called on the international community to aid the democratic governments in the Balkans, so as to cooperate actively between them, to confront extremist and separatist forces, which destabilize the region."

    [02] Tourism privatisation bonds sell well

    17/07/2001 19:13:00

    Tourism privatisation bonds worth 800 million euros that were issued by Hellenic Real Estate SA, a subisidiary of the Greek National Tourism Organisation, sold well, the finance ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

    More than 80 percent of the three-year paper, which carries a zero coupon, was sold to institutional investors at home and abroad with the remainder sold to retail investors, the ministry said.

    After book building, the price of the bonds was set at 86.944 euros for paper with a denomination of 100 euros. The issue date is August 3, 2001 and the expiry date on August 3, 2004.

    Underwriting the issue were BNP Paribas, EFG Eurobank Ergasias with EFG Finance, and National Bank of Greece International.

    The paper was issued as part of a government strategy to raise cash that will offset lost or delayed revenue, such as a transactions tax from deals on the ailing Athens Stock Exchange.

    [03] HDW of Germany bids Dr 40 bln for Hellenic Shipyards

    17/07/2001 18:58:54

    A consortium comprising HDW and Ferrostaal, both of Germany, has bid about 40 billion drachmas in a tender for the sale of 100 percent of Hellenic (Skaramanga) Shipyards, the group said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Two other bids have been received for Hellenic Shipyards - from Elefsina Shipyards and CMN of France.

    Under the terms of the the HDW and Ferrostaal bid, 4.5 billion drachmas would be paid immediately, mostly for a share capital rise; 11.6 billion drachmas to cover Hellenic's losses in 2001; the implementation of an investment programme to modernise the yard costing 5.1 billion drachmas; and a transfer of HDW technology worth 18.7 billion drachmas for the construction and modernisation of submarines.

    [04] Greece to seek closer EU-Russia ties, PM says

    17/07/2001 18:50:37

    MOSCOW (ANA) - Greece will seek to raise issues of joint Russian-European interest when it takes over the EU rotating presidency in January 2003 and to foster closer ties between Europe and Russia, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday in Moscow, in statements after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The meeting concluded a three-day visit by Simitis to the Russian capital, where he attended an IOC General Assembly meeting to elect a new president for the organisation.

    The prime minister noted that in terms of defence policy, Europe's autonomy relied on good relations with Russia. "Greece's view is that a European defence policy is necessary, EU autonomy is necessary... a stronger EU presupposes closer understanding with Russia," he said.

    "It is obvious to anyone who looks at a map that Europe doesn't just stop at Russia's borders, with the space beyond being irrelevant. Russia has a role to play in determining Europe's future," he added.

    According to Simitis, this was an area where Greece could have a special role, not only because of its historical ties but also because it was in closer contact with and had a better understanding of Eastern Europe.

    On a bilateral level, the Greek premier noted, relations were developing satisfactorily, while as growth rates in Russia accelerated there would be more Greek investments and an increased presence by Greek business.

    He also stressed the importance of joint efforts such as the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline, while he said that Putin had reaffirmed Russian interest in the project and the need to move quickly.

    Assessing the results of his visit, Simitis said it had shown "that we can find ways to work together more closely and give a new impetus to policy creation in the Balkans and Eastern Europe that will have Russia's support."

    Finally, the prime minister said he had outlined Greece's positions on and Cyprus and relations with Turkey during his meeting with the Russia president, while Putin had expressed support for a solutionto the Cyprus problem based on UN resolutions.

    Regarding Putin's planned visit to Greece in December, Simitis said this would return last year's visit by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and that it "confirmed the very good levels of cooperation between Moscow and Athens."

    [05] Foreign Exchange Rates-Wednesday

    17/07/2001 18:37:56

    Indicative buying rates for Wednesday

    U.S. dollar 396.913

    German mark 172.829

    French franc 051.531

    Pound sterling 555.229

    Irish punt 429.202

    Belgian franc 008.379

    Luxembourg franc 008.379

    Dutch guilder 153.389

    Italian lira (100) 017.457

    Austrian schilling 024.565

    Danish kroner 45.406

    Swedish kroner 36.681

    Finnish mark 056.852

    Spanish peseta 002.032

    Portuguese escudo 001.686

    Japanese yen (100) 316.947

    Swiss franc 223.545

    Norwegian kroner 042.356

    Cyprus pound 588.636

    Canadian dollar 258.359

    Australian dollar 201.068

    [06] Balkan issues dominate PM's talks with Putin in Moscow

    17/07/2001 16:32:26

    MOSCOW (ANA) - Greece and Russia share common views on the Balkans, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin that wound up his three-day visit to the Russian capital.

    In statements to Greek journalists after the one-hour meeting, Simitis said that both Athens and Moscow were committed to maintaining existing borders in the Balkan peninsula and to preserving the status quo.

    "There must not be support or indifference toward actions that seek to change the current situation by force. And this chiefly concerns Albanian extremist groups," he said.

    According to the Greek premier, Russia did not currently envisage any involvement in the crisis in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia(FYROM) but did believe that it should maintain a presence in the area.

    "We also believe that this Russian presence should exist," Simitis added, "as we believe that Russia should contribute its views in the Balkans and in all matters concerning Europe, in close cooperation with the EU."

    Asked about Russia's views on EU initiatives in the Balkans, Simitis said the Kremlin had expressed a desire for greater involvement.

    "If the political centre in the EU were more powerful, this contact with Russia - which did not take place - could have happened. I believe these talks showed that the Russians would also like a say and that we can help them to achieve this closer contact," Simitis added.

    Commenting on Russia's proposals for an international conference on the Balkans, the Greek prime minister reiterated that this could be useful but only if certain conditions were met; namely, that it had been well prepared beforehand with a pre-arranged agenda of issues to be discussed.

    "Otherwise, the conference could become a forum for various views that will ultimately lead to conflict."

    [07] Athens Bourse Close: Market ends up by 1.38 per cent

    17/07/2001 15:45:28

    Stocks on the Athens bourse rebounded following several days of virtual freefall on Tuesday, after sharply increased buyer interest in the latter half of the session pushed the general index up by 1.38 per cent.

    The Athens general index closed at 2,346.12 points after a slow start, with turnover staying resolutely low at 92.65 million euros (31.6 billion drachmas).


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